I remember being in University and keeping my then boyfriend a Secret Love. I now know that I was doing it because I wasn’t interested in him in the way that one should be interested in a piece. I wasn’t interested in him in the same way that he was interested in me.
He was beautiful, writing me poetry and being available for me whenever I wanted — at the drop of a hat, he would shun everything and come running the moment I said I can see you for an hour tonight, switching his entire schedule around in order to see me.
So. He made me feel good. He filled my ego. He was gorgeous and willing and giving me everything that he had. There were women around him looking for his attention, but he wasn’t willing to engage them because I had my finger on his pulse. And that’s all it was for me. Ultimately, it was an ego boost (I was 22! I am allowed to be an a/shole at 22 so chill***) and I wasn’t willing to go beyond that or be bothered by it because I knew that I wasn’t actually in love with him then and I also knew that I wouldn’t be in love with him down the line. Women’s intuition.
Reader, I even kept him a secret from my friends. F/ck, the depths of my depravity then are jarring to me now as I remember. Luckily, we are today friends but only because he dumped my ass and we never talked again until he contacted me years and years later after he was married. He rang to say hello and to apologize for his behaviour at the end — which was that he started dating another woman within a couple of weeks of handing me my ass and honestly? We are lucky that he did, else we would have remained in that painful grey zone. I would have kept playing and he would have kept getting hurt.
I won’t lie — the break-up was extremely painful (who in the sh/t likes getting dumped?) but it was necessary because he was a better and bigger man than I was willing to make him. He deserved to have a girlfriend who wouldn’t shy away from loving him in public and making it known to everyone just how amazing he was.
I still remember the moment that it broke apart for him. We were in public when he bent down to kiss me on the forehead and I actually jerked back because it was in public. I saw the look on his face and I knew that it was over. Later that night, it was. My secret? I was happy that he had done this. Finally! For a few weeks prior, I had slowly become disinterested in keeping him around much longer and he picked up on the vibes. When I should have been falling deeper in love with him with every day, I was growing more distant…and he knew. Because men too, they have a strong sense of intuition when they pay enough attention to their gut.
He called me that night and didn’t even give me a chance to get out of it. He literally said “I’m better than this, and I have been all along so we’re done,” and that was that because he knew that if he had to ask me to un-secret-ify him, he knew he wasn’t enough for me. He instinctively understood that the mere posing of this question was in fact the answer itself. It was crazy. I became manic for days, desperate for interaction with him but he shut me down and out because he knew it was about my ego and not about love. I couldn’t contact him — he wouldn’t let me interact with him. He was so young and so strong and I am so grateful for it.
A few years later, I fought for someone else. From the instant that I met him, I fought tooth and nail publicly and I remembered thinking about this man for whom I did not do this. I remembered thinking how lucky he and I both were for his strength, which allowed him to leave me so that he might be loved as deeply as he deserved and so that I might love in the deepest way I knew how.
Today things are different.
Today, I would never date a man if I had to keep him hidden. As an adult, I finally accept that relationships can not grow and flourish but only if there is light and fresh air.
Today, I would never engage a relationship as above because it would mean that I did not respect my piece enough to love him the way he deserved and that would reflect poorly on me more than him. And me, I have far too much self-respect to demean that of another.
Today, I would never love in the shadows because they are all-too-often found only in small corners, where there is never enough room to love in the way I believe and hope to love — big, amazing and powerful love that overwhelms all of my senses from the inside out and back in again.
Today, I would wear a man like a dress, and I would wear the shit out of that dress so that the entire world would see how well we fit.
***Also, I loathe the part of me that then thought this was acceptable behaviour because there was nothing kind or gentle about the pain I inflicted on such an incredible man. I still hold fast to the reality that everything happens for a reason, and everything heals and every corner brings with it better people until we each find the perfect one who will hold your heart to the light, and who will in return hand us theirs. When there is peace and calm between us, the corners around which we look to find something better? They melt away as naturally as our chests open to some. I also believe that this searching is the ultimate journey. I hope that I am forever this romantic and foolish in my undying commitment to love.