I Only Fell In Love With The Idea Of You

Flickr / Joel Sossa

I thought I was in love with you, but maybe I was wrong.

You were kind and sweet and soft, so unlike the other boys I’d grown used to dating. You would hold open doors and ask me about my past and visit my childhood home with me. I remember the first day you opened up to me, somehow both hesitant and earnest, like you’d been waiting for the day you’d be able to let it all out but were still afraid to say it.

You and I were something different, something special. We could talk about almost anything. You loved the things I cared about and hated the things I didn’t. Even when you didn’t agree with me, you’d at least admit I had a point. You grounded me when I started to float away and lifted me up when I’d fall down. You were everything I needed from the moment I met you.

But maybe that wasn’t who you were. Maybe that’s just who I wanted you to be.

The truth is, I didn’t know you as well as I thought I did. I’d created preexisting roles for what I believed I needed in a person and you went to fill them all so perfectly. But maybe you already knew that. Maybe you liked me enough to shift in ways that made you fit next to me like pieces of a puzzle, like we were destiny, fate. Maybe you wanted to believe it, too.

I think I always knew there was a part of you I never understood, a part of you I just couldn’t see, that I didn’t want to see. The parts that didn’t fit into my fairytale, that actively went against everything I wanted you to be. And you went on playing the part, pretending that you could be the person I needed and ignoring that it wasn’t who you actually were.

But in the end, we couldn’t keep pretending you were something that you weren’t and I couldn’t keep pretending that I didn’t know.

I was in love, but it wasn’t with you — it was with the idea of you.

And that’s how we fell apart — tumultuously, tragically. You couldn’t hide your true self and I couldn’t hide my disappointment. Little by little, we became strangers, people who could no longer understand one another. Little by little, we fell out of love with the people we pretended to be.

The hardest part wasn’t the fighting or the screaming or the hurting. It wasn’t the nights when I’d lie awake and tell myself over and over again not to text you. It wasn’t even losing you. It was losing the person I thought you were, the person I once loved foolishly and realize now never even existed.

So I’m saying goodbye to you, but not before I thank you for the little gifts and the stolen moments and all the unconditional love. Thank you for wiping away my tears and singing me my favorite songs and treating my mother well. And thank you, most of all, for loving me. You were everything I ever thought I needed, you just weren’t who I thought you were. TC mark

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