I was with a guy for about a year up until recently. We were nearly inseparable the whole time, with the exception of the last month or two. I love this man, and I know he loved me. In the beginning, he could not get enough. He always wanted more time with me, more attention, more love, more conversation, more everything. I was the hesitant one to begin with, but it did not take me long to realize that I was head over heels for this guy. We seemed perfect together. We did almost everything together, usually with him initiating the time spent, asking me to come over, meet him, call him, etc. The relationship became more involved, and eventually he dropped the L word. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard it, but it was most definitely the most sincere. From there we fell more and more in love with one another, and even had those heated conversations regarding marriage, children, futures and the whole nine. A bit of a twist to the story is, we were an interracial couple. Despite adversities, we were both completely comfortable with who we were and who the other person was. Race never made a difference. Both of our families would be shocked and most likely highly disagree, but at the time we were on the same page and knew we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
Long story short, he became unhappy with certain aspects of his life, and made several attempts to better himself in those areas. Meanwhile, I supported his efforts entirely and saw him no differently though I know he wanted more for himself. (If you love someone truly, you love them at their worst just as you do at their best). I know he feels he has to better himself to feel like a man. So for a month or two he put in hard work and during that time our relationship suffered. It was a little rocky, but then seemed things were back alright. Then, out of the blue, he says it’s over. I could tell it was honestly an extremely difficult thing for him, but he said he had to do better for himself, and wanted to be able to help me, and that he was unhappy with who he was. I was crushed. A few days went by, and then we were back in contact and before you know it hanging out again, laughing again, doing all we did before. Then, in an effort to better himself he moved. As he left he said leaving me was one of the hardest things he ever had to do. Some things, or feelings rather were up in the air, but to hear him tell it we were “best friends.” He even said he may be making the biggest mistake of his life, but he had to do something different. He put up this hard exterior and sometimes seemed like a completely different person. He would say he can’t be in any relationship right now but could not bear to lose his best friend. Then here and there he would say how much he loved me and wished he could do more for me. When we were together we still acted very much like a couple. But, then it’s back to the “best friends” relationship where we share everything, and kind of pretend there isn’t any relationship tension there. So, does he love me and feel that there is still potential when he gets his stuff sorted out, is he scared of how we will be accepted or being a failure, or is friends all that it will ever be? When a man really loves a woman, can he just “turn it off” and move on?
Dear Clueless Cookie,
Although I was lucky enough to be blessed with an outstanding education (from my parents and my schooling), I have to say that there were also several bad lessons I was taught and false things I was told as a youngster — lies that devastated me when I learned the truth.
None of them were as intentionally egregious as the assertion that love always conquers all.
If I sound upset about this, good. I’m pissed that I and the rest of America’s youth spent the majority of our childhoods being indoctrinated with false fairy tales, dangerous Disney movies, and bullshit bedtime stories about how love is all a couple needs to be able to make it through everything. I realize that it’s probably not the best idea to tell 6 year olds that true love doesn’t matter if the timing and the situations and your HIV test results are out of order, but we do need to start sprinkling a bit of reality into their lives. I mean, kids already have a Tooth Fairy and an Easter Bunny, so why not add a “Real Life Shyte Genie” to the mix too?
In your case, Cookie, while it’s possible that your boo was never actually in love and just looking for an out, it’s probable that he’s just another example of one of the most hard to understand but still completely relevant truths about men and long-term commitment/marriage.
Basically, many (if not most) men don’t want to make permanent plans with a woman until they’ve figured out what the hell they’re doing with their own life. You can be head-over-hills in love, soulmates and Shyte, and it won’t matter if he’s not settled on what he wants to be, where he wants to go, what he needs to do to get there and convinced that he’s at least on the right path.
So, to answer your question, yes and no. A man can love a woman and move on, but he’s not necessarily “turning it off.” He probably still loves you, but he’s just at a point in his life where finding his right footing is more important to him than building a relationship with you.
Now, with that being said, I wouldn’t advise you to “wait for him.” Although there’s a chance that he might have second thoughts and try to get back with you, he’s made his priority known, and you need to move on. Also, the best friends/still hanging out Shyte needs to stop too. If you still love each other but aren’t together, the worst possible thing you can do is still make plans to be in each other’s company. I know it’ll be difficult, but you need a clean break. If you don’t think I’m true, ask the Real Life Shyte Genie and I’m sure he’ll tell you too.
Damon Young (aka The Champ)