What It Feels Like to Be The Frog the Princess Never Kissed

By Allison Beckman // As Told to Madison McBride and Maggie Quirke

Relationships are supposed to be about giving and taking. Everyone gives a portion of themselves to those they love. They hope that the space left empty will be filled with a portion of their partner.

I met him at a point in my life where I didn’t have much left to give. I was lost. I drifted through most days with a cloud of smoke separating me from the rest of the world. I was dissociated from everything happening in my daily life; I spent all of my time focusing on intangible dreams and ignoring everything about which I knew I was supposed to care. During the few weeks leading up to the beginning of our relationship, I forgot how to be a human being.

But then it happened. It was one of those rare days where the smoke surrounding me from humanity thinned out- I showered for the first time in days, I finished a few of my homework assignments and I felt awake and actually alive. It was then that I realized I wanted more than the bleak solitude of a life that I had created. I wanted excitement and something new. This overwhelming desire to change my life took me over and I made a series of impulsive decisions.

The next thing I knew, there was a puppy-eyed boy following me. At first I liked being around him. He helped me with everything I needed: giving me rides, buying me food and helping me finish all of my responsibilities that had been slipping through the cracks. He gave me everything I wanted. We listened to my favorite music, we hung out with the people I liked and we went wherever I wanted to go. His presence was always a comfort to me: his warm hands covering my cold ones, his melodic laugh mixing in with the music. At first, I was content with the way things were. He was a reminder that I was part of this world on the days that I didn’t feel like I was. At first everything was laughter and speeding through conversations for hours. He complimented me constantly, telling me everything he loved about me. This, paired with the genuine care in his face every time we were together, made him an important aspect of my self confidence. It was relieving knowing he would always be there unconditionally. He was someone I could go to whenever I needed to feel good about myself. Through all my questionable choices and irreversible mistakes, he supported me. Anytime I got bored or sad I knew that he would be there to make things easier for me. I never had to be alone if I didn’t want to be because I knew he would drop any obligation to dedicate all of his time to me.

Every time he looked at me his eyes lit up in the sweetest way. I couldn’t be the one to extinguish his hope. It wasn’t hurting anyone; he got to love me and I got to let him. I wanted to get the most out of the time I spent with him because I knew there wouldn’t be much of it. The way that he cared for me was endearing at best and exhausting at worst. I was fine being with him when everything was light. He gave me pieces of himself, and I readily accepted them. I never gave him any pieces of myself, though. I didn’t want to. I knew I wouldn’t be happy losing a part of myself to him. Instead I accepted everything he gave to me and I used it to make myself better. He wanted me to be better; he wanted me to be the person he already saw within me.

I enjoyed our time paddling in the shallow end of feelings until one day I realized he was pulling me further into the pool, dragging me twelve feet under and using his love as cement boots. That was when I started to lose interest. I liked him; I liked the way he smiled at me; I liked the wrinkles around his eyes when he laughed; I liked how easily he forgave me; I liked how eager he was to spend time with me.

But I wasn’t interested in drowning with him.

I knew he wanted more than I did, I knew he thought he was gonna change my mind. I knew my interest in him had an expiration date. It was around this time that I started to feel disgusted with him. The sweetness of his validation was overshadowed by the bitter taste of his disappointment. I found myself wishing he would get angry, that he would scream and cuss and denounce me from his life. It wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t want to be around him, so I started canceling plans last minute and doing all the little things I knew would make him angry.

I wish I could say I was surprised the day that he decided he was done with me. I wanted to act like I was heartbroken and incapacitated by the loss of someone that had been with me for so long. But I wasn’t. I felt relieved. I no longer had to masquerade as the person he thought he saw in me. I no longer had to swallow my disgust with his once endearing traits. I got everything I could have hoped from him, and then I got a clean cut.