I will always love the false image I had of you, and that will not change. The person you represented yourself to be was the person I fell for, and that person I still love.
It is not you.
Arriving at this realization was difficult, in the extreme, but it is the truth of things, and I try never to run from the truth if at all possible. I am frequently anxious, I am frequently afraid, I have made bad decisions, and I will likely make more in the future. I have regrets, I am frequently impulsive, and more gullible than I wish to be. None of this is news to anyone who's followed this blog for any length of time.
What is news, if only to me, is just this: you aren't the man I grew to love. Your mask was. Which, I suppose, is fine as long as the mask comes off and there's a connection still, but...when the mask came off, I realized there was nothing there I adored.
Do I still miss you? Of course. I miss your wit, I miss your sarcasm, I miss your body. I miss cuddling in your lap and feeling safe. I miss watching Rifftrax films with you and teasing back and forth over the course of a day.
But these are things, these are individual moments that I am realizing can be replaced by other people I already love, masks on or off. The core of it, as sad as it makes me, as hard as it is for me to articulate...is that I do not love the man you are. I loved the man you pretended to be, and that man, my dear, does not exist.
Perhaps he never existed.
And I need to finally come to terms with that, and find a way to let go of the love I still have for your false face. I wish you all good things, and every happiness you can manage, but I cannot keep you as special to me, because you were not the one that was special. I believed in the man you held up before the light of your soul, and it is my own fault, as well as yours, that I only saw the shadowed reflections of that light.