He broke up with me. Twice. And to be honest I dodged a bullet twice with that one. But that doesn’t make me love him any less, care about him any less, it doesn’t stop me from getting that small little feeling in my stomach like I’m ready to go on a stage and perform in front of 1000 people when I see him.
And that’s me dialed down. That’s years of finally accepting what you unfortunately have to when you realize that you are not going to marry your ex. You move on and you begin to understand and admit what made you so wrong for each other in the first place. How he never really got you. How he never really cared enough to make it work. How he decided to break up when you saw all the problems he did but you wanted to work on them. He took the quickest exit out he could find.
You think all this but you don’t really understand it, it doesn’t really hit home until you finally sit across from him and talk to him. Not on the phone, not through texts, not through dumb social media sites, when you actually decide to meet up again like the real adults you are. When you have put the breakups, the best friendship, and the history behind the two of you and you see him again. You have known him since you were twelve but here you are in your mid 20s seeing a completely different version of him, contemplating about everything you all once were.
You were idealistic back then. You were in love with him back then. You were in love with love. You wanted to get married. You didn’t have the wedding planned out, you had the life planned out. Even if you never would admit it you thought about what you were going to name your son. Where you were going to go on family vacations. What jobs you were going to support each other on. And you were ready for the bad days as much as you were ready for the good ones. You were ready to commit to him.
It wasn’t scary, it was actually comforting.
Now you know the place you are in. You know that a marriage between the two of you would not have worked out. Hell, even a relationship right now would not work out. And admitting that is the hardest thing you have to do, because it means betraying your feelings and betraying all the years you spent convincing yourself that if anyone deserved the happy ending it was the two of you. The “love can overcome anything” saying angers you.
The truth is if that saying was real, if love really was the only thing that mattered then you would propose to him across the table. You would stop writing this article and you would drive hundreds of miles and make him marry you because you are that confident in the love you have for each other. But you’re not twelve anymore, or even twenty. Marriages are built on more than passion and a connection.
There is also timing, life goals, and conflicting opinions on anything that goes beyond the honeymoon phase.
Staring at him you know that you could develop feelings for him again – romantic ones.
And you know that physically he is still your type. You even find yourself thinking “if I saw him at a bar I would definitely hit on him.” You’re not supposed to think that but that does not stop you from thinking it.
Again all of this is secondary. Even if there was not his girlfriend in the picture YOU are still in the picture. Your needs and your wants, all of which he never fully fulfilled. You start to imagine a realistic life with him. What that marriage would actually look like if you guys somehow managed to find yourselves there, five, ten years down the line.
Your stubbornness would get the better of you. So would his. You would feel underappreciated by his lack of affection and upset by his lack of vulnerability. He would find you too emotional and not logical enough. He would get irritated by your messiness and late nights spent working. You would get bothered by his early morning runs and his snide comments. Sure you would have amazing deep conversations and playful moments, inside jokes about football teams amongst other things, but it would always be too complicated. Too much work.
But still looking into his beautiful eyes it makes you sad that you could not find that out yourself. To divorce him though, you would never recover from that. Never. You would rather live out the fantasy life in your head of the two of you reciting vows to each other and walking down the aisle hand in hand smiling. At least in that version everything ends there. Everything ends happily.
He will have that with someone else. There is a very good chance the person he is with will be that figure, that wife, that mother to his children. And you, you will find that person too. You will find the person that might not have the past but that has the future. He will fill in all the little gaps left open by the man in front of you. He will be someone that no one can compete with. He won’t occupy every void you have for not marrying someone else but what he will do for you will be so much more than your ex ever did.
As your coffee date comes to an end, the only type of outing you are allowed to have now, you want to say something else. You want to mention all of this, put yourself out there, but really what would that accomplish? It would just be more words with no actions attached to them.
That’s because you know that you would be good for him, right for him, a loyal wife…but you know that he might not be good for you. Back in the day you used to think your biggest fear would not be finding someone you loved as much as him, then the fear became finding someone you loved more than him.
You have to accept it though. This is your reality. And having him as a friend, having him there for you, you being there for him, is all you really wanted.
It creeps back in sure, the five things that you both would have to do before anything romantic ever happened again with you, if he ever wanted that too, if you wanted it, but there are so many obstacles it’s seems nearly impossible.
So instead you smile, and you get a little sad, and then you stop getting sad. You think about him happy.
You think about yourself happy. You deserve that, you truly do. You probably won’t be at his wedding but you hope more than anything that he is the happiest he will ever be in his entire life when he is committing to someone else. That he doesn’t settle. That he is so entranced in that love with her.
Chastising yourself about thinking all of this will not help. This is just what you do. Loving, reminiscing, caring about people is what you do.
At the end of it all you don’t really believe in meant to be. Not like him. You don’t think that everything works out the way it should without any planning or real actions. In this case it’s a good thing. If you both ever get there in the future it will because you overcame the odds, because you took responsibility and chose to try again.
And if not, and it most likely will be a “not,” that’s quite alright.
You can send him a little love in a thought and hopefully it will travel to him wherever he is, and he will feel it and be reminded of how much you care. How much he cares. How much you both care.