I’m the kind of girl that if we break up, you will never see or hear from me again. Most of my breakups have been relatively ugly and I have always cut my ex-lovers out of my life for good. Firstly, because it’s better for my mental health, and secondly, I just don’t have space for that kind of negativity in my life - there’s enough of it within myself that I need to deal with. Yet sometimes I still wonder what my exes would have to say about me, since I’m not on talking terms with any of them.
So, after talking to some friends about it and long nights of tossing the idea around, I decided to do it; I decided to reach out and interview an ex of mine. I believed I was strong enough and could handle the answers whatever they might be. I wrote up 10 questions and reached out to two of my high school ‘sweethearts.’ In a few days, I received a reply from one of them. She only agreed to answer my questions if she’d be able to read the finished product. I agreed but a few days later she asked me for another favour. She wanted me to answer the same questions but about her. My heart sank, this was not part of the plan and immediately sent me down the endless rabbit hole of anxiety.
It’s not that I still had feelings for her and was expecting something to happen from this interaction. She was also in, what it seemed like, a new happy relationship. And I had been with other people since our breakup. But her asking for me to answer 10 simple questions sent me spiralling. The project had taken an unexpected turn. I was caught off guard and felt like I’d lost control over the situation. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t understand why she would want these answers from me, after all she was in a happy relationship and shouldn’t need anything from me. But I agreed, because it sounded fair. She was doing something nice for me, so I owed her.
I just didn’t expect the tables to be turned on me, as I started answering my own probing questions, I felt physically ill. I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up. The idea behind my ex answering my questions was for me to reflect on myself. How I’ve grown and what I could possibly learn from my past relationships and mistakes. Yet it left me feeling worse than ever. I was stuck answering questions about a person I hadn’t seen in five years. A person that was once my best friend, my girlfriend and then a nobody.
I was forced to imagine the person I was 5-6 years ago, which was scary. It’s not like I was a bad person in high school, but I was a completely different version of my current self. Possibly better in some ways, worse in others. Definitely with less mental issues. But here are the answers she gave me.
1.What first attracted you to me?
Could’ve been the fact that the first time I met you, I was holding you up in a garden because you’d drunk so much you were throwing up everywhere! But I’d have to say that your smile and your laugh is what really won me over; the shit jokes and attempts at sarcasm really helped though.
2.What’s your favourite/least favourite memory of me?
Geography camp. My first real memory of us being ‘us’. From holding your hand on the bus to our teacher growling us for ‘whispering too loud’ when really we were kissing and cuddling on those terrible mattresses. I have so many memories of you but that first one will always be my favourite. Least favourite, easy. The day you left. My heart broke into a million pieces.
3.What did we have in common? If anything?
Music, photography and writing. I think those were the things we had the most in common. Aside from your hatred of country music, our music tastes were much the same and swapping songs was always one of my favourite pass-times with you. I think I mostly enjoyed photography and design at school because I got to sit next to you. Writing. English, Year 13. Writing in general and writing about you was as easy as breathing.
4.Why/how did we break up?
I ended it.
5.If circumstances didn’t dictate otherwise, do you think we would still be together?
That’s a hard question. I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it to be very honest. If you’d never left, I think it all could’ve been different but I wouldn’t change the last 3-4 years for anything else. I’ve learnt a lot about myself in that time and I can’t be certain that I would’ve learnt those same things or made the memories I have if we’d stayed together. Maybe in an another world, but it’s hard to imagine you not having left, I have no idea. So my answer is no.
6.Did you ever actually have feelings for me or was I there to just fill the void your ex-girlfriend left?
You were never anything less than someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I fell in love with you. Head over heels. I was all yours. I should’ve left her the day I met you, I tried ending things a few times but her saying she’d kill herself was too much for me to walk away from, which is the only reason I never fully did. She hated me and I knew it, but the mind games fucked with me way too much. She said to me one day, “the only reason I’m with you and stayed with you is so you can’t be with Maria.” The next day I ended things properly.
7.Do you still think about me sometimes?
Sometimes I wonder how you’re doing and that I hope things are going good with you, and that you’re happy. That’s all I ever wanted for you.
8.What’s my worst quality?
Easy. Not believing in yourself enough. I’m not sure if that’s changed at all in the last four years, but I’m sure you’re still finding ways to cut yourself down without reason.
9.Was I a good girlfriend?
Yes. Even when we weren’t ‘together’ as such, you were amazing.
10.In your opinion, how could I do better in my future relationships?
Just be you. Change is inevitable, especially in relationships, but staying true to who you are as a person will always be more than enough. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are enough. Believe in yourself, and everything else will work itself out. Plus, I know if I ever gave you advice you’d tell me to shut up and not listen to me anyway, haha.
Shockingly, reading her answers was a lot easier than writing my own answers. Would I do this again in the future? Maybe. But maybe when I’m in a more stable place mentally haha. Though some of the answers did say more about her than they did about me. But I did find out things that I never knew before and seeing myself through someone else’s eyes has always been incredibly fascinating to me, whether it be through the eyes of a stranger or a former lover.
I also feel like I got somewhat of a well deserved ego boost from reading her answers, maybe because I never viewed myself as good enough especially after her ending our relationship so abruptly. And I mean, who doesn’t like being called ‘amazing’ even if it does come from someone who is no longer in your life. Or maybe I should mention that two months after we broke up, I fell in love again, and spent two wonderful years with them, before being the one to end it this time. So maybe it’s not everyone around me, maybe it’s me...