“It’s not me, it’s you.”

I’m making a pact with myself to not write about Army for the rest of the month. After this post, he is out of sight and out of mind. Starting today I begin focusing on my own life, apart from him being in it, and looking forward to a brighter future. I’m prepared to move on, whatever that entails, and I’m not looking behind me any longer.

However, I did say after this post. Catch that? So here’s my final say as I lay down the hammer and walk away from my poorly constructed relationship. This is me finally speaking up and saying out loud, “It wasn’t me, it was you.”

My friends and I decided to join Tinder during one of our girls’ nights last week as a laugh. If you have never had the pleasure of reading Tinder pickup line fails, then I highly recommend you doing so. It is ridiculous what some men (and even some women) will go through just to hook up with someone. There is no cheesier place than Tinder, and did we get a lot of giggles out of the app!

The app only lasted on my phone for a day or two. I had my fill of pervish inquiries, and once I was no longer with friends the app just felt guilty in my hands. This was not how I was going to find a partner, let alone a simple friend. But the app revealed an impacting thought on how the dating scene works nowadays: first impressions are all about physical attractiveness. One’s personality really has no basis when it comes to someone wanting to be with you; the opposite sex has to like what he or she sees first before trying to explore anything further.

This revelation was utterly demeaning to me. I mean, I think I’m fairly attractive, but I also believe my personality is the winning point. It’s easy to spot a pretty girl with a great body from across the bar. But, what you can’t tell by just looking at her, is the size of her heart. A large and caring heart is a very rare thing to find, and something you should never let go if you’re lucky enough to have someone with it.

One of my best friends and I had a long discussion on why things went the way they did with Army. And though I’ll never have a complete answer, she did give me a lot to think about it terms of myself. She called me the strongest woman she knows in an emotional sense, and someone with the biggest heart she’s ever known. She said I’m the friend friends wish they could be. Yet, even after I gave her a skeptical look, she continued on by explaining exactly how I am these things. And her response was one of the most self-realizing revelations I’ve ever had. She took specific points she knew of Army’s and my relationship and explained…

  • A girl with a large heart is thoughtful. She always remembers the little details, even the drill dates you told her about a month ago. And when she asked how your work day went, she actually wants to know — it isn’t because she feels she has to to be polite. She will surprise you with your favorite treats (like an expensive beer and Crown cake) simply because she wants you to smile and know she was thinking of you.
  • A girl with a large heart appreciates every little thing you do. Whether it’s a simple text saying “have a good day!” or stopping by to surprise her with an impromptu rendezvous with your family, she’s quick to realize it and thank you for your sincerity. She also isn’t overly concerned about the price tag but rather the quality of your presence in her life. A picnic on the beach or night under the stars are some the best presents you can give this girl. It’s the thought and the effort put into making her smile that’s important.
  • A girl with a large heart is perfectly comfortable with keeping it simple. Everyone loves a nice, romantic date from time to time, but this girl is more than happy to spend a night in with you, cuddling and watching Netflix.
  • A girl with a large heart loves your family as if they were her own. She’s the first one to thank your mother for making dinner, and she’ll bring flowers to adorn your parent’s kitchen just because she can. She’s the first to call up your brothers and invite them to the latest community event. She also understands that you need your “guy time” and is always the first to tell you to go hang out with your boys for the night. Not surprisingly, she’s also more than willing to meet your friends — and include them into her already socially busy life as well.
  • A girl with a large heart has an undeniable presence. Though she never tried to be the center of attention, this girl always knows someone everywhere you go. Her smile is contagious, and she’s always there to help others with their problems and is the one person everyone goes to for advice. You probably hear it a lot — from your family, friends, her friends, strangers — that you’re one lucky guy. The depth of her heart is never-ending and it’s obvious she puts herself above others in all aspects of her life.
  • A girl with a large heart is the type of person you can plan a forever with simply because she is a friend above all else. She’s the one person you are able to let your guard down around and de-stress. She listens intently to your problems and discusses different solutions openly and without judgment. She gives you your space when needed, but you know she is always there should the need arise. There’s no need to keep up the tough guy act around her. She is your best friend, girlfriend, and will be a fabulous mother to your future children.

