I did something that had been quietly nudging at me for weeks. I’d been at this place before and I worried that I was giving away my power. Again. But after reviewing our story with eyes wide open, I felt that I needed to do it. Carrying around all this sadness and disappointment was really wearing me down, and I felt like it was time to finally move on. So I did it- I told my Ex I forgive him.
Well, he wasn’t really my Ex, he was more my “it’s complicated.” But regardless, we had been in and out of each other’s lives for years. We met when we both worked at a ski resort in Colorado. The pace was fast and fun loving; most people cared more about getting the best powder turns and taking fireball shots, then committing to love. My relationship with Beau was adorned with “red flags” from the start. It was unhealthy and lacking in any formality of trust.
I don’t fall for men easily or often, but somehow I fell for him. He was confused about what he wanted; he was a cheater, and he was as reliable as the weatherman. But I thought he cared about me; I thought we cared about each other. He asked questions, and he listened thoughtfully to the answers; he understood me. He wasn’t intimidated by my independent, ambitious self—he admired it. We liked the same things and sang the same song lyrics. My body yearned for him, every time he walked into the room. He was my Colorado boy; he wasn’t like the boys from the East Coast, who thought they were “wicked awesome.” He was a Rocky Mountain boy. When I was around him I became a docile puppy, who kept trying to get his attention.
But the problem with Beau was that he had other girls in his life; and he couldn’t figure out where all the girls fit in, or who to commit to. So I became his side chick. Never in my life did I think I would participate in that type of arrangement, but I had lost control. I was all in, and so I decided to hold on; I held on for years, in fact. Even after he moved away from the ski resort, and I ultimately moved back to the East Coast, we stayed in touch. Sending each other selfies and “I miss you” and “I wish you were here,” texts on the regular. When I would visit Colorado, he was always a part of my itinerary. But in classic Beau style, he still managed to bag out on me and the plans I had made for us half the time.
I held on tight, even when my hands started to bleed from the gripping because I desperately wanted to believe that one day he would finally look into to my eyes and ask “will you be my girlfriend?” But the calendar pages would flip by, and there was always some reason why he wouldn’t or couldn’t commit to our relationship. Still I continued to tell myself if I just hung in there he would eventually figure out how amazing I was. I was forgetting that people don’t change just because you want them to, or will them to. I lied to myself for five years that he would finally choose me. And he refused.
We could never get on the same page. In fact, I’m pretty sure we were reading different books. But he continued to send me mixed messages and, signs of admiration and seemed to play along with my fantasy. I held all those actions close to my heart and said “Yes! This is going to work; he wants to be with me.”
And then it happened—another knife to the heart. I came across Beau in a picture, on Facebook, with another girl; she was his girlfriend. Actually, let me be more specific, a sweet 20-year old who was still in college. For a point of reference, I am 29. Only a few weeks before this jolting discovery, I had asked him to come visit me on the East Coast, he agreed, and we had started to plan his visit. In retrospect I now know, he never had any intention of actually coming (since he had a girlfriend), but he strung me along anyway. And I started planning all details of his visit, the first thing being choosing the outfit I would wear to pick him up at the airport.
So as the smiling image of him in his snapback hat with this innocent-looking girl, stared back at me, I realized this: this was it, I was done. I confronted him and told him to get out of my life. I screamed at him for playing mind games with me for five years. I asked him to tell me why I wasn’t good enough.
This is not the first or even the second time I have cried and screamed at him. Shocking—I know. But just like I tell myself I’m not going to eat candy anymore, I always go looking for it in the cupboards late at night. And so because I was lonely, and I hadn’t met anyone else who gave me butterflies every time he walked in the room, as he did, I always crawled back to him. I took a screenshot of that Facebook photo to remind myself that this time would be different. He was never going to commit to me. And we were never going to be together. He would forever be my almost-lover.
So we stopped speaking. Life went on. And I wondered how it was even possible that Beau and I got to this point. He should have been out of my life years ago, but I always fought with myself to leave a door open so he could walk in and stay.
I came to the realization that though you may think you should be with someone, it doesn’t mean you are meant to be together. In fact, if the universe keeps pulling you apart— duh!—you are definitely not meant to be together.
I finally saw the reality of the situation; we both contributed to this relationship’s demise, and I set myself up to get hurt over and over. I walked out into traffic and hoped that the cars would miss me. I was wrong for holding onto him and not moving the heck on. He was wrong for not letting me move on, giving me mixed messages and lying to me. Our relationship was a guise. It was my excuse to not have to really put myself out there in the rough and tumble world of dating. I didn’t need to; I had a boy in Colorado.
With this newfound clarity, a strange urge came over me. I started to feel like I needed to offer Beau my forgiveness. I kept poking the bear when I should have walked away. I made Beau into something, in my mind, that he never was. He was thinking with his little head and wasn’t mature enough to tell me to keep it moving.
For the last year and a half, Beau and I have been communicating long distance. We only communicate through the cyberspace void, via text and social media. I didn’t want negative energy floating around out there in the universe. Frankly I have experienced a lot of untimely death in my life and I am acutely aware that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I didn’t want to leave things unsaid.
And so I decided I needed to tell him I forgive him. I struggled with how to properly word this, as forgiving someone is ultimately unlatching the gate for that person and letting them go. We’ve been at this place before and it is a slippery slope. When you have feelings for someone it is hard to keep those dormant. And so I carefully worded my text message. I wanted to blurt out “let’s be friends again,” but that wasn’t right, that’s what the old me would have said.
“No”, I said, “I am going to stay in control.”
And so I texted, “I want you to know I am in a better place now, I don’t want there to be any negative energy between us.” In not so many words I said: “I forgive you, let’s move on.”
The familiar text notification alert broke the silence right away, and his words appeared on the screen, “I appreciate you saying that. And I’m sorry, it wasn’t all you, it was me too.”
Ah ha, he realizes it too! It took five years for us to get on the same page, but we finally flipped to it.
A feeling of Zen came over me and I immediately felt better. We may figure out how to be friends in the future, but we probably won’t. But that’s okay; Beau isn’t really good for me anyway.
In the end, I needed to forgive Beau, so I could forgive myself. I needed to let it go. To heal, I needed to forgive myself for giving away my power for five years. Beau taught me two very important things. One, he helped me realize that I like being loved. Two, he showed me what happens when you give away your power. I am slowly working to get to a point where it is all water under the bridge, if we cross paths 10 years from now, I hope that we can sit down for beer and laugh about how stupid we were in our 20s. I don’t want to think about Beau and feel wounded.
I want to think about him and laugh to myself, “Remember that time you chased a boy for years? You were kind of dumb, but you eventually figured it out.”