How do we navigate love and what seems like the end of love? They say things change, but what about when that one dynamic happens over and over again and simply doesn’t seem to budge? Life flows by, leaves change, the light departs, and yet, this same issue stares us in the face. For me, its been over three years, and I can still feel my heart strings pulled.
I’ve made great strides as of late. I have set my boundary and told him, we are not friends. He has been my “friend” for over three years, while he tells me when I can come close, when he wants his space, how he wants me to feel (happy for him and all his new women.) He dictates when we get together and for how long. He dictates when we talk and for how long. He is a regular control freak.
We were only in committed partnership for four months. He broke up with me because he did want to be in a relationship, and well, really I wasn’t the right girl.
I proceeded to be the girl he called, followed around, invited over, had sex with, and went on road trips with for the next couple of years, but I was always relegated to the friend category, even whilst his body was entering mine.
I told myself I loved him. I felt compassion for his wounded child who did not have enough love of self to truly love another. In a classic way, I thought my love could change him. If I was the perfect blend of balance and stability, if I wanted only what he offered and pushed for nothing more, in time, he’d wake up his love for me and then we would work.
In this trial and error period, I endured some of the darkest relationship experiences I’ve ever had.
The truth is, sometimes in our pursuit of forgiveness, and compassion, or the drive to take the high road, we put another’s needs in front of our own. All these years, priding myself on being loving, I usurped my love for self and planted it upon him, when really, the question could have been, what about me? So concerned with how I was treating him, I abandoned myself, and thus, acted out this dynamic over and over. The real transformation comes from telling the truth within. Where am I responsible for creating this experience? How am I contributing to this dynamic continuing?
Now, he tells me he thinks he is in love with another woman. He wants me to be happy for him. I try, but c’mon, she lives with her boyfriend of four years. I just shake my head in resignation and sadness. I accidentally tell him I think relationship with him is a dead end.
Sometimes, people don’t change. Sometimes, we get deeply entrenched in habits and it’s hard for us to break free, no matter how much someone else loves us, stands for us, or waits on the sidelines to be seen. Sometimes, in the end, we are just the same as we were in the beginning. A few different flavors sprinkled in, but even a chicken with lots of spices is still a chicken.
I got smart at some point and quit having sex with him. Then, thankfully, I met another person, and was able to explore relationship with someone else. We remained, “friends” though, and really, our attachment to one another created some blunders for the new life I was attempting to create.
Three years later, I finally told the truth to myself and him. After a couple weeks of closeness, like the kind you find with a good friend, I was feeling open-hearted toward him. I thought we were in a good space and had finally, truly evolved. That’s when he called me to tell me what was “coming up” for him. He was feeling his desire to push me away. I said, “If you need space, just take it. We are not in a partnership. You don’t need to call me up to ask for space.”
A week later, he is texting and calling me everyday. I respond with a, “What?! Did you not ask for space?”
He replies, “But I thought you might like to join me for a fun evening.”
In a classic, but familiar, bad move, I meet him.
That’s when he clearly reminds me over and over that we are friends. Then he tells me he is in love with that girl who lives with another man.
I realize the pain of his predicament. I hold his hand. I tell him what I see. I say, “What if she said, Okay, I will leave my guy, let’s do this! Will you be there for me?” His squirming body language answers the question.
Why am I spending my time and energy with a man who pushes me away, then pulls me close, over and over again?
I say, “We are not friends.” “Friends don’t call me up and ask for space. Friends don’t push me away and then pull me close. Friends don’t fawn all over me and then put me in my place.”
He thinks about it and I see it sink in. He says, “You are right.” On the drive home, he realizes, “I tell you how I want you to feel about me, and how I want you to feel about the girl I like and I want you to be happy for me, yet I don’t want you to interfere either.”
I say, “Wise words. Wow, that’s quite self-aware.”
When we part, I don’t even look at him. He wants to do our rendition of goodbye, but I’ve participated so many times, I refuse to play my part anymore.
I stare out the window at the city lights. He gets out.
Having boundaries feels good.
Sometimes, we have to break our own hearts, in order to have proper boundaries and make a proper mend.
Sometimes, love isn’t enough.
Sometimes, we walk away from the people we’ve known and loved the most, to cultivate real love for ourselves.
Putting my heart, and my inner child above anyone else, I get to stare out the window, and wait for him to leave, again, and this time, I tend to her.
That’s how we make a change- we take self-responsibility for our role, and then we set a strong boundary in favor of what we really want. We give up blaming the other, or waiting for people to change, and we change ourselves from within. That’s real power.
She says it better than me. Give a Diva a chance and listen to Katy Perry tell it like it is. 🙂 Click below. C’mon.
P.S. For you compassionate hearts out there, please know that I write this post with permission. I check in with people I write about and give them editing rights. This post was edited and approved by the subject. 🙂