Love isn't always easy. In fact, I have it on pretty good authority that it might be the hardest thing out there, aside from like, flying.
We all want what we see on TV, in movies and read in novels. We want someone who will be there for us, who will care for us and who we can share our most intimate feelings and thoughts with free from judgment or embarrassment.
But what do you do when you find that person—or who you believe to be that person—and you can't be together?
There are tons of reasons why relationships get stopped from blooming. Sometimes you can't be together because you live too far and long distance isn't for everyone (I know it isn't for me.)
Sometimes you can't be together because of circumstances in your lives that make it hard to devote time to a relationship, like focusing on school or a time-consuming job. Sometimes, you just can't be together because life isn't always fair and timing doesn't always land on your side.
The thing about love, the real love we all want and chase despite our façades about not caring, is that it will happen when you least expect it, and it will make all of these possibilities the most unbearable you've ever experienced.
Falling in love with someone is easy. It happens organically and most of the time, you have very little control over who it happens with or when. One day you wake up and you think someone's kind of cool and then the next, you want nothing more than to be with them.
While this works to your advantage during times when it all works out and you get to be with the person you love, it makes it harder during the times when it's just not meant to be.
And in my experience, these times are the ones that happen the most.
So what do you do when they happen?
I guess there's no right way to handle it since every situation is different and has its own pitfalls, but one thing I can say as a sweeping declaration to every instance: Don't blame yourself.
Like I said before, love isn't easy. Even when things fall into place majestically, it's still going to require a lot of effort to make it work, but when it doesn't even get a chance to start, it's not your fault.
One thing I know for a fact is that if someone truly loves you, they will do whatever it takes to make it work. If they aren't doing everything in their power to be with you, it might be that they don't feel the exact same way about you as you do them.
That might sound harsh, and if at this point you're reading this and thinking, "This girl has absolutely no idea what she's talking about and I have had enough" then I understand, but I would hope you at least take the chance to hear me out before you write me off altogether.
I was in love with someone who wasn't in love with me once. They said all the right things, they made me feel all the right ways and in my mind, I was certain that they were going to be the one I ended up with at some point.
But I didn't, and trust me, it sucked.
The truth is, even though they talked the talk, they weren't able to walk the walk, and that was the ultimate downfall of any chance we would have had together.
He was a great guy.
He made me feel comfortable with myself and comfortable with him. We talked for hours on end about nothing and somehow everything at the same time, and it never got boring. We could hang out for the longest time and it would feel like mere minutes because there was never a lull between us.
I opened up to him in ways that I hadn't before, ways that I don't regret even now despite the fact that everyone might think I should. I trusted him and I loved him dearly, but at the end of the day, he didn't feel the same way back.
He said he did, multiple times. We always talked about how we felt and it always seemed like we were on the same page. And still, when it came to the big "will they or won't they" question that all of my friends had during this time, it was always a big, resounding "no."
At first, I didn't let it bother me. I understood the reasons why we weren't together and I reluctantly agreed. As time went by, I started to feel as if these reasons were mere excuses, and there was something more underneath the surface.
After a while of remaining in the same situation and nothing ever progressing, I had to make a decision with myself. Was I going to stay in this limbo state with a guy who seemed to fit every definition of what I wanted in a boyfriend but who wasn't even my boyfriend, or was I was going to finally let go of all hope that one day he would be and things might change?
Spoiler alert: I chose the latter.
It took some time to get to that choice. I went back and forth in my mind from the words he would say to me to the way he would never prove them to me. What if I chose wrong?
In the end, I decided to walk away and move on with my life. I knew, deep down, that I deserved more than what I was getting from him, and even though I had spent so long letting myself believe that it was going to change someday, it was time that I faced the reality that it really wasn't.
That's the thing about situations like these: You get so caught up in the feelings and the moments spent with the other person that you don't let yourself think clearly. You have on rose-colored glasses and you have to take the time out to remove them and see things for what they really are, even if it's not what you want them to be.
I will always thank him for showing me love, even if it wasn't the real and true love that I thought it was going to be. I will always thank him for what he was to me when I needed someone to talk to and someone to listen. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to hate the person after it's over and you've moved on—it's OK to be on good terms.
But the reason for my telling of this story isn't to show my appreciation for him, it's to show that even though you may love someone—and I mean really love them—it doesn't mean they're on the same page as you.
At the end of the day, you have to be willing to choose yourself over them. You have to be willing to choose happiness even if it means happiness without them. You have to be able to see that you deserve better, and if they can't give it to you then, as Ariana Grande so sweetly put it, it's "thank u, next."
It's not easy and it's not fun, but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.