The one who got away

Once upon a time, I fell deeply in love with a person who I thought was my soul mate. We weren’t perfect, but we were perfect for each other. And then, we started talking marriage.

For better or worse, I realized that committing my life to this person would be the most significant thing I’d ever done with it, and this chameleonic elephant in the room suddenly forced me to see it: he was an alcoholic.

I had been terrified of losing him, so I’d become a classic enabler. But with the premise of marriage facing me, I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life like that. So, I thoughtfully considered how (literally, for weeks I thought about, dreaded, sought advice, etc.) to broach the subject. In the end, it did not go well. And we spiraled out of control, to our tragic demise.

Our breakup was awful. Because it wasn’t. It was tender and full of love. We held each other and sobbed (yes, both of us) for hours. We passed out in each others’ arms, woke up and cried some more. Then, I told him I needed him to move out of his own apartment until I found a new place to live. He obliged. And two weeks later, while my mom came to town to distract me with shopping for new apartment wares, he and his brother did all of the heavy moving for me. And five months later, he brought the last of my stragglers as I prepared to move across the country because returning home was the only remedy to soothe my aching soul.

Well, my soul still aches for him. Often.

And sometimes, I’m awake at 1:00 AM because a song earlier in the day brought back a sweet memory, and even though I’ve tried to fight it, I’m finally forced to relive the gamut of my emotions. And I end up writing things like this through blurry eyes:

I lie awake at night, because I can’t sleep. Tomorrow is already today, but he haunts me anyway. 

Why did I leave? How did I actually think I couldn’t take anymore? We could’ve worked it out. We should’ve worked it out. That was love. Messy, dirty, raw, beautiful love. I know that now. I left without letting go. 

I tried though. I try. Two years without him and it feels like a day. Just yesterday I heard his voice. Looked into his eyes. Felt his touch.  

And today I feel him. I feel and I feel and I feel. Because that’s what they say to do. Feel it. Let it runs it’s course. But the course is never ending. I love him. I love him as deeply as ever. And I hate him. I hate him like never before.  

I hate him for choosing poison over me.  But I love myself for choosing me. 

I’ve heard different “rules” for how long it should take to get over a breakup. But I don’t think any of them are right. I think each relationship is different, each breakup is different, and sometimes you just don’t get over either. And that’s OK.

Moving on from true love doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them. If anything, it’s a bittersweet reminder that even you are capable of loving another human being so hard; that when you’re ready, your heart can and will go all in.

Platitudes about love exist for a reason. I’d rather love and lose than never love at all. He’ll always be my “one who got away.” But loving myself enough to let go was the best thing I’ve ever done.

So, in a way, I guess I’m the one who got away.



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