Tips from my online therapist.
A year ago, I was in a long-term relationship with a handsome emotional vampire who had cool tattoos and an empty bank account.
He’s named after a major city in Texas. I guess it’s actually a pretty hip city for Texas and a great place for live music. I heard they have a music festival there once a year. But for the sake of his fragile identity, let’s call him “Dallas.”
Dallas told me he loved me two weeks after meeting me and I believed him because I was 22, desperate for romantic validation, and wanted someone who could cook homemade pasta.
We spent four years arguing about the women he fucked behind my back, the parking tickets he got in my car and never paid, and the random compulsive lies that, to this day, are so mind-fuckingly ridiculous that I have accepted the fact I will never understand what goes on in his head.
I discovered he had multiple other relationships while the two of us were on a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park.
Did you know that iCloud saves all of your text messages, even if you delete them from your phone? And that if you drop your phone in a lake, have a new one shipped to you, and log into your iCloud from that new phone, all of your previously deleted texts will reappear on your phone as if they never left?
And did you know that you can get cell service after hiking eight miles to the top of a mountain in Glacier National Park? I sure didn’t. Neither did he.
After reading through the text message conversations with multiple women that were also in romantic relationships with my boyfriend, I ate a can of beans with him and four old men who also happened to be camping on the top of that same mountain. Then I had to share a one-person tent with him. In the middle of the night, I got the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had. I laid there under the stars, keeping myself up with fits of sneezes and sobs. He slept right next to me like a baby.
We started the trip home to Seattle the next day, and when he dropped me off at my apartment a few days later, I vowed to never see him again.
We dated for another two years.
It wasn’t the other women that pushed me to finally end things with Dallas. And it wasn’t the lying, the stealing, or the fact that he refused to go to the dentist.
It was the fact that he left me in an apartment overflowing with human shit for five days.
He was out of town, and I was staying at his place while renting my apartment on Airbnb to strangers who probably fucked on my couch and used my entire jar of coconut oil in less than a week (PLEASE DON’T TELL ME HOW.)
While I was at his apartment, his sewage overflowed all over the bathroom floor. The tub was filled with six inches of shit. I called him to tell him what happened, and he immediately hung up to call his landlord. Two days later his landlord finally got back to him and said a plumber was on the way.
Two more days went by. No plumber. Weird right? You would think a landlord would want to stop an overflow of human shit from ruining his building as quickly as possible.
You can probably see where this is going. Day five, I pulled up to his place to find a giant eviction notice plastered on his door. Dallas hadn’t paid his rent in three months. I had three days to exit the apartment.
He never called the landlord about his shit-covered bathroom. He couldn’t have because his landlord was probably calling him nonstop trying to track down his rent.
The man who claimed to love me more than anything left me to live in an apartment overflowing with human shit for almost a week. And lied to me about it.
I’ll repeat to let this soak in.
He knowingly left me in an apartment filled with human shit and told me he had done what he could to fix it, when in fact he had done nothing. The cherry on top was when he told me I was “ruining his vacation” with “bad vibes from Seattle” after I called to tell him about the notices on his front door.
I wish I could say this was the first time he had received an eviction notice since I’d started dating him. It wasn’t. But thankfully, this was the last straw. The thank-God-this-is-finally-over, I’ve-been-pushed-to-my-breaking-point, shit-covered last straw. I was done.
But what now?
My online therapist (OK, she’s not a therapist, she’s an awareness coach…but it sure as fuck feels like therapy) helped me see I had some major codependency issues. Like, I don’t know, the kind that allows you to remain in an emotionally abusive relationship with a serial cheater and compulsive liar for four years.
She recommended that I take three months off from dating. That I do not jump into anything too quickly—or anything at all—until I shifted some of my patterns and ways of thinking. That I stop wondering “where are all the men” (seriously, WHERE ARE THEY?!) and focus on anything and everything that didn’t involve dating.
So I did.
I went out almost every night with friends. I laid around with my cat, got brunch, read magazines, and went for runs when I wasn’t too hungover. I went on a road trip with my mom through the Southwest. I went thrifting in small towns, hiked up mountains by myself, and drove around listening to sad country songs while crying my eyes out and eating Taco Bell.
Probably (?) not exactly what my online therapist had in mind. But it worked.
I focused on becoming more self-aware and intentional about my life and my actions. Why did I believe this man was the love of my life? Because he told me he was? Why did I stay with someone that gaslighted me almost every day? Why had I let this man and his soul-sucking lies rule my early 20s? Why had I felt it was better to be in an emotionally manipulative relationship than to be single?
Codependency. Fear of being alone. Fear of failure. Low self-esteem. A love of homemade pasta.
During this time, I practiced visualizing the person I wanted to be and the man I wanted to be with.
Then, THE SAME DAY those three months came to close, I met a guy who opened every door for me. He sent me postcards in the mail even though we live in the same city. He bought me tickets to Solange after our second date. He has a good paying job, a truck without a boot on it, and loves diners and old movies.
Turns out this self-awareness shit works. Ladies, MANifesting is real!