This Is What ‘I Don’t Love You’ Feels Like

 Thought Catalog
Thought Catalog

“I love you.”

“I know you do,” he said.

What I thought would bring a sense of relief when three words that kept me up at night finally escaped my mouth, really left me feeling even more vulnerable. There’s a sting to ‘I love you,’ when the feelings aren’t reciprocated. There’s a pain in walking away that moment you realize your love just wasn’t enough.

It’s looking down at a screen and a silence that kills you.

It’s staring at a door just hoping they walk back in.

It’s the apology you’ve heard a thousand times. But you want to believe the excuses.

It’s looking at your reflection in the bathroom mirror and seeing a pretty face but under the layers of makeup is self-doubt, criticism and a feeling of being inadequate.

It’s fixating upon flaws you wish you could change and you tell yourself it’s them. And you’d love nothing more than to believe it. But you don’t.

It’s hearing the words ‘you deserve better’ but in your mind, you build this same person up who knocked you so far down and you wonder ‘is there anyone better?’

It’s the look your best friend gives you and the exchange simply says, ‘drop it. Don’t ask.’

Its tears as your pillow absorbs each drop and you’ve never felt so lonely.

It’s being met with darkness at 2 AM as you lay there wondering how you even got here?

It’s being emotionally exhausted because for some reason your best wasn’t good enough and you’re still trying to figure out why.

It’s people asking how you are you simply say fine because no one wants to hear that it feels like you’re drowning.

It’s the moment you stop. Stop trying. Stop caring. Stop everything. And it hurts you to do so but it hurts more standing in a place looking at a person and never being what they need.

And it kills you to walk away and try and move on.

And you look for any reason to turn back around. But the truth has been clear for so long it just took until now to see it.

Sometimes things end much sooner than goodbye.

The ugly truth is you can’t love someone into liking you.

But the hardest part isn’t some unrequited love story.

The hardest part is standing in front of them and pretending this doesn’t hurt like hell.

So you’re forced to smile instead of cry. You’re forced to answer with a fine when they ask how you are but the reality is you haven’t stopped thinking about them, you haven’t slept in days and it physically hurts all of it and the thoughts haunt you of what you’ll never be.

You’re forced to walk away without looking back. The hardest thing you’ll ever do is letting someone you love go.
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love takes work. But convincing someone to love you is a lost cause that ends in your own heartbreak and tears.Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

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