Picture this: "Mr. Perfect" walks into your life; he’s literally tall, dark and handsome. He’s charismatic and hard-working, and he loves his family.
Above all else, he happens to adore you. Of course, you’re smitten. How could you not be?
But, it’s hard to ignore that tiny feeling you notice growing in a small corner of your heart. It's the feeling that you don’t feel anything at all.
I’m sure you're happy. You care about his well-being, and you enjoy the time you spend together. You may even love him as a person or as a friend, but you most certainly are not in love with him.
This is a not a new concept. The idea of loving someone versus being in love has been explored time and time again. But, this article goes a little deeper than that.
This article is about how much it can actually hurt to feel indifferent.
I guess you could say I came into the dating game a little late in life.
I had a few flings in high school with different guys, but my first, real relationship didn’t develop until I was about to begin my freshman year of college.
Like the hopeless romantic I secretly am, I quickly fell madly in love.
We had quite the whirlwind of a relationship. It would be so clichéd to refer to it as a rollercoaster, but I’m not sure any other analogy would do it justice.
The highs were high, and the lows were low, complete with screaming matches in the streets that woke his neighbors.
It was pretty unhealthy, I know.
Yet, I was undeniably full of feelings. I felt my love for him radiate in my core and through every fiber of my being.
Even when I hated him, it was always passionate.
Naturally, this boy, whom I chose to give my naïve, untouched heart to, shattered that same heart into tiny little pieces after about a year and a half. He cheated, and I trusted him.
My story is far from original. Yet, it was all new to me, and I turned into the classic damsel in distress.
After some time of mourning, though, I put all of my energy into moving on. I’m a pretty independent, no-bullsh*t type of girl, so I figured I’d be "onto the next one" in no time.
And boy, was I right.
You would think I would be guarded after going through what I did.
You always hear about those women who get cheated on, and they build a wall around their hearts in an attempt to prevent getting hurt again.
On the contrary, I felt like I was more than ready to love and be loved again. I’m very outgoing, so I easily met new people. Within weeks, I found myself in a new relationship with a great guy.
“That was easy,” I thought to myself. But, I was so wrong.
I soon realized that the feelings of “love” I had for this new boy were fading faster than they had developed. I began to feel indifferent toward what happened between us, and it genuinely upset me.
He was sweet, and he cared deeply about me. I knew in my heart of hearts he would never treat me the way my ex had.
So, why couldn’t I feel anything? I wasn’t unhappy; I was just flat. This upset me more than I ever would have imagined, and it was frustrating I had no control over it.
In time, I could no longer deny my lack of feelings, and our relationship came to an end. I was heartbroken because I felt heartless.
Within a month, I plunged into another love affair. This time, though, I was sure he was the one.
“I just wasn’t ready to move on last time,” I convinced myself.
To some extent, I was correct. I hadn’t been ready to move on when I entered the previous relationship, but this new boy seemed to be winning me over.
He was as close to perfect as I had ever known, and I convinced myself I was in love once again.
We dated for about seven months before those familiar feelings of indifference started creeping in. They threw me off guard because I was sure this time would be different.
Unfortunately, I began to feel all of the same things I had felt with the previous boy; only this time, I knew we were in much deeper.
I knew this relationship was more serious, and I knew my lack of emotion was going to hurt someone once again. He was everything I could ask for in a person, yet I knew where things were heading.
I would have given anything to just feel something.
It is undeniable that I tried. I tried my hardest to love this wonderful boy who walked in to my life, just as I had done with the last.
But, unshockingly, you simply cannot force your heart to feel a certain way. We went our separate ways after about 10 months, and though it was a mutual breakup on paper, I knew I could only blame my malfunctioning feelings for the failure.
At this time, I was well aware that boyfriend number one (the cheater) was not the person I was supposed to spend my life with.
But, I couldn’t help missing the real, genuine emotions I felt when I was with him. I was chasing those intense feelings again, and it was heartbreaking being unable to find them, no matter how diligently I looked.
The cycle continued on for quite a while. I would meet someone new, someone sincere who had my best interest in mind.
I would put all of my energy into convincing myself I saw a future with that person, only to feel more and more discouraged each time I felt nothing at all.
I had no feelings whatsoever, just static.
I started to have a scary thought: What if I'm incapable of loving someone?
It wasn't because I was guarded, or I hadn’t found the right person; it was because something was wrong with me. Maybe, I wasn’t meant to feel those kind of emotions again.
Because I so desperately wanted to give love away, these thoughts were agonizing.
As someone who has had her heart broken and has broken a few hearts, I can say with confidence that, while these things are hard to deal with, it can also be devastating to want to feel something so badly that you know you cannot.
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past couple of years. I’ve finally learned that people like me have to pull in the reins before getting ahead of ourselves.
I’ve learned there isn’t anything wrong with us, and we don’t have some internal flaw that prevents us from loving. I’ve learned we simply need to have patience.
It’s impossible to feel passionately about every potential partner who walks into our lives. That’s not a bad thing; it’s just a reality.
And it just means that when we do meet “Mr. Right,” our feelings will be anything but indifferent.