A Love That Never Existed


It takes me a long time to wrap my head around a relationship after it ends. To say I obsess about the past is an understatement. It’s a constant, wrenching pain that fades slowly over the course of several weeks, months or even years.

For some who’ve touched my heart in the past, they never go away—like a scab that’s been picked at so many times, it just can’t completely heal. A part of me thinks that it’s normal, and I’ve learned to deal with it, like a chronic ailment.

I’ve learned to let go of the relationships that “resolve” into fake friendships: Someone you awkwardly message online every few months, only reiterating that you will now be strangers in all further interactions.

My last relationship was a very rare case. And where I like to reconnect with everyone at some point, no matter how or when we’ve hurt each other, there’s a limit to what I will allow myself to do.

My last relationship was memorable. It was unforgettable. And it touched me like no love I’d ever experienced. Until I realized that the person I was so in love with didn’t really exist. He was a stranger from the beginning, though I thought I had seen him without his mask.

You give these people your time. Your energy. Your heart. You give it to these select people because you know they’re deserving in some way. They won’t shatter your emotions. And even when they do, you make excuses for their behavior.

For me in particular, when someone that I love starts doing these things, I look for hidden underlying patterns. And it’s wrong to say I dissect people like the pieces of a puzzle, but it’s just my personality. It’s how I work.

It took me over a year to fall out of love with my last boyfriend. An incredibly intense year filled with immense joy and heartbreak. Both he and I had dealt with a lot of tough stuff in our lives. I saw us as outsiders looking in on the people we wanted to be. And as I was moving towards what I knew I could become or what we could be together, he remained stagnant.

Every time a problem would happen. Every time a fight would occur. I let my mind wonder, excusing his behavior to a fucked up childhood or a bruised heart.

At our last interaction, when I found that his heart had the emotional depth of a paper doll, my heart was stripped of emotion. It’s almost like I was looking at this person I held so close to me and who I protected, for the first time–only to find this hollow human being.

I saw this person who was desperate for attention. Something I never saw even though I felt it at the end. I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to accept the reality at first.

The end of a meaningless relationship has been trying for me. Usually I can look back on the few real relationships I’ve had and see the silver lining in them all. Not here. There is nothing. And it makes me reluctant to open up to someone again, if I won’t really know who they are until it’s really over.

“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.”
― André Berthiaume