I am unsure if I can adequately put this piece of my story into words. Everyone who has been through a relationship like this one understands how you can really only talk meaningfully about a piece of it at a time– and yet even then, trying to adequately convey what happened sometimes is like trying to hold water in your hand.
If I can’t put it adequately into words, I know that you who read this and have been through one of these relationships are the only ones who will come close to understanding what I intend to say.
This is the story of “the end” of everything related to “us.” It’s mostly an internal one that takes place in my mind, set into motion by external events that would likely seem inconsequential to most people.
It starts with this: I had “not my boyfriend” syndrome.* And then one day it started to fall away as if my very reality was cracking open and another one was buried underneath.
After almost three years and eleven months, I finally saw through the mirror he was holding up and there was something behind it on the other side.
I believe that “not my boyfriend” syndrome lingers for a time even after the death of the relationship.
It winks out in a slow fade, like sunset tugging at your heart on a day you never wanted to end; but also like a bullet wound that should have killed you that scabs over instead.
There comes a point, however, before that time, as you’re shutting the door when you get the flash. Your catalyst. And then comes the twist of pain.
This was never real.
With my boyfriend it was, you see. My boyfriend wouldn’t do that. Not my boyfriend.
But it’s too late. The floodgates are open now. You’re on your way to knowing the truth.
Throughout our relationship, he had told at least three other women that he loved them.
And to me, he had also said:
You are the love of my life.
I will never love anyone the way I love you.
We have a connection people wait all their lives to have/no one can break/we will never have again with anyone else.
You are the only thing that makes me happy.
I know no one will ever love me the way that you do.
You are the only person I can talk to. You are the only one who accepts me for who I am.
Blah blah blah. We have all heard it.
He had excuses for saying what he said had to the others. Always reasons why he was going around claiming he loved other people. It’s quite strange, but he made it seem like it was something people did every day– just text people or walk up to them and claim to love them but then tell someone else it hadn’t been real.
But there had been something in the way he’d been with me, something in his actions that made me believe that his love for me was genuine.
I hadn’t wanted to believe that his love for me had been just as unreal as theirs. I had “not my boyfriend” syndrome.
What is real?
Fast forward to the end…
He’s declaring his love for me, despite being with someone else, insisting he won’t stop loving me even after he’s dead. Blah blah blah.
He blows me off soon after, again showing me his words are meaningless.
I want him to go away. I need him to go away. I did something to drive him away. The only thing I could think of left that would do it: I spent time with another man and told him I had done it.
He gets upset. He cries. Despite his own relationship– he is upset about my time spent with someone else. He compares it to all of the cheating he did while he and I had been together. He claims I should be glad he isn’t blowing up and calling me names– he means, I should be glad he’s acting like a decent person. He makes it all about himself, again showing me his words are meaningless.
He posts a bunch of pictures on social media, same day– he and the woman he’s with. He says things to her that are equivalent to what he has just said to me, again showing me his words are meaningless.
Fool’s gold. Glittering nothingness. Empty words. His eyes are black caverns.
Light is starting to appear through the cracks. This is how I break away.
I do a logic problem in my mind:
- He had made it clear that he was the type of person who was capable of telling women he loved them when he didn’t actually love them in order to get things out of them.
- If it was true, that made him callous, cruel, deceitful, uncaring, and manipulative. It meant he was willing to play with people’s emotions to get what he wanted.
- If it wasn’t true– it still made him deceitful and manipulative, because he had lied to me about it to get something from me.
- Either way, he was deceitful and manipulative.
Not my boyfriend. Keep going, I told myself. The answer is in front of you.
He’s not honest or faithful. He tells people what they want to hear. He is loyal to no one but himself and does not love any of you. It isn’t real.
Yes, my boyfriend.
Something inside me wished for it not to be true, not because I wanted to be with him, but because I wanted it not to be meaningless. I wanted it to be more than just a shadow.
I told him about my logic problem.
His response? Why are you talking to me? Go talk to the guy you were with.
Again showing me his words are meaningless.
So I had my answer.
That was the last time we ever spoke. That is the last time we will ever speak.
I am free.
*”Not my boyfriend” syndrome is a name I apply to the denial we feel when we are confronted with the initial truth of our relationships as we start to read about the false persona the narcissist first presented to us. Inside, we may say to ourselves that it wasn’t that way and try to hold onto a shred of hope that it was genuine because the alternative is painful to face. Although I call it “not my boyfriend” syndrome, it could just as easily be called “not my girlfriend” syndrome” or “not my wife/husband” syndrome.
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