Originally published on Medium.
Hello, ___________________(Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial),
Well, well, well, look who it is. Long time no see, ___________________ (Last Name). How have I been? I’ve been awesome; I already know how you’re doing. You’re doing lousy because you’re scrolling through my Facebook feed checking to see how I’m doing. You feel terrible, I look great, and I’m still really funny so you’re beginning to question your reason for (circle one) breaking up with me/driving me to break up with you/disappearing into the ether like a fart. You’re different now and you want to meet up and buy me a (circle one) drink/car/island in order to put the past behind us. Maybe we’re meant for each other; you never know, right? People grow and timing is important. ___________________ (Last Name), you’re in luck. I’ve prepared this handy customizable guidebook to winning my heart so listen up, dork, because I’m busy and don’t have time for you to wander off the trail.
Let’s admit it. You ruined this because of (circle one) fear/shame/insecurity/age/timing/addiction, and now you want to make it right. You want another shot, because now you don’t have as much (circle one) fear/shame/insecurity/stupidity/demands on your time/substances in your system, and you realized that I’m pretty wonderful and you want to see what we could have together. Who could blame you? As your tour guide in the jungles of my scorned heart, I have created a handy list of tasks that you must perform in order to win back my attention and affection. You might think that, like a romantic comedy, you have to prove that you are better than some other arbitrary suitor in order to win my heart; you’re incorrect. You have something much greater to overcome — the voice of my better judgement telling me to light you on fire and run like hell.
1) Figure Out How You Really Feel About Me
No. Really. Plop your stupid ass down and think about it. Is the affection and missing you’re feeling because you just got dumped? Did you see my new Facebook picture and have your heart skip a beat? Are you really ready/improved enough to be someone who matters and is important to me? You have a lot ahead of you and I don’t have time for lip service. If you think you can fall in love with me and be an active member of my life, you may proceed to number 2. If you’re quibbling, either throw this away or close the tab. You have given up on page 1 of the Choose Your Own Adventure and no one likes that kid anyhow. I don’t have time for you to be unsure if you want me. It’s a zero sum game.
2) Invest in Knee Pads
How do you feel about begging? Oh, does it make you feel emasculated? Broaden your definition of masculinity then and start groveling. Does this hurt your pride? Good. It’s supposed to. Before you start pulling your “poor pitiful me” card and claiming I’m a misandrist, let me clarify that I actually don’t want you to become a withered shell of your former self like this is a bloody George Jones song. Frankly, that does me little good. But if you’re out there and praying and hoping I’ll reach out, forget it. I have pride too and you don’t get to think that your pride is somehow more important than mine. I probably cried when we (circle one) broke up/stopped being friends/I caught you on 4chan, and you probably coldly (circle one) shut down/said nothing and (circle one) walked away/blamed me for everything, so it’s your turn. The person who fails has to be the one who swallows their pride. (In the event that I failed, this is null and void but it only happened once). Start with “May I buy you lunch? I’d really like to see you” and expect a bile laden response that is not a rejection but will be less than enthused. Winning me back is like taming a lion, you’re never going to tame me all the way but I’m just fluffy enough to make it possibly worth it. Imagine getting to tell your friends you cuddled a lion! Are you kidding? Worth the risk of a mauled arm.
3) Get Over Yourself
I realize that for most of your life you’ve had the privilege of being insecure and fearful. You’ve been allowed to let these things rule your life. No longer. I’m sure it’s been really fun not dealing with anything and hoping that the world can read you fucking mind and love will wander into your apartment without you having to stick your neck out. But newsflash, I haven’t wandered into your apartment yet, so that Burmese tiger trap you’ve built there to get me to stay is not going to work. Every day I don’t wander into that apartment isn’t me rejecting you, it’s me trying to live my damn life in the wake of your disappointment. If you want me, tell me. Come and get me. You know where I am. I already tried everything I could think of, now it’s up to you to show me that you can be someone who I can depend on. And that means you’re going to be taking some shit for a while. So open your mouth and eat it.
4) Clean Your Fucking Apartment
Seriously? I need to tell you to change your sheets? Showing me that you’re at least good at faking adulthood is a decent start. Clean apartment, more than single ply toilet paper, and run a vacuum, dammit. Learn a recipe or some shit. If you put work into making your life better, then I can believe you will put work into making a situation with me better. Wallowing in your own filth feeling blue about why we didn’t work out is not going to get into my heart or into my pants. Speaking of pants, how about you learn a couple new sex tricks just to dazzle me a bit?
5) Be Patient
I’m sure you’re at the point where you’re calculating the amount of work that you would need to put into this to make a relationship with me happen. To overcome our baggage and all the names we called each other and to rebuild trust you must do all of these things and then deal with me not believing in you — for a while. It’s not permanent. My apathy isn’t eternal. I will say things that are mean but accurate. My distrust and performed aloofness will be constant for about three months. That’s your sentence. You must deal with me keeping you at arm’s length for three months, and then I will soften. I might even like you again. Maybe. Look, it’s hard okay? Relationships are hard and frankly I want to give you a second chance. I don’t want to hate you forever. But I have to test you because I need to know my investment in you, which will be unwavering, is a good move. I loved you once, right? I already invested in you. Show me that you can actually provide some emotional returns.
6) Now Get Off Your Ass
Staring at your shoes and listening to Coldplay is how you lost me in the first place. Pick up the damn phone before I’m the one that got away.