When she painted this clear image for me, I can’t help but toot my own horn a bit: I am a damn good girlfriend. Yet this only makes me more confused as to why I am now single and the person I held so highly in my heart no longer wants me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my faults. Great faults that make some of my closest friends and family want to wring my neck. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I’m also far from the worst. I am always looking to better myself, and I was more than willing to take critical criticism from those in relationship with me. That is how love should work; both parties grow together for the better of themselves and their relationship.

Looking back, I’m not sure if Army ever got past the physical attraction part of our relationship to appreciate all I have to offer as a person. It is nice to hear people tell you that you look good, that you’re beautiful, that they want you. At the beginning I was complimented regularly, but that died rather quickly. Instead, I heard them about other people, other girls, other friends.

Perhaps I’m simply trying to make excuses for him, but I feel he lost hope in our relationship due to his interest in me being rather shallow. There are a lot of beautiful women in the world, but beauty usually only goes so deep. Personally, I am happy that I am attractive “enough” on the outside,  but I am proud that I carry a beautiful heart as well. The fact that this man I loved never took the time to fully appreciate this fact about me is what I will use to move on.

Being in my twenties, I’m not looking for the typical “high school relationship”. I don’t want nor do I need a boyfriend simply to say I have one. I am looking for a life partner, someone who will be with me until death because he loves every aspect of me, down to those annoying and craze-inducing faults. I want someone who loves my brains, beauty, and beliefs.

When we broke up, Army said I was the ideal girlfriend. However, if he truly believed that he wouldn’t have tossed me aside. He would have fought for me. He should have fought for me.

I suppose that’s what break ups are though, painful little jolts in our lives that make absolutely zero sense. I don’t understand how Army and I went from happy to separated in a week. I don’t understand how he can tell me he loves me but want to be alone. I don’t understand why my life abruptly changed.

I do know one thing though: this time it wasn’t me, it was him. And guess what? I am okay with that. I am okay that he walked away, because in the end he wasn’t who I thought he was and that’s not who want.

Letter to the Army

Nine months ago I met someone who changed my entire outlook on life and love. He was sweet and endearing and funny and, above all else, he looked past my exterior and fell for me, all of me, Ashley. We began seeing one another on a weekly basis, going out, enjoying one another’s company. And somewhere in between the joking and the laughing and the conversations, I fell in love with him.

Last night, he broke my heart.

There’s something odd about the way love works. People always say, “All you need is love.” but in reality, sometimes love is not enough. For Army, it seems that the latter is true.

I had this gut-feeling that something odd was going on in our relationship. Until about three weeks ago we were on a regular routine of date nights, weekend festivals, and monthly theater outings. Somewhere in the business of life and friends and dating, a key part of our relationship was lost. I’m still unsure what this key is or was, so I’m not positive on how to ever come to a concise closure on our relationship. As soon as I heard his voice asking to come to my house, I knew. I just… knew.

Army no longer felt he was at the mentality (I believe he used the word “level”) of providing me with my needs in terms of a long term committed relationship. Perhaps he felt I was rushing the relationship too quickly. Perhaps he was frustrated by not knowing what exactly I need and how he should supply the necessary energy. Perhaps he simply needs some time focusing on his new job and the stresses of finances. Or perhaps he’s just selfish and no longer wanted to consider two people when he could just himself. Whatever the case, he has every right to feel the way he does. That is how relationships work after all.

There were two people involved in our relationship though. And this was not what I wanted. In all honesty, I’m at a complete loss for words. When you love someone, and especially when you’re in a relationship with that person you love, all you want is to do right by him or her. The “needs” I had were not what I deem unreasonable: a hello and goodnight every day, care enough to ask how my day has gone, and be happy to be with me. For the majority of our relationship, my needs were met. And I was ecstatic; I was in love.

I do not want or need more at this time in my life. I’ve been on the track to marriage, and at this point in my life I’m not ready for that anymore. I have so much more I want to do with my life before I start a family: pay off my debt, travel the world, buy my own house. The only thing I wanted out of our relationship was time together, and I definitely didn’t need an ample supply of time; just enough to know I was worthwhile to someone.

