Maybe I Should Have Put More Effort Into Us

I will never forget the day that you finally asked me to stop talking about work. Sitting beside you on your bed, not knowing it would be one of the last times I would ever get to be with you, I didn’t understand the weight of what it was that you were really trying to tell me. All of my life, my career has always been my primary focus. I have always believed that if I am meant to find love, I will find it without having to compromise the life I had always dreamed of for myself. In my own head, this all makes perfect sense. Two people meet in the place that they are destined to be in and fall in love because they are destined to be together. Simple. Easy. No one compromises, and no one loses. But life isn’t a fairy-tale, and you don’t always get to choose what your next chapter will be.

I cannot help but wonder if you would have been more inclined to stay if I would have worked on our relationship the way I did with my relationship with my work. What if I would have been there for you 24/7, even on the days I wanted nothing more than some simple time alone? What if I would have spent my weekends loving you, instead of picking up extra work because I have never known what else to do with my free time? Maybe I should have put more effort into us. Maybe I should have told you how I really felt before it was too late, before you had already moved on and away from me. We rarely get second chances in life, but somehow, I was lucky enough to have one with you. And yet, I destroyed it anyway.

I know that I am not the only one at fault here, but I cannot pretend like I was innocent in any of this either. I remember my disgust when you suggested I just work for you as your secretary at your future practice, and now I wonder how much happier I could have been if I would have just said yes. I wonder how much happier I would be if I put the people I cared about first for once in my fucking life instead of prioritizing a career that left me as soon as things got rocky. I used to believe that “settling” would be the ultimate failure for me in life. Sure, I supported my friends and family who chose that lifestyle, but a life like that would never be for someone like me. And you know why that is? Because someone like me is so fucking afraid of being hurt and alone that they would rather be alone forever than risk heartbreak. They would rather live a life alone than ever open themselves up to the possibility that maybe, for once, a relationship could actually work out to be something beautiful. I have always joked about being extremely successful, but also extremely bitter and alone. I’m not laughing anymore. As the world goes through such massive changes and the career I have worked my entire life to establish crumbles at my feet, all I can think of is one word: regret.

I regret the way I treated you in all of those moments you were actually being sincere with me. I regret all of the opportunities I passed up to meet someone new because I judged them too harshly without even knowing them. I regret every relationship I left to die because I decided one more hour of work was more important than someone who cared about me. And for once I think I can say that I agree with you; I wish I would have told you sooner.

I wish I would have told you sooner how much you meant to me and how badly I wanted to be with you, instead of acting like you were just like anyone else to me. I wish I would have told you how willing I was to uproot my life for you because someone like you doesn’t come around very often, and I would be a fool not to. I just wish I would have told you how much I cared before it was too late. Because I promise you that sometimes, it really is just too late.

I know my independence is important, but people are important, too. Relationships are important. Friendship is important. Love, real fucking love, is so much more important than I ever let myself believe. If I still had you, my world could still be crumbling around me, but at least I would have you to help me pick up the pieces. At least I would have someone to start over with. I have held my own heart in my hands for 28 years, and I can’t help but wonder how different my life could have been if I would have just let someone else in.

It is so true that we often do not realize what we have until it is gone. I would give anything to go back in time and fix everything with you. But fate already gave us two chances, and I don’t think I am all that deserving of a third. Maybe the third time’s a charm, or maybe I am just out of luck.

Maybe I should have put more effort into us.

And maybe you have already found someone else who does.

About the author
Like if a unicorn were a person going through an emo phase. Follow Becky on Instagram or read more articles from Becky on Thought Catalog.

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