Guys
To the Boy Who Broke Me Without Knowing It
I would like to thank "nice guys" like you for teaching me how to fix myself.
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I was always a fiercely independent person. My parents raised me well; they taught me how to aim high—how to keep my grades, my job, and my future intact. They made sure I was self-sufficient, and thanks to them, I never depended on anyone.

I was practical enough to avoid "bad boys," though my parents neglected to tell me about  boys like you. I don't blame them for failing to teach me about picking up the broken pieces you left behind, or for not warning me that sometimes, the nicest guys are the most dangerous—that's the kind of thing you learn yourself. And if it weren't for you, I never would have known the truth, that I could be broken. So thank you for that lesson.

You weren't a bad boy, but ironically, that was the problem. You were such a great guy—kind and intelligent and so...different from all the other guys who were spoiled and self-entitled. Thank you for teaching me to be less cynical on the aspect of love. Thank you for showing me that not all guys were selfishly shallow. But most importantly, thank you for restoring my faith in romance; I was practical and serious for so long, but you taught me how to fall in love again.

Perhaps you knew how I felt. Perhaps you didn't. Even to this day, I'm still not sure if you ever cared about me. We would talk about every single thing under the sun, no matter how small, how solemn, or how shocking. We discussed everything together, whether it was something as austere as political matters or something as hilarious as punny memes. We shared our dreams together, and bonded over our big plans for the future. Finally, I had met someone who was as passionately driven as I was, and you felt the same way, too.

Basically, we became each other's person, the one who we could always talk to—the one person we thought would never leave. For indeed, just for a moment, what we had felt like it would last forever.

When you left, make no mistake: I was not devastated. After all, even before meeting you, I was a serious soul. I was not foolish. You had begun pulling away little by little. Until now, I don't know why. Maybe you were too busy with personal matters, like grades and health. That was understandable—except I shared those issues, too, and I still succeeded. Maybe you were tired of me. That would have been cruel, yet highly unlikely—because I see how you still care even now with your guilty eyes and blushing cheeks. Finally, after much much observation with your change—it's sad how you went from being my best friend to a mere stranger—I realized: You were scared.

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People usually think "nice guys" are the best guys—the perfect ones, the boys who have their entire life together. But your kindness was your undoing. It made you afraid of taking risks. You were too practical, too fearful of allowing your heart to speak instead of your mind for once. Your biggest asset became your downfall. Ever the gentleman, you left slowly, easing your way out of my life. You thought it was for our own good, that you were doing me a favor, that falling in love would only end up hurting us both. Well, you were right. I know you didn't intend to be mean, but did I really mean anything to you?

I know you didn't intend to be mean, but did I really mean anything to you?

In the end, you broke me, but only for a little while. You showed me more about life and love than I ever imagined. My old self shattered but I learned how to pick up the pieces again. You were a lesson learned—that love with someone was possible, after all, as long as I learned to love myself first. One day, my new self emerged, stronger and wiser than ever. I never would have improved without you. So to the boy who broke me temporarily but who allowed me to fix myself permanently: From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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Caitlin Anne Young
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