I hate to sound like a cliché, but it’s not you…. It’s not me either, but it’s not you, I guess in the end, we’ve just grown apart.
I think back to when we started off, I was so proud to be with you. I talked you up to my family and friends, and they all listened graciously as I went on and on about how great you were, how you really challenged me without making me feel like I wasn’t good enough for you. They even humored me when I mused that you might be the one, the one that I’d commit to. I even saw partnership in our future, but now, looking back, I can see that it wasn’t fair of me to place you on that pedestal, because it meant putting unrealistic expectations on you.
The truth is, when we first met, I was in a dark place. I had gone through a couple of short-term situations, and my most recent tryst had ended badly. I was feeling bad about myself, and when we met, you really made me feel better. You talked about all of the different things we could do together, and it genuinely made me be excited to be with you.
That’s not to say that you were a mere rebound for me. Sure I was alone, and looking back on it, I know I felt like I needed to be with someone, but not wanting to be alone isn’t the same thing as being desperate, right?
Some of my friends warned me about you. They said that you were difficult to deal with, and some of them even knew people who had been with you before and hated you. I was apprehensive about getting involved with you because of your reputation, but I took the plunge, and I didn’t regret it.
I think back to those first few months, and I smile. I think about how much we were trying to impress each other. I know that I reviewed everything I knew you’d see to make sure that it was absolutely perfect. If you pointed out a minor flaw in anything about the things I presented to you, probably not even thinking anything of it, I would obsess over that detail until I got it just right. Maybe you’ll deny this, but I know you were trying to make a good impression on me too. You showed off your bar to me within a week of you and I being together, and you promised that we’d spend plenty of time there celebrating, commiserating, and making plans for the future.
It was so exciting those first few months, it seemed like everything we did together was new and exciting, I was ready and eager to jump at your slightest request, and I genuinely enjoyed doing things with you, because every time I felt like I was not only learning more about you, but I was also learning more about myself.
But the honeymoon period couldn’t last forever, and we just sort of started stagnating. Where before I was excited any time you asked me to do something, now it seemed like there were no more surprises, and we were never going to have the challenging but exciting relationship that you had promised. Not that I need to have a total high of emotion at all times, but where before I never felt like I knew what would come next, now I was feeling like there would never be another challenge.
Despite my waning feelings, I told myself to stick with it, I still enjoyed being with you, and you didn’t mind that I was my own person in the time that we weren’t together. Other people, I told myself, are in situations where they have to be on-call 24/7. I had friends who, while they maybe don’t get formally in trouble if they don’t spend every waking moment having face time, certainly had their “lack of initiative” mentioned to them on occasion. Between that, and remembering just how miserable I was before I met you, I convinced myself that staying was the best bet. I even used to troll online to look at my ex’s pages to see who they replaced me with, or even if they were able to replace me at all.
Then, you stopped wanting to do things. Things that you used to have me do for you all the time were now all of a sudden not part of our arrangement. I still enjoyed being with you, but being with you kind of has to include doing things with you, and as the list of things I couldn’t do with you anymore grew longer, I began wondering what I was doing with you in the first place.
I tried talking to you about it, and all you could muster was a mealy-mouthed assurance that everything would be fine, there was plenty for us to do still, you told me, and we’d start doing more, and newer things together. But those newer things never started, and I was starting to lose hope that there was anything else for us to do together, so I started thinking about what like could be like… after… you.
Looking back on it, that was probably the moment that it was really all over. Even though we were together for a little while after that, I started firing up my socials, brushing up my presentation to the outside world, and opening myself up to others. I started having conversations with others, and entertaining the idea that maybe, if the right one came along, I might have to make a hard decision.
For a while, it was just looking. I told myself that it wasn’t real, I wasn’t really looking to leave you, I was just looking to see what my options were and to reassure myself that I was still a desirable candidate. Most of my conversations started off the same way ours had, now seemingly so long ago. They made promises I now knew they likely couldn’t keep, and I for my part played along, feigning interest in others who, for all intents and purposes, were just like you in just about every way. But slowly, gradually, I started to realize that I couldn’t just keep doing this all for show. That it wasn’t right to keep on courting others that you saw as competitors and then to come back to you and act like nothing was wrong.
That’s when I found another that was truly special. They talked to me in a way that I had never been treated before. Not that they merely showed me what they were working with, or blew smoke up my ass, but they expressed their expectations and hopes for the future without pretending that they were somehow different or better than anyone else. When I talked to friends about you, they would either pretend they didn’t know you or absent mindedly feign approval. When I talked to my friends about them, my friends said how wonderful they were, and how surely, if they were still on the market, they would go out of their way to be with them.
I know that leaving was the right decision, but it still hurt. I know that telling you over the phone wasn’t the best way to do it, and believe me it wasn’t ideal to me either, but you had been difficult to reach, and I think that you knew what was coming by the way that you immediately responded when I messaged you and asked to talk. You repeated your assurances that things were going to be fine, that things were going to be better, even. Later on, you even came and told me that you thought I was making a mistake, that I wasn’t going to be happier or better off without you. I knew you were hurting, so I didn’t say this, but I agreed that maybe I wouldn’t be happier, but I already knew then that I would be better off.
In the end, I wish nothing but the best for you. I won’t be one of your angry exes, because I have nothing but good things to say about my time with you. You came into my life at a time that I was wondering if I was ever going to find a match, and you showed me that it was possible for me to live the life I live today. I will always appreciate that more than you can know.
I’m trying to move on. As you know I found another, and while things are great and really exciting, I’m trying to temper my excitement with a recognition that these honeymoon periods don’t last forever. Still, I’m enjoying myself while everything here is new and exciting. I hope that you find someone good, I hope they do their best for you, and I hope that you do your best for them, and that you are happy.
I hope that we can both be happy. I just know that we won’t be happy, together.