Letters To My Younger Self

Am I Crazy…Or Did You Cheat On Me?

Dear Ingrid of Two Years Ago,

You just got dumped, basically on your birthday, and it’s going to absolutely destroy you.  It wasn’t so much a real “dump” as much as it was the casual “fade-Ingrid-out” approach, but once it’s officially over… you’re going to be ruined.  “What did I do? We were in LOVE and now you’re just over it? Over ME? How does that even happen?  YOU said I love you first! What did I do? How can I fix this? Let me fix this! This isn’t FAIR!  I can fix this. Just tell me what I did wrong!” Panic, panic, panic, sob.  Panic, panic, panic, shower-cry. Panic, panic, panic, Facestalk.

This cycle will go through some ebs and flows, you’ll even have a good day, but the stream of tears will be consistent over the next several months. I can’t stop that. In fact, Future-You finds your ability to really go to town on the cliches of heartbreak rather inspiring.  You aren’t a cold shell of a human being after all.  We can respect that.

The only person who won’t respect that is… we’ll call him “Charles”.

When bad things happen, you send flowers, because you’re a) lady and b) everyone loves flowers. Here’s what you should know: DO NOT GO OVER TO CHARLES’ HOUSE AND DROP OFF FLOWERS IN FRONT OF HIS APARTMENT DOOR. Do you hear me? This is Future-You talking.

Also…DO NOT GO TO THE FLOWER SHOP AT WESTERN & FRANKLIN AND ASK THE OWNER TO HELP YOU CHOSE THE FLOWERS THAT ARE “BEST FOR GETTING SOMEONE BACK”. She’ll suggest hydrangeas, which you will take as an invitation to bawl your eyes out in the flower shop while debating if hydrangeas are “right”.  But somehow peonies and sunflowers are? None of this makes sense and let’s be honest – Charles doesn’t deserve flowers.  It’s also a very weird move on your part, but that’s nothing new. That aside…

DON’T DO IT. If you do, the instant regret that will come from setting flowers down on his front doorstep will throw you into a spiral of self loathing and regret. Oh, the pain that will come from writing that sappy note-card? Back away from the flower shop.

DO NOT text and email sweet nothings to Charles hoping that one of your messages will be so well-written that he’ll have no other choice but to come crawling back.  Unfortunately, he won’t. You’ll get polite responses but nothing that will fill you up with what you need (mutual respect and love?).

Every day you’ll wonder what you did wrong,  how you failed this relationship.  But here’s the deal. Stop blaming yourself for not doing enough, or not giving more because in the end, dear, it’s not about you. Right now you feel like a crazy person for loving someone who has nothing to give back to you. You aren’t crazy, you’re human.  He’s got love to give, but it’s just not for you anymore.  While you are leaving flowers for Charles, he is giving flowers to someone else. (HOPEFULLY NOT THE SAME ONES, BUT I WOULDN’T PUT IT PAST HIM!)

You are a queen. You can only be exactly who you are, and lots of people love you and will continue to love you for that reason alone. So please stop trying to figure out what you could have done differently because the answer will never come.

A few years from now, you’ll bump into Charles and it’ll be okay. In fact, it’ll be perfect.  Right now, you don’t think you can ever see him again without breaking down like you did in the flower shop.  But know this: when the moment comes, when you see each other, everything that you are feeling right now will be gone. You’ll be so far past this moment in your life, you don’t even have time, in all honesty, to stop and chat.

In that moment, you’ll realize that you are better than how you were treated by Charles. That realization won’t come in a mean or vindictive way. It’ll come over you like a warm snuggie and it’ll wrap you up in a bear hug of self-love and feed you buttered popcorn.  It’s the way you should have always felt, so try to feel it now.

Now go to that flower shop and buy yourself somethin’ pretty.


Your Future Self

Image via ShutterStock

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=171700844 Alexis Paquette

    Beautifully done. I am going to use this as a letter from MY Future Self. Thank you. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessmanim Jessica Joan

    Totally 100% love it. Me four years ago needed to hear this. Me today needs to hear this (although this time friendship breakup). Brilliant. Especially it’ll be ok. My four-year-ago ex? I saw him a month ago after, well, four years. And you know what? He squirmed way more than I did. It was ok.

  • http://www.facebook.com/corinnebrothers Corinne Brothers

    I was recently broken up with (cheated on) just like this (like exactly like this) about six months ago. This was comforting, and I can totally relate to your retrospection both on how you feel immediately after (and in the many horrifically tear-filled months following) and how you feel after you truly start to move on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ihaas Ingrid Haas

    Thanks for your feedback ladies. xoxo

  • http://www.facebook.com/karencooke83 Karen Cooke

    This is perfect and just what I needed after a recent break up. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.jeffers Jessica Jeffers

    I just skipped an opportunity to be at the same social function as the ex who destroyed me, and I heard through the grapevine that he asked about me and now I wish I’d gone. Just so he can see me successful and fifteen pounds lighter. Learning that I am better than the way he treated me has been a hard, hard lesson to learn. I want to print this out and frame it in my bathroom to remind myself the next time I’m sitting on the toilet crying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.patrick10 Shannon Patrick

    If you compiled all of your letters to your younger self into a book, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Love reading them!

  • Anonymous

    That is so sweet of you Shannon. Good idea! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504345479 Christen Parker

    As someone sorting through a recent terrible break-up, I love this. Thanks for writing it. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurenleebolek Lauren Lee Bolek

    Thank you for this.

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