I was a young woman in my early 20s when I met him. When he first expressed his interest in meeting me, I didn’t know what to expect. At that time, I was in transit to his area. I was in the military, and moved around often. I didn’t take many of my previous relationships seriously prior to this. I just wanted to feel my own taste of freedom. My previous relationships were also hard lessons for me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Some were even abusive physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. At many times I made a choice to give up on looking, dating, and starting the search for love all over again. I have always been perfectly fine in my alone just as involved with a man. At that time my career was my priority, and my life was filled with loving family and friends.
Yet, I took a chance. After getting settled in my new location and home, I met him. When I first met him, I didn’t feel an instant connection to him at first. Or at least I didn’t understand it. I didnt know what to expect, yet I was anxious. I did feel my desire for him. His presence made me feel comfortable, which is important to me. Still, at that time I didn’t really understand the difference between love and sex. If I am honest, sex was my love language at that time. At that time I didn’t know how to communicate my love through words, or action. Instead I communicated my love through sex. That was the action I was the most experienced at. I remember having a conversation with him on his couch. I can’t remember what we spoke about, but I know it was a good conversation. I was interested in him, but didn’t know in which way. When words couldn’t explain my interests, wants, or desires enough; eventually we had sex. That was my way to let him know that I wanted him, when I couldn’t find the words to say. He spoke my language too.
In the first few months we were involved, I was also involved with other men. I was single, and I wanted to keep my options open. However, he was always the one I ended up with on my loneliest and happiest nights. The other men I was involved with didn’t satisfy me. I didnt feel a connection to them, yet I didn’t yet understand my connection to him either. Our connection was very easy going, but we didn’t clearly communicate our expectations of each other. When we would met it didn’t even matter. We just flowed together. It wasn’t too complicated at that time. Yet when you don’t have security in any relationship, there is no foundation. As I learned in my latest years, a foundation matters if you wish to seek a healthy long-term relationship. Without a foundation, relationships become complicated. We didn’t have one. I now understand what contributed to the issues we had in the following years of loving him.
About a few months into us being involved, I stopped speaking to him for about two weeks. I was unsure about where our situation was headed. I had stopped my involvement with the other men as well, because of lost of interest. I was also concerned about his connection to another woman he was involved with in the past that he shares a child with. I texted him one evening to ask him how he was doing. He called me upset that I haven’t spoken to him. He told me he thought that we could of “been something”, but I stopped communicating with him. I explained to him my uncertainty with him, the other men I was dating, as well as my concerns with him and the woman. We began to argue. Many things between us wasn’t clear or understood. He was also upset that he didn’t know I was dating other men. Immediately I felt remorse. I felt like I lost out on a chance for something more with him. Was there anyway I could redeem myself?
After arguing for a while with him, he hung up the phone. I remember crying about the whole situation. I felt guilty about not being more open and honest with him about my expectations or dating other men. I called him that night and left him a message explaining myself as I cried. I cried myself to sleep. The next day I went to work as usual, and figured that I lost out with him. However that night he called me and told me he heard my voicemail. He wanted to know if I was okay, because I was crying. I told him I was feeling better, not knowing what to expect. He then asked me if I wanted to come over. I accepted and went to him. This was the beginning.
Despite the problem we encountered in the beginning, we continued on being involved. We never truly communicated what were doing, what we wanted, and where the relationship was going. All I knew at that time was I had a friend. To me he was someone I talked to. Someone who made me feel safe and comfortable. Someone I shared many pleasures with. Someone that wasn’t connected to the hectic life of work, family, and friends. I even kept his identity a secret for a while. He was my escape. Yet, there were still complications. We didn’t establish a relationship. We did at least establish we were friends. Sometimes that’s all we need. A friend.
As we continued to be involved, my feelings for him evolved. I cared about him. I eventually fell in love him. I just wanted to share my love with him. I even began speaking to my friends about our intimate moments together. I wanted to share with my friends my love for him. But did he love me too? As my emotions became more complicated, so did our situation. I remember telling him I loved him. He denied my love for him, and he denied loving me. We were friends he said. I believed him. When I convinced myself we weren’t going to be in a relationship, I started dating other men again. This time I remained open and honest with him. We still continued to see each other and spent much time together. I thought it was going to be easier, but instead it became more complicated.
