Graphic by Carlos Alberto Escobar

An Open Letter: Multiple Mistakes

Editor's Note: This is an anonymous submission. I still remember the day we were arguing about what happened the previous night. I knew I had made a ...

Feb 13, 2016

Graphic by Carlos Alberto Escobar
I still remember the day we were arguing about what happened the previous night. I knew I had made a terrible mistake — it was a matter of time before the bomb exploded and people started to get hurt. In retrospect, it took longer than I expected.
“You chose her over me multiple times, and you know that,” my girlfriend told me. I was trying to find the right words so she would calm down, in vain.  “You have not made me happy since we came back from the Christmas break,” she continued. I knew she was right. “If I have not made you happy for the last month, then I think that the best thing to do is break up,” I said. I thought that she was going to reply, but she kept quiet. After a couple of minutes, she stood up and left the room.
It was the end of our relationship.
This story does not start on that night — it begins two months before. At that time, my girlfriend and I were going through a rough patch. We would do almost everything together, and I thought the relationship was becoming too intense. We were not the only ones who saw our relationship this way. On top of that, I was going to spend a month with her and her family during winter break. I was scared. I did not want to end things because I still had extremely strong feelings for her.
I wanted to feel less suffocated by the relationship. I told her that it would be best for us to stay apart until the winter holiday started and we left for her place. Classic. Thinking about it, that might have been very arrogant on my part.
Like in other small communities, rumors here travel fast. It only took a couple of hours before other people started asking me if the news about the breakup was true. I was upset that other people knew, but I could not lie.
It was the last week of the semester and people would drink in their rooms with their friends to celebrate the end of exams and say their goodbyes. My roommate and I were hosting a small gathering in our room with our closest friends. After a couple of hours, people started leaving. Then, I realized the only people left were my roommate, his girlfriend, one of my best female friends and me.
My roommate wanted to go to bed and asked me if my best friend and I could move to my part of the room. We did. We continued drinking, talking and listening to music. We were having a good time. Suddenly, we started cuddling. I knew that what we were doing was wrong. But then, she asked, “Isn’t it obvious?” I pretended to not know what she was talking about and said, guiltily, “No.” “Isn’t it obvious that I like you?” I did not know what to say. I felt bad about the situation I had gotten myself into. We continued cuddling in my bed. We got closer and closer, and then we kissed. That was my first mistake.
That kiss was not like any other kiss. That kiss meant that I had cheated on my girlfriend. It marked the beginning of the end of my relationship. I was conflicted about what to do. Should I be honest with my girlfriend or should I hide it from her? I chose the latter, and not only because I was going to her place for the break. I also did this because she did not deserve such a thing; she had been nothing but good to me.
Things got better during the holidays, and we were happy again. To feel less guilty about what had happened, I decided to be partially honest with her. I decided to tell her that my best friend had confessed to me that she liked me. That was my second mistake: betray my best friend’s trust while still lying to my girlfriend. My girlfriend did not seem to mind. “I knew already. It is very obvious,” she said. I felt relieved.
When we came back to campus, I decided that I would continue being  as close to my best friend as I had been before. I did not want to make things awkward between us, and I enjoyed her company. Rumors started to spread around campus that I was not into my girlfriend anymore and that I was interested in my friend. My girlfriend asked me to stop seeing my friend so often, arguing that I should prioritize our relationship.
Then came my third mistake. I agreed and deleted my best friend from all social media platforms and started ignoring her when I saw her on campus. However, after a week, I started questioning my decision; I shouldn’t stop talking to my best friend just because my girlfriend told me to. With this in mind, I apologized to my best friend. We resumed being close and started flirting. There would be times when, after being with my girlfriend, I would go to hang out with my best friend. It was a vicious, toxic and harmful cycle; and as I said earlier, it was only a matter of time before people started to get hurt.
One weekend, my girlfriend found out that I had been drinking with my best friend and a couple of other people in my room. The following day, she told me that I had chosen my best friend over her multiple times. You know how that story ends. From then until a couple of days before graduation, I blamed my best friend for the breakup, only to end up hurting her — mistake number four. After some time, I understood that everything that has happened was my fault.
I am not happy with what I did. I hurt people who were really close to me, and I wish I had the opportunity to apologize. But we learn through trial and error, especially with relationships. We make mistakes over and over again until we learn from them. At some point, we also find a person we love and want to be with for the rest of our lives. If you love someone and would like things to last, be honest with them at all times. I can say this precisely because I’ve hurt people before. The moment you stop being honest, you are set to end up hurting them even more.
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