When You Deserve Better, But Can’t Leave

woman staring out window
Mohammad Mousavi

When is enough…enough?

You keep wishing for a different ending, but the same scene is playing on repeat. The outcome is always the same. You are left disappointed, heartbroken, and dejected. You give chance after chance that he’ll do right by you, make a different decision, validate that he is someone worth losing yourself for, prioritize you, treat you better. That the lie he told you was just this once. He didn’t mean to ignore you, he just got busy. He didn’t cancel plans last minute, something important came up. He wasn’t hooking up with his ex, they were just getting closure.

But the ending where he puts you first never happens. He always chooses the woman he’s not in a relationship with over the one he is.

Why do you let it continue when you know deep in your soul that you’re losing yourself, your self-respect, and ultimately your self-worth? You don’t realize how small you’ve become until he’s gone and you’re left broken and alone. Because you don’t want to give up on something because you are handcuffed by the “what-ifs.”

What if you left before the good stuff happens? What if you leave prematurely and didn’t let it play out because he could be the person you are convinced he can be? What if he sees your goodness and kind-heartedness and finally treats you like you deserve to be treated?

So you convince yourself to stay because even if there is only a one percent chance he could really mean what he says. You stick it out. What’s more, you give more. You lean in harder to be the best girlfriend he’s ever had. You don’t rock the boat. You don’t complain too loudly for fear of pushing him away. You are agreeable and go along with everything he wants.

When you manage to scrap what little self-respect is left and he senses that you are pulling away, he throws enough bait to hook you back in. He gives you just enough of the “good” to believe he could change. Just enough doubt that you might be expecting too much of him.

He doesn’t need to make any excuses because you start to make them for him.

You are helpless to his warm embraces and soft kisses. His words are exactly what you want and need to hear. You lap up very compliment, every flirtatious tease, every casual reference to a future that he never intends to fulfill.

He preys on your optimism and belief that people are good and kind at their core and will do the right thing eventually. Your heart aches for all of it to be true. So you hang on for dear life, praying for a different outcome that will never come.

So, when is enough…enough? Sometimes, it’s when he decides to end it and walk away. Or sometimes, you find what little courage you have left and you do it yourself.

You can’t stand being let down anymore and you even start to brace for it. You start to expect it. You expect him to disappoint you instead of delighting you. You don’t even bother telling your best friend about his latest indiscretion because you’re too embarrassed. You start to blame yourself because you should have seen it coming.

You smile less and cry more. So when then this happens, you say, “that’s enough.” TC mark

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