It pains me to write this. I am tired of pretending. I simply cannot do this anymore. I sincerely wish you well. I do hope our paths will cross again.
I first gazed at you, cautiously intrigued. Coquettish even. Butterflies fluttered when I thought of you. You left me longing for more details. You captivated my heart and mind. I became obsessed with you, wanting to understand your layers and complexities. You demanded I cared about the whole person and showed me how to synthesize mind, body, and spirit as I repeatedly tried to impress you and emulate your essence. You turned around and grabbed me fiercely. I was smitten. I surrendered; I was yours.
I was idealistic. I worked hard to make us work. I was naïve and eager to see only the good and ignored the long hours and bitterness creeping in. You introduced me to good people and their stories which kept me distracted, allowing me the perspective to weather our private storms. No one noticed I was feeling annoyed and angry when you demanded more of me than I could humanly give. You were my everything at the expense of my own self and my needs. I thought our union would be enough and keep me safe and feeling complete.
Despite three miscarriages, three babies to raise, a dad to bury, and cancer to beat, you pushed me to keep going, emotionless, unfazed, unforgiving. You told me it was all my fault: If only I would exercise more, eat better, meditate more, things would get better for us. I became lost and felt unsupported. I felt you pulling away.
We became competing forces. You were my Romeo, I, your Juliet. If we had only lived in another time, met in another world, we could have avoided the sparring that existed because of the space we found ourselves in. Our shared aspirations should have transcended the dysfunction brewing between us. We allowed others to get in between us and complicate our partnership. I tried to catch your attention many times to run away and do it our way. Sadly, we were not allowed to follow our hearts.
I thought wrongly I could change you. I thought I had your ear and respect and could steer you back to me when you fell prey to gadgets and gizmos and dollar signs that divided us and shifted your goals away from mine. I worked harder, pivoted as you pivoted, and tried to embrace your new whims. You cared more about the opinions of others than the endeavors we were trained to do. Our passions and values no longer aligned. I wanted to see our friends and spend more time with them. You prevented me from this joy and made it only more cumbersome and a lot less fun. After decades of this facade, it was time to part ways and be true to myself. I no longer recognize you or the you I thought I loved.
It has been a grieving process to reach this awareness and look at us from the inside out. I thought I could maybe last a little longer and see if things improve, but that has been my mantra for too much time already. I will miss the great circle of people I met because of us, but trust they will fare well and will hopefully remain in touch.
I hope we can remain friends.
Katie Klingberg is a family physician.
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