I no longer believe.
That is such a difficult revelation for me to make. I don’t mean to you, the unknown masses who have decided to follow my madness. I mean it’s very difficult for me to admit this to myself. No matter what has happened or how destroyed I’ve ended up, deep in my heart I always believed in love. It’s not even fully correct to say I no longer believe . . . I know people who are in love. I believe in the love of others. I even believe I can fall in love. I’d go so far as to say I believe a man could fall in love with me. But that’s where it ends. I can’t believe I will fall in love with a man who falls in love with me simultaneously and equally. THAT is impossible!
And I hate being cynical! But am I being cynical? Or am I just being realistic?
I am almost 35 years old and I’ve been in love. I’ve also been in relationships with men I cared about but didn’t love. I hurt these men. It was never my intention to break any hearts, but yes I’ve destroyed a few along the way. Of course, I have also had my own heart broken. These things happen to everyone. Generally, it’s all a miscalculation, a big mistake. Nobody intends for anyone to get hurt. It happens when you finally realize and are willing to admit that you can never love this person you’re hanging out with, no matter how long you stick around and try to make it happen. You can’t force love. Clarity happens in a random instant. Hearts get broken. Such is life.
If all my suffering came at the expense of the standard broken heart, perhaps I would still believe. But I am one of a few (at least I believe the experience is limited to a few, correct me if I’m wrong) unfortunate souls who have the great misfortune of falling deeply and madly in love with the wrong person. That isn’t the same as not being the right person. I have also been in love with men who turned out to not be the right person for me. But only one time have I fallen in with the wrong person.
It’s a terribly embarrassing story in which I come off as a complete idiot. But you see that’s the thing . . . I am not a complete idiot. I am not stupid. I am actually quite intelligent. However, I will admit that I was naïve. Before I met the wrong man, I really didn’t believe evil could touch my life. Evil happened to other people. It happened to people on television, people in the newspapers, strangers I would never meet. Furthermore, if Evil ever decided to visit me I would recognize it because it would be wearing a mask, waving a gun, lunging at me with a knife, ripping my clothes off, or any number of violent acts. It wouldn’t be the face of someone I knew. It wouldn’t be someone who had earned my trust. It certainly wouldn’t be anyone I loved. I really believed that no matter how badly a person behaved, deep down inside lurked a little bit of goodness which would flourish if coaxed and overcome the bad. Yes, SIGH I was naïve.
But even way back then, despite being naïve, I was skeptical. Before I started dating the wrong man, I knew him. He wasn’t a stranger. Having been acquainted with him most of my life; I had a pretty good idea going into the first date that he wasn’t the right man for me. So why did I go out with him in the first place? Two reasons. I was bored and needed a diversion. He was going through what I thought was a rough time in his life and I pitied him. I really didn’t think it would go beyond one night. I wasn’t expecting Evil behind the pitiful face of someone I knew.
I was shocked at first when he began to pursue me. I tried to break it to him gently that I just didn’t think we would ever be a good match. I admired his persistence. I tried being a little less subtle and gave it to him straight. He kept up his courtship. I was flattered. By and by, I started to see that we did have some things in common. I enjoyed his company. He was fun to be around. Months flew by and I started to let my guard down, to open myself up to the possibilities. More months passed and I found myself falling in love. He spent that entire time proving to me that he was the right man for me. He devoted all his time to proving that he loved me, that he could be trusted with my love, we were made for each other. I never kept my skepticism a secret. He reassured me every day that I didn’t need it anymore.
In hindsight, it seems as if the very moment when I accepted everything he wanted me so desperately to believe and opened my heart to him, was the exact moment he chose to tell me he was wrong. Memory can be selective. If you have never encountered anyone like the wrong guy, you might think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. How can I be so sure? Because it happened more than once.
Here’s the part where I start coming off as really stupid. Unless of course you thought I went through that part of the story already when I started dating a guy I didn’t think could ever be my Mr. Right. Have I mentioned how naïve I was at that time in my life?
