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Dear Anonymous Exes

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Dear Anonymous Exes:

I don’t know why I’m writing this letter. Maybe being surrounded by the plague and therefore constantly reminded of my own mortality has enticed me to look back on my life and start listening to Tori Amos albums again. Maybe watching my oldest child race toward that arbitrary mark of adulthood, the eighteenth birthday, has forced me to see my life through a wiser, more nostalgic lens. Certainly, my recent mental health struggles, rooted in ABA therapy in childhood, have made me scour my past for “aha!” moments to reflect on from my new perspective.

This new perspective is rooted not just in the arduous process of undoing or at least, learning to live with the way my personality was grafted onto me for the convenience of the adults in my life, but also from the stability of a relationship in which my partner and I have grown together and weathered personal changes and life’s traumas. As a romance writer, I constantly get asked if I draw on things from real life. I do, but not in the raised-eyebrows-wink-wink-research way people assume. It doesn’t take a ton of research to know whether or not you’d like to write about specific sex acts; emotional conflict has to be mined from personal experience to ring true. It’s all well and good to describe hurt or new love or anger with those words. It’s another thing to go back and in time and remember a specific moment when you felt a specific brand of one of those things.

As I struggle through this point in my career, wondering if there’s still room for me to write romance or if I still care about and enjoy the genre as much as I did when I started, where I’m going from here, I’ve been thinking about you, exes. Here are some messages to you, in no specific order, with no identifying markers and the continuity on shuffle:

You are in your forties. Please, do not buy a skateboard.

I will always consider you one of the loves of my life. I don’t know why I left you for a guy who’s considering buying a skateboard in his forties but after seeing the way you treated your partners after me, I’m so glad I did.

I shouldn’t have dated you. I was in love with your ex-girlfriend, not you. I just fundamentally did not understand my own sexuality and it caused me to misdirect my affection. Sorry I hurt you.

Okay, now that I think about it, I’m not 100% sure you’re actually going to buy that skateboard. Please, please tell me you’ve given up your shoplifting habit.

I know you had sex with the upstairs neighbor.

Dude, that was my first breakup. I’m sorry I cried so hard. I bet you felt terrible and you were really a nice kid.

The moment I met your parents, I knew we weren’t going anywhere.

After you broke up with me, I saw you from the window of my bus on the way home from work and I cried.

It was weird that you chose to dump me while I was asking you a question about Froot Loops.

You were too old to be dating a seventeen-year-old.

I should have lost my virginity to you.

Turns out, I’m not a terrible mother after all. I mean, I’m definitely not the mother you would have wanted for your children, so everything turned out for the best.

You smelled like a wet dog.

Hey, was that you in Red Lobster in 2008 waiting to go on a date, looking like you just got done painting houses? Pull it together, yo.

She’s out of your league, bro.

Your opening line was hilarious but I shouldn’t have gone home with you.

I can’t believe I let you break my heart.

I didn’t leave my watch at your place because I wanted an excuse to see you again. I left that watch at your place because I didn’t want to have to see you again. I just bought a new watch, bro.

In the future, don’t brag to the person you’re dating about how badly you treated all the people you dated before.

Your IG is ridiculous. We get it. You’re rich. Just like your parents.

Your IG is ridiculous. We get it. You have abs.

Your IG isn’t too bad. But your kids are ugly as hell.

You’re wrong about blowjobs being unhygienic but honestly, my neck has never been so relaxed in the early stages of a relationship.

I’ll admit it, I checked up on you out of curiosity. I’m so proud of the you that I knew years ago. I’m not gonna go digging but please don’t be a fucking Trump supporter.

I shouldn’t have lost my virginity to you.

Remember that time we were going to get groceries and you said, “Do you have the keys?” and I said, “Yeah,” and then we immediately started having tear-our-clothes-off sex on the floor right in front of the door? That was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever been able to pull off, in terms of smoothness and sexiness.

Why the fuck do you keep running into me right when we’ve both just noticed someone else’s fart? It isn’t my fart!

Sincerely,
Your Crazy Ex You Probably Still Tell Horror Stories About

PS. If I see you on a skateboard I’m gonna circle the block to make various demoralizing remarks, loudly.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Rekhyt
    Rekhyt

    “But your kids are ugly as hell.”

    🙁

    September 1, 2020
    |Reply
  2. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    “You smell like a wet dog.” Had a roommate like that once. HOW is it possible?? Honestly gagged every time I used our shared bathroom for two years.

    September 2, 2020
    |Reply
  3. Kat
    Kat

    That’s such a nice post, Jenny. I just realized that I was always the one ending up with a broken heart, except that one time when I broke up with my first who was an abuser, an asshole and ultimately a groomer. But if I could I would beat him to the ground for everything he did to me.

