a love like this…or not

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There has never been a time I would reflect on how badly or great the previous year has gone but I’m pretty sure I will not have another year like 2017 ever again.

At least – that’s what I’m hoping for.

The beginning of the year seemed like it was going off to a decent and rather boring start. Practically each day was the same as the day before: wake up, go to work, attempt to go to the gym, eat dinner/watch something on Netflix, go to bed. The weekends would be switched up by hanging out with my [at the time] boyfriend but for the most part my life was very much so: rinse and repeat.

Things started to rapidly change once March hit. His lease was ending at the condo he shared with two friends and while he was looking to purchase something of his own those plans fell through. I recall it so well, he had been setting up appointments to sign a lease for just himself and I remember going with him to offer advice. It was probably one of our weekly dates and as the day progressed I was feeling and acting all sorts of silent crazy instead of just stating what I was feeling. Rapid thoughts of “What did this mean?” “Didn’t we talk a couple months ago about moving in together when his lease was up?” “Did he forget? But how could he forget because this would have been an important step to our relationship.” “Maybe he doesn’t want to live with me because he doesn’t see us working out.” I let all these thoughts fester and fire me up until I finally said “I thought we were living together.” His response made me feel like I was an afterthought, “Oh yeah, I just didn’t know if you wanted to.”

I look back at it now and I should have seen that as a sign. If he really wanted us to live together he would have asked me without me asking him. In a subsequent conversation after things ended I asked if he wanted to live together to begin with and he said, “No. I was excited at the opportunity to live on my own. It just made sense that after being together for this long that moving in would be the next step.” I know that if he had told me that he wanted to live on his own it would have been fine with me but given our history and how I used to react I can’t really blame him for not saying anything from the start. Obviously there are two sides to a story but this is what I experienced ~ There were a lot things that happened over the years that I won’t really get into. I regret a lot of things I said or did, but obviously there’s nothing I can do to change what happened. I’m still learning to let it go.

Maybe I had been hoping for some romantical ask (yes, I like to think of romantic things as romantical because half the time there are some mystical aspects to it) but as real life goes, it didn’t happen. It sucked. It sucked to think of myself as an afterthought when I had been with someone for so long.

Eventually we moved into the new place, him first, then me – officially – a month and a half later. We lasted two months living in the condo while in a relationship until he ended it. Over the two months I noticed the way he looked at me, the way he talked to me. And quite honestly, the way I saw him was in a different light – he was a different person. When we sat on the couch and I would turn to look back at him he felt far away. So far that I was unable to pull him close and I’m sure I knew then it was over. He looked at me with no passion, no familiarity. He didn’t feel like home – cozy and loving. He began speaking to me in rude tones which always felt like a slash to the wrist. There were a ton of things that added up between the both of us that led to the relationship’s demise.

Looking back I wish I had gone about things a different way. Paid attention, not been so selfish and angry at trivial things, fought fairly. Listened….truly listened to his dreams instead of counteracting them with fearful what if’s. At times I was demeaning maybe even without meaning it. Again – there are so many wishes and no time machines or magic lamps to take anything back, to erase it, to blow the many moments into oblivion. Whatever it is.

We were together at that point for four and a half years and I began to notice (or maybe I began to assume and believe the worst thoughts – have insecurities) little things from then on out that made me doubt everything. The doubt and piles of unresolved shit was inevitably what brought our time together to a close. Eventually I decided to call him on it because I’m quick to bandage up wounds without first examining the trauma. A lot of miscommunication and the lack of necessary tools and the will to mend anything led to the end.

I’m an easy crier and to hear him say, ‘What?” so rudely to me or look at me with a certain detachment instantly brought upon tears and I would never finish what I wanted to say and it would never be brought up again. I knew what was going on but didn’t want to admit to myself that this was something that could not be fixed.

Of all things to feel, I felt the red hot embarrassment of people finding out that we had broken up. Even though these things happen. Break ups happen. I had just moved my things into the apartment two weeks before he broke things off and I think that gets me the most. The thought of the embarrassment and the loneliness sent me to the hospital for a panic attack and a referral to see a therapist. I didn’t know how to cope with what I was feeling and I wondered if this was what a broken heart felt like. Again, I still don’t blame him for what happened in the aftermath because the way I reacted was definitely not normal and I knew there were underlying things I needed to take care of. My coping methods seemed to be shot.

We continue to live here as civilly as possible until our lease is up. I know. You’re thinking, “What the hell?! They’re STILL living together?” We have one good mutual friend who suggested we try being friends because we were never friends to begin with and there’s so much history between us. Sometimes I think how we are now as ‘friends’ isn’t really what a friendship is. Then again, I’ve never really had any friendships with guys to begin with. I do hope this one sticks.

Even as I sit across from him now I feel like the last few years were a dream. Something that didn’t actually happen. It’s weird to look back at my box to read the letters and little notes he would write me. I feel like those bits and pieces along with pictures over the last half decade provide proof that it was something real. I got the chance to feel real love and have it disappear right before my eyes. Making it feel dreamlike.

Things had been really hard at first and honestly, they’re hard even now but it’s gotten easier and that’s all I can really ask for. It’s been eight months and there are three and a half more months to go on this lease. I have a friend (dog) now and the vibe in the condo has been better but I do dread when we move out – out of the condo and most likely out of each other’s lives. I’ve known him for almost six years and I can’t quite fathom what’s next. I’m trying to be ready for the unknown and excited to know that there’s another chapter and this book of life is not yet over.

I can’t really tell if this relationship was a lesson or a blessing in disguise. I do admit, I am happy for the changes he’s begun to make within his own life. He realized what he needed to do to be happy and even though I’m not a part of his plans I’m still happy for him. From all of this I’m glad that I sought help even when it was too late because I realize it’s not really too late for any other future relationships (romantic or otherwise).

This is why I’m so glad 2017 is over. Here’s to you, 2017, I’m pretty sure I bawled for months on end but I’m still alive and a lot better than I had been.

xx/jack

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