I bought matching bracelets for us. I would’ve given yours to you, with a hug, a kiss, and a little inside joke: that I wanted to be the last girl to give you a bracelet at the beach.
But you were cold, then hot again. You were salty and derisive, then sweet and complimentary. You embraced me, and then you turned on me. You asked me to be your girlfriend, your ride-or-die, and then you said, “One of us is going to fall in love with the other, and then it’s all going to end,” as if you were writing a prophecy. So you broke your word — and imploded our relationship so it couldn’t implode on its own.
I wondered a few times if you had cast a spell on me. I even said it out loud! I went from being unsure about you, to you being exactly what I wanted. All of a sudden, you had figured it out. You found the right role to play, the one that would make me adore you. Just like magic, it was all pretend.
But you could only pretend for a short time… and then the jig was up. Your true colors shined.
I almost feel like it’s all on me. But not for the reasons you think, eh? You actually tried to convince me that I was the one with the problems… that I was “manipulative,” “overreacting,” and “inconsiderate.”
But it was you all along. It was you who tried to artificially accelerate the relationship. It was you who was disrespectful of physical boundaries. It was you who demanded commitment and made ultimatums, before you and the relationship earned it. It was you who tried to ingratiate yourself in my life and merge my life into yours. It was you who demanded recognition and repayment for things you gave willingly that weren’t asked for. It was you who didn’t do what he said he would do… again and again. It was you who didn’t listen, who thought the rules didn’t apply… it was you who broke your promises and my trust.
What is on me is all the dots I didn’t connect. All the red flags I glossed over. All the times I ignored my screaming intuition. It was me who gave you first and second and third chances and the benefit of so many doubts. I should be pissed at myself. I could chastise myself for not heeding the warning signs. I should have known: how you behave early-on is the norm, not the exception. But victim-blaming myself is not a good use of my time.
Since, I have had glimpses of sadness. But more glimpses of anger; of how I was hoodwinked despite all my defenses and skepticism. But mostly, it’s an objective review that I am attempting to turn into a learning experience. I learned *so* much from you.
It sucks. But I will make better decisions in the future. I will pick better. I will not trust so freely.
And now, I wear your bracelet. I wear it as a symbol to myself to listen to my gut. To not overlook the red flags. To continue being skeptical, even wary, when someone comes in and love-bombs with endless flattery and proclamations of strong feelings.
Because in my experience, and I haven’t been proven wrong yet… when someone comes in hot and fast, they typically disappear just as quickly.
You pushed me away, and then you texted me, “I miss you.” Twice. I didn’t respond to that text, but I do miss you too. But the actuality of it is: it’s not you that I miss. I miss the person I thought you were — the person you pretended to be when you were trying to make me fall in love with you. The real you, to be sure… I’m happy to never engage with again.
The man I let into and let stay in my life? He is stable. Reliable. Securely attached. Even-keeled with his emotions. Mature and emotionally healthy. Communicative. He apologizes because he is repentant and empathetic, not to manipulate, gain favor, and get his way. Sure, he will have flaws, as do I — but he will have honesty and integrity, which are non-negotiables.
Being hurt sucks. It’s demotivating, and it makes me want to quit dating… but I’m learning. Eyes wide open, feet on the ground, and intuition volume cranked up. No regrets (ok, maybe a few)… but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a learning experience… and I’ve gained yet another tool for the toolbelt.
Shake it off, brush it off, and try again. I’ve got my own magic, and you won’t take it from me.
If you’re new to this blog, I’m a single, never-been-married woman in my mid-30s, who is traveling and dating around the world. Over the years, I’ve grown from verbally abusive relationships, infidelity, and body image issues, and I won’t settle for a relationship where there is dysfunctional behavior, a misalignment of values, or a lack of physical chemistry. It only takes one, but there is not only one; and I’m hopeful and optimistic in spite of all my challenges in love, many of which I have shared in this blog and will share in my upcoming memoir. Also, just recently having learned the definition of narcissistic behavior… I feel for everyone who has dealt with a situation like mine and worse. All the love ❤️
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