    September 2, 2020
    |Reply
  4. Aye
    Aye

    Leave kids out of this. Say what you feel about your adult ex partners, fine, those are your feelings. But don’t insult their kids’ looks. I love your blog and writing but that’s not OK. Don’t be a jerk.

    (Posted on the correct blog post this time)

    September 3, 2020
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      1. Her blog, her words, her rules.

      2. Conspicuously absent from this entry are names or any identity markers of any kind.

      3. Are you seriously trolling someone’s catharsis right now?

      September 4, 2020
      |Reply
      • Aye
        Aye

        1. Public domain, open for public comments.

        2. True.

        3. Nope, not trolling at all. Jenny calls people out all the time when she feels they’ve done something she disagrees with. Doing the same here. No trolling, just pointing out that there’s no need to insult innocent kids just because she doesn’t like their dad anymore. 🙂

        Be well!

        September 13, 2020
        |Reply
        • Monica (Anon)
          Monica (Anon)

          1. Public Domain does not excuse concern trolling, something of which you are most certainly guilty. Blog commenters are guests even if they disagree.

          2. This kind of negates your complaint, don’t you think?

          3. This is me, calling *you* out for your unnecessary and, frankly, pedantic and sanctimonious callout.

          And now look, we’re both guilty of vandalizing Jenny’s blogspace with tangential, counterproductive sniping! We ought to cut it out, lest we find ourselves in more than just the second, possibly eighth category of commenters.

          https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/09/18/how-to-be-a-good-commenter/

          I’m up for joining number ten if you are.

          You be well, too.

          September 16, 2020
          |Reply
          • Aye
            Aye

            Hi!

            I’m actually not concern trolling. In this instance, I am actually not on her side, nor am I pretending to be. I am simply noting that I do not think it’s right to insult children simply because you dislike their parent.

            This is not a case of “I support you, but you should stop this because other people perceive it as…” or “it would be better for you if…” but rather a case of “I think what you did was wrong. Your work is great! But this is not.”

            Sorry if there was any confusion there!

            That’s it.

            And to that point, no, I do not believe omitting personal details negates my point. Because again, my issue isn’t that I think it’s wrong because the kids might find out or something. I just think it’s wrong, period. Even if no one knows the identity.

            It’s a shame that voicing any disagreement or criticism is now viewed as trolling.

            I love Jenny’s work and I think she was wrong to say what she did. There is nothing more to it than that. 🙂

            I will certainly take a look at that link, but by and large I tend to believe that disagreement (even with people whose work you enjoy!) is part of a healthy society.

            I also do not feel like we are sniping, nor “vandalizing”. I also don’t feel that it’s particularly counterproductive!

            If you feel that way, perhaps you should not participate in it.

            However, I think our discussion is fine. It is really OK to disagree and even go back and forth and talk about it!

            I’ll be honest, I don’t know what you mean by categories of commenters or number ten.

            Be well!

            (and that is not meant in jest or sarcasm, but with sincerity, for the record)

            September 17, 2020
  5. Serena Joy
    Serena Joy

    I’m sorry your best friend since childhood died in a house fire seven years ago, but secretly I’m relieved that you never replied when I reached out to you. I didn’t know him as long as you did, but he and I were friends for a couple years before I even met you, and I had my own grief. Any kind of reconciliation would probably have involved you expecting me to take care of your feelings, without reciprocation, which wouldn’t be so bad except that you’d deny that it was happening. Again.

    The decent thing would have been to break up with me if you didn’t love me instead of staying with me because you figured you wouldn’t do any better.

    I sincerely apologize for you winding up without your clothes in a cruise ship cabin bathroom, drunk and sorting your emotional shit out, when my cabinmate returned. I should have let you know that I told him to come back in twenty minutes, though in my defense, I thought you heard us talking. Also, in my defense, you retrieving my bikini bottoms from where they were drying on the towel rack and putting them on, because you thought otherwise you’d have to emerge butt naked in front of said cabinmate, is one of the funniest memories I have of that cruise.

    I wish I’d slept with you. Your boobs are incredible.

    Thank you for not trying to maneuver me into a serious relationship talk at some point. I suspect it was because you were trying to avoid doing any hard work, such as saying things out loud like “I love you and want to have a real relationship with you”, which is actually kind of scuzzy. But it made it really easy for me to keep having NSA sex with someone I liked but didn’t love.

    Literally everybody knew your new chick was going to dump you, which is the only thing that remotely redeems you for getting involved with an eighteen-year-old. Seriously, even your mom was thinking “She’s not going to marry you, dumbass.” The fact that you even lasted six weeks is practically a miracle.

    I’m legitimately happy for you and your girlfriend, because you are my friend, but I miss your dick.

    I burned the books you gave me. Thomas Covenant still sucks.

    September 3, 2020
    |Reply

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