Ending a Relationship That Seemed Perfect But Felt Wrong

Am I broken?

It’s the question I asked after my first date with her, rushing back to my car to break down and cry. It’s the question I asked when I looked in her eyes, trying to feel what I knew she felt. I asked it when she’d leave, and instead of missing her instantly, I’d breathe a sigh of relief. I asked it the night I rushed to the club to meet her, determined to push through the feeling in my gut begging me to end it. I asked it when the feeling wouldn’t go away. I asked it when we broke up, then got back together, then broke up again.

Am I broken?

She was everything I’d ever wanted. Smart, beautiful, kind, warm-hearted, and best of all, she wanted me. She fell for me. And yet, as clearly as I could see all of these wonderful things, I couldn’t shake the twist in my belly. The knot the size of a basketball that formed every time we went out, every time we talked to each other. Every time she’d tell me how happy she was. Every time she’d ask if I was happy too.

Am I broken?

I couldn’t understand it. For years, I’d fallen for girls who hadn’t fallen for me. It rarely fazed me; they were well within their right to say no, and they were doing us both a favor by not pretending. But all I had ever wanted was for someone to fall for me, for once. Someone to want as much as I did to get swept up in the joyous swell of a blossoming love. I’d finally found someone like that…and for the first time, I was on the other side of it. It felt like she wanted something I couldn’t give her. Every kiss felt like a lie. A lie I was telling both her and myself.

Am I broken?

I searched and searched for a tangible, logical reason that I wasn’t happy. I found nothing, and that only made me feel worse about myself. I went to therapy. Started anti-depressants. Tried talking more, talking less. Having more sex, having less sex. I tried everything I could think of to fix myself. Why couldn’t that knot just untie itself? Why couldn’t that little voice, telling me that “this wasn’t right” and “you don’t feel what she feels,” just shut the hell up and let me be happy?

Am I broken?

Eventually, the stress and anxiety of constantly fighting with myself became too much to bear. I had to end this relationship; a relationship that seemed so perfect for me on the surface, but felt so wrong inside. She had so many questions I couldn’t answer. Why? What did she do wrong? Was I lying the whole time? How could I do this to her? That night, I cried like I’d never cried before. Had I made a mistake? Had I just given away the best thing that had ever happened to me? I feared I’d never have an answer, and as it turns out, I was right. I played the entire relationship over and over in my head, trying to pinpoint what I was doing wrong, to no avail.

That was about 2 years ago. Since then, things have changed. I took a professional leap I’d needed to take for some time, I’m in the process of moving across the country to Los Angeles, and I feel excited for the future again for the first time in a long time. But the questions still creep in every once in a while, when I’m sad or lonely. Wondering what went wrong. Wondering if I’ll ever be able to think about her without that old knot showing up again. Wishing I could go back and just…feel…different. I realize now, though, that I can’t go back. Time only moves forward. Looking back doesn’t help anything. I’d’ve given anything for that relationship to have worked, but, for reasons the universe refuses to share with me, it just didn’t. I don’t have the answers, and probably I never will, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe I don’t need the answers.

Maybe I’m not broken. Maybe I just need to stop believing I am.

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