Some years back, I thought I met my wife. The first time I looked in her eyes, it felt as if only her and I existed in the world. I knew I had to have her in my life. I remember cyber flirting with her until she gave me her number. We talked for hours each day until we had our first “date,” which was sparked by me asking her, “Can you come outside and play?” Cheesy as hell, but she made this grown man remember what it was like to have a childhood crush. We just stood on top of my car and talked for hours. I felt like I could talk to her about anything. She became one of my closest friends in such a short period of time.
At that point of my life, I was only enjoying what a woman offered physically as opposed to taking the time to understand her mental and emotional needs. I guess that’s the Disney version of saying I was only looking for sex. When we first started dating nothing else mattered. Other women I was entertaining began to realize that my mind and heart were somewhere else. I woke up thinking about her. Whenever I thought about her or was near her, I felt like the happiest man in the world.
I knew I was into her because I let her meet my family and invited her to events only allowed for my close friends. Everything seemed perfect between us. We had amazing dialogue, chemistry, great sex and we supported each other. To this day, I don’t know what initially caused us not to be together, but we stopped communicating as often as we used to. She started distancing herself from me and I began doing the same. I still loved her and wanted to be apart of her life, but my pride held me back for fighting like I should have. Sometimes I feel that we both felt this was too good to be true. I know I have abandonment issues and it probably reared its ugly head in my relationship with her. Maybe we were both scared of being hurt or disappointed. I can’t blame her for being guarded; my reputation proceeded me. I was known for being the guy who wasn’t looking for anything serious and always had the attention of women. Maybe her feelings changed, or I should have done a better job of verbally explaining how serious I was about us being together forever.
When we stopped dating, I stopped believing in love. I was a wreck, bitter and emotionally scarred. I didn’t just lose someone I loved; I lost my best friend. I lost someone I couldn’t wait to talk to about my day, my dreams and listen to my problems. I went to her for advice, comfort, and compassion. I missed holding her at night. I missed kissing her goodbye in the morning. Getting the company of women was never a problem for me, but trusting someone with my friendship was a barrier only she had broken through.
When she started dating someone else, I blamed myself. I’ll never forget the hurt I felt viewing “In a Relationship” on her Facebook page. I was at my best friend’s house in the bathroom shedding tears. I was crying because I missed her. I was crying because I was jealous another man had what I felt I needed. I was crying because I thought I would never have someone like her again. I was crying because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I saw her a week later with him for the first time in person. It felt like someone ripped open my heart and Chris Brown started dancing on it. At that moment my belief in love had died.
I acted strong and nonchalant in front of others, but behind closed doors I questioned myself.
“What did I do wrong?”
“What could I have done differently?”
“Will she ever give me a second chance?”
“I know she has somebody, but should I give up?”
I became mad at the world. My weight fluctuated dramatically during that heartache. I lost and gained 20-30 lbs. three times within a year. I was listening to “Marvin’s Room” by Drake constantly, feeling lonely and unwanted. (Probably the worst song to listen to when feeling that way, FYI.) I still tried dating women, but I did it hoping it would numb the pain of knowing she was with someone else. I was bitter towards women for the pain she caused me, so I ended up pushing so many women away during that time. I tried convincing myself I was over her, yet my actions proved otherwise. I was emotionally unavailable, only my closest friends could see it. It was childish, but I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions and be real with the man in the mirror.
For those who are still playing ex-games, you have to ask yourself why? Please do this exercise first. Write down why you even entertain your ex and then why they became your ex. After completing that activity, I want you to read it aloud. Then ask yourself--if your best friend was still dealing with their ex after that, what advice would you give them? A lot of times we know the right way to deal with an ex, but we convince ourselves our situation is different when all the red flags are there.
A lot of us miss out on those who have our best interest by still holding onto past fantasies with someone who are now a nightmare. Is it fear of being hurt or the insecurities you gained from that previous relationship that has you holding back? Is your ex your safety net or comfort zone? To love again after being hurt takes courage and strength. Remember this when trying to move past an ex--“Strength isn’t being unafraid, it’s being afraid while still willing to take the chance.”
In the midst of darkness, I realized for me to be happy again I had to move passed her. The hardest part of moving on was accepting I lost my best friend. Losing someone you talked to every day is difficult no matter your relationship with that person. An ex can become an addiction. The best way to cut an addiction is often the most challenging way . I cut communication off with her for a while just to learn how to live without depending on her. (Biggest trap when playing the ex-games, they know you are reliant on them.) I started letting go of the dreams I had of marrying her. This action was difficult for me because my pride wanted to prove those loved ones or friends who weren’t supportive of our relationship wrong. You can’t control the actions and feelings of another person no matter what you think is right or what would win their affection.
The most important part of moving passed an ex is forgiveness. You have to forgive that person you loved for hurting you. As long as you hold onto that hurt, bitterness, and disappointment, you will never give someone a clean slate. You should learn to still wish the best for them. Embrace the history you both shared, the good and bad. So many try to erase the history of their past not understanding by doing that you mostly hold onto the hurt and not the joys of the relationship. It's important to focus more energy on what makes you happy and what you want as opposed to the pain and what scares you.
You must remind yourself daily of who you were before them. I understood that if she fell in love with the man I was, another woman possibly would too. You should reflect on your mistakes and work on fixing those going into a new relationship. Please understand that being in love requires high risk, but it can also produce high reward.
To anyone reading this article, you have something unique to offer. If your ex hasn’t realized it by now, don’t be afraid to show someone else what makes you special. Stop playing those ex-games and move forward to something better and give someone deserving an opportunity of appreciating you. I have progressed ahead to a woman who has my best interest and loves me. Our relationship is far from perfect, but it works, and we are both happy. I would never be in this position if I were still waiting for my ex or if I kept trying to pursue her. She will always have a special place in my heart somewhere, but that’s in the past. I am moving forward with someone who truly loves and appreciates me for the man I am.