Dear Former Lovers,
There have been a lot of you. In fact, there have been far more than I would like to admit.
I won’t take the time to name you, you know who you are.
While all of you were unique individuals, you shared one thing in common: you weren’t into me the way I was into you. Namely, you didn’t love me despite my love for you.
For a long time, I thought I was the problem. Despite the fact I like to consider myself a rational, cautious individual, the truth is that when I fall in love, I tend to fall in love entirely. I guess if Freud where alive, he’d say that part of that reason stems from deep-root insecurities and the need to feel wanted and liked. Plus, I am a natural nurturer. I’ll cook for you, I’ll clean, I’ll even fold your laundry for you, and I really do enjoy doing all that.
All I ask in return is that you love me and alas, you didn’t.
For a long time, I was in denial. It was too embarrassing to admit that I had been with several men who didn’t love me—and by been with, I don’t mean a few weeks or months. Rather, most of these were long term relationships and in the case of the most memorable one, it was nearly 3 years.
Then the other classic stages of grief kicked in, especially anger.
In my case, it was self-righteous anger the sort that manifested itself in the “how could you”?
I.e., How could you not love me after I had been so good to you? How could you not feel the same connection I felt when we were intimate?
I spent a lot of time in that stage and in the pits of depression until at last, I was able to move into acceptance. Interestingly, that acceptance had nothing to do with me having a final talk with any of you or having any of you suddenly confess you actually had loved me.
Rather, it came from me and was shockingly simple: It didn’t matter if you failed to return my love, I still loved all of you and I am a better person because of it.
That doesn’t mean that these were good relationships. If I had to do it all over again of course I would pair off with someone who truly loved me.
However, there is a saying that we can try to hide memories, but cannot erase history.
For better or worse, they are what they are. These relationships happened and were a big part of my life.
At the very least, these were valuable learning experiences. I learned a lot including the truth between that tried and true cliche that real love ultimately comes from ourselves. Looking back, it’s clear that had I loved myself more and had more faith in my abilities, I would not have gravitated towards cold, unresponsive types that could never love me in return. Plus, I was ultimately chasing after my distant father and hoping if I could get one of you non-committal types to commit to me, it would somehow make up for that first man who left me.
These were hard lessons to learn, but ultimately they were ones I had to learn for myself.
Therefore, for that reason I thank you and yes, I continue to love you all in my own way.
When I say, “I love you” this time I mean it, but I am not expecting you to say it back.
It really is okay this time that you don’t.
Author: Kimberley Lo
Editor: Sarah Kolkka