I was with this man.
He was the first one I really loved as a woman who knew what she wanted.
He was strong; he was handsome. His intelligence lit my heart on fire. He could hold me as I fell apart.
I saw him as far greater than he let himself be, thinking I was going to be the one to help him.
He was busy, so I’d say, “You need more time.”
He was tired, so I’d say, “Go to sleep before midnight. Stop taking on so much work.”
He had a hard time loving, so I’d say, “Just stay with me longer.”
He called me once saying his chest felt like it was going to explode from anxiety, I said, “Don’t run away from it. Stay.”
I was always telling him that: to stay.
He was always saying the opposite: go. “Your life is going to be so big and bright. You have to use your gifts for good.”
We danced this dance for a long time. Staying and going. Going and staying. One wanting the other. Never at the same time.
Then one night, with my legs crossed in front of a candle, I heard the word: “Space.” It became really clear. I—we—needed time away.
I didn’t know what would happen.
Each day when I wanted to reach for my phone, I said those five letters. I whispered them to myself in the morning after a dream that left me wanting to stay asleep.
I went through my days with heaviness and trust. That away was where I needed to be.
Last night, we spoke for the first time. He has stopped working so much. He’s sleeping more. Writing. Feeling. Staying.
We haven’t talked since the success of my business. He had no idea my work was doing so well.
For the first time, I understood that sometimes what is keeping the person you love from becoming the person they deserve to be is you.
I wasn’t what he needed in order to become what I saw in him. It was me not being there. And vice versa.
Sometimes, having the same argument each time you lay down to love each other is a sign that, if you weren’t having it, you might be able to get what you keep asking for:
The better versions of one another.
It can be really hard to admit that sometimes being away is better than being there. It’s even harder to take your toothbrush back home.
But, when you get a message a year later that he is healthy and you tell him you are happy, then you’ll understand that you two were the sparks—not the ever-burning flame. That your love was the change, but not in the way you thought. That loving from a place that felt like not loving, did more than loving with chests touching.