The Blog

An Open Letter to My Exes: Thank You for Leaving Me

Thank you for leaving me. Thank you for not believing in me, for shattering my self-confidence along with my heart, for being "the one that got away." From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Mixed race woman taking broken paper heart
Mixed race woman taking broken paper heart

Thank you for leaving me. Thank you for not believing in me, for shattering my self-confidence along with my heart, for being "the one that got away." From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Now, I'll be the first to admit I haven't always felt this way: there was a time, not long ago where a photograph of you or song that I put on a mixtape for you would bring those awful pangs on. There was a season where I'd avoid our favorite restaurants so I wouldn't have to cry in my soup and bear uncomfortable conversations or staring.

But things changed.

I decided that rather than staying bitter, I would get better. I began my with new perspective. Instead of focusing on feeling lonely, I dwelt on being independent. Instead of only concentrating on the faults that you viciously pointed out, I looked for ways to improve myself. And instead of thinking that you took something away from me (love, happiness, and darkest secrets), I started saying that you gave something to me: more opportunities, time, and money (this really meant less birthday, Valentine's, and Christmas presents to worry about).

While that meant not having someone to share fancy dinner and desserts with, that also meant not having to share at all (more cake for me). Also, once I stopped moping about, friends flocked back to me since my weekends opened up again.

The Dalai Lama once said, "If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever." There was no need to worry about whether or not you'd come back or if I'd die alone during a Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions marathon one night - I just needed to look at myself more, and I did, thanks to you.

Each time I had my heart stomped on, I'd find myself with more time. That meant more hours to exercise, to volunteer with my favorite charities, and to develop more skills to move ahead in my career. Whenever I felt sorry for myself, I just looked for more ways to make the world a better place, and in turn, it made me happier as a result. And when I was short on cash, I just sold the stuff that you gave me. Though my original intention was to make you regret leaving (I was going to show you how great I could be), I decided not to live in the shadow of broken relationships.

Yes, it's sad to have one's heart broken. But a heartbreak is an event, not a death sentence.

With each new scar on my heart, I learned another lesson about love and life. That's making me a better partner as well (though I will admit, a bit more cautious). If you stayed in my life, I probably would have been satisfied to remain who I was, not not strive for growth and change. I would not have learned that living generously was one of the best path to joy. Thank you for those lessons, maybe it'll make a killer OkCupid profile one day.

I truly wish you every bit of happiness that you deserve. Whether you cheated on me, got frustrated with me, or got bored of me, it doesn't matter: I'm not defined by you nor by our shared past. Only one thing matters now: the future, and that means growing as a person. That means letting go of a toxic past.

So thank you for leaving me. Thank you for forcing me to do something I wasn't doing when we were together: living for myself.