It happens to the best of us. You know what I’m talking about—that one person who captures your imagination. And by imagination, I really mean imagination. This is the person you go crazy over, not because of who they are, but who you think they can be.
To generalize, this person probably doesn’t see themselves the way you do. They are probably good looking, clever, funny and capable, but where you see all of these things, they just see failure, failure, failure and failure. I’m going to generalize some more and say that you are probably all these things too, and that you are humbly aware of this.
When you meet this person, you’ll approach them like you approach everything in your life—like something you can conquer, something you can use your Bedazzler on to make shiny and impressive. So no matter how badly this person treats you, no matter how much they put you down (because people like this can’t stand to be at the bottom all alone), you’ll make a million and one excuses. You’ll say to yourself, “but I know they are better.”
The thing is, this person is not better. You can’t make them better. They probably don’t even want to be better. Misery is a very powerful drug. So most likely your bleeding heart will get the better of you and you’ll allow yourself to be dragged down, to plummet into dysfunction and insecurity with them. But this person you’re trying to save is drowning. Not waving.
Here’s the fun part—after whatever period of emotional abuse, they are going to dump YOU, because you’re not a quitter. No, you’ve never quit a thing in your life and you’re not about to start now. At first you’re OK with this. You’re relieved that someone else did what you couldn’t because you were too busy trying to get the diamantes to stick where they were never supposed to be in the first place. But once you mull it over, once you get some space, you’ll start getting really, really angry, and it won’t be directed at them for dumping you. It will be at yourself—for not being sensible enough to do it first, or better yet, for getting involved in the first place.
Now you have the bitch hindsight breathing down your neck and she’s cackling like a banshee because you’re an idiot, and once again she wins and gets to torment you like the whore she is. You fucked up. You let someone, a jerk-wad-half-assed-shit-for-brains someone make you feel like you were just as much of a dysfunctional moron as they are. Aren’t you smarter than this? Aren’t you faster, better, stronger, more Daft Punk, than to let someone beguile you into self-destruction?
The bottom line is that it sucks when someone dumps you who neither treated you well nor deserved to be with you in the first place. You’ll feel drained, used and a little bit dirty at the end of it all, especially when you realize how much unwarranted time and patience and fucking understanding, you gave to the other person without ever asking for something for yourself. You were gentle and tender and good humored too, for the most part, weren’t you? For the first time you’ll realize that martyrdom is not as romantic as you first thought it to be.
So what’s left at the end of it all? You’ll consider boxing your heart up and tucking it away in the attic for a while, but that’s not the answer. That’s letting the succubus win, and you know how much losers love to have a good, gloat filled win. Instead, you need to go all Alanis Morissette on your own ass, “You Live, You Learn” style.
Because here’s the thing—it’s not personal. The way you were treated and the fact that you were dumped has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the other person. Sleep well in the knowledge that you did nothing wrong, and that the right person will appreciate you for everything you are. Moreover, when you do meet someone new, be sure to be your loving, tender self, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for something back. Love doesn’t mean constant sacrifice by one person for another, and you’re allowed to want a certain amount of appreciation to be shown for your openness.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that “love” doesn’t always mean “give.” Love is a special place in the middle. It’s hard to get to and there aren’t any maps, but I’m pretty sure that when you do arrive, it’s pretty damn sweet, and well worth all the tribulation.
Follow Kat on Twitter @kat_george
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