When I date someone, I start a shoebox for relationship keepsakes. When the relationship ends, the box turns into a bag. The bag gets chucked into my closet. I shared this quirk with some friends and they wanted to open the bags… They thought it was clever and sentimental but odd.
Looking back, I’ve dated some pretty amazing guys and I’ve also dated some… troublemakers. 🙂 I take full responsibility for ignoring my gut and being completely reckless with my heart. Either way, I have zero regrets because each guy was exactly what I needed at the time.
The below letter was sent to me by a guy I was dating during a transition. My transition was leaving the corporate world in Asia to support my mommabear through her divorce in the USA. A season of BIG changes. After a while, things went lopsided and this was his letter post break-up. I am sharing for two reasons, 1) Clients ask me about Love Bombing – I want to increase awareness that elaborate apologies are a form of Love Bombing, especially when they are well articulated, masterfully constructed, and 100% bullshit; and 2) His gift to me was teaching me how deeply I am capable of loving. It’s OK to love deeply, just make sure I love myself fully first, then others. <3
Let me begin by telling you that I do I love you, but I am beginning to understand just how hard that must be to believe. I feel like an asshole. I wish I could go back in time to early November 2013, the weekend you were leaving when we got into a big argument and you were at my apartment gathering a few final items before leaving me for good. I wish I had the integrity, to be honest with myself in that moment and know that I wasn’t mature enough for a real relationship. Instead, I told you what you needed to hear in order to stick with me, despite your better judgment. I manipulated you then and I would toy with you again and again over the next 14 months. I’ll apologize throughout this letter, but I just want to you let you know now that I am deeply sorry for manipulating you all this time. I’m disgusted with myself for only coming to terms with it now, over 400 days since I first starting playing this game with you. It’s not pleasant for me to think about it that way, but I must in order to realize just how awful I’ve treated you.
I’m sorry that I strung you along with these lies for so long. I am weak and was not willing to own up to the fact that I wasn’t ready to be the man you needed me to be. I am who you said I was from the start – a guy for the moment, with no ambitions or goals, with no real idea of where he was heading. I refused to believe this. I told myself I wasn’t this guy, and I lied to myself thinking I could become the man you deserved. I refused to recognize my limitations as a person. I don’t regret my desire to be with you, but I do regret the way I deceived you in order to try and keep you for myself. I took advantage of your heart, your huge, wonderful heart. I am so sorry for treating this way, for lying to you.
I was a terrible excuse for a boyfriend. You must have felt ashamed to refer to me by that moniker, knowing full well that I didn’t treat you like a partner, a lover, a girlfriend. I realize that I didn’t hold up my end of the pact which any normal person agrees to when entering a relationship. A partner wouldn’t use your insecurities against you, wouldn’t throw your other male relationships in your face, wouldn’t make you feel anything less than a priority. I’m sorry for not being every bit as wonderful to you as you were to me. You were always good to me and were always eager to make me feel happy and comfortable regardless the setting or circumstance. The few times I did tell you what bothered or worried me, you made sure it wouldn’t be an issue and did everything you could to make me feel at ease. I appreciate that, but I’m very sorry that I couldn’t do the same for you when you came to me for help. Instead, I greeted you with aggression more often than not. There’s no excuse for that. I am sorry.
An important part of any relationship is feeling comfortable and safe with the person or people you’re with (be it family, friend, significant other, team, community, etc). I am very sorry for putting you in such a terrible situation so frequently where you didn’t feel safe, you didn’t feel like I had your back. I kicked you out multiple times of a place I asked you to call home. I let Scott and Jackie cross your boundaries and attack you. I defended my friends over you. I talked shit about you behind your back. I’m sorry for allowing these acts to happen for so long. There is no excuse for it, regardless of the situation or the circumstance in which things were said or actions took place. I realize my behavior was completely inappropriate. It is not only inappropriate for a boyfriend to treat his girlfriend this way but even worse it’s not appropriate to treat any human being this way. Regardless of my relationship with you, I didn’t even give you the level of respect any person should receive and that is terrible. I can only begin to imagine how hard it must be for you to feel comfortable with me in my apartment or on a trip or in any situation and not knowing if I actually have your back or if I would defend you. And even if you do feel I could defend you, what comfort can you take in the words I say, the promises I make? I lied to you and broke so many promises that the number if we kept count would be repulsive. I feel very small admitting this. I feel like a coward for treating you like this. I am so sorry for making you feel so alone and unsafe.
I’ve learned a lot from you Jess and I know I have so much more to learn. I’ve learned that talking to people isn’t a bad thing. Letting people into my world is required for growth. The growth of my own well being but also growth in relationships. I can never grow if I don’t grow with others around me. Having a degree in economics and knowing fully the benefits of free trade vs isolated economies, you’d think that I would fully understand where you are coming from with your suggestions to open up to others for help (had this epiphany while writing this email – I have you to thank for this epiphany, so thank you). This really bums me out that I just made this comparison. I’m sorry. I should have figured this out long ago. I’m not adding any value to your life.
I’m sorry I was so stuck on recapturing the moments of October 2013. I always looked back at that time as the way things should be, but refused to work towards the future and proactively create new experiences.
Jess, you did nothing to deserve what I have done to you these past 14 months. Literally not a thing. I repaid your love, kindness, and wisdom with anger, deceit, and manipulation. I wish you nothing but the best – and I know you’ll get it because you don’t settle for anything less. I am very sorry for the way I’ve handled things. I am sorry for not understanding or even trying to understand your perspective. I’m sorry for realizing how much I was hurting you and how I was toying with you. I’m sorry for not giving you what you deserved. You deserved respect, honesty, appreciation, and love. You are an amazing woman. Extremely smart, quick and gifted. Your intuition is redonkulous. I don’t know how I will ever forgive myself but I am working on it. I don’t expect you to forgive me though I feel that you do which goes to show how big of a heart and an amazing of a person that you really are. I have taken you for granted for too long. You don’t deserve to be treated the way I’ve treated you. I am so sorry for being so cruel. I’m sorry for my sharp tongue. I’m sorry for not seeking out help sooner. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this point. I’m sorry every “ah-ha” moment took months to get. I’m sorry my growth to become a better human being has been so achingly slow. I can’t get you back the hours of lost sleep, all the tears shed, all the missed meals, all the emotional hurt that you’ve felt.
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