The Right Love at the Wrong Time
This piece was made anonymous at the request of the author to protect their identities and the identities of those involved.
I fell in love by accident. I don’t necessarily regret falling in love, not that I could have helped it, but it was painful and, most definitely, an accident. You can believe in anything you want to about love and relationships, but I believe in soulmates. Note the plural, because I think with nearly 8 billion people on the planet it would be impossible to have just one soulmate out there.
The most heart-breaking thing about my life so far is that I met one of my soulmates at 19, and we couldn’t be together.
Story time! I was in my second year at university, and having loads of fun doing all the things you’re meant to do around that time. I had met this person a few years prior in a professional context, and I looked up to them massively as they basically had my dream job. They were also 15 years older than me…but we’ll get to that later. We weren’t super close, but after a work event we got talking and I asked them if they would like to come and look around my uni and have dinner. They said yes. To cut a long and very complicated story short, we started sleeping together- and it was amazing. You know people that talk about older people being more experienced? They were right! Labels on relationships are definitely a grey area, but we were essentially friends with benefits. A few months passed by of having both my lover and best friend in bed with me several times a week. Bearing in mind they lived 100 miles away, I assumed that they were enjoying it just as much as I was; it also seemed to be evident in our 3am conversations and all-night love-making sessions.
I consider myself very lucky to have had the friends I did around this time, because I was lying to my family about my life which I had never really done before and my housemates were covering for me a lot. It was getting difficult to mentally process the secret fling that was going on. We spent New Year’s together, and on New Year’s Day had a conversation about whether we should stop sleeping together. I think there were several factors involved with this decision; it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to have my normal uni experience, not fall in love with them (whoops, already had) and they decided they needed to be in a ‘proper’ relationship with someone their own age. Age. There are so many conflicting opinions on dating and age. For me, age is just a number; I know this because I was 101% heart-wrenchingly in love with someone 15 years older than me. It was a consensual, intimate and intergenerational partnership that occurred at the wrong time in both of our lives.
A few drunken kisses later we finally called it off. They were looking for something more, but I absolutely wasn’t ready for it to end. Exam season came and I do not know how I even passed that year. I couldn’t eat or sleep or stop crying. I was a literal ball of snot for months and every time someone walked into the room I just had to stop and put on this fake ‘I’m okay’ face. No one had any idea. I was completely alone. All the while they would still call and talk like nothing had happened. We used to talk for hours, now we could barely get through 10 minutes without me selfishly questioning why we couldn’t be together.
If you’ve ever been heart-broken you’ll know that sick feeling you cannot shake, the feeling that you’ll never find love ever again.
So dramatic, but it does feel like the world is ending and the one person that you thought you could turn to for a cuddle or a chat is gone forever.
Our “relationship” lasted about 5 months and it took me at least two years to properly get over them. I was young and had too high an expectation of people not letting me down. I feel like I let my guard down too soon, and that will probably be something I’ll struggle with in other relationships. Yes it’s a cliché, but it is totally okay to not be okay. I was not okay. But it got better. It got easier to accept that we weren’t going to be together even though they were the love of my life.
We’re actually still friends, and have gotten to a healthy point of being able to chat and even manage to talk about when we were together without me feeling that sick feeling that used to stop me eating. I love and care about them and know that they are in a happy relationship; I will be too one day. They taught me maturity, self-respect and, honestly, how to be good in bed. I am forever grateful for all of that. Heartbreak teaches you a lot, but it is tough and can certainly be lonely. Make sure you write your feelings down, cry, watch rom coms, cry, walk it off, get a new wardrobe, eat, cry, get a haircut and, most importantly, take care of yourself. I’m sorry I don’t have a cure for a broken heart…but know one day you’ll look back and understand much more about what you learned and who it turned you into.