I have not had many successful relationships in my life thus far, and each time another one ends, I cannot help but wonder if I am the common denominator in all of these problems. What about me screams “temporary”? It is almost as if a person can just look at me and know that this, this will not be forever.
At the age of 16, I was taught by my first relationship how easy I was to walk away from. I was shown by the first person I fell in love with how quickly love can be transformed into hate. I learned so young that sometimes the truth is staring us right in the face, but our hearts will refuse to see it. I experienced my first heartbreak and my first deception all at once. I was blindsided, and I was devastated. I was left alone to pick up the pieces while he was out falling in love with someone who could be so much more to him than I ever was. It was amazing to see just how quickly he walked away from our relationship and how much it did not seem to bother him. I was left alone and broken while he was happier than he had ever been. At the age of sixteen, I learned just how easy it was to leave a person like me.
A person whose heart is both too open and too cold. A person who will always be there when you need them, but who will always have a difficult time being there for themselves. Sometimes it feels like I am less of a person and more of a wishing well. I am the place where you go to heal, where you search for your answers and your comfort in your worst moments, but I am never the home you are looking for. I will help you become who you have always wanted to be, and I will rarely ask for anything in return. And maybe this is where my problem lies.
I have always allowed others to use me to better themselves. I give, and I give, and I give, and when it comes time for someone to return the favor, to return the love, they have vanished. Gone.
Maybe I am too passive. Maybe I am boring. Or strange. Maybe my emotions are just too much to handle. I am quiet, and I am shy. But I am also opinionated and stubborn. I am a storm, but I am also sunshine. I can be the world’s best listener, but I can also tell stories for days. I am everything all at once, and sometimes, I think, I am just too much.
For a long time, I was so open and so willing to meet new people. I wanted so badly to be in another relationship, and I was still so naive. I continued to date, and I continued to be left behind. Each time I would fall a little bit harder and a little bit further, but I would always pick myself back up. I would always dust myself off and piece together all of the parts of myself I thought I had lost. I came out of each experience a little more bruised and a little more broken, but still so determined to fall in love.
My date to the senior prom was the second major heartbreak I experienced in my life. He was a sweet boy who made me laugh and who put it in real effort to see me. Until the day he decided that it would just be easier on us both if he wasn’t in my life anymore. I never saw him again after the prom, and he didn’t even speak to me again for eight months. I could not understand how we went from happily being in each other’s arms to nothing in just one night. It was as if all of the time we had spent together had been a dream, and I finally woke up.
Again, I was devastated. Again, I was alone and left wondering, why? Why is it so much easier to leave me than it is to just talk about our problems? Am I so unimportant that my absence in someone’s life is hardly any absence at all? How can people who meant so much to me just leave and move on so easily? Why am I always the one who is left behind?
I wish that dating experience had been the last time I was reminded of how easy I was to leave. I thought I had already learned my mandatory life lesson on heartbreak and that I would finally be able to move on to having healthy relationships. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I kept on dating, and they all kept on leaving, and I began to feel like I would be alone forever. Until the day I met him. We had an instant attraction, and I felt more alive than I had in a very long time. Finally, someone wanted to be with me. Someone finally wanted to stay. I thought I had finally found my perfect relationship.
But what I had really found was my perfect hell.
He made it clear that he never wanted to break up with me, yet all he ever did was leave. He would disappear for days and expect me to just be okay with that. He would travel for months while I sat at home wondering if he would ever actually come back for me. Our relationship was a rollercoaster. Things would be amazing, and then in an instant, everything would fall apart. I began to lose touch with my own reality, and I could barely keep track of what was actually real between us anymore. As the distance grew, so did my doubt.
No matter what I did, it was never enough for him. I was never enough for him to stay, and yet, he would never fully let me go. I was simultaneously being left and held down all at once.
The final time he left me, I realized that our relationship had ended long before I ever realized that it had. I was always alone, even when he was right next to me. I never went back to him again, but the lessons he taught me will be with me forever.
On some days, I recognize how our relationship taught me what true love is and what it is not. But most of the time, the biggest lesson I learned from my time with him was that everyone always leaves. No matter how much you do to try to make things right, everyone always leaves.
After that relationship ended, I took time to put myself back together before I entered back into the dating world. And once I did, I questioned why I purposefully put myself back into a world that did not want me. Whether it was a shitty date or one who just disappeared, I still could not find anyone who saw enough in me to want to stay. I could not understand how some people fell into relationships so easily while I could barely even get someone to text me back. No matter how hard I tried to be positive about my situation, I could not help but blame myself for my loneliness.
And then, when I least expected it, I met someone. I had never met someone who understood me and accepted me like he did. We were different, yet also so similar. For the first time in a long time, I was happy. I was learning to live in the moment and take every chance that life threw my way. We always knew that what we had could not be permanent because he had no plans to stay in my city, but that type of leaving did not scare me. I knew the outcome before we even began, and I made the conscious decision to pursue something I knew would eventually have to come to an end. For once, I knew exactly why someone would be leaving. It was not me. It was a factor beyond my control. I was finally enough for someone to want to stay.
I should have known that the ending I dreamed up in my head for us would never actually happen. I should have known that we have no control over someone else’s decisions, no matter how close to them we might be. I should have known that leaving would still hurt, even if I knew it was coming.
But I never could have predicted the way he left. First, I noticed the distance. Then, I found out the truth. And like that, he was gone. The person who had changed my life more in just a handful of dates than someone I had spent years with left me without ever saying goodbye. He left me after I thought we had cleared the air and made our peace. He left me just as I thought things could finally go back to normal between us. He left me just as quickly as he had come into my life.
He left me. He blocked me. And he erased me from his life.
I thought I already knew what heartbreak felt like. I thought I knew how to put my broken pieces back together and move on. But this one, this one broke me in a way that I had never felt before. I don’t think I had ever truly been in love until I met him. I thought in the past that I had been, but once I meant him, I knew that the way I felt around him was the way you should really be feeling in a relationship. I knew that the way I felt around him was something special. I finally understood what it meant to love and be loved in return. And then I lost it all.
The one person I thought would be in my life forever left me more easily than anyone ever had. The one person who made me feel more loved than anyone ever had before exited my life like I was just another stranger he bumped into on the street. The only person I have ever truly loved did everything he could to get away from me.
That kind of heartbreak and devastation is not something you can get over in a night or a month or even a couple of years. That kind of heartbreak burrows itself into your chest, and it makes a home there. It spreads its roots, and it gets comfortable. It wants you to know exactly what you lost and exactly why you lost it.
This ache has made a home in me, and these past two years have been so fucking lonely.
Every cup of coffee, every word of poetry, they all lead me back to him.
Every day is now a constant reminder of how easy it is to leave a person like me.