I rewatched A Thin Line Between Love and Hate tonight. I haven’t seen it in years. The last time I saw it was before I truly had my heart broken. Before, I only imagined what heartbreak felt like. Only could picture that kind of sadness from Rose’s anguished cries as she reached for Jack’s frozen hand during those last moments before she’d never see him again. I only knew a tiny fraction of having someone kill the part inside of you that was obsessed with them. Tonight, I was brought back to that darkness, to the anxiety, to the nausea of having someone so carelessly replace you and stomp on your heart as if all of your affection meant nothing. Because really, the only kinds of people who do these kinds of things have got to be terrible people, right?
Right. I guess. But what happens when your relationship ends before it ever really begun? What happens to those feelings that were starting to flutter, but never turned into a real flame? Maybe, if you’re lucky, the person was truly not all that important to you and losing them only warrants a single weekend of drinking and a last round of breakup sex. But the last time I started falling, really falling for someone, I never got all the way to love. It ended before I hit the bottom of the pit.
I am not here to tell you that love is all butterflies and buttered biscuits, because I’m way too old and jaded to believe bullshit like that anymore. Love is shitty and cruel. It is the kind of thing that skins you alive and bathes you in salt water. Love is exquisite torture and horrifying obsession. It is all of those behaviors you hated seeing other people do, but you just can’t help yourself. You’re not yourself when you’re in this kind of love. Love with someone who mistreats you. In my case, love with someone who neglected me.
I believe that neglect is another sort of abuse. There is something about falling for someone who promises you the heavens and gives you little more than hell that breaks you slowly, that corrodes and rusts you. The thing is…you don’t even know you’re dying until you’re already dead and trying to revive yourself, trying to save the person you didn’t even know you were losing, because, if there’s ever a choice between loving someone and loving myself, I am choosing myself. No one should ever have to put up with bad behavior and lower their standards or accept poor treatment for love.
I thought he was different. He’s not the first I thought was different. He’s not the first who fixed his full lips to lie about not being a fuck boy, to tell me I was beautiful and special, just to go on to treat me like I was unimportant. He turned out to be no different. There is not really any surprise there. I’ve come to expect that anyone who has defend himself before the relationship even starts is probably not all that worthy of trust, but, he won me over.
When I told my friends about him, gabbing as buddies do about their dating lives, they could see nothing good in him. I paused, pondering their opinions, listening to more of his empty words filled with so many calories to fatten my heart and fill it with affection for him. And so it was that despite all of his bullshit, I kept wanting him. Even though the thought that he didn’t deserve me kept presenting itself, even by him, he kept “trying”, whatever that means from a negligent man, so I kept trying. With only a few tastes of him, I’d become addicted.
And I hated it. Hated wanting and lusting for someone who was never around, having my sex drive thirst for a touch I could never have, sleeping with other men who just weren’t fucking away my desire to be with him. I tried pushing him away. I did. But it was like trying to empty a river using a bucket. Pointless. I was drowning as time kept rolling by and we were hardly growing any closer.