Love is a weird thing. You can love people in so many ways; romantically, platonically, etc. And love gets even more weird and complicated in relationships. You go through awkward phases of liking someone, then loving and caring for them, and maybe falling in love with them (and yes, there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with them). It can be easy to confuse the two, and to wonder if you really even loved a person after a relationship has ended. Sometimes we love the idea of someone, or the idea of just not being alone, and that can warp our ideas of how we feel about and express real love for each other.
The difference between loving you and being in love with him took me awhile to see, I mostly found it in little things. I never felt the way I felt with him with you. I thought I loved you the most I could ever love a person, because no one supported me and stayed by my side the way you did through one of the hardest trials in my life. When I got better, you seemed cautious for me to go out with friends, and I thought it was sweet that you were worried for me. You told me to stay home from my sorority’s events, that the large number of people could overwhelm me, and I thought it was kind of you to think about my well-being. I talked about travelling and getting involved in more things on campus, you told me I was already stressed about maintaining my grades and shouldn’t worry about bringing on anything new. You told me you loved me, and I thought you did, because you acted like you cared. I think you didn’t like that my independence was growing and that you weren’t the only person I needed to rely on in my life anymore. I eventually knew that there didn’t have to be a lot of things wrong for our relationship not to be right.
When I found him, it was an overwhelming reality check that I had not been living my best life, and hadn’t really been in love with you. He showed me that you don’t need to go through the hardest times of someone’s life to know them the deepest. He encourages me to go out with the girls. He shows up to my events to support me and makes me feel confident enough to not worry about the others around me. When I mention traveling, he tells me I would love it and encourages me to go. When I try to pull off a 4.0, he tells me I’m amazing and can do anything. He doesn’t need me at his side 24-7 to know he’s mine. The way he loves is unconditional and lets me know that he supports me in anything I want to do.
I’m thankful for what I learned from you. You taught me how to walk away from something that wasn’t bad, but wasn’t my end game.