It all went down before I realized what it was that was happening. I guess I would have stopped it, had I known better, had I been aware of the damage it would cause for me, for him, for us. Or maybe I wouldn’t have. I don’t know.
All I do know is that I became his placeholder and I will never put myself in that position again.
Because it hurts like fucking hell when it’s all over.
For anyone who has been in this dynamic, you know what it’s like. You feel so stupid when it ends. Naive. Pathetic. When he’s finally gone, you realize you poured your heart into someone who would never think it was good enough, who would always be glancing away and looking for something better, for someone better. And deep down, you always knew something was off and that you were merely on borrowed time, renting space until your lease in his life was up and you were forced to move on.
And yet, you still tried. And that’s the worst part, how fucking hard you tried to make it work, to convince him you were worth loving. You were there for him through his darkness. You reminded him that things would be okay for him. You loved him and held him and kissed him and hoped that these things were all the sign of a future.
You thought with time maybe he would find something about you that he couldn’t lose.
But that never happened because in the end he lost all of you and it didn’t hurt him the way it destroyed you.
To be clear, he did care about you. He liked you. But just not enough to commit to you. And this also doesn’t make him a bad guy.
People can’t help how they feel. Not him. Not You. Not Anyone.
After whatever he and I were or had ended, I began to pick apart all the reasons he may not have wanted me. It became this toxic investigation into all my faults and imperfections and shortcomings. I constantly wished I could be different, better. I revisited old text threads, thought about old conversations, obsessed over things I wish I hadn’t said (or had said). But mostly, I just thought about how I wasn’t enough, how I was never enough, and his lack of commitment was proof of that indictment.
The reality is, though, he didn’t make me feel this way. To be honest, I’ve always felt this way. He didn’t plant that seed; it’s been a full grown fucking forest in my mind since I before I can remember and him loving me wouldn’t be enough to tear those trees down.
And this is the ugly truth about being the placeholder girl: it doesn’t really have anything to do with him; it has everything to do with you.
You lied to yourself by saying you were fine with the arrangement you guys had going. You chased after someone you know you could never catch. You ignored the red flags, the warning signs. You made the excuses for him.
This is the hardest pill to swallow, realizing that you broke your own heart by continuing to pursue something that you knew deep down would never be. It’s a difficult lesson to learn the hard way, but once you do, you don’t need to learn it again.
I know I won’t have to, because I’ll never be someone’s placeholder girl again.