Right about now, you are sitting there wondering why I reached out (called/ emailed/ texted/ sent a friend request on Facebook) to you. I can almost see you sitting there, looking at your phone (computer screen), scratching your head, wondering if you should pick up (or respond or accept the request.)
Simply put, yes. Why? Because I'm not crazy, I'm not stalking you and I don't want to ruin your life (or mine.) I want to be friends. Really? Yes. Friends. (And maybe it's a little bit because I've hit 40 and am feeling nostalgic for the good old days.)
First, if it helps to put your mind at ease, I'm very stable in my life these days (not that I was ever "unstable," I don't think). Aside from making it to the ripe old age of 40 without being a drunk or addict of any kind, I have a stable home life - husband, kids, mortgage, 3 car garage, job - and I'm happy. I am sure that you are similarly well situated in your life, in your own town, somewhere else in the country. I am not looking to break up your life any more than I'm considering breaking up mine.
I can see you scratching your head again, wondering why I contacted you, if not to rekindle some old, possibly imagined flame. I can see that the "friendship" idea is very confusing to you. I will try to explain.
When we dated, we were kids. I'm sure plenty of 18/19/20 year olds today would argue with my characterization of that age as "kids," but there it is. When I look back at my life then, and when I see young adults of that age now, I think "kids." I also think that I was then, and they are now, truly clueless as to the ways of the world, and existing without any idea of how things will work in the "real world."
When we dated, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted from life. Yes, I was sure that I wanted to go to law school, come hell or high water. I knew that I was a basketball and volleyball player and I knew that I enjoyed a modicum of success on the playing field and in the classroom. Beyond that, I had no idea. I was lost. You might have been someone who "showed me the way," so the speak, if even for a brief moment of time in my life. Perhaps you were someone who corrected me in such a way as to guide me to a better or different path (aside from the law school thing.) Or perhaps you were just one of those bad mistakes that helped me later make a good choice.
When we dated (hung out/ slept together/whatever), I'm pretty sure I was looking for someone to like me for me, but I was not sure who I was. I know I was searching for something, but probably did not know what it was. Being as unsure as I was on the inside, I probably said or did things that would make me cringe today. Maybe I called you too often, or couldn't let go when it was time to. Maybe I said "I love you" too soon, or maybe I did not say it at all when you wanted me to. It's hard to say now, looking back 20 years or so.
Regardless, at that time, I was a lost kid, clueless in the ways of the world, and you helped shape who I am today, even if just in a tiny way. (I can't help but wonder at what our relationship (if we had one) would have been like 10 or 15 years in the future.) The bottom line is this - something brought us together when we were young - shared interests, similar likes or dislikes, sports, a friend.... whatever. But because of our age, or circumstances, or just who we were back then, it did not work out. Either I broke up with you or you dumped me, or I moved 3000 miles away, it ended. I would like to think that even though our relationship did not work, some of those things we had in common then still hold true today and because of it, we can be friends.
If this scares you more than comforts you, my apologies. I will share just one more tidbit. When I was in college, I met a guy my sophomore year. We had instant chemistry and hit it off really well. He was at a different school and so our paths were sometimes different. Over the next 2 and half years, we would come together and drift apart several times, never really being at the right time or place in our lives at the same time to make it work, but we remained friends throughout. When I moved to Los Angeles, his was one number that I kept on speed dial, and I called him more times than either of us could probably remember. When he needed it, he leaned on me too. Despite the distance, we continue to be friends to this day, and he was even in my wedding. It is that friendship that I looked to as an example when I reached out to you - knowing that something had brought us together at the time, but because of "life," it did not work out. Perhaps that underlying friendship is still there. One can hope. (And no, I don't consider myself someone who has "enough" friends - you never know when you might need another one.)
On a side note, there are guys in my past that I have no desire to ever speak to again. Those were the ones that I would consider bad choices. And no, I'm not saying that just because they were guys that broke up with me. As far as most of them go, I walked away from those relationships, and am glad to have been rid of them.
I'm not sure this helps explain why I sent you that friend request (or text or email). Maybe it is because somewhere inside of me, that lost kid is still wandering around, wanting to make sure that I've done something right, or wanting to make sure that even though it did not work for us, I am still a likable person and it really wasn't me, it was you, when we broke up. But mostly, maybe it is because I remember the good times that we had, and I miss you as a friend.