Don’t. But if you must, dive in. This will be fleeting; it is not a sustainable love. Seize it, like a hand does a flame. Understand that you are not a restoration. You are not a gutted frame on which his hopes can be re-hinged. Neither offer yourself as a cipher to be filled. You are already full; you have never been so emptied, and perhaps this is what’s drawn him in the first place. Know that, at times, you resemble everything that was stripped. Know, at all times, you can compensate for nothing.
There is no pity in your attraction; you needn’t worry there. You cannot save him; you know it. This has never been your aim. It is simply that anguished men are often wisest. It is their wisdom that draws you, that stalwart, measured carriage only known to those who, having conquered, have been conquered, and are certain to conquer again. Their world, unlike the rest of ours, is flat. Only things that are able to float above that bare horizon are considered worthy of notice. You are worth his notice, and it deepens your sense of purpose. Were you made to love him? Are you here to, among other things, arc the edges of his earth? No. You may hover, but you will sink soon enough. You will blend into some faraway butte.
Get used to being called foolish. Get used to feeling foolish. Be foolish. This is not a regenerative affection. There is only one chance; you mustn’t squander it. You are not those women of grandiose lore who can love a man back from the ledge. You are the ledge; you are merely where he stands to keep from falling. You will not bear him up for very long.
For the man who has lost everything, the best you can be is a friend. When he believes he is falling in love with you, you become something more to lose. When you believe you are falling in love with him, you are already lost.
Close your eyes. Keep them shut. The best of it all is beneath your lids. This is the bit that your reflex can control, the bit that can be contained. Look at him there; he is smiling. Look at him there; he has not been brought low. And no one feels guilty and no one is broken and it seems, while you pretend to be asleep, that he is your favorite dream.
4 responses to “How to Love a Man Who’s Lost Everything.”
So women shouldn’t fall in love with a man like that because she will be lost?
We should (I don’t think we have much choice about who we love). But we shouldn’t expect the relationship to last. We should try not to be carried off with the current.
I really liked this, someone linked to it from twitter (can’t find it now). It resonated with me. And then later, as I thought about it more, I realized that I have been in the reverse situation. I was the broken one, I was the woman that lost everything. And my soon-to-be ex-husband came along and thought he could fix me. And I thought he could fix me too. In our case it was this: “You are the ledge; you are merely where she stands to keep from falling. You will not bear her up for very long.”
I wish I had googled this before I got married. This is my life as I currently know it. A man who built an empire to then watch it crumble away. And I’m feeling like the hinge for the door right now. I was warned by a true friend but didn’t take heed. What I say is I saw it and am now prepared to make of my situ the best for me. And I will not sink.