A Love Letter to Those Happily Left Behind

Everyone has a past, which means everyone has an ex. Whether it was an ex from a serious seven year relationship or just an ex that you used to drunkenly make out with from time to time. There doesn’t have to be an established title for you to know deep down inside how you felt for that person or if that person was considered an ex or not. If you were involved with him/her romantically or sexually but you aren’t anymore, that person is an ex.

What a lot of us college students need to understand is that it is okay to be single. Dr. Gary Lewandowski, the Chair of Psychology Department, said, “In fact, being single is infinitely better than being in an unhealthy relationship. Use the time that you are single to really figure out who you are and want to be, what you really want in a partner, and what you can do to be a better person so that if you do decide that you want a relationship you’re more likely to find a good one.”

Basically, do not waste your time with someone if they aren’t making you happy. Some of us learned that the hard way, but that’s alright. It is a lesson learned.

I am here today to not only acknowledge the skeletons in my closet but to express some feelings I’ve kept locked up inside. This is a letter to my past exes.

Dear John (names have been changed),

When I met you, I was so young. I didn’t know the difference between true love and puppy love. That didn’t matter to me though. All that mattered was that you looked at me with stars in your eyes and that you had your license before me. That way you could actually take me on romantic dates to the diner and Applebee’s. Just looking back brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

When we weren’t getting half- off appetizers at 10 pm, we were hiding away in your house at late hours of the night. I never understood why you didn’t want to be seen in public with me, but I didn’t think anything of it because you “loved” me.

Remember when we were at the same college and instead of going to parties together we went to parties separately? I mean I didn’t care because I was able to go with my roommates anyway. Things did start to get a little uncomfortable when I saw you grinding with other girls. You told me you “loved” me though, so who cared if you were having drunk girls twerk on your pelvis in a dark damp fraternity basement? You loved me. Nothing in this world mattered, right? Wrong.

Lewandowski explained that there are certain factors that a healthy relationships needs. Those factors include: shared respect, care, trust, honesty, and communication. “It really is a best friendship with someone who truly values you for who you are and helps you to become an even better person,” he said.

You and I didn’t share any of those factors and I don’t think you made me a better person but that’s beside the point. You “loved” me. Nothing in this world mattered, right? Wrong.

I had all these angry feelings trapped inside when you cheated on me, when you left me, when you made out with the girl two feet away from me at a bar. But today, I am here not to yell or to scream, but to say thank you.

Thank you for treating me like absolute garbage. It made me grateful for how I am getting treated now, and that’s like a princess, not the court jester.

Thank you for turning your head away from me when you walked past me on campus. It made me grateful for my man today who holds my hand in public proudly.

Thank you for being unfaithful. At first it made me lose trust in people. Now it just made me stronger. Of course it taught me to be more careful with who I give my heart to, but it didn’t make me scared to care again. So you didn’t break me. As much as you thought you did when I was crying because I missed you - you didn’t break me.

Thank you for taking me on cheap dates. It made me appreciate when I get spoiled. Listen, I am not saying Applebee’s is a cheap date because let’s be honest, I love Applebee’s. I mean it in the way that you never took me out and when you did, it was where you wanted to go. Which was either a chain restaurant or the movies where you could hide me in the darkness.

Thank you for only hanging out with me at the obnoxious hours of the night. It made me realize that you were probably a vampire because not only is that not normal, it’s not enjoyable. The day is meant for socializing and being with the one you love. The night is of course for cuddling but also sleeping - not being insomniacs together and having one person wish it was different. If you two are night owls then it’s a different story.

There’s a big difference between hanging out at 8 pm and 12:30 am. Some people say that’s a booty call, but other naïve people who want to believe that their partner actually cares for them call it love.

Overall, thank you for being an absolute terrible person to me. I am not saying you are a terrible person in life, you just were when we dated. Our relationship was toxic. At the time I did not see that because I was so blinded by my heart.

Today I see clearly and realize that there are no hard feelings. I do not wish anything bad upon you. Honestly, I hope you find happiness like I have. I also hope you learned from your mistakes because no one deserves to feel rejected, unwanted or unloved.

I am truly thankful for the way you treated me because it not only brought me to my prince charming today but it also made me the person I am no. And honestly, I think who I am now rocks.

Xoxo, Jacklyn