An Open Letter To My Boyfriend’s Ex-Girlfriend


My ex-boyfriend met someone and fell head over heels in love with her shortly after we broke up. So I know you don’t want to hear this, but, I get it.

I get what it’s like to harbor an unparalleled hatred for someone you’ve never actually met. I get what it’s like to dissect photographs and feel vindicated by a stranger’s flaws. I have sucked up social media breadcrumbs like a crazy bitch Hoover, hoping they would lead to evidence that she was a Neo-Nazi-seal-clubber-slash-part-time-hooker. My absurd witch hunt led me only to discover a put together young woman and talented photographer at the end of that trail, but no matter. Her professional success and perfect dimples only strengthened my resolve. I just had to dig deeper. He had failed me so completely, as a partner and a person, that there was only one way to explain somebody else wanting to be with him: she had to be the antichrist.

Fast forward a couple of years. I’m a little older, a little saner, and a lot less interested in what he’s up to. According to the testimony of many of my closest friends, she is not, in fact, the antichrist. And as our mutual friends have probably told you by now, neither am I.

I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of you flitting around the edges of my online existence, occasionally leaving me clues that amount to your trendy-shoed footprint. It drives me to the kind of vapid paranoia I have never experienced before, and loathed in other people. You forced us to cross paths professionally, but made it look like an accident. You have connected and then abruptly disconnected with me more than once, using more than one identity – but then, maybe you didn’t. That’s what it looks like, but I can’t prove it. Am I crazy? You crossed a line the last time you saw him in person, but I bet you think I don’t know that.

Do you think he’s still on your side? I ask because at the height of my hysterical (drinking and) cyberstalking, this degree of elaborate, vindictive meddling never crossed my mind. I feel watched, and I question details not worth questioning. I’ve gotten a taste of my own medicine, and it makes me feel guilty that I was once on a mission to unearth my ex-guy’s-new-girl’s skeletons. And what’s more, I feel sorry for you.

I don’t know for sure what it is that you want, but I know what I wanted to hear a few years ago. And I don’t want to spoil the rueful fun you’re likely having at the expense of my blotchy skin and behemoth eyebrows, but I’m just going to put it out there for you. Ready?

I am terrified every day that I don’t measure up to you.

It’s true. He chose me, but I’m scared you’re prettier, gentler, more feminine, more sexy, more savvy, more caring, more witty and fun. Sometimes I study his face with undue scrutiny, trying in vain to read his mind, wondering if he thinks he made a mistake. There’s no need for the guile and digging. I wear those fears right on my sleeve. Just ask him. He has to deal with it all the time.

Here is what I know to be true: He really loved you. And he really tried. I bet you really loved him back. I’m sure you really tried. I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault that you weren’t right for each other. Whatever you choose to believe, it certainly isn’t mine.

He and I could be the real thing, or we could not be. When we talk about the future, I can really see it. He makes me feel like the world is a place I want to live in. With a little courage, I can reach out and grab my share of its happiness, and I see that so clearly with him by my side. But I can’t guarantee that feeling will last forever.

I can guarantee that whatever becomes of us, in two years’ time, you are going to feel very stupid. If I could go back to my own descent into the catacombs of female lunacy, I would reinvest all that energy into battling my insecurities in a positive way. If I had done it then, maybe you wouldn’t scare me now.

But please hear this, I don’t care that you’re hurting. I don’t exist for you to malign.