It’s rare that I get super personal on this blog but after reading “The Problem with Forever” by Jennifer L. Armentrout I had to speak a bit of. my heart…
There may be some semi-spoilers in this post so read it cautiously if you haven’t read the novel yet. Mainly though this post is a letter to my best friend. Well, he used to be my best friend. Here’s how all this ties in…
My best friend and I have known each other for about 10 years and he’s been a massively huge part of my life in more ways then he probably likes to admit or even understands. We dated, we got engaged, we promised forever, and then forever turned into off and on again years where we couldn’t seem to ever get it right. I loved him and I couldn’t let go of that love no matter how hard I tried. It took me a long time to realize and accept that it was okay. When love is real it never goes away and that’s part of the beauty of it. It also took me a long time to realize that while I would always love him I wasn’t IN love with him anymore. My love for him was more than a romantic thing it was the kind of love you hold for best friends because they are truly unique and special.
Right before my mum passed away, him and I reconnected after not talking for about a year. He knows me in a way most people probably never will. I can be myself around him and I know he doesn’t judge me or see me as weak and silly when I get a bit anxious or emotional about life. We just had that kind of friendship where we understood each other on a level most people never will and that was incredible. The problem? Life. We got carried away and things didn’t go as planned. And while I’m willing to own up to my mistakes and make things right, he chose to walk away. This is how it has been for the past 10 years. And it’s ripped my heart out every time making me think there was something wrong with me. That I was so hard to love or not worthy of his time and friendship. Those feelings ate away at me for so long and it was a vicious cycle. One many people tried over and over again to get me to break but here’s the catch… I know he’s better than that. I know the man he wants to be and the man that he can be and it’s truly extraordinary. But he gets scared and his fear dictates his life and his actions and he leaves before things can get harder.
This past time I wasn’t heartbroken the way I had always been over the past 10 years. This time… I was angry. And I’ve been carrying this anger with me for weeks now as I’ve tried to rationalize it or understand what happened. Then I read “The Problem with Forever.” Rider and Mallory have been best friends their whole lives and while a really messed up, abusive childhood brought them together, and that isn’t what brought my best friend and I together, their connection is something I know very well. I’m going to share a passage with you that finally made me realize why I was so angry at my best friend….
“You know what I said to you yesterday? It’s true. So damn true. You gave up on yourself before they even had a chance!”
“And you’re doing it to us! You’re giving up on us before we even get started. And worse yet, you’re using me as an excuse. You’re going to do what you always did — protect me when you shouldn’t have.”
“This isn’t like before,” he stated quietly.
“Yes. Yes it is. You have no sense of self-preservation.” I took a step toward him, but stopped. If I got close enough, I might beat him with a throw pillow. “I always thought you had taken on this role as a knight in shining armor, but I was wrong. You’re just a martyr.”
“What is it with you, Rider? You are so freaking smart and so damn talented, but you — you –” I raised my hand and pointed at him, “–you don’t try, and the moment something becomes hard, you run. You give up. That wasn’t the Rider I knew growing up. You were a fighter back then, but when it matters most, like with your damn life, you just give up.”
“You do.” Tears clawed their way up the back of my throat as I stared at him. God, this wasn’t fair. This was so damn unfair.
He put that weight on his shoulders; he found guilt and responsibility wherever he could and he hugged that mess close. This wasn’t me giving up on him. This was always him giving up on himself. It struck me then, and it took me everything to swallow down the sob.
“You’ve had years — eighteen years of feeling this way. No conversation is going to undo years of feeling like you’re nothing, of ignoring all those around you telling you that you do matter. The Lunas couldn’t fix that. Oh my God, I can’t undo that. I can’t fix that. I would’ve tried –” My breath caught again. “I would’ve tried, because I love you, I love you so very much, but you have to be the one to change it. Not me.”
I wanted to scream at him. I wanted him to see what I saw in him, what I knew others would see in him if given the chance. But I didn’t, because how in the world could I fight for him, when he wouldn’t even fight for himself?
I took out a few bits here and there so it’s not a direct, direct quote from the book, but this part gripped my heart and suddenly made me want to reach out to my best friend who told me he just couldn’t be my friend right now without even giving us a chance to try and make things right. And I was angry because I needed him most right now, even if he didn’t always know the words to say, and even if we had gotten sidetracked with stupid things it didn’t change the importance of our friendship. But what I realized most… I was angry at him because he was always giving up before anyone else could give up on him. And somewhere in his life I think he did stop fighting for himself and I hate that. My best friend is one of the most talented human beings you’ll ever meet and underneath the nonsense is a beautiful soul. And for so many years, well the past 10, I’ve been fighting for him. I thought I was fighting for us. I thought I was fighting to save a relationship I believed was meant for forever but the truth is… I was fighting for him. I was fighting for him to see his worth, his value, his purpose in this world and in the lives of so many. I was fighting for him to know how ridiculously and unconditionally he was loved even when he didn’t feel he was worthy of it. And he’d use me as the excuse every time as to why we couldn’t be in a relationship or just be friends. He’d tell me how I deserved so much better and that it was best if we were apart. He never gave me a chance to choose. He never gave me a chance to tell him he was wrong. Those words always fell on deaf ears and text messages he probably never read. And I was left looking desperate and foolish for chasing someone who clearly wanted nothing to do with me. I was left being told to not let him have power over me anymore and that he wasn’t worth my time and that I deserved better.
And I realized now that on the outside I can see why people think I should just move on and forget about my best friend. He has this ridiculous hero complex (or he once did) and I used to think he was saving me. But the truth is I’ve always wanted to help him. To be there for him when he needed someone the most and I was willing to accept whatever that came with because as I said before, I love him. Not in the way a woman loves a man but in the way two friends love each other just as they are; broken and mending as they learn and grow in this chaotic world. After reading this book I had to accept that I can’t fight for him if he isn’t willing to fight for himself and until he does that he won’t ever try with this friendship either. And that hurts, like hell. But I hope one day he reads this and that it speaks to his heart and soul in a way I never was able to before. That maybe just this once he’ll see what I’ve always seen in him that he never could. That he’ll realize it wasn’t a physical thing, it was just the simple belief in what one human being can bring to this world. It was belief that he was worth fighting for and that he was worth more than he believed. I saw the value in his heart and in his life and I saw how he alone could impact the world if only he dared to try. If only he’d stop giving up on himself and everyone else before they even had a chance to start.
Some of the last words I told him were that love and happiness are a choice and they are. I hope wherever he is, he’s happy and knows he is loved. That one day he realizes I was always here but in those moments we were apart I had to let him find in himself what only he could find. We relied on each other far too much as mirrors for our own lives and didn’t allow ourselves to figure out who we were on our own. We’ve both had a lot of learning to do in this life and we both wanted to protect and save each other. The saddest part of it all? Just being friends was enough and I truly believe it’s what we both needed. That’s the problem with promising forever… some things last forever and they are meant to last forever, but only if we take a moment to work at them, learn from them, and become better.
Title: The Problem With Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: 5/5 Stars