Dear X,

It has taken me far too long to write this letter. We met, loved, hated and tore each other apart long ago and yet I was never able to articulate why until long after.  To be honest, I didn’t care why at the time and for many years after. This is partly due, of course, to the intensity of our feelings; they stayed with me long after we went our ways. The truth, however, is that I needed to grow a long way up before I could look back with any kind of perspective.

Women, we are told, mature faster than men. I know this is very true for me. I spent my youth hiding an alcoholic family truth from the world and consequently had very little time to become my own person. I kept my feelings, my history and my curiosity buried. When we met I had experienced so little of the world and had traveled so short a distance in it. You, on the other hand, seemed sure of yourself and knew, from experience, much of the world and your place in it.  I had incredibly simple needs and desires and no real idea how to be authentic while searching to meet them. You, on the other hand, although the same age, were much wiser and, I see now, much more complete as a person.  

I am sorry that I was ill-suited to complement you or help you in life in most ways. I needed too much emotional tutoring and I gave back too little. Instead I became too dependent on you both emotionally and in day-to-day decisions. Time has taught me that I hate being dependent and restricted. Rules, authority, people who dictate relationships…all drive me to anger. And for most of my life I have internalized and hidden my anger until it bursts out. Certainly this was true of me then.

What resulted was a love-hate relationship that I am responsible for. All of the mad rollercoaster peaks, the separations, the fights, they were largely a consequence of my own struggle to live my own life while living with you. Did I deserve you? Let me just say that I wish I had been a better person for you. In the end, I should have recognized and taken responsibility for much of our mess and I just never did

I am sorry for that. We were together for too long. I learned far more from you than you may have learned from me. I am a better person today because of that experience and I can only hope that you have found your way to better and happier relationships. You certainly deserve it.


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