“I have to tell you something,” he messaged me in the middle of party lights and music after not hearing from him for a week. I stepped away from the noise, trying to focus on my phone, my heart in my throat because of how serious he sounded. He took a long time typing, the three dots bouncing and bouncing for what felt like an eternity. Finally, he said: “I met someone.” And I held my breath, my mascara-tears starting to run. Before I could ask him about it, he began to type again: “Wait, where are you?” I gulped down the sting in my throat, shaking fingers typing: “At my birthday party.”
Relationships are hard. Dating is hard. Anything to do with interacting with another human being is hard. So I don’t know why I try at all. Feelings get hurt, friendships are ruined, and lives are crushed. It’s so much stress.
I’ve found a trend: In nearly all of my relationships, I’m the one that gets left. And in all of my recent relationships, I get left in brutal, cruel ways. Even if we’re not full-blown boyfriend-girlfriend or seriously dating, something happens and they leave. I’ve been ghosted, they’ve disappeared to tell me they found someone else, cheated on, all that. And I’m always sitting in the leftovers of our relationship, trying to grasp at flimsy reasons or half-hearted texts (yeah, they didn’t even bother to call, right?).
In other words, I have felt my heart crushed to dust and it’s always the other person holding the hammer.
It made me think: There must be some sort of common denominator here. What are the chances that all the people I’ve dated are just utter garbage? Isn’t there a bigger chance that the problem is me?
It made more sense. How could this string of people I’d been involved with all be terrible? After all, many of them were kind to begin with, patient, thoughtful. Maybe I inspired some sort of hate in them, maybe I drew out some sort of poison. Maybe it’s just fun to leave me.
It got me thinking: Masarap ba akong iwanan? Is it fun to build me up then leave me hanging? Is it some kind of game that everyone’s in on except me? I’m already an anxious person (taking medication but sometimes the anxiety can still overpower that medication) to begin with so this has me on the fence about interacting with others or seeing others again. But that clashes directly with my love for making people happy and doing my best for others and giving as much of myself as I can–so what is it?
In this jumbled mess of things, I couldn’t view those people as terrible people, no matter what their actions. For some reason I dug very very deep to see the good in them and, in exchange, I saw the bad in me. Too available, too emotional, too much. And because stakes were always so high for me, maybe it was fun for them to watch me fall from that height over and over.
I continued to think that maybe it’s just fun to leave me. Was this true? I asked so many people if it was and they all told me it wasn’t true, that I’m a decent person. But it gets harder and harder to believe watching more and more people walk away, all brutal in their leaving. I don’t know for sure, I guess I never will.