Thank you for your letter. I thought I was doing pretty well in the past two weeks since our last conversation. I was, until I saw your letter on my desk this morning. This is going to be a prodigiously long letter, but I just want to let it all out.
This may sound cliche, but I was attracted to you, particularly your immense confidence, from the moment we met. You were so confident, so attractive, so tall. I have never been a confident girl. My mother and grandmother have a funny way of motivating me – by telling me that I’m too fat for any boy to want to marry. People have complimented me on my looks, but I never consider myself beautiful. I am smart and intelligent, but I never trust myself enough. I am way past college age, and I had only experienced one-sided love, where I was the one longing for some relationships that never happened. No boy had ever really expressed interests in me, and even if there was any tiny signal, I would tell myself I was imagining things.
Our story began in your country, where I was an expat. Due to work proximity, we started hanging out quite frequently. You invited me for drinks after work, purely out of friendship, because you were constantly telling me about all these other girls. I did not mind. I was even telling myself that I was lucky that you would want me in your life. We grew very close, and despite our ethnic, cultural, height and language differences, we turned out to be very compatible in our interests and personalities. At times, you were evening teasing me and giving me mixed signals. I was the only one who remembered your birthday, and planned an inside joke which you loved.
Then came this new girl in the office. She was very attractive, confident and wild. You never knew I knew, but you were all over her. I was cast aside and I was sad, but I accepted it. We were just friends anyway. Few months later, turned out the new girl had chosen someone over you, and that was the end of your relationship. You were talking to me again, and we got closer again.
You were unemployed at that time, and I came up with all kinds of excuses to see you. It took all the courage I ever had to ask you to see an exhibition with me. I offered to teach you a computer program just so I could spend time with you. We began having nightly conversations, which would go on and on about everything. There would be cryptic messages and emoticons in the texts, and though my heart was flip-flopping all over, I was keeping my cool. Eventually there came a time when we were out late with some others, and you had to crash at someone’s place for the night. That night you were teasing me so much that it was almost awkward for the others. Our friends thought they were doing me a favor, so they all told you no. That night you kissed me, so sweet and so passionate, but we did not do anything else. The next day, I texted you asking whether you wanted to be in a relationship, you replied that you were a better friend than a boyfriend. I cried, but knew that I had to move on.
A week later you contacted me, saying you’d like to have drinks and possibly dinner. I agreed and was even secretly overjoyed, until you texted me an hour before that you would have to cancel because something unexpected happened. That was Thursday, and you texted on Sunday that you would explain later. Days later you explained on the phone that it was a girl who you could not resist. I told you that it was a really terrible thing to do to another person, but I had no reasoning – it was terrible for me because you blew me off for a girl who “just happened to be in your mouth”. But who was I, then, to you? I knew I had no valid argument, and had no right to judge, so I just told you that when you had agreed to meet with me, then blew me off, you were treating me like an option until something better comes along. I cried myself to sleep and swore to never see you again.
I broke my own promise, and agreed to meet you for a drink three weeks later. That night, due to my inability to resist you and your constant excuse of not being able to get home after the last train, you were in my bed again. I guess that was the beginning of our relationship. We never had the official talk, but you were the one who informed me that you had told your friends about your new girlfriend – me. You said I love you first. You were my first everything. I was your first real girlfriend. You quickly wanted me to meet your family, multiple times in many different occasions. Despite the language barrier and my shyness, I managed to survive these gatherings. I accompanied you to all your gatherings with your friends, and sat through dinners smiling politely and uttering occasional basic words that I learned in your language. I was awkward with your family and friends, but with you everything was fine. You were so sweet, and we were so in love. For months, we were in our own little world and you made me feel like the luckiest girl alive.
Then you landed a job in another country. I was in the process of switching jobs too, and you decided that it would be easier for me to move with you to the new country, where they speak languages I speak. I was really happy that you asked me, but it was just about 5 months after we actually got together, and I was hesitating. I told myself that I would move if I found I great job which I would not get if I did not move. That would be my only reason to move, not for the guy. Although I cheated a bit because I was not actually searching elsewhere, I did end up with a great job in the same city as you.
