Isn’t it fun to think you’ll be The One? To grow up reading fantasy novels focused on the Chosen One, the Savior, the One Who Changes Everything?
The one who finally breaks his toxic patterns.
You stay by his side through the years, loving him unconditionally. No matter how many women you watch him hurt (he will someday grow out of that behavior). No matter how many times he callously shifts in and out of your life.
You stop everything when he comes back into your life under the pretense of reconnecting as old friends or flames: you have been both, you are both. Maybe it was only a few weeks, a few months, maybe this time it was more than a year. It doesn’t matter. In these times, you let him take everything. You let him take your time, words, love, and worst of all, thoughts. Scratch that, you give it willingly. Anything he asks for anytime he wants it, you are there to give it. It feels so good and the best part is that he loves you for it. He loves that you are always on his schedule, always there. Who wouldn’t? Reliable positive energy for years and years. And a key point is that you’re never resentful when he disappears, you never mind.
Oh but you do. You very much mind, but you let it happen in the name of steadfast reliability and unconditional loyalty. It’s your thing. You believe this to be love. You give and you give and never ask for anything in return.
Isn’t it addicting to think you’ll be The One? Isn’t it romantic? He always comes back to you, that has to mean something.
But someday, you will be unable to give without receiving. You will be spent. You will ask for more from him. It will be the wrong time and the wrong place simply because there was never going to be a right time or a right place.
You will get your heart absolutely broken.
And then sometime after, maybe weeks, maybe years, you will see that you were never The One. That there was never going to be The One because his patterns of coming and going, love and indifference, were never going to be changed by anyone but him. And really, you knew this. That’s why you were so scared to ask for anything.
You watched him treat other women this way, and then you realized he had been doing this to you too. The only variable factor that made you so special was that you put up with it. If this is true, you don’t want to be special anymore.
You now, not without difficulty, understand the disservice you were doing to yourself, and to him, by reinforcing toxic behaviors. Allowing him to take and take without giving anything in return created the unspoken affirmation of, “I allow you to treat me badly. I will love you anyway. I will never leave, no matter how I am treated.”
When you stop allowing this, when you alter the way your relationship has been working in false harmony for years, he will be indignant. He will be angry. I mean you are the one that’s changing everything, taking away something you have been giving freely for years.
You will be confused and sad, but not forever. You will focus on the love you are already receiving. You will make space for healthy relationships.
If you love someone, you must hold them accountable for their actions. In this instance, loving accountability equates to the painful reality of being able to finally say goodbye.
(Previously published by Harness Magazine at http://www.harnessmagazine.com)