My entire existence has now revolved around him for over five years. He came into my life faster than I could have ever imagined. As a semi-apprehensive teenager, I had always hoped that one day I’d be able to let my guard down enough to let love in, and he did it for me. He weaseled his way into my naïve little heart and he wasn’t letting go.
I didn’t ask for it at nineteen years old, but then again, no one plans these things out. I had a world of dreams ahead of me – a future I would have never let ‘some guy’ come and tangle up. But without warning, those not-so-memorable nights with ‘some guy’ soon became tangled up into something more. For some reason, I didn’t hesitate this time. They say opposites attract because they have so much learn from each other -and finally that all made sense. Everything else began to seem so insignificant. My family I saw less frequently; my friends became negligible – nothing else could give me that high. It didn’t matter if I lost everything, because I knew I’d still have him.
So this is what love feels like? This is what I was so terrified of all this time?
I finally had a true best friend – someone who accepted my lame jokes, my strange eating habits, and my 12am cleaning frenzies. Someone I could wake up to every morning without my hair or makeup done and still feel loved. I had finally found someone who needed me.
Over the years I desperately clung to him while slowly losing myself. We grew so much together only to grow seemingly so far apart. This was a crucial time in our young lives that should have been meant for growing, learning, and experiencing new things, but instead we had our own little bubble that I wasn’t willing to let him escape. I guess we didn’t want to face how unhappy we had become — and I wanted nothing more than to be like we used to, so our relationship gradually manifested into my constant cries for attention. His way of dealing was drinking (constantly). Hateful words became my weapon of choice. Being aware of his lows, I would bring him lower. The glazed-over eyes that would blankly stare back provided me with no reaction, no consequence, and no satisfaction. I’d always come in second place over the contents of that bottle.
Soon, the constant drinking turned into neglected nights of ignored phone calls. Then they turned into nights of him not coming home at all. My screams and yells were silent in his fogged-up world.
My genius solution to our problems finally came to me one night in my drunken state of mind. I did the unthinkable: I cheated. I’m a cheater. Of course that would solve all of our issues – he would suddenly realize how much I mean to him and he would fight to keep me in his life, right? I mean, it’s not like the random guy paying attention to me at the bar necessarily meant anything to me, so why couldn’t he understand that?
The fact that this naïve and selfish explanation even crossed my mind proves the maturity level of a twenty-something year old in a serious relationship. What I did was not me, but it was me – for a moment. It’s funny how one single moment, with a single second of clarity, can change two lives forever.
I, of course, felt completely justified breaking the news to him while he was out with his friends and not worshipping the ground I stood on – because that was totally acceptable in my sad, pathetic, neglected little mind. I craved that reaction – and it’s better to feel something than nothing at all, right?
When I was finally able to be in his presence after my confession, I wanted to take away the tears I forced upon him and reverse the entire situation. The realization of how much I cared about this guy came just a second too late. This wasn’t something that could simply be fixed with a million “I’m sorry’s” or an endless supply of gummy bears. This was something that would never be forgotten and I could never undo.
How could I betray someone I respected so much? If I was so unhappy, shouldn’t it have been so easy to just walk away?
Let’s be realistic in knowing it’s not always as simple as setting someone ‘free.’ We could have kept making empty promises to give each other space, to let each other grow, to figure out that we wanted no one else -but our fear of the unknown would continue to stop us. We were comfortable. We weren’t going anywhere. Something drastic needed to happen in order to create that divide.
I can’t say that this drastic divide was such a bad thing, though.
Here I am, almost two years later, in a new city with a new life, still replaying every moment that led up to our breaking point. Two years spent trying to fix the past, eliminate the hurt, and rewind back to our old selves – and I’ve finally given up on the idea of ‘us.’ It may have taken a while, but I am proud of every step it’s taken to get here.
I’ve come to the realization that you can’t wake someone who is pretending to be asleep. I’ve learned that drugs and alcohol do not take away pain. I’ve realized that showing up drunk to your ex’s house at 3am is not the time to reconcile your differences. Sometimes you just have to let things go.
Aside from heartbreak giving me the opportunity to relate to virtually every song from Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill, it was the absolute most crucial time in my life –to date. This guy may have ripped me in two and (unintentionally) made me feel worthless, but he gave me everything back. He provided me with the chance to experience a new chapter, a time to regain my confidence, and the ability to finally love and depend on no one but myself.
(I’m still not quite sure what I gave him besides another cheating, crazy ex-girlfriend to add to the list.)
Of course, there will continue to be my weaker moments when I want to cave and call his phone or send him sappy, dramatic messages that reminisce of the past, — but that will fade away eventually (I hope).
Some people say that I’ll always feel this way; that a part of me will always love him, and that I’ll always regret what I did. I’m prepared to move on in knowing that, but I choose to be grateful for it. Even if I never let myself fully open up to anyone again, I thank him for being the person to open me up and be vulnerable enough to experience these feelings. I thank him for helping to create the indestructible woman I am becoming.
So, thank you.
You’ll always be my “what if.”
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
I do not condone cheating in the least bit. I believe it’s one of the worst, most selfish things you could possibly do to another person. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, GET OUT. No excuses. You could save a great deal of hassle between both parties if you just pull your pant(ies) up and end it. And who knows, after some time apart, maybe your paths will cross again; maybe you’ll realize what went wrong and be able to rekindle your flame. I can assure you, though, once you cheat, it can never be reversed. The feeling you give someone after cheating just doesn’t go away. The other person will likely never, ever forget it. It won’t matter how many times you apologize, it won’t matter how much time/money you invest in them, it won’t even make a difference if you get a million times hotter. Nothing will erase that from their memory (unless of course your life magically becomes a scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Regardless, this is my perspective, and I hope it can enlighten at least a few people to become true to themselves.