To All the Men I’ve Loved Before: Thank You, Next

Tom. Trevor. Kyle. David.

That feels so fucking good.

You see, I never expected to write a post in which I used your actual names. I envisioned a blog I’d title something vague—Letters to My Exes and Ohs, for example—and use specific memories or words I thought you’d recognize to indicate which ex I was referencing in that letter.

But then Ariana Grande came through with a song that empowered me to speak to you directly (I’ll pause for your laughter over the fact that a pop song influenced me to write today. Welcome to the mind of Kendall Fisher! Lol). And even better—this song is almost exactly the way I’ve written all those letters to you in my head time and time again.

Society has set this precedent that you’re supposed to hate your exes. But I’ve never agreed with that.

All I’ve ever wanted to say was…Thank you.

So grab a glass of wine or whiskey or tequila (you all differ in taste). Here’s a toast to you:

Tom: Thank you for my very first love.

That speaks a million words already, doesn’t it? You taught me what it means to love. How fucking incredible is that? I had never known anything like it. I remember you picking me up in the mornings before school in your white Toyota Tundra, starting my day with a smile like sunshine, even when it was gloomy and gray. We were typically late. I remember meeting you by my locker in between classes—you always had a root beer in your backpack and a big hug ready to embrace me and melt my heart all at the same time. I remember sneaking into the football stadium after the 3rd of July and running through the high school telling myself, “This is what love is. This is what all the movies and books and songs have told me about. I never want this feeling to go away.”

And I remember fighting.

I saw my parents fight growing up. So, as I got older, I just assumed fighting was a part of true love. And I fought with you, so hard. I never got to tell you sorry for that.

We broke up about a year into our relationship. I moved on pretty quickly. We got back together for a moment in time, and throughout the years, we’d see each other here and there, and I always wondered, what if….

You’re married now.

I didn’t call you to tell you congratulations. I didn’t want to be the ex-girlfriend who still came around when you finally found your happy ending. But I was so fucking happy for you.

So let me end it this way: I’m sorry for fighting with you like I did. I’m still trying to overcome that flaw. I’m so happy for you and your beautiful wife and the life you’re creating together. And thank you. Thank you for being the perfect boy—at the time—to teach me what love really is, to prove to me from the start that I would never accept anything less than that kind of relationship and to care for me through all those years. I am so grateful.

Thank you, Tom, for my very first love.


Trevor: Thank You for a love that was never easy.

This one is difficult for me.

I was 18. You were 25. And you were married.

At the time, I had no idea what was going on. I was so fucking young and so fucking naïve. But my God did I love you. It’s not hard to do.

You swept me off my feet and kept me elevated with flowers and gifts and letters of love and lies. I know you’re a romantic. We’re so similar in that way. So I believed you because I believed in love and I believed in us.

You gave me the mature relationship I was looking for at such a tender age. We shared bank accounts and discussed credit scores. We went alone on vacations together and drank expensive champagne when neither of us could afford it. You cared for my mom and my brother in a way I could never describe. You showed me what it meant to be spoiled in love, and you set the bar high for every man who came after you. I’ve never expected anything less, eight years later.

And we fought. A lot.

I broke up with you every Thursday so I could go out partying with my college friends. You were reaching out to your (beautiful, amazing, kind, intelligent) ex-wife throughout our entire relationship.

I broke up with you because we both finally had it. A few months later, I called my mom crying—you’d gotten back together with her. I wasn’t crying out of sadness. I was, admittedly, a little embarrassed. However, I was mostly breathing a deep and important sigh of selfish relief. You two could finally continue writing the chapter you needed to write (and eventually conclude it in the proper way, too). And I would have nothing to do with it.

You’re married again now with two beautiful daughters who my best friend loves so much.

My best friend.

I almost lost her because I chose to love you. So, thank you, Erin, for forgiving me and loving me and being one of the world’s greatest friends when I really didn’t deserve it. I could never do life without you.

Thank you, Jen, for forgiving and accepting me. You are the epitome of kindness, compassion, understanding and strength. You inspire me.

