Dear Alex

Published 07, Dec, 2015

Toronto guy Josh pens a letter to his ex, the source of his HIV infection – and breaks free in the process

Dear Alex

A friend of mine recently shared this article from 2014 on Facebook, in which the author writes a letter to their ex-partner. The premise got stuck in my head all day today, and I got to thinking what I would want to say to Alex if I had one more chance; because now there are no more phone calls, no more emails… Contact has finally ceased. I know it’s a good thing for my own mental health, but it’s also the first time the void has been there, and it’s… odd. I feel a little lost. That said, I thought what better place to write out one final letter to Alex than right here. 

Dear Alex,

It likely seems odd to get a letter from me when I’ve insisted on no contact. I’m highly aware of the contradictory nature of this, but it’s for the better that I do contradict myself to say these things to you.

Our time together was… chaotic. It drained and exhausted me mentally; it made me a more difficult person to be around and it made me an angrier, less-trusting person. I’m not proud of any of those things, and nor am I proud of sticking around with you long enough to let those things happen. You’ve impacted my family life, my relationships with my friends, my career and everything in between. On top of all of that, your selfish infidelity changed not just your life, but mine in that you contracted HIV and passed it along to me, all the while saying I should trust you and that the monogamy that I followed was something you followed too.

Despite all that, though, I want you to know that I’m letting go of every single ounce of anger that I feel towards you. I’m asking the universe to suck it up, and I’m going to try and move forward tomorrow with the first good day I’ve had in a long time. I’m going to go to work, and not be angry when things go wrong. I’m going to make sure my friends know how much I care about them and that even though sometimes I go quiet and aloof, it’s not their fault and they don’t need to worry about me. I’m going to tell my parents that I love them, and then I’m going to cuddle up with my dog and a book.

I think you’re broken – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think you’re lost and you kept looking to me for guidance and forgiveness at a time when my own life was chaotic. You weren’t there for me and I was unwilling to be there for you. I’m still not going to be there for you, but it’s not because I’m mad or hate you. It’s because I know that when we talk or when we are together, it just doesn’t work. We spent too long trying to make the most wrong thing ever work. I can’t make that mistake again.

You taught me how to love; how to share myself with another person; you pushed me and encouraged me to be better: you told me to go back to school, pressured me to apply and I did. Now, I’m carrying a full-time job and a course load that will see me achieve my goal of finishing university. So thank you for motivating and encouraging me.

You’re going to be fine. Life is going to work out for you, and for me. But it’s time for us to be, in your words, ships passing in the night. Take care, Alex. You’ll always be fondly remembered as someone of great importance in my life.