I'm sorry (not really) to inform you that your request for a casual relationship or to bust up my boundaries has been declined.There have been many applicants over the years but the position is no longer available.

I read this great post on the OnStartups site, “Dear Friend: Sorry. My heart says yes, but my schedule says no” which reinforces the importance of saying NO, setting limits and managing people’s expectations. Just like with relationships, while you may fear disappointing others by saying NO, you end up setting yourself up for pain and frustration as well as taking yourself off the market for better opportunities. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but be inspired:

Dear So & So,

Thanks for expressing an interest, giving me X amount of time for a relationship, or even putting out the feelers about getting back together/hooking up for old times sake.

The thing is, I’m sure that you think that what you’re proposing is ‘great’ and that maybe even based on past dealings with me you think this is totally up my street, but actually, my self-esteem is on the rise and this just doesn’t fit in with me.

I’ve been guilty of not only being a YES person but having little or no boundaries in the past. I haven’t realised the importance of not only loving myself and treating me with care, trust, and respect, but also how certain types of relationship and certain types of behaviour make it a no-go for a mutually fulfilling relationship.

I’ve been passionate about finding love, being ‘good enough’, being the exception to the rule, getting laid, convincing people to choose me, waiting around, finding The One, avoiding myself and my mistakes, righting the wrongs of the past, the relationship insanity of doing the same thing and expecting a different result, and basically trying to take a shortcut where I’ve tried to get others to create feelings within me and meet needs that I can’t do for myself.

It truly is much easier to say YES instead of NO. That’s not just because of the short-term gain and not having to deal with the guilt, but also because I’ve believed that by saying YES, it would override concerns, get me what I needed from others, and minimise conflict.

Unfortunately (for you) I’ve finally learned the lesson that every time I say YES to an unhealthy situation or continue to participate in it once it becomes apparent that it is not what I thought it was or could be, and is in fact unhealthy, I’m saying NO to a healthy relationship and essentially making myself unavailable.

And NO, even though I’m declining what you’re proposing, that doesn’t mean that you can hang around in my life as a pseudo friendship and tap me up for a shag/ego stroke/shoulder to lean on ‘until’ I find someone elseyou’d be blocking the entrance for something better to come along and I’d be letting you do it.

You might feel like you’re not asking me for ‘that much’ or that it feels good and works for you, so it’ll feel good and work for me, but your standards and mine may be two very different things and ultimately it’s up to me to decide what works for me, not you.

Although my vagina/penis/libido says yes, I recognise that they’re not very good judges of character and that I’ll feel good now, crap later. Sex is not an automatic precursor to the relationship I want, nor is the fact that I’m horny or we have a great sexual connection indicative of the strength of our ‘relationship’. As a result, I’m going to have to say no.

Although my ego is saying yes, to be honest with you, my ego’s gotten me in a lot of trouble. I’m learning to self-validate instead of looking for people who often don’t value me to tell me how valuable I am which is a bit like asking a random off the street to value your home or being at the mercy of Other People’s Bullshit Mentality. So thanks, but no thanks.

Although my imagination is saying yes, I need reality and the fact is that I’ve had more relationships with my imagination than I’ve had hot dinners and actual relationships and invariably, the fantasy is better than the truth. So thanks, but no thanks because I’m on The Bullshit Diet and I don’t Bet On Potential.

And yes, my heart may be saying yes, but maybe it isn’t. The truth is I could never know what my heart really and truly wanted until I learned to love myself and saw me as a valuable person that’s worthwhile – that’s worth the effort, worth the boundaries, worth not selling myself short for.

The lesson learned from all of my saying YES whether it has been via my actions or words, is that when I’m being truly emotionally honest and authentic, the heart, my choices, what I want and what results are more aligned.

If you want to get a quick barometer of how someone truly feels about themselves, take a look at the person they’re involved with, who they profess to be interested in/can’t get over, the situations they get involved in or how they think, feel, and talk about themselves.

By saying NO to you, I’m saying YES to myself. It’s about fricking time.

Now it may not be today, it may not be tomorrow and it may not even be that soon, but I’m going to trust that there’s better out there for me because I’m learning to trust myself and have become au fait with what doesn’t work for me. I have enough experience that demonstrates what results when I continue doing the same thing and expecting different results.

I’ve tried to be the exception to the rule for way too long – I want to experience happiness out of the rule instead of banging my head against a brick wall and trying to get love from unlikely and outright reluctant sources.

I’m going to occupy my life literally and figuratively and whatever I say yes to relationship-wise in the future, it’s going to come from a positive place and reflect a me that loves me.

So, er, yeah, thanks, but no thanks. No more broken windows here – you’ve got the wrong house.

From me x

If loving someone and taking part in a relationship means that you can’t love you, always choose you.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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