I owe someone a return text. Since May. This is not normal for me- I break into hives if I go a few hours before I can respond to a WordPress comment on my blog. I always write back as soon as possible. So why has this text gone unanswered for months?
R- Happy Birthday
Me- Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
R- Are you ever going to talk to me again?
First off- here’s the spoiler- it will be abundantly clear that this is NOT the person I spoke of yesterday. But we will take another trip down memory lane……
1980/81: I kind of dated a guy in High School. I like him well enough, but it wasn’t an earth shattering attachment. We never had sex. We “broke up” once because he told me he was taking someone else to our Spring Formal. The problem was, I really didn’t care.
1982 and beyond- We don’t see nor speak to one another. I don’t think I thought about him for even a nanosecond.
2009- R finds me on Facebook.
2009-2014- R calls me once, maybe twice a year. He talks incessantly about his golf game. I don’t know anything about golf. I don’t know anything about golf because I don’t like golf, and I don’t care about golf. Unless it’s mini- because I love mini golf. But did you ever listen to a golfer wax poetic about courses they play? When you don’t know a green from a sand trap?
2014- Though he has switched to texting me his golf stories (whew- now I really don’t have to pretend to be interested) he throws in a curve….
R- You were the one that got away. You were the great love of my life. I’m sorry I treated you so poorly.
Me- Thanks for telling me that. I appreciate your candor and honesty. It’s ok- I think I got over our relationship awhile ago.
R- Didn’t you feel the same way? Wasn’t I the love of your life?
Me- I’m sorry. I had fun with you back in High School, but that was it. You are a nice memory.
2015- He texts, now about 4 times a year, but the texts have a different tone. He now regales me stories from our past- things we did together. He remembers outfits that I wore. He talks about “our song”. I didn’t remember the outfits he was talking about, and I apparently wore them. And I don’t remember having a song. Truly. And up until 50 I had an amazing memory- like, I didn’t forget anything ever.
Me- I’m sorry. I didn’t love you then. I have no feelings for you now except for a sweet fondness of our past experiences. You’re nice, but if you want to keep talking, it needs to be something more relevant to today. I can’t keep talking about memories that I don’t quite remember. While I appreciate your honesty about your past feelings, and how you felt you wronged me, these things are just not something I need to hear anymore. I’m sorry if this hurts you but I need to repay your honesty with my own.
And he stopped texting. Except on my Birthday in 2016. And my birthday this year. But this year he wanted to know if I would speak to him again. I guess silence is a pretty good answer.
Now- here’s the thing. If you feel the need to tell someone that you wronged them, that they were the one that got away, I think you should. Sometimes that makes you feel better as a person. I’m OK with the text confessional. But- because you know there is a giant BUT here- really think about your motivation. Why do you feel the need to bring up past memories? Is it kindness, perhaps a sense of closure? Do you just want to say, see how someone is doing? Or do you have ulterior motives? Do you think it will be the start of a new relationship? Before you reach out to an ex, think about what your expectations are.
And….remember….they might not have felt the same way about you. Their vision of the past might be totally different from yours. They might not remember events the same way you do. They might not remember that you had a “song”. You need to be able to accept that with grace and dignity.
I will probably not text him in the future. I don’t think I have anything left to say about our shared past. The past is a nice place to visit, but I don’t want to live there.
The following did not appear in the original post, but after reading a comment, I realized I must include this:
I felt horrible about saying these things to R. I feel horrible about not responding. But I felt that brutal honesty was necessary in order for him to get on with his life.