As a man, I have a hard time admitting I was wrong. But I have no other option now but to come clean about my biggest mistake as it’s starting to suffocate me. The truth is as simple as it is painful. I loved, I acted like a total jerk and I lost her for good. I had an amazing girlfriend, one in a million and I treated her like she was ordinary.

I knew how she felt about me right from the start. I knew she was head over heels in love, it was pretty evident and she did nothing to hide it. Her eyes would light up every time she would see me. She would melt in my hands. She liked me being around so much that she would try to stop me every time I wanted to leave.

But I didn’t know how to stay at the time. Not for very long anyway. As much as I loved her pulling me close, it was also freaking me out. So I did what any man unsure of himself doesI played it cool. I would be there one moment and I would pull away the next. I would tell her the sweetest words before we went to bed and then disappear with them in the morning.

I remember my phone buzzing. I would lift it up and see she had sent a text and I would put it down by default. I would be happy because of the text but I would always reply later. I would keep her waiting for hours, sometimes even a day, just so I could keep her close but not close enough.

I would postpone our plans often. I was always the type to put my friends first, so if they had something going on I wouldn’t have any problem calling her and canceling last minute. I was so caught up with that ‘bros before hoes’ mantra that I exaggerated big time and she was paying the price.

I was a jerk and though I did most things unintentionally, it doesn’t excuse everything that I put her through. It’s not that I was playing games, or at least I had no intention of doing so. It was just easier keeping her at arm’s length. I was so used to her being there no matter what. I was so used to her forgiving me without even having to say I was sorry. I was used to being treated well for acting like shit. I was used to it and I thought it would last forever. I thought wrong.

She warned me that she couldn’t handle my inconsistency anymore. She was sick of me being only halfway in the relationship. She said she didn’t know how much more she could take if something didn’t change. She told me she wouldn’t beg for my time. She told me I needed to treat her better. She told me a lot of things and all of them were true but they never reached me until it was too late.

I don’t know why I acted that way. I want to blame it all on the fact that I was young and foolish. I want to pin it all on my perpetual fear of commitment. But nothing seems enough. Whatever the cause was for my half-assed behavior , I am paying a high price for it now.

I have to watch her from a distance instead of holding her close. She is happy with him, it pains me to say, but maybe happier than when she was with me. He has given her all I couldn’t or didn’t know how to. He is appreciating all I had and took for granted. He is a better man. He is a lucky man.

On the other hand, I am the man who had the opportunity to be with someone great and gambled it away. For what? For lonely nights and random girls now and then, who don’t even come close to her. I deserve it. I deserve the regret I have now for all the tears I put on her beautiful face. I deserve all the what ifs keeping me up at night.

What if I’d had the balls to put her above my fears? I can’t understand now what I was fighting against. Maybe she would still be by my side if I had put my guard down and told her how I really felt. All I needed to do was fall right into her arms and risk it all.

What if I had been the man she deserved? A man who would appreciate her being just the way she was. A man who was able to give back all that she gave him. She didn’t ask for much. She wanted my respect, she wanted me to have her back like she did mine. She wanted my time and attention. She wanted to feel loved.

What if I had put her first? I love my friends but they didn’t need all of my time. I love my job but I didn’t have to work overtime, at least not always. I should have made time like she did for me. I should have answered her texts and calls like she did mine. I should have pulled her close and not run away. I should have. But I didn’t. Now I have to live with that.

What if I had asked her to stay? Maybe she would have given me one more chance to make it right even though I didn’t deserve it. Maybe she wouldn’t have stayed but I should have asked nonetheless. She stumbled on her pride so many times for me, I should have done the same for her. Instead of doing something, I did nothing. I didn’t fight for the one I loved. I did nothing to keep her in my life. That’s why all I am left with now are what ifs and the hope that one day I will be able to forgive myself for letting her go.

By Owen Scott