Maya Angelou once said “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”. I have heard Oprah add “the first time” to the end of this quote indicating that sometimes we take too long in the Believing phase. At the beginning of my relationship with Travis that lasted two years, he communicated concerns that he had about my situation – about the unchanging situation of me being a divorced single mom whose ex-husband had visitation rights. At the end of my relationship with Travis, his concerns had not changed and he took some time to write some closing thoughts. Regarding his efforts in the relationship, he always felt like he was doing too much, more than his best. Really he did his best and at the end of it all, love remained on the sidelines. It never played. “I care about you a lot and always wanted to make you happy. I tried very hard to do so until the point where I realized that I could not emotionally do so without great cost to myself… the situation wouldn’t change so I found myself revisiting the same hurtful emotions….I didn’t leave you. Bhakti, it’s not like that, I was forced out because I couldn’t bear to stay. I think those are two very different things. It’s not my fault that things are the way they are and I wish that it were not so. I know that you made some extreme changes in your life after we met and I am very proud of you for that. I feel bad that you did so much to change and I couldn’t meet you from my side. To my credit, though, I did give up a lot of hopes and expectations and left a number of desires and expectations behind, which was very difficult for me. I just cannot go one more step, I need to be able to have an unimpeded future, and then I think I can forget the past. But it is so hard to forget when it’s still in the present”, he said.
Over two years of a committed relationship with Travis, he was hesitant to call me his girlfriend and never said he loved me. He never accepted me as a divorced single mom whose ex-husband had visitation rights. He always thought that my son’s future was bound for failure. The present was always clouded by the thoughts of a worst case scenario future. I cannot help but look back and think that Travis missed out on the present and on love. Love is not selfish. Love is about meeting someone in the middle. It is about not living in the past, enjoying the present and looking forward to the future. I always wondered why it was so hard for my boyfriends to utter the I love you phrase. I spent many days doing so much to change. I do not regret that because it has shaped the woman I am today. The change was good. I am thankful that they did not utter I love you because I would have wrongfully assumed that they were also doing so much to change. In some of these cases, I was good enough but the timing was not right. In other cases I was not good enough in their eyes and the timing did not matter. When timing and acceptance both align, then something special is revealed.
I learned something else from this relationship – Travis knew when to walk away. Though we all hate giving up, we should recognize the moments when something is in fact dead and make the choice to not let the situation control us. Sometimes space and time gives us a chance to remove the rose colored glasses and see things clearly. When something is dead, just leave it. In time, you will know whether you have made the right decision.
The name Travis is a fictional name used in substitute of the real name.
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.