They don’t want to go out in public with you – they’d rather keep your relationship inside. In the apartment. In the house. Maybe even a hotel room. There is a constant division between your time together, and their time spent with family, and friends, and coworkers. They tell you they want your time together to be special. You push away the idea that they’re hiding you, that maybe you’re not the only person that they’re seeing, and convince yourself that it’s romantic.
There’s nothing romantic about it.
They get jealous. Jealous of attention you receive from the opposite sex. Jealous of any friendships you may have with the opposite sex. You tell yourself it’s sweet to be loved so much. You start to think that maybe love means there can only be room in your heart for romance and that friends shouldn’t matter as much. That the platonic relationships you’ve cultivated over the years have to take a back seat, and that it’s ok that they don’t want you to give your attention to anyone other than them.
There’s nothing ok about that.
They drink too much. Or smoke too much. And when that happens, they become mean. They say mean things, they do mean things, they lash out in ways that you couldn’t possibly expect. And you tell yourself that they couldn’t possibly mean it. You remind yourself that it’s just the booze talking, the weed talking, the anger talking…and that it’s just misplaced emotion. They’re just confused.
Maybe you tell yourself that you shouldn’t have prompted the discussion, or that you shouldn’t have voiced your opinion or your feelings. Maybe you tell yourself that you need to be better, that they’re getting so angry and mean because they love you. Maybe you tell yourself that you should be lucky to be loved at all, and so you accept the anger. You accept the meanness. You tell yourself that there are two people in every relationship and that maybe you had some hand in all of this anger and animosity.
Maybe there’s a voice in your head that says you deserve it.
You do not ever deserve it.
There’s nothing romantic about keeping your love quiet, hidden in rooms and dark corners and away from the people in your lives. Your love should be with you at family parties, and work functions, and social gatherings, and whatever occasion that calls for love to be celebrated. Love is not meant for the shadows or for secrets – it is built out of honesty and light.
There’s nothing romantic about jealousy that is all consuming and palpable, the kind that rips you away from everything you have ever created and everyone you have ever known. There’s nothing sweet about that, or romantic about that, or lovely about that.
That’s not love.
You deserve a love that is born out of kindness. And compassion. And warmth. And joy. Your love is about understanding and compassion, and the want to be better, and do better, for the human whom you love. Do not mistake pain as a necessary component for love. Do not believe the lie that when someone hurts you in anger it’s ok because they say that they love you. Do not tell yourself that you must settle for scraps disguised as love when you deserve a full course meal.
Stop romanticizing the relationships of yesterday. Stop making the bits of your past into something that they were not. Let them live in the past so that you can have a future that you love without question.