A boy broke my heart.
We were best friends, and I wanted more. He seemed to want more, as well. It wasn’t until I had ignored all the red flags and warnings from my friends and carelessly fallen in love with him that I learned he had no intentions of dating me…not then, and not ever. I had invested more time and energy into the prospective relationship than I had ever invested in a relationship I was actually in. It was too late for me to take back the plans I’d stayed awake making, the tears I’d cried from confusion and exhaustion, and the moments I’d shared with him. It was too late to take back everything I’d told him and all the times we’d kissed. I was absolutely drained and devastated when I heard the words that changed my perspective on courtship/dating forever. “I’m sorry you feel led on, but I honestly have no intention of dating you. I never said I did.”
He was rude, I’ll give him that. He picked up on how I felt and used that to get the perks of having a girlfriend without having to actually commit to me, and then someone better came along and he left me in the dust to date her. My best friends hate him to this day. I used to think I hated him, too. But I realize now that he’s not totally to blame for my heartbreak.
Because, if I’m being honest with myself, I am to blame for most of the hurt I felt. And it’s time for me to stop blaming boys for the breaks in it when I’m the one being careless with my heart.
The Boy never once told me he liked me.
He liked to cuddle with me. He liked to show me off to his friends when we went to concerts, and he liked it when I came to see him play shows at the gigs he booked. He thought I was attractive. He liked to go eat with me and do homework with me. He liked to talk to me. He liked to kiss me. But that only means he’s a healthy young male with working hormones. He was friends with someone he found attractive, and that friend never demanded anything from him like commitment or a confession of feelings.
That was my first mistake: I was too scared of losing him by coming on too strong, so I never asked how he felt. I made my feelings obvious, but I never said “I’m in love with you, and I deserve to know where you’re at. I deserve to know what we are.” No, I bottled up my confusion, just thankful that he wanted to spend time with me and that he at least thought I was physically attractive.
The Boy never once told me his intentions.
He paid for my dinner. He invited himself to my dorm for impromptu study parties. He drove when we went places. He expected me to come to his shows. He texted me throughout the day. He snapchatted me and liked all of my posts on Instagram. But he always said “let’s hang.” He never said “I’m taking you on a date.” He never introduced me to his friends as anything but “Kaylie,” not even “my friend Kaylie.” He never talked about me to his friends, either. He frequently talked to other girls when I was with him, leaving me to stand awkwardly by his side, not sure if I should be jealous or not. When we went from just friends to friends who cuddled, then friends who kissed goodnight and held hands in the car and spent every waking moment together, he never mentioned dating or being more than friends.
That was my second mistake: I was too afraid of scaring him off to ask if he considered us to be more than friends. Thought it certainly seemed like he considered me more than a friend, he never told me that. He never told his friends that. He never made anything clear to me, because he never planned on making me more than his friend. So I let him take advantage of the benefits that come with being boyfriend/girlfriend without asking if he planned to ever be my boyfriend. The last thing I wanted to do was seem clingy or insecure, and I certainly didn’t want him to run off when I mentioned the words “more than friends.”
The Boy never once promised me anything.
He kissed me. He told me I was beautiful. He told me I was wonderful. He looked at me like I was the prettiest thing he’d ever seen. He loved holding my hand, even in public. He loved hanging out with me. He took me out and showed me off to the world. But he never said anything about being my boyfriend. He never told me he liked me. He never told me he wanted to date me. He never told me he ever wanted anything more than what we were. He never promised me a relationship, and I never asked for one.
That was my third and final mistake: I never asked him to be anything more than my best friend. I let him reap the benefits without asking for the title, the commitment, the promise. I assumed it would come in due time, even though I was constantly waiting around to be able to call him my boyfriend. I avoided the “what are you guys?” questions and pretended I knew what I was doing. I ignored the bad feeling that always resided in my stomach when someone flirted with him and he flirted back, when he hid his phone from me, when he went a few hours without talking to me even though he’d read my message, when he dropped me off without walking me to the door even though my dorm was in a sketchy part of town and it was dark outside. I ignored the burning desire to finally know if he ever wanted to make things “official.”
When he told me he didn’t want to date me, I was crushed. I cut him out of my life. I stopped hanging out with our mutual friends. I cried when I was alone. I dressed up on the days we had class together in the hopes that he would see me and feel like he was missing out, and I cried some more when he never paid attention to me despite my effort to look nice for him. I told my friends he was a jerk. I told them he used me. I told them he took advantage of me. And, while those things were true, I was also to blame because I allowed those things to happen.
I let him walk all over me because I was afraid of losing him. I let him take advantage of me because I loved him too much to demand respect and commitment. I let him crush my heart because I handed it to him on a silver platter without him asking for it or reassuring me that he would take care of it. This happens every day with other girls, and I know it because I see their sad tweets and overhear their friends talking about how upset it makes them. I see them dressing up for that one class and looking crushed when nothing happens. I see my best friends cry over the boys that never texted after the party, and I see the girls who are too afraid to ask for more when that’s what they want.
It’s time to stop blaming guys for everything and start taking responsibility for not respecting ourselves.
Demand respect. Ask questions. Define the relationship. If the guy gets scared and takes off, it just means he was going to take off at some point anyway. Start guarding your heart until the time is right, until you know the boy you love is going to continue to guard your heart after you give it to him. Let him ask for your heart before you offer it. Yes, you should take chances on love. No, you shouldn’t let boys walk all over you. And you certainly shouldn’t hate them for doing it when you’re the one who never demanded respect in the first place.
A boy broke my heart. But I let him.
And now I know better.
I’m not bitter. I don’t hate The Boy. I’m not even upset with him anymore. I’ve dated again, and things have gone wonderfully since I learned my lesson:
We are also to blame for our broken hearts if we never ask boys to take care of them in the first place.