Three years ago, I dated a boy named Brandon. Our breakup is the reason I started this blog. I was very young, about to turn 19, and he was 23. Yes, I was very young, and I was also very naive and childish. It has taken me three years of reflection to realize just how childish I really was. I had always thought about how much more mature I was than other people my age, but that just wasn’t the case. I was swept up in this relationship, my first serious relationship, to the point where I was willing to change my entire life to be with him. Perhaps that how all young girls are at my age: we put the importance of love and romance above everything else. As long as we have love, nothing else matters. Nothing else is needed.
In any case, that relationship, like most, came to an end. It wasn’t a pretty end — the breakup effectively took two months, and neither of us handled it very well. I broke up with him first, and that night he went on the worst drinking binge he had ever experienced. Two weeks later we talked about getting back together slowly, so our relationship was in a bit of a limbo. Three weeks after that, he informed me that he was bringing a date to a wedding we were both attending, effectively meaning he was done with me. Two days after the wedding, he called me up and I spent the night with him. The next day he left, and I never saw him again.
We talked, though. He would call me, string me along, check to see how I was doing. I told him I never wanted to talk to him again, but he was persistent. He would call, and I would answer and tell him about how horrible I was doing in hopes of guilt-tripping him back into dating me (that is the immature, childish part). I would always answer his phone calls, until one day I just didn’t. I looked at my phone, and I shut it off. How could I possibly try to get over the man I thought I loved when he was constantly in my face, reminding me of our broken relationship? He begged me to be friends with him, to keep in contact with him, but I just couldn’t. It hurt too much.
It took me almost two and a half years to get over him. It was a tough road. I started this blog because I was thrown into a dark spot by him while I was already on the edge of darkness. How could he leave me when I was already depressed? How could he be so heartless to make me even worse?
I am now finding myself in Brandon’s shoes, and it is eye-opening. My relationship with Tom is ending, and it has been ending for a while. I just haven’t wanted to admit it until recently. There has been so much happening in my life recently that having a relationship was becoming difficult. Having a relationship with someone who experiences chronic pain and depression made it too much to bear. My emotions have shut down, and I have stopped loving him. I’ve tried to break up with him a few times in the past, but they have always been half-hearted attempts because my love for him would get in the way of my head saying it wasn’t a healthy relationship — because it just wasn’t. Tom needs someone with so much more patience than I have, someone who is willing to take care of him and his pain, someone who depends on him as much as he depends on her.
Last night, I broke up with a boy in his first ever relationship with the first girl he has ever loved. He was ready to change his entire life for me, just as I was ready to with Brandon. We sat there, outside the house sitting on the back porch steps in darkness, listening to the rain pour down. He cried while I tried to explain to him as best as I could why I couldn’t be in the relationship anymore. I thought that if we had that conversation, a conversation I was never able to have with any of my past exes, that it would help him and that he would understand. I told him that I if I am in a relationship I want to give it my all, and right now I can’t do that. I told him I’m stressed and miserable right now, and that isn’t good for a relationship. I told him I need to put my emotional wellbeing first before anyone else’s because how can I possibly love someone if I don’t love myself? I told him I absolutely know what he is going through and I understand his feelings because I’ve experienced what he is experiencing right now. I told him I still want him in my life, whenever he is ready to have me back in his. I told him all of these things and so much more.
But he doesn’t understand, or he doesn’t want to understand just yet. He wants to guilt-trip me back into a relationship. He said “why make both of us miserable? Why can’t you just be miserable but in a relationship to make me happy?” He said he can’t ever look at me again because just seeing me breaks his heart. He said he is never going to get over me. He said he is going to stop going to classes, that he had a dream we broke up and he killed himself, that there is no point in anything anymore. This is his moment to be naive, immature, childish.
I sat there, listening to him choose to give up, remembering how I felt three years ago. I know all of the things he is saying are not true, because three years ago I was saying the same thing. It took every inch of me to remember that I am not responsible for his emotions and feelings. I tried to let him down easy, but I suppose there is no such thing as easy when it comes to the first person you love.
I’m going to be that girl for him, just as Brandon was that boy for me. It’s funny how much clarity you gain when the shoe is on the other foot.
Like the tattoo on my foot says: And so it goes.