First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have so much appreciation, love and respect for you, and I wish you and your family the absolute best.
Second, I don’t fully know why I am writing you this email. I don’t really have a question, as you’ve laid everything out so perfectly already. I just had to tell you how much you’ve helped me, I guess. I apologize if this isn’t the best way to do that. I will tell my experience below, in hopes that it gives this email any value at all.
I’m a young guy and honestly, after reading through your site and your book, I realize that my situation was extremely mild compared to the possibilities. (Only a 9-month relationship, a seemingly short-lived affair, no kids/finances to worry about.) My heart aches for those with a heavier investment, and more betrayal to sift through.
So my situation may seem relatively insignificant… but your words genuinely saved my life. I felt extremely weak for being so affected by such a “low-commitment” relationship, like I should be able to just get over it, but you made me realize that I just love very deeply. You reminded me that that is not a weakness, but a gift. One that should be shared with people who deserve and reciprocate it. Your blog and book gave me a very steady place to return to and regain my footing. I thank God that I found your work so early in the process, and I pray that anyone else going through this finds it as well.
I’m only 2 weeks out from discovery, so I am still in the shit emotionally, but I am extremely proud that my first instinct when I found out was to act before my emotions flooded my thought processes.
I said “Fuck you, we are done, our love was bullshit and I hope you stay with that loser cause he’s the best you’ll ever get.” I deleted our texts (all the memories I knew I’d miss), blocked her on social media, and marked my schedule for a Muay Thai class the next day. My plan was simple: Get rich, get good at fighting, and watch happily from afar as she struggled to figure out how to love, and her AP struggled to get a job and stay out of jail. Fool proof.
Unfortunately, I am not as proud of how I handled the inevitable wave of emotions after that. I proceeded to pace my room for the next week. Ended up contacting her, trying to figure out what the fuck just happened to my seemingly perfect life. Started losing confidence, wondering, imagining. Tore up her painting she gifted me. Ya know, the normal things. I knew I’d be okay “eventually” but just had no clue how to even start to get there. I felt like she took away my favorite part of me: My love and trust for people. I couldn’t imagine getting through this without losing that, and that gutted me.
That’s when I found your work. You pointed out the entire playbook. There was no curveball she could throw that you didn’t prepare me for. That’s not to say it has been easy, as I said, I am still very much struggling. But you gave me back my sanity. I am naturally empathetic to a fault, and of course I had started going down the path of “well we can’t be together, but I can save her from being miserable her entire life!” I hung on to that feeling of control, trying to stop her from fucking him again. But you bitch slapped that out of me.
You made me realize that it really wasn’t my inadequacies that caused her to cheat. It was HER’S. She just needs attention, and he was cheap attention. (He was an ex of hers, who she had also cheated on before. He also just got out of prison so I already feel like I won there. It’s the little things, ya know?) But perhaps more importantly, you made me realize that I can’t and shouldn’t try to fix her. I should just focus on myself, and move on. I do wish her the best and hope she changes, because I do believe that she is dysfunctional, and that doesn’t bring me joy. But I will not waste another day of my life trying to help her. And that is a priceless lesson.
I am still navigating this, and I am sure that I will make more mistakes before this is over. But I can not describe how much easier you have made this for me, and i’m sure for all the people dealing with legal, financial and custody issues. You are a Godsend. Can’t wait to tell you how much happier I am one day. Thanks to you, I know I will get there.
Thank you for one of the best letters I have ever received. If something I wrote inspired you to stand up and say: “Fuck you, we are done, our love was bullshit!” — I’m honored. That mightiness is all yours though, Vato. That took guts.
I felt like she took away my favorite part of me: My love and trust for people. I couldn’t imagine getting through this without losing that, and that gutted me.
You’re two-weeks from D-Day! And you’re still standing! Give yourself a break. You won’t always feel flinchy. After being chumped, if you grow from it, comes the ability to enforce boundaries. Probably not the superpower you always wished for, but it’s useful life skill.
Please never lose your empathy or your ability to love with your whole heart. Those qualities make you a gem. Just exercise discernment going forward. Not everyone is worth of your deep commitment and your gifts.
I am still navigating this, and I am sure that I will make more mistakes before this is over.
Wobbliness is to be expected. But Vato — you were mighty right out of the gate. A bunch of chumps today are going to tell you, they wish they were you. Muay Thai class? Deep-hearted guy/deadly ultimate fighter? I think you’ve got bad-assery covered. Unemployed felon guy? Not so much.
This ex of yours, it wasn’t going to work. You don’t share the same values. You love deep. She’s shallow. You’re reflective, she’s self-destructive.
you made me realize that I can’t and shouldn’t try to fix her.
Yeah, people aren’t projects. And “fixing” people is our own kind of chump narcissism. We don’t have those superpowers and the people we want to “fix” are usually perfectly happy being fuckwits. It works for them. Until it doesn’t. And then they need a chump, a fixer, someone to use. Steer clear of that. Hold out for actual reciprocal relationships. No broken-winged sparrows need apply.
Vato, thank you for your kind words. Receiving letters like this is what keeps me going. CN, this praise is yours to share — remember that when you add your voice to this community, you’re lifting someone out too. Somewhere, an ultimate fighter is delivering the smack down: “We are done, our love was bullshit.” Thank you.
You got up again, Vato. You are not defeated. Carry on with that big heart.