I spent nine months of my life with a man I thought was incredible, exuberant, and caring. I felt emotionally safe with him, but boy was I wrong.
I spent much of our relationship feeling suffocated by a deep depression and tons of anxiety attacks to match, while trying to cope with his constant inability to provide me with the time and affection I always had to request. It had gotten to the point that I wouldn't leave my bed, shower, or brush my teeth and hair unless he called.
I realized I was in pretty deep when I tried to end things with him (attempt two out of many), and as soon as I said the words began whimpering like a dying animal. Not wanting to let him go was more about me feeling like I gave up on him or "us" and I knew then I just didn't have it in me to walk away.
In the midst of all our "talks" — laced seductively with amazing sex that still gives me chills; sex that only deterred the inevitable — I convinced him to help me move a few things out of my storage unit, from Virginia to New York.
This was an accomplishment coming from a man who claimed to never have time; a man who forgot me on Valentine's Day, ghosted me frequently, and made many promises that he never kept (maybe he never even intended to).
But that morning, as we're finally getting on the road, I caught him talking to a married mother of three that he had, at one point or another, screwed — and my gut began churning away.
Apparently, my asking about it was unwarranted. Or, at least that's how he felt, because he almost immediately got hostile. This was a side of him I'd never really witnessed. He'd always been calm and never liked to argue, but that was a load of thick cow sh*t.
In this moment, I'm sure there were several things he could've said, or simply remained quiet; however, he dared me to accept his truth (read: confession). "You say you want to know the truth, but do you really?"
I foolishly accepted what seemed to be a challenge and he, without hesitation, revealed that the "family vacations" he had taken were with another woman. His tone seemed angry and hard, as though it was intended to hurt.
My emotional safe house had been sucked away by a tsunami of passive-aggressive anger. He didn't even try to rip the band-aid off slowly. In the aftermath, the first thought I was able to actually form into words was, "Are you f*cking her?" His answer was worse than a simple "yes" — he told me he hadn't, but that he couldn't be sure he wouldn't on their future trip.
My blood was boiling, but what could I really say? Truly I couldn't get mad because I knew, I knew all along, there was someone else; that he wasn't really for me, even when I was all about him. Don't we women always know?
Since I'd wavered my rights to say much of anything and we still had several hours on the road ahead of us, I used my time wisely. I cried silent tears, not wanting him to see how much pain he'd caused me. I faced the window and pressed my forehead against the glass, cooling my hot face.
But then I thought back to before we began talking, when I was swooning over him and every single fiber in my body kept screaming, "Kiarra, run the other way. Don't do it!" and I snuffed it out with all the energy and love I had to give. And in that moment, an epiphany hit me: this was MY fault.
For the remainder of the trip, we were silent with sprinkles of noise in between, but I didn't hold him responsible after I realized that I chose to ignore what my mind already knew: he wasn't sh*t.
It was at the end of the trip that he did the unforgivable. As we were holed up in traffic, I saw him mumbling and twitching in his seat. When I gave him permission to tell me what was wrong, aside from the obvious, there was pause and then a long stream of regret.
He told me how pissed he was that he decided to help me out, especially since I no longer wanted anything to do with him. He told me that he was the one who made a mistake by dealing with me and that he'd sacrificed too much already.
Sacrifice? Regret? How f*cking dare he? Who did this guy think he was?
But weirdly, as the thoughts settled, it wasn't anger I felt — it was just sadness. Everything I thought I knew about him was a lie. He wasn't the man I thought, but merely a boy feigning manhood. And, the rest? I must have made it up in my head.
I decided to be the bigger person; I knew he was angry and while that didn't make the words any less true, me throwing my hat into the ring to tell him what real sacrifices looked like (what my sacrifices looked like) would've just added fuel to the fire. So, I stayed mute until we got to our destination.
As soon as he let the door slam behind him, I began to sob uncontrollably — finally allowing the words that lingered from the entire trip to sink in.
It was a heartbreaking experience, to say the least. I've since reached out to seek closure, but what I'm learning is that you won't always receive closure. In fact, most times you won't, but especially not from a lying, pompous, malicious person — not now, not ever.
I'd be lying if I said that some days aren't harder than others; that I don't miss him a great deal, because many days I battle with his new role in my life — the role that makes him less permanent.
It helps me to think of the day I find the right man, because God knows if I can love the wrong man this hard, when the right one comes along I'll have so much more love to offer.
Originally appeared on YourTango.
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