Why I never said I love you even though I probably did

I wasn’t sure what authentic love is, and the last thing I wanted to do is bullshit.

“Intuition” isn’t good enough. It wasn’t so much a fear of intimacy or vulnerability as it was a fear of fuckery — I don’t trust my judgment.

On the one hand, feel is:

He was very dear to me.

I wanted him to feel loved and cared for. I wanted him to have whatever made him happy, both short and long term. I asked about his day because I actually cared. I listened when he talked; heard between the lines. I touched him often and never pulled away when he touched me, because I know doing so pains those with the “physical” love language and pain is the last thing I wanted for him.

I wanted to protect him. I didn’t like when he had bad days at work or hit traffic on the way home. It wasn’t cute when his buddies gave him shit. God help any bartender who brought him the wrong drink. I would have had it out with anyone who had it out for him. I wanted him un-maimed and unhurt.

I made friends with his friends even though they’re not my kind of people. We frequented his favorite bars and avoid the ones he hates.

He was singular, and not a stand-in. My care for him was not dispensable or transferable. If it hadn’t been it would have been no one, and I hope he knew that.

Loving him felt as easy and as obvious as grabbing beers with him. Like, “of course — you’re my boy.” Cheers to this.

He was so heartwrenchingly deserving of love, and I wanted that for him so hard.

I didn’t want him to hurt, ever.

But feel is also:

I was what hurt him.

I couldn’t promise I’d always be there. I couldn’t swear I’d never leave. I couldn’t assure him I wouldn’t break his heart or otherwise fuck him over, and it seems like we don’t do that sort of thing to people we love.

Everything I gave him was authentic, and that includes the numerous times I told him: I’m a runner.

I love lightly. I leave. I do things like move to Asia.

Do we knowingly accept that we might hurt people we say we love? Do we admit this shit out loud?

Is it love if it’s as easy to walk away as it was to give? I don’t know. And the hard part here is being torn between this hit-me-over-head obvious affection, and the other inclinations I know I also had.

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