At 17 years old, I got my first real boyfriend. At 22, when we broke up, I should have experienced my first real heartbreak. I didn’t. Throughout our five years together, my heart was constantly breaking.
It was the kind of love that was all-consuming; the kind that I could physically feel in my bones; the kind that actually made it hard to breathe; the kind that’s giving me chills right now just thinking about it.
Our relationship was never easy. We had more ups and downs than you could ever imagine. But to me, it was worth fighting for. So that’s exactly what I did. Each and every day.
He was my very best friend and my worst enemy all in one. While I loved him with every bone in my body, I also hated him with every fiber of my being. He was the only person who could make me feel like I was flying high above a clear blue sky or drowning deep in dark waters.
Eventually, the bad of our relationship outweighed the good. I realized that no matter how many times he said sorry, no matter how many times he swore it was just a mistake, no matter how many times he promised that the lies, cheating, and verbal abuse would never happen again, they always would.
I looked in the mirror and didn’t even recognize the reflection that was staring back at me. I used to be happy. I used to be (somewhat) confident. I used to be the girl that wouldn’t take anyone’s sh*t. I used to be proud of the person I was. But in that moment, all I was was ashamed. I had allowed the actions of someone else to define me; I had allowed them to break me down until I felt completely worthless.
I realized that I had made enough sacrifices throughout our relationship, and I refused to let losing myself to the point of no return be the next one. My breaking point came, and just like that, I was able to do the one thing that always terrified me to even think about — walk away from the person that I loved more than myself.
In doing so, I broke my own heart, but I reminded myself: at least now he couldn’t do it again.
While the last thing I was looking for was to jump into a new relationship, I wondered what I would do when the time did come that I felt ready. I was convinced that there were no good guys out there. I was convinced that I could never trust anybody. I was convinced that if I were to let anyone else in, they’d be bound to let me down. I was convinced that I would never be able to be with anyone else ever again.
So, I prayed.
I wasn’t begging and pleading for a brand-new shiny boyfriend or for Prince Charming to come and sweep me off my feet; I was praying that there were actual good people left out there, ones who would mean and do what they say. I was praying that there was still hope.
And, during a time when I needed it most, I was given exactly what I had asked for.
I began hanging out with another boy — one that I had known vaguely for a while, and one that I admittedly always had an innocent crush on.
At first, it was casual, a fling; the perfect distraction. But, before I knew it, things started getting more serious. We were hanging out in daylight, not the just during the drunken hours of the night. We were doing less hooking up, and more holding hands. We were even spending time with each other’s families.
When I talked, he listened. When I found myself crying over things that had happened in the past, he cared. When he told me he’d never hurt me, I knew in my heart that I could believe him.
With him, I felt safe. I had the security that I always longed for in my previous relationship, but never received. I knew he had a good heart and that his intentions were pure. I knew that people like him were rare. I knew someway, somehow, I got exactly what I had prayed for.
There was only one problem: I felt nothing.
On paper, he was everything I’ve ever wanted; but in person, it just wasn’t there.
While I didn’t miss the heated fights that took place in my last relationship, I did miss the passion; While I didn’t miss being a crazy girlfriend who constantly had to worry whether or not her boyfriend was cheating, I did miss having someone who meant so much to me that even the mere thought of losing them, drove me insane; While I didn’t miss being called a b*tch, I did miss having someone who wasn’t afraid to call me out on my sh*t.
With him, I knew I could live a comfortable life where I would be treated right. But, I also knew that I’d be settling. I’d be settling for a mediocre love, when after all I had been through, I craved the greatest one of all time.
I also knew that he deserved much more than me and what I had to offer him. I knew an amazing person like him was worthy of something greater than a half-ass love.
So… against all logic, I let the nice guy, that I had prayed for, go.
In doing so, I broke his heart; that same boy who gave me hope and helped put mine back together.