When They’re Not Who You Thought They Were

It’s not just a breakup. It’s not just the end of a relationship.

It’s the rug being pulled, the glass floor shattering, and a ten thousand foot drop into self-doubt and insecurity.

They knew you – they still do, in a way that no one else in the world ever has. You wonder if anyone ever will again. You shared your heart, your story, your most intimate scars. You sat in the passenger seat and whispered the things you’d never told anyone. This person became your safe place, who held you while you cried.

It wasn’t just you, though. They told you about his darkest moments. The time their parent saved their life. When rumors without substance lost them the best friend they’d ever had. This person let you in, showed you their secret parts. You held their hand in yours and wondered how you got so lucky to find a soul so beautiful that loved you the same way you loved them back.

And then, in an instant, your world comes crashing down.

You don’t believe it at first. You make excuses. Justify it in your mind, because they would never do that to you. They cry on the phone, an apology that breaks your heart because you still love them, and knowing that they are in pain feels worse than your own.

You fight to convince yourself that you can get past this, that things will be different, that they’ll get better.

But they don’t get better. And you feel worse. The safe place doesn’t feel safe, but you can’t bring yourself to leave because you don’t think you’ll ever love anything as much as you love them.

But if they aren’t who you thought they were, then you have fallen in love with a stone angel. A carefully carved, perfect picture of something beautiful that is cold and hard inside. If you wait long enough, you’ll see it. The stone will begin to crack. Pieces will fall off, and you will stand, empty-handed, in front of a pile of dust.

Maybe they really are sorry. Maybe not. But if they love you, if they truly love you, and can’t be who you need them to be, then they will let you go.

Or you must go yourself.

I’m not going to tell you it won’t hurt. It is excruciating. It will feel like a drawn-out amputation of part of your innermost self. But it is not the same kind of pain as the initial shock of finding out that they are not who you thought they were. There is a sort of freedom in this pain. A soft whisper in your soul that tells you this is right. That you are providing yourself with the greatest form of self-care available. The purest form of love is the one that moves you to make hard decisions.

If it makes it any easier, remember that just as this person is not good for you right now, you are not good for them either. Not through any fault of your own – but if your relationship allowed them to break you in this way, it is not healthy for either of you.

Don’t fall into the lie that anything is better than being alone. It is not. You are so worthy, so precious, and any relationship that doesn’t make you feel that way is not one that you can remain in.

When the doubts creep in – you wonder if it was you, if you are simply too hard to love, or if you were too much, too little, too old or too young… Shut. Them. Down.

Do not dignify them with your time or attention. Remember that this is a result of someone else’s brokenness, and not your own. That this has absolutely nothing to do with your value or your being.

This is not the end of your story. You have more tears to cry, more laughter to share, more moments of glory and of pain. Forgive them, not for their sake but your own, but don’t forget it. Remember who you are, who you want to be, and what you deserve.

Walk forward in a life of fullness, of kindness, of beauty and love.

I can’t wait to see what you do next.

TCID: anika-green

Anika is the author of Out of the Habit, available on Amazon.

Keep up with Anika on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Anikajgreen.com