“Genuine love is defined by loving action. It is conscious attention, a time investment, a commitment to nurturing the spiritual growth of one another, the willingness to take risks even when it’s scary, the risk of opening the heart, even with the knowledge that the heart is likely to get broken, if not right away, then one day in death.”
He was honest with me from the beginning about his issues. And he remained honest with me right until the end.
Ben and I broke up last night.
Today my heart is broken, though not in the cruel way men have broken it before.
I’ve loved Ben in a way I wasn’t capable of loving any man before him. It’s been the most genuine love I’ve ever experienced, despite his inability to reciprocate it.
Choosing to love him was one of the most selfless things I’d ever done knowing the risks involved.
I’m sure from the outside looking in some might say my falling for Ben was foolish. After all, what kind of person willingly enters into a relationship knowing there is a very high chance the person they love will never be able to love them back?
A brave one.
Did I want Ben to love me? Hell yes. Do I deserve his love? Absolutely.
But I didn’t go into this expecting him to change for me. I looked at what he could and could not give me and I made the choice to go all in, knowing I may never get all of him in return.
I faced my fear of letting him in, took one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken, and gave Ben myself completely because I wanted him to know what it felt like to be adored. It was the one gift I knew I was capable of giving him. He deserved my love more than anyone I’ve ever loved before.
Both the dreamer and romantic in me believed wholeheartedly that giving him my love was the key to unlocking the feelings he’s buried somewhere deep inside of himself.
“There are many whose spirits are so locked in behind impenetrable armor that even the greatest efforts to nurture the growth of those spirits are doomed to almost certain failure.”
There were so many times I thought I’d gotten through. Up until this past week, I always felt safe and cared for. He gave me what time he could find and he gave me his attention. Though he continuously told me he still had no “feelings” for me, when we were together his actions made me feel otherwise.
In the middle of the night, he’d often roll over in bed, wrap his arms around me and gently kiss my shoulder or the back of my neck. No man I’ve ever been with had ever done that to me before.
I’d usually pretend I was still sleeping, but if he’d been awake enough to peek over my shoulder to see my face he’d have seen one of my biggest smiles. I’d never felt so safe or loved then in those moments in the middle of the night.
They were what kept me fighting for his love and for us.
I truly believe during those vulnerable moments in the darkness where his guard was down, the Ben I’ve come to know who is capable of loving crept out.
But due to his new and busy schedule those moments have been non-existent and in the last week our relationship began to deteriorate rapidly.
I always said that I’d stand by his side as long as I knew we were still in this together, but last night it became clear that we’re not.
Sometimes giving up on a relationship is not failing yourself or the other person – it’s choosing to love yourself enough to know when to walk away.
While I could certainly come up with a million reasons that might convince Ben to keep fighting for us – I know in my heart it is time to let him go since he’s expressed so clearly that is what he wants. Attempting to continue to love someone that no longer wants my love would be a waste of my energy. As much as I want to try to save this, it would be in vain if he doesn’t want it too.
“Genuine love is precious, and those who are capable of genuine love know that their loving must be focused as productively as possible through self-discipline.”
This is the moment I feared would come – the excruciating pain of walking away from something I want so badly. It is the moment that had kept my walls up for nearly four years before Ben.
As much as this hurts, I have no regrets. I took a risk. I fell in love. I had it all for a little while. And I’m leaving this relationship a better person because of it.