I had a conversation with a friend when I was home in December. We spoke about a particular relationship to which I could relate. I gave her advice on her situation, but have been questioning myself about it ever since. I’m usually pretty certain about my ideas or the advice I give to people. This time I questioned whether I had enough objectivity to be giving advice on the matter.
A long time ago I was in love with someone…I cared about him deeply and thought we were friends. I saw every bit of good that was in him, and dismissed and forgave any wrongs.
At one point, in college, we got to the I like you. Do you like me too? phase. It was a yes on both parts. He switched schools and we were going to be in walking distance of each other. When he moved, we agreed to meet up and generally explore the whole I like you thing. I cannot begin to tell you the eagerness with which I awaited his arrival. I looked forward to hanging out with someone who I knew from home. I thought he could ease my sense of homesickness and be a source of comfort.
So, on the day we were supposed to link up, he was a no call no show. Disappointed, I decided to make it a Blockbuster night. I go across the street, and when I get there, guess who I see? There he was with some girl browsing videos. Is there a word for being hurt times a million? If so, it wouldn’t come close to describing how crushed I was. This wasn’t some random guy with whom I had no history. We’d known each other for years.
But there he was. My friend. Who “liked” me.
He eventually saw me. His explanation: This was a girl he’d just met, and she wanted to hang out.
If the heat radiating from my body could turn to fire, it would have incinerated the place. It took every bit of strength and dignity I could muster to go about my business and act like I was unaffected before leaving there.
I’m very good at bandaging my wounds and carrying on, but it took years for me to get over that.
It was a long time before I spoke to him again. We reconnected and worked on being just friends. He had the opportunity to redeem himself. There was still a sense of something lingering or unsaid between us, however. He didn’t speak to it, and I didn’t know whether he was unable or unwilling to share. It was complicated.
Ultimately, I decided that, at his core, this person was good. He had amazing qualities, and he was more than the hurt he had caused me. But, my feelings were either not a priority or he was oblivious to how his actions impacted me. I came to terms with it all and moved on.
So, years later, there I was talking to my friend about her being in love with someone with whom it is complicated but in a different way. My advice: Tell him how you feel. Let him know you care, but go about your business and date other people.
I wonder, should I have told her to completely cut ties? I’m uncertain.
I know from experience that cutting ties does not make you love someone less. Still, if that person does not or cannot love you back, it is best to walk away to save yourself. Better to heal than to let your heart be obliterated while wasting years waiting for someone to reciprocate your feelings.
Perhaps when someone isn’t willing to communicate their feelings when they know yours, what they are really saying is “Let me go.”