The other day I had yet another wobble about men and relationships/friendships, these happen much more frequently then I would like and it left me wondering about things. I was thinking back to a time when relationships, friendships and romance were much less complicated. Back before I was so damaged, before I’d had my heart broken, before I’d been cheated on, lied to, and treated like I was worthless. Now, much as I like to pretend I am over that stuff, that I am stronger it’s not really true. I still have a mountain of issues when it comes to men.
The first guy I loved I dated from when I was 16 through until I was 20. When I was 17 he joined the army and over the next few years ended up doing two tours of Iraq (back in the first gulf war). The whole time he was away I worried; I couldn’t eat, didn’t sleep, lost weight that back then I couldn’t afford to lose. I was convinced that one day he woudn’t come back, so much so that when he proposed I said no, I was certain that it was a ticket to becoming a widow. Our relationship didn’t survive my no but our friendship did, we stayed in touch. And when his little brother called me one day I just knew without him saying it that C was dead. I cried for days. Even though we weren’t a couple anymore I still loved him and losing him that way broke my heart. The irony is he didn’t die in combat, he had a motorbike accident while on a lads’ holiday in Italy. At his funeral I held his brother’s hand and we cried together. His parents hugged me and his mum whispered “He never gave up on you.” as she slipped a ring into my hand. His brother, told me he’d carried it in his wallet since the day I’d said no.
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I’d said yes. He probably wouldn’t have died how and where he did but I am a firm believer that when it’s your time that’s it, so I still think he would have died. I think my history wih men and relationships would have been very different. To some degree I blamed myself, not for him dying but for the heartache I caused him. He always told me he understood why I’d said no but I still hurt him, and maybe all the heartache I’ve had is the universe balancing the books.
He was the one relationship I’ve had that wasn’t complicated. We were friends before we fell in love, and falling for him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve had a series of hard relationships, ones that didn’t involve any form of friendship, and in two cases did involve some emotional abuse. In those relationships I never felt the same love that I’d felt with C but I told myself that was because he was my first love and noone could ever be that again, and when it went bad I’d tell myself it was what I deserved for what I did to C. Then a little less than a year after my dad died I met this guy, and I fell for him hard. It did feel like that first time, and I was so happy. Then I found out he’d been lying to me, and not only did he not love me like I loved him but he wasn’t even single. That broke me even more completely, not to mention leaving me with some fairly severe trust issues.
I try so hard not to project my insecurities onto new ‘friends’ but sometimes it comes into focus and I start to wobble. I start thinking that maybe he doesn’t really like me (after all he is totally out of my league), maybe he’s lying, what if he’s married, etc. This can make me seem needy and clingy, and I know it makes me sound crazy but I can’t stop it. I want so much to love and be loved but the people I love leave. Whether by choice or not, when I love people they go away and I can’t just enjoy something because I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Granted the fact that I have depression and anxiety exacerbates this but it’s not just a product of that. It’s experience telling me if I love someone it is all going to go to shit. It’s easy for me to fall, sometimes too easy but I always screw it up somehow.
I wish it could be like it was the first time. Where I could trust blindly, where past heartbreak doeesn’t colour the experience, where you could stay friends even after all the hurt. When it was uncomplicated, deep, and devoted.