Photography: Madison Potter (@madisonpotterr)
Author: Bailey Ernst
This story is not about a boy. I got dumped on Valentine’s Day but I refuse to let this story be about a boy. This is about me.
365 days ago, I changed forever. You know, I never wanted to be one of those girls that was defined by a man, but I was. I claimed to be independent but I let my happiness depend on waiting around to be rescued by a boy.
This really all started when I was in high school when I had my first relationship. For the next five years, I moved on quickly from boy to boy, relationship to relationship, with the period of time I spent in each one getting shorter each time.
By the time I turned 21 years-old, I had my fair share of shallow adolescent relationships but they were short lived and self-serving. I treated these relationships like they were temporary and so they became temporary.
Then one day, I fell in love with a boy I met in a bar. I had claimed to be in love before, and I’m sure I had been, but I had never been in love like this. The love that I had felt was unselfish and it was pure. I had no subconscious self-agenda and I just craved the same from him but that is not always the case. Just because you love doesn’t always mean you are loved in return.
So on February 14th, I woke up alone with no new messages on my phone. We had gotten in a fight and he was doing something that he done multiple times before. He was withdrawing from me but in the times before he had always come back. I went about my day with a jittery stomach just waiting to hear from him. Every person in that world knows how awful that feeling is. Not knowing what is going to happen and not being able to do a thing about it.
After six hours of not speaking, I got broken up with over Instagram. Can you believe that? Instagram. After six hours, I checked my boyfriend’s social media and I had been deleted from it. He had deleted every trace of me without even speaking to me.
I’m sure you can guess what happens next. His phone? Didn’t answer it. His front door? He didn’t answer it. Months later, I even found out that he had parked his car on a different street so it wouldn’t seem like he was home (disclaimer: He was 27 years old at the time). I was defeated.
I wish I could say that night was the worst of it, but I’d be lying. Almost every day for a half of a year, I racked my brain daily about what I could done to make someone I’d loved so deeply push me away so hard. Days, weeks and months went by but I stayed exactly in the same place. This person had left me with no answers and no reason and it destroyed me for months to the point where it didn’t even allow me to move on.
I isolated myself and I compared all men I met to him, to that feeling he gave me, and no one compared. I tried to put myself back together but I was missing a major piece.
After months going by, five to be exact, one Friday night I had gotten the answer I had been waiting on for months. He was in the same bar, the bar that we had met in and the bar I knew he’d been avoiding for months.
He was faced to answer the question, “Why did you do this?” He answered back, “I don’t know.”
I.Don’t. Know. Three words that were supposed to fix everything that I had been feeling for the last five months. But it made sense. It was never about me. The breakup and the way that it happened. It was about him. There was nothing that I did that made him act that way. It was simply about him not knowing himself.
I started off by saying that story was not about a boy. This story it about heartbreak and how you grow when you are forced too.
After those three words “I don’t know” were muttered from his mouth, it finally gave me the mental and emotional freedom that I needed. Now instead of comparing men to him, I compare feelings. I no longer care to be relationships that are self serving and I no longer am looking to be rescued.