A Letter to My Exes (And to Myself)

Your past actions do not define my future relationships. My past hurts do not define my future loves.

I am a girl with no shortage of exes. They range from the stereotypical psycho to the unapologetic cheater; to the guy who I could not let go of and the loser who strung me along.  I’ve slept with too many men to count. (sorry mom & dad) I’ve been hurt and I’ve been broken. And I’ve done my share of breaking, too. My sins are not concealed and I’ve ghosted quite a few of my own.

Once you enter a pattern, you fear you’ll never break it. When you’ve had so many bad ones in a row, your record starts to speak for itself. Only a few exes have I remained friends with, but most I cursed to heaven and never looked back. Some have even called me names out of retaliation. Those are the ones that blindsided me.

You accept the love you think you deserve. Plenty of those guys I dated I knew were just “for now.” I accepted their massive flaws believing mine were on par. I did not realize how far I was stretching myself to make something incompatible work. Kindness and effort are meant to be celebrated and meanness and forgetfulness are not. Self-love is a lesson I’ll learn again and again.

I’m not an emotionally vulnerable person. I like to keep my feelings wrapped up in shiny wrapping paper. You wouldn’t know it if you didn’t look twice. I keep my thoughts, doubts, and gifts hidden. I’d much rather highlight the other, walk in their shadow, than walk in my light.

I was treated like second best because I treated myself like I was lesser than. I acted as if all was copasetic and agreed to things that did not define me. I blinded myself with a faux love trying to fit a fantasy into reality.  I built bridges over gaps and smiled through red flags. Momentary thrills hooked into my brain like sugar. After all was said and done, I was yanked to the surface dazed and confused.

I accept that I have these memories and I have these stories. I can’t change the past but I can fix the broken record. I deserve to act better towards myself and be honest with the other. Habits are hard to break, but I’ve spent enough time in the faux dream and catering to mean spirited people.

This isn’t something that changes overnight and self-love will prove itself a lesson that rears its head again and again. My exes were a couple of rude, selfish, funny, shy and weird guys. Some weren’t so bad, but not one was right for me; as much as I tried to fit a square peg into a round hole.

I can only hope that in the times to come I will take my lessons and my bad record and move forward. And for myself, find my own kind of love.

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