I hope I can learn to love myself enough to become ready

It sucks to look back at my previous relationships and to see clearly how very unready I was for them. I was too self-involved. Too insecure. Too incurious. Having someone do me like I did this particular ex of mine, it feels good. I am mad, of course. Like, “How dare you reject me on very stupid bases!” But I’m also like, “How could you? We’ll, actually, I know exactly how.”

People fall in love at all ages. They do it all the time. But I feel a strange contradiction about it. I feel both too young and too old to really love the way I want to love someone. I think about trying to win my ex back and I think, “Am I really ready?” Because I don’t want to treat him badly again. Just the thought of it makes me stay away from him. It’s not even guilt. I’m mostly past that. It’s just dread. It’s just fear that I can’t do better by him. That I can’t treat him the way he deserves, I can’t love him like he loved me, I’m still too selfish, scared, incurious.

It feels like karma to be misled, to have my time wasted by someone who isn’t capable of loving anyone yet. It feels… right. Strangely satisfying. I’d be so mad if I hadn’t done it to someone else already.

I’ve always known he wasn’t in love with me. And at first, I wasn’t in love with him either. But I grew into it. I fell in love with him daily, as he treated me well and demonstrated the qualities I’d always wanted in a partner. I tried to ignore the way he resented me, his wandering eye, his lack of passion for me. I asked him about them and sometimes he told the truth and sometimes he lied. I believed the truths were lies and the lies were truth because I really, really wanted to. I knew I deserved better but I thought he could become what I needed. And then the weight of constantly being a disappointment because he doesn’t feel the way I want him too became too much and he couldn’t treat me well anymore.

I suspected, in a low point a few times, that one day a flip would switch. That’s how it happened with my husband and with that one ex. Lots of doubt, lots of love and hope, and then one day the hope dies. One day the hope doesn’t matter. There’s no future bright enough (or likely enough) to be worth the pain of the present.

I’m sad, but relieved. Hope is a prison. “There’s nothing lonelier than living with a man who doesn’t love you,” my mom said more than once. It would have been so much easier if he hadn’t loved me. If he hadn’t made me chicken soup from scratch and taken me to Paris. If he hadn’t tried so damn hard to be a good partner to me. If trying and loving could be enough.

I hope I can learn to love myself enough to become ready. I want to be less self-involved, more secure, more curious. I want to be more kind. I know I need to be alone to do it. To be undistracted. I’m kinda excited.

Oh, also, I wrote a thing for FEE.

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