To My Rebound

*Names were withheld to protect identities

Dear Rebound,

I should have told you from the beginning that I wasn’t looking for you.

Honestly, you were doing everything right: being there for me, giving me good sex and respecting my boundaries. I thought there was something wrong with me for not being in love with you.

And part of me held on because I was afraid I’d never meet someone like you again. If I let you go, I might regret it one day, believing you were the one that got away.

I wasted your time. And although you, being the huge romantic sap you are, would say you’d never regret a second, I would have done things a lot differently if I could.

I made the mistake of thinking you were like other hookups, happy to pump and dump. But you stayed.

That first night, I put my head in your lap and you wordlessly caressed my hair for hours.

If you had asked for a cuddle I probably would have screamed.

You met me at a pathetic point in my life. I was hung up on an ex, screwing for validation, and terrified of real intimacy. I was convinced I was too damaged to make someone happy, so I refused to let anyone in.

When I warned I wasn’t good for you, you said you didn’t mind, and took on my issues and baggage. I must have apologised a thousand times for spontaneously crying or calling in the middle of the night, but you welcomed it. You said you wanted to help.

You were so damn idealistic, thinking you could ‘save’ me with the almighty power of love. I wasn’t looking for you. But I’m glad I found you anyway.

I saw myself as this depressing unlovable creature and you forced me out of that mentality. Thank you for convincing me I am worthy of love. I’m sorry I didn’t do as well in return.

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Truth is, your love scared me. Besides feeling undeserving, I was afraid I’d screw it up like the last time. I wasn’t ready for another catastrophe.

So I built walls, kept you out. It didn’t help that you would take five whole minutes to text me different variations of goodnight every night.

I felt sick—not of you, but at myself for stringing you along. There were moments I could have ended it, but I was scared of hurting you. Yet I knew the longer I let you fall, the more you’d hurt when it ended.

I’m sorry for saying “I love you” when I didn’t mean it. That wasn’t fair to you. That day, you said those three words and I responded the same out of panic and guilt. I told myself I could grow to love you.

What Happens Now

We ended so ‘positively’ that we’re still friends now, which is new to me. I’m too used to having a partner cut contact with me post-breakup.

It’s nice being your friend because I get to enjoy your company without having the responsibilities of a girlfriend. You don’t get upset when I take hours to text back, or when I don’t feel like FaceTiming.

It does worry me though, how often you call. You promise me you’re over us, yet you’re not interested in dating anyone else, which means I’m the only girl you’re talking to.

I spent five months guilty of holding you back and wasting your time, yet it seems the situation hasn’t changed.

You deserve someone who’ll give you the whole nine yards. Someone who enjoys taking forever to say goodnight and who’s willing to binge-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy with you.

But for now, I will be talking to you less and less because I don’t want to give you a half-love. I guess in a way, you did save me a little, and now I’m ready to love again.

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