Had I loved you first, you wouldn’t have been scared of love. I came to you battle-tested, ravaged from infidelity and broken promises, but you had been newly heartbroken. Your scars hadn’t even healed because if they had, you wouldn’t have been so weary of coming on too strong, of saying the right thing or of thinking every time I was mad, it was directed at you.
Had I loved you first, you wouldn’t have had doubts about the kind of man you are. Sure, you’d live with insecurities, battle with self-doubt like the rest of us, but when it came to relationships, you would have been rest assured that who you were was enough to deserve love.
Had I loved you first, you would have challenged her more fiercely. You wouldn’t have taken her shit. You wouldn’t have lied down for her, letting her leave scars and bruises that blossomed into doubt. Had I loved you first, you would have recognized that damaged people damage people.
Had I loved you first, you would have seen how strong you are in the face of turmoil. You would have seen the difference between trying because you wanted to – and trying because you had to – and maybe you wouldn’t have stuck it out with her for as long as you did.
Had I loved you first, I would have told you every day what you meant to me. I wouldn’t try to pretend that saying “I love you,” was derivative or that I was somehow too good for your generosity.
Had I loved you first, I would have fought for us not to end. I wouldn’t have believed that our love was like any other I could grab off Tinder or meet at the bar. I would have realized that each love – this love – was unique and worth holding onto.
Had I loved you first, I would still be comforted by the memories of you that come flooding in: the minuscule moments like us washing dishes after dinner, the times you opened the car door for me or when you’d smile at me for no reason other than how beautiful you thought I was.
Had I loved you first, we wouldn’t have ended.