The Art Of Losing You

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. — G.K. Chesterson
A woman standing on a rock, wearing a backpack with her gear in it, in the fog at Stone Mountain State Park
Andrew Neel / Unsplash

I am really good at losing. Losing my car keys, wallet, passport, tax documents, anything of importance, really. I even excel at losing people.

This weekend is a painful reminder of losing love not once but twice.

Two years ago, the love of my life proposed outside a cathedral in Milan (an incredibly romantic gesture as I re-packed my backpack of dirty clothes). Max and I had been in a long distance relationship for 6 months [which was most of our relationship] and so we felt it was time to bridge the distance. Even though English wasn’t his first language, Max was brilliantly fluent in Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, French and then English. He had a remarkable work ethic, sense of humor, a love of adventure and spontaneity, and was family oriented. Checked boxes across the board. I was more than happy to take this next step in our relationship.

Yet, there was something deep within me that whispered, ‘Not yet.’

Thinking it was related to my fears of intimacy and abandonment, I quickly hushed my inner fears and pressed on with my hopes and dreams of planning a romantic elopement in Italy, surrounded by our closest friends and family.

Then, the time came for him to visit America again. I excitedly waited by the infamous blue immigration doors at O’Hare. 20 minutes past his anticipated arrival time, I felt the bad butterflies tickle my stomach. Another 30 minutes passed. Something was wrong.

I panicked and immediately called my mom, who affirmed my intuition that something wasn’t right either. As soon as I hung up with my mom, I received a strange call from an unknown number. I answered hesitantly, but was soon greeted by Max’s tearful voice.

“They are sending me home. I messed up. My paperwork is wrong. They took my phone, and they know about the engagement. They think I am trying to overstay my visa. I am not allowed back, ever.” That was the end of our conversation– I didn’t even get to greet him, much less say goodbye.

Since Max was from an economically weak country in the EU, U.S. immigration was extremely cautious in processing for visitors from such countries, as they are considered “high-risk”. At least 14 others were sent home that night, along with Max. They had their phones taken and were forced to sleep in ‘Immigration Jail’ until the next flight. My heart broke into a million pieces.

Since I still wanted to be with Max, I knew I had to make a sacrifice. I would have to move abroad to be with him. Images flooded my mind; being forced to live miles apart from my family, raising children without my mom being 6 hours or less away from me, and making solo trips home to America. The tension built over the next 3 months and our relationship dissipated right before I was scheduled to move to London for grad school.

I still remember the night we were in London together. I woke up from a terrible nightmare which entailed a huge fight between us and Max breaking off our engagement. Max assured me while rubbing my back, “Don’t be silly. I would never do that.”

Never say never. We broke up 3 weeks later.

Fast forward to one year ago, I met a guy for drinks which then turned into a night filled with laughter, favorite records, and sharing a connection I haven’t felt before. Yet, I was nervous, reserved, and hesitant. Something felt off, but I presumed it was just my own negative thoughts reminding me he would just become like every other man in my life: non-existent. Again, I struggle with letting my thoughts rule my actions, so I did the best I could and told myself to ‘shut-up’ and enjoy the romance.

He pursued hard and quickly. I remember that the day after our first date, I was completely exhausted after teaching swim all day but he had ‘blown-up’ my phone with texts asking me out to dinner that very evening. At first, I declined politely. He then reminded me he traveled for his job, and was set to leave that Monday, so it was now or next weekend. Ugh, ultimatums already. Not wanting to seem like I wasn’t interested, I agreed to dinner, even though I was exhausted and my dog hadn’t seen me all weekend. After all, you’re supposed put others first in a relationship, right?

Thus began the most intense, passionate, anger-filled and volatile relationship of my life. It wasn’t bad all the time, but there were more instances in the relationship where I had to calm him down from irrational arguments, misunderstandings, or tantrums which sprouted from a lack of respect, trust, and basic compassion. There were times where he accused me of not making him a priority, making me feel guilty for caring for my dog, family, and friends, putting my own self-care above his needs, and making me feel as though I wasn’t as successful or smart as he. I am sorry I wanted to be my best so I could bring the best to our relationship. There were times where I accused him of not being empathetic, generous, kindhearted, or adventurous. No matter what we tried to do/or save, it was still all my fault. Needless to say, we weren’t the ‘match’ we thought.

The anger continued to build until my intuition said, ‘enough is enough. we need to be heard. our voice has been silent enough. he is not for you.’ And, I exploded. In the most dramatic way possible — I even sat in the back seat on the drive home from his parents’ house en route back to the city. At first, I felt guilty because he had taken me to an apple orchard but then I felt incredibly angry because we went to a house party instead of letting me finish my homework [and I’m just over house parties]. Not the fun kind of house parties, where people socialize, play games, and enjoy civilized conversation; rather, the type of parties where you get high and drink in people’s basements like your sixteen and rebellious. Uh, no thanks, pass. And so — our relationship was over.

1 week later, he went to another house party where he supposedly met the love of his life. Within 2 weeks, they went to New Orleans together. Within 2 months, they looked at apartments together. After 3 months, they were all moved in. And the rest will be history because I have finally stopped caring.

Apparently, I have a lesson to learn.

A freaky lesson that has resulted in losing two important people within the span of 2 years. Regardless of my Freaky Friday luck, I have learned this: It’s okay to crawl into love. To take my time, to listen to my intuition, to give myself validation, love, and find my worth in my values, friendships, and family. To pour into my community, to be generous, and to be unapologetic for my compassionate, goofy, driven yet free-spirit personality. To chase my dreams with fervor and to not lose focus. To keep running the race and patiently wait for someone who is willing to run beside me — not behind me, nor in front. To be my partner — not my everything {I don’t believe in someone being your everything} but just my something to inspire me, challenge me, and encourage me when I am not at my best self. To seek someone who is interested in fulfilling their higher self and reminds me to do the same.

This weekend brings a lot of reflection, some pain, some laughter, and remembrance for both the good and the bad, but more so, remembrance that I am enough, I am worth it, and I am lovable. TC mark

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