you simply outgrew us

Photo via: Joel Sossa

Dear R,

It's been almost three weeks since you told me we were over. I'm not entirely sure why I am writing this. Catharsis? Punishment? An inability to start the healing process? Maybe all three, maybe something entirely different. I'm not sure of anything anymore.

“It's not right for me anymore. We are over.” How could those two sentences, that specific grouping of words, result in my world caving in? We both said so much more than this, of course, that afternoon the 30th November, and I knew in my heart that it was coming for about a week prior. But those words were the ones of finality, that devastatingly concluded two years... I could barely breath at the time, like I had badly fallen and been winded. Like something fundamental had been stripped from me. I could barely stand up as you said goodbye and left...

We first met officially in that second year class. I was too wrapped up in my own world and delusions of academic grandeur to properly notice you at first. But you made your impression eventually. And I remember saying to a mutual acquaintance a few weeks before I summoned the courage to ask you to meet up how inherently genuine, kind, caring and lovely you seemed.

And I was right – you were all of those things, and more.

The first few weeks went by almost as in a dream. I had a permanent smile on my face. We had numerous dates – drinks, food, the cinema. I remember our first kiss – clumsy and awkward (a lot like me), but ours forever, a defining moment by a very unromantic busy main road. During this time, we laughed, I said stupid stuff, we kissed, we began to be intimate, and I was already falling in love with you.

And then we had been together for three months. We were both our first real, well, anything. I was comfortable and in love for the first time ever. You questioned whether things were right for you. I was desperate to hold on to you, there was something to this, I was sure of it. We negotiated. We got over the first hump. I nearly cried when you told me you loved me a number of weeks later, again by that main road! That road saw all of our good times!

Then we had a summer away from each other. But things were ok, we worked it out, and prioritising each other over specific weekends for visits or in the evenings for phone calls helped us learn, mature and strengthened the relationship. I looked forward more than anything ever to our visits. Everything else paled into insignificance. I loved the simple things like just lying in bed or on the sofa and listening to you talk about things. I could be completely happy in your company for hours. You had so much life and energy in you, so much to offer. And this was mixed together in a girl so beautiful and kind. How was it possible that I was with you? This awkward, ugly guy. I loved you so much it scared me.

We returned in September. Things were good for a long time. I made a lot of effort with your friends as I knew they were very important to you, and I thought most of them liked me. We had a lot of great times that I will remember forever. This was easily the best time of my life. You were still cautious and not wanting to over-commit. I was ready to jump in however and give you everything. We had a few issues and I was criticised for not being this or that. I tried to internalise the criticisms, develop and be good enough for you. I remember spending hours picking out Christmas presents that I hoped you would love.

The business end of university was approaching. Your placements were getting intense, and I was trying to do justice to my workload too. I wasn't sure exactly how to support you, I knew you were stressed and anxious about the future. I encouraged you to apply for jobs for after graduation. You asked me whether you should look for one that fitted with my plans. I wanted to tell you yes more than anything, but instead I told you that you needed to do what was best for you, and I was sure that being closer to home with the support of your family was the best thing. You got the job. The distance wasn't that far - two hours travel. We'd manage.

The summer again, and then September and your 'proper' life began, and I started chasing my own ambitions, or at least some partial version of them. There were a few cracks surrounding similar aspects of the relationship – a difference in expectations of how much we should see each other, and perhaps a lack of a spark in our weekend activities. But I was comfortable, I loved you and I settled into the routine of the latest version of our relationship. And then I sent a stupid message and it turned out you'd be thinking about our relationship problematically for the last couple of weeks.

The following weekend my world caved in.

I still don't fully understand all the reasons. It seems you simply outgrew us.

I was beginning to plan my life with you at the centre, and now it's all gone and I feel completely lost and empty. The time so far has done little to ease what I feel. I'm not sure if you ever fully recover from something like this. How do you replace something you never wanted to replace? How do you pick up the pieces of your life when the one person you love more than anyone decides they no longer feel you are right? How do you fill the emptiness left, that hole in your chest?

I gave everything to our relationship. I loved you with all that I had, even if you never fully reciprocated and perhaps always held something back. I was probably never good enough for you and of course we had our issues (none of which I felt were insurmountable). But I think you will struggle to find anyone who loves you quite as much as me – though you deserve it of course. And I was just so proud of everything that you were and that I was able to call you my girlfriend, somehow.

You helped me grow and develop as a person, and for that I will always be grateful.

I can't even do justice to how much you mean to me with words. And all the memories of you are both happy and excruciating to me at the same time.

I love you.

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