Why do you keep running back to what hurt you? Why do you keep pulling people, who obviously don’t want to be there, back into your life? Why are you putting so much time and effort into someone who doesn’t put an ounce of the same effort into you? If they don’t want to be there, that’s on them. Let them go. I promise you will start to thrive, grow and glow when you distance yourself. You were fine before them, you’ll be fine after them.
Boyfriends, girlfriends, exes, friends, family. This applies to any negative, soul-sucking entity in your life. If you’re not gaining anything from it, it’s holding you back.
I’ll be the first to say that break-up’s suck, at any age, with any kind of relationship. Breaking up with a significant other really sucks (and you can read about my big break-up here!). Reconnecting with a friend, growing really close and then suddenly losing them is probably just as painful as breaking up with a significant other, at least for me. Wanting a certain friend to be in your life so badly and having them not be there, hurts. Wanting to tell them all about something exciting that happened to you one day, hurts. Wanting to have them as your shoulder to cry on and having them not be there, hurts. Wishing you could go back a couple weeks in time to prevent this mess from happening, really hurts.
You know what? There was probably nothing you could’ve done differently to prevent this. Sure, you could’ve changed parts of your personality for your ex and been a little miserable here and there, but why would you EVER do that? Sure, you could’ve not said what was upsetting you that led to the fight and ultimately your break-up, but then you still wouldn’t be on the same page and would probably still be hurting, just in a different way. Sure, you could’ve not gone from friends to more than that and maybe prevented the complete loss of a friendship, but why would you want a “what if” left in your life? It was probably bound to happen eventually anyways. Friendships get messy with feelings involved, lemme tell ya.
Story time. At the end of the summer, I did reconnect with a friend. He messaged me and we ended up grabbing coffee one evening. It went really well. I mean, things were obviously bound to go well with someone who I had years of history with, who I had a major crush on, and who also had a major crush on me. We already knew each other pretty well, so we were definitely going to be completely comfortable around each other right off the bat. After coffee, we started texting 24/7 and planned another outing. Said outing got cancelled the day of, and that should’ve been my first sign to proceed with caution - cancelling the day of is always a classic sign that something is up. He seemed to have a pretty good reason for it, so I didn’t hold it against him, but I also didn’t linger. In my head, this was it. I was done entertaining this boy. We were just going to be those platonic friends who kept liking each other's tweets occasionally but never spoke. But…was I actually done? If you guessed no, you’re right! I swear I am the worst, I will give you a million and three chances to break my heart. We went weeks without speaking. A month later, my birthday rolls around, and to my surprise - he texts me. Happy birthday text from a cute boy, cool! ...but why is the dude who bailed on me last month deciding to text me now, anyways? Not cool. I say thanks, we make small talk, end convo. End of story, right? Wrong. The next day, after letting my emotions build up instead of being smart and blowing it off, I texted him and laid all my cards out. I don’t think I am physically capable of ignoring someone or biting my tongue to let something go. This was the first time I ran back to him. The first time I tried to force something to work. We talked about our feelings for each other and why he actually bailed the first time and how things would be different this time. After talking it out, we went back to texting 24/7 with some added flirting, and we planned to go out over the following weekend when he was in town. Suddenly it was Saturday. 6 pm, then 8 pm, then midnight rolls around. No text, no phone call, nothing. Radio silence. Suddenly it was Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening. Still nothing, not even an apology for bailing. 7 pm Sunday night rolls around, and lo and behold - a long “I’m sorry” text filled with excuses appears on my phone. Man. If only I could talk to September Kristen right now and save her from herself and stop the incoming mess. If only I could tell her to open her eyes and give it up. You can't force things, we both had too much going on for this to work. I should’ve ended this right there, and I momentarily did. I sent a long, harsh message back to him putting an end to whatever was happening. I said I was done because this is not how you treat a friend, the least he could have done was tell me he was too busy to go out. I had ended it, or so I thought. I am cringing as I write this, because it only goes even more downhill on my end. The next day, because I am once again the absolute worst, I texted him. I apologized. I said I was sorry for getting so angry at him last night, for saying really harsh words, for almost ending our friendship. The reality was that I was already attached, and despite the fact that I had been fine a month earlier without him in my life, I didn’t want to let him go. This was the second time I ran back to him. We get back onto semi-okay terms, but don’t talk for a week. The next