I never realized that you could love someone too much. Or that loving someone too much could actually be worse than not loving them at all.
But I did love someone too much.
I loved him so much that my heart burst at the sound of his name, my heart raced at the feel of his touch, and I found myself immersed in this unquenchable need to make him happy.
Through his depression and his financial burdens, his alcoholism and his infidelity – I was his rock. Always pushing aside my heartbreak and my own happiness, I was determined to be his best friend and confidant, never giving up on him when everyone else did. I was his home.
This sounds perfect, right? Isn’t that how love should be? Isn’t it all about supporting someone through every challenge in life?
I thought so too. I thought my undying love for him, my irrevocable loyalty and my unconditional forgiveness for his faults, was a sign of true love. And maybe it was..
But it was also my own undoing.
Four years. And with each and every moment, my love for him grew and my love for myself died.
I gave every part of me to make him happy. His happiness was my happiness, and so I sacrificed so much of myself to see him soar. And when I succeeded in making him smile or helped him achieve his dreams, I was flying. Weightless. So full of love and pride and hope. So happy.
Until I fell.
It happened so fast. I had hit rock bottom before I realized what had happened or could gather my wits about me.
Study. Work. Anxiety. Insecurity. Stress. The negativity suffocated me like a cloud of toxic smoke. I couldn’t breathe. And I had given so much of myself to another, that I didn’t have enough left to give myself. I had nothing left to build myself back up and keep fighting, to keep supporting, to keep loving. I was broken.
I waited for his gentle voice to tell me it would be ok. For his strong arms to hold me tight and safe, promising we’d get through this together.
But he wasn’t there.
His voice was cold and full of anger. He wanted me to help him with something, to support him with something he was struggling with, to cheer up, and stop being so miserable.
He wanted me to be the shining light I always was for him. To hold him up because he was struggling too you know. He wanted me to give him the love I always gave him.
But there was nothing left to give.
I was empty. Barely breathing. So sure that I was being selfish for not having the energy to be what he needed me to be.
And my heart was breaking. For being a failure. For no longer making him happy.
Who was I without his happiness? Who was I without my ability to give him love? No one. Worth nothing.
My heart was but a shadow of itself before I found the courage to leave.
I woke up one morning and realized that if I did not find myself soon, I’m not sure I ever would.
And just like that, the anxiety vanished. The cloud lifted and a tiny piece of my heart picked itself up, dusted itself off and wriggled its way back into place.
And so I broke it off. I left. I cut ties despite his desperate pleas that he needed me. I took myself out to breakfast and I got my hair done, painted my nails, and watched Disney movies all night long. I reconnected with my friends and my family, finding peace in their unconditional support despite my broken soul.
And with every step away from him, I stepped back towards myself. And with every small gift to myself, a piece of my shattered, confused heart found its way back to where it belonged.
One day when my heart is whole again, I will love someone as passionately as I loved him. But this time, I will also love myself just as passionately. I will fight for what makes me happy, and accept nothing less.
I don’t ever want to lose that part of me that loves another so fiercely, it fills their soul with light. But I promise to never again forget to love myself just as much, so my soul shines just as bright.