The Value of a Heart

I tend to trust people until I learn that I can’t. I’m not sure that’s the smartest and safest way to be, but it’s who I am. It gets more complicated when I learn I can’t trust someone, not because they aren’t a good person, but because they are so bogged down in their ‘stuff’ that they can’t be trusted.

I dated someone a few months ago that I considered a good friend. Overall things were wonderful and we had a great time. However, I never really felt that he felt the same about me as I did about him, so I held back a bit. Or I thought I did. When he left, as was part of the plan all along, we agreed to be friends and to stay in touch with a “maybe someday” kind of promise. I was ok with that and for some reason felt that it was truth. We stayed in touch fairly regularly and it felt right.

Then I called one day and heard everything I hoped I wouldn’t hear: he had found someone, he was really serious about her and planning to stay nearby to see if she was someone he might want to plan a life with. All of the “sort of” promises he shared with me. Then he cancelled our vacation plans as he didn’t think she would approve. When I asked if he was ok with never seeing me again, as we don’t live near each other, he said, “well maybe someday when I’m in Arizona, or I dunno, maybe when you’re dating someone we could meet up the four of us.”

Seriously one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Why ever would we want to do that??

This was the same thing I heard from another guy—a guy I was great friends with for several years. We traveled the world together, saw each other weekly and were in almost daily contact. He and I never dated, but when he told me his girlfriend (that he never said a word about) was moving in, he said, “we need to find you a man so we can continue to hang out together.”

Those words were the deafening roar of a friendship ending. I never really talked to him again.

So now, I hear this again, only it’s a different guy, and one that I considered a really good friend and also someone that I finally admitted to myself after he left, that I was in love with. One week after I had to let my cat go so I was flailing around in my grief. To be fair, I opened the conversation, however, that didn’t make it any less painful. My heart broke into tiny little pieces that night. I had partly been preparing for this, but when it actually happened, it hurt so much more than I expected it to.

I spent the next few days crying my eyes out, then I decided I needed to move on. I have had my heart broken before—not a pleasant thing, but the price of love when it doesn’t work as I hope. I started making plans again and getting back to my life with my friends. I even went on a date or two, half-heartedly, perhaps, but wanting to get back to my life and to feeling alive again. There was nothing I could do about the situation, so better to let it go and move on. I thought I’d like to stay friends with him in time. I was starting to feel ok again.

Then three weeks later, I get a message that he’s been thinking a lot about me, that he owes me an apology and is so sorry. When I asked why, he said that he now realizes what he had with me and that he was an idiot to let me go. He realized he just got scared, panicked and ran to what doesn’t work for him but feels comfortable.

I had no idea what to say, so that’s what I said.

He then asked if I’d still go on vacation with him. Well, the Universe intervened, as I had just booked a trip, ironically, the one I was going to do with him, a week before. I was going to go solo but someone I know was interested in going, so I was excited to go with her.

Two days passed without comment, then I wrote, “Now what?” And my response was, “What do you mean? Now I continue living my life.”

I had spent two days with my mind racing of ‘what ifs’ and thinking that maybe there was a chance. And instead, he apparently thought that without any conversation, he would just pop back up in my life again, joining me on vacation and slide right on in as if nothing had happened and nothing had changed.

But it has changed.

I know the cost of a broken heart—at least, I know what it has cost me. Entry isn’t simply showing up, but truly and honestly being there with a whole heart. It’s not just acknowledging failings and poor choices, it’s also making honest amends. Being there in a way that I need, and not that he needs.

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I hope he feels better for his heart-felt confession. I now understand that it was all about him and little to do with me. He felt badly for his behavior and for hurting me and wanted to apologize to feel better. I appreciate that as I truly believe he meant it. I forgive.

What I won’t do is open the door to my heart again for someone who can’t be bothered to treat it gently, and is so caught up in his stuff that he fails to see what his confession did to me. They were the words I wanted to hear so badly weeks ago, but in my dream, it was followed up with action. In reality, the only action it’s followed up by is his doing more thinking about his failure. He may live halfway across the country for now, but there are ways that he could be present if he chose to.

And now I know—he does not choose to.

And now I know—I won’t either.

My “maybe someday” is when he can step up and show me the man I believe he is. Until then, I will move on with my life because I know it’s best for me. The price of a heart goes up even more the second time around.

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