There he was. Sara didn’t believe she could ever love again. After so many heartaches, lies, and disappointment, her prince charming had finally found her. Finally! He loved her. She believed him.He would take the pieces of her broken heart and make something beautiful. She believed him. He would NEVER cheat on her. She believed him.
It was easy to believe Andy loved her. He held her hand, stole glances at her, and constantly whispered his love into her ears. She was so happy. How could this be? What had she done to deserve someone so right for her? What had he done to deserve her? They would spend every free minute of their time together. There was so much to catch up on since both of them had been alone for so long. It felt so good to be in love, and to have someone loving her back. Suddenly, a picnic in the park in the middle of a summer workday because he couldn’t wait to see her. Long walks while holding hands and planning their future together drew them closer and closer. Sara was beginning to tear away at the walls she’d built up after every man she’d ever loved had cheated on her. Before Andy, she had begun to think herself unworthy of being loved. Sure, she had an endless barrage of compliments on her personality, her beauty, and her figure. If she was such a great person, why was she always the one getting hurt? Slowly, Sara began to realize that Andy did love her.
She felt her broken heart mending in his eyes. Andy would never hurt her. She believed him. Always the perfect gentleman. Attentive, and caring? She felt so envied by other women! Every time they were apart, they wrote messages to each other via email or text. Each conversation began and ended with expressions of love for one another. Gradually, the love expressions began to wane. Eventually, they stopped altogether. It was as if the love tap had suddenly turned off. Yet, he said he loved her. He just wasn’t acting as if he was in love with her.
Andy had promised to never cheat on her. She believed him. Problem is, she always thought cheating meant looking for pleasure with other women. In some ways, that would have been much better. At least, she was used to men breaking her heart like that. Unfortunately, he began to fall deeper in love with work and anything else that didn’t involve her. It no longer mattered if he called her, texted her, or saw her. As long as he felt “needed” at work, he had his “fix” like a drug addiction. What had happened to them? This wonderful man who she thought would be her last love just “poofed” into thin air. She was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch it unfold. She was devastated! How did this happen? Had he just forgotten how to be in love with her?
She thought, “maybe I should try to tell him what I’m feeling.” We can still “fix” this before it becomes too big for both of us. She poured the feelings out of her broken heart and into his ears. He replied, as he always does, with, “it’ll be alright.” “I love you.” I’m going to do better, I promise. The words seemed so hollow, so empty. As usual, nothing changed. Why couldn’t he see how much she was hurting. Why didn’t he try to help salvage their relationship? How could she be so stupid, again?!
As she began to try to pick up the pieces of her pride, she was reminded of a familiar feeling like a knife through her heart. Even though her heart hadn’t come to terms with it, her head knew he was “Already Gone.”
Sara decided to shut down the remnants of her broken heart before she became totally destroyed. She tried to make herself beautiful and attractive by changing her perfume, her wardrobe, and her actions. She went out with friends and appeared to have a good time while her smile belied her true feelings. What had she done wrong? Sara racked her brain to find where she allowed her past fears from previous relationships to derail this beautiful new one she was so carefully cultivating. She knew not to confide in friends because they had men in their lives and was sure to give, as they always did, bad advice. When Andy called that evening asking for a dinner date, she was reluctant at first, but then acquiesced after his diatribe about his taxing day at work.
Sara was reminded of an article she’d read from one of the books used in couples’ class at her church. It said to compliment the things your partner holds dear with meaningful conversation and admiration. She also remembered to stop complaining about how little time they were spending together. After all, she’d spent almost every night with James, her previous boyfriend, and he still managed to cheat on her and lie to cover himself.
Andy arrived promptly at 6:30. They had reservations for 7 and he didn’t like being late. He handed her a bouquet of red roses, their aroma assaulting her nostrils before she could bring them to her face. He brushed a kiss on her cheek, helped her into her jacket and through the door. The drive to the restaurant was fraught with dribble about the weather and how much he admired her appearance. After drinks and appetizers, he began to erupt into conversation before their entrees arrived. Although Sara didn’t mind, she noted that he talked for 15 straight minutes before she could begin steering the conversation to how much she admired his dedication to work and job performance! Over dessert, he surprised her with a kiss and a sincere “thank-you” for noticing how difficult and demanding his workload had become and how meticulously he performs his work assignments. Sara was so intoxicated with the change in his demeanor that she almost screeched when he asked her to dance so that he could hold her close. She didn’t hear the music, she didn’t even feel her feet on the floor! She only felt his strong arms surrounding her and his breath on her neck as he held her close. He whispered in her ear, “Losing you would make me a shell of a man.” She was astonished! When she opened her mouth, no words came out. She just closed her eyes and tried to let it sink in. Was this really happening? Was she caught up in another one of her dreams?
Andy knew just what Sara needed to hear after a long, taxing day at work. He knew how to swoop her up for long drives in the country or a picnic in the park with her favorite foods. He loved her dearly. After all, he texted her every morning, afternoon, and evening, proof that she was on his mind all day. He even called or sometimes, came by for a quick kiss several evenings during the work week. Sara felt really bad for complaining about how little time they actually spent together because she knew he was trying. One day, she suggested they go away for the weekend. They needed alone time to recommit themselves and remember what brought them together in the beginning. She was sure Andy would be anxious to make reservations for their trip. After all, he loved her and wanted to make her happy. Unfortunately, it was not a good time to be away from the office because there were contracts and deadlines that had to be met. Sensing her dismay, he sent her a beautiful bouquet of flowers and arrived later with dinner plans, a card, and a kiss of apology. Disappointed, Sara resigned herself to another mundane weekend. However, she secretly remembered that her vacation was about two months away and she would have almost one month off! Surely, that would be long enough for Andy to sync his schedule and take a trip with her. She accepted what little time and affection he had for her with anticipation that everything would change when his schedule cleared up. During the first week of vacation, she asked him again about getting away for a few days. She didn’t remember his excuse this time because she’d stopped listening after the first word. Deep inside, Sara knew they would never be going anywhere together, ever. Andy still texted three times everyday but, his phone calls became fewer and more erratic. She even noticed that he’d become more routine in his visits and dinner dates. Sure, she would see him on Tuesday or Wednesday of every other week but, their time together was always on Friday nights. He began to use Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings to ‘catch up’ on work. Andy always promised he’d never lie to her or cheat so, there was no reason to believe he would be doing anything except work. One day she pressed him about what he’d learned from his most recent attendance at church service. Andy turned to look her square in the face and said, “I can’t lie to you any longer. I haven’t attended church in over two years!” Sara was stunned! She couldn’t believe that for all the conversations they’d had about attending church and learning of God, Andy had never revealed his struggle with faith. He never told her how angry he was with what he felt God had allowed to happen in his life. He insisted he would begin attending church again very soon. She believed him and didn’t press him further.
Before long, Sara began to notice that they were going out for long drives more, walking in the park more, spending more time at her place. She did note that although they were spending more time together, they were not spending a lot of time at his place. When she questioned him, he said that he was deep in prayer to get God’s blessing on the relationship. He couldn’t bear the thought of divorce, so he praying to God before he moved the relationship to the next level. Andy wanted to share his life with her but needed assurance and Divine acknowledgement that their relationship was anointed by God and she would never leave him. He began to offer prayer for them while talking on the phone, having dinner, or just walking in the park. Sara was so happy to hear that he was praying and felt they were finally back on the right track.
She began to reflect long and hard on the changes in their relationship. But she never thought he would be capable of lying, especially not to her face!