I want to write a formal apology to my first, long-term, serious, romantic relationship. We met in college. We’d met our first year at school, but we started dating our sophomore year. I was immediately attracted to her. My current partner says she was the prettiest girl on campus. I’m saying that to brag, but, really, who’s counting? She was funny and interesting. We had common interests, common political leanings. She taught me to appreciate the depth of the Beatles’ oeuvre, and I introduced her to the magnificence that is David Bowie.
She studied Chemistry. That was her passion. She was wicked smart, but she was also dedicated. She would spend hours in the lab pushing herself to understand the material more. The thing is, she also took courses in sociology, political science, and literature. Sorry, she excelled in such classes. Like I said, she was wicked smart.
Finally, she had a sparkling personality. I’ve already mentioned that she was funny, but she was also kind and exuberant. It’s not quite right to call her active – she was book worm, but she had a joie de vivre.
Let me be clear, I am purposefully giving a positive portrayal of her. I am not trying to make her seem perfect. I just want to give a thorough impression of the positive and admirable character traits that she possessed. Our relationship did not last our undergraduate careers, but I feel safe in saying it was a relationship we can both look back upon and conclude that it produced some very fond memories.
Or, that’s what I thought. You see, I recently learned that I messed up. Look at this flyer:
This flyer was posted at a Wisconsin public high school. It is telling the boys in the school that they should not have premarital sex with their dates on prom night. Instead, these boys should protect the character of their dates.
You see, I left a very important part of our relationship out of my recap above. We never got married, but we had sex. Feel free to pause and compose yourself, dear reader. Trust me, my self-hatred is stronger than any shock, disgust, or disappointment you’re feeling toward me right now.
Go back and read about that wonderful girl that I dated in college. Go back and read about all of her positive traits. After college, she went on to complete a PhD in Chemistry, and she is currently a research associate at King’s College in London.
None of that matters, though. Does it? She’s broken. She’s ruined. I know that she is a separate human being from myself, and that she has gone on to live her own life since we broke up, but she’s a woman. I am the man. It was MY responsibility to protect her character, and I failed. She used to be bright and funny and exuberant. No longer. I ruined her. I’m not quite sure what she is now. I just know it is not good.
Arun, I am sorry.
To make up for my mistake, I promise to be a better person – no, a better man. You’re a woman, so you can’t be fixed. You are broken forever. I broke you. That is something I have to live with for the rest of my life. But I promise you that I will never do that again. Well, starting now, I promise that I will never do that again. I will never let my actions ruin the character of another woman again. I know I can accomplish this because I can rely upon the strength, courage, and determination that you used to possess – that I took away from you. This is my payment for my past offenses. This is the new me – the penitent man.