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“I still think about you every day,” the text message read.
I half-heartedly read it, before feeling my heart jump into my throat.
I sat for all of two minutes with the resolve I had built over the months trying to get over him and put the phone down.
I then picked it up and texted back.
The door, once again, swung wide open.
He, once again, waltzed into my life, at his leisure. Even worse, at my invitation. I wish I could write that this had been an isolated incident, that someone had bamboozled me once with charming wiles, but the truth is far scarier.
I had played this twisted game with every single one of my exes, and the ending was always the same: friends to lovers to strangers. Round and round we would go, until the next one. Until I was left exhausted and in the depths of worthlessness.
At first, I was naïve enough (with a twinge of my own narcissism and a heap of denial) to believe that it was because they simply couldn’t live without me. That this behaviour proved how much they loved me. Internally I am cringing. The truth is darker; it hurts more; and, to quote a cliché, it sets you free.
When we start relationships, not knowing how to love ourselves, respect ourselves, or most importantly knowing what our boundaries are, we become “easy targets.”
These kinds of relationships are never based on mutual respect or even close to what real love feels like. I would even bet that lust is often being confused for love. They are drenched in habitual patterns that reaffirm our worthlessness because we are being validated by another person.
They only reaffirm negative core beliefs—that we aren’t deserving of a love that will show up, be true to its word, and stay.
In essence, we abandon ourselves. The love we crave, the desperate kind of love that makes us do colossally stupid things, is a messenger. We are on the wrong track.
It’s going to hurt letting go, but holding on, texting back, and opening that door hurts so much more in the long run. A person is not going to disrespect you, leave your life, and come back later because they love you. They are filling a need within themselves that stems from a lack of self. We entertain it because it mirrors how we feel about ourselves.
The next time you are faced with an ex who has slid into your inbox, do only one thing: delete it.
Remind yourself of the kind of love you deserve, and by keeping that door closed, you allow another one that is meant for you to open.