And thank you, Trevor, for testing my ability to love through a challenging chapter. My skin thickened, and I accepted my teenage naivety as a lesson learned, and something I’d never let happen again. In turn, you taught me what it meant to be in a mature relationship, and your generous love set the bar high for all the men who came after you. You’re the ultimate Prince Charming. I know you’ve only ever wanted your happy ending. I hope you have that, and I am so grateful.

Thank you, Trevor, for a love that was never easy.


Kyle: Thank you for a love that never happened.

I contemplated whether I should really write about you in this.

But here I am.

I loved you. I never told you at the time. You were the first person with whom I’ve ever experienced heartbreak from a different perspective.

You were intelligent and mysterious, goofy and handsome. You loved your family and cared for your friends. So many girls wanted you, and you were unattainable.

I hoped so badly to be your girlfriend. I did everything to make it happen—I dressed the way you liked. I acted the way you liked. I made myself available around your schedule. I was everything I’d promised I’d never be. When I loved you, I stopped loving myself. It’s no wonder you never loved me back.

Thank you for teaching me that lesson.

Never again would I change myself for a man. Never again would I prioritize a relationship over my self-worth. Never again would I stop loving me.

You showed up to my mom’s funeral a few months after we’d stopped hanging out. You were the first person there and the last person I’d ever tell my mom I loved. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You taught me one of life’s most valuable lessons.

Thank you, Kyle, for never a love that never happened.


David: Thank you for a love that will last a lifetime.

You hate when I write about you.

But writing about you is one of my greatest gifts to this world.

I’ll start by saying thank you for that.

We dove headfirst and never looked back. We were exactly the right people we needed in our lives at exactly the right time. And we loved each other in a way that we never loved before, and we’ll never love again.

Yes, you read that correctly. I will never love another person the way I loved you.

We shared a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love that everyone should experience. A love that was deep and passionate and fiery and fearless, and yet I still feel like I could never piece together a string of words to properly describe it.

There’s a certain craziness that comes with this kind of love—a Bonnie and Clyde, ride-or-die, all-encompassing, up and down rollercoaster of dependence and support and comfort and jealousy and memories and constant questioning about whether it’s something you can really hold onto for the rest of time.

It’s my belief, now, that the answer to that question is no. You simply can’t sustain that kind of love in a lifelong relationship. But it’s a kind of love that lasts a lifetime.

I find so much comfort in knowing you will always be that person for me.

Thank you for giving me that.

Thank you loving me and all my curves and edges. Thank you for understanding me like no one else could. Thank you for holding my hand when I jumped and picking me up when I fell. Thank you for supporting my family through some incredibly trying times. Thank you for years of patience when we were living paycheck-to-paycheck, struggling to make ends meet. Thank you for nights of cheap pizza and cheap wine and for never giving up on your dreams or mine. Thank you for memories I’ll always cherish.

Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for having my back through it all.

I am so grateful.

Thank you, David, for a love that will last a lifetime.


Easton: Thank you for a love that accepts all of this.

The first thing I ever noticed about you was your eyes. You have the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen.

Now I know your eyes are a reflection of your soul.

You are the best person I’ve ever known. You’re kind and patient and understanding and loyal and compassionate and intelligent and funny and talented and supportive, and you have the biggest heart in the world—a heart with which you choose to love me.


It boggles my mind to this day—after everything we’ve been through, you continue to choose to love me.

It’s a love that I’ve always needed, and the love I never knew existed. As Frank Sinatra would say, it’s a love that makes me feel so young, and yet somehow, it’s the most mature love I’ve ever known. You’ve shown me how to let love in when it’s knocking at my door, and how to fight for love when it would be easier to just give up. You’ve loved me in my darkest days and in some of the best days of my life. You love my crazy family and my crazy friends and my crazy brain and my even crazier heart.

I believe that every love throughout my life has led me to you, and I love that you are the kind of man who acknowledges that. The kind of man who can read this and respect it and tell me you love me for all the things of my past, my present and my future.

You love me exactly for who I am.

Thank you, Easton, for a love that accepts all of this. I am so grateful.

There’s no next.

But there is one last person I’d like to thank.

Kendall: Thank you for loving as courageously as you do.

My whole life my dad told me I will never know who I am until I’m alone.

Well, I love you, Dad. But you and I both know that’s not entirely true.

I am my best self when I’m loving someone else. And I think that’s what makes me the woman I am today.

I know what it means to love and let go. I know what it means to feel shattered after breaking someone’s heart, to feel worthless after rejection and what it takes to get back up after all of it. I know what it means to have the courage to leave years of memories behind, and I know what it means to have the courage to start another chapter. I know what it means to have the strength and trust and faith and courage to feel and give the greatest gift life has to offer…

I know what it means to love.

Thank you, to all the men I’ve loved before.


PS: If you haven’t already, Listen to Ariana Grande’s song right now:

5 thoughts on “To All the Men I’ve Loved Before: Thank You, Next

  1. christcenteredruminations says:

    Kendall, I just read this post from you. It is an interesting read. There is a man who is missing from this list. He loved you in the past, he loves you now and he would continue to love you in the future, that man is God. Do you have a relationship with God? If so, do you pray before you begin to date? You see, God sees everything that we humans do not see. When we have a close relationship with God, he would guide us to a person who would truly love us and who would never leave, a man who would not be a man of the past, but who will stay and become a man in our future too. God has the power to lead you to a good man, and also to expose the intentions of the men in your life who have evil motives.

    Before we begin to date, we always need to put God first and ask him to lead the way. He knows the real intentions of people, who would stay and who would not. God would expose everything to you, nothing would be hidden from you, so that you do not make a mistake. However, even if you find a man who loves you and thinks the world of you, that man can never love you as much as God loves you. The best love is still God’s love. It is always good to begin to experience God’s love and to also keep experiencing it even when we have found human love. Concerning love, let God lead you. Aside from being useful in love, God is also useful in all the other areas of our lives. He can lead you to the right job for you, to the perfect church for you, to the perfect best friend for you and so much more. He is a true source of guidance, protection and shield. I would strongly suggest that you begin a relationship with God and begin to pray to him. You would see his blessings manifest in your life.

    I do not know whether you have a relationship with God or not. If you already have a good relationship with God, congratulations, you are on the right path. You do not need to read this comment any further. Chances are high that if you have a relationship with God, you probably already know everything that I am about to tell you. I would say this, keep praying, keep obeying him, and keep trusting in him, and he would come through for you, his promises would be made manifest in your life. However, if you do not yet have a relationship with God, you are in luck, here are some exciting details about God that you need to know:

    You may have heard that God is the creator of the universe and everything within it. This claim is 100% true. God did create everything in the universe, including us humans. Like a good father loves his children, God loves each and every one of us dearly. He likes to provide for us, to bless us, and to help us. His intention is to provide for us in this life and to also grant us eternal life. Eternal life is the life after this life that we are currently living, you can simply call it the after-life. Eternal life would last forever. Not everybody would gain access into the eternal life. Since that life would last forever and in it people would not die, it would not make sense to allow in violent people, liars, thieves and others. Since these people would not die, there would be no end to the problems that they would cause. Therefore, only the purest people are allowed in. We humans cannot be pure by ourselves. We are prone to envy, lying, cheating others and so much more. We learn to do these bad things from such a young age, by the time we reach adulthood, we are already too far gone in it. For this reason, God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins so that we can be easily redeemed and saved. The blood of Jesus has made us pure and worthy. After the death of Jesus, all we need to do is to believe in Jesus and obey the Word of God, and those are the core for gaining access into eternal life. Like I mentioned earlier, God loves to bless us, and he desires to give us everything that we need. However, because God exists in the spiritual realm and we exist in the physical realm, we need to learn to understand how God communicates and to build a relationship with him in order to understand him. Over the course of building a relationship with him, you would understand how he works and how to locate the blessings that he has sent to you both in this life and for the next.

    God wants you to inherit eternal life, as a matter of fact, eternal life is one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind. Nevertheless, God also cares about how you fare in this life. He wants you to know that he loves you. He does not ever want you to feel alone, confused, anxious or sad. He wants you to know the provisions that he has made for you. Like a good father, he loves us and he would like us to love him and obey him. He has put everything in place for our good. There are numerous bible verses that exemplify God’s love for us, here are a few:

    The Bible says in Romans 8: 38 – 39
    “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

    God says in Jeremiah 29:11
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

    God says in Isaiah 43:2
    “When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze”

    God says in Isaiah 41:10
    “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”.

    The Bible says in Philippians 4:6
    “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done”.

    The Bible says in James 1:5
    “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking”.

    The Bible says in Psalm 34:18:
    “The LORD is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged”

    If you wish to build a solid relationship with God, I would include below a lengthy and detailed suggestion on how you can do so. However, I find that many people get scared at the length of the suggestions. I want to say this, it is a step by step process, do not feel the need to execute it all in one day. Go at a pace that works for you and trust the process. Some people also get the impression that I am judging them or trying to tell them how to act or how to be, No! I do not want it to come across that way, because that is not my intention, I am simply giving friendly suggestions. Some people also get the impression that i am trying to say that if they do not do everything on my suggestion list that they would be doomed. I am not trying to say this. Also bear in mind, that although my suggestions seem lengthy, they would quickly become second nature to you. If you struggle with any of the steps, you can ask God for assistance and he would it make it easier for you.

    If you are ready, here are my suggestions:

    1. Confession of faith: you need to find a quiet space. Imagine that Jesus is in front of you. Ask him for forgiveness of your past sins and the sins of your ancestors. Ask him to give you the strength to forgive those who have offended you. Honestly, I suggest that you forgive the people who have offended you, because whatever they did to you is now in the past, and upon a confession of Jesus as your Lord, you become a new creation. In addition, God commands that we need to forgive others, before he can forgive us. You can also get a deliverance before your confession of faith. Deliverance will rid you off any ungodly spirits that have taken residence in your body and mind. A pastor with a deliverance anointing should be able to help with this. There are also videos on YouTube, where pastors with a deliverance anointing pray directly for people through the videos. You just need to search “deliverance prayer” in the search bar to reach these videos. Now, you need to tell Jesus that you want him to come and be your lord and personal savior, and surrender to him. You need to know that Jesus died for you. He died on the cross so that you may have a chance at salvation. The minute you give your life to Jesus, you need to know that you can no longer live as you wish, you shall live according to the stipulations in the bible. Believe in your heart that Jesus was risen up from the dead by God, and confess with your mouth that he is the messiah and your personal savior.

