There are some things about adult life that I should have figured out by now, but that still make me feel awkward and silly. One of those things is telling an ex-boyfriend about a new relationship.
I guess it's hard because it means acknowledging feelings that I mostly pretend I don't have. The small feeling of lingering anger I still feel at you, for not being willing to take a risk for me. The feeling of wistfulness, because 'what might have been' might have been pretty good. The stupid feeling of competition: ha! I've moved on before you did, and I'm happier, to boot. The urge to rub your face in it: See, see what you're missing?
So those are there, and to be a grown up and not give in to that stupid stuff I just haven't said anything. And yet there's the part of me that wants to know you, to complete the conversion from romance, which we've left behind, past the ambiguous friendly low-key flirtation between single people who in slightly different timing or circumstances might have been something, to a clear and unambiguous friendship, without that confusing dangling potential. After all, there was so much good between us, so much common ground for a strong friendship. That foundation is more compelling than the small childish urges that come from a relationship that never fully got off the ground.
And this is what I want to tell you: I've found someone who really WILL take a risk for me.
I've found something sweet and steady, someone who makes me feel safe, and cherished, and delighted. You said something once about getting a glimpse of me, past the bravado and the modesty I project, and how nice it was to see me open up. Somehow I didn't feel all that safe doing that with you, not the way I do with him. This is what I want to tell you: the way we clicked probably wasn't so good for me. It was outward focused, achievement-oriented, outgoing and cerebral, busy, verbal, familiar. Thinking about what life might have been like if you and I had tried to be together I get a little bit exhausted. I think we would have been sprinting all the time. And instead of that, what I have is a haven, a safe place, a pause. It's inward focused, gentle, supportive. We're alike in important ways, but we're different enough that we'll both have to let go of some ideas about what we want to do and how we want to live in order to make room for the life we'll build as a couple. And that collaboration fills me with a quiet excitement.
That's what I really want to say. I've found what I was looking for, what I once imagined I saw in you. And now that I've found it I'm pretty sure you couldn't have given it to me, even if you had been brave enough to try. And so I forgive you. I forgive you for that petty hurt, the way you opened an old wound, the fragile part of me that didn't believe anyone would ever be willing to extend himself for me, the part of me that felt like I needed to be more, stronger, better before anyone could love me, that wanted to hide my loneliness and my fear. Oh, I am getting tears in my eyes thinking about how fragile we all are, and how we think we need to hide that tender spot away. Anyway, you bumped against that soft spot and it stung so I've been a little bit mad at you ever since. And I'm not, anymore.
So it would be great to catch up. I like knowing you, and I hope the bulk of our friendship is ahead of us, not behind us. But I don't know how to say this to you, without sounding petty or elaborately casual or overdramatic. I've found someone else, and he makes me really happy. I wish the same for you.