DISCLAIMER: Family members and sensitive readers, stop reading. Right now. Close this window on your laptop, phone, or wherever you are reading this and forget this post exists.
Fair warning given. This one stings a little and I have a lot I want to get off my chest for my own sanity.
I knew I was in trouble from the moment I saw you because I was smitten with how handsome and charming you were. When we spoke I realised that you were also funny, a little bit geeky, a little bit camp, and your dancing couldn’t fail to make me beam with joy. I seem to fall for people quickly and deeply so your flirtatious nature hooked me easily.
I was so attracted to you that it really shouldn’t have surprised me when we slept together a month or so later. You were very sweet, incredibly kind, amazing and ever the gentleman, but things went wrong. Oh well, it happens, right? One of the main problems was this unfortunate incident kickstarted me spiralling out about my conflicting views. Total cognitive dissonance and I FREAKED OUT! Cut to me sat uncomfortably in my desk chair the next morning, freshly-showered and wrapped up in my fluffy dressing gown, dissociating whilst holding a cup of tea.
I couldn’t reconcile having had sex alongside the idyllic ideas I had about romance, sex and losing my virginity. I wanted to be this new version of myself at university that embraced my sex-positive feminist goddess views, but I wasn’t. My initial romantic you-have-to-be-in-love views about sex had been reinforced by a reasonably conservative Christian upbringing and the humiliation during Sixth Form which meant having casual sex left me feeling dirty and disgusting. My anxiety reared its ugly head and soon I was self-loathing and self-slut shaming.
It became incredibly clear I wasn’t managing my mental health and there was a lot of other issues that I had yet to deal with – it all fed into my shame. I was trying to hold myself whilst binge-drinking on nights out with everyone else (I know, really dumb of me).
I wish that we’d been open and honest with our communication from the start but I was so terrified of rejection. I was in such a bad place and I knew I couldn’t cope with being rejected by someone else no matter how tenuous the connection. As a result, lots of mistakes were from making assumptions. I apologised to you because I assumed I had hurt or upset you. I felt guilty because I assumed I’d messed about with your emotions unfairly. It was so big-headed of me to assume you liked me enough to even be bothered by any of my bullshit. You never said you were.
I want to make it clear that this is not another apology, I’ve apologised too many times with little effect.
What was going on in your head? I really wanted to know but I assumed you’d be confused and frustrated with my pestering and clinginess. Did you even like me as more than a friend? Was I just a one night stand from the start? Did I read into it all? Were you humouring me all along? I have so many unanswered questions and they still bug me.
After I freaked out, it seemed so easy for you to bed-hop (no shame, simply an observation). You were charming that it was bound to happen. I was dying of jealousy over these new girls. These prettier girls. You never seemed to want a girlfriend until you got one which kind of broke my heart.
I didn’t want to be that stereotypical psycho girl but I was, and you didn’t even have to date me. There’s no excuse for my behaviour, but a piece of advice to live by: don’t mix mood stabilisers and a shit-ton of alcohol – the results are never fun. When you were chilled out about how I was acting, it drove me more crazy and angry because I felt pitied.
A year later, I thought I was getting over you but then I found out you slept with my best friend. I completely lost it. I was furious, heartbroken and I felt betrayed by both of you. It was anger like I’d never felt before and I had no idea what to do with it. Every emotion I had forced down over the last year resurfaced violently. I couldn’t cope and I wouldn’t leave the house to attend lectures for a long time. You were clueless and probably still are.
The only way I could carry on was to cut you out of my life whilst I tried to heal from the traumas I hadn’t dealt with. I couldn’t handle my feelings about this and my rapidly deteriorating mental health. Cutting you out of my life was done swiftly; I deleted your number, all our messages and I also blocked you on all social media accounts.
It has been four years now since we met in that kitchen of your university halls and I’m a different person. I’ve repaired my relationship with my best friend, I’ve taken steps to manage my mental illness and the traumas I’ve endured, and I can recognise that I’m not “fixed” but I’ve made huge steps forward in my recovery. It would probably still sting if I saw you with another girl and I’d also probably still become a blushing mess if you flirted with me again or called me ‘dear’. It may feel like that until I move on with someone else but I know I’m in a much better place to do that now.
You are just a boy in a leopard-print dress that has left me with too many ‘what-if’s. You weren’t a love story or a tragedy, only a short story I’m ready to close forever.
Click here to read the previous letter in the blog series: To, the geeky boy I fancied.