I love you – don’t I? When uncertainty follows a confession of love
I have loved you. And something in me rears up as I write this sentence. Because that “something inside me” might still love you. Or what we were. Or both. I still remember my plans to tell and show you exactly that. I still remember writing on a note at home, “I think I’ve fallen in love with you.”
I remember writing on a note at home, ‘I think I’ve fallen in love with you.’
I put the note in my backpack and set off on my journey to you, to a foreign country, and I wasn’t afraid because you were there. And I knew I was safe with you.
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Do you find the courage to confess your love?
I left the note in my backpack for now. Instead of giving it to you, I practised the words. I whispered it softly, over and over again, in the evenings when you were sleeping—excited that you might hear them after all. And at the same time, I wanted you to know how important you had become to me.
I attached the note to your photo collection, where you soon discovered it. The first words were spoken. And I could have left it at that. Weeks passed, and I stayed with you where I didn’t feel like other girls. We were close, and we liked that. In a time of uncertainty, we held on to each other, gave each additional comfort and almost had a bit of everyday life in our microcosm.
In a time of uncertainty, we held on to each other, gave each additional comfort and almost had a bit of everyday life in our microcosm.
And there he was. That one moment. In hindsight, I see myself as incredibly brave. But it was the moment. The moment we sat there, on the bench on top of a hill, looking out over the lake into the distance—that moment when you said what I was thinking. I was relaxed with cinnamon rolls. I felt comfortable, and everything was fine.
I couldn’t help it; I had to tell you.
And then those three words just fell out of my mouth. I couldn’t help but say, “I love you.” And I rejoiced in my courage myself.
And then you asked me if I was sure, sure if I loved you. You questioned all the calm I had in the last moment, all the happiness I felt, and the magic of the moment.
And then… then you asked me if I was sure. sure I love you
I was downright taken by surprise. Suddenly, I questioned what I was basing this on, started to brood, and probably never stopped. You slapped your insecurities and battered self-esteem that we both knew about at my feet.
Insecurity: what is love?
At the time, insecurity was my middle name. And yes, you needed me to say, “Totally, and how, so for sure!” But I couldn’t do that then. All I knew was that it was of the moment. I looked for logical reasons for my words and my feelings. What is love?
As much as I could then, I loved you. Sincerely. In its entirety. And I still wonder that sometimes today. But now I’m sure. Whether you wanted to admit it or not.
As much as I could then, I loved you. Sincerely. In its entirety. In retrospect, I would like to throw your self-protection in the bin and my self-doubt.
In retrospect, I would like to throw your self-protection in the bin and my self-doubt. Why did we make it so difficult for ourselves? Instead of just giving life a chance out of these very moments? And our love for it.
He just wants sex – I’ve made myself a sex object for fear of not being enough.
We lie in the wet sheets, which until a few minutes ago were still warm from our overheated bodies and are now slowly becoming cold and clammy: due to the January wind that blows through the half-open window and the dust that falls from us.
You get up and put on your shorts and a t-shirt. You give me a quick smile before heading to the fridge, grabbing your phone and checking your messages. It’s incredible; I keep thinking: how can two people be so intimate and feel so strange?
You just told me how beautiful I am, how much you love feeling me, and how you will miss me.
You touched every inch of my body like it was sacred to you. Now you touch the surface of your smartphone, swiping back and forth absently while standing in front of the open fridge.
You touched every inch of my body like it was sacred to you. Now you just feel the surface of your smartphone swiping back and forth absently.
When you lift your head and see me watching you, you ask, “What is it?” “Nothing,” I say, trying a forced smile to cover my disappointment. “It’s getting late,” you say, picking up the rest of your stuff from the living room floor. “You can also just sleep here,” I say. You give me a tired grin and don’t reply.
Conversations without depth, then the sex.
“When will we see each other again? Are you coming to visit me?” I ask. “Absolutely,” you reply, slip on your jacket, pull on your cap and give me a quick kiss on the mouth. As you stand in the stairwell, turn around again, and smile up at me, I slowly close the door. As so often, I wonder if this was the last time we saw and touched.
You could never give me back the love I have for you. So I’ve come to terms with what I thought I deserved. Inconsequential conversations with you, without depth and joint series evenings that always ended in sex. Because that always connected us: sex, we have never been more open, honest and vulnerable to each other. It was the brief high and the thought of what we could have been.
