Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
“I think this was a mistake.” I told him, the tears threatening to spill from my eyes. “We can make it work.”
The words that came from my mouth surprised me. Who was this person speaking? I didn’t know her. The choice to leave had been my own. The man I married four years ago changed and so had I.
Our end happened before we could blink, though I imagine it had been creeping up for some time. When I made the decision to leave, I remember an indescribable sense of liberation coming over me.
I set myself free from a future that terrified me: children, an average home, a quiet existence. When we married at first, these things were a whisper in the back of my mind. This dream of a man worshipped me. I could give him what he wanted.
So why did I find myself before him, a strong woman reduced to a tearful girl. I never pleaded for anything in my life, but there I was.
“I don’t think we can go back.”
He looked tired. Lost. The boyish charm he once possessed had been beaten out of him by a stiff, continual dose of reality over the years. I didn’t meet his eyes. I knew I had caused some of the suffering within him, though I did my best to love him.
While he withered, I soared. I found myself at last. I couldn’t help it.
So why did it hurt so much?
Perhaps it is the fact he is a genuine and kind soul. Despite the harsh changes he suffered, at his core he is still beautiful, a ruby amongst rocks. It didn’t matter if he didn’t understand me, didn’t share the same passions within my heart. He is kind. He loved me.
The truth is, I could not accept that while he still loved me then, over time he would learn to love someone new. It is not him I wanted but his adoration, the continual chase, that validation that someone finds me worthy. They say in relationships, someone always loves the other more. It is not equal. Never in my life had I been the one to chase.
I was the chase. I could not bare anything else. Yet, here I am.
Hello world, my name is Chaser.
As I sit here in bed, my dog by my side and The Office on a continual loop, I try my best to not look at my phone. I met him shortly after the separation. He fit the basic requirements of what I needed in a like-minded partner: a musician, intelligent, witty, a bit damaged. Never mind the distinct age difference or the fact I stooped a bit below my pay-grade.
He chased at first. Gave me a taste of that delicious drug. Now, here I am, a slave to someone that shouldn’t matter much to me because I do not matter much to him.
Hello world, my name is Pathetic.
I texted a friend today.
Can we talk when you get a chance?
He called soon after. He spoke for a long while, and I listened. He told me the things I knew already.
I need to love myself.
I don’t need a relationship to be happy.
I need to give myself time.
His words brought me comfort, but by the time the conversation ended, I was confused. I do love myself, more than I have in the history of me. I support the choice I made for both of us in this marriage.
I want to be free. I need to be free. So why am I begging for scraps when a feast is laid out before me? Isn’t this what I wanted?
For someone with all the answers, this upended question disturbs me. The solution is so simple, but I can’t grasp it. My heart understands but my brain is conditioned to need this constant proof that yes, I am.
The funny part about this is, when I was with him, I thrived on my own. I chased myself, loved me for all that I was and could be. Enough to leave behind a man designed by the dreams of women in pursuit of a life worth living.
Is this the fate of all women of the world?
Are we reduced to loving ourselves only when others do?
Everything has a weakness, a chink in the armor. This cycle is no exception. The answer will not come to me soon, this I know, but at least there is something to look forward to.
One day, I will wake and not be the Chaser or the Chased. One day, I will rise and say:
Hello, world, my name is Evelyn.
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