subject line: how to stay. April 21, 2016 by Hannah Brencher at a bar on a thursday It was one of those times when you just wanted to slap sense silly into someone. She asked me about my best relationship ever, and without hesitation I said ‘T. It was T.’ She looked surprised. We dated years ago. And I told her about how since then I haven’t really found a person who felt like my best friend the way he did. How he taught me about how not only love, which is no small feat., but communication and respect and being passionate about whatever craft you take on in this life. She asked me if I miss it. She asked me if I ever would do it again.”No. No I never would. There was one time after we broke up when I saw him at this party. In the beginning of the night when he saw me, he walked up and gave me a big hug. I was so excited. I was seeing my best friend. Then by the end of the night, when I tried to catch up with him, he was too fucked up to carry a conversation with me. And that is not the person who I fell in love with. I would not do it again. It wouldn’t be fair to myself to hang onto some skewed perception of what love should be. I still love him. I’ll always love him. I would never date him again.”She looked sad. She told me she thinks she would do it again. She told me that was really strong of me to realize.I wanted to yell at her. I wanted to tell her how I didn’t leave to feel strong. I felt so weak walking away from my person. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make and the hardest loss I’ve ever suffered. It felt paralyzing. She didn’t get to make it sound like it was easy. She didn’t get to make it sound like unconditional love is romantic and whimsical and filled with second chances. She didn’t get to make it sound like she loved her person more than I loved my person because she was willing to put up with more dumb bullshit and drama and bad life decisions than I was. Second chances stopped being sexy and fun once drugs were involved. They stopped being brave and respectable once they valued something more than our relationship. I wanted to slap some sense into her.I was quiet. I didn’t do that. I just felt sad for her. He taught me how to love. He didn’t teach me how to stay.