“I don’t know.”
That was what my boyfriend said when I asked him if he still wanted to be with me, if he still loved me. Just three words. The opposite of the three words I wanted to hear. Three words that carried weeks of sleepless nights and backhanded comments.
Three words that sounded more like “I don’t know if you’re good enough anymore.” That sounded more like “I’ll keep you until there’s someone better.”
What do you do then? When you’re standing in his bedroom clinging to your jacket, when all you want to do is fall to your knees and beg him to change his mind? What do you do when the one you love might not love you back?
Let’s say you stay. Although this might not even be a choice, not if he decides he really doesn’t love you, not if he makes the decision for you.
But for the sake of this, pretend you can (and do) stay. Now you’re in a very one-sided relationship, a relationship where you will probably be doing all of the giving, where you will live in constant fear that one mistake will be the end.
You’ll be insecure, clingy, needy, an emotional wreck. You’ll constantly question his feelings, you’ll play his words over and over again in your head, desperately trying to interpret what he meant. You won’t trust him, you won’t even trust yourself because you’re so confused. Every look he gives you, everything he does (or doesn’t) say, every time he lets go of your hand, you’ll wonder. Wonder what it means. Wonder if it even means anything at all anymore.
And mostly you’ll wait. You’ll wait for him to make up his mind, you’ll wait for him to come back to you, to really come back, you’ll wait for him to say those three words, the right three words this time.
Is that the kind of relationship you want? One built on waiting, one where you have absolutely no control? That’s what you’ll get if you stay. Sure, he might decide he does love you after all. But I’m not sure that it’ll be worth it, I’m not sure if you will ever feel the same way with him again.
Let’s say instead that you leave. You don’t drag it out. You walk upstairs, pack your things into a faded duffel bag and drive away. You block his number, you delete him from Facebook, you throw away all of the pictures of the two of you in your apartment.
Now is when it will really hurt, when you’ll sit on the bathroom floor and sob, when you’ll only remember the good times you shared and ignore the bad. You’ll spend every second you’re awake wondering if you gave up too soon, if you should’ve fought harder.
You’ll move on, maybe not to a new guy, but to new things, to a new life. You’ll discover talents you didn’t know you had, you’ll lose yourself in painting or music or reading, you’ll throw all of your energy towards your career.
You’ll start thriving. All because you left him. All because, at that pivotal moment, you chose for him. You didn’t let him choose your worth. You didn’t let him determine your life’s path.
So if your relationship ever comes to this, if there is a point where he doesn’t know if he loves you anymore, you shouldn’t stay. Take it from someone who has been there, who DID stay. Take it from someone who wasted six months waiting, six months hoping, six months fighting for what didn’t even exist. Take it from someone who cried herself to sleep every night, who wasn’t strong enough to follow her own advice.
Take it from me, with my shattered heart and invisible scars. Don’t stay.
Run. Run as fast as you can. Run until his memory is only a speck on the horizon, until he can’t catch you anymore.
Run to remind yourself that you can. That no one, not even him, can hold you back.
And lastly run because you are finally free and because somewhere, somewhere over the next hill or around the next corner, is someone waiting for you who knows. Someone who knows they love you. Run to them.