It would all be so simple if love were really like the childhood songs we sang, if in reality Adam and Eve were truly sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g, if first came love, and then came marriage and then came baby in the baby carriage. It would be so much easier if real life love chronicles followed this trajectory. But they don’t always. Love is not a children’s rhyme. It’s more like Pat Benatar’s 80’s anthem: love is a battlefield. And as far as battles are concerned, we all know that you win some and you lose some.
For anyone who has ever had their heart broken or who has been on the losing end of unrequited love, you know that love is not cute and fluffy with chubby cherubs who shoot painless arrows. It is a full-fledged contact sport capable of inflicting gruesome injuries—to engage it is to expect that there will be blood.
When people who once loved each other begin to love each other no more, hearts break and boy they don’t break even. Love’s an interesting thing. Someone falls first, and someone falls deepest. Someone falls out while someone falls deeper in. It seems that men and women rarely want the same things from each other at the same time.
I’ve wanted men who did not want me and I’ve shun men who’d literally drink my bath water if asked. I have broken some hearts in my day and I have certainly had my heart broken. Oddly enough, I’ve found that in matters of the heart the tables often turn with enough time.
There is a man that I loved passionately once. I have historically been someone who’s valued freedom much more than relationships, but things were different with him. I would willingly relinquish the liberty I loved to be bound by his affection. While other suitors were denied, I desperately longed for his heart. We were friends, truly friends, and as our friendship deepened throughout the years, I fell in love. Hard. Without a doubt, I wanted to spend my life with him. I’m not sure if you’ve ever fallen in love with a friend, but you reach a point where you HAVE to say something. I did, nervously, and while he expressed nominal feelings, he was young and not ready for any serious commitment. I was crushed and utterly heartbroken. I walked away and it took time, but my heart healed. While I grieved the loss of a man I deeply loved, he moved on and dated other women.
Fast forward. We find ourselves at a coffee shop together. It’s been a few years since we’ve last spoken. As we begin to fill each other in on what’s new in life, we inevitably come to the topic of us and our parting. He tells me that he loved me then and that he loves me now, that he was immature then and intimidated by all that he knew I was asking for. He tells me he was engaged. I congratulate him. He tells me he called the wedding off. I pensively ask why, and in response, he tells me, “When I was with her, I was thinking of you.” He says “When we were in the church, I was thinking what if that were Sheena walking down the aisle? What if that were you in the white dress?” He tells me other things…but what I tell him is that my feelings have changed.
I have not been in many situations as real as that one. As someone who suffered from the slow and painful death that is unrequited love, at his very hand, I did not want to be the cause of that kind of pain. I offered him what I could, friendship…but I suppose that only assuages pain for so long. I saw him recently walking along a busy downtown street. It was apparent that he saw me and intended to walk past without speaking. When I got closer and waved hello, he gave me a head nod and kept it moving. A swift nod of the head and a speedy walk off is what I got from a man I knew and had loved at one point in time, as if we had beef. Shrugs.
While I’d like to see things different between the two of us, there isn’t much I can say. When two hearts break, they really don’t break even and apparently they don’t break at the same time either.
Have you found this to be true in your dealings with romantic partners, or am I the only one out here getting head nods from old flames in these city streets? Surely you’ve experienced someone who’s come back around after you’ve mended your hurt feelings and broken heart to profess their love once you’ve moved on. Let’s talk about it.
Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.
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