When Love Isn’t Enough

Unhealthy love kept me warm like a fire, but ultimately left me with burns and scars that I had to sort through because the heat was never enough. I had been blinded by the love. We mistook anger for passion, aggression for desire, and hurtful words for constructive criticism.

I was unable to see the truth: I was dating someone who brought out the worst parts of me. It was so good when it wasn’t so bad. We created an emotional roller coaster that we searched for any excuse to stay on and any chance to jump off. We fought more than we held space; we both had demons and projected them upon each other.

We were madly in love.

As soon as Xander graduated, I began to see the flaws. The area with gaping holes was bigger than the surface itself.

We tried to make it work while I was in Mexico. We talked about it on the phone at a rate of a dollar a minute on the third night after he left. He asked me what I wanted to do. I answered with silence. I had no idea. I couldn’t see the situation clearly because I was so disillusioned by what I wanted us to have, what we started out with.  

We realized it was unhealthy long before we could comprehend what to do about it or how to admit it to one another. We tried to change for each other, but love shouldn’t require any alterations in your values, morals, or self-identification. Love was so blinding that we didn’t realize that our own attachment to one another inflicted a slow suffocation. We were both drowning.  

Xander suggested we take a break, just to see where each of us was without the other, to see if we felt more together when we were alone. I hung up the phone and cried hysterically. I didn’t know how to be alone. I had grown so comfortable with the comfort. I was safe and stable and protected from admitting my faults, growing from them or acknowledging my biggest fear: myself.  

He kept me safe from it all. He told me he loved me so I never had to tell myself. Xander was a wall between my ego and my mind. Without him, I could only go inward, and that scared the shit out of me. I was scared, but deep down, when I honestly checked in with myself, I knew that I needed to keep moving.  

I had never been in a long-term relationship before. Xander was the first person I said “I love you” to in a romantic way. I felt as though he had given up. I repeatedly thought: “If only I had tried harder, we could make it work. We could have a perfect life if only….” I felt alone and afraid to look at myself, to see where I was and what I wanted; to see if he was part of it.  

I knew the answer, and that scared me the most. I had to let go. I had to release all of the potential that I was holding on to, because it didn’t actually exist. I knew that the lessons learned from the relationship would still apply once I left the physical commitment.

As much as he had taught me to grow and love and receive, I was the one that granted myself access to these greater emotions. I pushed myself to cultivate with another person and experience vulnerability in the truest sense of the word. I realized that I would not lose my progress just because I let go of the person that held my hand through it all.  

We had worked through each other’s faults and there was a time where we truly accentuated each other’s strengths, but we grew in separate directions and tried to place blame on each other’s decisions and mistakes.

Neither of us was at fault. We had simply drifted. The people we thought we were had changed with the seasons. We were in summer now. It had been a year and we needed to keep moving, keep growing, bloom with someone else.  

And so when I called him on the fifth night, still paying a dollar a minute, I told him I needed to release. I cried into the phone and this time the silence was on his end. He understood. I asked for space, room to move forward and move on. He wanted to stay in contact throughout the break up, but I honored my desire for space.

And I honored myself.  

I asked the universe for guidance during this time of grief. I believe each person you lose gives you back pieces of yourself. It’s a simple trade off.

As I let go of my first boyfriend, my first love, I gained a source of strength I never knew possible. I developed a trust in the universe to guide me, and I closed my eyes, falling backwards into the arms of the mountains. I lay in the lap of the ocean, building strength from her femininity.

I realized my power through my recovery. I healed myself to heal the world.

Cheyane Reisner

About the Author | Cheyane Reisner

Cheyane Reisner is a radical feminist rockstar. She is currently in Siem Reap, Cambodia working with an NGO that aids women through workshops on domestic violence and trafficking. She prays for gender equality and loves animals.

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