Dear Ex-Boyfriend: An Open Letter to the Wrong One

Dear Ex-Boyfriend,

Greetings from Costa Rica! I’m writing this to you from a beach in Tamarindo. I would say you would love it if you were here, but that’s probably not true. You were never much of a beach person.

But I am.

I’m lying in the sun, it’s 85 degrees, and I have the most delicious, ice cold Kiwi Mojito in my hand. I’ve been on the road for the last two weeks, traveling wherever the wind takes me. You wouldn’t like it.

But I do.

We haven’t spoken in a year and half, and a lot has changed. I left my old life behind, I started traveling and I started a blog.

I went on a road trip to all of the National Parks we’d always talked about seeing. You weren’t around, so I went by myself. And…I camped! Every night I cooked my own food, built my own fire, and pitched my own tent. You would have been really proud of me.

And I am, too.Dear Ex-Boyfriend_Feature Image

I know you think I hate you, but that’s not true. I wasn’t angry at what you did, but at the way you did it. I deserved more after five years.

But I guess you did, too.

In all the messy aftermath, I never got to say the one thing I don’t think you ever expected me to say: Thank you.

We weren’t right for each other. You saw that long before I could. Thank you for finally letting me go.

It took two years of back and forth, and a lot of pain on both sides, but it was right. The life I’m living now…you wouldn’t enjoy it. So, thank you. By saying goodbye, you allowed me to live a life I truly love.

Remember when I told you I wanted to work in hospitality & tourism and do PR for a winter resort in Colorado? Or when I would bug you that we needed to plan more weekend getaways? Remember when I applied for that fellowship at work, just for the chance to travel the East Coast for a month?

All of those things, they were signs.

I didn’t know it yet, and you probably didn’t either. The wanderlust was building.

I wanted to pack a suitcase and run off to see the world, but you didn’t want to. I would have been perfectly happy with a life of occasional travel. I would have loved to spend my three weeks off every year exploring new destinations. However, that’s not what you wanted, and it’s not what you enjoyed. More importantly, it’s not where you wanted to invest your time and money. And so, I stayed.

Even back then, dreams of the Eiffel Tower and the Trevi Fountain would dance through my head at night. I’ve seen those things now. The old dreams have been replaced with new ones, of Machu Picchu and the Terra Cotta Army. I’ll see those later this year.

What would have happened to us if I had never let go? Never seeing or doing any of the things I’ve dreamed of?

Thankfully, we didn’t stay that way, and now I have the freedom to wander as I wish. I have the freedom to see all the places I’ve dreamed of. I have the freedom to fall in love.

The second I meet someone who’s worth giving my heart to, I’ll know it. You taught me that. It took all of five minutes on our first date for me to know that what we had was something big.

I met someone recently who made me feel that feeling again. I recognized it instantly. I don’t know where it’s going yet, but I’ll know the very moment it becomes love, if it does. I know the right questions to ask and I know the right qualities to look for this time around. I know he loves to travel, and now I know myself well enough to know that even if he can’t, I can go alone.

So, here I sit. Sun on my skin, drink in my hand, and overwhelming gratitude in my heart. My life didn’t turn out anything like I’d planned, but somehow, today, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

And for the first time, I’m saying this and truly mean it from the bottom of my heart: I really hope you’re happy, too.