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Most of us have been there.

Dumped. Kicked to the curb. Heart torn in half.  Or “let go.” What does that even mean?

When my long-term, on-and-off again boyfriend, *Joshua, ended the hangnail that was our relationship, he said “I’m not breaking up with you. I’m letting you go.”

“Where, Josh. Where?”

On grad night. 1993. Great timing, Joshua. Not our grad, but that’s a minor detail when hours before there are photos of a happy Tessa and Joshua posing for my mom’s 35mm.

The statement almost sounds temporary. Do we want them back? Are we letting them down easy? Because the message is really, “Yes, Tessa. After years of bouncing back and forth, I’d like to expand my horizons. No hard feelings?” and “It’s over. Oh, can I have my Vuarnet t-shirt back?”

The entire “If you love someone, let them go, and if they come back to you, it was meant to be” is confusing.

If you still love someone, why give up? My advice? Don’t. Hold on tight. Too many people are in unhappy, complicated relationships. And maybe it won’t work out. But think about your life in five, ten, fifteen years. When people celebrate milestone anniversaries, I wonder if they’re cheerful, joyous years. Or are people together for security. Staying for the children, religious reasons, etc.
no oneBecause if it’s really over, just end it. Unfortunately – or fortunately – I was too blind to see my relationship with Joshua needed CPR. I was consumed by student council. Dance committee. Skating. Track. Newly appointed co-grad chair.

In the end there wasn’t much to save. How Joshua broke up with me – well, I’m sure he wishes he handled it better. But we all have regrets.

And I’m not bitter. Okay, at first I wanted to die and thought the world was coming to an end. And I cried myself to sleep and dreaded going to school for my final exams because I’d see him.

But that’s the past.

After a few years, Joshua and I met at a social, and one of our mutual friends said, “You’re both great people, but you can’t get along.”

Basically, she meant we sucked as a couple and made better friends. And we did. We’d meet at parties, socials, the bar. It was awesome to have him back in my life. I truly believe exes can be friends. And I thought we were the perfect example.

Until I left my hometown for 21 years. Criss-crossed Canada for work. And eventually came back to my hometown. Where Joshua still lives.

I’ve yet to see him.

Like I said, that quote is confusing. Because I came back.

But I came back for me.