At least that’s what I eventually always called you. The truth was though, that after we broke up our 3.5 year relationship, we only remained broken up for a few months. Yes, in that time we were fully broken up, we weren’t speaking, we both saw other people, we were moving on, at least trying to. Until we didn’t want to try any more.
There seemed to be a magnetic force in the universe that brings me back to you, but I don’t know if you feel the same magnetic force. I think that you knew that I would come back, and that was enough for you to be convinced. It was convenient. It was comfortable. I knew you better than anyone did, and you; me.
Things were back to us hanging out, but not to you truly caring. It was a surface level relationship for two years, never confirming that we were back together, but never denying that we weren’t seeing each other. You always said you didn’t want anything serious, and I wanted to keep my options open, too. It worked at the time. We were honest with each other about where we stood.
I moved away, we continued to be close. I frequently visited my old home, and that made things easy. That is, until you found out that I was casually dating someone else. From there on out, you guilted me into disclosing all of my dates, non-relationships, flings, etc. Shortly after you had been dealing with the news that I might have feelings for someone else, you (kind of) dropped the bomb on me that you want us to be official again.
But it wasn’t the way you would expect someone to come back. There was no grand gesture, no confession of making mistakes, no admittance of the classic “I’m still in love with you!” You casually brought it up, wondering what I thought of the idea, and I pushed and pushed to ask you why you had thought of this NOW, what had changed, and what you feel about me. You only said you have changed, and that you were selfish at the time of our breakup, and that you know that we make a good couple. You remained lukewarm in sharing your feelings about me, about the situation, about your desires moving forward. You asked me if I could refrain from dating other people until we could talk about it more in person, and you agreed to do the same.
I think at some point I was expecting you to come forward with a earth-shattering confession or move. Something to make me believe that things were going to change, something to make me believe that you were worthy of me coming back to you. Something that would make a great final scene to a rom-com about an imperfect couple still finding a way to make it work. But that moment never came. Yet I held on.
When we finally saw each other in person, almost 5 months after our initial discussion, you seemingly didn’t have anything to say to me. You didn’t look at me as though you wanted something more from me than a visit every two months. After a brief interaction that day, and you ignoring any kind of communication from me for the following month, it seems as though you are seeing someone else.
There are no rules to this. There were no rules about you not being able to date someone else, and no rules about what kind of communication you are required to have with me. BUT, I would have thought that throughout our rollercoaster relationship that lasted almost 7 years, I deserved a little bit more than the fallout that took place. I deserved more than the betrayal of our friendship, and the betrayal of trust and mutual understanding that despite everything, we were still capable of being humans that cared about each other.
See, what you were asking me to do just a few short months ago was to not only forgive you and let you back into my heart, which I had essentially already done, but to also bring you back into my life. My friends and family knew that you broke my heart when we initially ended things, and I would have had to pull a “just kidding guys, you don’t have to hate him anymore for me!”
You were asking me to do this without being sure. You should have thought about it and been sure it was what you want, and actually seriously pursued us repairing our relationship, rather than dangling it in front of me as an incentive to make sure I wasn’t seeing anyone else. Being with me wasn’t something you were sure you wanted, but you saw it as a temporary means to prevent me from moving on. Which is why you didn’t have any grand gestures or confessions: that just wasn’t what was in your heart.
You asked me to do this without considering the repercussions of how it would affect my heart and all of the healing that I had already done. Because after you seemingly withdrew your offer, you didn’t think it was important to tell me this was off the table. You started dating someone else without my knowledge, knowing that you probably should confront me. But you didn’t.
You took a nearly 7-year relationship and let it fade away, leaving me to make assumptions and come up with answers on my own. You lied to me… until you just stopped talking to me altogether. No warning, no explanation. You made the excuse that your phone wasn’t receiving texts from time to time, but as I learned from your frequent answering texts when we were together just a short while ago, that could not be the case. I could go on about the countless ways that you were terrible, but I won’t. What’s the point anymore?
You took the years of my caring about you and disregarded it as though I mean nothing. As though I don’t deserve an explanation of why you did what you did. I think that you did this to leave the door open. But I can’t leave the door open anymore. It’s painful to know that. But you have held the power for too long.
About a year into our relationship, you said you needed space. We came back together on your terms. I thought it was the end of our relationship. But YOU decided that it wasn’t. I should have known right then and there that you were going to be determined to call the shots.
The thing about relationships is that it should be… a relationship. It shouldn’t be one person holding the power, making the other person feel as though they could leave at any moment. It shouldn’t be one person making the decisions. Relationships work only if both parties regard the other as their equal. But you never saw it that way.
I was always a pawn to be played, a person to put right where you want me, whenever you wanted me there. When you wanted a girlfriend, I was that girl. When you wanted to pull back, but have the option of going back to your girlfriend, I was there. When you wanted to halfway get back together, and have me be exclusive with you but you not be exclusive with me, that’s the way it worked out. When you wanted to talk about getting back together for real, I was there. And finally, when you wanted me to just fade away and pretend like I didn’t exist anymore… that’s exactly what you made sure happened.
I deserve more than someone else always deciding my role in our relationship. I deserve more than being someone’s back-up plan. I deserve someone who does everything in his power to make sure I know how important I am to him. I deserve someone understanding that real love means that you’ll go to the ends of the earth to make things work, or will at least try, and at the very least it means having the respect for someone to make them feel like they are participating in major relationship decisions. Or you know, someone who at least respects the friendship that a relationship is based on.
I’m writing this because not only do I admittedly want you to see, but also because I know that there are women out there who go through this pain of having a not-quite-ex, not quite boyfriend (or girlfriend); and being caught in the middle is exhausting. Those women are not alone, and I hope they can learn from my mistakes and know that they deserve more. I kept saying this to myself throughout my initial breakup, and I’ll continue to say it to myself now: I may have loved him, but I MUST love myself more. I DESERVE to be loved more.
I hope you find someone that you deem worthy of being your true equal in a relationship. The truth is I was worthy of that, too, but unfortunately you’ll never see it that way. There is no justification in the world for the way you ended things, and no one deserves the pain and insecurity that you put me through in making me feel like I was at your mercy for almost 7 years.
I’ll save my Xs and Os for someone more worthy.