man and woman standing infront of ocean water at daytime

I Forgive You For Not Being Able To Love Me The Way I Needed

I am here to take responsibility for my choices.

It’s not because I think our breakup was my fault. It’s no one’s fault, really. We could’ve predicted the end so long ago, but we both clung on because we cared about each other. I know that — I know that you care about me. I know that you did the best you could with where you are in your particular journey. You were honest with me, but I always hoped that if I just loved you hard enough, something would change.

I’m taking responsibility, because the truth is that we never should have dated for longer than a few months. Our love went from instant chemistry to giddy honeymoon stage to dysfunctional attachment faster than a good haircut grows out, and I wish that I’d known better. I had no concept of what it meant to set boundaries. I didn’t believe that I was allowed to have needs, and that the appropriate response to someone being continually unable to meet those needs was to walk away. That’s not your fault either. You just weren’t quite the right fit, but you were close enough that I jumped in too quickly. We had so much in common, we were so attracted to each other, but our issues surfaced early on.

I idealized you, believed you were my dream boyfriend finally arrived. Single for years, I’d just recently moved to a fairytale town by the sea in the hopes of reviving my faith in love. It seemed to me that there was really no one out there for me. I’d tired of the superficial dance of modern dating in the city, convinced that no one was looking for anything real anymore.

Then I met you, mere weeks after I arrived, and I couldn’t believe my luck. My romantic side sprang into full gear, anxious and eager after a long dormancy. We spent hours in rapt conversation, listening to music we both loved. We kissed, but I wanted to wait to do anything more. I really liked you, and I always jumped into intimacy too quickly. This felt like something big, something that could last. It mattered to me that we got to know each other first.

Maybe I should’ve asked you to wait even longer. I don’t know. I do know that it didn’t matter in the end — I was so infatuated by the time I started noticing signs of incompatibility that I couldn’t bear to let you go. My anxious attachment — something I was completely unaware of at the time — kicked into full gear and I refused to walk away, refused to let go of my desperate hope.

I’d already decided you were meant for me… a dangerous choice to make about someone I barely knew.

If only I could’ve known everything I’ve learned since from our breakup, but of course life doesn’t work that way.

After our separation — which I knew would happen weeks before it did, but which still devastated me — I was angry. I was angry and hurt and I did not understand why you wouldn’t love me back as much as I loved you. With time, therapy, and a better knowledge of my own trauma and resulting relationship patterns, I’m learning to forgive you.

There was so much good in our relationship, even up to the end. Did you make mistakes? Of course. Could you have done some things differently? Absolutely. Do you have your own trauma and fucked-up ways of handling relationships? Yes. That’s not the point. The point is that I can only control my own actions and choices. If you can’t give me what I need, that doesn’t mean I should lose myself to try and conform to what you are capable of giving. It means that I need someone different, and so do you.

It’s still difficult for me to write these words. I love you, and I miss you, and I think I always will. You really were my best friend, despite all the hardship and the pain. I can’t hate my best friend, as heartbroken as I am. I had an equal role in getting us to this place, even though I was also doing my best with what I knew.

I forgive you for not being able to love me the way I needed. It used to upset me because I thought that you just didn’t want to, that you were willfully making me unhappy when I asked so little from you. Now I know that you just didn’t know how to give me what I need. Now I know that even though I thought you were my person, you didn’t feel that way about me. As much as it stings, I can’t blame you for your feelings. You loved me the best that you could. It’s time for me to accept who you are, make peace with our past, and let you go.

Speak your truth. Be kind. Stay present. And don’t forget to play!

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