Letter I’ll Never Send: Dear Former Friend

Dear former friend, 
I know it’s been three years. I’ve seen your occasional friend requests and yes, I have been ignoring them. Not because I hate you. On the contrary, it’s been very difficult for me to not let you back into my life. But, for both our safety, I’ve had to decide to remove myself from yours.

You may be confused by that. I guarantee that confusion is not half of what I feel as to how you treated me towards the end of our friendship. The subtle abuses. The blatant ones. The name calling and the womanizing, acting as though you owned me and my time. 
Then the sudden and confusing turnaround happened. How you tried to push me away. How you tried to turn my friends against me. How many of them told me about the things you said about me behind my back and the lies you spread. How many of them defended and tried to protect me from you. They knew better, thankfully, but just because so many others tried to save me from your abuses doesn’t make up for the fact that you were abusing. 

 That hurt me so much. We had been so close. Even inseparable. 
That hurt and broke me. That made me feel awful. That alone had damaged my view of just about every male relationship I have had. I’m still trying to overcome that. I don’t know that I will, but I’m fighting it with every ounce of my being. 

 
I decided it was finally time after I got a talking to from several friends about your behavior. I started avoiding you. Our friends caught on and started making accommodations. That was hard for me too. The inconvenience that your behavior caused our friends. I appreciated their kindness. I loved them for their protection, but it was at the great and dear cost of comfort for us all. I still bleed from the loss of you. I felt your absence and your presence all at once, and I was in so much conflict about it. I couldn’t decide which was worse. 
I had to decide that I was angry at you for how you treated me…and worse…I had to decide I didn’t trust you anymore. 
In turn, I feel like I began to distrust people who even hinted at behaviors similar to yours. You would think a romantic relationship would do that to a person. I thought so. Turns out losing friendships is even harder than losing lovers. I’ve learned that from us, and it’s been beyond humbling. 

Graduation helped start a new ball rolling. You were far away by then. I was free of you. I wasn’t afraid of running into you, or the conflict by that time if I did. I knew what to expect. More recently friends have told me they see healthy changes in you. I’m glad for that. Very glad. I don’t know the state of your heart. I can only guess that my absence has made an impact in your life, but I admit, I think it’s continuation is probably for the best. 

In a way I’m protecting you from myself too. Forgiveness is a constant verb. There are days I would slip up and want to throw the pain you caused me in your face. I’m no stranger to knowing caring for people sometimes hurts. You were a new and particular level of pain I could not and cannot handle. I don’t want to lash out at you. I don’t want to bring my anger against you. I don’t want to have moments of emotional panic and harm you the way you harmed me. I just don’t want anyone to hurt anymore is all. If any of that even makes sense. 
I just want you to know I forgive you. I am forgiving you constantly. I am no less hurt. I am no less confused as to what I did to make you turn the way you did on me. I still do not trust you. But I’m forgiving you because to hold onto how much you hurt me is too much. I’m not expecting to never be hurt by my memories of you, but I am choosing to love you still even though it hurts. I’m also choosing to love you from a safe and anonymous distance. I can’t promise you that someday we can heal and reconcile, but I still wish you the best wherever you are. 

With my most sincere regards, 

Me

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