Dear Elline,⁣

About 10 years ago, I was playing a show, and she was photographing the event. During the show’s intermission, our common friends introduced us, and we clicked immediately. That night to me was wild. Talking to her was spellbinding, I didn’t even realize it was time for me to go on stage and play again. So when I had to run back, I spontaneously and instinctively asked if she could hold onto my personal belongings in her bag. And, I mean, I left all my valuable stuff in her bag, including my cell phone, my wallet, and my keys. We just had met, she could’ve been a random person who would take away with my stuff, but, subconsciously, I so desperately wanted to talk to her afterward, I guess my gesture came as an effort to reconnect with her.⁣

After the show, we ended up hanging out. I walked her to her car, and I couldn’t resist asking her out again. Our connection grew stronger and developed into a solid relationship. At first, she thought I took our relationship very casually because of my relaxed attitude. It took her a while to realize that I genuinely and madly loved her.⁣

I fell in love with her personality; she was very out-spoken and honest, with a fantastic sense of humor. Oh boy, and how she enjoyed food. She was the embodiment of myself, but a female version, more graceful and attractive. She was respected and admired amongst her friends and peers. We had great chemistry and connection; we would laugh all the time, even after the break-up. ⁣

After one year of dating, I went to college overseas, and she moved for work elsewhere. She was trying to communicate with me, and I was fixated on being immersed in the college experience: focusing on work, meeting new people and making new friends. So I established the boundaries. I purposely told her that I didn’t want to be the kind of guy chained to Skype every day, holding on to something that is not physically next to me. And she respected and understood my decisions, even though, in time, those actions took their toll on her.⁣

I wouldn’t travel back home, hardly at all. The one time I did visit, we got to see each other for a bit, but, in our last days there, I chose to work with random people rather than meet up with her. I was confident to a point where I wasn’t actually thinking about her and what she was feeling. I kept telling myself that she’ll be fine, she’s my girlfriend, she should be happy for me exploring all these new opportunities. But there is a certain amount of responsibility you take, a certain kind of attention you give your loved one in a relationship, all of which I did not give at that time. She ended up leaving without properly seeing me. ⁣

When people ask me why we broke up, I say it’s my fault because I insisted on not making an effort in maintaining the healthy communication and intimacy she was looking for. I did the bare minimum. All the while, all she wanted was for me to be emotionally present for her, and to show effort, however little or big. I was encouraging her to deal and process long distance the way I did, but, in essence, we were different people with different needs. I didn’t want to accept that then. I believed there was a light at the end of the tunnel for us and things were going to work out, completely unaware of how toxic it was for her not to be able to have someone to validate her feelings.⁣

Eventually, she hung on for so long, she got drained. Meanwhile, I was contradicting myself to the point of delusion, saying I wanted the relationship, but I wasn’t putting in the effort. I even told myself we were still together when she was moving on.⁣

During our relationship, we didn’t confide in anyone. Part of the reason why we kept to ourselves was that during all 4 years together, our relationship was never made official. I also barely spoke to my parents about any of my relationships. As such, we didn’t have an outlet to talk about what was happening and no one was able to offer us sound advice and guidance. It just kind of imploded on its own. Looking back I am confident it would’ve made such a big difference if I had opened up, even to new friends. ⁣

This experience has taught me so much. I’ve humbly learned the importance of being considerate, empathetic, and less selfish when it comes to a loved one. That a relationship means creating a space for both my partner and me, and that the other person has a life, expectations, and it’s not just about my career or my needs, it’s about meeting people half way. I learned to listen better and not hold on to the idea of someone or to the comfort of what a relationship means. ⁣

Through a very long and painful process, I found that if I genuinely love somebody, I have to let them go. And trust that God will put things in place. ⁣

She recently got engaged. We already reconciled before that, but I believe the real closure for me was when I sent her a message congratulating her, expressing how genuinely happy I am for her and that I’ll be her friend for life.⁣