When we’re really into or still in love with somebody who we’re no longer with, but they still text, call, or ask us to hang out or to fix something, or even use us as a sounding board because, well, we’re ‘so good at that’, what do we do?
We tend to drop everything because we’re hoping that this person will fall for us again.
We’re hoping that if we keep doing some or all of the things that signify our devotion to them, that they will feel compelled to get back together, to see us in the way that we want to be seen. We hope they’ll drop everything for us.
What happens next? More often than not, we get hurt, badly.
They are not as careful with our feelings as we are about our devotion to them, and after a while we start to feel bruised and possibly quite angry and resentful beneath our veneer of calm and being ‘pleasing’.
To them, it seems clear that they’re not intending to get back together. They might even seem OK with having this seeming power to decide the fate of the relationship–clearly if we’re still engaging despite the lack of reciprocation, then they can safely assume that we’re a shoe-in.
They might think that this is what hanging out, being friends and caring about an ex is all about, and I get it, because when you’ve been in a relationship for some time and then you break up, it can feel so abrupt to just go from that to being friends or even not being in touch for a while. The thing is though, blithely carrying on as if it doesn’t matter that we still have feelings for them and as if they’re not messing us around (they are, even if it’s ‘unintentional’), isn’t fair.
We’re, however, also not being fair to us if we don’t draw our line and step back for our own self-care, and actually, if we continue to engage with them in the secret hope that they will feel inclined or yes, even obliged to give us another shot, we’re not being fair to them either.
We’ll keep opening ourselves up to being hurt and then call it something they’re doing.
That’s not to say, whether it’s consciously or not, that they aren’t engaging with us from a place that’s based on us having feelings for them that they enjoy but are not willing to truly reciprocate to the level that we desire, but until we honestly reflect about why we remain open to it, we can’t see where we’re hurting ourselves.