The first week was a whirlwind romance.
On our first date, we stayed up until one in the morning, driving around Los Angeles, talking about the secrets of our childhoods and everything we happened to have in common. It turns out I'd dated a friend we had in common.
"Don't do that anymore," he told me. "I really like you."
On our second date, he showed up at my house with flowers. He took me to the beach to watch the sunset. We drank coffee, and he told me we had a karmic connection.
On our third date, he took me to a museum. He held my hand as we walked throughout. On the roof was a tea room. He poured me a glass and took me to an outdoor area that was filled with doves. It was there that he asked me to be his girlfriend.
For the next few days, he filled my house with secret love notes and gifts.
I told my friends: wow, had I finally done enough work on myself that I'd found the one?
My gut told me it might be too good to be true, but my heart told me for once in my life to be vulnerable. Maybe I deserved this.
A few days later, he broke up with me. He told me we had moved too fast, and he just wanted to date exclusively. This was after I had asked him a few "girlfriend-esque" questions, and it had freaked him out. I had taken the romance out of our romantic situation, grounded us firmly in reality: this is what a relationship actually is and he clearly didn't like it.
We were going to take a step back.
A few week after that, after several days of not talking, he broke up with me for good.
What happened to our karmic connection? The flowers? The doves? I looked back at our texts to one another: had I imagined it?
No. It was all there in writing: him telling me he wanted me to meet his parents, wanted to move in together within the year, wanted to marry me one day.
In my desperate desire to be loved, to not be alone, I had missed all the warning signs: this had nothing to do with me, this man was acting out a movie, and had decided I was going to star in it for a while.
When things started to get real, when I wanted to actually connect emotionally with him, or talk about an issue, this was a man who backed off. He got defensive. He couldn't actually communicate, he blamed and broke up. I ignored these red flags because maybe I, too, was addicted to the fantasy.
I was hurt. When we broke up, he didn't care. It was cut and dry, we never spoke again. Maybe this person never had feelings for me at all, and that's something that I had to cope with. He had feelings for having feelings, and I could've been anyone.
And that's okay. As in all relationships, I had to look at myself. Everything is either for a lesson or a lifetime, and most things don't work out. While his behavior wasn't okay, I had to think to myself--- why did I glaze over it? Why was I so blinded by the gesture that I didn't notice the reality: I wasn't being emotionally fulfilled?
A love note isn't the same as being in love. Holding hands isn't the same as being able to unload after a long day. A flower isn't the same as a connection.
So while I'm ready to start moving on, it's time that I start falling in love with myself, so that I can stop falling in love with the gestures, and start falling in love with people.
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