Young love is painful for many reasons.
It is particularly painful when it ends, seemingly so suddenly, in many cases. An abrupt end to a whirlwind of a romance can leave one distraught, confused, aching, angry at the universe and blaming oneself for the perceived “failure.” Our lives have been shaken up like never before, and it can be absolutely soul-crushing when we come crashing down from our perch on Cloud Nine.
When our partner leaves us, we tend to want to know why. It’s human nature to seek answers to events that we don’t comprehend right away. In school, we are taught the “whys” behind every fact that we learn. This, in some respect, gets us into a bad habit of always expecting a clear cut “answer” behind a major change in our lives.
But the universe does not hold our hands the way school teachers do—the way our former partner did. We don’t get a printout with the explanation behind the scenes of earth-shattering events. Many times, we’re left to ponder these significant life changes on our own.
In my case, at the end of college I found myself in one such young love, a whirlwind romance partnership. My ex and I were quite naive, and we discussed being together forever frequently. We were so close that everything for those short six months seemed—dare I say—perfect.
Then one day, shortly after our college graduation, he seemed to change. Suddenly he wasn’t so sure of himself or the choices he was making. Graduating from college and having completed school meant that life’s training wheels had fallen off, and it was time for all of us to figure out the next steps—on our own. I saw the confusion burdening him greatly, yet I never expected that in the midst of his quarter-life crisis that he would leave. But he did.
For months I struggled with the weight of hundreds of questions circling through my mind endlessly. I wanted to know why. He never gave me a solid reason, and insight from his group of friends told me that they never received a solid reason either. I was left without real closure, especially because he had left so suddenly. All I got was a text message, out of the blue, telling me how he “just couldn’t do this,” from the person I’d thought was my soulmate.
I craved the reasons behind his actions back then—but as I have grown and matured on my own, I’ve gained enough wisdom to somehow understand without needing explanation from him. The person I have become in his absence is so much stronger, more confident and beautiful because of his absence
So—to my ex, whom I once so persistently questioned—I free us both now from my once endless questioning. I can now say this:
I know why you left—and it’s okay.
I know you gave me all that you could, and I know what you did was your best.
I forgive you. It’s okay, that you messed up. It’s okay, that you were scared. And it’s okay, that you left—that you felt that’s what you had to do. Because I see now—and I know—that it was.
Because you have to do right by you. If I wasn’t right for you—or even if it just seemed that way at the time, because of your fear—then you had to leave. And it’s okay, and I understand now. I’m okay—now.
I know you have flaws. I know your early years hit your heart hard. I know your experiences hardened you in ways that I couldn’t hope to understand in this life. I know that somehow, because of that, it’s hard for you to get close and stay close to someone.
It’s okay if you felt like you didn’t love me anymore. If you told yourself as much, so that you could create the distance when it felt like your world was crashing down around you, and you couldn’t find the strength within you to care for another. Because if you hadn’t created that distance, it would have been much too painful to leave. We were too close, too in love, too obsessed, too attached. If we were ever going to end, someone had to pull away. And truly, I’m so glad it was you. I don’t think that I ever could have done it.
Clearly we both had our own paths we had to travel. Our own journeys to embark on. We were meant to meet up at a certain point and share a sweet, beautiful, passionate chapter. We were meant to stir up something deep inside of each other—to bring a new light to shine through the cracks—but for whatever reason, we weren’t meant to stay there forever. And I’m done arguing with life about that.
But darling, you better believe that if I could go back and visit just one page in that chapter of our lives—even if just to sit beside you, just to hold your hand for a moment and to feel the rush of love surging through us, cascading out of our hearts and into our sparkling eyes as we gazed longingly at one another—you better f*cking believe that I would.
If only to see that smile that you reserved only for me, when you first saw me after we’d been apart. If only to hear your laugh when we were joking together. If only to feel the beating of your heart as we lay so close together, naked so often. If only to re-experience the deep seemingly unending river of passion that flowed between us and kept us energized while we made love for hours.
Darling, if only to run my fingers through your hair or to feel you brush mine from my eyes. If only to find solace in the warmth of your fingers, those times when you wiped my tears from my face.
If only to touch you, kiss you, be lost in your eyes, to just be by your side…
I really, truly, very deeply loved you—and I really, truly, very deeply still do. Even as much as I may try to stuff it down or deny it or pretend to others that I don’t. It has always been there, and it always will be. Despite feeling like you may no longer be any semblance of a good person—if I’m honest, the feelings still remain, without remorse. My heart doesn’t judge that you are flawed. My love isn’t limited to only those who have never hurt me or ripped my heart open wide in numerous ways. I am not able to simply cease caring for someone who left me broken and sobbing on the floor, alone.
No, to deny these feelings now would to be deny that they ever meant what they did. We are not together now, not in each other’s lives, for a reason. This, I know—and in your absence, I was forced to slowly get myself together. To find my own way back to happiness, alone. To find the strength that was buried deep down within myself, and use it to carry on without you. Without the ideas I held before of who I was and who I would become.
My life irrevocably changed because of you—I irrevocably changed because of you.
I think that the most beautiful option—when faced with sadness, heartbreak, loss or truly missing someone—is to let oneself fully embrace it.
I will lament it no longer.
The person I felt was a true soulmate is not by my side—however, he is forever in my heart—and I know that it’s all okay.
Author: Chris Lacagnina
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina