When I first met him, I felt all the things. He felt strangely familiar. My nostalgic side likes to think we were two old souls finding each other again in this lifetime. I’ve tried hard to squash that hopeless romantic in me, but it rears it’s idealistic head every so often, and my soulmate alarm bells were ringing in full force.
We adventured, we played like kids. It was innocent, beautiful and of course, all sorts of magical. He told me he was not looking for a relationship. I didn’t care. It felt soo good. And so began the start of a chapter – one that would be full of starts and stops, hope and hurt, and the eventual bursting of a bubble that inevitably happens when you create a fantasy out of someone.
There are two sides of this story. The whimsical, romantic one — where you meet someone and feel all the nonsensical tingles of meeting ‘the one’. Where there can be no other explanation for the intensity of feelings other than the possibility that something universal is at play. In this realm there is no time or space, there is only energy. There is a connection of two souls dancing together in some quantum dimension (yes, that sounds like a quote you’d find on Pinterest). I do love this realm because it allows me to escape the logical, over analytical left-brain of mine. It also nurtures that 5 year old girl who believed in fairytales. Prince Eric where the hell have you been all my life?
The other side is reality as we know it; where the soulmate feeling is nothing more than a confusion of chemical reactions, particularly dopamine, mixed with the familiarity of emotional experiences of the past. The growing ache and longing for someone, even when they are not reciprocating those intense emotions is nothing, but a fantasy. Fantasies can f*ck with you – because as you continually revisit the emotionally charged memories of the past and possibilities of the future, a cascade of feel good chemicals are produced in the body. Your body can’t tell the difference if you’re falling in love with a real person or the person in your head. The dopamine release ensures that both feel amazing, leaving you craving, hoping for more.
Today, he told me he had started dating someone. I asked him why, after dancing back and forth between gray lines for the last two years, he didn’t choose to explore a relationship with me. He told me he didn’t know exactly why, but that he didn’t see me in the relationship bucket.
Hearing that fucking hurt, like a dart to my balloon of a heart and POP -suddenly all the hope I had been marinating in had deflated in an instant.
It took that clear message to burst my fantasy bubble and face reality. Because while I want to believe in the whimsical, the reality is, I’ve been chasing a unicorn. I took a handful of loving, beautiful moments, mixed it with a dash of projection and a sprinkle of stardust and created something that wasn’t rooted in reality.
The unicorn fantasy was everything I hoped for, and with that taking up a significant portion of my heart and headspace, I haven’t really had to let anyone else in.
I held on to hope that maybe this person would change his mind about me, maybe the starts and stops would lead to something more, maybe he just needed more time to realize I was his person. He didn’t. He hasn’t. And he won’t. And today, I accept that. I grieve that last part of me that strung together the maybes to create a quilt of possibility of a romantic future. And while it hurts, it is also a relief. Shedding the past, and the emotions that come with it, is not comfortable. The discomfort signifies change and after that, growth. The ending of one chapter feels scary, but that’s only because there’s many chapters still left to write. You just won’t know how to title of this chapter until the rest of your story unfolds.