    2. Prayers: Women need to pray with their hair covered with a scarf or any piece of clothing, this does not apply to men. If you have any unforgiveness, bitterness, or anger in you, it is better to address it before prayer. You are better off coming to God on a clean slate. If you are struggling with dealing with these negative emotions, ask God to help you deal with them first, before proceeding to your actual prayer (a quick prayer asking God to help you with these emotions should be fine). Singing worship and praise songs before praying is useful, because it allows you to get into the prayer mood. Ask Jesus to bless you with eternal life. Tell him to make a place for you in his heavenly abode. You need to understand that praying for heaven is the best prayer that you can ever pray. Life on earth is so short, you need to be worried about eternal life, which is so much longer. God knows that you need clothes, food, shelter etc. He is your creator and he knows your every need. The bible tells us to pray for eternal life and God would provide our other needs (i.e. clothes, shelter etc.) according to his riches. If there is something bothering you, tell God in prayer, commit it to him and ask him to do it for you. However, bear in mind that this life is temporary and so are the things in this life. When you are praying, the devil will try to disrupt your prayers by bringing sudden disturbances such as sudden phone calls or loud noises and evil thoughts. An example of an evil thought that the devil tries to use to stop people from praying is by bringing the thought that Jesus is not present and that they are simply wasting their time. Jesus is there with you when you pray. So pray like you mean it. Pray the same way you will if Jesus was right in front of you because he is. You need to understand how prayers work as well. You see, when you pray, God answers prayers. God usually has three answers to prayers Yes, Yes but Wait, and No. God has a reason for every answer that he gives. He loves you and he will make sure that everything works out well for you in the end. When you get a No from God, sometimes it is not because that thing is not good for you at that point in time, but it may be because God is trying to draw your attention to something that you are doing wrong in your life. When you get a No from God, you need to evaluate yourself, what is the motive of your prayer? is it pure? Is it Godly? Is there an area of sin in your life that you need to work on? When you reflect on these things and you find something in yourself lacking, try to fix it. When God says Yes to prayers and sends you his blessings, trust me, there are spiritual forces of the devil in high places that work against people so that their blessings from God would not reach them. You need to pray against these spiritual forces. Rebuke them by the power and the name of Jesus. This way, your blessings would be able to reach you. Lastly, some people pray lazy prayers. For example, someone might pray for a job, without actually applying to any. God does not reward laziness. When you are praying for something, you need to be putting some work in as well. God rewards hard-work and we ought to strive to be hardworking. God’s role is to direct, bless, and make your path clear. However, bear in mind that sometimes God answers even lazy prayers and gives us undeserved blessings, that shows you the power of his love. He would always be with you. You need to make sure that you are close to God in prayer. Do not cease to tell him about what you are struggling with. If you are struggling with sins of the flesh that you believe are hindering your spiritual growth, you need to make sure that you tell God. Make sure that you pray for an increment in faith. Faith is important, you need to have faith in God. When we pray, we need to have faith, God does not like it when we doubt his ability to provide us with what we want, he is mighty and nothing is impossible with him. When you are low in faith, pray to God for an increment in faith. Remember to pray for your family, your city, your country and the world in fact, no prayers are too big for God. Pray that unsaved people would be saved. Pray for your non-Christian family members, pray that they see the light and become saved. When you pray, make sure that you take care of sins. The bible says that we need to forgive others if we want our sins to be forgiven. Make sure you forgive others, ask for forgiveness of your sins first before praying. Sins can block your prayers from getting to God. Try to avoid sin, but pray for forgiveness of sins everyday, because sometimes, we are not aware of the sins that we are committing. When you get answers to your prayers, remember to thank God.

    3. The Bible: You need to make sure that you are reading the bible and that you are obeying it. I suggest you begin with the New Testament because the coming of Jesus changed many of the things that were practiced before. However, bear in mind that the old testament is also important. You can find free bible apps on google play. You can also find free bibles online. The New Living Translation is an easy to read bible version. However, the most popular one is the King James Version.

    4. Hearing from God: Trust me, God would speak to you. He would speak to you through dreams. Through people, through situations, through the bible and so much more. You need to practice and perfect the art of hearing God’s voice. Dreams contain a lot of symbolism. When you possess an avid knowledge of what the bible says, you would understand the biblical meaning of all the symbols in your dreams. However, for now, you can search online bible dream dictionaries for the meaning of things you see in your dream. You also need to know that although there are general meanings for some symbols, some interpretations are based on context. Take context into account. God does communicate via dreams. Sometimes, you might be asking God for direction on something. Pay attention to the words all around you during this time i.e, the things people say, words you see when reading the bible etc. Sometimes you might even just turn on your TV and the TV anchor would say something that directly relates to what you are going through. Pay attention to these things. You would know it is God’s voice when whatever is said is not in contradiction to the bible and God’s nature. If it is in contradiction then it might just be something random that popped up. You can also hear God’s voice by meditating on him. You can do this by finding a quiet space, you can play some background Christian music if you want. During this time, close your eyes and focus on God. Do some praise and worship in your heart first, then invite Jesus to come to you. Ask a question and pay attention to any bible verses that are brought to your mind, inner voices that you hear, any general feelings etc. If what is said is in line with the bible, then it is probably God speaking. It might take several weeks before you begin to hear God via meditation. If you keep trying one method and it does not work, try another method, like paying attention to the words around you. As you practice the art of listening and hearing, God might give you the gift of seeing visions or the gift of hearing an inner voice, and take you to deeper depths of hearing.

