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A Letter to My Exes: I’m Sorry You Never Knew Me

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ~Brené Brown

To all of my ex-boyfriends, ex-lovers, and especially my ex-husband, I am so sorry.

I’m sorry because I never gave you the chance to really know me. I hid myself from you. I showed you the smallest version of myself because I didn’t trust you to meet me in my strength, my bigness, and my desire. Well, in truth it was I whom I did not trust with my strength, bigness, and desire. I was scared to be in my full expression, afraid that I would die if I were to really presence myself.

I didn’t know I thought this; I didn’t know I was driven by fear and shame. But I was.

I wasn’t courageous enough to be vulnerable and exposed. I needed you to want me, so I tried to fit the mold of what I thought you needed me to be for you. I convinced myself that I was happy to be the object of your desire. I thought I was okay with the way you touched me, and the way you judged my body as an object.

I didn’t know any other way to be with you, but each time I allowed this to happen, allowed myself to be an object for you, a part of me died.

This is the irony of being driven by fear. In being afraid that I would die if you saw all of me, I killed parts of myself in the simple act of hiding from you.

It was a slow, painful death.

I blamed you.

If it was your fault that I felt small in the world, I didn’t have to look at my own limitations and flaws. If it were you who weren’t enough for me, then I wouldn’t have to look at my own fear of not being enough.

My dissatisfaction with you was not your fault. It was mine. I had a fantasy of what a relationship would look like, and I tried to make you into the object of my imagined relationship. No real connection could emerge when I hid myself while trying to make you into the man I thought I needed. I’m sorry for only wanting my wishful version of you, rather than the real you.

I wanted you to be better, but you seemed happy with this small version of me. I resented you for that. How could you be happy with “small” me?

I cooked, I cleaned, and I performed well in bed, never expressing my truth, my passion, or my desire. When I felt hurt by you, I led you to believe that I was okay with everything. I never told you. I never let you see my pain or how I was impacted by you. I just tried to be better for you, to be less of who I was and more of who I thought you wanted.

I took your satisfaction with “small” me to mean you didn’t want me to be big and self-possessed. But I never asked you. I never even let you know that there was more to me. I never gave you the opportunity to know the depth of who I really am, and for this I am so sorry.

By staying quiet and complicit, I led you to believe that I was my mask. That my body and mind were all that there were, and I hid my soul from you.

I never let you see the immense bigness of my heart or the power of my spirit. I never let you touch me deeply in these hidden places, and I took your lack of trying as lack of interest. So I pretended that I was okay with this, that a surfaced connection was enough for me.

It wasn’t.

I wanted you to know all of me. I wanted you to see the vast and endless range of my being. I wanted you to touch every single part of who I am. I wanted your soul to make love to mine, and I never let you have the chance because I hid all of that goodness from you.

I am so incredibly sorry.

From the far reaches of the universe, where my soul touches the hands of the divine mother and father, I am sorry.

And to my future lovers, I promise to never rob you of the opportunity to really know me. I will be revealed to you, fully and wholly. I promise to let you know who I really am and what I really want. And I promise to meet you there, too, seeing your vastness and immense power. I will gift you the opportunity to lift me up with your masculine strength as I will embrace you with my feminine openness.

No more games. I am here for real love, a love that is deep and powerful and expansive—a love that is aligned with the greater good.

About Harmony Kwiker

Harmony Kwiker, MA, is a psychotherapist, author, and teacher who has been empowering people to live from their true self for over twenty years. Facilitating people in deep healing, integration, and relational connection, Harmony leads workshops and has a private practice outside of Boulder, CO and online. Find out more about her work at www.harmonykwiker.com.

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  • Nati

    WOW!!! So powerful and probably what almost every woman has wanted to say at one point and just didnt know how to express it. Thank you for this!!!

  • Kelly “Serenity 45”

    This letter sums up my whole life!!

  • tim treadwell

    This is just self aggrandising first world type non problem. ridiculous.

  • Ari Maayan

    Thank you Harmony!!! This is a powerful piece. Its power lies in its truth for everyone one of us. I don’t think that anyone is exempt. I’m sure as hell not. I agree with Serenity 45 who says that the “letter sums up my whole life”. Thanks to you too Serenity. Men are just as included in women in this process. Where does anyone think that all of our male macho bullshit comes from? Fear of being who we truly are and fear of stepping into our GENUINE power instead of the bunch of painful bluff and bluster that it takes us to maintain our “superman” complex. I’m only finding this now as I am in my life’s closing years. But, no regrets. It is better to have learned late than never to have learned at all.

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Love to you, serenity 45!

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Yes! Ari, dee gratitude for speaking the masculine voice here. Your awareness of your pattern makes me think you are practiced in authenticity. How do you bring this into your life?

