Sometimes it is Better to Learn the Hard Way

You look across the leather couch at him. He looks attractive and happy. The skin on his face is tight and smooth. His lips are full. His t-shirt hangs off of his body as if his shoulders were clothes hangers, wrapping tight only around his arms and chest. He didn’t look attractive because all of his features blended together harmoniously on his face. He still looked like a little boy when he slept. He didn’t look happy like it was the best afternoon of his life. He didn’t even smile at Michael Scott’s joke minutes earlier on the TV. He discreetly pulled out his cell phone clock wishing away his life, hoping you wouldn’t want to stay too long, adding up the days until Summer Break.

He was attractive and happy in the sense that he was unscathed by age. The hair on his head hadn’t thinned or grown gray. The lines from his smile weren’t permanently etched into his skin, only erasable by botox injections. His belly didn’t protrude, spilling over his belt buckle like your father’s. He hadn’t suffered from divorce or debt. He had yet to experience all the pains and responsibilities of being an adult.

And so did you.

The way both of you looked at the world with the worries of your calculus homework and which classes you had to take next fall made you naïve.  So, when he turned down the volume on the TV and told you he didn’t want to date you. That you weren’t exclusive. That he couldn’t love you. That Summer Break was coming up and that is just how it was going to be. You didn’t listen.

When a boy tells you these things, they are a warning sign, red flashing lights. Not a challenge to prove that you are special. That you defy all of his rules. Sometimes we become so desperate to protect our feelings that we will believe anything, even the lies we tell ourselves. You’ll begin to analyze everything he has ever done. That one time he brought you tea when you were sick. Everything he has ever said. He called you his girl. Until, every word and action equates to love. He must love you. He must want to be with you. But maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he never will. Part of you knew this all along, he told you.

But you unwillingly chose to learn this truth the hard way. Whether it is a boy who can’t or won’t date you or one that can’t or won’t love you, know that you deserve someone who will date you and can love you. You learned the hard way, not so you are scarred. You didn’t learn the hard way to fear love, so you can put a wall up and turn off your emotions. You learned the hard way so you can love better next time.