It’s liberating when you realize that someone doesn’t love you anymore. Well, at first it’s devastating. At first you’ll be stricken with grief and question what’s wrong with you. You’ll ask yourself what you can do to make yourself more lovable, as if changing one thing will suddenly make you more appealing to a mass group of people. There must be something you can fix inside yourself that will bring all the men and women who loved you back, who once held you like a boa constrictor in bed and delighted in your every movement. You were a gold star they stuck on their bedroom wall until the edges started to wilt, and you fell down. Gold star, little star, crumbled up piece of sticker on your foot that you can’t seem to get off.
No, no. It doesn’t work that way. We can’t bring anyone back. What’s done is done. Something inside of them switched and they made the decision to stop loving you. If only we understood at that moment how little it had to do with us. When you fall in and out of love with someone, it’s like you become privy to all the secrets of the world. You understand what life is all about, how badly we all just want to connect with someone and feel like we have a partner or a teammate. It’s cruel how quickly things can change, how your teammate becomes an adversary at the drop of a hat. All the while, you keep asking yourself “How can I get the gold star to stick again? How can I get my teammate back?” What you don’t know now, you’ll understand later. Trust.
You learn a lot about people and their ability to disengage when you get your heartbroken. But I would venture to say that you learn even more when you break someone else’s heart. That’s when it all becomes clear and you’re finally able to get over that one person who stopped loving you. Because now you know the secret. Now you know how random it all is. It’s a scary truth to realize. It’s a much easier pill to swallow when there are concrete reasons why the love stopped — it makes people seem less scary and more rational — but sometimes love is just as irrational as a loss of love. Things stop just because.
Only when I had the experience of falling out of love with someone myself did I begin to understand it all. Only then did it become clear that my ex didn’t love me anymore period. No ifs, ands, or buts. I could have plastic surgery to look like Ryan Gosling and it wouldn’t make a lick of a difference. Just like how it was with the boy I stopped loving. He could have done anything to make me love him again and it wouldn’t have mattered. In my mind, the doors had closed and there was NO WAY to reopen them.
Realizing this might sound depressing but it was actually the ultimate relief. I could finally stop torturing myself over “What if’s” and ways to get my ex back. I now knew that it was impossible. Just like I had done with this boy, the love switch had gone off in my ex’s brain forever. It was no longer about me and my shortcomings as a partner. It was about something inside of him changing forever that was out of my control. Knowing there was no hope in salvaging the relationship was the greatest gift I could ever give myself. By having been on both sides of the coin, I can see love in all its screwed up complexities and here’s the take-away message I’ve gotten: Love is there until it’s not. It might have everything to do with you or it might have nothing to do with you. The point is that people change and outgrow each other. Placing the blame on yourself and agonizing over what you could’ve done to change the outcome is fruitless. It’s all chemical anyway. Take the weight of the grief off your shoulders and take solace in knowing that you will be loved again.