I thought I was always pretty good at letting go.
Maybe it’s the fire sign in me or my unrelenting need for solitude, but I never saw myself as the type to get easily attached. I looked at my friends and their relationships and was never envious of their genuine devotion toward one another, of what seemed like an honest correlation of love and friendship.
Commitment. God, that word scared me.
Maybe I was still pretty young. Maybe I still am. I wanted to travel. I always said I would put myself first — was that narcissistic? Some former partners thought so. I didn’t really care. I spent five months in Europe alone and broke it off with anyone that was holding me back from anything I really wanted to do.
This is what it means to be self-sufficient: you know how to take care of yourself. If for some reason everyone in your life decided to pull a disappearing act, you know you would be alright on your own. So you can be self-sufficient and still be in a committed relationship, as long as you don’t rely on the relationship to keep you afloat. That is pretty self-explanatory, right?
There have been a lot of relationships where I required a significant amount of independence. I knew how easily people tended to lose themselves as soon as they became one half of something, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. I wanted to stay whole. I thrived on my self-reliance and constant need to escape. I thought it made me less vulnerable to heartbreak. I had all the power because I was the less emotional one.
Or so I thought.
What happens when you are always the one who keeps one foot near the door? You never get fully immersed into the relationship, never open up wholeheartedly to the person standing in front of you. They can sense it. They can tell you are a ticking bomb. They won’t want to open up to you because you are looking at this potential relationship like sand in an hourglass. If you feel an inkling of probable heartache lurking in the corners, you are out the door.
This makes relationships hard, short-lived, and not very enjoyable. Isn’t the whole point of sharing your life with someone quite literally sharing your life with them? So you decide to try it. You give yourself away, earnestly and irrevocably. You tell them everything. You tell them things that you hadn’t even told yourself yet. All of a sudden, your mouth is running water. You open up like an egg and watch your insides spill right out of you like yolk.
You feel relieved, honestly. You start to wonder why you were so afraid before. All those years, running and hiding from love were such a waste. Maybe this can be a good change. It’s not so bad to rely on somebody else every once in a while, to be able to tell them things you have never told anybody else. You find yourself…getting attached.
Suddenly, another side of you starts to emerge. A side of you that you knew existed but kept tucked away. Because now you are over-thinking everything. Now you are jealous and skeptical. Now you don’t even remember why you are in this relationship, because how could he love this broken, unstable shell of a person that you seem to be around him? You try to take the easy route again, the one that has worked so well for you in the past but it’s too late to run.
You can’t run.
You feel like you are stuck, like you are sinking rapidly in quicksand. You wonder what happened to everything that you worked so hard to build — the shell that protected you from these unpleasant volatile emotions. And you realize that this isn’t even the problem anymore. The problem is what will happen when he leaves.
You wonder if this is the reason you kept yourself at a distance for so long, and wonder if it is even worth it to try. Standing on the edge of this frightening whirlwind romance, you are suddenly aware that you have to decide.
And so you jump.