On my 21st birthday, I woke up to the following text message from my boyfriend at the time: “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t love you, I could never love someone like you.”
I remember how hard I cried myself to sleep that night, and how many more times I cried over that same boy. I wish I could say that I learned my lesson and never went back to him but that would be a lie. We got back together so many more times, each time hoping that this time would be different. But it’s never different, it actually just gets worse while your heart keeps slowly breaking till there’s no love left between you two, only bitterness.
When I finally moved on and started dating someone new, I remember getting my heart broken all over again when he left me for his (female) best friend. Let’s just say, a lot of my birthdays have been ruined.
I’ve always been the type to dive right into a relationship. From the minute I meet someone I’m interested in, I jump in blindly, hoping for love. I ignore all the red flags and I get so attached and invested way too early in the relationship. I think I have always been drawn to the idea of love more than I’ve been drawn to any of the guys I’ve ever dated. Maybe if I actually bothered getting to know the guys I date before diving head first into a relationship, I would save myself some heartache.
Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever truly loved any of my exes, which is pretty wild considering that I was in an on-and-off relationship for 7 years.
How could you be with someone you didn’t love for 7 years? You might be thinking.
Well, I think I mistook infatuation for love. I was obsessive, and I thought that I needed this other person to complete me. I was desperate for him to love me because I didn’t love myself and the thought of being alone frightened me.
Sometimes we’re so desperate for love that we look for it in all the wrong places. We latch onto the wrong people, hoping they can fill a void in our lives. I’ve dated so many emotionally unavailable men, probably because I myself am emotionally unavailable. It’s almost as if I enter into these bad relationships knowing on some level that they won’t end well or last.
What happened to the good ol’ days when things didn’t have to be so complicated? When we didn’t know what heartbreak felt like? When we were young and naive and we assumed that our first love could and would overcome anything?
I wish I could go back in time—to when I was younger and I believed that love was the most beautiful thing in the world. To the time before any of my exes decided to cheat on me, before I had to question what love stood for.
But I can’t.
We all want to be loved, yet we’re too afraid to give love a real chance. We take more than we give. We brag about how heartless we are. Dating has become a competition where the winner is the one who feels less.
We keep people around just for the attention, even when we have no intention of seriously dating them—even when there’s no chance in hell that we’ll ever fall in love with them. Many of us would much rather be in the wrong relationship than face being alone.
When did love become such a burden?
2016 is the first year in my dating life that I don’t have a boyfriend. I think after my past dating experience, I realized that I need to focus on myself first before I give my all again to someone else.
There are a lot of things that I miss about being in a relationship, like having someone to help zip my dress up and having someone to hold me at night. It would be easy for me to go back to one of my exes because trust me, they always come back. Instead, I’ve made the conscious decision to stay single and to work on myself so that one day—when the right guy comes along—I’ll be ready for him.
When that day comes, I won’t take his love for granted. I won’t run away when things get tough. I won’t obsess over whether or not he calls me every second. I won’t wonder constantly whether or not he loves me back. Instead, I will be confident enough in our relationship and in myself that everything will work out if it’s meant to.
Until that day comes though, I rather be alone and happy.
Yes, being alone is lonely, but it is so much lonelier to be with the wrong person.
This story originally appeared on DaddyIssuesLA.