I Love You But I Need To Protect Myself

Photo: Getty
woman sad in bed

By Meganne MacFarlane

I’ve been making myself small. Small enough that I’ve forgotten what I look like.

That reflection in the mirror is not mine.

I am a force to be reckoned. I could light up stadiums with my smile, but lately... lately it’s all darkness.

Relationships have a way of changing you.

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One minute, you’re saying things like “but I love you,” and the next minute you’re saying things like, “I love you but...”

When did "I love you" become forced? An obligation we utter out of habit.

I remember the first time I said it. You were my first. I was so damn nervous that I spelled it out on your back, my finger carefully carving each word.

I guess I didn’t really say it out loud until a bit later. Looking into your eyes, for the first time, I knew what love looked like.

It was you and I going shopping together — hands held, smiles bright.

Our first sleepover, how nervous I was to wake up in the bed the next morning, wondering if you’d want to make the morning last the entire day.

I held my head higher when we first started dating. I voiced my opinion more, made new friends, started doing things for myself.

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Your support guided me.

With the rollercoaster we’ve been stuck on lately, I’ve been shrinking.

I wanted you to feel good, so I made myself small. So small that it hurt to raise my voice.

You changed the way I viewed love, and now I’m not sure if I’m blinded by it.

I’ve been broken for a while now. I have my bad days and I hate that they can bring you down.

I know all you want is to lift me up, but I fear sometimes the weight of my world is too much for arms to carry.

You’re a strong man, but you have been weak. You have found comfort in arms that were not mine.

Perhaps I make myself small so you have to try to hold on to me tighter, fearing I may just slip away.

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I’m not sure how we got here. How kissing me quiet turned to a walk out the door.

I am tired of feeling like there is an earthquake under my feet every time we argue. We are going to disagree, but walking away is not going to solve a single thing.

You are the one that I want but don’t mistake that for me needing you.

I came into this world a fighter and I will fight for what I love, but I have a breaking point.

I am strong enough to know what we have, but I know my worth.

The lying and leaving are the only things that need to walk out that door and not come back.

I’d love nothing more than to hold your hand forever, so please don’t make me keep questioning you. There was a time I thought I’d never be happy, but then you came around.

My point is, I’ve been wrong about what I needed or could accomplish before and will not make the same mistake again.

Love me or leave me, I can’t be in this limbo any longer.

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Meganne MacFarlane is a creative writer whose work has been featured on Unwritten and All4Women. She writes on topics of gender, heartbreak, and relationships.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.