Learning to Love… the Hard Way

I’ve been a single 20-something for so long I kind of forgot what it felt to really like someone and their attention. So that first night that he and I hooked up changed the course of the next months for me.

Now, let me also start this dysfunctional coming-of-age somewhat love story by telling you our first hook up was a drunk summer party hook up. Furthermore, I never thought we would do it again for three reasons:

  1. He has a girlfriend in another country.
  2. We were drunk.

Right off the back, this was so unlike me. I grew up disliking any forms of betrayal and avoiding cheaters. But up to that moment, it’s as if I was hit on the head with a dozen volleyballs. Don’t get me wrong, I felt terrible about the whole situation. My anxiety levels were peaking. But I didn’t even have his number or social media handles. Why was I so worried, it was a one time mistake! A few weeks passed by and I was feeling a lot better. I told a few of my girlfriends and they understood my situation.

By the end of July, I had not seen or heard from him which I was content about. However, I did sometimes question why that even happened in the first place. Did he like me? Did I like him?

Next thing you know, he’s in Vegas with my brother. The weekend that I was going to be there as well. My heart froze. I didn’t even know what I was feeling when I heard he was going to be there. Why was I kind of excited? He was just someone I hooked up with!

Then I saw him…my brain shutdown and my heart was fluttering with joy. I was happy to see him. And to my dismay, so was he. Let’s just skip forward and say we were all kisses that weekend. I asked him so many questions like why did we do this? His answer to it all: My girl and I are in an open relationship.

I didn’t know how to react to this. I did know that it bothered me. But somehow every time I was in his presence it was as if it did not bother me. It was like my body had a mind of its own.

It was a few weeks after Vegas, when we began this sort of (hate to say it) “affair.” We were hooking up in secret. No one knew except the two of us. Even when I questioned my decisions I also still was craving his affection.

So here’s the mid-way breakdown: boy I’m hooking up with has a girlfriend miles away, we began hooking up consistently, I started staying at his apartment every weekend, I met his friends, I had a toothbrush at his place! It’s safe to say things had escalated pretty quickly.

But just as everything was changing so were my feelings for him. I started to really like him. I can comfortably say so did he. However, he was still in love with his girlfriend. From the looks of it, he was having the best of both worlds. While I was most definitely the other woman. The other woman that according to him, couldn’t catch feelings because we weren’t going to be an item. Yet, he treated me like his girlfriend.

By end of September, I started to get depressed. I knew this was a bad idea. I got caught up in the moments and memories. I wanted him to treat me like a girlfriend but knew he couldn’t because he already had one. I stashed my feelings away just so I can please his. He would tell me things like “we’re nothing” but then made me breakfast after a hot shower together. It was all so bad but felt so good. It felt good to be desired. But felt worse when it was Sunday night and all the crushing anxiety came crashing down as I realized he will never be my boyfriend. And if he was would he do this to me with someone else? If I was thinking like this why did I even care to make him my boyfriend? I was a mess. A mess of unfinished thoughts because I didn’t want to ruin what we had by mentioning my feelings to him.

By this point, I realized he is a master manipulator. He was still fully committed to his girlfriend. While also committing to an every weekend love affair with me. He had all that he wanted. And I had nothing.

Since this is still a fresh wound I can say I realize how unethical this whole situation was. I’m still hurting. I probably could have avoided this early on. But the heart can surprise you like it did for me. I had gone so long without loving someone that when it appeared at my door I let it in without any questions. This is where I’ll let you know what I learned from this unethical relationship:

I learned that I can love again. I have always put love 2nd to everything else in my life. But after this relationship I realized love is a beautiful thing. If it was beautiful in this ugly situation, imagine love at its finest. That is what helps keep me sane. I remembered to love myself.

Secondly, I learned that things are not just what they are. We make choices. We can decide our own path. As for me, I chose to continue and pursue this person. I probably shouldn’t of but I can’t hold this in. For months, he said things like “it is what it is” in the hopes of trying to ease his own guilt I believe. But I now disagree. We made a choice every time.

Now, here I am still not completely healed. Some days I cry because I did such a thing. Other days I am glad I can accept my flaws and still have the opportunity to be a better version. This situation was not the best portrayal of me, and I truly understand that. But it is my wholesomely attempt at letting you know that we are not defined by our mistakes. This is also my apology. To all the individuals who have been in similar situations, but most importantly to his girlfriend.

I hope this is a topic that can be spoken about more openly, especially through my narrative. This was hard for me to open up about because I was scared of being shamed. Instead of shaming, let’s attempt to understand these comiing-of-age moments.



by ohjackie

Just a California girl with a list of unfinished thoughts trying to write her story.


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