The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show your close friends and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.
I was attracted to her expressions towards the world. She would always come into work energetic, light-hearted, and full of light. Even during the long hours of the busy shopping season, she would gleam with positivity. I was the opposite, it took me a while to start my day off. Work started so early that anyone who tried to interact with me before I settled in and had my coffee was about to experience a rude awakening. Nevertheless, she saw past that and allowed me to make up my grumpiness with the better half of my day.
Her first face radiated positivity and laughter to the world. My first face, on the other hand, wasn’t as bright, it wasn’t bad, it just portrayed a certain level of solitude.
Everything was so smooth and simple in the beginning. The conversations and the dates were delightful and no matter what situation we were in, she would always be able to make it into a fond memory. Those are the memories I hope to keep forever.
We promised that we would always make sure to communicate with each other about everything within the relationship, and a commitment to that is what made it all possible. Being able to decipher what we were and where we were heading together was a long process but it worked; communication was the key to unity.
A couple of months passed, and we knew each other intimately, our history, families, and feelings towards close friends. I was now attracted to our connection and how it would feel like we were the only ones in the world. This was the part of the relationship where we really adjusted to one another, and we became a staple part of each other’s lives. I remember like it was just yesterday how she explained that my initial aloofness was a milestone to my loyalty which provided a strong sense of confidence to those who’ve earned it. Therefore, what she received from me was a sense of security.
I adored her second face and how it made people feel closely bonded and cared for. She admired with my second face because it gave off a very intense sense of loyalty and devotion.
Then things began to change. I began to feel something awful pulling at me but didn’t quite know what it was or why I felt that way. She noticed it too in my facial expressions and we figured together that it wasn’t anything notable, but as you can guess, it was something definitely worth noting. There’s always a reason why you feel a certain way and the reason should never be neglected because it won’t go away on its own or magically get better.
I learned that her radiance only existed on the exterior when she was out or among social circles. After we became really close, she started doubting everything in the world including herself and me. Every time I told her about my plans or goals, the first response I would get would be a reason why it could go wrong. Moreover, when we were together, a huge chunk of time was always dedicated to listening to her talk about everything going wrong in her life. I assumed that this would pass the first few times around but it never did. This was the third face, the person that she was deep within.
I never thought this would happen to me, but there came a point in the relationship where I would be nervous to message her because I had no idea how she would respond. I remember hoping that she would be in a good mood every time I messaged her and if she was, the only feeling that came over me was a feeling of relief. However, when she wasn’t, it was basically “ok, here we go again.” Of course we talked about this, but she would claim that she has always been that way which is pretty much a non-answer. That was what the communication in the relationship came to, a bunch of non-answers.
Then one day as I was going through my morning routine, I picked up my phone about to message her like I usually do but this time, I didn’t. I decided not to message her because I didn’t want the possibility of having my day ruined if she was in a bad mood. At this point, you’re probably expecting some big climax. Unfortunately, there was no big moment or fight in the relationship; that morning that I decided not to message her was the end of the relationship. Not that I was always the one messaging first, that wasn’t the case at all. It was just the way things went, there isn’t any other way to say it. We never spoke again and I wish it ended some other way.
Her third face was the opposite of her first face. The person I wanted to be with was only a shell and the inner person and that inner person was not someone I could imagine myself being a part of. Perhaps it was just an issue of incompatibility. Maybe my third face encouraged that part of her. But at the end of the day, the truest versions of ourselves were not a good match.
Despite all that, I wish that the end of the relationship came with a conversation or more. I wish some communication was involved. I wish I understood the dynamics of love better to address the situation that I was in. I wish that a whole significant relationship didn’t just disappear into the sky on one morning because one message wasn’t sent. The relationship became toxic for me, but I wish I had done more to tie up the loose ends. When it’s all said and done, there was a lot of beauty in the relationship that deserved more than to suddenly become a distant memory.
Many times, the toxicity within a relationship occurs naturally like when two stable elements mix to create a toxic concoction. We are quick to blame our negative feelings within the relationship on our partners but more likely than not, they don’t even realize that their behavior is creating this kind of toxicity. Moreover, it’s likely that we too have behaviors that breed toxicity within a relationship. Sometimes, differing traits and personalities simply don’t mesh well and that’s just the way love goes. However, that doesn’t mean we should just throw our experiences away. Every ending deserves an explanation or a chance to say goodbye because when we look back, we want to be able to forgive the moments that hurt and remember the beautiful times.
When the time comes, I hope you will have the chance and the courage to say your difficult goodbyes.