December 14, 2020

The Only Happy Ending to Toxic Love.

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One of the most difficult things for us to do is to stay away from something we love, even though we’re well aware that it’s not good for us.

The urge is always there, lying dormant with the utmost of patience, so calm and quiet that we may not even realize it still exists.

It hides, lurking like a stalker. Time means nothing because it’s not bound to schedules. Distance doesn’t matter because it packs up and travels well. It follows us everywhere, though we may no longer be attuned to its presence.

Then one day, it sneaks up on us and steals our thoughts like a thief in the night. Our hearts rip apart at the seams. And we’re suddenly faced with mixed emotions and a driving compulsion to connect with our past.

Separation from someone we love is painful as we struggle to navigate each level of grief, exchanging one for the other and often experiencing them all at once, over and over without an end in sight. Days drag on for years and nights are forever. We feel as if we will never be whole again, that we are nothing more than pieces of the person we once were, scattered all over the floor.

Then when we are sure time has healed our wounds and we are at peace, the compulsion to connect threatens to shake the very ground we walk on and consume our very being.

We find ourselves thinking…

What would it hurt to reach out and say hello? What harm could it do? It’s just a simple text to let that person know that he is on our minds. It would be nice to catch up and learn what’s going on in our worlds. So much time has passed. It’s merely a friendly gesture because we sincerely care and want to know how he is doing. How are his kids, his family? Is he doing well? Has he found a better life since we’ve parted? Does he still care? Does he still love us?

The urge is fierce. An uninvited aggression on our emotional well-being.

We fight it, pulling out the arsenal of weapons that we equipped ourselves with while we healed: self-care, self-love, self-respect, self-worth, self-preservation, peace, serenity, contentment. We risk losing the war with ourselves—no time to consider the reasons why or when this all started. We are under attack, soldiers of love, battling the invasion of toxic desires with all the strength we can muster.

And the enemy is the person we look at in the mirror each day.

She is suddenly a traitor who has turned against the self that she worked so hard to restore; painful memories have dulled with time and been replaced with an aura of romantic nostalgia.

Toxic love can be like a powerful drug, affecting your mind and body with some of the same physiological reactions. It’s addicting, and if we’re not careful, we can be lured into its grips and risk never being released.

That act of contact could hurt and cause harm to both of you. We say it’s to say hello, but the reality is we want to know that he still cares. That he still loves us. We feel the need to connect, to know he still walks on the same earth as we do.

However, we need to stay gone and here’s why.

If we are honest with ourselves, we long for two things when we reach out: to know he still loves us and maybe stay in touch as friends, or to know he still loves us and rekindle the flame. It’s not an innocent gesture. It’s fueled by want and desire.

In either case, the outcome is a danger to ourselves. We may be met with bitter cold and face total rejection, putting us right back where we were when we first said goodbye. Or we may rekindle the flame, only to repeat the same patterns, and risk ending up in even more pain when it ends again—which it inevitably will.

When it comes to toxic love, the only happy ending is to stay away and continue healing and becoming an even better version of yourself.

Do yourselves both a favor.

Let him stay gone—even if he’s never forgotten.


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