I have spent the last two years holding onto the hope of a relationship with someone who does not love nor accept herself and therefore could not love and accept me. But I chose to stay—even after every warning sign, every fight, every mean word exchanged, and every false promise of a future together.
I stayed because I loved her with all of my being. It took me two years, many conversations with friends and family, and lots of tears to finally say goodbye to the person I thought was the love of my life. But letting going was my only choice and this is how I knew:
I felt like I couldn’t breathe. There were days where I could not catch my breath when all of my memories of her surfaced—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was angry and sad, and consumed with emotion so much so that it felt as if the wind was knocked out of me.
I’d think to myself, “Did someone just sock me in the stomach? Is this what a mental breakdown feels like?” I would catch myself having to stop in the middle of a hallway and hold onto to whatever I could grab to catch my breath as I said to myself, “How did we get here? When did it get this bad?” I physically was responding to my emotions and they were interfering with my everyday life.
The words we exchanged were mean and hate- filled. We tried countless times to start over and repair what was broken, although by never fully dealing with the damage that had already occurred, resentment built up and it caused the both of us to lash out and say things that came from a hurtful place. I said things to hurt her because I was so heartbroken and I did not know how to cope with that pain.
The only thing I accomplished by lashing out was hurting someone I loved deeply and immediately having self-hatred for being so cruel. How do we manage to hurt the ones we love the most in the most vicious way? Our conversations were no longer productive; we were in a constant state of arguing.
I was hurting the people I loved the most. I have some of the most incredible friends in my life but after nearly two years of repeat conversations about the need to let go and move on, and my consistency for choosing to ignore their wise words, it took a toll on my relationships. I chose to give this person a chance over and over when clearly all she was doing was hurting me and treating me with little respect. My friends love me—they remind me of that daily.
But many of them grew exhausted with the endless conversations of, “She will choose me, she just needs time to figure out who she is, when will this stop hurting?” My friends could only tell me so many times that I needed to walk away before they themselves needed to take a step back to protect themselves. Many of them have admitted how hard it was to watch me put myself in a positon to be hurt over and over again. But it was a lesson only I could learn.
I began to feel worthless and felt lost. It feels like I lost who I was a long time ago. When I started loving her, she consumed me. Everything about my life revolved about this one relationship—how could I make it work, how could I change myself to fit the mold she had created for me, how could I continue to wait even after waiting for two years. It dawned on me one day that the things people love about me most—my compassion, my quirkiness, and my intense passion–she disliked about me the most.
I felt myself changing constantly to fit who I thought she wanted me to be. But it never seemed good enough. I would dress differently, communicate differently, overanalyze every conversation; the list goes on and on. By doing this, I lost myself and lost my self-worth. I lost the parts of me that were spontaneous and outgoing, those being replaced by anxiety and fear.
But most of all, I lost any self-value and self-worth I had. She didn’t accept who she was and kept our relationship a secret from every single person in her life. By denying that our relationship existed, that morphed into me believing I was not valued enough for her to choose me. I felt unworthy of her and her time; I never was a priority; I was always the second option. I started to hate myself and constantly questioned the purpose of my existence.
It took two years and counting to realize that walking away was my only choice. It took losing friendships, losing self-control, and losing self-worth to walk away. But I am worthy. I do matter. And one day, I will be able to breathe again.