When you're young, love is everything or so you think. Falling in love is easy, it's the falling out that's the tricky part. I am 35 with two young children and now separated from my husband. To be fair we have been separated for two years, but for some strange reason I cannot let go.
If you continue to read this you may think you're reading a modern day love story but everything is real. I met him when I was 17, so handsome, funny, charming, a nice guy, the wrong guy for me. You see he was too nice, I loved a bad boy and that was just not him. So not wanting to lose him, a friendship began which turned into so much more.....
I never thought of myself as the kind of girl any real man would fall in love with, I didn't find myself attractive, didn't think I was too smart, I mean who would be interested in me? There he was, Valentine's Day with his friend, buying chicken and chips, naturally I'm a talker so I struck up a conversation with these two attractive young men; one who I would date briefly, the other I eventually married.
When I first saw him walk in, I thought to myself, that's the man I'm going to marry. However his friend turned out to be the chatty one, he just stood aside and smiled. Maybe he didn't like me, maybe he wasn't interested. He then asked me, "What's a girl like you doing working on Valentine's Day?"
"I just broke up with my boyfriend."
And so something started I never imagined would happen.... a beautiful friendship.
The other guy....let's call him Jake for now, asked me out and to my surprise I found myself saying yes. We dated for a while, and his friend.... well we'll call him Nathan, he was there through the whole thing. You see Jake was a bad boy, a nice guy with a hint of bad. He excited me and life was never dull with him. He was in fact no good for me and in return for my love he broke my heart. Yes, people, he cheated, and I wouldn't have known if it wasn't for Nathan. Nathan and I would speak daily, about everything and nothing. For hours we would talk and talk yet time did not move. I cherished every word he said and every word he didn't.
One day he came to me and said we needed to talk. What he said next changed my life and his forever. Yes ladies and gentlemen, he broke the code; he told me Jake was being unfaithful, I was distraught, crying like a baby, mad my blood was boiling. How could I have been so stupid, how did I not see? Truth is we only allow ourselves to see what we want to believe, what I didn't know at the time was Nathan was completely in love with me.
Needless to say me and Jake ended it, Nathan and I remained friends; his relationship with Jake became distant and strained, they started moving in different circles and eventually their friendship was practically non existent. When I think about it now, I always feel that if I never spoke to either of them then maybe they would still be friends.
As time went on Nathan and I grew very close, we were each other's ride or die, I had his back and he had mine. On a night out with friends, a conversation started about my love life. My best friend T made it clear to me that I was blind to the fact that Nathan was completely and utterly besotted with me, I mean, "who in their right mind would get out of their bed at 4am in the morning to meet a friend and walk them home? Are you dumb or just plain stupid?" she said. Suddenly it was like my brain kicked into gear. "Omg, he loves me, he actually loves me."
I didn't know how to be around him, I mean he was too good for me. He was a loving, caring, highly intelligent, good looking man. Why would he love me? But he did. As the weeks past by I couldn't stop thinking about it and confided in a work colleague at the time, we would talk about it on a daily basis, me and Nathan still spoke, but it was different now, he had a girlfriend. I mean she was all wrong for him... she just wasn't me. Another boring day at work and my phone rings, I turn to my colleague. "It's him," I said. I answered the phone with a not too bothered attitude, then he said "I'm gonna break up with Lea." My mouth dropped open, I was literally speechless, I pulled myself together, being the consoling friend told him everything will work out. I hung up and told my colleague, half way into my story he rings back, says he gonna work things out with her; NO WAY!!!! My insides were turning, the green eyed monster had reared its head, but why did I feel like this... I realised I loved him. Before I knew it, I found myself saying, "Nathan, don't get back with her. Maybe you and I should give it a go?" The phone went silent, omg did he hang up, was it too late? I immediately wanted to take back all the words that just spilled from my mouth. "O.k," he said. My heart was beating a million miles per hour. I looked like the Cheshire cat. We arranged to meet after work and at 4.30pm we shared our first official kiss at the bus stop on a warm sunny day.
Everybody loved Nathan. He was a good catch, infectious to be around, I never wanted to be without him. We spent every waking moment together, funny how I never realised how unhealthy that would become. By continuing down this road, I lost something very important; I lost myself and so did he. Three years of being my best friend. Nathan and I had now become boyfriend and girlfriend, we spent every waking moment together. Every plan I made involved him. He was my whole life, my world, my everything. Our families were very different. I came from a very large, loud, outspoken family, his was much smaller in terms of blood relations. His friends and church family were his family. We were different.
I became something I was not and so did he. I became all the things I despised: a clingy, needy, possessive person, I lost my drive and ambition, I just wanted to be with him every waking moment through the thought of fear that if we weren't in each other's company he would find someone else. I loved him, absolutely adored him, he made me feel safe, he loved me for me, flaws and all, for some strange reason deep down I still could not see it.
He changed for me, he did everything I wanted him to, but at the time I did not realise that was what he was doing. I thought he wanted to do those things. Never questioning why we always did what I wanted, why we always spent time with my family. Truth is and he told me later, it was because he wanted to make me happy and did not want to lose me.
Funny that we lose love because we try so hard to keep it, to please it, to make it what we think it should be......when in actual fact we should leave it as it is, love is love not something you can change, everyone's idea of love is different but the reality of love is the same for all.
I am a mother of two, a now single mother of two because I tried to change my love and lost. Love lost is never regained, especially if that love was true. Nathan will always be my true love, a love that lost because we were too stubborn or naïve to think that we could just be us, a society that tells us to conform, to fall in line because this is the way it should be; unfortunately when you fall in line, you sometimes fall out.