Even though we both maintained the narrative of a friendship, the more time we spent together, it became more complicated. We argued more. We disagreed more. We didn’t always see eye to eye. But we always ended up back in each other’s presence. What the hell was going on? I remember feeling so ashamed at times at what we were doing. How we were behaving. The more I thought we were going in separate directions, the more we came back together. The stronger our connection became. The harder it became to break. The more I fell deeper in my love for him, the more issues arose between us. It got to a point of arguing on a weekly basis, just to come back together again. I was confused. Is this love or was I just being ridiculous? We continued this for almost two years. We took turns telling each other “we were done”, only to come back the next day, the next week, or the next month.
I tried to date other men to replace him. I tried to see if moving on from him would be easier if I found love with another man. I tried be alone more to avoid the pain of loving a man when it was hurting me. I’ve shed so many tears. I vented to my friends so much, they got tired of hearing his name. Every moment I thought I was at a breaking point, I realized I was just bending. We snapped back everytime. Sometimes as if we weren’t being foolish. And I was foolish with him for two years. When he eventually left for another location, I saw a break through. Not just for me, but also for him. We had a moment where we could both finally be free from the mess we created. However, when he left I wasn’t free. Instead I was heartbroken. As if there was a void or a hole in my chest. As if he took my heart with him. That’s when I realized I was deep in love with him.
How did I know what love was? I knew when my heart was broken. I knew when I felt the pain. I was more depressed. I was more angry. I remember shedding more tears just thinking about him. I also knew it was Love, when the one question in me still remained, “Is He, okay?”. Despite all the pain. I knew when my relationships with my loved ones became harder to maintain. It hurt them to see how much pain I was in. How could I ease the pain? The ways I tried to heal wasn’t always healthy. I stopped caring about my career. I stopped dating other men. I was afraid to be heart broken again. I stopped caring about myself, and caring for my well being. I drank more. I fought with others more. I isolated more. Just floated through the days. I was present, but not really enjoying every moment. I carried so much shame, so much guilt, and so many fears. I forgot who I was before him. How could I lose myself in someone who didn’t love me? Who could I be if I wasn’t loving him? Or if I was loving someone else?
As years passed by, I had many ups and downs. My heart was broken, and I was grieving. I grieved the loss of my love. It was in my grief, where I also found love. I found Love within myself. I had many struggles, but dealing with my heartbreak became more easier. I still have many struggles. A broken hearted woman, isn’t truly living. She needs her heart to feel alive. Despite the pain, I still had the courage to live. So I found more ways to pour love into myself. It came in finding more reasons to smile. It came in finding more things that made me laugh. It came in finding my passion to write again. It came in enjoying more happier experiences. It came in spending more time with my family and friends. It came in sharing my love with others who didn’t take me for granted. There is still hope for me. By Just Being Love.
Last year, I spoke to him again after years of healing. I almost fell again. This time, however, I wasn’t the young woman when we first met. I am a wiser woman that have learned, grew, and evolved. This time I found the greatest love inside of me. I found her over the years of healing my heartbreak. She never betrayed me. She never abandoned me. She didn’t take me for granted. She Loved me despite it all. She chooses Herself above all. I trusted Her more. When I almost fell again, I stood taller this time. I choose ME this time. I choose Her. The brokenhearted woman that was wiser. Stronger. I used to Love him in the deepest, most foolish, yet most passionate way. I know that I will meet another man I can share this Love with. Not my pain, but my Joy in loving. I love myself so much, I trust intimately Loving another man. Yet this time I won’t fall in love, but Rise in it. Even if it were him.
Because this time I Love myself first.
Art Credit: Artist Unknown
© Tanisha R. Coleman and Visions Of A Black Herstorian, LLC 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tanisha R. Coleman and Visions Of A Black Herstorian, LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.