When Army left me last night, he had tears in his eyes. That might have been the hardest part of the entire break up. Actually, even though the break up was very emotional, it was not incredibly dramatic. There was no screaming or begging. We simply talked. And sat. We were mature and, if anyone had been watching, it had to be obvious how much we care for each other. We sat together for over an hour. He held me, I held his hand, and we just talked. Him more than me, I suppose, but it had a strange calming air to the entire event.

Our talk consisted mostly of how much we enjoyed being in a relationship together. He told me he loved me, loved being with me, and that he always enjoyed the time we spent together. It’s simply something with him — it has nothing to do with me — and he’s lost on how to fix it. “I’m f***** up,” he said. He just isn’t ready for the same kind of commitment I am, he said. He tried to make it clear how he felt: that it was unfair of him to continue leading me on and treating me how he had the last few weeks when I could move on and be with someone much better than himself. I suppose, in his mind, he broke my heart to ultimately heal it.

That’s a difficulty too, though. I think he feels as if I wanted more from him than what we had. I didn’t and I don’t. I simply liked being with him. I liked having him as a companion. As a friend. That’s what I ultimately love about him; he is my friend. A true friend is hard to come by nowadays. You know, someone who you want to involve in every event, share secrets with, complain to and rant with. Someone who shares common interests with you and who is fine with not doing a damn thing other than vegging out. Someone who’s smile alone can make your entire crummy week vanish. That is what is most hurtful about losing him; I’m losing one of my best friends.

Even with the mature way we handled ourselves, I have so many questions left unanswered: where did we go wrong? Is there someone else? What could I have done better? Is there a way to compromise our levels of needs? Can we continue being friends one day? I think I did ask these things, or perhaps he even mentioned them, but with all the thoughts swirling in my head yesterday… I have no memory. All I remember is the hurt of losing him in my life.

The memories I do have are ones of happiness throughout our few months together. Out of all my relationships, I can honestly look back on mine and Army’s and have no regrets. I mean, breaking up obviously means there must be some regrets, but I don’t know where and when they occurred. I thought our relationship was pretty solid.

Before I met him, I was just living day by day. I enjoyed my life, I enjoyed my past relationships to a degree, but what Army and I had… It was what I needed to revamp my lifestyle. I needed a friend and he came at a dire point in my life. As I said, he helped me re-see how great life can be.

Now, I’m not saying I foresaw a potential future for us. I don’t think I ever looked that far ahead. Because with Army, I didn’t need to. I was satisfied with where I was in the then-and-now and there was no reason to put stress on an already happy and healthy relationship.

As with all relationships, when I say we were happy and healthy does not mean we didn’t have our issues. We were different people with vastly different backgrounds. He is moody and impatient, I am emotional and (sometimes overly) social. Yet, in the grand scheme, I do not believe that our personalities and histories negatively impacted our relationship. At least, that’s how I am going to look at our past. I think our opposites attracted, making us stronger as a couple and threw us out of our comfort zones to make us stronger individuals.

And (I’m chuckling to myself) that’s probably not a great way to look at it because it only confuses me more. I’m just not sure where we went wrong.

As these thoughts literally fill my entire mind, I have come to the following conclusions:

  • I do not need a boyfriend to be happy. I am plenty happy on my own. However, being with Army made me happier. That is what I cannot get over; I’m going to miss him absolutely because he makes my life a little more bright.
  • This break up is not what I wanted. I never once considered ending out relationship. I may not have been happy over the past few weeks but I thought it was just a rough-patch.
  • His decision to end our relationship weighed heavily upon his relationship maturity level and not on who I am as a person. I was the best girlfriend I could be to Army, and with that thought I am at least a tad bit proud.

In time maybe we will come back together as friends in the least, or perhaps we won’t. The possibilities are unknown, and though that terrifies me, the unknown is better than knowing someone I deeply care about is unhappy with their life in some respect due to me.

In the end, there’s always a new beginning. I’m not sure what God has in store for me. At this time, I do not want to dwell on what could have been (though I know, especially at night, I will). No, instead I want to look forward and jump into the unknown with no parachute.

There are two things I know for certain though: I’ll be okay. Just not today.

The Worst Personality Trait

“Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about..did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and help me? Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile to see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now–let’s start an intention avalanche. We all need positive intentions right now. If I don’t see your name, I’ll understand. May I ask my friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all of those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just needs to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support.”

-A Friend’s Facebook status

Continue reading “The Worst Personality Trait”