An Open Letter to All Ex-Boyfriends, Flings and Things

You bet I bitched and complained about you to my roommates, mom, best friend and anyone else who would listen. Of course I called you names, wished you nothing but bad days (see "Bad Day" by Darwin Deez) and spread the news to every girl I knew that you were a heartless monster. No matter what our situation may have been, I think there was always something to be a little hurt about when the relationship ended and that backfire was only natural. So I am sorry I told everyone you were a douchebag. Sometimes feelings suck. However, now that I look back, I have a whole lot to sincerely thank you for.
You taught me I deserve better. It was easy to devalue myself when you didn't treat me the way I knew I deserved to be treated. Eventually, all girls catch onto the kind of love they deserve. Thank you for teaching me not to settle.
You taught me that if someone is not willing to do the little things, they will never do the big things. If you can't open a door or say "bless you" after someone sneezes, why would I believe you to be a gentleman on any other grounds? Thank you for acting less than chivalrous.
You taught me that I'm not perfect. Sometimes it takes a person who has seen my flaws, to truthfully point out what I am doing wrong in relationships. Thank you for the honesty. I may have resisted it in the moment, but criticism only brings about improvement. Thank you for not putting me on an impenetrable pedestal.
You taught me how to be a better kisser. Enough said.
You taught me that love does not always play out the way it does in movies. Sure I may think I want the Ryan Gosling type who will write me a letter everyday for a year but then again, I have learned that maybe we don't all need the Bella and Edward love story. Thank you for showing me what a genuine love story looks like.
Lastly, you taught me that I am strong enough to find happiness without you. Of course I have always found happiness within relationships, but more than anything, my experiences with you have taught me that the world does not have to end when the relationship does. With that being said, you can still account for the week's worth of tears that followed the separation. Eventually though, I moved on and found the strength in myself to continue on. One day I realized that you were put into my life for a reason and most of the time it was to teach me something. Thank you for breaking my heart because it forced me to learn how to put it back together.