He has none of the characteristics that you had planned on falling in love with. Nearly every important male figure in your life has been aggressively masculine – they all have been tough-skinned, stoic, hardened. You envisioned yourself wanting those things. You’ve chased those things in other men, only to find that those relationships go up in flames before they ever really had a chance.
He is different than anyone you have ever known. It’s refreshing, comforting, and simultaneously terrifying. He is soft. You can remember rejecting those initial feelings that you had about him – the feelings that told you that he was going to be important, that he was special. You didn’t want to give in because even with only a first impression, he was intimidatingly different.
So it goes. You started to talk. A friendship formed over a social media handle exchange and that turned to a competitive Snapchat streak and that turned to real conversations. You talked about faith, the future, and the past. You had never known someone who made you feel so comfortable being vulnerable. Those conversations rolled into chilly October and you can remember the exact moment that you felt your heart do that thing that it does when you realize you love someone. He was in your driveway, rushing up to your door on the first day of November, coming to pick you up. It lasted for half a second and you can remember that microscopic moment in vivid color. He’s running with his lanky arms swinging at his sides, dodging the drizzle of rain sprinkling onto the pavement.
But here’s the hard part: his heart didn’t do that thing too. There you were, giving more of yourself to him than you should have and you realized that you didn’t have very much of him at all. He could have had anything he wanted from you, because you were not letting go. He could have reached out and completely shattered you because he certainly had the ammunition to do it. You had a care for him that was rooted deep in your heart; there was no place you wouldn’t have gone, nothing you wouldn’t have done for him.
He just didn’t feel that way about you.
So you kept promising yourself that, with time, it would change. He would see your heart and he would leap because he was just so in love with you. You tried to stay optimistic, though painfully failing at times, and your morning mantras kept you fighting for it. “Give it time.” “Be patient.” “Don’t rush into anything.”
You didn’t realize that with those personal affirmations, you were setting up unrealistic expectations for him that you weren’t even allowing him to know about. Sure, you loved him but not in the good way. You were too selfish to let him know where your heart was because you were already too vulnerable and therefore you were too scared to give him yet another piece of your heart because this time he could really do some damage.
But what you forgot is that he wouldn’t do that.
You got so wrapped up in your vulnerability, in the unrequited feelings that encompassed your relationship, that you let yourself forget about the goodness in his heart that made you love him in the first place.