We lay next to each other that night, wrecked. I was wrecked. The guy I’d been dating finally revealed that he wasn’t ready for a relationship. It was the first time in a romantic setting that my vulnerability escaped me.
I hadn’t predicted that I’d be bringing in the new year feeling so rejected. I wasn’t sure how to feel in the moment. Tears streamed down my face; I was unable to hold back the emotion, this time.
I’ve been in a few relationships in my life, and none of them ever worked out. Carrying around so much hurt and disappointment made it hard for me to be vulnerable. I felt like I had to hold it together all the time and pretend like nothing hurt me. It’s exhausting to deny your emotions. It’s exhausting pretending to be strong when all you really want to do is feel the hurt and find some way to get past it.
We had been dating for a while and I was really enjoying the company. This guy felt like the one for me. I was myself with him. We got along. We enjoyed hanging out together and spending time with each other.
My “situation” with this guy brought me joy because he filled spaces in my life that I thought I needed filled. He provided affection, attention, laughs, great company, homemade meals, and so much more. Surely someone who treated me with such care would want a relationship with me, right? Wrong.
I think I’m writing this for two reasons: (1) I need to get this off my chest, (2) I think that there’s a lesson I need to understand.
This experience taught me that vulnerability and weakness are not synonymous. I don’t have to be ashamed of my vulnerability, in fear that it may make the person on the receiving end uncomfortable. I chose tears in the face of a person I cared deeply about. A person who made my day brighter. I couldn’t fathom not feeling that feeling in his presence again. It made me sad. I cried. Life continued.
Somewhere along the road I determined that relationships were like a game. I needed to be strong in the face of adversity. If at any point I got my feelings hurt, I needed to suck it up and keep moving as if nothing hurt me, as if I were immortal. But I feel. Everything.
To hold back the tears and deny myself the chance to release what I had been holding onto for so long, would have shattered me. In many ways I’ve hurt myself. I’ve been so hard on myself. I’ve taught myself that it isn’t ok to feel the feels. It isn’t ok to exist in the sad nook of life. Now I know that I can exist in that place, as long as I don’t make that place my home.
Today was another hard day. I still think about him. He sent me a text just to say hi, and that he hoped I was having a good week. I am shedding tears as I write this because I miss feeling those feels. Although I miss him, I love myself so much that I chose to walk away because I know what I deserve. I deserve someone who wants me the way I want them. I deserve someone who wouldn’t think twice if it meant losing me.
So, I think I’ll stop it here, before my new laptop is soaked. Just remember, if you struggle being vulnerable with others, at least be vulnerable with yourself. You are your safe place when there’s nothing and no one else.
Happy New Year – 2023