When love ends abruptly, when desire steals away like a thief into the mist and moonlight, who’s at fault? Was love never yours to begin with? Was it all real or imagined? Had the facts in hand made a fiction of all you thought was precious? This latest submission in the Doomed Romance series is from a woman who is a serial love killer wondering if her love is like death to the individuals she meets.
THE LOVE KILLER
I couldn’t tell you what it was about him. I don’t know if I ever knew. We were completely opposite personalities. We didn’t have much in common. Maybe it was his utter infatuation with me. He was there for me in a way no one had ever been before. Maybe I was just in love with the idea of someone being in love with me.
I like to think it was more than that. And I do believe it was. Maybe the connection simply cannot be reduced to paper and pen. Whatever it was, at 19, before we had so much as held hands, I remember thinking that I could not imagine him not being the central figure in my life. I still can’t actually. We just connected. Or I did. Whatever. He was my best friend, the person I wanted in my presence above all others.
And so it was. Our courtship was the stuff of fairy tales. I won’t bore you or depress myself with the details. Suffice it to say, I probably couldn’t have written a more romantic story of college sweethearts falling in love for the first time.
That’s not to say it was perfect. There were abundant communication issues – largely mine. There was a determination to be proven right (I think we shared that one). I wanted him to change, to grow up rather, and there were times my critique or treatment of his immaturity were harsh. But at the end of the day, no matter how moody I was or how childish he acted, there was us. K&M. Always.
Until the day five months into our marriage when he quite calmly explained to me that he could no longer be with me. That God would forgive his divorce because, you see, he cannot love me. He tried and tried and did everything he could, but I am simply unlovable. If he stayed any longer he might actually and physically die. To be with me any more would literally suck the life out of him. Yes that’s right, me, my love and my presence in one’s life equals death. I later found out that the fact that he was already engaged to someone else while we were having this conversation probably had something to do with it too.
I just didn’t see it coming. Which sounds so stupid I am ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t. Whatever can be said of women’s intuition, mine did not work. He wasn’t acting strange or moody or withdrawn. There were simply no clues. Two days before we had a nice dinner and laughed over a movie.
I knew that I was somewhat unhappy, but I thought it was a growth phase. I knew that the unexpected passing of his mother put him in an emotional black hole, but that too, I thought, would pass. But we were a normal couple with ups and downs and relatively OK days. Never did I imagine that he-of-the-flowers-for-no-reasons and the naming of our unborn children could walk away so effortlessly.
I spent probably close to two years obsessing over where things went wrong. While I still maintain that he had growing to do, perhaps I was not as evolved and patient about the process as I believed myself to be. Was I not supportive enough? Was I not nurturing enough? Was I too critical? Did I put my needs above his? I’m sure I could have been better in all these respects. But was it that terrible? He never told me he was unhappy with me, or that our relationship wasn’t working. Had I pushed a man over the breaking point just by being … imperfect?
These are questions my logical mind knows are irrelevant. He ended things. He gave up. I know what the correct answers are. At the very least, he is a jackass, and at best, we were not meant to be. I tell myself I am … [insert self-affirming qualities here]. And all of that might be true. But eight lonely years later (save a second disastrous relationship), I still am forced to ask myself if he was right all along. Does my love equal death? Perhaps not of him, but as the days and months go by, I know that the weight of my unrequited love is certainly killing my own spirit.
Time has erased neither my memory of his flaws nor of the way I needed his presence in my life. The wounds are no longer raw, but the scars prohibit me from living the life I used to. Do I believe in a universe that sends us our true love before we are ready, only to spend our lives regretting the errors that destroyed that love? Do I believe in my inherent unworthiness? Do I believe that I could spend any significant periods of intimacy with someone who does not garner a modicum of concern for my feelings, or for me? None of these are truths I can accept, but the stagnation is quite literally driving me crazy.