*note: there is a small ounce of fiction in this post, however around 98% of the story is true.
I had been thinking of the moment we would see each other, the moment we would lock eyes. Would it be awkward? Would it be sweet? Would it take us back to the days of our silly inside jokes and the way we winked at each other as we passed each other in the hallway?
I worried that too much damage had been done for such a laissez-faire interaction to occur. My heart ached for him. I ached for the familiarity of him. I ached for his friendship.
I knew I needed to see him, that I needed to get an answer. I needed to know why after my one and only slip up he had determined me not worthy. Not worthy of his time or his heart.
I did exactly what I said I wouldn’t do. I planned an outfit that I knew would make me feel confident, I planned out how I would approach him…I told myself not to care and what did I do? I went above caring. I went into caring overdrive. I cared TOO MUCH.
A fun and light texting conversation between us a week before we were going to meet up had me excited. Maybe it would be normal? Maybe the awkward tension that had existed for so long would have evaporated…or at least not be so thick? In our conversation I asked him for confirmation that he would be coming, and he said yes. I was ready, ready for closure, ready to officially end the sad, awkward, confusing, painful chapter we had been in for years.
But he didn’t show.
I drove up to the bar and sat in my car for a minute. I could feel my hands shaking. I sat in the darkness of my car and tried to breathe. I could feel my phone buzzing in my purse as friends were texting to say they had arrived, and texts from a few girlfriends of mine sending me love and encouragement. I took a deep breath and said, “You can do this.” I opened the car door, stepped out, and walked into the bar.
I could barely see straight as I walked in. I was scanning the bar for his face. Was he here? Was he late? I didn’t see him.
As I stood and chatted with old friends, I couldn’t focus. He said he was going to be here and he’s not. How could this have happened? How could he not show up? I couldn’t take it. Thirty minutes after our meeting time he still hadn’t showed up. I gave in and did what I told myself I wouldn’t do — I texted him.
When he responded and said he had gotten caught up in something, I knew immediately that he was lying. I could feel my face get hot. I was so angry. I was stunned. I was devastated. He had done what I was afraid he would do. He had let me down once again.
The rest of the night I caught up with friends, ran into familiar faces, smiled and laughed, the whole time feeling a pit in my stomach. I numbed the pain with margaritas, knowing that I would regret it.
As I walked into my airbnb hours later, annoyingly still sober and so angry, I kicked my shoes off. Like out of a movie I could feel my legs get weak and I fell to the floor.
I let it all out. I sobbed. I cried the kind of cry where your body shakes and convulses and you feel like you will never run out of tears. As the tears poured out I cried so hard that I yelped. I was feeling so much pain and hurt at once.
I stumbled into the bathroom, undressing as I walked, tears pouring out of me. I laid down on the bathroom floor. I felt the cold bathroom tiles against my skin. I felt as if I could feel my heart finally breaking. After all these years of friendship, one-sided love, anger, pain, bogus reconciliation…he was still the coward I always knew him to be…but never wanted to believe him to be. I had fought for him for so long…even though in 10 years, he had never fought for me.
After 20 minutes on the floor I grabbed hold of the sink and pulled myself up. I looked in the mirror. My gorgeous face of makeup, ruined. Mascara was running all down my face. I looked at myself and felt such frustration. Why did I do this? Why did I get dressed up for him? Why did I convince myself that this was all for me when in reality all I had done was for him? I felt so incredibly stupid. But that’s what “love” and low self confidence can do to a person. They can make you do really stupid things.
I sat back on the floor with my back up against the glass shower door. I contemplated getting in the shower and just sitting — letting the water run down on me while I let all the tears left in me come out.
Instead I called my sister. As soon as she answered the flood gates opened once more. I could barely speak I was crying so hard. I told her I felt like all the pain I had experienced with him over the last few years was all hitting me at once. I felt like the true coward. I felt like such an idiot.
Everyone needs a wise older sister like mine. She had the perfect words to help me mend my broken heart and spirit. Through our hour long conversation it became clear to me what was happening. I was in full grieving mode. Like a friend that had died, my relationship with him was over and I was trying to cope with that realization. For years I had let him toy with my heart, my brain, my confidence, all of it I let him change and manipulate. Not anymore.
As I wiped the tears from my face and crawled into bed, I breathed a long deep sigh. A sigh of massive relief and sadness. My body ached from the hours spent crying…and the hours earlier spent with tense muscles in anxious anticipation of our expected meeting. I had felt so many feelings in a short span I was exhausted. I turned the light off and cried some more until I fell asleep.
* a month later *
So it has been a little over a month since this happened and do you want to know how I am doing now? I’m doing great. I am so happy he didn’t show up that night.
What I have realized after conversations with close friends, time of prayer and reflection is that I may never have closure for this “situation”. I may never receive the “I’m sorry” I believe I deserve. I have grieved what once was and I am done. I consider this to be a chapter in my story, but a chapter that has now come to an end. Too many tears have been shed, too much thought given, and too much of my heart broken. My heart is almost fully mended now and I am so thankful for that.
I didn’t know it at the time but I needed him to not show up. If he had shown I would’ve had more false hope, more false promises made to me, and my heart couldn’t take anymore of that. By not showing up he showed me his true colors. He showed me what I was afraid to admit I knew all along…he didn’t really care. I was caring enough for the both of us and that needed to stop — and it has.
This post is by far one of my most vulnerable posts I’ve shared. I was terrified to write it but yet I felt such a strong tug in my heart to share it. It’s not an easy thing to walk through heartbreak publicly. It’s an even harder thing to admit that after years of rejection, I finally got the message.
My goal in sharing this is that if you have ever been in a relationship similar to what I’ve described that you will know you will make it to the other side. I feel fully delivered from this toxic situation and I praise God everyday for it. My worth is not and will never be dependent on the thoughts and approval of another human being. My worth comes from God and that’s it. My confidence comes from the fact that I am a child and creation of the most high, most powerful God. Jesus Christ created me and there is no one like me. I am fully His child and so are you.
Waiting ten years for someone to finally love you and approve of you, hoping that their love and approval will in turn help you love and approve yourself is a path that only leads to heartbreak. I love myself because God made me and I’m forever loved and approved by Him.
In the last few years I fought for this guy and the scraps that remained of our relationship, only to realize that he never fought for me. He didn’t care enough to fight. But Christ did. Christ cared enough for me (and YOU) to die on the cross. To bear every sin human kind has or will ever commit because that is how much He loves us. It’s an overwhelming, almost impossible to grasp kind of love. It’s a love that I am settling into and it is so incredibly freeing. (and yes Christ also loves the coward that broke my heart.)
1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”
John 3: 16-17 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Zephaniah 3:17 – “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Ephesians 2: 4-5 – “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Thank you for reading and following along on this wild amazing life. Spread kindness and love everywhere you go.