To My Ex-Boyfriend, On His Engagement

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I’m not quite sure how to go about this.

But that was so much of our relationship, right? We were the anomaly; we were the couple that didn’t quite make sense to anyone. And yet… we were the couple that made so much sense. We worked and we didn’t; we were perfect for each other except in all the places that we weren’t.

Do you remember how many questions your friends used to ask us? They were so confused how we stayed together. How we even got together. It was valid confusion. My friends felt it, too.

You were my very first kiss: back in 7th grade, during a game of truth or dare. Did I ever tell you that? Years later, when we were finally, officially together, I daydreamed about what it would be like if you were also my last - if we got to grow old and gray together. It was always only a daydream. I think, on some level, we both knew we would’t end up as each other’s forever.

We were more than best friends, but not quite star-crossed lovers; more than just a couple, but not quite soul mates. We weren’t meant to be… we were just meant to date. At some point.

You were my best friend for so long. Years before we dated, and a few years while we did. Not many people get to fall in love with their best friend from middle school. Not many people actually get to date their youth group crush. Not many people get to experience what we had.

And most days, I’m so glad we were that lucky. I’m glad for the laughs, for the memories. I’m glad in that strange season of feeling like an adult but still acting so much like a child, you were the one next to me holding my hand. I’m glad we figured out so much of life together - in our own way, driving through McDonalds late at night, watching Disney movies on VHS. I’m glad we got each other, for a brief moment of our lives.

Some days, I’m a little bummed we dated. I wonder what our friendship could be today, had we never officially crossed that line. I wonder if my best friend from 5th grade would still be my best friend, if we would still be close like we used to - or if we would have drifted apart naturally, like people do. I wonder if I would be invited into special moments of your current life, as a friend - moments that would be weird for me to be a part of, as your ex.

Life is just funny that way.

We were the anomaly after we broke up, too. I would always, always tell people, “Don’t be friends with your exes! …but I’m friends with mine”. We were the exception to the rule. Too good of friends not to keep in touch, we were so much a part of each other’s lives it didn’t make sense to not be.

You used to joke about us attending each other’s weddings. But now that you’re actually planning yours, I’m not expecting an invite. I’ll always be your friend - but I’ll also always be your ex. We’ll always be high school sweethearts - sorta, in our own way. We’ll always be that season, for each other. And I’m learning it’s normal to not need past seasons in your present.

I think this is where I bow out of your life for good; where I’m no longer in any future stories, but simply remain parts of past ones. I hope they’re still happy memories for you. I hope our relationship - both our friendship and romance - remains a thing to smile about.

You were my best friend for so long, that on some level it feels strange to know we’ll never be close again. Yet it’s been so long since we were close, it feels strange that this feels strange. And yet a small piece of me is mourning this fresh loss, this new step away from each other. The final-ness of it.

But mostly I’m so happy for you. I really am. Thats an anomaly too, right? I’m not sure the protocol of watching your ex get engaged, but according to rom coms and social media, this is supposed to spiral me into despair. I’m supposed to be freaking out - me, single; my ex, engaged - and doubting all life decisions and downing a bottle of wine and tub of ice cream simultaneously.

But I’m not there. I smile when I think about how we each ended up in different corners of the globe - something neither of us could have guessed back at high school graduation. I smile when I think about where my life has taken me - I love it. I hope you love yours. I smile when I think about you finding someone and falling in love. I hope she’s wonderful. I’m betting she is.

Is this growing up?? We never really knew how to do it. From middle school pool parties to high school prom, from choosing college majors to life plans - it always felt a bit strange, didn’t it? This growing up business. We gave it our best. I think we ended up okay.

We had something special, right? I like to think so. I think this is a new part of that special - I get to be happy for you. Happy for you and your new wife. Happy for you and your new life.

I’m not really sure how this goes.

I’m not really sure if I’m doing it right.

(Probably the public internet isn’t too normal, I know. But - when have I ever been normal?)

So, to my ex-boyfriend, on your engagement: I hope your best days lie ahead.

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