I would like to introduce you to a couple today, Mike and Jesse. They have been in a relationship for the last few years. From time to time, things have been rocky. You see, he can be a bit noncommittal, but she loves him and he says he loves her.
When they are physically together, in the same place, he makes her feel happy and is kind to her (mostly). He doesn’t pursue her as much as she wants him to, but it’s worth it to be with him. They laugh a lot and have good chemistry. Also, they have so much history. She couldn’t imagine starting over again! Honestly, she loves him so much it makes her heart hurt thinking about it.
When they are not in the same place, though, he can be somewhat flaky. He flirts with other girls and she’s not sure if he is totally faithful. She thinks they are monogamous, but it is hard to pin him down on that conversation. She knows she is monogamous and thinks he probably just flirts with other girls. But if she thinks about it too long, it bugs her a little bit. When she brings it up, he either makes her feel like she’s being crazy and demanding or shuts down. It’s easier not to bring it up. She is constantly yearning for more time with him and doesn’t want to waste good times together on tough conversations. Especially because she knows everything is fine.
Seriously, everything is fine. This is what she tells her friends when they press her on it. I know I said I was upset about that, but I was being dramatic. I was on my period. And had had too much wine. We’re good. Seriously! I have never loved him so much. I think he will probably propose by my birthday.
She dreams often of their wedding day and the house they’ll buy together. She pictures him mowing the lawn after work while she bathes the kids. She wants three kids and he says whatever she wants is fine with him.
More than anything, she dreams of the mundane with him – the consistency of day-to-day life. Making dinners. Watching Netflix. Going on walks. Falling asleep next to him. Getting enough of him, because, right now, it feels like she can't quench her thirst - she always wants more, but he doesn't have time.
She pictures him doting on her. She dotes on him a lot right now and, although he’s often too busy to do the same, she knows he will someday. He’s just really stressed at work! Also, he has been clear with her that he’s not ready for marriage yet, but she knows Mike loves her. Even if he doesn’t tell her as much as she wishes he would.
Does this sound familiar to any of you? I am sad to say I have been Jesse too many times before.
I have been the girl who is afraid to be clear about what she wants. I have been afraid to be honest about how much I am hurting, for fear he’d leave me. I have questioned that quiet voice in my head, nudging, nudging me along, telling me: you deserve better.
I have told that voice to go away so many times that, for a while, it stopped talking to me. When I finally started hearing it again, I didn’t trust it anymore. Am I being crazy? It’s not that bad, is it?
I have lain in bed at night after a date with him – when things weren’t good, but weren’t that bad, either – wondering why year three didn’t feel like year one. I have wondered why he could be so nice – so charming – to all of my friends (and waitresses!), but, when we were alone, he couldn’t even put down his phone to engage with me.
I have been the girl who is giving everything – 100 percent – to the person she loves, only to feel like he’s not even meeting her halfway.
I wish I could go back and tell that girl: That is not love. He isn’t loving you. He is keeping you around, yes. But he isn’t pursuing you. He isn’t giving you what you deserve. And, girl, if you’re afraid he might leave you if you tell him how you really feel, get out of there. Because love doesn’t leave. Love fights for one another.
If he loves you and you tell him you need more, he asks what he can do to better meet your needs. He rises up because he’s a man and he knows you deserve to be pursued. He doesn’t throw his hands up, tell you you’re a crazy girl and walk away. And if he does? He doesn’t deserve you. Because you deserve 100% from the person you love.
I know it’s hard. I know you love him. I know you thought you’d get married. I know it’s going to hurt like nothing you’ve ever felt before. I know your heart will physically ache. I know there will be some dark days ahead. But as someone who has lived in the dark before, I promise the light ahead is worth the time spent in pain.
As my dad told me the first day after my horrible breakup: Today, you are in a better spot than you were yesterday. Because you’re one day further away from him and one day closer to where you’re going.
Keep going, friend.
"You deserve someone who makes it about you. I can't watch you give your heart away for a handful of empty love. Trying so hard to be the one he wants. He should love you the way you are...So go one cut your hair off as short as you want to. Do what you've wanted to do, but don't you dare make it all about him. Oh he's never made it all about you." Emily Hearn, Annie