The man I fell in love with was not my boyfriend.
He was a man who I was seeing on and off with over 600km of distance between us and he was, and is, the only man to have captured my heart completely. His dark hair and brown eyes and crooked smile mesmerized me. Our relationship was a passionate, intense one and I loved him deeply. The only problem was his desire for the party life and sleeping around with girls. He went out every weekend and flirted a lot, and for that reason I couldn’t trust him or be in a relationship with him. He had asked me to move to the other side of the island and live with him one day. I refused because I was scared. When I flew down to spend a weekend with him, he told me that he had slept with another girl. And even though we were never official or exclusive, he was the only man I had eyes for, and the news absolutely shattered me. I cried in the car and couldn’t stop for two hours. To add salt to the already gaping wound, when I flew back home he ignored every communication with me, didn’t show up for our Skype dates and wasn’t responsive. I later found out through a friend that, a week after I visited him, he now had a girlfriend – the girl who he slept with behind my back.
My tumultuous, painful and distressing relationship with this man sent me into a spiral of depression, maybe even the deepest depression of my life. It killed me inside. I was a broken girl, unable to sleep, think or eat. I think I went a little crazy too. I mean, I dyed my black hair bright blonde and jumped into the ocean at 4am in the morning by myself for no reason at all. It’s been three years since I last saw or talked to him and I still think about him almost everyday. I am still in love with this man, and I think a small part of me will always be, and I can accept that. Now I hear that he is engaged to be married. I can’t tell you what a surge of unbearable sadness came over me when I heard that.
It makes me frustrated like hell that I haven’t gotten over him yet. I mean, it’s ridiculous right? I haven’t seen this guy in years. But my best friend said something to me as she was comforting me in my sadness. I told her how long it was taking for me to heal and she said to me, “For someone you love, three years is not a long time.”
It has taken me a while to find the strength to write about him, but something pivotal I have learned along the way of healing is that just because that relationship was never official, does not mean it can’t hurt like hell. You’re allowed to grieve and mourn it. This kind of pain is especially difficult to deal with because it’s a relationship that never was. It was an almost relationship, a could have been, a should have been. It’s a fairy tale cut short. But love is love, whichever way you spin it. Healing takes time, maybe a very long time, and maybe it won’t heal at all. You’ve just to give yourself a little bit of grace and patience, and that’s all you can ever ask of yourself.
So promise to give yourself time. Give yourself permission to feel this hurt because it was love – deep, passionate and all-consuming love – and no one can tell you otherwise. But also keep walking forward, knowing that you may have dodged a bullet, and the best may be yet to come.