To All My Exes: I'm Sorry for Your Loss

Crystal Jackson

I’m sorry for your loss.

That’s what we should really say when a relationship we wanted doesn’t work out. But letting go of past lovers can be a struggle. We can find ourselves stuck in resistance.

I used to get so caught up in the idea of what I was losing that I forgot to consider their loss.

In order to be able to effectively let go, we need a moment where we call to mind our own value. Instead of looking at our loss and what we miss about the other person, we need to absorb the fact that they lost us, too.

Let’s put aside who ended the relationship and if it ended amicably or went out in flames. When we grieve what’s gone, we do it because our thoughts are focused on their absence and not on our own presence. In fact, we take our presence for granted, and the ideas of self-love and self-care tend to fall away when we’re deep inside that grief.

When our perspective shifts to take in our own worth (not just theirs), our hold on the past begins to loosen.

Suddenly, we realize the major fact that we’ve been overlooking:

The ones we lose lost us.

Just think about that: they lost us. They lost our wonderful selves. They will wake up each day without us in their lives and will miss out on our beautiful lives.

We will grow and change until they don’t know us anymore, and if they don’t feel sad about that, we can feel a little sad for them. They won’t get to be the person we call when we’ve had a great success or a stunning loss. They become nothing to us, and if that’s not sad for them, I don’t know what is.

It almost wants to make you reach out to offer your condolences, only we know we shouldn’t reach for help from the source of our hurt. Instead, just being able to recognize that we’re not the only ones who lose when we’re left is an amazing realization. It has the capability to help us let go — if we allow it.

I had a holy shit moment when I realized this. I began to change my perspective and realize that the ones I missed would be missing out on me. It stopped me in my tracks. I sat down to think about that because I know my value, even if grief occasionally causes me to forget it.

Instead of constantly feeling lucky that someone chooses to be with us, we need to remember they’re also lucky if we allow them into our lives.

When we start to realize our own value, we can begin to feel the tiniest bit sorry for the ones who don’t choose to share our lives when we’re inviting them to do so. We come to a point where we realize that they weren’t doing us a favor by sharing our journey. We begin to embrace the fact that they were lucky to have the opportunity to be there with us, and our absence is a loss to them whether they acknowledge it or not. They may not even feel the loss of us, but we can know that what they lost was something extraordinary.

Our grief is often more for the loss of who we were inside the relationship. We fall in love with falling in love, and we grieve the experience when it’s gone.

Perhaps we need to fall a little more in love with ourselves.

When we stay in that mindset of self-love, our relationship with love and dating changes.

We begin to value ourselves so much that we don’t waste a single minute on anyone who doesn’t recognize it. We also shift our focus to ourselves, spending time nurturing our own lives rather than worrying about our partners. We begin to make self-care a priority, and we start to understand that having healthy boundaries is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves or others.

We shift away from holding on to people who didn’t want to keep us. It’s not that we don’t feel love or grief anymore. We’re just more able to process those feelings so that we can heal and move on to whatever’s next for our lives. It creates this truly open space for new love and life opportunities if we let go of the weight that’s holding us down.

In the meantime, we can feel a little sorry for any fool who let us go.

I think it will help us to release past lovers in peace when we realize that we’re worthy of every good thing. Maybe we’ll quit feeling like we’re the only one who’s lost something special. We’ll recognize that they, too, lost something beautiful and extraordinary.

Maybe knowing that they’ve lost out when they lost us will help us to let go of them. We can stop living with the regret that it’s over and begin to be glad that anyone who can’t see and appreciate our full value got out of our way so we could create beautiful lives without them. When we finally let go, we can fall into a deeper love with ourselves and trust that our beautiful journeys will lead us toward a love that sees our true worth.

Instead of sending out our condolences, we can let the past rest in peace and move on. We can be sorry for their loss. And really, truly glad that we didn’t fuck up and lose ourselves instead of them.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails:

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