  • Ari Maayan

    After 5 marriages and divorces (some of us learn slower than others), a light came on in my heart and a seed sprouted in my dim consciousness that I could allow that light to be one of bitterness and failure, in which case it would destroy me. Or I could allow it to be a small piece of enLIGHTenment. And so it grew until I realized that my self will needed to be replaced by God’s will. I have lived alone for 6 years now. I have used this time as a retreat from female companionship and relationship to become the man that Creator put me on this planet to be. I will never compete this journey, for it is a journey and not a destination. But now I am a man who can present himself to a woman who is on a similar journey…and we can grow together. I am ready for this next step now and I approach it with joy and trepidation.

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Yes! I love knowing more about your process and I’m in total celebration of your sovereignty. Love

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Nati, I love knowing that you have resonance with my words. Sending love on your journey of authentic connection

  • Ari Maayan

    Thanks Harmony. Love and blessings to you and all who you touch!

  • Cate

    I echo Ari: What a powerful piece! I appreciate the accountability you express and completely share your view. Two additional thoughts: While we are behaving this way with lovers, they often are doing the same with us. And, our fears of being rejected if we reveal our complete selves are sometimes well-founded: Lovers who prefer the fantasy you to the real you will, in fact, leave. This just drives home your foremost point about learning to accept ourselves in our full expression. Others may or may not do so, but it’s our orientation toward ourselves, not theirs, that determines authenticity. Thank you for this wonderful article!

  • John Dunlap

    Sheesh! We’re I to send this to my ex, she would (1) Not read it all because it takes an hour too long to do so; and (2) She’d think it was a suicide note!

  • Ann Wayne

    Wow this was powerful. I felt like it was

    talking about me. I always felt I wasn’t good enough or if I marry this person I can feel pretty, smart and be proud of & happy. It’s amazing how your childhood experiences and pass can end relationships/marriages if you’re not right with yourself. It took me to be 50 yrs old to see the truth. I put my self first, search for peace and I finally found joy and happiness with myself. I’m happy and overjoyed to say that I’m finally at peace and found a good peaceful man to share with. I owe it all to my Buddhist nun, my God, my 3 children and now great friends. I’m focusing on the NOW, letting go of my past and not worrying about my future. Namaste and God bless.

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Hello Ann, I appreciate your vulnerability in your share here, and I love knowing that you have found peace. Overcoming our conditioning and healing into life can be the most profound and empowering experience. Love

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Yes! It’s all about our relationship with ourselves and how our intimate relationships are a reflection of that. Relationships are a great training ground for our awakening. Love

  • Ann Wayne

    Ty Harmony, your comments are encouraging and also appreciated. I feel it’s important for others to know there are ppl out there dealing with sadness, sorrow, and pain. They’re not alone and miracles do happen. I’m a testimony. Kind regards, Ann.

  • Jessica Caston

    this is one of the best articles i’ve ever read! thank you so much 🙂

  • Trudie van der Merwe

    Wow that’s profound I’ve been doing that my whole life… fitting the mold of what I thought they wanted. No wonder my relationships never worked out. When you morph into something/someone else to be what you think they want, you lose yourself and essentially the things that attracted them to you in the first place. In the last relationship I was in I was just my natural self and he loved me like I’ve never been loved before. He saw the inner beauty of me. He saw me for who I really am and it was great and I felt amazing for someone seeing, appreciating and loving the real me. It was also way less stressful and I could just be my natural spontaneous self and he loved every bit of it. I would defnitely recommend just being yourself. I know it’s not easy but you have to.

  • April Jones

    You know what it says to me. That you’re apologizing for your imperfections. I’m sorry for not being perfect, but you are perfect the way you are. Why are we apologizing for ourselves? We handle things as we are able in that moment. I would self acceptance in our moments of imperfection are just as important as accepting others.

  • Namrata Kumar

    That is so so true. We all try to be what we think the other person wants. We hide from others and more importantly from ourselves. And we can actually be ourselves and be finally happy. Love your message. More power to you Harmony.

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Jessica, I feel so happy knowing that you liked this piece so much. Wishing you authenticity and connection in your intimate relationships.

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Trudie, I love knowing that you’ve had the experience of unconditional love after trying to earn love earlier in your life. Thank you for sharing a bit of your process here. Love

  • Harmony Kwiker

    Namrata, Thank you! Being revealed in intimacy takes courage…and it’s so liberating!

  • Sherry Ann Merland

    Thank you, I really needed this. My ex passed away 3 years ago and it’s been a struggle since, but after reading this I understand what happened. Now I can heal and forgive myself. This really means so much to me, thank you and many blessings to you.

  • GRAY, Wm. Allan

    Excellent article! It speaks directly to the new self awareness of the Writer/Authorr.

  • Emily West

    This hit my heart in such a real way. I always hid myself .