“I don’t regret any of the time we spent together.”
That’s what you said to me when you thought I was leaving forever. My first thought was, “Why would you? I gave you everything.”
I guess you were trying to give me a proper goodbye. It was one of the few times you expressed yourself. I wanted to scream, I wanted to hurt you, I wanted to see if there was anything to hurt. I gave you a big smile, trying to appear nonchalant.
“Yeah, me neither,” was the lie that exited my mouth. Looking back now, I think that actually may have been the truth.
I don’t regret any of the time we spent together. I know you did your best. I know you gave me everything you had. It just wasn’t enough.
You treated me like I was ordinary. I searched for a man like you who would mirror the way I viewed myself. I needed someone to prove to me that I was just as undeserving of love as I feel.
Writing it down makes it sound ridiculous — why would someone want to be treated like they’re nothing? Because it would allow me to reinforce the ideas I had about my worth.
“See? You don’t matter,” I could then tell myself with certainty. You never voiced that opinion, but you didn’t have to.
You weren’t being unkind; you were just indifferent. You talked of your own dreams, aspirations, your future, how successful you’d be. I was interested and supportive; I wanted to know and appreciate everything about you: your heart, your soul, your mind. You didn’t care to know me.
Being with you taught me that love is an action. “I love you,” you’d say, especially when I’d find the courage to tell you how insignificant I felt.
Did you say that because you wanted to keep me around? Because you were intoxicated by my ability to make you feel as though you were the only man in the world? Did you say that because you thought it was expected of you?
I prefer to believe you said it because you thought you did love me; you thought you were being honest. I’ll be honest with you now: you don’t know what it means to love.
I thought I could teach you. If I could just love you the way I wanted you to love me, you’d understand.
I did everything of which I was capable. Loving comes so naturally to me; it wasn’t a chore. For me it became so crucial that you grasp how much you mattered to me.
I needed you to see that you were my best friend, my partner, and that your flaws only made you more relatable.
You didn’t learn a thing. It all weighed so heavily on me. The thought that maybe I don’t have much to love persistently crept into my consciousness.
I considered the possibility that you may have the ability to love me but didn’t care to. Maybe you knew how to make me feel important, special, treasured, even worthy. Maybe you just couldn’t be bothered by such things.
My feelings for you became stained with resentment. Reality gnawed at me: it’s not fair to give all this love away when I’m not receiving any in return. I deserve love just as much as anyone.
Even so, I never wanted to stop trying. I couldn’t find a way to say goodbye — how could this be over if I still loved you so much?
You knew better than I did that we couldn’t make it work. You knew how much pain I was in and it pained you to be the cause. You let me go.
Thank you for lifting the veil. So much of my love for you lied in the fantasy of what we could be but never would become.
I realized I didn’t need you to love me to be loved. Teaching you how to love me became the way in which I learned to love myself.
Thank you for showing me how I never want to feel again: ordinary, insignificant, annoying, undeserving. Because of you, I made the distinction between the type of boy I thought I wanted and the type of man I deserve.
I don’t regret any of the time we spent together. By not accepting the love and warmth I gave you, you forced me to take it for myself. For that I can never repay you.
I’m sure that you’ll find someone — in fact, I hope you do. Thank you for not letting it be me.