What could have been — should’ve been. But can’t be.

Jennifer Schmidt
2 min readFeb 14, 2023
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

There’s a well known, but hard to remember fact about love: it takes two people in a relationship for it work.

One person can’t force it, can’t make it work. No matter how hard they try. Two people have to work together and when they can’t… then it’s just one person trying so hard to get it right. Trying to patch the holes. Trying to build something.

Trying — And failing. Only getting hurt.

Of course, we want to think somehow we can make the change happen, convince the other person, make them see our way.

But we just can’t. They can’t see what they refuse to see. No matter how many times it’s thrust into their face. Doesn’t mean they don’t love you… just means they can’t see past their preconceived notions… or themselves.

At some point the stress and futility of trying becomes too much to bear. And there’s no other option than to just walk away.

Of course the person who wouldn’t try doesn’t feel the exhaustion and anguish the person who has been trying feels. They don’t understand why everything isn’t peachy keen. But the person who has been trying… they know. They know the toll it has taken on them mentally and emotionally and it’s all they can do to walk away in one piece.

I walked away. I wish I hadn’t. But I knew I needed to.

Walking away felt so scary because I knew he’d never follow if I did. I knew his pride would be too strong and his determination to never be hurt would keep him moving forward.

He never needed me. He never would follow me.

I think that hurt the most. Being so in love with him, so convinced of our future, but facing struggle with him at every turn. Whether he was meant for me or not. I had to move on from the toxicity. I had to think of myself and not just him. I had to admit it just can’t be.



Jennifer Schmidt

Lifestyle turned content marketing and thought leadership writer. I specialize in tech writing and content writing. Find me at: schmidtwrites.com