Dear Exes: Thank You for Breaking My Heart
Dear Mr. Selfish and Mr. Selfless,
I’ve recently come across an interesting idea. A theory that has made me stop scoffing every time I stalk you on social media. A juicy piece of knowledge that has allowed me to appreciate the years I wasted — I mean, invested in you two.
Thanks to our failed relationships, I’ve met Mr. Perfect.
However, Mr. Selfish, this doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how you lied and ignored me, nor how you guilt-tripped me every time I voiced a concern. How dare I expect a message from you every day? How dare I hope we might see each other — while living ten minutes apart — once a week?
You were totally right to break up with me for a week because I wanted more attention. Because of you, I became Mrs. Doormat, pliable and quiet.
At least for a while.
Now, now, Mr. Selfless, you must be appalled. You must think I’m joking. Mrs. Doormat? Ha! To you, I’m Mrs. Dragon.
Can’t you see? After Mr. Selfish, I refused to be silenced. No man would step all over me again while I smiled like a fool.
When you were five minutes late to our daily date, I demanded an explanation. When your gaze locked on the horizon, my blood boiled. Who was she?
In all honesty, I don’t blame you for breaking our two-year relationship by text (seriously, not even a call). I even understand why you cheated on me with your Mrs. Not-Dragon ex. Maybe I would’ve done it too in your position.
But it’s pointless to dwell on our mistakes. The fact is that both of you shattered my heart.
After every breakup, I was so heartbroken I lost ten pounds. Except for the Nutella on my bedside table, I had no appetite for anything. My energy was reserved for glaring at the phone all day and dreaming about you all night.
I resented you. Wished you the worst. Though I’d made my fair share of mistakes (especially with you, Mr. Selfless), I blamed you for everything that’d gone wrong.
But not anymore.
This letter isn’t a confession of hate; It’s a thank you note. And not only because of the glorious days that followed my heartbreak. With ten pounds less, I ate pancakes and hamburgers and pizzas without an ounce of guilt. Do you know how that feels?
More blissful, though, is my current relationship, the other reason I’m grateful. You two have helped me become Mrs. Right for Mr. Perfect.
While studying for my Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, I came across this philosophical theory. To explain the different teaching approaches, the instructors mentioned Hegel to explain why the methods of English teachers had gone from one extreme to the other across decades.
From grammar-focused to communication-centered, the English approaches swung back and forth until reaching the current TESOL methodology. Likewise, many areas of life have followed this same pattern, from art to literature, philosophy, religion, politics — even relationships.
According to German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, to achieve harmony, society — everything — must go through three stages: the thesis (Mr. Selfish and Mrs. Doormat), the antithesis (Mr. Selfless and Mrs. Dragon), and the synthesis (Mr. Perfect and Mrs. Right). In other words, an action, an opposite reaction, and a balanced middle, the best of both worlds.
However, this doesn’t mean everyone should have three relationships in their life. No. Some need only one to achieve harmony. They go through the pendulum swing with their partner across time. Others, require lots of extreme swings before arriving at their happy middle. And sometimes, they need a little help.
In my case, I needed you, Mr. Selfish and Mr. Selfless. From passive to controlling, from quiet to loud, from sad to angry, you’ve helped me explore different sides of me. Thanks to you, I’ve learned what I want in a partner and who I want to be as a girlfriend.
Thanks to you, I’ve found Mr. Perfect (for me).
Remember: Though painful, every heartbreak is an experience. Every experience, a lesson. And every lesson, a transformation.
With every relationship, you learn more about yourself, about what you want in a partner.
A failed relationship isn’t a failure; it’s part of the road that’ll lead you to your dream relationship.