An open letter to all the men who have left me:

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I’m writing this to you because I think you should know something. It’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you so here it goes.

My search for companionship has never been for cheap or casual connections. I’ve always craved true love. I’ve always set out to give and receive the greatest love. As you know, I am very open about that so I know that every single one of you knew that about me. Some of you thought that we could be that great love and it simply didn’t pan out the way we had planned. But most of you knew that I would never get that great love from you but you decided to pursue me anyway.

Why? I’m not totally sure. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out why every single one of you decided to leave me. I accept that I will never know exactly why but what I do know is that in the beginning of each and every relationship with you all, I was made to feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. We laughed, we exchanged intimate stories of our pasts, and shared our hopes and our dreams and trusted that those things were safe with the other person.

I heard you. I saw you for everything that you were and loved it and accepted it and never judged it. I felt truly heard by you. Truly seen by you. Accepted by you. Not judged by you. And truly loved by you.

Some of you shared a want to continue this way forever. Some of you voiced fear of never being able to do so. But in one way or another, we consumed each other and dove into the comfort of love.

And then one day, in every single one of these relationships, you looked me and saw right through me and I felt that with every fiber of my being. There was a time in every relationship where I knew that you would leave me sooner or later. I’ve sat in so much denial while being in love with you. I tried to convince myself that it would all turn out. That you would look at me with amazement again and I would feel secure. But that day would never come.

The day that has never failed to arrive is the departure of you all. That horrible moment where you tell me you can’t do this anymore. That crushing blow where you leave me.

The reasons you have given me have varied. Distance, my sobriety or the lack of yours, sex, the want of other people or you just not being emotional ready.

My most recent romantic relationship was with one of you who I had been friends with for a while. You were someone I trusted more than any other guy I had been involved with because we had an amazing bond and friendship first. I thought that things could be different this time because I could never see my friend hurting me like the rest of you did.

But that day arrived. The day my phone rang and you chipped at my faith in love by telling me you couldn’t do this anymore. It was one of the cruelest endings to a relationship thus far. You told me that when we were friends and you had secret feelings for me, that you could never understand why all of the men in my life would eventually leave me, until you got romantically involved with me.  And then you saw why.

That makes me sound like some kind of monster. But you then continued to explain that my intensity, my level of commitment to love; to you, was too scary. It was too much pressure and I wasn’t the girl for you.

This nearly destroyed my faith, not in love, but in myself. Your words made me question everything. They made me ashamed of who I am and what I need and want in love. For days, I felt defeated. For the first time, I felt like one of you finally told me the truth and the truth was that something was wrong with me when it came to love.

What I got out of it was that I loved too hard and I expected too much from all of you. But then I realized that I was allowing your actions to define my thoughts. I was allowing you all to rearrange my perception of what love should be. I was allowing you to bury me.

What I want you all to know is that I am no longer going to allow you leaving me to dent my faith in my want for the greatest love. I know I wasn’t perfect. I know that I have things to work on. I have no problem admitting that and have no problem apologizing for the times that I have been wrong and have hurt you. But what I do have a problem with is letting your words and actions take away from who I am.

I will never apologize for loving you with all of my heart. I will never allow your problem with my “intensity” to change the core of what I believe in and what I believe in is loving with everything that you have. I believe in putting your heart on the line for love. I believe in communicating wants and needs and making compromises for the other person. I believe in sharing the scary thoughts and the truth. I believe in making a true and meaningful commitment to the person you love.

But most of all, I believe that you all left me because none of you were ever supposed to be my greatest love. Although I have had immense amounts of anger towards every single one of you for leaving me, I now just have gratitude for you passing through my life. You all  have taught me things that no one else could have. You showed me the things I want in a relationship but mostly you have showed me the things that I don’t want. One of my biggest character defects is that I ignore red flags and put up with too much bullshit. With the help of you all, I have now gotten in enough pain to change.

I can’t change you or how our relationships ended and I don’t want to anymore. I can only change myself but I’m not going to change what you wanted me to. I am not giving up my dream for great love, I am just changing my path of how to get there.

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4 thoughts on “An open letter to all the men who have left me:

  1. Of all the terrible relationship crimes to commit! You love too intensely! Shame on you for expecting someone to love you as much as you love them. These “boys” (because I refuse to call them “men”) will end up spending their days searching for a woman who will love them the way you did. I’m sure you’ve had more advice than you’d ever want, but can I add mine for you? These boys were only intended to pass through your life. If you’ve learned nothing more from them, you’ve learned what you don’t want in a relationship. Your perfect someone is out there. And I hope that the intensity of love that you share will shine like a beacon to all those who walked away.

  2. What I have learned is to never apologize for loving too intensely! I love intensely also, but for me, keeping the focus on what I feel without expecting the same in return has been very helpful. Honesty about my feelings is something I share with others when I “feel” the time is right for ME. I share or do not share based on my own needs, not on what the other person feels or wants or might think of me. I need to feel safe before I allow others to know my true feelings. I know from experience that others feel this way also. So while I may not hide or pretend not to have my true feelings, I make an effort to know and understand what the other person is feeling and where they are in their emotional self-development before I open myself up wide. This happens on a continuum, over time, even if the initial interaction (i.e., sexual encounter) is intense. Until I have a fairly clear understanding of where the other person is in their own emotional development, I hold my cards close. Once I better understand where they are coming from, I can make a decision to open more fully if I feel reasonably safe. This is a very personal, individual assessment, and does not rely on my receiving anything is the way of reciprocation or return on expectations from the other person. In other words, I can choose to love them and I can choose to let them in closer if I want to, but it is always MY choice. I do not require them to behave in any particular way, to return my feelings or to express their own feelings. I try to just BE, as I am, and allow them to just BE as they are, without requiring a specific result. If I make the decision to be more open with them, and if they react negatively to my revelation, I can assess whether that reaction might eventually become a response that I can tolerate, or whether it is probably not a safe place for me to allow them in deeper. At the same time, I always keep in mind that as human beings, when we do not get what we want, we generally feel emotional pain. Even when what we want is small or not very significant in our lives, we still feel the pain that denial carries with it. What we learn to do as we mature emotionally is to evaluate the level of pain more appropriately, and to consciously choose how to respond to that pain rather than allow all forms of pain to activate our most intense reactions every time. Your post clearly shows your self-care work in this direction. All experiences shape us, but how they shape us is our choice. Clearly, you are learning to make good, self-affirming choices! I wish you well!

  3. Beautifully written! I am impressed with your ability to put yourself out here and you should be proud of your strength and bravery to do so. You seem to know yourself inside and out at a young age. I am in awe of that since it took me forever to learn the same things you have. Much love and luck in all of your relationships. We all deserve happiness and I believe we eventually find it in some capacity or another. I love you much sweetie!

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