People are always telling me I’m going to find another you.
Perhaps that’s the consequence of falling hopelessly, deeply in love at a young age – you spend the rest of your life trying to measure up.
New relationships fall short. New people fail to understand you. Nothing ever quite mimics the intensity and passion of young love – brimming with excitement and naivety and opportunity.
My friends all tilt their heads and say, ‘You’ll fall in love like that again someday.’
But here’s the thing they fail to understand: I don’t want a love like that again. I don’t want to find another you.
Even though you were so many of the things I wanted.
You were long conversations and comfortable silences. You were strong arms wrapped around me in the middle of the night for so many blissful years. You were the first body I built a home inside. You were the first lover who made me come alive.
But you were also chaos and uncertainty and pain. You were 4am screaming fits and arguments that lasted all night. You were the kind of passion that warms your heart but burns your spirit down around it. You were the kind of person who makes you fall so in love with them that you forget yourself. You forget that you need to keep fanning your own fire.
Because the thing about loving you was that it swallowed everything.
Our love became bigger than the lives that we wanted for ourselves – bigger than every choice we independently made, every option we otherwise could have taken. Loving you was both my greatest freedom and heaviest anchor and it eventually became impossible to distinguish the two.
You were everything I ever wanted, and that was the problem.
Because love can’t be the answer to all of your problems. A person cannot be your whole world.
And perhaps that’s a simple consequence of falling so entirely in love when you’re so, so young: you don’t learn how to set healthy boundaries. You don’t learn how not to fall into the abyss of co-dependence. You don’t learn to distinguish the person you’re becoming from the person you’ve grown up alongside and you forget how to untangle yourself from the mutual reliance.
After you left, I had a lot of people tell me that I’d find a love like you and I had again. But the truth is, I don’t want that love back.
I don’t want the kind of love that’s so encompassing you forget how to exist outside of it. I don’t want the kind of love that swallows, absorbs and takes you over. I don’t want the kind of love that feels like a straight hit of oxygen to the lungs.
I’ve learned to breathe on my own since you left. I think we both have.
And so here’s what I hope moving forward: I hope that we both fall in love again. You deserve that. I deserve it too.
I hope you find a woman whose steadiness and strength matches your own. I hope I find someone who wants to explore and create without restraint. I hope we both move on and move forward and find ways to grow ourselves through love.
But I don’t hope to find another you.
I don’t hope to find someone who makes me forget that there’s an entire world outside of love – one that I want to go explore, to go adventure, to go grab onto with my two impatient hands.
I don’t hope to find someone who feels like a chemical drug – one I could take hit after hit after hit of, watching my whole life pass me by in the process.
I don’t hope to find someone who loves me so much that he forgets to love himself in the process. That I forget to love myself, too.
I hope we both find love out there again. But a measured love. An aged love. A more refined, infinitely more self-aware love.
I hope that love comes back to us both.
But I hope that I never love anyone as much as I once loved you.