The beginning of our relationship was a whirlwind. A whirlwind that unexpectedly turned into a tornado. First you took my breath away, then you took my self worth.

 

We met, and despite you recently coming out of a divorce, I fell for you. Mess and all. I saw the good in you. The human in you. The strength in you. The courage in you. There were times you broke down about your past and where your life was at, and I held you. Encouraged you. Comforted you. Times you cried and said you didn’t want the same thing to happen with us… the first glimpse of recognition of your own responsibility in it all. A glimpse that came and went as quickly as your chivalry.

 

After a few months of dating, you asked me to move in with you. I expressed my hesitation about taking that step before I was engaged. You reassured me with fairytale dreams, playfully put your last name behind my first, and told me you pictured me in a white dress.

 

It was the first time someone had told me that. It was a statement you later retracted at will when you were hurt and decided I needed to hurt in return.

 

I made your house our home. Decorated the empty walls and brought furniture to fill the space. I was excited to build our life together. For this new endeavor I’d never taken with someone. You voiced appreciation for my efforts, then later downplayed my contribution to our living situation. The dates stopped. Expressing I wanted to do something special together once a week was asking too much. This wasn’t how we started or what I envisioned.

 

I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, and I so badly wanted to. I wanted our initial dreams to transpire. Your response was always for me to change, for me to do things differently. I would analyze how I said something or whether I should have said anything at all. I thought you were right. In reality you simply weren’t man enough to handle the trials and tribulations of a real, raw relationship. Countless times you told me I was manipulative, selfish, insecure, that I spoke down to you, thought I was better than you. I was left defending myself against things you said I believed, but that in retrospect, were a reflection of how you viewed yourself.

 

I’m not innocent. I have my weak moments and imperfections. But I recognize them, I’ve always acknowledged them, I don’t run from them. I work through the hurt and uncomfortable conversations to come out a better person, stronger and closer to the one I choose to share my life with.

 

What I am is a sensitive, caring, genuine woman, unashamedly vulnerable when it comes to love. You identified my weaknesses and exploited them to rebuild your damaged self image and internal brokenness. Despite my best efforts to get through it with you, you relentlessly expressed how unhappy you were. You compared me to your last relationship when it was convenient and I never wanted you to feel trapped or repeat your past.

 

So, I made the decision to end the relationship. It hurt me. Deeply.

 

You did your best to make me feel guilty. You wouldn’t even look at me. Thanked me for wasting the last year of your life. Refused to give us any closure.

 

Less than a week after we broke up I heard that you started seeing a coworker of yours, whom I had met. That you were bragging she left her boyfriend when she found out we split. All too familiar. Once makes coincidence, twice makes a pattern. My things were still in your house, my clothes hanging in the closet until I could solidify my own living arrangements since I had given my previous one up, and on trust moved in with you.

 

Throughout our relationship, I fought for us. I fought for the happiness I thought we could have. That I thought we both deserved. A happiness that you let go of as soon as you felt it required a little work and vulnerability from you.

 

I know now that all along I was fighting an un-winnable battle. The battle that lives inside you. One that only you can fight, and only you can win or lose.

 

But first, you have to make the decision to show up.

 

One day you might. But I won’t be there. I loved you. But now I know how precious my love is. A gift that needs nurturing and protection, as any woman’s love does. A gift you were never ready to receive.

 

Thank you, for teaching me to be more cautious in love. That there is such thing as being too understanding. That sometimes letting your mind guide matters of the heart is best. For challenging me to let go of things not meant for me more gracefully and find strength in my hurt.

 

Thank you, for teaching me what I don’t deserve, and more so what I do deserve in return. That you can’t heal or fix people, no matter how badly you want to or how hard you try, and that sometimes my own needs need to come before others, and that’s ok.

 

Most of all, thank you for teaching me that you must love yourself first.

 

Madeline Makielski is the founder of  My Soul It Dances. She is a 26-year-old from the heartland (Indiana) and is a round the clock dreamer, quote seeker, Spanish speaker, and horoscope reader fueled by coffee, writing, and unbridled love. Follow her blog on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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