I'm constantly haunted by the question, "Would you rather love someone or have them love you?" I've realized neither one is easy. We all want to feel love, it's part of being a human. However, we also want to feel like we've put 110% into a relationship and loved someone with all we have.
I didn't realize how hard it was to be on the heartbreaker's side until recently. I started talking to a guy I thought I'd never speak to again, and hadn't for two years. We had dated the majority of high school until he came back from college one night. I thought he had randomly decided he didn't want me anymore, but now I know better.
That night, he might have said, "I love you," and he might have meant it. He might have hugged me closer than ever and kissed me with more passion than I'd ever experienced. He might have bought me my favorite kind of donuts and laughed at my jokes all night, but the time we spent together didn't disguise the pain he felt when he drove back to his dorm after hanging out with me, his girlfriend from high school. His struggle to move on and fear of hurting me played against each other. In the end, he had to choose himself, and I had to respect that.
At the time, I believed it was all me. I didn't understand what made me not worthy. Now I know it had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with him.
Just like now has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me.
We had talked it all out. We had a plan, and we painted a picture. He promised me everything I thought I wanted. The hole that was left in my chest felt full once again.
I thought I could see him in my future. We'd raise dogs together and eventually start a family. I'd see him walk through the front door every day and help him loosen his tie. In the evening, he'd drink his whiskey and I'd drink my wine while we discussed our political stances with our dogs sitting between us on the couch. We'd sing the lyrics off-key to each other from the playlist he made me when we first started talking again. I'd rest my head on his arm as he drove, and every day would start with a kiss from him on my forehead.
I genuinely thought I knew what I wanted.
I thought I wanted him, but the truth was, I wasn't ready for that.
I had no valid reason to break up with him, except for the fact I didn't want this anymore. I didn't want to commit my life to someone at 19.
Now I look back to two years ago and realize he was put in the same position I am today. I was so confused when he ended things, just like I know he is now. I remember questioning why he'd become distant, and he had reassured me he loved me and wanted me. Then he 180'ed on me and broke my heart. I have done the same exact thing to him now and realize it's not as easy as it seemed.
It took me the longest time to understand where he was coming from back then, but now I get it. Neither side is easy when you care for the other person. Either you're breaking their heart, or you're breaking your own heart.
I had to force myself to believe (even though it feels really crappy) that it is okay to chose myself.
If this sounds familiar to you, listen here:
Be selfish. If you're in high school, college or any other point in your life, you're never going to get this opportunity to experience this part of your life again. These fun times are meant to be a little reckless and unplanned. A relationship that continually makes you sacrifice your personal happiness is not beneficial for anyone. Struggling between not wanting to hurt him, but continually hurting yourself, means it's time for a change.
Don't feel guilty for self-love. Your ex and all his friends will say you cheated on him, played him, and treated him poorly, but the truth is he's just hurt you decided to love yourself instead of him.
Any person worth your time will eventually respect that. And if they don't, they're better left in your past.