10 Things I Should Have Done Differently When We Were Together


After distancing myself from the past and immersing myself in the world that is romantic comedy, I was able to comprehend what was wrong with me when I was dating you. It’s easier for me to look at things from a perspective as if that person is no longer me, but I wish I would’ve realized them sooner. Here are the ten things I should’ve done when we were together:

1. I should have put faith in you.

People kept telling me things behind your back, and it stressed me out. I wanted to confront you about them, but I thought you had your own free will and I shouldn’t tell you what to do with your body. I should’ve put faith in you enough to tell you that I was worried and wanted you to stop, but I was too much of a coward.

2. I should have embraced my vulnerability.

I could never do that. I was always trying to put up my armor and thinking that I would bother you with my own negativity. But the thing is, I wanted to be vulnerable because you were special to me and I wanted you to know all these things. Maybe if I’d told you, you wouldn’t have been so confused about me.

3. I should have understood the difference between being with someone who understands you and someone who makes you a better person.

If you remember that one time we were on a date and your best friend suddenly joined us, and all I did was be quiet as you guys were talking, I was crushed. I couldn’t understand why you weren’t with her in the first place instead of being with me. You and I didn’t have that much in common, but you both did. And I couldn’t keep up with that. But after a while, I’ve realize that all that matters is who you love and not who understands you. The thing is, I was still scared that one day you’d wake up realizing that she was better suited for you than I ever was.

4. I shouldn’t have been scared about telling you what’s on my mind.

I had so many things in my head and it didn’t all revolve around you. Sometimes, I wanted you to know all these things but I didn’t know how to begin. I wanted to discuss with you why we pay our actors and athletes so much money, if we could create a new ideology and rule the world, that new Life of Pi movie that came out, or TV shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who. I wanted to talk to you about these things but I thought I would bother you or you wouldn’t understand what I was saying.

5. I should have told you things as they were told in my mind.

When I was angry at you, I shouldn’t have sugarcoated every word I said. Every sentence shouldn’t have ended with “…but it’s okay.” It wasn’t okay. I was hurt. I wanted you to know how much and how capable I was of getting hurt. But of course, I cared too much for your own freedom that I didn’t wanna bring you down.

6. I shouldn’t have been so shy, you were special.

If you haven’t figured it out already, my shyness was the root of all the “should’ve”s and “shouldn’t have”s. Susan Cain said shyness is fear of social judgment, and I was afraid that you would think differently of me once you peel away layers and layers of my personality. I feared the day you’d no longer be in love with me when I should have believed in you. A good friend of mine said, “I deserve more than half of someone.” And you deserved more than half of me. You were my special someone; you had the privilege to see everything underneath my construct.

7. I shouldn’t have been scared about you touching me.

I remember the first time we held hands. I was ecstatic. I didn’t think holding hands would be a big deal, but it was. I felt the presence underneath your skin, and everything became real after that moment. It was our best kept secret. But I was half afraid of when you wanted to do more action than just holding hands. I thought it would lead into something more and I wasn’t ready yet, but the thing is, I should’ve gone through all the stages with you. Beginnings are always hard, as my older present self keeps saying. I should’ve known that, even if you were a guy, you were mine too. I should’ve known you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me because you cared.

8. I shouldn’t have given you up just because I was tired of my own toxic feelings.

All of the things that I didn’t do but should have let me into a dark place polluted with bad thoughts. I kept wondering why you’d even like me in the first place, thinking there was a better person out there for you because I was hardly myself anymore and you seemed to stop caring. I should have tried to be the better person and remembered why I was attracted to you in the first place. But everything was missing. And the blur was overwhelming.

9. I shouldn’t have let pride overpower my feelings for you.

Whenever we fought, I couldn’t bring myself to apologize first because I wanted you to do it before me. I should have known that love is not about getting pleased, but pleasing each other. And it’s not just about apologizing, but also saying “I love you,” asking you out, initiating things to do as a couple, and small trivial stuff that isn’t as trivial as it used to seem. I wanted to do adventurous stuffs with you, ones you and I haven’t tried, but my pride kept holding me back from experiencing these things. Again, I was too much of a coward.

10. I should have realized these things earlier on, because maybe we could have still been together.

I don’t think I’d like to get back together with you, because we’re standing on diverging paths and our future is right ahead of us. But if I could turn back time, I would do everything I wrote. All the “should have”s and “should have not”s.

featured image – HaoJan Chang