If You Thought I Was ‘The One’, Why Didn’t You Treat Me Like It?

Months after our breakup, you once said that you had no interest in dating anyone anymore. I tried to encourage you, telling you that you would find someone who was a better match for you than I ever was. When you told me that was impossible, because you thought I was the one, it truly caught me off guard. I never asked you, but there is a question that has been burning inside of me for years, ever since that conversation. It keeps me up at night. I search for the answer in my own reflection, as I linger and stare back at myself in the bathroom mirror for a few seconds too long every time.

If you thought I was the one, why didn’t you treat me like it?

Why didn’t we ever go anywhere unless I paid? Why didn’t we go out on dates, besides short, unromantic walks to the local liquor store or to your bed? Why did the night always have to finish just because you did? Why did you make my requests of common sense, common courtesy, and basic decency sound like requests for impossible gymnastics or like I was asking too much? Why did accommodating my basic needs feel like bending at unnatural angles for you? Why did you tell me my expectations were too high, when in reality, the level of effort that you were willing to put into our relationship was just too low? Why did my coworker, who was barely a friend, treat me better than you did? Why did that practical stranger make me feel so much more at home?

Why didn’t you prioritize us? Why didn’t you set boundaries with the girl I repeatedly told you made me uncomfortable with the way that you were always texting her every time we were together? Why did I have to beg you to be present in the moment with me instead of caught up in text conversations with her? Why did you dismiss my discomfort every time, telling me she was “just a friend”, when we both know that you started out by telling your ex the exact same thing about me? Why did I have to break up with you before you took me seriously? Why didn’t you talk to your friends about how they interacted with me and each other under my posts on social media, despite knowing that I had family and former teachers on there? Why did you always defend them and their behavior instead of acknowledging how inappropriate it was and how uncomfortable it made me? Why didn’t it bother you that I couldn’t befriend your friends on social media or tag you on Facebook out of fear of the cringy things that they would say under my posts? Why was male acceptance more important to you than the acceptance of the one with whom you were trying to build a home?

Why didn’t your effort match my own? Why did you let me look and feel stupid during holidays and birthdays when I would go out of my way buying gifts for you and your family, but you didn’t even think to do anything for mine because it would cut into your cigarette, weed, and alcohol funds? After I gave you a book signed by your favorite author for your birthday, why did you think it was acceptable to turn around and give me a stuffed animal that was literally a chew toy for your family member’s dog for mine?

Why did you paint me out to be the villain? Why did you turn childhood friends against me because I hurt your feelings by telling you the truth that we both already knew? I deserved better, and you weren’t willing to give what I gave. I deserved someone who matched my effort, not wasted my effort on someone who wanted to be saved. 

Above all else, why did you think I was the one? Was it me you fell for, or was it your idea of the person you thought I was? In your mind, was I the one because you thought I would let you get away with putting in the bare minimal effort? Is that your idea of how you’re supposed to treat someone who you believe you’re going to spend your life with? Is that how you plan to keep her? If that’s the case, I will always be thankful that I wasn’t the one. I pray for whoever is.