If you ask her she’ll probably still speaks about you as highly as she always has in the past. You ask her what she thinks of you there isn’t a bad word she’d say. If you ask her what happened she’ll freeze for a moment because the truth is she doesn’t really know.
What she does know is here was someone she cared a lot about. Someone she talked to often. Someone she made an effort to see. Someone she fell really hard for. Someone who seemed to make her a priority too. At least in the beginning.
That’s the thing about guys like you. You know exactly what to say. You know how to make her fall for you. Charming and full of whit and well liked. Wrapping girls around your finger. (But not every girl, the ones you know you can have but never fully want.)Getting a high on their reactions and the control you have over them. You pull her in close enough just to leave. It doesn’t make you a bad person, you’re just a person who happens to like the attention you get. You choose people who are going to give it to you. And when there’s nothing more she can give you, you move onto the next person.
Flattering her. Building her up. Supporting her. Blowing up her newsfeed. Tagging her in stuff. Spending time with her. Hooking up. Getting to know each other’s friends and family. Confiding in each other. Being one another’s support system and cheerleader. Building emotional connections. That sounds like a fucking relationship to me. But it’s not because you do all these things and don’t commit.
You do all these things and treat her like shit. But you do it so subtly that she can’t call you out on it.
The lines were so blurry and you were so coy. You paint her to seem like the crazy one for falling for someone who wasn’t going to catch her. Like she made it all up in her head and her heart. But that wasn’t the case.
It wasn’t just a one-sided thing here. For any relationship to be maintained or go on longer than it should it requires effort on both parts. That’s the thing about it we can’t call it what it is because we don’t even know ourselves.
All we do know is you came into her life and next thing she knew it was months in and she was so far down the rabbit hole that you dug for her and so emotionally invested there was no going back.
And the only way out was an ending that was going to hurt her and not you who helped to create this narrative of a story that would never have the ending she wanted.
We don’t speak about emotional relationships because to qualify as a relationship and justify one’s feelings, there’s some requirement of a label.
But when a relationship between two people fills in every other check mark on some list doesn’t that count for more?
So became emotionally invested trying harder than she should have and thinking she was blame for the fact that you wouldn’t commit when in reality it isn’t about her and everything about the type of person you are.
You’ll move onto someone else and you’ll play this game again until you get tired of who he’s playing with. And endless cycle that begins again with new victims who will lose in games you created all the rules for. A game that ends with you winning every time.
What girls need to realize about these relationships with guys who won’t give you what you need is they are going to take everything from you that you allow, to build themselves up and walk away and you feel empty and hurt and lost.
She’ll stare at her phone and you miss the attention you gave her. The conversations you had. The memories you shared. The person you thought you were. But eventually, everyone’s true colors reveal themselves. It hurts because she doesn’t get closure in these relationships.
She’s left alone with this pain that makes her feel hollow missing the ghost of who you used to be and missing who she thought you were.
Because she believed you were good and kind and caring. Because in moments he was. But kindness with a motive to gain something more isn’t nice. And your gain was an ego boost.
Someone emotionally leading her on is fucked up.
And no one is going to call you out on it because if they did you’d jump to the response of ‘well we didn’t date.’ You don’t have to date someone to get your heart broken by them. And you don’t have to have some title to validate what a relationship was.
It’s hard because the mourning of these relationships that end are in silence. She can’t complain about something ending if it never actually began.
So to those women who are fighting these silent battles, healing quietly, hurt but smiling. Still speaking kindly about someone who took them emotionally for granted, along with wasting your time, you’re allowed to be angry and sad a frustrated. You are allowed to give yourself time to heal.
I know you think you won’t meet someone who will make you feel that way again. And I hope you don’t ever meet someone like that again or pine after people like him. Those highs and lows and the adrenaline rush of almost relationships and emotional ones aren’t what the right relationship will feel like.
Because the right relationship isn’t going to leave you wondering how he feels, it will leave you confident. The right relationship won’t have you questioning who he’s talking to because you’ll know it’s only you. The right relationship won’t look at you and see what they can gain but will do anything to make you happy.
The right relationship isn’t one full of texting games and snap chat and liking pictures and tagging you in things. The right relationship won’t involve your phone much at all because you’re going to be with him.
The right relationship won’t make plans and cancel on you last minute. The right relationship won’t test you just to see if you answer then ignore you when you do.
It’s a game. And guys like these are it’s best players. Walking away with earning of your emotions as you feel empty watching them go.
But all you have to do is make the decision to stop playing. Stop responding. Stop answering. Stop following his life like it’s some movie.
Any game takes two people and the reason these relationships go on longer than they should is because you allow it too. If you don’t like the games then stop playing them.
If you want a relationship stop going after people who won’t give you one.
If you walk away from these relationships learning anything, it’s that relationships aren’t something to win when you’ve done enough to deserve it.
You deserve a relationship right now.
The truth is relationships are really easy. It’s the wrong one that aren’t. And it’s those wrong ones that are hard to let go and move on from when you’ve invested so much already.
Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.
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