Things That Sting

Three times now, you told me you don't want me. Twice, you changed your mind. You won't get that luxury again. Sure, I did this to myself. I wanted you to come back. I wanted you to want me. I wanted to be with you. I wanted US, and I was committed.

As I go through and delete all of the pictures of us today, it's funny how each one is associated with a negative memory. The context of when you would dump me next, or some critical thing you said, or just a heavy, nagging sense that I wasn't enough around you. There's good memories too. Great ones. Real, deep laughter and love. True love. I truly loved you. I believe you did me, as well, in your own limited way.

But not enough. Not enough to commit to me. To this. Too messy. Too complicated. No way forward, that you can see. One of us needs glasses because it looked okay up ahead to me. But that's good. I don't need somebody who doesn't want me. I'm too much to be not enough, you know?

I wish you well in your journey, wherever it takes you. I won't even try to imagine that because it hurts too much, whichever outcome. I hope you find what you're looking for. Or I hope you can at least figure out what you're looking for. I thought I had. I am grateful for the growing that being with you caused in me. I had to learn a lot of patience. I had to learn a lot of self-denial. I had to learn self control in new levels so I didn't scare you off, and that was good for me. I had to learn to curb passive-aggressive manipulation habits because you had no patience for them. I had to learn to be less emotional because you couldn't handle it. I had to learn to listen - all the way - before speaking (still working on this one). I learned the beauty of sitting quietly. I learned the value of protecting my down time. I learned that it is possible to give up too much for someone you love. I learned the hard way that it doesn't matter if you give it all, you can't change somebody else's heart.

I learned that sometimes, the things we need to move us forward can be really, really hard and excruciatingly painful and lonely. I thought I had learned that earlier in life, but it feels like I am learning it all over again, fresh and new. I also learned that I can survive things that I feel like I won't.

I am sad. I am sorry for you. For us. For the loss. For the wasted investment. I only hope that some part of if can carry forward into each of our lives separately and make us happier in the end. If I'm honest, right now I want you to suffer, but deep down that's not really true.

I won't say you're a good person. I think you're selfish and broken. Like most of us. Maybe just a bit more. I won't say you're a bad person either. You're just a person like the rest of us and now you're not even a special one to me. You just are.

I will say that I loved you as hard as I knew how. I saw your depth and your strength. And I saw your need for growth and I loved those things.

I know I shouldn't call it a waste. I know that it all happens for a reason. I know that in the end, it's for the best. I know all the things. But it feels like a waste. Like a big, fat, sad waste. But that's life. We buy in. We win. We lose. I gotta believe at some point the buying in is gonna win for me, but not this time. I'm too old for this middle school bullshit. I'm too old for the shame of an ex-boyfriend or another random face in the family pictures. This sucks.

The last time you ended it, I wrote something titled Why The Worst Boyfriend Ever Was the Hardest One to Lose. I never shared it, but here is part of it, edited to remove all the reasons why you were the Worst Ever, those will stay private for the time being... but the rest of it is still painfully true, and I am setting it all out here to remind myself, this time, why I won't look back.

I am learning a lot about control these days. Mostly, about the lack thereof that I have in every aspect of life except, like the stoic philosophers were so keen to point out, what goes on between my own two ears. 

I’ve been wrestling all night, every night, with one of the most intense and long-lived hurts that I have ever experienced. After all the random weirdness in my life, it feels strange to say that I am having such a terrible time recovering from a relationship that was far from ideal. But I think it was the lack of perfection that has been so hard to let go of. I fell for someone that was hard to love, and I loved the challenge.

I has made me aware that no amount of hard work, self-confrontation or dedication can change the mind or will of another person, and no amount of performance on my part can convince someone to love me. Not that I was perfect, far from it. He brought out ugly parts of me that I thought were dead and buried ages ago. Need for control and contact, even the green-eyed monster of jealousy… There were days when I was with him that I didn’t even like myself. But I took those challenges and tackled them. 

At the end of the day, I just wasn’t what he wanted, and it wasn’t a matter of me being worthy (even though I am) or him being an asshole (although he might be), the bottom line is, he gets to decide and there is nothing. I. can. do. Enter the pain. Enter the sense of helplessness. Hopelessness. 

I jumped into this, and he never promised me a rose garden. I moved, I switched up my life on a shaky, hopeless romantic feeling that there was something we needed in each other. I still don’t think I was wrong. I still think he is. But it doesn’t matter. I gambled and I lost, hard. He’s moving on to find what he really wants, now that he’s better, healthier, and he’s “got his shit together,” whatever that means. My shit has never been more all over the place and that’s because he and I measure “together” by different standards. “Together” in his world is financial and material success, “Together” in my world is an unconditional us. I know it’s out there for me, he’s just not a part of it. 

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