An Open Letter To The Guy Who Wouldn’t Marry Me After 9 Years

Going through breakup is enough to change anybody, and that change can affect someone for many years afterwards. You, the guy who strung me along for nine years because it was more convenient to keep me around than to just be honest, should know all about that. Nearly four years after our breakup, I want you to know all the ways it (and you) affected me:

  1. I’ve developed trust issues. For so many years, you said you loved me and would always be there for me, and I believed you. We talked about our future, about marriage and kids, and you acted like you saw that future too. When I knew it was over, I felt like a fool for trusting you and I have a really hard time trusting men now, which is unfair to the guys who try to get close to me going forward.
  2. I became fiercely independent. I consider this to be both good and bad. I love being an independent woman because (most days) I feel like I’m on top of the world, indestructible. At the same time, the thought of depending on anyone else for anything gives me intense anxiety, so I end up doing everything myself and that’s not necessarily good or sustainable.
  3. I’ve become that “crazy girl” who doesn’t play games or wait around. No, I haven’t actually gone crazy, but guys think I’m crazy when I refuse to date them without knowing pretty quickly if they want the same things I do. The fact is, I won’t waste my time or emotions on someone who may or may not want a family and won’t be honest about it. That’s a mistake I’ll never make again.
  4. I threw myself into my career and rarely have the time or desire to date. Work is a great distraction; I’m gaining valuable experience and making a name for myself in a couple different industries. Professionally, I feel like a total badass, but there’s a lot of loneliness in that job description.
  5. I had to rebuild my self-esteem from the ground up. Towards the end, you made a lot more deprecating comments than usual; looking back now, I think it was because you were subconsciously trying to drive me away. I should have listened and just left, but I loved you so much. Once I finally let go, it was a struggle to rebuild my self-esteem and it’s still a struggle to maintain it sometimes.
  6. It was really hard to lose you as a friend too. I agreed to remain friends after you broke my heart because I still wanted you in my life in some capacity. That was going well, until I started receiving unwarranted threatening voicemails from your new girlfriend. It wasn’t easy to add you to my blocked numbers list, knowing we’d never speak again after being so close for an entire decade, but I had to cut ties to protect myself.
  7. I worry a lot about never having the family I want. Now that I’m over 30, the clock that was quietly ticking in the back of my mind has become so much louder. At the same time, it’s pretty hard to find someone to have a family with when you’ve completely lost touch with the dating world and you work constantly. Sometimes I really wish I had left you sooner, so I could have salvaged some of those precious years.
  8. I still think about you sometimes. It’s not possible to have someone in your life for a decade and suddenly stop caring about them. Even though we haven’t spoken in about a year, I still care about you and wonder how you’re doing. I still feel the urge to text you when I see a nice lifted Jeep or a motorcycle you’d like, or when something reminds me of one of our old inside jokes.
  9. I forgive you. We were young, and I don’t think it was your intent to hurt me. Even though you did hurt me a lot, I’ve forgiven you because it’s in my best interest to move on without holding a grudge. It’s true that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.
  10. I hope I’m able to love someone else as deeply as I loved you someday. Even though I’m not in love with you anymore, I remember how magical it felt. I remember thinking that our love could move mountains and part the sea, and that I’d do just about anything to make you smile. I want to feel that way again, and I really hope I meet someone who stirs up that emotion within me.
  11. Despite all the pain, I have to say thank you. I didn’t see it at the time, but I wasn’t my best self when I was with you. If I had married you, I wouldn’t have found the incredible strength and independence I have now, nor would I have taken the same career risks I took as a single woman. I’ve learned that risk leads to reward, and you discouraged me from taking a lot of the risks that led to the best rewards of my life, so thank you for setting me free.
Anna Martin Yonk is a freelance writer and blogger in sunny North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her goofy husband and two rescue dogs and can be found at the beach with a drink in hand whenever possible. You can find her on Instagram @mrsyonkdogmom or on her Facebook page.