I Can't Love You If You Won't Let Me In

Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock
couple on the couch looking away from each other

I looked at him under the night sky. For the past three hours, I had been desperately trying to get him to open up to me. He won't let me in, and I'm not sure how to sit with myself over it. 

And this was all the more insane considering that we'd known each other for ten years.

Even after ten years, he won't let me in.

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There's nothing I could do to change that. No matter how hard I tried. 

Though we had, at one point, been very close, we had drifted apart for several years. Things happened.

It made us both guarded against one another. There was, and still is, so much left unsaid between us.

We were outside, having a smoke and talking. Or, I should say, I was trying to talk to him.

I wanted to know what was going through his mind. I told him things about what was up with my life.

With every single question, I'd get one-word answers, vague responses, or he'd just clam up.

At one point, he even told me to drop certain subjects.

No matter what I said to him, nothing seemed to work.

He was completely clammed up, and despite there being a mutual attraction, nothing that I could say or do could put him at ease.

I understood why. Believe me, I did. We had both been hurt immensely, and we hurt each other in the past, too.

But at the same time, here we were, outside, looking at each other, hoping that we could get that closeness once more.

I had hoped, perhaps stupidly, that we could reconnect the way people do in movies.

wanted to believe that, at one point or another, we'd come back together like a classic 80s trope involving two people who act like they hate each other but actually love one another.

But the reality of the situation was setting in too damn hard for me to ignore all the writing on the wall.

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He was literally shaking in the grips of anxiety, despite the fact that I'd made it abundantly clear that I wanted to be with him.

I wanted him to open up about everything. I wanted him to say the words that I couldn't say for him.

I wanted us to talk again, like real friends, even if we wouldn't end up being lovers.

I wanted to bond with him, for real. And here he was, saying little aside from the fact that he felt lame.

I left and decided to try to reach out again via text.

Even when I opened up to him about things that upset me, I'd get no response in return.

It was literally nothing but radio silence, apologies, minor panic attacks, and the occasional phone call when I'd tell him I was feeling frustrated with his lack of communication.

If it wasn't for the fact that I knew him as well as I did, I would have thought he just hated my guts as a person and that he didn't even want to be friends.

Because of the way that he was behaving, I had to be the one to step it up.

I had to be the one to reach out, to encourage him, to try to show that I wasn't trying to hurt him.

The harder I tried to make him open up and actually bond with me, the more he put up his walls.

I began to feel hurt. It hurt that he didn't want me to have heart-to-hearts with him.

Even just getting him to tell me that he had a crush on me took a Herculean effort on my part.

It felt a lot like being told to kick down a series of steel doors. Each step in the right direction took a lot of effort, hurt me, and tired me out.

The truth is, I knew it wouldn't work out with him  not the way things were right now, anyway.

I was worn out and I really wanted it to work.

But how can I love him if he won't let me in?

How can we bond as a couple or even relax around one another if we can't share what burdens our minds?

I can't be with someone who won't let me know anything about him or why he's behaving the way he is.

I can't love someone who won't let me in, nor could I be with someone who forced me to chase him so aggressively.

In the end, I didn't decide to delete his number, but I did decide to leave him alone.

I may feel like that classic cinematic ending never really came but hey, these things happen.

At the very least, if he ever comes around again, I'd be happy to let him open up to me again.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. She writes primarily about lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships. Follow her on Twitter.