You could never give me back the love I have for you. So I’ve come to terms with what I thought I deserved.
It’s crazy what we tell ourselves not to have to let go of someone. We cling to every good memory, to every behaviour that took away all doubt for a short time. We try to drown our melancholy with a few glasses of wine to take it easy and enjoy what is coming or what he is willing to give.
Yes, exactly: we manoeuvre ourselves into a co-dependent victim role without batting our eyelids. In it, we juggle with feelings that either want to give up everything or write epic lyrics at night with the tenor “Now it’s finally over”. Or the ones on “I don’t care about anything”, where we convince ourselves that we are aware that he is the wrong person, but we have enough distance to end it at any time.
In both cases, we lie to ourselves. We either never send off the long texts or, out of sheer shame, relativize them a day later, and we’ve never been clarified anyway.
We try to drown our melancholy with a few glasses of wine, take it easy and enjoy what he is willing to give.
And you? You are looking through the game. You enjoy the stage I put you and our sex on. I reduce myself to this one factor that has always worked for us. I always wanted to be more for you than just that. But you didn’t let me. That’s why I accepted it and didn’t ask for it anymore.
The longing to see you again
Of course, you didn’t visit me. I moved to another city, maybe in part to break away from you. I failed. The longer we didn’t see each other, the greater the longing became. But I didn’t tell you that I miss you. I just said I miss the sex. I knew you would jump at it. My true feelings would probably have gone unanswered.
We were planning a visit to my place, imagining the “first time” together in a long time, but as the date got closer, you became more and more distant. Even after asking several times, I got no answer. It ended as so often: I drew a line with a pencil, which I could erase quietly and secretly a week later.
It ended as so often: I drew a line with a pencil, which I could erase quietly and secretly a week later.
I let you back into my life, and you seemed relieved, which satisfied my low expectations. It was quick to meet again. Unlike the last time, you were very specific with a suggested date. Everything stood and was planned. Til today.
You haven’t read my messages for a whole evening; the damn ticks didn’t turn blue. That’s where I assumed it. That morning we wrote about the series that we wanted to watch when you were here and about the physical closeness we wanted to share right after greeting each other. An intimacy that you shared with another woman at that moment.
I asked you about it and asked if you had a date. You said yes, and when I asked if you had slept with her, I got no answer.
I asked you why you still plan to visit me. “Yes, I would have told you that today; I don’t want to take a two-pronged approach. Thank you for inviting me to you, but I won’t be coming.” I asked you about it and asked if you had a date. You said yes, and when I asked if you had slept with her, I got no answer.
I was boiling, but I couldn’t cry. In Sex and the City, Carrie once said, “Maybe there’s only a certain number of tears per man, and I’ve already used them all on him.” I was angry, sad and hurt. I made it clear to him that we would never sleep together again. A statement he probably smiled at.
I made it clear to him that we would never sleep together again. A statement he probably smiled at.
And as I sat again on endless lines and accusations that I wrote, I realized one thing: it was me who had reduced myself to sex with you. I had devalued myself and was disappointed in the end that you hadn’t even given me this value. It was the only thin thread that still connected me to you. And you cut that too and pulled the rug out from under my feet.
It was myself who reduced me to sex with you. I had devalued myself and was disappointed in the end that you hadn’t even given me this value.
And then I realized: only I could belittle myself. I allowed myself to be just one sex option for you, but not the only one for a long time. I allowed myself to dismiss all other attributes that make me unique and lovable. All to be noticed by a man who didn’t care about me. A kick in quicksand in search of a firm footing.
The longer we hold on to an ex-relationship, the more difficult it seems to break up and let go finally. One clings too long to a subjunctive that has become sluggish, just for a bit of support.
A kick in quicksand in search of a firm footing.
My fear is holding me back from standing up for myself. The courage to stumble, maybe even to fall.
Knowledge vs Implementation
I lack the certainty of what constitutes life: It’s okay to fall, lose your footing, and get up on your own without a man to help me. It’s okay to say how I feel. I don’t make myself vulnerable; I make myself solid and concrete. Anyone who can’t handle it or gets scared is out of tune with their expectations and feelings. I’m tired of pretending, reducing myself to things that don’t define me, just to be lovable to the wrong people.
Awareness and implementation are two different things. I’m currently working on the second.