Is it Real? You May Never Know Unless You Walk Away

Sometimes, you have to let it go.

When I first met my husband, we both had ex-partners floating around the sidelines of our lives. Having people on the sidelines is like moonlighting — they appear in your life as distractions, or as leisurely pursuits with mutual understanding that the relationship is on the fly.

That’s not to undervalue those people in any way. Everything for a purpose, right?

My husband had enough moonlighting going on to fill a sin bin, so I can’t be overly confident that his sideliners fulfilled anything meaningful, other than sex.

I couldn’t escape them. We managed to bump into some of these women each time we ventured into town on a date. I was okay with it for the most part, unless the woman in question shamelessly flaunted herself all over him — which surprisingly occurred a lot. For some reason, the fact that he was no longer on the playing field was an unfathomable notion.

Hmm …

The gift of indifference works well in those situations. I had it nailed. So much so, that when one ex-sideline floozy unabashedly approached him to resurrect an old game they’d often play, I met her victorious stare with a wink.

Her frazzled expression was priceless.

We all have a past. Those women were a dime a dozen. I can’t really say that I was sound in the knowledge of his feelings for me at the time, because it was still early days.

But I was confident in me — in my worth as a person and as a woman, and what I have offer to the people in my life who love and respect me.

Everything. Glory, glory!

I loved him. Yet at the same time I knew that if he wasn’t able to see the value in me, then it would be his loss and not mine. There is no mistaking it when it’s real. You can’t replace the deep connection that happens through the unexpected moments that leave you breathless, and the meaningful conversations that inevitably lead to hours of love making. More glory.

Exploration and fusion in every way.

I wasn’t imagining it. He was there, connecting with me. Intricate experiences of that nature with another person cannot be felt by just one party. It has to be reciprocated in order to reach a level of deep resonation. I knew it was more than a fly-by-sideline fling, even if he didn’t admit it at the time.

Something magical happens when you meet someone special. You’ve got to believe in it.

There was one particular woman from his past drifting around who did manage to sneak under my cloak of indifference. Mariska. The one who he had loved before me. Everything changes when big “L” word is involved.

She felt like a threat even though she didn’t live in the same country. She was some twenty-plus hour flight away and back in his hometown near Holland, and she was hellbent on rekindling their relationship.

It didn’t help that he had her image propped up on his bedside table-cum-bookshelf in his tidy little bachelor pad, either. Photos taken from the instances when she’d flown out to visit him. Sparkling green eyes. Long golden hair … vivid grin.

Classic Dutch-clutch. Whatever that looks like.

She found out he preferred brunettes. Next thing, his email lit up with incoming updates; Dutch-clutch turned black.

Ah, Mariska!

Her name sounds like it should be in a Skid Row song. I Remember You. She remembered alright and she wouldn’t let him go. Judging by the photos on his shelf, he wasn’t letting it go so easily, either. Obviously, there was still something between them.

You know those early months in a relationship when you’re still finding your ground and trying to figure out what the hell is actually going on? It was a bit like that. I could handle the sideliners, but I couldn’t compete with love and I wasn’t about to try.

So, I walked away.

I didn’t kick up a stink; didn’t accuse him of foul play or demand that he stopped corresponding with Dutch-clutch. I simply told him that I couldn’t do it anymore and that I wasn’t going to play second to anyone. Period.

I meant that shit. The thing is, you can never change the way people feel. It doesn’t matter how much or how deep you love someone; they will always do what they’re going to do regardless. And if the person you love doesn’t love you back to the same degree, it is never going to be balanced enough to completely fulfil you, anyway.

Happiness in a relationship cannot thrive with doubt, suspicion, disrespect or distrust. This is where we trip up so readily when it comes to relationships. When we tend to accept less than what we know we deserve because we are in love — all of the opposite characteristics that deny a healthy relationship. Things like: Trust. Respect. Honor. Compromise. Dedication and great communication.

It is never easy to walk away from someone you love. I was already in deep and the pain was intense. Suddenly, every lyric to every love song killed. Lost love lingers like subtle poison. Yet sometimes, the act of letting go of someone is necessary and, believe it or not, it is the ultimate act of love. For the both of you.

There is truth to that old saying that goes something like:

“When you love someone let them go …”

In the past, I’ve been forced to cut ties with people that I have shared time with and loved very much. Friendships that turned toxic and demanding. A family member who is not unlike the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: “When she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.”

It’s never an easy decision to discard those from your life who hurt you, but it comes down to self-preservation and protecting your quality of life. You can love someone safely from a distance. I’ve learned this and to this day, I still practice it.

Yet, when it comes to romantic love it can be excruciatingly more difficult to let go.

It didn’t matter how many times I told myself that he wasn’t right for me; that he didn’t love me; that it was the wrong timing and it could never work out; I couldn’t quite quell the yearning inside for him.

My heart fought my brain at every moment spent convincing myself that it was never real.

But sometimes, we have to walk away from love in order to discover its authenticity. Sometimes, it’s the only way to know for sure.

About a month later, he called. Told me that he met me in his dreams and that he didn’t want a life without me in it. It would be first time he uttered the words I had longed to hear.

I love you.

It took me walking away for the penny to finally drop. He returned a different man ready for the breadth of my love and all I had to offer — minus the Dutch-clutch and the sideliners, of course.

“… and if they return, they were always yours.”

The truth is: When the right people come into your life, it can never be wrong timing. The right people are timeless.