Sometimes when I think about the things I want to share on this blog, the idea of actually writing those posts terrifies me. I’m not necessarily ashamed of these things (though I guess if I’m being completely honest, in some cases I might be at least a little ashamed). It’s just … Hard to write about certain things. To actually admit that I can be a real fuck up.
Yet here I am, ready to share something really personal. Part of me just wants to share this because it’s something I imagine quite a few people can relate to. Another part of me wants to share it because I think it could potentially help someone who may be dealing with the same sort of thing. And then there’s the part of me that just decided sharing really personal shit is something you should do on a personal/lifestyle blog. (That’s what this is for the most part, right?) I mean, I enjoy reading these types of posts on other blogs … So maybe I should just swallow my fears and put it all out there for everyone to see.
When I was 20, I ended my first really serious, long term relationship. I almost immediately moved into yet another relationship. This one wasn’t as serious and ended just a few months later. And then something crazy happened, something that hadn’t happened in about 5 years: I was single. And it was weird.
Not long after that, I reconnected with a friend from high school. He was one of those guys that I’d talked to pretty much every day when we were younger not just because I thought he was cool and interesting, but also because I thought he was cute. (Yeah, I know … This statement is terrible coming from someone who truly believes that men and women can just be friends. But in this case we couldn’t just be friends. And I will continue to prove this point as this post goes along.)
This friend and I quickly went from simply reconnecting (as in, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a long time. How are you? What have you been doing?”) to having really intense 4+ hour conversations every night.
And then, just as suddenly, we found ourselves in a relationship. I don’t really remember being all, “We need to DTR,” but somehow we both knew what was happening and we were both okay with it.
And for those who don’t love the show Awkward (a show that I’m totally addicted to even though I’m almost 30 and therefore should have much more refined TV show taste):
And since we’re on the topic of my love for Awkward, I’ll go ahead and throw this in here as well. You know, since I took the 2 seconds to search for an image to define “DTR.”
Okay … Getting back to the actual point of this post.
That relationship was probably one of the most intense relationships I’ve ever been in. I think I was in a permanent haze of sex and stimulating conversation. It was wonderful and terrifying and I just completely allowed myself to get lost inside this private place known as “Us.”
And then … He broke my heart. To say I couldn’t handle it would be a huge understatement. I’ve struggled with depression for much of my life, and this sent me into one of the worst downward spirals I’ve ever experienced. I just completely lost my shit.
But instead of taking steps to move on, I dwelled on our relationship and what could have possibly gone wrong. I just couldn’t let go, and, if we’re being completely honest here, neither could he. It became this awful emotional rollercoaster between the two of us. We continued hanging out and sleeping together for a long time after things ended … Way too long.
The problem with all of this (besides the obvious) was the fact that nothing ever got resolved. One day he just decided, “Oh, by the way … I don’t want to be in a relationship with you anymore. I’m still in love with you and trust you more than anyone else in my life. But I don’t want to commit.” (I paraphrased a bit, but that was, in a nutshell, what he said to me when we broke up. He was in love with me but he didn’t want a commitment.)
And me, being the dumb 21 year old I was at the time, just allowed things to pretty much stay the same between the two of us. I don’t mean we were fuck buddies or even friends with benefits … I mean that we were in a relationship without being in a relationship. (Sound fucked up? It was.) Literally nothing changed between us with the exception of our Facebook relationship statuses (yes, Facebook was around way back in 2006) and the way we referred to one another in conversation. (He was no longer “my boyfriend” but “T” … I’ll keep his full name out of the blog.)
Obviously, though, something had changed … It was just never properly dealt with. I remember crying to him about how I felt about the whole thing and telling him that I didn’t understand how he could say he was still in love with me (and mean it!) but refuse to work through whatever commitment issues he had in order to be together.
I eventually just had to tell myself that he obviously just wanted to, for lack of a better way of putting this, have his cake and eat it too. He knew he could have me whenever he wanted in whatever capacity he wanted because he knew how I felt about him. He could have the “girlfriend” when he wanted that, but since I wasn’t still officially his girlfriend, he could do whatever he wanted.
And that included fucking other people. (I know he did this because he was at least honest enough with me to tell me when he did it. Yay?)
It was so weird, though. He really didn’t have to tell me what he was doing with these other girls. I wasn’t his girlfriend … He owed me no explanation. But it was almost like he felt he had to talk to me about it. It was like a confession or something. And, to make it even weirder, he’d tell me about it and then say things like, “I kept thinking about you, though,” or “It wasn’t like it is with you.” And I’d get pissed and say things like, “Well, then maybe you shouldn’t be fucking other people,” or “Oh really? It wasn’t like it is with me? Of course it’s not like it is with me because it’s not me.”
So how did I move past all of this?
As I said, I had to tell myself that he really wasn’t this amazing guy. He was just a guy who wanted to get laid. A lot. By a lot of different people.
He may have cared for me at one point, but he certainly didn’t by the end. And it was up to me to be strong enough to step away from an obviously toxic situation. I feel like it could have gone on much longer than it did if I’d allowed it to. But one day I was just like, “You know what? This is bullshit. I would rather be alone forever than remain in this constant state of confusion and heartache.”
I had to realize that I was worth more than that. This was really difficult for me because I’ve always had a lot of self-esteem issues. So it wasn’t this empowering “I am a fabulous independent woman!” kind of moment. It was more of an “I just … Can’t. I can’t do this anymore,” kind of moment. But that’s okay too. The end result was the same.
I’m not sorry that I went through this. I wish I’d been strong enough to break away from our fucked up situation sooner, but I’m not sorry that it happened.
I’m not sorry because it forced me to see him differently. (Which subsequently led to the “What the hell was I thinking?!?!” clarity that only exists when you’re truly over someone.) It also forced me to see myself differently. I’m not saying that I suddenly became this overnight:
What I am saying is that I was able to recognize that maybe I didn’t need him to be happy. Maybe I could be happy by myself. And maybe one day I’d find someone who appreciated me and truly loved me. Someone who actually wanted a relationship.
And you know what? I did.