Dear Mr. Etiquette:
Sometimes in my weaker moments—like when I am watching a romantic movie with my family instead of the man who is supposed to be the one I am dating, or in those minutes when I am trying to fall asleep, or like today, in the shower when I have too much time to think—I find my mind falling on you. I wonder why I pushed you away and wonder if it’s part of my pattern. If it really is true that I push away the good men in my life…or if it’s true that I recognize the crazy and know when to break away to preserve my own sanity.
But today, in the shower, I remembered The Girl of Your Dreams. You remember her—the one you were secretly still in love with while we were dating and who you were ready to throw me under the bus for as soon as she said when. Even after I played host to your friends from Germany for over two weeks. Even after I spent five weeks with your children, both alone and with you, when they were here from Germany—when they made predictions I would be with you for years and years to come. Even after all that, as soon as GOYD, with her big breasts and her big purse that she spent on you out of guilt, like you were her gigolo, you pushed me away so you could “figure things out.”
You would still be “with her,” figuring things out if it weren’t for the big reveal. Wondering why she never had time for you on the weekends. Wondering why she only had a couple hours every few weeks for you, if you were lucky. Wondering why she spent time together with you texting and taking calls from everyone else. Wondering why you never met any of her friends or family. Wondering why your relationship never felt like a relationship over the last almost two years—how only three to four months felt like magic. Yet you clung because she was young, the sex was fabulous after an intimacy-free marriage, she had the curves and you were flattered that she chased after you at first.
If you hadn’t accidentally found out she was engaged and set to marry someone else, you would still be pining, waiting, and keeping me pining, waiting on the side, while you tried to figure things out. You would still be calling me to spend time with on the weekends when GOYD didn’t show.
You claim that you never would have stayed so long, wasting your life if you had known GOYD had gone back to her boyfriend. But where were your self-respect, your dignity and your character? You knew something was wrong for over a year and when she stopped sleeping with you and dropping you a check once a month six months earlier, surely you sensed the tides had changed. Yet you still wasted months lovesick waiting for her.
You recognized I made you feel special, you saw my great qualities and you were deeply attracted to me. Even when you were supposed to be “back together” with her, you came to me. Your kids loved me and you allowed them to feel like I was a part of family when they were here. Your friends welcomed me with open arms. My family welcomed you and your kids like family, which is what you always wanted. Yet you gave that up so easily for her. I don’t know why, except that a part of you was so broken, is still so broken.
You wondered why I gave up on us? I didn’t give up on us. You never allowed there to be an “us”—truly—the entire time we were together. When you finally found out GOYD was engaged and then, wife to someone else, then I became the one you punished for all GOYD’s sins. I had a life of my own, not GOYD’s, to live.
Maybe one day you’ll see that I am not GOYD. Maybe one day you’ll see that not every woman is GOYD. Notice I used the word woman, not girl. Maybe one day you’ll realize you are a man who deserves more than someone who would use and abuse for two years of your precious life. I know I deserve more.
I deserve to be someone’s #1. I deserve to be more than someone’s afterthought or one’s part-time girlfriend. I deserve to be able to live 100 percent of my life and be admired and praised for that.
I thank you for helping to remind me of that.