I remember all that questioning/those questions, all that anxiety, so well.
No one can believe it now but when I was in your place, I didn’t have any confidence in myself. I didn’t believe I could overcome the crushing sense that I was on my own. That without my boyfriend, I had no one. That without our relationship, I had no vision. I had no future. That is how I was thinking though.
By the end of my relationship, the only dream I had was for my boyfriend and I, that we would love each other like we used to.
It happens to most of us, doesn’t it? We come into relationships with dreams independent of our partner. And, in many cases that’s what they fall in love with. They fall in love with our aspiration. With the way we are engaging our lives. They fall in love with our dreaminess. Yet, once we’re in the relationship we manage to lose all that. We manage to lose hold of our own dreams as we fight for a future with our partner.
Sometimes we even fight to stay in a reality that we no longer feel right in. We fight for a love that eludes us, for a love we have outgrown.
I remember that fight consuming me, how for so much of my relationship, I wasn’t so much in love as I was grasping for it. This used to confuse me, too. And I hated myself for it. For holding onto something that had already been lost.
Why do we do it though? Why do we try to pull together something that isn’t there?
For too long I remember reaching into emptiness, imagining the grandiosity I’d come to touch would redeem me from this pathetic period of my life where I tried to lead myself blindly back into a love that had gone amiss. But nothing was left for me to reclaim. Nothing could have satisfied the feeling I held within me of all that had gone missing from my relationship.
So, if it’s not the feeling of love, what is it that makes us stay?
More often than not, it’s fear. We stay in relationships that are already breaking our heart out of fear.
Maybe it’s the fear of logistics, having to move out, find a roommate, or afford the rent yourself.
Maybe it’s the fear of living in some deafening silence where no one texts, calls, or validates you.
Maybe it’s the fear of being too busy right now to rock the boat.
Maybe it’s the fear of hurting someone you really do love.
Maybe it’s the fear of confrontation, your partner resenting you and lashing out.
Maybe it’s not wanting to be responsible for someone else’s grievance and heartbreak.
Maybe it’s the fear of seeing your partner “move on” before you.
Maybe it’s the fear that you’ll lose the best relationship you’ll ever have.
Maybe it’s the fear of losing mutual friends and friends taking sides.
Maybe it’s the fear that your lives are so enmeshed that running into each other will be awkward or painful.
Maybe it’s the fear that no one will tolerate X, Y, or Z like your partner does.
Maybe it’s the fear of losing your best friend.
Maybe it’s the fear of never finding love again.
Maybe it’s the fear of having no time to date… let alone heal.
We all have our own reasons, our own details, our own agonizing stories that keep us clinging, that keep us waiting for a better time to breakup or keep us locked into a pattern of giving our partner one more chance. It’s all just fluff though. Nothing validates fear.
Underlying all our maybes (that maybe it’s the fear of this… or maybe it’s the fear of that…) is a very basic and almost universal fear. It is our fear of being single. That’s what it always comes back to. Our fear of breaking up always comes back to our fear of being alone.