Catch and release: A common term used by fishermen. Dangling bait in hopes of luring in a beautifully naive fish.
Catch and release: An impeccably painful description of many relationships we sometimes find ourselves in.
I have been the stupid little fish who nips at the shiny and enticing bait. The stupid little fish who later finds herself reeled into the hands of yet another selfish fisherman—a man who is using me for sport.
They want us until they have us, then their game is done, and they are bored.
I have never considered myself to be an “easy catch,” yet they will enthusiastically chase and pursue—never seeming to lose interest. They cause my tragically hopeless, romantic brain to believe that maybe this one is different. After chasing and reeling, I find myself theirs, unknowingly about to unveil yet another facade.
The first dates are always great.
They are always excited to be with us; they feel lucky and honored because they have never had us before. We are still a mystery, an unknown, and they love to explore.
They tell us how smart and funny we are—how we’re different. And we think we’ve finally found someone who appreciates our charm, wit and sarcasm. They linger on every word we have to say, making us feel like the only person left on Earth.
Overtaken with hope, joy and excitement, we are certain that this one is different. This one is going to appreciate us; they know bits of our past relationships and swear they aren’t like the rest, astonished that anyone would be so blind to what a gem we are.
They tell us how lucky they feel to take us out. And we find ourselves on a high, forgetting that our last relationship began this way as well–and maybe even the one before that.
We are painfully reminded that some people are just out for the kill.
These hunters will want you; they will search for you, and they will persuade and charm you until you are captured and marked as theirs.
They will chase until you are paralyzed with emotions. Snared by something more sinister than any weapon, you will be trapped by your own stupid heart, which so hopefully believed it found something that would honor it. Your heart was used as a game.
You were caught, just to find yourself caged again.
They chased you for the sport of it. But now you are theirs, and the game is over.
You started falling for them; it was just the beginning to you. But to them, the best was already past. They liked your challenging ways—until you were no longer a challenge.
You were beautiful and unique until you became theirs. Then, like a child with old toys, they tossed aside your heart and feelings as they began making a new wish list for Christmas.
They want what they don’t have. They meet you in the pouring rain, and then leave you standing in the storm while they run away with your umbrella.
Love is not a game, and our beautiful hearts are not your medals to treasure for a moment, then throw into a box in the back of your closet. We are not merely mountains to be climbed; we are lifelong adventures.
And maybe it isn’t us; maybe you weren’t up for the challenge.
I am yours. You wanted me, and you got me—now what?
Author: Emily Cutshaw
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Blake Wisz/Unsplash