From the Archives: "Today I Realized I'm Not in Love With You Anymore"
Editor's Note (Can I say that on my own blog?): Every now and then I search through my computer documents and the Notes section of my phone for writing inspiration in the form of single sentences, typed out stream-of-conscious thoughts, or articles I started writing once upon a time but never finished. It's always bittersweet to look back on what I was thinking, how I was feeling, and reflect on past heartbreak and social issues and where my head was at at different points in time.
During my last search, I came across the below piece of writing titled, "Today I Realized I'm Not In Love With You Anymore" (I used to like capitalizing every single world in my titles). It was a letter to my first love (we'll call him M) that I never intended to send (and haven't to this day) about how I finally came to realize I was moving on. I guess it was more of a letter to myself...but written to him.
I'm very open about my first relationship slash first love experience. This relationship spanned about four years, ages 16 to 21 (ish) for me, was mostly long distance, and it shaped so much of who I am, as tumultuous as it was. I fell HARD in love at 16, or as hard as you can fall your first go at love. People often look back on their first love and realize it wasn't as intense as it seemed back then, but I'd say I feel differently. Most of my friends would agree my situation wasn't really the norm. I fell for an intense person from a broken home (like I was, but we were very different) who wanted so badly to be in love and have a family one day, but unfortunately, didn't know how to provide healthy love. M loved me as hard as he was capable of, and no one could doubt his love for me, but he was also manipulative and emotionally abusive. This relationship was fireworks and lightning in terms of passion, and there was a lot of laughter, but all in all, it was like watching a beautiful house on fire for nearly four years. It took a huge toll on me, as well as my family and friends. It was really hard for people to see me--a generally confident and happy person--go through such intense ups and downs and just feel lost and empty half the time. Very few people know this, but I actually cut myself for a very brief period of time when I was in high school and M was away at college, because I was so lost and exhausted from all our fights that kept me up crying in my closet on the phone with him until 5am on school nights, his manipulation, and our miscommunication. There was also a time during my second or third year of living out here in Los Angeles in which I was in hypnotherapy to try to move on from M. In hypnotherapy, I did these exercises where I wrote letters to him and to the things keeping me from truly moving on. This (below) isn't one of those letters, but it came around the same time-- in late 2014 or early 2015.
This letter is for me to have and look back at, but it's also for anyone else to relate to and find solace in. Trust me, trust me, trust me... I know how hard it is to feel distrustful of someone but love them deeply. And I know how devastating it is to lie next to someone and feel empty and alone. It took me a really long time to move forward from this time in my life, and I felt the pain of it in my bones. Even though I knew in my heart I would move on at some point, I spent what seemed like ages feeling so far away from a life in which all this didn't weigh me down anymore. Here I am at 23, and now I feel far away from when this DID weigh me down. So, it all comes full circle. The relationship I had after M was healthy and great, and I finally got to be with someone I loved and trusted. It didn't work out, but it reminded me what's out there. M and I had a two-hour phone conversation recently, and we catch up here and there, but he's not an active part of my life for a reason. We have a deep history, and there will always be a special place in my heart for him, but my relationship with him lives mostly in the past.
Today I realized I'm not in love with you anymore.
It's hard to even type that, because I've been waiting to be able to say it--and mean it--for so long.
It's a weird feeling, knowing this chapter is over. Really over. You know as well as I do that it was "over" a million and one times, but it never really was. Not for us.
Our relationship may have been tumultuous and unhealthy, but it was also beautiful and real. And no one can deny that we fought for it.
We shouldn't have had to fight for it, though.
We loved so hard and so deeply, and I'd bet there are few things more bittersweet than this feeling I'm feeling right now.
I finally brought myself to look at some of your social media again for the first time in months, and it wasn't painful in the way it was before. As petty as this sounds, that's how I knew I had moved on.
There was a pit in my stomach as I scrolled through and clicked around, but finally it wasn't of sadness and confusion about whether or not we should be together. It was of mourning. The mourning of a chapter closing. Of my heart being different now.
Different but stronger.
My heart is reclaiming the chunk it was missing for so long. The chunk's a little bent and bruised, but I'll wear these bends and bruises with me forever, and they'll be the reason I'm able to love even harder moving forward.
Because that's that's the direction I'm going in.
I look at your face now, and I see a stranger. I see a different lifetime. I see blurry pictures of me with you when we were both different people.
Different but the same.
I cringe thinking about us seeing each other again in person. I can't believe it's been almost a year. I know how strange and heartbreaking it's going to be to sit across from you. No matter where we are, the room will be filled with the remnants of history and love and loss of innocence.
But I know that day will come. And I'll love you in that space like I love you in the quiet space of my new apartment bedroom that you've never been in.
From far away.
I'll love you from far away, whether we're on opposite coasts or on opposite sides of a table.
Because that's where my feelings have taken me.
That's where they started to take me when you hurt me the first time. And the second. And the third.
That's where they took me in the Bahamas, because my subconscious knew more than my conscious.
That's where they wandered over winter and summer breaks in your bedroom at your mom's house, where I felt so empty so often. Even in between our booming laughter and indescribable chemistry.
That's where they took me when I finally had to end things on the other side of the country from you.
That's where they took me when I dated and dated and met the greatest man I've ever known.
Then my feelings freaked out a little. I wasn't over you. I was scared that I wouldn't laugh with you again or kiss you again or look into your eyes again.
And for the first time in a while, that's all I wanted. Even though I had what I needed.
But it was too late. You couldn't keep fighting for me. You thought you had lost me to someone else, so you gave it a shot with someone else. And I lost everything at once.
But I couldn't regret it. I did exactly what I needed to do for myself.
I felt intense pain for a while, and then it got easier. Because that's how things go. That's what time does when we allow it to.
My feelings started to move along, with the help of time.
They moved forward a little and then some more, and this is where they've taken me.
But with so much love in my heart. Love for you and love for myself.
Enough love to be a friend to you and a fighter for myself.
So, I'll see you again. I'll sit across from you with a heavy heart. I'll fight the familiar urge to kiss you with every fiber of my being. I'll tell you that I love you and care about you in a way that will never leave me. And please know that I'll be here for you if you ever really do need me. I won't be lying when I say that. But, it'll be different.
Not different but stronger. Not different but the same. Just different.
Because it's all different now.
And that's how it has to be.