I remember being young. Excited for the future. A little immature. Naive, not innocent. I met a boy. He was cute as a button. Special in his own way. We were different like night and day. He was obnoxious, so sure of himself. Sarcasm came to him like it was art and he was Picasso. I couldn’t stand the sight of him. Or bear to hear the words he would utter.
But I was lonely, he kind of liked me. He asked. I said yes. Three rules were laid out.
- We don’t tell anyone.
- When this ends, we stay friends.
- This will end.
And so we began.
I knew where I was going. I had plans, back-up plans and back-up for my back-up plans. I had a vision of who I was and who I wanted to be. He had love and a comfortable dream. I wanted no part in it. 8 months and we’re done, I told myself on our first date.
Who was I kidding?!
They say you don’t always know the moment you fall in love with someone. I do. I know the moment my heart leapt out of me, into his hands to do as he pleased. On the phone with him, he said to me, “I don’t care what the situation is, you’ll never be alone. I’ll always stand by you.” I knew I wanted that in my life.
And just like that, 8 months turned 9 and I couldn’t imagine waking up to a world where he wasn’t with me. We couldn’t tell anyone but every part of me was dying to. I wanted everyone to know how much I loved him, how much he loved me, how amazing he was and that his love was only for me.
We hit one year and I couldn’t believe my ears. I was so excited. We shopped, went for lunch and celebrated us. But the back of my mind was beginning to nag. I was young but not young enough to ignore the facts. If this didn’t have a future, I had to be honest with myself and step back. I’d look at him, ready to ask the question and I’d stop. No. I can’t lose him to my need for permanence. We’re happy as we are.
The battle went on until the conversation was finally had, spread over six months of back and forth, sharing thoughts, ideas and passions. Sharing our vision of what marriage means to us, what it looks like in our minds and the other’s role in it. We disagreed time and again. We almost broke up over and over again. Until, finally, one day, I sat next to him. We knew there were differences – kids, lifestyle, career – we wanted so many different things. But when we looked at each other, our hearts knew, “I love you too much to let you go.”
The decision was made. I wish we’d waited.
I loved him, I still do. But life caught up. I grew up in uncertainty, unsure where life would take me. My obsessive planning was born the first time I didn’t know what the future held. Uncertainty scares me. His life was filled with them. I never thought about it until suddenly I did. And then I couldn’t let it go. It was an adventure I didn’t want to be in.
How do you choose between the love of your life and the feeling of security? How do you feel safe in someone’s arms yet afraid in his world?
I did. And like all things negative, the fear grew larger and more prominent in my mind until it took over every conversation, every argument, every joke, every look and every minute of our relationship. I began to compare. Not with the living but with the imaginary. The vision of the future I wanted versus the one I was being offered. “Life is filled with uncertainty,” I was told on repeat. But that’s why you have plans. You have destinations. You have back-up plans, my mind would scream. Sometimes, I would scream.
The fights grew bigger, the shouting louder, the words more hurtful. Sometimes, I’d remember the moments we spent too in love to give a fuck about anything else. Sometimes, I’d remember my parents in heated arguments, afraid I was following their precedent. Are we just like them?
We pushed, pulled and lost our minds in the swinging emotions that were mostly mine. I wanted him as much as I wanted to know every little part of my life.
The longing I had for the world to know made me feel trapped with the eyes that were now watching. The people I wanted to gasp with jealousy were now running their mouth with opinions I didn’t want to hear.
He stood his ground, “I want you. It’s really that simple to me.” I couldn’t relate. Instead, I had pain. I had fears. I felt lost in a relationship that had once made me feel like I belonged. And it was so easy…
It was so easy to pretend like it didn’t matter. To turn off my fears when I heard his voice. His laughter brought with it that comfort, his words made me feel loved. His arms… they felt like home. But then I’d leave to come back to my real one, the home that’s made of walls and cement and reality would stare at me, questions burning my brain, anxiety waiting to spiral.
My heart would sink with me as I was stuck in the rut I forgot about when he was standing next to me. And the circle will start all over again.
How do you choose?
How do you choose between the comfort of his arms and the comfort of your mind? Between feeling at home and feeling secure?
How do you choose between the love of your life and yourself?
I chose myself.
I don’t know if I’ll wake up one morning and hate myself for this. I don’t know if I’ll ever find someone that loves me and makes me feel the way he did. But today, in this moment, I believe I did what I had to for myself. There are people who get it and ones who don’t.
But I wake up every morning and tell myself, “It only has to make sense to you.” Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.
That’s just something I have to live with.