This is a personal story. It’s something I don’t really talk about much and something I don’t think even my family is fully aware happened to me. Conversations have brought the relationship to mind several times over the past week, so I’m taking that as a signal to talk about it. Here it goes.
I entered into a serious relationship with a man from work when I was in my early twenties. We didn’t really date or get to know each other first. I worked with him, so I thought I knew him. I felt broke and desperate, feeling like I was getting old and I should already be married. We moved into an apartment together only weeks after we had started “dating.”
A few months into the relationship I started to see how different we really were and the more I learned about him, the more uncomfortable I became with where we were going. I won’t get into details because it doesn’t really matter. The point is that I began to know that this person was not meant for me. He wasn’t what I wanted in a partner for life. He couldn’t be. I wanted to leave and felt by then that I couldn’t.
Why? Because he was a kind person. He meant well. He thought he loved me. He wanted me. He liked who I was. He was not a bad person and his likes/dislikes, preferences, and personality were not wrong or evil. It just wasn’t for me. We didn’t match. I felt like I was the one that was wrong. I wasn’t a good person, a good partner, because I couldn’t stay in love with him. I steeled myself and decided that I was going to work harder at being a good person and love him anyway. I couldn’t break his heart or make him sad. That was the worst choice I ever made.
The relationship spiraled into an ugly place for both of us. It made us both miserable. We ended up hurting each other in ways that are unforgivable to this day. At one point, one of us could have left and let the other deal with the rejection in healthy ways. Instead, we clung to each other and, like panicked survivors of a shipwreck, drowned each other trying to stay afloat.
I stayed with someone I was not in love with out of a sense of duty. I didn’t love him. I felt it wasn’t fair that I didn’t want him and tried to make it work. He deserved to be loved by me, he wanted to be loved by me, but I didn’t love him. I couldn’t. He wasn’t what I wanted. Love isn’t always fair.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that healthy relationships are only had by healthy individuals and honesty. Honesty can sometimes hurt, but not nearly as much as dishonestly attempting to keep a mismatch going.
For those left behind, the rejected ones, when a partner walks away from the relationship, for any reason, let them. It probably wasn’t meant to be. I say probably because that person walking away will probably learn more and become a better person by you letting go. If it’s right, they may come back, or not. Don’t trap yourself with someone you think you want. You only block off the possibility of finding the person you need.
If you really loved that person, you’d want them to be happy. They aren’t happy with you. Let them go. Let them be happy. Your happiness is out there somewhere.