What It Really Feels Like To Date A Separated Man

Elizabeth Ashley Jerman / flickr.com
Elizabeth Ashley Jerman / flickr.com

I spent the afternoon making you a playlist. It’s spring and the sun is shining for the first time in what feels like forever. It’s been a long winter. I know you’ve been through a lot. I like to do nice things for you. I know you love music, so I took my time and put a lot of love into it.

I like to see that you’re happy. I like to cook for you and make sure you eat well. I like to send you funny pictures that I think might make you smile. I like to compliment you and tell you how funny and handsome I think you are. I do these things because I want to; they come easy to me. I say nice things to you because to me they are true.

I don’t keep you waiting too long before I respond to your texts. I don’t ask for much, if anything at all. I don’t complain when it’s been over a week since I saw you last. I don’t insist that you introduce me to your friends and family. I don’t get upset that I’m still a secret after three months.

I do all of these things because I thought this relationship was worth it, I thought you were worth it. I’ve never been so patient. I’ve never believed in someone so much and so quickly. It seems that I have convinced myself that you must care and that one day everything will be different. The trouble is, I can’t even remember the last time you complimented me, and I don’t think you’ve ever told me that you think I am beautiful. Are you afraid to? Sometimes, days go by and I don’t hear from you at all. Guess what? It takes less than a minute to pull your phone out and send a text.

Have I done it again? Have I mistaken great chemistry for a more meaningful connection? Have I created a version of you in my head, a version that isn’t a true reflection of who you are but rather who I wish you were?

I’m always there for you; I care so much for you. Yet I’m now reaching the bitter, gut-wrenching conclusion that you don’t feel the same. I have to face up to it. Am I just your “crutch?” Am I destined to be one of life’s eternal “fixers?”

I’ve spent so much of my time making sure you’re OK. I check in with you, I make an effort. I am facing some tough times of my own, but I can’t remember the last time you asked me about my life. I feel incredibly alone and lonely. That’s not your fault; honestly, I think it’s mine.

I think I need to say goodbye to you soon. In person. It’s really going to hurt, but somehow I know it will be a million times harder to let go of the version of you I have created. Deep down, I think that one cares about me. TC mark

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