- Gender and Relationships
Brooke, If You're Out There, Don't Do Anything You'll Regret: Not All Relationships are Meant to Last
Facebook seems to be the place where everyone airs out their opinions and shares links to posts that they feel strongly towards, whether it's for or against. Recently, a lot of girls on my FB newsfeed have been sharing a link to a letter that a guy wrote to a girl he lost, in a desperate attempt to win her back. The title of the article about the letter is "This Guy Wrote The Most Beautiful, Heartbreaking Letter To His Ex-Girlfriend; Brooke, If You’re Out There, Give Him Another Chance." (Ironically enough, it's posted on the Total Sorority Move website.) The letter is from a guy who expresses remorse over his past relationship, and most people who comment on it are in favor of the girl, Brooke, taking him back. If you read the whole thing, you may feel that way, too.
This letter, and the supportive comments, are exactly why relationships fail: they perpetuate the idea that apologies merit forgiveness and erase past wrongs, no matter how many there were or how horrible they were. This letter is just one example of why no, you shouldn't always take the guy back. And this isn't just for guys. For any guy or girl who treated someone terribly and expects a letter or an apology to fix it, guess what? Too little too late.
Sorry Doesn't Fix Everything
I appreciate this guy's attempt, I really do. It takes guts to post things on the internet that make you look vulnerable, and, well, like a jackass. In his eyes, I'm sure he saw this as a last resort.
To me, he doesn't deserve even a text from this Brooke girl, much less for her to be with him. Admittedly, he didn't change and realize the error of his ways until after she stopped communicating with him. "You don't know what you've got till it's gone"? More than applicable here. He counted on her being "there" forever, just someone he can revisit when the mood struck him to give her attention. I don't doubt that he had feelings for her, but he lacked the emotional maturity to express or handle them. And from the sounds of the letter, he still does.
First of all, he didn't put his name on the post. He submitted it anonymously and hopes that Brooke will see this letter eventually and know that somehow it's addressed to her. If he was serious about his efforts to be with her, he would - in person - make the gesture to prove how he feels and how sorry he is. This letter isn't proof; it's an easy way out.
Second, he doesn't know what love even is. Love is sacrifice; patience; kindness; understanding; respect - the list is endless. This guy has none of that, and doesn't even know the meaning of the word "love." He's 24 years old but still can't figure out how to give this girl the apology she deserves? Oh, you tried texting and calling? I can't imagine how out of the way that was for you. The six months he spent away to "transform" himself (his actual words) did nothing, and he's under the impression that it did. In addition to maturity, he also lacks self-awareness.
Third, she shouldn't take him back regardless. He is a self-proclaimed jackass who doesn't understand how relationships work, and she's been strung along for years now. Literally years. Why would she risk being heartbroken again just to make him feel better? What did he offer her? What can he offer her now? He feels bad because he was a jerk to her, and this is all he could come up with? He goes on to say that he can't appropriately express himself:
Instead, I played the game like a pro. I knew how to ignore her just enough to have her keep on running back to me...I would ignore her phone calls on purpose to keep her wondering what I was doing. I would call her late at night when I was drunk. I would lie to her and tell her I was at a bar with my friends when I was lying on my couch eating popcorn and watching a movie on Saturday night. The games should’ve ended. I loved her. But I couldn’t let go of my former self. I couldn’t let go of the asshole I once was.
This is a direct quote from the letter, specifically about the third round of games he played with this girl's heart. This isn't taken out of context or rearranged to sound bad; this is really what this guy wrote. Before this statement, he describes how much he cared for her and how much he loved her when he moved away at the age of 23, and how he wished that he could've told her how he felt. This letter is written, at the most, a year after that incident, and he talks about it retrospectively like he's so much wiser than he was six months previous.
He knew exactly what he should've done and intentionally did the opposite.
He blames his idea of relationships and women on college and society and his fraternity - could he get any more stereotypes or generalizations in there? - and practically pleads ignorance or like his behavior isn't his fault. Nature versus nurture, so to speak.
I went to college. A lot of us did. Are we all emotionally unavailable jerks who use people? I can safely answer that with a no. My best friends at Allegheny were in a sorority and I had good friends in a fraternity. Were they like that? Nope. One or two, of course, but was the problem that they were in Greek life? Absolutely not.
If by 24 years old the best that he can emotionally offer this girl is a letter on the internet, then she dodged a bullet by severing ties. If this guy is that afraid of commitment or vulnerability or responsibility, how can you be with someone like that your whole life? How can you trust him? How do you know that with every life milestone he won't leave or opt out? When you want to take your relationship to any "next step," is he going to run for the hills and say his fraternity made him that way? (Not to mention, this guy makes Greek life look bad, too.)
