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To The Man I Didn’t Choose

'You scoffed at yourself for being just a rebound, but to me, you were so much more.'
PHOTO: Pixabay

I never got the chance to tell you this, but I was in love with you.

I’m sorry I never said it when we were still seeing each other. I was suspicious of my own feelings, because I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship a few months prior and I didn’t think it was right to be jumping into anything with anyone else so soon. I didn’t want you to feel like a rebound if I tried to hurry us along too quickly, so I kept my feelings under wraps.

But no words can express how happy you made me just by being around. I had felt so unappreciated, so unimportant, so unlovable in the months following my breakup that I didn’t think any man would bother with me. And yet, you did. You liked me. You desired me. You listened to me. You understood me.

And I brightened in the glow of your care and affection. I smiled more, I laughed more, I was no longer the sad, lonely version of myself I was before you came along.

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If circumstances were different and I was just a girl who happened to meet a guy she liked immensely—with no recent heartbreak to factor in—I would’ve allowed myself to fall for you freely. I wouldn’t have held back. I would’ve let you know it.

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Or at the very least, I wouldn’t have said goodbye.

It’s precisely because my recent breakup is so recent that makes things complicated for us. My ex entered the picture without warning, and his return made me realize that I wasn’t over him yet. I felt I owed it to myself to finally answer the questions that had been bugging me since we broke up: Will I always have feelings for him? Will I ever find someone else like him? What would happen if we just got past our troubles and gave it another try?

I was torn because on one hand, you had shown me that I could be happy again with another man even after experiencing the worst heartbreak of my life, but on the other, my ex had awakened all the feelings of longing that had been lingering inside me since we parted ways.

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I chose to go back to my ex, because he was familiar, because we had gone through so much together, because I felt that our story, which had ended in the most shockingly painful fashion, needed a different resolution.

And in doing so, I had to say goodbye to you.

You never spoke to me since, honoring our agreement, which says a lot about the kind of man you are. You chose to keep your word over acting on your emotions, which makes you an even more beautiful person in my eyes.

But I wasn’t prepared for this: how greatly I would miss you once I let you go. I keep being haunted by memories of you and me together, and I often wonder, have I made a mistake? But I can’t act on these feelings anymore, because if I do, I’ll only cause more pain among everyone involved. And I don’t want that anymore. I want to be secure in the decision I’ve made, and I want to leave you alone for good, if my reaching out to you will only bring turmoil into your life.

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I’ll always be grateful to you for helping me out of that dark hole I had descended into after my breakup. You scoffed at yourself for being just a rebound, but to me, you were so much more. You were my savior for one moment in my life, the man who came at exactly the time I needed someone. You helped me heal more than you’ll ever know, and for that, you’ll always mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

I said goodbye to you even before I could admit to myself and to you that I was in love with you, and that is my big regret.

But now that I think about it, maybe it’s for the best that you never found out.

I hope you’re happier without me, I really do. I hope you find a girl who would choose you without hesitation and stick with you without a doubt, because that’s where I let you down. You deserve someone better than me. I am just some girl you once met who chose to let you go.

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