The first time I felt myself falling in love, I kept telling everyone we were just friends.
I still recall the very moment I realized I was in love with my best friend. There was something about him that I couldn’t quite understand, but I was intrigued by his mysterious demeanor. Hearing him call me his sister caused my heart to sink to my stomach. But the day he kissed me, I knew, without a doubt, I had fallen in love, though I was too afraid to tell him because I was unsure if that’s what it was. I had never been in love before. It wasn’t until I couldn’t keep my heart from beating out of my chest that I told him I loved him, and surprisingly, he told me he loved me too. The feeling was indescribable, but it felt right. It only made sense for us to be together.
Our love was ideal because it seemed to happen so seamlessly. We shared everything with one another and enjoyed each other’s company; smitten by the look in each other’s eyes. He was still my best friend, and nothing could keep us away from each other. We foolishly made a pact, that no matter how bad a situation, we were supposed to love one another and make our relationship work because our first love was meant to be our last love.
The pain that I endured in our relationship, initially, seemed harmless. All we had were petty arguments, me waiting for him to send an apology through a love song on my voicemail and him waiting to receive a love letter from me. But then I moved away, and before long, he began sleeping with other females and made sure to throw it in my face. He told me that he could have any female he wanted so it didn't matter if I didn't want to be with him. In turn, I wanted to do the same, but my heart wouldn’t allow me to cheat. Because of this, I demanded to take breaks from one another every time I wanted to be free to do whatever I wanted. To this day, I don’t understand why I stayed and sometimes I believe that I strongly felt the connection we had could never be broken. We didn’t understand how toxic our relationship was. The longer we held on to what we shared, the more damage was done to our hearts. We were constantly breaking up and making up, hoping that each time would be better than our last. Unfortunately, each new start felt worse than the last.
“I know I cheated, but I really want to be with you.”
“Please forgive me”
“I don’t want you to be with anybody else.”
My high school sweetheart turned best friend eventually became someone I wasn’t sure I enjoyed being around. I didn’t understand why he made me so upset. I kept telling myself that all I wanted was to be happy and in the back of my mind, I held on to hope that the guy I fell in love with would resurface. The smiles he used to give me turned into scowls. The closeness we shared turned into distance. I was confused emotionally as my heart continued to tug back and forth between forever and never.
He forced me to learn to protect my heart. Letting go of him felt nearly impossible. The only guy I ever loved had pushed me away and as a result, all I could seem to think about was being alone: pushed away and single forever.
Once I found a way to be happy on my own, I felt myself falling in love again. The next guy convinced me that love meant so much more, even though my heart tried to tell me different.
Everything, with this new guy, was happening way too fast. I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with anyone, and he stated that he wasn't ready for monogamy. Despite his words, he took me around people he considered close to him, and it was obvious that he was interested in showing me off. He was always willing to shower me with nice things because he said I deserved them. He enjoyed entertaining me and I allowed him to.
The more he spoiled me, the more my mind led me to consider that being in a relationship with him might be worthwhile. I wasn’t seeking to receive anything from him so his generosity had me infatuated. However, I couldn't understand how he treated me as a significant other, but didn’t want to call me his girlfriend. I never trusted most of what he told me, and should have been smart enough to move on. And just when I thought our ride would soon come to an end, he suddenly decided to tell me he loved me. The first time he said it, I didn’t say it back. Hearing those words part from his lips sounded like a foreign language I could not comprehend and I didn’t know how to respond. I even reached out to my friends to try and understand what was happening and why he had this sudden change in emotion. The more I heard “I love you” , the more I started to believe it to be true.
“Babe I do love you. I don’t understand why you don’t believe me.”
“So you not gon’ tell me you love me?”
“I know you love me.”
It took me a month to realize that he only told me he loved me because he thought that’s what I wanted to hear. He assumed that telling me he loved me would blind me from the fact that we weren’t and never would be in a relationship. Even though I loved him because of how he treated me, I felt he didn’t deserve to know what I felt for him, so I left that 4-letter word tucked away - never to be said at all. How could I allow myself to love someone who pretended to see a future with me? I told him I didn’t appreciate how carelessly “I love you” could be thrown around nor did I want to be in any man’s top five women roster. The company we shared was always entertaining and I didn’t want to lose a friend. Initially, I saw no reason why being friends was an issue. However, I knew it was time to let him go. I kept telling myself I needed to find the right time to say goodbye. How foolish of me to do myself a disservice by inflicting my own pain? I only dated him for 4 months so there was nothing I needed to wait for, and before I knew it I hadn’t talked to him in a month. We definitely weren’t friends.
He forced me to trust my intuition. I needed to learn not to continue to entertain the mirage presented in front of me.
The third time I felt myself falling in love, my intuition forced me to be distant even though what I shared with my third guy felt different.
It wasn’t meant to be. We could never get past the surface of who we were. He always let me know when he was proud of me and encouraged me when I was down. He made me feel beautiful and put my confidence at an all time high. There was always a level deeper that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to explore. I enjoyed conversations we shared, though, I could never let myself be 100% open with him. There was something about him I simply couldn’t trust.
It crossed my mind several times that I was only uneasy about trust because of my past. I considered myself damaged and unworthy of love. Every time I realized I was starting to be too open, I would cower back into a safe personal space designated for my feelings. Why waste time on expressing expectations that I have when I don’t even want to be in a relationship? Allowing myself to expose every layer of fear within me meant that he would be able to get closer to my heart. I didn’t want to be in love with what could potentially be or continue to have meaningless “what if” conversations.
“What if I take you out again?”
“What if we had kids together?”
“What if we decided to get married?”
Every single time I tried to let go, I would somehow feel pulled back. He seemed to always know when to call and be available when necessary. He brought a positive aura into my life but I knew in my heart that I would eventually want more and I never saw us being ‘just friends’. I needed to keep myself from making the same mistake.
But there I was…
holding on to ego stroking conversation because it made me feel good. Then came that infamous four letter word again….so I asked him to be in a relationship with me. His answer was simply: no... but I didn’t want to let go because I was enticed by his energy. I tried to convince myself that it would be easier to let go if he stopped contacting me, but that wasn't a characteristic he had since because he enjoyed the chase. However, it would hurt to have an action repeated from my past: the disappearing act. It was time to be a woman and open my mouth so that he was aware of why I was pulling away.
And now here I am...
single, yet content. I have no reason to entertain what doesn't benefit me. If happiness is what I want then that’s what I should manifest in myself before seeking it through someone else. Love and happiness are not embodied in gifts or fake promises, nor can it be found in conversation that does not stimulate me mentally. I accept each experience as a lesson learned and don’t hold anything against those guys who didn’t want to be with me.
As a woman, I know that my emotions have a tendency to be strongly attached, and had I listened to my intuition from the jump, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my feelings hurt. There is no reason to ever try and force a relationship. The longer I held on, the longer it took me to realize that I was too focused on trying to continue a relationship opposed to allowing things to be as they were. I’m pretty sure the guy who comes along and actually wants to be with me is going to have to be patient, and allow me time to realize that he is not a mirage; so when I do fall again he’ll be there to catch me.