“He just met her…She’s supposed to be his transitional person, she’s not supposed to be the ONE. All this time I thought he didn’t want to get married. But, the truth is, he didn’t want to marry me. He didn’t love me.”
−Sally Albright, When Harry Met Sally (1989)
When we make the decision to go out on a date, it is best to approach each first encounter with the attitude that this meeting may never lead to a second, despite whatever our long term goals may be. End of story. But what happens when we begin to see someone repeatedly? What happens when we start to become emotionally invested? Or, even worse, what happens when our feelings are not reciprocated from the person we are dating? The results for the person looking for more can be upsetting to say the least, if not emotionally devastating.
For more than a year and a half, I was involved in an on again/off again casual relationship with a man who I always held out hope would offer me the exclusive relationship I desired. He was my first date after I became separated and, in addition to the chemistry I felt between us, I genuinely liked him as a person. In many ways he helped me through my divorce, always taking my side, and always being my big supporter. He came to symbolize the security I lacked, but believed I very much needed from a man, as my marriage came to a close. But in my head I always knew that although our long term goals were aligned−marriage and children−because I was a soon to be divorcée and already a mother of three, that my situation was not right for him. A romantic at heart, however, I always maintained, and still do, that if there is love, the rest will take care of itself.
Knowing full well that I was not the perfect picture of the woman of his dreams, I continued my search wholeheartedly for my own future love, never once forgoing a date with someone new to see him. I even became involved in a 10 month long relationship with another man just a few months after our first meeting. But my heart was never in that relationship and my thoughts remained elsewhere−with the man I coveted, as well as with whoever else would be able to lead me away from this same man who had no intention of marrying me one day. I ended the 10 month relationship months ago, much to that man’s own heartache as he professed his love for me, and I never looked back.
Even though I was well aware that the man I desired continued dating as did I, nothing ever seemed to stick for him either, and we kept drifting in and out of each other’s lives. Until two days ago. That’s when he claimed to have met someone just days after we saw each other last, and no longer wanted to see anyone else. The pain of his rejection overcame me.
Always insecure in and troubled by our stagnated casual relationship, I had found out that he met someone when I provoked a fight via text (immaturity on my part, I admit), complaining to him one week after our last visit together that I felt used, that I was only desirable to him when he had nothing better going on, and that he always blew hot and cold as he reeled me in and then threw me back, never considering how that made me feel. All sentiments I had been harboring during most of the course of our time together, but suppressed in lieu of reading the tea leaves for signs of more growing between us. He, in turn, reacted harshly, and immediately cast me off by wishing me good luck and all the best. I had laid out my heart, and all I got back was the text equivalent of a greeting card.
This man may very well have used me, but the truth of the matter is, is that I used him, too. We kept each other warm. I leaned on him for the support and intimacy I craved, and he, I can only presume, looked to me to sate his own need for intimacy and company until he found his future beloved.
Whether or not his new relationship ultimately leads to marriage is of no relevance to me. What does matter is that I finally know that it is time for me to let go of my security blanket. Though selfish in that I would have preferred him to choose me, I am happy for him. I have already been so blessed in my life. At an early age, I had a whirlwind romance with my high school sweetheart. I experienced love in its truest form. I was married in a beautiful wedding ceremony surrounded by all of the people we both loved, and together we created three amazingly smart, good-hearted, wonderful children who I could not imagine my life without. He deserves all of those things, too, and although I feel sadness that he will no longer be a part of my life, I know that saying goodbye is what is best for both of us.