Things were going really well. Of course we had our fair share of bickering, but we were spending a lot of time together, experiencing new things, making fun of the local people, traveling to places, etc. Time was going by so fast, and all of our weekends were so satisfying. Then came a time when you suggested that we should move together, and that you wanted to visit my home country with me. I was glad, but also worried that these things might be too serious too soon for us. I voiced my concerns, and naively told you all the negative aspects of both suggestions not hoping to dissuade you, but simply to lower your expectations so that you would not be disappointed. Only because you are so excited about everything in the beginning and then you get so disappointed!
When you went home that week, I knew something was up. Those nightly phone calls stopped, and the texts were ever so short and concise. You came back and you told me you did not want to live with me, nor to visit my home country anymore. You were calling me your friend, instead of your love. I knew it was happening. I pressed you about it and eventually you told me that you were confused about us, and our future together. I let a week past, also to avoid swollen eyes at work and to mentally prepare myself, before I asked you again. This time I was calm and prepared. I was ready for this, you told me you did not want to be together anymore as your feelings have changed. That was it. Before you left, I asked you to respect my need for space and when I am ready, I would contact you again. I was doing really well until I saw your handwritten letter today.
Reading it in writing that you just did not feel the same anymore, that you are no longer in love with me, was like ripping my slowly, slightly healing heart to pieces yet again. The very logical side of me has been telling me for some time that you did not make me feel cherished. That I had stopped feeling beautiful when I am with you. Jokes or not, you criticized me on my body, my face and my ethnicity. It was really hurtful, and I swallowed them until I could not take it anymore. You did apologize, but that did not help, not one bit. I felt ugly, and I hated myself for thinking that of myself. I knew I did not deserve that, yet I kept telling myself that you are strange but slowly learning. I was getting really tired, tired of constantly giving so much and receiving so very little in return. I was getting emotional, and crying too often in front of you. Yet thanks to my low self esteem, I also convinced myself that it was a miracle that you, out of all the guys in the world, actually paid attention to me. I was really trying to make you happy. I know you know that because your friends have commented on how lucky you are to be with me.
I knew I was not IN love with you, not after the initial few months, because I was sometimes dreading to pick up those nightly phone calls, and did not feel any of those mythical butterflies when we met up for dates. I loved you, and was mostly very, very happy to see you and be with you. I guess I did not really understand the difference, or in my naivety, believed that love changes at a certain point, replacing those butterflies and chemistry by security, comfort and companionship. That is what I see in my loving parents who are still together after almost 30 years. God bless them. I always believe that being in love is easy, especially during those stages of initial excitement, but actual love is real hard work.
I do have to thank you sincerely. Thank you for never cheating on me during our relationship, because I had always thought that would be the most probable possibility for our break-up. Again, my insecurities. Thank you for teaching me to open up myself completely to another person, to finally let someone into my well-protected comfort zone, to learn to be fully vulnerable. Thank you for allowing me to love you, to finally let that yearning to love out of myself, to give my heart to someone special. I was very happy to have made you so happy. Like you said, I am wonderful, and I thank you for reassuring me. Thank you for being so honest with me and have not dragged this on longer. I never expected our relationship to be this short-lived, but I could deal with that. I know you are right, we would never work in the long run. Most importantly, I must thank you for making me realize what it is that I value most in a relationship – someone who makes me feel cherished and beautiful. You were wonderful in many ways too, but you could not give what I need to me.
We both had our own problems, but it was really beautiful what we had together. I would always cherish that. The first is really hard to forget after all. To reply to you, I will promise you that you will not be my last. You won’t be, but you will be the last to make me feel sub-par, or that I should be satiated with making the greatest effort for the tiniest return. No, you will be the last. I am now going to work really hard on my relationship with myself. You had taught me, in a strange way, that I do deserve to be cherished, and that I am beautiful.
You said you want to keep me as a close friend, I understand; however, it is my life now, and I do not owe it to anyone to satisfy his/her needs unless it is what I want to do. From now on I will put myself first. So until I am ready, you will not be hearing from me.