Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I need help.
I fell in love with a man three and a half years ago. He lived on another continent. It was hard. But we worked hard for it. We had miscommunications, he did things that hurt me, my mental health was hard to deal with at times, we both had hardships and life changes. But after over two years together and a few international moves on his part, he finally found a dream job in my city. I thought we’d done it. We fought and worked for our relationship, through all that we were the bright spot in each other’s lives, we were finally at the point where it would be all downhill from here. We lived together for about four months. Then it all collapsed when it came out that he’d been cheating on/with me since day one. I had forgiven him every time I caught him in lies about other partners, I’d believed him when he’d sworn he’d do better by me. But it was all a lie. Our relationship was a con job.
Two and a half years of lying, cheating, gaslighting, violating my most fundamental boundaries. Every scrap of love and support and affirmation was knowingly stolen from me.
And here’s the problem:
I still love him.
I know the version of him I love doesn’t exist. The man who respected me, the man who worked to live up to my moral standards, the man who meant it when he looked me in the eyes and swore to be better, he was an act. I can never go back to not knowing, things can’t be what they were before. I would never be able to trust that he was engaging with the work to improve himself in good faith, so things can’t move forward. Our past was a lie and our future is non-existent.
But here I am, almost a full year later and I miss him so much I can’t breathe sometimes. I dream about him. I can’t see a picture of his face without crying (and I can’t avoid him completely because we have many mutual friends I won’t part with and social media blocking/muting systems are pathetic). Part of it is missing having a serious partner, part of it is the trauma of how it all ended, but a lot of it is HIM. I miss our banter, I miss his perspective on things, I miss his smile and his face and his voice. I still want to tell him weird facts and mundane shit about my day. I miss listening to him rant about things he was interested in and things he was mad about and things I would never have encountered on my own.
My mind knows that he was lying to me non-stop, and nothing was really real. But my heart found something that made it feel the best it ever had, that it would have fought for through anything, and I can’t get it to bow to reality.
How do I fall out of love with a dream?
Longing to Wake Up