Having a shitty ex-boyfriend is a rite of passage. Even if you never officially dated the guy, he fucked you up, and he fucked you up real good. He changed you as a person. Of course I have one. A few even. And when I get the chance to reflect on my past relationships, usually over a box of wine with my best friends, it gets easier and easier to see how much better off I am without those bozos. Even if it’s been years, it’ll still piss me off. It’s possible to make peace with it, though. You can appreciate the fact that you got through it, but you should never be appreciative of a shitty ex-boyfriend.
The Open Letter phenomenon created a realm for everyone to speak their minds. In theory, it’s a good idea. But if we’re honest with ourselves, the internet is not our personal diary. That’s what personal diaries are for. Writing is a great way to express your emotions, but because people are reading it, we are expected to provide “wisdom” to those who are reading it. It has warped the way we think we are supposed to feel into this enlightened form that doesn’t make any sense. We expect ourselves to heal solely by being “the bigger person.” We deny ourselves from feeling how we want to, because the all-knowing student authors are telling us that we need to appreciate those who hurt us because without them, we wouldn’t be as strong. But without them, we wouldn’t have to be knocked down to build ourselves up in the first place.
This public display of “maturity” doesn’t prove that you are a better person. If anything, it proves that you have nothing better to do than to sit around and write eight paragraphs about how “over him” you really are. But, are you? This stigma of having to be a strong woman who keeps calm and carries on is bogus and unnatural. Burying your crazy under 500 words on why you are doing just fine can go one of one way: badly. Get angry. Get sad. Cry. Hate him. Shoot dagger eyes at him when you pass him on campus. Block him on all social media just to unblock him so you can creep on him. Allowing yourself to go through the process of actually getting over him will make it easier for you to move on for real.
I will never thank a guy for making me feel bad about myself. I will never thank a guy for letting my roommates find me sobbing on the floor of the bathroom. I will never thank a guy for manipulating me so much that I feel like I can no longer trust my own judgment. I will never thank a guy for causing me to lose hours of sleep, trying to figure out where I went wrong, when nothing was my fault in the first place. I will never thank a guy for cheating on me. All of that is ass backwards and will only numb the pain until the likes on the Facebook post stop rolling in.
That’s not to say you can’t thank an ex-boyfriend for good things they did. Maybe it didn’t work out because of distance, but you always appreciated how thoughtful he was. Maybe you were better off as friends, but he always kept you laughing. These guys set the standards high instead of setting the bar low. There is a difference between “well at least he doesn’t suck as bad as the last guy” and “he treats me even better than the last guy.”
I will thank a guy for always listening to me. I will thank a guy for always making sure I got home safe. I will thank a guy for taking me on fun dates. But if you think I’ll ever thank a guy for being a shitty person, thanks, but no thanks..