The Dying Light of Unrequited Love


The Dying Light of Unrequited Love

We spend most of our lives trying to emotionally connect with other people, only to realize that we cannot emotionally connect with most of the people we meet.

I could probably write a book about the experiences I’ve had and I’m willing to bet most other people could probably do the same. We could write about those times when we fell so hard for someone, or were completely convinced that this time it would be different and that things would work out for the best. Only to then learn we were utterly incorrect.

This realization of course leads us to be completely broken for weeks, months, or maybe if you’re like me you feel broken for years.

Afterwards, we don’t feel as though we could trust anyone ever again. We don’t want to trust anyone ever again because that’s how we became hurt in the first place.

We try so hard to be with someone who we can show all of our scars to, reveal all of our pain to, lay bear all of our brokenness, in the belief that they genuinely care for us and are willing to be there for us. We bend over backwards for them, give them everything we have, and then we keep giving more and more and more.

And when the moment comes where we realize that we have been taken advantage of, we feel betrayed and used. We feel as though we have given away pieces of ourselves that we will never get back.

We want to hate them and blame them for what they have done, but often it seems as though we just hate ourselves for believing in possibilities. Blame ourselves for having hope and allowing ourselves to be optimistic, open, and compassionate.

We look around and we see the things that remind us of them and we feel angry and sad, but are filled with a sense of longing to have the person back. To smell them again, to see them again, to hear their voice again, and to feel their presence once more. This longing is not for the person who hurt us, but for the person we thought they were, hoped they were, wanted them to be.

We long for the completeness they could have been within our lives. We long for the should have, the could have, would have, and the if only. We want to destroy those little reminders, burn them, throw them in the trash, to cause the same destruction we have felt in our hearts.

Lies and secrets, false hope and unrequited love, these are the things that rip apart the souls of human beings. There is shame and guilt in bleeding hearts and an irony in our inevitable defeat.

Nowhere else in our lives are we as devastated than in the broken bonds of human connection. No where else can we be lifted so immensely high and tossed aside like a piece of trash in such rapid succession, than in the trials and tribulations of emotional attachment.

Perhaps you have as well, but I have grown so tired of this process. I have been disappointed, betrayed, hurt, tossed aside, overlooked, so many times that I swore I’d never let it happen again. And I swore the same oath the next time it happened, and the next time it happened, and the next time it happened. After the last time I had become so broken, there were no more pieces of me to give away and I spent the next four years putting myself back together.

In order to do that I had to shutdown the process of emotionally connecting to other people. I locked myself away from the world and created a haven within myself, a place of solace and solitude, of silence and healing. I had finally washed my hands clean of other people and the desire to be with someone. I thought that I was finally free and content in my aloneness. Not loneliness, but peaceful aloneness.

All good things must come to an end I suppose. My aloneness was shattered by the cries of someone else and I felt compelled to reach out and save them from the cruelty of the world and from themselves. What I didn’t realize was that in time I would grow emotionally attached to this person, and it happened very very quickly.

Like a match being lit in the darkness, this rapid change in my world had illuminated the hope that I had tucked neatly away in the cedar chest of my forgotten ambitions. Emerging like a sunrise, it revealed all of the emotions I had removed from my life. I felt alive again, I saw hope for human connection again, I felt lifted up again. I felt compassion again, I felt that old familiar yearning to protect and care for someone else other than myself. As though I was no longer alone.

My thoughts were transformed, my heart was beginning to beat at a different pace, my perception of life became very different, it was no longer a cold and harsh place. Rather it was a place of opportunity, of growth, of comfort, of wonder, of promises kept. A dreamworld of sorts, a fantasy land, a place of make-believe. And so it was.

Friendship, feelings, love, these are not tangible things, only perceptions that we create. They only exist for as long as we believe they exist. Just as the dawn births the light that we need in order to see hope and believe in things we cannot force into being, the dusk inevitably brings the dying light of unrequited love.

Mixed signals and kind words were enough to woo me and convince me that becoming more than just friends was a possibility.

Secrets shared and pain revealed threw open the doorway of human connection and I felt as though trust and commitment were being sewn between our hearts. Spending so much time together and ambiguous actions led me to draw conclusions.

Every whim and worry expressed to me, was quickly met by my desire to care for and tend to their needs. Money, time, resources, all of it given with the hope that I was not being used, that my emotional needs would be tended too as well. Alas, I was wrong.

Torn from my chest was my heart, and it was kicked right into the friend-zone. I was but a chauffeur, an unpaid Uber driver, an errand boy, an ATM for free money, just a resource to be utilized. I was merely a fountain of compassion and comfort, used to replenish the lack of human contact in their life. There were no questions about how I was feeling, no expressed concern for my troubles, only the expectation that I would be there at every beck and call.

Like tearing a leech from my flesh, I removed them from my life. Now I am wounded and bleeding, feeling betrayed and used, depressed, broken, wondering how long I will have to walk alone once more into that dying light.

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