A heart wrenching tale as old as time.
Unrequited love is a bitch.
I was in love with a man six years ago, I wanted to open up.
As a student, I learned that I was an alien. I just do not get it even though I’d love to. I’d have loved to fit in with my peers, to be interested in the same things etc. But it just never happened for me.
I tried to find friends at my university online, it was hard going. Even though I felt like I was close to some people, something left me uneasy and I couldn’t bring myself to leave my room and socialise at first.
With my three friends and strange personality I was happy. I didn’t mind the judgements, didn’t mind being called a hippie or even that my long term boyfriend had cheated on me while at uni elsewhere. I just sensed that it was time to work out who I was.
A room became available in one of the houses my friend lived in, so I applied to switch and was given the key within hours. I was no longer afraid of illusive housemates, welcomed to a land where we spend time together.
Then I saw him.
I met this guy initially on the facebook groups and we actually did enjoy chatting until the suggestion came that I go out… I hid.
Now he lived next door. I would see him being gorgeous with his dark hair and slim frame, the way he would swoosh his hair from his face and the way he stood with his hands in his pockets. Goofy and gorgeous.
So then we did become friends, we would be out in the same spaces and every time I saw him, my heart ached to know him better.
Drunk one night, I messaged him. I’m not ashamed to admit it was a booty call. He thought I was joking, that others would be in the room with me. That so isn’t me that I kind of panicked that he could pull the same on me. He suggested I meet him outside. When I stepped out, his inhale was harsh. He totally expected me to be with others and seemed genuinely pleased that I wasn’t, the relief was mutual.
I had never done something like this before. My heart was a pounding mess in my chest, not knowing what it was doing. I walked around the bushes to stand next to him, in his space, outside of his accommodation. We smoked together and laughed about how weird it was. Laughed for not trusting each other.
In his room, I remember being so shy, not knowing how to behave. He made that thought end. He kissed me, being nervous and shy had endeared me to him.
We had a secret relationship for months and I was crazy about him. Infatuation took over and I craved his company beyond that of anyone I had ever known.
We played video games a lot. We ate pizza, drank beer, had sex a lot. We went to the club with everyone and would sneak to his room together once everyone else had gone to bed.
He didn’t dance but he would watch me. I wanted to be the best version of myself and ended up instead trying to be like the other people he associated with. I was afraid to not have him in my life. With our friends not knowing they would suggest that he initiated different relationships or joke in ways that were sometimes difficult to hear.
On my birthday, he asked me to be his girlfriend… this wasn’t necessary but I was ecstatic. People had spoken about how he didn’t want to be with anyone and how being jilted at the altar had prevented his belief in love. I did not expect to be together, this was every celebration in one.
Now everyone knew. A girl in my house sulked hard because she still fancied him after a thing they had had. I didn’t know until afterwards but while I felt bad for her, I also felt that regardless it shouldn’t affect us. How I would rue this thought. He felt guilty about hurting her feelings and she played on that more.
I fell in love. I felt it was safe to fall in love. He seemed beautiful and his imperfections endearing. We had real movie moments.
I’m talking looking into his eyes and feeling that sensation described in novels. Our whole lives playing out before us, full of travel and adventure. He recalled this moment a couple years later too, it wasn’t just me being a romantic. Our eyes had locked and there was a sense of knowing which shifted the feeling of our environment into something else entirely.
I told him I loved him. Once he didn’t even notice. This was my favourite time, when he had trouble sorting his shoes while drunk and knocked a chair backwards. I blurted it by accident as it leapt from me while laughing. He was fumbling, trying to regain control of his limbs. I was captivated that even in this clumsy moment, him.
The second time, I was on my way home and a road accident in the hills and chicanes of Wales, forced us to go over a tractor track up the side of a steep hill, in a car not made for it. I was scared and there were young children in the car. I couldn’t express my fear there for scaring them wouldn’t be okay. So I text him, back in the town I’d just left. A daft sentence from a show I used to watch.. if I die just know ‘three words, eight letters.’
Holler if you’ve watched gossip girl! Chuck and Blaire have an interesting, fiery and conflicted relationship, rife with ups and downs. I rooted for them through out the show. I was rooting for us too. I meant it, but I didn’t, I was being hyper stimulated by fear and trying to escape that fear through humour and grand expression.
He didn’t know what to say. I scared him. I was ok, I knew it took time for some people to fall in love. He’d already asked me to be his woman, what more could I possibly have wanted?
A week later, I was single.
Soon enough he was bringing another girl home, one he shared different interests with, who was more than me.
I heard her talking to him beneath the window when I was crying over him in the bath one night. The pain was beyond because I didn’t see it coming. I thought the world of him, how could he? But then equally, how was he to know I’d be wallowing in my grief in those early hours of the morning.
For years, I wondered why. Why wasn’t I enough? Why did I say that out loud? Why did I send that text? Why did I share that song which implied I’d be okay? Why did I try to be something I wasn’t when he was more interested in me before I panicked? Why am I so crazy about him? Why do I still think about him? Why am I so fucking stupid? Why can’t I move on?
I think of him as my counselling has ended, because I realize that I don’t love him anymore. This is one of the most freeing transformations. To not love him anymore. I used to think of him every single day from sun up to sun down. I would hurt my own feelings trying to know how he was, witnessing him with that same girl. It doesn’t hurt anymore.
This development has given life and energy to my sense of self. There’s an exit wound, there always is.
There’s a part of me who had to let go of some unhelpful notions, which will always wear gratitude for those movie moments, for the fun, for the pizza, for castle, for the freedom of my heart in our time. I wish him well.
Had I not loved and lost, I wouldn’t recognise the value of the love I’ve gained since, who chooses me everyday.
Unrequited love is a bitch.
We give our hearts, they get broken, and it takes us time to rise again, but when we do, we know a love unlike any other. In loving so fiercely, we encounter the beautiful chaos, of love bound by mortality and convention.
I hope your hearts heal more quickly than mine did. I hope you avoid punishing yourself, searching their social media.
Bleed your heart out through helping yourself, rather than trying to get someone to love you that doesn’t.
Six years ago tonight I was in a night club, body pumped full of stimulants, dancing with my whole self, praying to be alleviated of thinking about him. Today I reflect on who I have grown into, how strong I have become, and how for the first time, I have thought of him with peace in my heart, a lost sense of longing.
Love is never so simple as meeting the next person and just moving on. There is a process of unfolding that has to happen in order to heal.
With love to healing hearts,