The first time we broke up, he had a change of heart within a few days. He begged for forgiveness and I believed he was sincere. The next time it lasted for a several weeks. The time after that lasted several months and we both dated other people while we were apart. Then we separated for over a year without any contact at all. He moved to another area. The last time we had been broken up for over two years when he came back into my life. Intellectually, I still wonder how I let this happen to me. Emotionally, I was a train-wreck early on into the roller coaster ride. Logically, none of it made any sense to me. I think that’s why he was able to keep coming back and continue to emotionally abuse me. I kept looking for a logical solution. I couldn’t accept that there mightn’t be one. I never once thought that he might have never cared for me at all and just enjoyed playing games with me because it made him feel god-like and powerful. I couldn’t believe he never felt any of the same feelings I had, he only pretended because it was necessary to the game. I couldn’t think any of those things because it would have required me to believe I had let Evil into life, the wrong guy was a monster. And that was absurd!
He had been out of my life for over two years. Another completely different relationship had failed on me and I had recovered. I was at a happy stage in my life. I was starting to really like the woman I saw in the mirror every day. When he showed back up, I would not give him the time of day. At that point I was beyond skeptical. Still, he showed up in my life every day, persistent bastard. He talked a new kind of talk. He wasn’t spouting the same old lines I had heard a hundred times before. He apologized for the past. And he didn’t do it in a general way, he was very specific. For months and months he was all about remember the time I did this to hurt you and you said that and you were right and this was the way I was feeling then . . . and God help me, he said all the right things. He was so sincere and genuine. He seemed so different and more mature. I still wasn’t giving him the time of day much, but I was certainly listening. Finally, he had provided me with the logical explanation for all the pain, suffering and grief.
Still, I knew his patterns. I knew he could change in an instant and revert into his former self. I didn’t trust he had really changed. He had to prove himself. The wrong guy I knew couldn’t get past a couple of months without vile and destructive behavior. Four months tops. If he hadn’t really changed, he could never pretend for six or eight months. It just wasn’t possible.
Ten months passed. Almost a year of peace and bliss; harmony and logical explanations. I dared to believe he was genuine.
I dared to believe in love, and he was lying.
He lied. The genuine logical right guy literally vanished right before my eyes without any explanation. When the wrong guy emerged this time, even that was different. He tossed me aside with less feeling than if I was a bug under his shoe. I have never encountered anyone before or since who was so cold and deliberate. With level eyes and a steady wave of his hand he simply said he didn’t love me and he didn’t want to marry me. End of story. There was no discussion. The topic wasn’t open for discussion or debate.
This is the only jaw dropping moment I’ve ever experienced. At that point in the relationship, this was totally unexpected. It floored me.
I was another year and a half rehashing everything in my mind before I could finally forgive myself and accept that some people are just here for the sport of hurting others. Several years went by and I heard about other women put through the same sort of emotional drills. One minute the wrong guy was in love and getting married, the next he had left some girl crying in a bar. I wanted to reach out and warn those innocent victims, but I knew they would never listen. I wouldn’t have listened. He is nothing if charismatic and convincing. I took comfort in the knowledge that he would never be able to hurt me again. I gained back my personal power and strength from this knowledge.
Of course, this isn’t to say he hasn’t tried. He tries every few years. He calls to test the water. Is she weak and ripe or strong and unavailable? I’m strong. Someday, he will call for the last time. Maybe I’ve heard the last of him now.
When I went into this thing, I was a naïve young woman who believed love conquered all things. Nothing in the world mattered, as long as there was love. It was a very romantic thought. Sometimes, I wish I could think like that again. Most times I feel safer knowing I will never think like that again.
So no, I don’t believe in love anymore. That is to say, I don’t believe in the fairy tale. I don’t know if that’s a terrible thing or a blessing. It simply is.
Drinking: King Cole Tea with milk
Listening To: Complicated, Avril Lavigne
Hair: Brassy blonde