Knowing that you’re loved is a wonderful feeling, which is why people are always chasing after it or hanging on for dear life. I’m lucky to have had several wonderful relationships with people who worshipped the ground that I walked on, who loved me with everything they had even when I didn’t deserve it, and I always said “I love you” to all of them when it wasn’t true.
It’s not that I didn’t care about them.
I would never even think of dating someone I didn’t like a lot. I even think that if things had gone on for longer, I might truly have loved them. I had no selfish motives for lying to them, I just thought it was what they wanted to hear, and simply saying “thanks” after your boyfriend professes his undying love for you is rather hurtful.
I was the one with the problem.
I’m the one with the commitment issues, not them. I have a hard time letting myself fall completely into a relationship because I’m terrified that the more I let myself feel, the louder the echo is going to be when they leave. I know it’s unfair to cheat people out of the love they deserve because of my own fears, but it’s the only way I know to protect myself.
I hate being dishonest.
I pride myself on being a brutally honest person. I always choose to tell the truth no matter how hard it is except in this case. It makes me feel really bad to know that I’ve pretended to love everyone I have said “I love you” to. It’s such a big thing to lie about and if I could go back, I’d do things differently. I’d let myself love them and mean it or be brave enough to tell them that I don’t feel the same way they do about me.
For a moment, it felt like I was part of something real.
Even though it was a lie, I felt something warm and sweet whenever I said it. It was like catching a glimpse of the way things could be. Sometimes I wanted to close my eyes and say it over and over again so that when I opened my eyes, I’d really be in love. It showed me I was capable of loving someone, so why the hell didn’t I just do it?
They made me really happy.
While the relationships lasted, I made a lot of good memories that are now tainted by this one lie. It makes me rethink everything. Would they still have loved me knowing I didn’t love them back? Would things have worked out a lot better if I had just been more open about my fears? It hurts that I’d never know for sure now.
Real love costs a lot.
It takes work. It takes time and constant effort. I took a shortcut because I didn’t want the responsibility of having to deal with all that comes with loving someone for real. It was cowardly of me to opt out, to give only parts of myself when I could have given all and gotten so much more in return. I certainly would have found more happiness, if nothing else.
It made me become emotionally absent.
The minute I decide to say “I love you” when I didn’t mean it, I became aware of the fact that I was pretending and I withdrew emotionally. I closed off the parts of myself that I was supposed to share with them. I would make myself intentionally available whenever they need me because I felt guilty about piling more displays of love on what was already one giant hoax.
I should have trusted them to be able to handle the truth.
They were adults, so of course they could handle someone not being into them with the same intensity that they displayed. It was wrong of me to string them along under the guise of trying not to hurt their feelings. They deserved a lot better than a lie and I should have respected that by being honest about my emotions.
There’s no shame in not being ready to say “I love you.”
We all arrive at love at different times and in different ways. It’s okay that I didn’t love them at the time. It happens. I’m not obligated to feel a certain way about anyone. The shame is in lying about loving them because I wasn’t ready to talk about the reasons why I didn’t or couldn’t actually love them.
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