On Being Given No Choice When He Lets You Go

girl in a grey sweater eyes closed
Brooke Cagle

He finds a job overseas and he tells you the contract is for 18 months. Something in you freezes and your chest goes tight, your breathing shallows.

You know you’ll have to take a lot of time to adjust to this news.

You ask what this means for your relationship. He tells you that he thinks it’s too long, he doesn’t think he can miss you like that, wouldn’t it just be better to split?

This was the last thing you were expecting to hear. You thought you’d be together. You know you love him enough to weather the storm of distance.

It seems he does not share your feeling.

And so you split apart, right there in the street. You stop walking, you put down your bag, and you’re drowning. Pain closes over your heart like concrete, like a cruel fist squeezing all of the joy out of the world.

You think you’ll fall if you don’t sit so you find a park bench and land with the heaviness of the world weighing down on your back. Your eyes glaze over and you turn to look at him and as you begin to say you cannot imagine your life without him, a sob escapes your lips and your heart explodes with remembered pain and a new kind of devastation.

Because you know, deep inside, he is leaving you. You know that no matter how hard you hurt, no matter how much you cry, nothing you can say or do now will be enough to keep him in your life.

You think, in this moment that his words could be the cruellest sound your ears have ever feared to hear. That this wrenching deep inside is just more layers of pain dropped over a life of hurt and loss.

How are you supposed to feel when someone tells you they’d rather let you go than miss you?

You get up in a sudden burst. Let’s walk, you say. A million things fly through your mind as you stumble blindly home. Cars rush by you in the night and you think you could just step in front of one and it would be over and you’d never have to be rejected or abandoned again. But you know now you could never do that. Instead, you continue to walk, a zombie, traversing the wastelands of your emotional landscape.

The city of your heart is in ruins. The flags high up in the towers of love are ripped and flapping in this hurricane of hurt. Thoughts fly all around you. You want to run away from him and into the night. You want to tell him go, leave me the hell alone with your cowardice and your doubt. You want to fall down. You stumble on.

You reach your house and the talk continues and it seems that for all the tears in the world that he has made this decision. You wonder if he has doubted you all along and this is just a good reason to leave you behind.

The old songs start their hateful melodies in your mind. You hear how another person can’t love you. You hear that you’re unworthy. You hear the sound of your love being thrown on the ground, and dragged over to the trash, thrown in because he is too scared to give himself to love and to give you the dignity of choice.

Eventually he falls quiet, you’ve said so much. Too much. 

As he gets up to leave the room, you break.

Pieces of your identity and heart fall down around you, fragmented, shattering in the darkness. Your mind splits and the misery and anguish and fear you feel envelopes you and it’s consuming you as shadows begin to torment with all of the darkest thoughts that exist inside the stories of your pain.

Unworthiness stings you like so many wasps, afflicting you with wounds and wounds and wounds and somewhere inside you are raging that he could be so foolish to leave you behind, because despite all of the stories coming thick and fast, somewhere in a soft quiet place you think he is a fool to let you go. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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