To, the boy I give too much credit.

This is a difficult letter to write. It’s been well over three years since the last time I saw you and this is still a painful part of my life to revisit.

Our initial meeting wasn’t a traditional meet-cute; we met drunk at after-prom before Sixth Form and we actually introduced ourselves over six times throughout the night. You were adorable and I was awkward, but we hit off right away.

When I started Sixth Form at the all-boys school, I bumped into you in our free period and we discovered we were in most of the same classes and free periods. I thought I had lucked out. Our relationship was mainly text-based as we were both so shy and our friends had to push us into talking to each other in person and go on dates together. Eventually, we did go out on dates, to Costa in town on our lunch break and to the cinema on the weekend. You were my first (and only) sober kiss. Bless your heart, you didn’t know where to rest your hands. I wasn’t into it like I should have been so I listened to the film and, when you joked about us missing the plot, I told you what you’d missed. How embarrassing. I was mortified when I realised what I’d done.

You once hinted in a conversation that I was your idea of perfection (mine was a cup of tea and a good book), and I practically swooned. I think about that more than I probably should. Our relationship was clumsy and naive, but I loved it. It was definitely worth all the teasing about us dating at school. Did you get that on your end too?

This is the bit where I give you far too much credit for what happened in my life.

At this time, I was fragile, depressed, and popping painkillers like candy. I had recently come out of a friendship that had controlled every part of my life and suddenly I was rudderless. I was hiding all this turmoil from everyone, including you, until it got so bad that I tried to overdose and kill myself. When that didn’t work, I had full-on melt-down, packed my bags and tried to run away. My family and I went on a trip abroad, after getting me some help, to try and take my mind off the looming mental illness, and I started to feel a bit better in myself. I was so excited to see you again after the break and to get on with my recovery.

I came back to that video. I came back to a video on Instagram that everyone had seen, with you saying the most hurtful things about me to all your friends at a party, and I couldn’t get through it without vomiting. A video that a jealous girl had posted. You had been the only thing in my life that was untouched by my mental illness and now it was ruined. I was completely humiliated, right when I was starting to think I loved you. Now, I was getting hate online and I was getting heckled at school. Nowhere was safe for me and I couldn’t date you anymore.

When I broke up with you, you chased me out of the school gates and begged for my forgiveness. It was like a scene from a million of the rom-coms I’d seen, but it honestly felt like a kick to the gut. My romantic, naive ideals crumbled before my eyes.

Breaking up with you only made things worse for me. You were still in all of my classes and free periods and I couldn’t escape you. Your friends said mean things in the corridors at school and online. You were the one in the wrong, but I was getting punished. In class, people would talk about me under their breath and one time I got pushed into a desk. My depression got worse and I was anxious all the time; it got so bad that I couldn’t be at school anymore. I went home on free periods and I missed classes where I could; I did everything in my power to avoid you and anyone else that would give me hell. The worse part was probably when you stood up in front of our entire history class when we got paired together by the teacher and told him you couldn’t work with “her”. I had been willing to swallow my anxiety and work with you, despite everything that had happened, because it was school work, but you had to make this huge deal and humiliate me more.

You didn’t ruin my life, but you did make a mentally ill person slip further into bad behaviours and self-hatred. My pill-popping turned to self-harm. You contributed to my mistrust of people. You started my fear of letting go, of letting people in, of real relationships. You were cruel and cowardly; you were so far from the fantasy I had built up in my head. I feel so sorry for you. I feel sorry that you were so insecure in yourself that, after making a terrible mistake that humiliated me, you let your friends bully me and that you joined in. All this just to protect your fragile little ego. You ended up dating the jealous girl that posted the video so she got what she wanted. However, I heard that you cheated on her, so maybe she didn’t and maybe I dodged at least one bullet?

Truthfully, I still get incredibly mad when I think about everything that went down between us. I do occasionally think about what would have happened if I had taken you back when you ran after me. I do think about the great parts of our relationships – the sweet and innocent parts. What you did was awful and messed up, but I give you far too much credit for how bad my life was at that time. You didn’t make me ill, you just made things worse than they already were and stood by as others made it hell. I hold so much hate for you and I wish I could just drop it and move past it. In the end, this is going to hurt until one day it doesn’t.

From, Grace.

Click here to read the previous letter in the blog series: To, the boy I didn’t know.

Click here to read the next letter in the blog series: To, the literal Sex God.

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