Looking back, it all seemed like a good idea at the time. Well, both times. The most epic mistakes are the ones you make twice. There was a lesson to be learned the first time, and you didn’t learn it. There were choices that you could have made so that it wouldn’t happen again, and you didn’t make them. Instead, you followed your heart instead of your brain, and let that person in again. And let me tell you, the end result is so horrifying that you would give anything to be able to go back to that first time you were picking up the shattered pieces of your heart, slap yourself in the face, and learn that lesson.
But you can’t go back. And moving forward feels like an impossibility.
When I was a senior in college, I met someone. Someone who made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. The kind of guy that makes your heart skip a beat when he walks into the room. The kind of guy that randomly texts “I love you” ten times a day to make sure you know he’s thinking about you. And every time you get that text, you light up like a Christmas tree. The kind of guy that says “Everything will be OK” and you believe him.
I wish I didn’t.
I wish I hadn’t been so naïve and stupid. The problem with this prince charming was that he had a family of his own. And I believed what most delusional 22 year olds believe. I thought he would leave and be with me. What made me think this is still a mystery. Maybe it was the constant “I love you” messages. Maybe it was the way he looked at me. Maybe it was because he wanted me.
Maybe I was just an idiot.
About a year after we met, he told me he was moving, and my fairytale romance was over. The last call I got was the day the move happened. I will never forget that call. I cried for days. It was the type of sobbing episode where it’s gone on for so long that you can no longer breathe through your nose due to the congestion and you begin wondering how it’s possible that your body can produce so many tears so fast. I wish I was one of those girls who could just say “Screw you, on to the next one,” but I’m not. I held on to the sadness and the loss for years. And it affected every relationship that I had after that. It’s here that I should have learned the lesson. I didn’t.
Almost a decade later, our lives crossed paths again. I had a choice to make. Do I ignore my feelings for him and take the high road? Or do I meet up with him and see what happens? Based on the devastation that occurred the first time, the high road seemed like the only viable option. So, of course, I did the opposite. I met up with him, because in some tiny back corner of my brain, I thought he would see what he was missing out on, and he’d want to be with me again. And he did.
I loved him so much, and he appeared to love me just as much. Told me so 20 times a day. I started looking for apartments and jobs near him. Started planning a life. “Oh my God, this is really happening!” The years it took to get over the first heartbreak seemed like a fleeting memory. Nothing in the past mattered, only my future with him. It seemed almost too good to be true.
The thing about situations that seem too good to be true? They typically are just that. While we were on the phone one night he suddenly hung up. I then got a series of cryptic messages and one that asked for a few days to “figure this out.” I knew what that meant. I spent the next 48 hours in bed thinking to myself, “there is no possible way he is going to do this again. He promised me that he would never hurt me like that again. He loves me.”
That promise would be broken in one earth shattering text message. My life, my plan, the future I had created in my head—it was gone. He had done it again. I had allowed it to happen again. I thought the first time was bad. This was on a whole other level. My dreams were so close to coming true, and then they were gone in the blink of an eye.
There are a lot of things I learned in those last few hours.
If that is love, then I don’t want any part in it. The people that love you won’t hurt you like that. He didn’t love me. Not the first time, not the second time.
Some people don’t deserve second chances. If someone hurts you that badly once, the chances of them doing it again are pretty high. It’s like the saying “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Shame on me for thinking that he deserved me. And that I needed him.
Some people come into your lives to make it better. These are the people that you want to have around. The people that come into your lives, destroy your spirit, and then say “I’m sorry” as if that will make it all OK don’t deserve to be there.
Sometimes goodbye is a second chance. For me. To start again and find a new path. After all of this, I’m not sure if I deserve one. I’m not proud of the things I’ve done and for the hurt that this situation has caused. I’m not proud of the hurt that I have let into my own life because of the poor decisions I’ve made and the lessons I didn’t learn along the way. I let someone have all of me, and lost control of my life. My life was going on a path that was directed by him. And I loved him, so that was OK.
The good news is that saying goodbye gave me the power to make my own choices about what happens next. Will I make the right choice?