Right the first moment we laid eyes on each other, I already knew that it was going to be something different. We had this intense chemistry that immediate drew us closer despite the differences we had as two individuals. So naturally we wanted to spend more time together and we did just that. We joked, we laughed, we kissed. Before I knew it, I had already fallen for him hard and fast. It was so amazing that it felt almost too good to be true.
Indeed, it was too good to be true. At one point, things suddenly felt off. I could sense that there was something up with him as he started to distance himself and stop communicating with me as much but I didn’t voice my concerns. I acted like everything was normal because I wanted to see how things played out. One day, he told me he had to leave for his home town to attend a relative’s funeral.
During the two weeks he was gone, I was worried, yet I hung on to the last time we were together to calm myself down. However, much as I wished to lie to myself, my intuition was right. When he came back, he avoided me for three days and then he said to my face that he didn’t love me, he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend.
I’m still in love with my ex. I don’t love you. Those words sounded so simple, yet to that hopeless me at that time, they were heavier than stones. It was like the end to everything that ever meant anything to me. I was shocked, I was angry, I was humiliated and yes, I was incredibly hurt. It was all too much.
My eyes were all red and I seriously could not breathe. That night, I ran away and got on some random bus that I had no idea where it would lead to but I didn’t care. I just wanted to run away from the whole world even though I knew there was no place for me to escape from that nightmare.
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t fathom any of it. Everything that I thought was mine, I had wholeheartedly treasured just vanished like a popped bubble in front of my eyes. I thought he blind-sided me. He strung me along. He made me his rebound. I was just a temporary band-aid for his broken heart.
And while I was hung out to dry all wounded and broken, he jumped from one relationship to another and carried on with his happy life with that woman who had ruined him, the woman who I couldn’t help but to measure myself up to because the man I loved chose her but not me. What does she have but I don’t? I did not know.
What I knew was that he made me feel like my existence, my love was an inconvenience and I was crazy for even thinking there was something special between us. And why did it have to happen to me? Why then? Needless to say, I was in misery.
The thought of him wounded me like someone just stabbed me right in the chest as I was torn apart between the love and hate for him. And what sucked the most is that, if I had not told myself to hate him, that love part in me would have immediately run to him and never been able to let him go again, like a big time loser.
It was tough back then as all the feelings were so intense that they overwhelmed me and every waking moment of my life to the point of numbness. It took me a very long time and a lot of conscious effort to finally put things into perspective and figure something out to free myself from him and that past. I did it because I had to.
What I realized is when things like that happened, my instinct was to blame, to accuse, to victimize, yet I never once took a step back and tried to rationally think what the whole situation actually showed me about him and the state of our relationship. Instead, I swallowed the pity pill and kept focusing on getting him back for all the wrong reasons. Jealousy, insecurity, desperation, obsession — you name it. It was anything but love since I had missed the point of love. Love is letting go. I wasn’t letting go. I was being selfish.
Worst of all, I allowed that man to walk in and out of my life as he pleased because his affection, his time, his love had become some kind of reward, something to chase after, something lost that needed to be taken back, something that was conditional for my happiness except happiness had become a blur. I even forgot that affection wasn’t meant to be fought over. No. It is voluntarily given and love takes two.
It’s scary to me how feelings could blind me and take over me like that. But I guess it’s the only way I could ever learn to let go of the people who were never meant to be in my life in the first place, those who do not want to stay.
Most importantly, it was the chance for me to learn: to forgive, to accept and to respect people’s choice even if that choice means my heart getting broken. Perhaps I should be proud that I did give it my all, I had nothing to regret, and be grateful for these precious opportunities to reflect and grow so that I won’t screw up next time I meet a truly worthy person.
Now looking back, it turned out that that man was much wiser than me. He left me to be with someone he loved while I held on to him — someone who didn’t want me. I kept thinking I was stuck in that situation but the truth is, I wasn’t. I always had a choice, and still do. The choice to walk away from those who hurt me, the choice to be happy, to move on, to choose someone who has both his feet in the door, who is open to love and ready for love and not settle for anything less, especially not someone who doesn’t love me the same way.
I was struggling but it was doable. The key thing is to be brave — brave to let go and move forwards. If you could do that, then trust me, it’s definitely going to be okay because time would take care of the rest. After all, if we didn’t pick ourselves up, no one else would and could for us anyway.