    5. Fasting: fasting is an effective way to get God’s attention. Fasting is a way to spend time with him. You deprive yourself of food because what you seek for is more than food. There are different types of fasting, and you need to plan what works for you. There is the:

    A. Avoidance fasting: This is a fasting form where you avoid something that you cannot do without i.e. Coffee.

    B. Daniel’s fast: In this sort of fasting, you only eat fruit and vegetables and drink water. You do not eat anything cooked or anything other than fruits and vegetables.

    C. Water fast: In this sort of fasting, you do not eat anything, you only drink water. No food, just water.

    D. Total fast: In this sort of fasting, you do not eat or drink anything. You do not drink even water.

    Make sure that you work out what works for you. You can pray to God for directions on the timing of the fasting to follow. However, as a general time-frame, on fasting days, many Christians fast from 6am to 6pm. Many Christians also use those moments when they feel hungry/ feel cravings as prompts to pray. You need to have increased prayers during fasting periods.

    6. Temptations: When you believe in Jesus. Trust me, the devil sometimes would throw trials and tribulations into your life, the goal of this is to get you to denounce your faith. The goal is to frustrate you. You need to pray and fast when trials and tribulations strike. God would never leave you or forsake you. He would be with you and with God, you will overcome this if it ever happens.

    7. Spreading the gospel: Now that you know the truth, you are chosen. It is now your duty to share the truth in the bible with others. Make sure that you save people from falling prey to Satan’s tactics. You need to join the fight to depopulate the devil’s camp, while populating God’s kingdom. With spreading the gospel, do not feel the need to finish reading the whole bible before you begin. You can teach people the little you know.

    8. Read: There is a lot of material out there. There are ministers of God who have practiced for about 40 years. These people have a lot of stories about their ministry. Some of them have the gift to heal others, others see visions, some of them hear God’s voice. Many of these people have written books about how they accomplished what they have accomplished, and how they got their gift. Buy these books and read them. If you do not have money, some of these ministers have shared their stories for free on YouTube, take advantage of that.

    9: Reform yourself: begin to watch Christian movies and listen to Christian music. Make sure that your thoughts, actions, and words are in obedience to the word of God. Make sure that you are not doing anything sinful in your thoughts, actions or words. Refine your world, the space around you, the things you see and hear, make it all about God. You can also join a community of bible believing Christians. However, I need to tell you that there is sectarianism in the religion. Do not pay attention to sectarianism, pay attention to the bible. The bible is your authority. If a church seems to have too much sectarianism issue going on, if they are more focused on promoting their denomination than promoting God and the word in his bible, you need to stop going there. Get a water baptism, and pray so that God would baptize you in the holy spirit.

    (I know I have written this list in the order of 1 to 9. It is crucial that you begin with Step 1. Prayers are something that you need to do constantly, so is bible study, hearing from God and reforming yourself. However, you can start small with fasting and spreading the gospel. You can start by preaching to your family members in the beginning phase of spreading the gospel, but you need to expand on these over time. I know this list seems long and all these seem deep, but trust me, you would blend into it so easily and it would become second nature to you. Pray to God to make all of these easy for you, and he will. The devil would try to trick you into believing that God’s standards are too high and that you would never overcome sin, when in actuality, you can. So therefore, pray to God and believe and he would help you overcome sin).

    If you ever backslide and fall back into sin again while trying to follow God’s word. You need to ask him to forgive you and try to get back on track. You should also ask him to strengthen you, so that you can have more strength in withstanding and blocking off sin. God would hear your prayer and he would send help according to his will.

    If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. If you need to talk, I am here for you. God bless you. Have a blessed day 🙂


  2. Stephanie Bristow says:

    This was so well written and transparent. It brought me to tears. I just met your beautiful sister for the first time yes at a baby shower and added her on Facebook and found your blog. Thank you for sharing your loved and insights with the world.


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