weekend rolls around, and I cave. (Cringing, again.) Since we had both recently gotten out of serious relationships and that was a factor in us reconnecting in the first place, I texted him to vent about my feelings about my ex. Talking again restarts the flirty friendship phase between us, and is the third time I run back. Should've just been easy, simple, and fun, right? Wrong. Don’t ever try to have a flirty friendship, friends with benefits, anything casual, with someone who you actually have real feelings for. Hot mess express. We talk and flirt and laugh and vent about our feelings for two weeks, and don't forget the cute snapchats of course. Then, I ask for one step more than a friendship. No strings, but not completely platonic. We have a long three hour phone call hashing it out. We decide to enter a “talking” phase with a possible relationship maybe months down the line. We think we’re on the same page. Were we? What a silly question. Definitely not. Obviously not. Common theme: never actually on the same page. Another cringe worthy moment - I decide to go up and visit him in Dallas the following weekend. What did I think would happen? I thought we’d have a great weekend, and only good things could happen from there. Since this isn’t a romantic comedy and is actual real life, only bad outcomes happen from these situations. It ended up being a fantastic weekend. So easy, so much chemistry, so much fun. No anxiety or over-thinking in sight. We talk about the possibility of long distance being an option way in the future after we are both ready to commit again, and then we say goodbye the next day so I can make the four hour trek home. The high of the weekend lasts until the following Thursday, when it once again all comes crashing down. Shocker. Guess who’s not ready for a relationship? Him. Guess who knew that? Me. Guess who had literally been telling me that since August? Him. Guess who couldn’t get that in her head? If you guessed me, you’re a genius! October Kristen was not killin’ it. (And honestly August and September Kristen hadn't killed it either.)
I ran with arms wide open to this dude three freaking times. He showed me all his cards, and I decided to ignore them. The moral of the story is to listen. He told me multiple times he wasn't in the right place for a relationship, and I thought I could just wait around until he was ready. I kept running back to him because I thought we could be friends in the meantime. I thought I would be okay. Listen and look at what's right in front of you. Don't cause more pain for yourself. I should’ve let go long ago, but guess what? I’m letting go now. I want nothing more than to have him in my life and to be close again, but it’s apparently not good for either of us. I've made a ton of mistakes and stupid decisions, as you can tell. But so what? I can't change any of it now. The only thing I can do is to make the conscious decision to not get caught up in him again. I made some mistakes, and I've learned from them. I am setting my standards higher for the future.
He’s not a bad guy, and I’m not writing this to portray him as a bad guy, or to call him out. He told me all the facts up front every time, and I chose not to listen. This is about me and my own issues, not him or his. I’m writing this because I know a lot of people can probably relate. We run to what’s safe, to what we know, to what we are too afraid to let go of. I’m writing this to express that your circumstances make you put up blinders, make you think things are a certain way when they’re actually something completely different. They make you okay with certain things - with settling, with waiting, with putting up with situations you don’t deserve. I was vulnerable and lonely, and he is cute, smart, and funny. I didn't think I could cut him off. I thought I really wanted him in my life, but it is costing me my sanity. I am tired of inevitability getting my hopes up, and having them crushed. I am taking the control back, and you can do it too. Take your control back. You can end your flirty friendship that is damaging your sanity. You can end your toxic relationship. You can cut off a toxic family member. You can distance yourself from a toxic friend. You, my friend, can do it. I truly believe you are stronger than you think you are.
Friendship is a two way street, quit watering so many dead plants.
People grow and people change. Falling out’s and outgrowing people are both natural, and happen to everyone. I’d be upset with myself if I stayed the same person my entire life, never growing or learning new things or making new connections or trying out new opportunities. Wouldn’t you?
Let them go. Move on. Think about all the doors that have yet to be opened for you, that are out there just waiting for you. Don’t let something like this hold you back. Did you read my 'Girl’s Guy-de to Guys' article? Because this is the guy I based rule #6 off of. Love yourself. Know your worth. You deserve better. Cute snapchats don’t cut it. Actions speak so much louder than words ever will. Pro-tip: don’t go out of your way to drive four hours to see someone who can’t visit you for five minutes when they’re in your town for the weekend.
Don’t say you’re done with someone, and then go right back to them when they show an ounce of remorse or basic decency. I am also living proof that this is a terrible, vicious cycle that will tear you apart. We all make mistakes, learn from yours and move on.
If you've been looking for a sign, this is it.
Let them go.