It Doesn't Get Better: Why You Need To Dump The Guy Who Won't Commit
On many occasions, violence is used to explain love.
“Love is a battlefield” is a good example. “All's fair in love and war” is another.
But in war, someone always loses.
My first serious boyfriend and I weren't the best fit, but we were in love. Back then, love was simple.
Above all else, he made me feel safe. I never thought I would have to question if the man I was with cared about me.
But, I was wrong.
When we split, I learned nothing requires more patience than a broken heart.
Minutes turned to months. I spent a lot of time watching classic romantic movies — "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and "An Affair To Remember" — eating raw cookie dough and having wine nights with my closest friends.
Amidst all the suffering, I told myself I would never let a man make me feel that way again.
Eventually, I put myself out there. I suddenly became approachable to men I had previously been “off limits” to. I would regularly take advantage of their bar tabs and compliments to fill the ache inside.
It was nice to finally experience something fun and light-hearted.
Every now and then, I crossed paths with a sad soul (as he didn't know I was emotionally unavailable) who hoped to date me.
At first, I praised my heartbreaker ways. That is, until I realized being single wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
For one, the attention was always for the wrong reasons.
Ultimately, I came to the conclusion when you're only appreciated for your looks, you feel hollow.
Long Island iced teas and shallow compliments never filled the void. I felt lost. It was very obvious this sort of casual hook-up lifestyle didn't suit me.
At the same time, when things got serious, I would be the one to break it off.
Some of these men were good-looking. Some were smart. Some were going places. Yet, I had no intention of sharing a future with any of them.
A few weeks after this realization, I was dragged to a huge party. That's where I saw him for the first time.
He was lanky, cute and awkward. He was nothing like Marlon Brando or James Dean, but I couldn't take my eyes off him.
After making eye contact, he approached me.
What started as a five-minute conversation turned into a three-hour discussion of our beliefs, interests and dreams. It seemed too good to be true.
There was something off, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. He wasn't like the typical “tool,” but he wasn't a “nice guy” either.
He had a “bad boy mystique,” and I was hooked.
My gut told me he was bad news, but I had to find out for myself.
When we went our separate ways, and I thought that would be the end of it.
But somehow, thoughtful texts about each other's lives turned into phone tag and regular FaceTimes.
Was this really happening? Why hadn't I lost interest yet? Why hadn't I discarded him like the others?
The truth was, I had finally met my match.
Our four-month, cross-country romance set me up for a complete letdown. He was my Trojan horse: unthreatening, but lethal.
Very quickly, I realized this “gift” was a bad omen.
My first breakup was nowhere near comparable.
I became one of those women I used to make fun of. My happiness and self-worth was dependent on the state of how “we” were.
I became weak. I became passive.
Our “relationship” — if you could even call it that — was a constant game of catch and release, where I was almost always the one let go.
He made me distrust my own thoughts and emotions, even when they were completely justified.
I was made to feel like I was asking too much for any sort of accountability on his end. He put me in a position where I had to compromise my own self-respect to make him feel safe.
He wanted me on his terms, at a time that was most convenient for him.
On a few occasions, he told me he wasn't ready for anything serious. But nonetheless, he went to great lengths to instill the false hope that if he were to, I would be the one.
Every day, I told myself it was over, and every night, I found myself back at square one.
My friends would tell me I “deserved better,” but I remained ignorant by choice. I would even make excuses for his behavior.
The truth was, I knew they were right. But loving him wasn't a matter of right or wrong.
My heart had made the choice to love him, and I had to find the will to walk away.
I let him treat me poorly, and nothing feels worse than giving second, third and fourth chances to a man who never earned one.
My “bad boy” made me dark. He made me cynical. He made me feel worthless.
But, he also made me happy, happier than I'd ever felt. It was a euphoric sort of high, but it was fleeting.
After over a year of false hope and broken promises, I finally found the strength to let go of my letdown lover.
He was everything I wanted, but he was never going to give me what I needed. I'd been addicted to a "battle" he was never going to let me win.
I fell for a bad boy, all at the expense of my mental health and dignity.
What did I have to show for it? Just a string of texts and heartbreaks.
It takes loving a selfish man to hate yourself in ways you never thought you could.
Every now and again, he reaches out. Everything comes flooding back.
I miss him, sure. I even think about him from time to time, but it's over.
I have no room in my heart for a man whose love is conditional.
Though I periodically curse his name, and I occasionally scapegoat him for my commitment phobia, I will never regret the time we shared.
I was able to experience true growth after discovering the worst parts of myself.
Never make someone else's happiness a priority at the expense of your own.
Instead, find a man who's on your side of the tug-of-war.