Until this moment, I had not realized that someone could break your heart twice, along the very same fault lines.”
– Jodi Picoult
As my knees hit the floor, the tears streamed down my face and the sobs came in waves, I felt the wound that just barely closed tear back open. The pain was raw, sharp and present all over again.
Months prior a single text broke my heart. The woman I had fallen in love with was in a new relationship and I realized I never had a chance. I had chosen to respect the situation and not say how I felt, not wanting to take advantage of the vulnerable situation she was in. I believed in my heart that we had a strong connection, that we were meant to meet, and that she was someone I still wanted in my life. So I took a step back from the friendship to find a way to not be in love with her anymore. Although she was taken by surprise by my feelings, she was understanding and supportive of my need for space. I had never fallen for someone like this, so the intense hurt, shame and moments of anger took me a while to get over.
As months went by, my emotions grew less intense and I felt comfortable enough to reach out about grabbing a drink to catch up. No response. It wasn’t uncommon for her to not reply to my texts, but I still imagined the worst. I felt that the future of our friendship was uncertain, but I never lost hope that we would recover. Initially, I never doubted that she valued our friendship and wanted it to continue. But something changed … she began to give off vibes of not wanting to be friends. The distance felt cold and unfamiliar with her, and seemed to grow with each passing week. When I saw her for the first time in months, I knew that I was no longer in love with her, but missed my friend dearly. The encounter was awkward, which was not us, and I apologized for it. We went from instantly feeling comfortable around each other, to distant, awkward strangers. The sadness I felt was overwhelming.
It took a little bit of time, and some more misunderstandings and issues for me to be faced with the reality that our friendship was over. That she didn’t want to be friends. She no longer saw me as someone she could turn to, that she could trust. The night it hit me, I cried so much that I woke up with a hoarse voice the next morning. I had just barely started to feel okay about not being the woman she wanted to be with, to find myself back on the floor sobbing. This time the tears and pain were over losing her as a friend – someone that I still cared deeply about, someone that was still on my mind frequently, and someone that I still worried about. Not knowing what happened or how she really felt was almost unbearable to me.
Despite all of the tears, hurt and shame, I am still happy that she came into my life. Falling for her taught me a lot and opened my eyes to a side of myself that I hadn’t realized before. We had the start of a beautiful friendship, and I cherish those memories. Hindsight is 2020, and I will not pretend that I handled everything well. While my intentions were good, looking back I could have made better decisions on some things. And it’s still hard to swallow that I feel like I respected the vulnerable situation she was in, yet I’m the one who doesn’t have her in my life at all. But you can’t be bitter and expect to have a sweet life. Holding onto that anger will only hurt me, holding me back from the life I want and deserve.
When I love someone, either as a partner or a friend, I love hard and with all I have. Heartbreak is painful, whether it’s from a partner or a friend. While I’m sure I haven’t cried my last tear over this, as some wounds will always sting, I am choosing happiness. I am choosing to be happy for her and wish her the best. I am choosing to be happy for myself, for the amazing life that I have and the people in it, and for what this experience has taught me.