To The Friend Who Had Already Moved On

Written By Aditi V

Author Bio: Aditi is a med student that likes, in no specific order, to eat, sleep, cook, read, write and laugh. - Facebook: @aditi.vakil17

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Don't worry. I'm not about to launch into a dissertation about how much I miss you and how much pain I felt, or try to guilt you into an apology for leaving me behind, for reasons I actually will offer:

a. I don't really think I miss you anymore (and this isn't me being defensive, it's just that it's been so long that I don't really remember what I'm supposed to miss); 

b. The 'pain' is also a thing of the past. I guess it is kind of sad that we're no longer close, and maybe the fact that I'm writing this letter at all says something that my conscious mind is unwilling to acknowledge, but really, I'm okay, and

c. You don't need to apologize for living your life! I acknowledge and respect that people don't 'owe' anyone anything, and certainly, there's no meaning in a friendship where someone isn't a willing participant - that's bondage, and I'd hate to be the person who holds their 'friends' down. 

Why then, am I writing this? Technically, this shouldn't matter because what's done is done and I've moved on (too), but I think I'd like you to know this anyway: I wish you hadn't pretended that you were still there when you'd already gone.

I wish you hadn't tried to reassure me that you were just as invested as I was, that you still cared as much as you once did. I know it's not ideal - you 'ideally' shouldn't have forgotten about me completely, let alone so easily; and that you don't want to be thought of as 'that person who stuck around only when it suited them and left as soon as they found greener pastures' because that label has a lot of negative connotations - but that's what you are. I realize it sounds so mean and hateful and I sound enraged, but I promise that I'm not - I'm just stating things as simply as possible. And really, I don't even think it's a crime - everyone has the right - and they ought to, in fact, seek happiness (it's twenty-frikkin-seventeen and you live just once, after all); but I am bitter about the lies.

Lies are what they were, weren't they? I am a fool for having bought them, there's no debate there - you did, after all, admit to not having seen this coming - and it should have clued me into the fact that I was the only one hanging onto nothing, but I was hurting, and at that point, I'd wanted to hear what you had to say. That doesn't change that you said it, though, and since you're the one who demanded absolute honesty and a 'confrontation' if it ever came to that, I expected the same from you. 

Maybe, in that moment, you felt guilty, or maybe you truly thought that you did still feel the same way - I can concede to that (and you did admit to having been caught blind-sided), but that should have just been the first time, right? What about the second, and the third? 

Good God. The fact that it went to all these strikes is my idiocy - I own up to that 100%, but that's not the point. The point is, I refuse to believe that the second time I tried to talk to you, you didn't already know that you were done with 'me' and 'us'. And definitely, by the third time you had to have known that you felt suffocated by my demand-requests for 'closeness'. That in turn leads me to conclude that your reasons for making reassurances and promises that you didn't intend to follow through with wholeheartedly are tied to things like an unwillingness to turn into 'that' person, and probably a fear of hurting my feelings…but guess what?

Yeah, I'm not going to spell it out.

I guess you didn’t think ahead far enough, because I imagine that if you had, you'd have known that I'd figure it out anyway, and that therefore there was no need to pretend. Then, since you'd have also imagined that that would be even more hurtful, and because (I assume) you wanted to spare my feelings, you would have up-front just told me. 

I'm not saying it would have been easy - before this, I don't know how I would have said the words either: 'Hey. It's clear that you still care a lot and you're hoping/expecting that things go back to the way they once were, but to be brutally honest, I'm no longer in the same place mentally as I used to be. I'm actually perfectly okay with where things are as they stand right now.'

That's it. 
You wouldn't have needed to color in the details - how I would continue to hear from or see you only sometimes, even if it trickled through that you weren't that busy anyway. You needn't have had to inform me that my messages would be left hanging, or that you wouldn’t be bothering to inform me of anything important in your life. I would have understood, with just that simple text (you didn't even need to call or sit me down in person - a text message would have been okay), that you'd call only when you were extremely bored, or needed something…and that would have been okay!

I mean - yes, those words would have hurt, and I would have spent days, if not weeks, questioning if I'd done something wrong and what the problem with me was. I'd definitely have felt 'down' for a bit, allowed myself to grieve and mourn - but at least I'd have known that I needed to do those things and move on, and then I'd have done just that, knowing that that door was shut.

Most of that happened anyway. If you'd told me, though, it would have saved me so much effort figuring out where you truly stood, through your actions; and a lot of anger and self-loathing on all the times you didn't come through. If you'd steeled yourself and said those things, I wouldn't have stuck around for as long as I did, waiting, wondering, hating myself for being so impatient and needy, telling myself to just give you space and more chances. What if you emerged through the door at exactly the moment I looked away? I'd have felt like a jerk for not having trusted and believed you, and hated myself even more because it would prove that I was a skeptical, suffocating control-freak that really, really needed to find a life. 

It would have hurt, but I feel like at least then, we'd have parted ways with my trust in you intact. I don't mean to imply that I think it bothers you, but it is the truth - I just don't trust you anymore. Any time you call, and claim it's because you just thought of me and felt like checking in, I don't buy it. When you try to show an interest in my life, I find it easy, now, to evade the questions because it's so deeply ingrained in me that you're doing this just out of courtesy - and I have no intention to bore you. I play nice, yes, but that's because of the way I am; I don’t take any of this to mean anything more. 

I said earlier that I don't know how I would have sent the text I wish I'd received from you were I in your shoes, and before, I don't even know if I would have sent it all, but now I do. If I'm ever in your shoes, I definitely will send the text, because I know what I'd possibly be putting someone through if I didn't. 

That's also another point of this letter - I don't think you know how I felt, what someone else may feel (and I'm not hoping you find out first-hand, either), but it sucked big-time (simply put), and I think that if you knew, you wouldn't do it. Nor do I think you'd want to forever be willfully ignorant. So, for the record (again) - if you're ever in a similar situation as you were with me, please own up to it, spare them the agony, and help them move on, too.

Sincerely,
From someone who finally caught on and followed suit.