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An Open Letter To All The Men I Have Loved Before

Last week, I penned several letters to the men I have loved … but none of them really made sense individually. I wrote those letters – not because I wanted to reach out to them – but because I wanted to reach out to ME. I wanted to sift through the rubble of my past – picking up the boulders that crushed things far too important to remain in the debris – to carry them with me into the future, preserved like a rose in between the pages of my diary, so that they can help me revisit my part in ‘our end,’ own it, and forgive myself for it.

This forgiveness, I believe, is the first step I must take to heal – the first step I must take to shake off the weight of the baggage I have been lugging around far too long – the first step I must take in ‘moving forward’ and the first step I must take so as to be capable of manifesting new love.

woman writing a letter

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Counter-intuitive? Nay … not so much.

You see, I wrote those letters to the men I have loved before, to be able to reconcile with the past and forgive myself. And this wasn’t possible without revisiting the mausoleum that housed the tombs of my relationship with them and pay homage. My letters to the men I loved, I thought, would do just that. Only, they didn’t.

Suggested read: 13 must-know relationship advice from my future self

And then it struck me – I loved all of these men – as best I could, at the time. And yet, we ended. All of them have been instrumental, in their own way, in reshaping my ideas of love and teaching me so much about myself and the world. It wouldn’t do to lift up the heavy stones of our crumbled love citadels, peek under and put them back, in turns – I would have to lift all the stones they left weighing down on my being TOGETHER to piece them like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – and decipher the combined message they gave me about my ‘part’ in our end. Only then would I be able to toss these stones away into the big wide ocean of oblivion, removing the immense weight of the baggage that jarred each step I took in the direction of the future. Only by soiling my hands with the blood-stained tears I cried when each of my relationships ended could I turn the tar traipsing around my insides, reluctant to fuel my heart for a steady beat, into the blood that would fill my life’s vital vial. Only by reaching out to the ‘ME’ that is, in no way, disparate components of what the ‘failed’ individual relationships have made of her – but a ‘whole’ fed by the stew of failed ‘relationships’ – could I be completely free; free to move on!

And that, I realized, was possible with a single letter to the men I have loved!


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

That’s when this took shape –

To all the men I have loved: You must know, I am reaching out – to ME, through YOU.

So, if this makes some sharp sting of pain shoot right up your chest or some smiling tears escape their eye-cell or perhaps, feels like a blowtorch is burning you right off, just know, it will pass! Coz I won’t be long, I shall just linger around for as long as it takes me to pick the lessons I need for opening up to love again. I know what you are thinking – it isn’t easy for me either. But I must pick up the shards that shall help me contemplate my role in why we didn’t work out.

I know I risk getting hurt by those broken pieces again, but these injuries shall help me prevent any cure I might have to mete out to a future WE I would be a part of. This is important so I do not make the same mistakes that could inject the same ME-pathogens into what could otherwise be a perfectly healthy, hale and hearty WE!

Even so, it would hurt – I know – but bear with me!

All of you live in some corner of my heart – either a sacred place I visit oft and again to pay homage or a dark, remote cell I have locked and thrown away the key for. I do not allow my thoughts to dwell in those chambers long, but whenever I do, I wish you well – each one of you.

I have loved you all – deeply and as best as I could – and yet, here I am alone!

woman writing a letter

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

We ended for reasons beyond our control, or maybe, not! I do not fully know. What I do know is that somehow all of the ‘choices’ we made – in our past, present and let’s say, ‘dreams for the future,’ we erred. We screwed up, big time. I do not want to chip in psychobabble terms to oversimplify and rationalize our ‘choices’ but I do want to admit that you and I were both unable to CHOOSE the most important thing of all to sustain our relationship.

I am not naïve enough to think that there is any one blanket reason for our fall-out. But there is something that happened inevitably owing to all the reasons that piled up and weighed down on our relationship – we ‘chose’ each other lesser and lesser each day. Until the weight of our ‘reasons’ to not be ‘WE’ made our once-beautiful relationship writhe and moan and breathe its last under the strain!

We were unable to CHOOSE each other and our relationship over the other obstacles.

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And perhaps, it is here my nirvana lies.

Wait – I am not done yet. I am only beginning to talk. In fact, that is the reason why I am writing this. I own my part in that death. I own my part in stifling the relationship whilst you fed it poison too.

And I want to forgive myself for that. Perhaps, the reason it had to die was so a new ‘love’ that would ‘CHOOSE’ me increasingly each day in a WE could be born. A love in which I would CHOOSE my love ever-so-more each moment too! And in choosing to move ahead to conceive it and birth it, I own my guilt in murdering everything that kept me from it (Only, it was an unconscious crime – one that I didn’t know or want or even understand the implications of, until now).

girl writing a letter

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t want it to die. It crushed me to even accept that I had to grieve for something I thought was eternal! But today, I understand that I must mourn no more. What was killed would have died, even if we didn’t stab it. And hence, I CHOOSE the ‘ME’ that each of you have made me become – a ME who isn’t afraid of embracing love and fully CHOOSING it every day!

And that is why I must tell you this:

To the man I will always carry around in my heart:

You taught me to love. And for that, I will be forever grateful. I loved you and will always do so. I would have been angry at God for having taken you away – but you had taught me to conquer my anger too. I know, I fail very often when things don’t really go my way, but you always made sure they did. <smiling tear> I miss you for that. Today, I can talk to the stars and somehow, hear your replies. And I know you are giving me those lessons in patience. I am trying! Really!

To the man I try to erase completely from my heart:

I have tried to erase you completely, as I felt you had done to me. But I no longer feel the need to. I loved you and changed myself, even abandoned my true self to be loved by you. I kept shoving off my needs to fulfill yours and let myself down for not expecting you to CHOOSE me. I thought that by giving it all you wanted, I could make you show up for me. That I could fix you. I couldn’t. And I forgive myself for that. And burn away all – save for this lesson.

couple holding hands

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

To the man I shall lock away in a safe corner of my heart – for inspiration:

You brought me love when I was broken beyond repair. Piece by piece, li’l by li’l you built me up. I learnt to smile again. I learnt to let my guard down again. Slowly, I even began to dream again. Your enduring love for me – through so many years – made me love you, maddeningly. And yet, we ended. Because I had learnt to not change myself in any way for anybody henceforth, I couldn’t be the woman you wanted me to be. You understood this. I thank you for being the one who was strong enough to end it. I forgive myself for letting us down.

Suggested read: A letter to my future husband – things I’d do to for you always

As my final goodbye, I want to tell you that I am grateful you were all a part of my life. I am thankful for all you have taught me and glad for the role you played in helping me be who I am today!

Thank you!

Today, I forgive myself for my part in our ending and you for yours too!

I am ready to move on now!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
An Open Letter To The Men I Have Loved Before
Because sometimes it takes a lot more than strength to reconcile with the past and move on ... one of my letters to the men I have loved before ...
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."