A response from an ex-lover

By Ha Thu   June 2, 2023 | 02:56 pm PT
We were each other’s first love. Our relationship lasted 10 years, even after all the pain I caused her during our many reconciliations over the years.

Today I received a letter from my ex-girlfriend. We officially broke up four years ago as I was seeing another girl at the time. After we broke up, I send her emails every now and then, and every year on her birthday. Despite our long-lasting love, I only felt truly in love with her after it had ended.

In the email I sent her, I confessed that I am genuinely in love with her now and hoped that she would feel happy knowing that the man she used to date had truly loved her. This time, after reading her response, which was full of gentle but straightforward words, I realized that there is no chance left for me. I’ll be sharing her email here and I hope readers can give me some advice.

"Hi. At first, I was just skimming through your email because I thought it would just be words that we have been repeating to each other this whole time and not something I should concern myself with.

Then, I began reading it more carefully to truly understand what you’re trying to say. I will also be confessing to you my true feelings in this email. To me, our relationship is of the past and not something I actively try to run away from. All of the pain I endured has already been healed a long time ago. Any mention of our past relationship or painful memories no longer hurts me. I only feel annoyed with them.

I used to replay our happy moments inside my head. This is not the first time you mentioned our past, but I truly hope this is the last time. I have forgiven you so many times before and to me, you are still a good man, but perhaps constantly apologizing and asking for my forgiveness only makes you feel better. This time, however, I feel like you gave me your sincerest apology. I accept your apology, and from now on, we no longer owe each other anything. I don’t want to hear any apologies from you anymore.

What’s in the past is the past, and our relationship has run its course. I don’t want to think too much about our past because I am focusing on my present. This has begun to feel like reading a book. When you’re reading a book, you become immersed in its content and emotional weight. That book brings you both positive and negative emotions, something thought-provoking or valuable lessons. That book can leave you hanging for days after you finish it.

You will slowly get over that book once you start reading another, or watching a new movie, doing something else, or just being busy with your everyday life. We will feel remorseful if we lose a book somewhere but have yet to finish it.

But once you do, whether it’s a happy or sad ending, you will feel satisfied because you have enjoyed it to the very end. To me, our past relationship is like a book that I have finished reading a long time ago. I have no regrets or lingering attachments. What’s important is that both of us have learnt something from our time together.

I have no regrets about my childhood, nor am I afraid of growing old. I don’t wish to turn back time, nor hope for anything in the future. To me, any moment is precious, but the present will always be the most beautiful and I am enjoying every second of it. I like my current self.

I feel more connected to and love myself now more than ever. I have come to accept and appreciate what I have, including my looks, my health and my mental strength. It feels like I have grown, and I have become stronger and more understanding. I know what I want and need.

Another thing that I learnt is how to say no; how to refuse to do things that make me uncomfortable. I’m no longer overly compliant or put others before myself. I no longer try to please others at the expense of my own wellbeing.

You don’t have to worry about me. We are not the people we used to be. We have our own lives and we have outgrown each other. It’s best that we focus on ourselves and enjoy our current lives. I am now telling you my hopes for our future.

First, we should respect each other’s feelings and cease mentioning our past or trying to look into the other person’s life. I hope you will no longer pry into my private life.

Secondly, we need to take responsibility for all the keepsakes of our relationship. You can either keep or get rid of them. If you decide to keep them, I hope you will hide them somewhere nobody can touch. I want to keep everything related to my personal life as private as possible. I hope you will be responsible for it. For me.

I have done my part of erasing everything related to you. You already know that this is a very difficult decision for someone sentimental like me. Keepsakes will lose all their meanings if we just keep them with no intention of ever opening them up again. To me, keepsakes are only worth it when they represent someone that is still in my life.

Thirdly, I hope our relationship would be meaningful and without any regrets, something that we should not dwell too much in. I think our love was full of meanings because we had all of these life experiences and learnt so much from it. To me, it was a pretty exciting first love. I hope when somebody asks about it, we can both answer that it has been a meaningful one.

Fourthly, we should strive to live our present lives to the fullest and not hope for a reunion. I don’t mind seeing you again. If we happen to, I will greet you like greeting an old acquaintance. We are very unlikely to run into each other, as I will not agree to meet you under any circumstances. I want to emphasize that we should just focus on our lives and should not wait to meet the other person again.

Lastly, once again, I want to thank you for your birthday wishes. I will consider these birthday wishes for all of my future birthdays. You can now stop emailing me, for I will no longer be using this email account.

We have said everything that needs to be said and we have our own lives now, so let’s just end this in a peaceful manner. Let’s stop trying to contact each other from now on.

In this email, I have answered all of your concerns and shared with you my true thoughts. I don’t think I have missed anything. I hope we can move on from this and look back on our relationship with fondness."

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