I cannot love you right now.
Don’t take it personally. You see, there’s nothing wrong with you as a person – quite the opposite in fact.
You are the perfect mix of headstrong and soft-hearted, of impulsive yet dependable and kind. You are the sort of person people go their whole lives waiting to meet and to treasure and hold onto. You are the person I once thought I was waiting for. You are the person so many others still are.
But I’ve learned a funny trick about the Universe and it’s that it always gives us what we want the most at the time when we are ready for it least.
We could sit here and lament about timing; what it means and what it’s worth and whether or not it is a factor that really serves to stand in anyone’s way. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s not. But here is what I know for absolute sure: My heart is wholly unprepared to love you.
My heart is comfortable being alone. And that doesn’t mean I’m scared to take a chance. It doesn’t mean I don’t think that all the risks are worth it – that the high of love doesn’t ever serve to measure out the pain. It just means that I’m enjoying my stability. That relying on myself feels damn good right now and perhaps I’d like to keep it that way for a while.
I cannot love you right now. That’s not a prophecy or pigeonhole or deterministic statement that I’m serving up as an excuse. Love’s a choice – it always has been and perhaps it always will be. I could choose to strip down all my guards. I could decide that it is worth it to fall. But for now, I quite like standing upright. I quite like being on my own two feet and not needing any help propping myself up. Even from someone like you. Even from someone whose mere presence stands to take my breath away.
I cannot love you right now. And I’m sorry for any inconvenience. I know that love can be beautiful and life-changing – that we could serve to learn so much from each other and that together we could take on the world.
But for now, I want to take on the world on my own.
I want to fight my own battles and harness my strengths. I want to set my sights higher and my dreams bigger and my ambitions stronger than I ever thought was possible alone. I want to take on the adventure of living full-force, without pause to see how my plans fit alongside somebody else’s. I want to take it all in on my own.
And perhaps therein lies the eternal paradox: I can’t love you because I don’t want to.
Not because I’m physically incapable – not because my heart is too guarded or my mind is too jaded or my ability to commit to someone else is sourly lacking in all the ways it ought to be abundant.
I cannot love you right now because I very simply choose not to.
I choose loving myself first. I choose loving myself foremost. I choose going for the life that I want ahead of any life I could have alongside somebody else.
I cannot love you right now because I’ve decided to love me instead.
And maybe there will one day be a time when those two forces are not at a constant tug-of-war: when I can give myself to someone else fully without taking away from myself. Where I can support and advocate for your life without chipping away and deteriorating my own. Where I will eventually find the fine balance between going for what it is I want and being stable enough to keep coming home to somebody else.
But that time is not now. And that place is not here.
And so for the time being, I cannot love you.
And all I can hope is that, at the least, you will be able to understand.