“It’s not that I don’t want you, it’s that I’m not sure what I want.” He looked at me, the innocence in his eyes painted sincerity.
I felt my jaw clench. It was a catch twenty-two, I was sure of someone who wasn’t sure of me. I was baffled. I needed answers, so I asked my follow up questions.
“Do you still feel like you love me?”
“Do you still feel like you want to be with me?”
“I don’t know, and I can’t promise you how I’ll feel.”
I appreciated the honesty, really I did, and because I was so sure and confident- I gave my honest response.
After a brief pause of trying to string words together I spoke,
“If you need to test the waters- go around, date, I’ll be here. Figure out what you want, I’ll wait.”
“That’s not fair to you, though.”
No. It wasn’t fair to me and what I wish I would have replied with now would have been something that granted us both the opportunity to play the field and figure out what was best for each of us, on our own. I didn’t.
I was still baffled and uncertain. How was I so sure of someone who wasn’t sure of me? Maybe I wasn’t enough.
To any young twenty-something woman reading this, listen to me carefully- the only person in charge of defining your value, is you.
Instead of running for the hills, I did what any 21-year-old girl who didn’t feel good enough would do. We spent the night together, for a brief 10 hours- I was enough. It was nice. I could feel a real upswing heading my way.
I sought out advice often; the responses were all the same.
“What an asshole.”
“You’re worth more.” Was I though?
“You could do better than that.”
Looking back on it all two years later, I’m not still sure why I didn’t listen to my advice-givers.
Once the weather got warmer and I would be coming back home from school soon, Mr. Inconsistent-Feelings started to come around.
“I miss you” and “Good morning” texts frequented. It warmed my heart to know I was finally good enough.
But before I knew it, I was playing a dating game of hot potato.
I want to be your boyfriend. I don’t want to be your boyfriend.
Finally, we both hit our wits end with each other, he couldn’t reciprocate an “I love you” and I was frustrated. We met on the beach to close what I thought was the final chapter of us, what a silly young girl I was. With tears in my eyes we both said a nice, peaceful farewell. It was a story book ending, healthy and appropriate- which is why it wasn’t the actual ending.
What did end that day on the beach was my dependency. Mr. Inconsistent-Feelings had proven to me that he wasn’t someone I could depend on emotionally.
My happiness could not be invested here, and the summer made that more than clear. However, the biggest lesson that saved me was this: I had decided that the only happiness to concern myself with and depend on, was my own.
Naturally, we got back together- but things were different. I wasn’t putting his or anyone else’s happiness before mine.
While we technically were boyfriend-girlfriend, I don’t consider what I had with Mr. Inconsistent a relationship. What we had was based off desire, not love. He was inconsistent about me right from the start, and that’s not how any relationship works not with family or friends.
Think about it: If a friend told you they weren’t really sure about whether or not they wanted you in their life, you’d be waving a hilarious yet frank “BYE FELICIA!” before the sentence was over. If you wouldn’t, then girl, start loving yourself.
What I learned in this Non-Relationship Relationship was something I had been lacking over the course of my youth, loving myself.
It’s easy to be blinded by the idea of love, or what could be- but don’t forget you. Don’t forget you are more than enough, love yourself first.
It takes years of practice, some days are harder than others- but focusing on you and loving you is the first priority on your list, every single damn day.