Emotionally, he's unpredictable. If anything he does can be predicted, it's that he'll do the wrong thing in the face of a challenge because he claims he wasn't taught otherwise.
If you were Brooke, what would you do?
Where Brooke Stands in All This
I mean, she did put up with his behavior for years, and I'm sure a lot of you think that she should've wised up the second or third time around. This was her responsibility and she let it get out of hand because she allowed his behavior to go on too long.
At first, I'm inclined to agree with you because no one should put themselves through repeatedly poor treatment. But if you consider this as a type of abuse, you're not so quick to judge her.
Sure, she should've figured out what he was doing from the beginning, especially if she knew what kind of guy he was when they met. He was a partying frat boy, and according to his own definition of that, he was bad news. He moved suddenly for the sake of growing up, which proves that he's flighty and impulsive, not to mention that his solution to a problem is to literally separate himself from it. Did the move help him? In my opinion, no. And she should've recognized all of that.
But the saying "love is blind" is a cliché for a reason.
Her feelings were stronger and deeper than his, he said, and so she was probably more willing to put up with whatever she had to, be it distance, emotional detachment, or the possibility of heartbreak.
How many people take their cheating SO back, for example? From the outside, the decision is simple: dump the loser and move on. But when there are years invested in something, like Brooke and this guy, walking away is almost harder than putting up with the pain. The heartache reminds you of the happiness you once felt, and you're more willing to tolerate the bad for the sake of the good. But Brooke made the decision to move on. She stopped taking his calls and answering his texts; she stopped putting up with his immaturity; she stopped being a pawn in his game. At this point, she just needs to stick to her decision.
I've never been personally been cheated on (that I know of) but we've all had those relationships. The ones that lasted too long; the ones you tolerated the most for; the ones that hurt you the worst. You would never consider going back to that person, not if someone paid you, and you're absolutely right - you shouldn't.
When you think of Brooke and that guy as that relationship, it's not so easy to be on his side anymore.
Reactions In Favor and Against the Guy Who Wrote the Letter
"For the love of God, Brooke. Give him a call. Please."
"What a freaking sob story...The fact that you've written this article just proves that you are still are who you 'used to' be."
"Give the guy a break. He messed up. So what? We all have baggage. Just because he has more than you, gives you no right to judge him."
"She gave him more chances that he deserved to change. Maybe he'll treat his next girl with more respect."
"I know so many guys like that, it's good to know they may actually have souls."
"[Brooke's] doing the only thing she can: grab the last piece of her self worth, cut you out of her life and move on. And who can blame her?"
"Yeah he was an asshole at some point. Maybe he doesn’t deserve Brooke. But maybe he has changed and they’re meant to be together. Shut up and share the story and leave the rest to fate."
"Brooke, run, you dodged a seriously emotional bomb."
"Brooke, you need to get on that phone and call him."
"When you love someone, you don’t spend years treating them like garbage and then suddenly wake up and decide you’re ready. I hope she never comes back to you."
Remember the Important Things
- Demand what you deserve, and never settle for anything less.
- An apology only means something if you feel better because of it.
- Residual issues don't just fix themselves or disappear.
- Lessons aren't learned unless there's proof of it.
- Strength in numbers means nothing; listen to no one's opinion but your own.
- It's okay to give up on a relationship if it's not right for you.
Forgive and Forget?
A lot easier said than done. I don't believe that forgiving and forgetting is the key to any problem. How can it be? Forgetting is an involuntary occurrence; you can't make yourself forget something. It's a degeneration of the memory - how can you force yourself to do something like that? When something is as painful as having your heart broken, the last thing you're going to do is forget about it.
According to the website, the answer is yes, Brooke should forgive and forget. Like I said, we're perpetuating his behavior by letting him think that an apology will get him out of anything, and that just because people support him means that he's doing something right.
That couldn't be farther from the truth.
Brooke, if you're out there, don't listen to everyone else. If you believe that he's the right one for you and that he truly has changed, then more power to you. If you're thinking that you don't want him back, stick to your guns and follow through with that.
If you're not sure, that's okay. Make him sweat it out a little. You don't need to give him a decision right away, or even at all.
This is something everyone should remember: you don't owe him anything.
Not a thing. Be with him or don't, but never make a decision because you feel obligated one way or the other. If you do, then that's cause for rethinking right there.
Just because someone apologizes, it doesn't mean everything's okay.
Be with someone who makes you the best version of yourself. Relationships should strengthen people and help them grow; if they don't, then they're useless. Don't live with what if's or regrets - wait for the risks worth taking.
Brooke, and every girl and guy out there, know your worth. Know what you deserve and take it, and demand nothing less. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with a guy who writes you a letter on the internet.