If You Love Something, Set It Free—by Jamie Levine
I know that people in relationships fall in and out of love with their partners for a myriad of reasons. But I never have. Too many men have pulled away from me when the going got tough…or when they realized (maybe just sooner than I did) that I wasn’t “the one.” So maybe I just never had the chance to experience such a drastic change in my feelings. I’m sure it can’t be an easy thing to admit or even go through—but even harder is loving someone and having to let go. Unfortunately, that is something I know about.
Last week, I thought I was strong enough to walk away from Library Guy because he wasn’t treating me the way I deserved to be treated, and he couldn’t give me what I needed. And then I saw him and talked to him—and discovered how much he cared about me. How hard he’d tried to push me away so I would leave him, and how broken he was about letting me go. But he still insisted that he “needs to figure out who he is without me,” and I was forced to say goodbye. Now, that leaves me needing to figure out who I am without him—but I don’t want to.
I love being a mother—my daughter will always be the most important person in my life–and before I met Library Guy, that’s all I focused on. I thought I was content and complete that way…but Library Guy showed me what I was missing. Sure, our relationship wasn’t always perfect—especially after the first few months when the baggage each of us carried became more obvious. But I’ve never had a more passionate, intimate, fulfilling relationship. And I hate that it was ripped away from me before I had the chance to figure out if we were really meant to be together—and even worse, ripped away by someone, who on some level, still wants to be with me. There’s nothing worse than hearing a man tell you all the things you’ve always wanted to hear from someone you love: how amazing you are, how beautiful you are, and how deeply he cares about you—all while he’s saying goodbye. It feels so tragic to me.
The other night, I was speaking to a good friend about my breakup, and through my tears, I told her that all of my friends keep telling me how selfish they think Library Guy was to stay with me for so long if he knew he couldn’t commit, but how I still can’t let myself be angry with him for that—though I wish I could—and I felt my friend smiling as she said “you’re still defending him…you’ve been doing that this entire conversation.” And it’s true—throughout this ordeal, I’ve been defending Library Guy and his actions—even if I don’t completely understand them. Despite how much they hurt me. I keep worrying about him and that fact that he doesn’t know how to be happy…or possibly thinks that he doesn’t deserve to be. It pains me that he’s overwhelmed with his life and believes he has to do everything on his own. Does that make me an idiot? Maybe. Or maybe I’m just doing what I always do, and my weakness is my strength—I take care of the people I love.
But what about me? I also need to take care of myself. My friends keep reminding me of this, but I’m not sure how to do it. I’ve been running a lot, leaning on my friends, and writing as much as I can…but I still can’t escape my feelings…or the fact that I don’t want to be single again. But for now, I guess I need to be. As the saying goes, “if you love something, set it free; if it comes back, it’s yours…if it doesn’t, it never was.” And maybe someday, all of this love and loss I’m feeling now will make some sense. I hope that someday comes soon.