My friends told me I would need therapy after you. They told me I needed to heal before I could ever open my heart to someone new. I thought they were just being dramatic. I thought getting over you would be the same as getting over anyone else. Sure, it would suck for a while; I would think about you when my mind wasn’t occupied with a million other things, and it would ache, maybe hurt a little, but I would be okay. I thought you were someone I could cleanse myself of, that after a few months, my body, my mind, my heart, would forget what you felt like, how you could take up space, how you could cloud my thoughts and infect my mind.
I remember burning everything you got me. Not that there was much; I tore every card with its false declarations of love and threw them into the flames, as if a physical detox could tie up all of the pieces inside of me you ripped apart. I went through the motions of a normal breakup, but nothing about you or us or what you put me through was normal. I realize that now.
Because even though you’ve been gone for six months now, you erupt into my life without warning and tear me apart all over again. It’s almost as if you left traps scattered in every unsuspecting part of my life, ready to throw me off course. You never could stand to see me happy, could you? So here I am, trying. Trying to find a life that is not plagued with misery and self-hatred, a life that does not spin on an axis of anyone other than myself, a life that is worth living, a life that is not consumed by poison dressed up as love.
And I keep stumbling, I keep trying to let myself fall for someone new, to give myself over to someone who might actually care for me, and every time I think it might be possible, you’re there. All they have to do is mirror something you did, something that could have so easily been innocent, but nothing was ever innocent with you. Every time you were overly attentive, it was because you had cheated on me in one way or another and lied to me about it. Every time you went MIA and then claimed your phone had died or you were busy with “work stuff,” it was because you were out flirting with other women or getting lunch with female friends who you knew wanted to be so much more. Every time you told me I had “nothing to worry about,” the truth was, I had more to worry about than I ever really realized until it was too late.
And it isn’t fair, these triggers you’ve left me with. The way I am always expecting the worst from someone, the way my mind runs away with me when they don’t reply to a text or they pay me more attention than usual. It isn’t fair that these potentially great guys are tarred with the same awful brush as you; it isn’t fair that I immediately jump to thoughts of them screwing another girl when they leave me on read or go away for the weekend. It isn’t fair that I am left making assumptions about their intentions and their behavior based on the way you treated me. It isn’t fair that you are now the baseline for how I explore the modern dating world. It isn’t fair that my expectations exist on such incredibly low standards. It isn’t fair that you left me with needing to piece information together because all you gave me were half-truths; it isn’t fair that now when someone explains something to me, I look for the words they didn’t say, and I find my worst nightmare waiting for me.
It isn’t fair that you’ve left me with this inability to ever trust anyone or take someone at face value. It isn’t fair that my default setting is to believe someone to be lying or mistreating me or playing me to be a fool. It isn’t fair that I now don’t think myself worthy of so much more than you were ever able to give me. It isn’t fair that what you tried to make believe was love was actually just manipulation and abuse, and it worked. It isn’t fair that while you move on to your next victim, I am here trying to rearrange all of the broken pieces you left me with.
It isn’t fair that love, to me, is now full of triggers, a never ending tsunami of them which leaves me constantly fighting for air. It isn’t fair that I’m unaware of just how many there are until something happens and I’m right back there with you, feeling out of control and undone.
It isn’t fair that you get to keep breaking me, even though I left you. Because of all these triggers that you left me with, having to be constantly reminded of the way you disarmed me is the worst.
Because I deserve to feel empowered, courageous and brave for finally walking away. And maybe someday I will. Maybe someday these triggers will stop unravelling me. Maybe some ay your name will just be a name, and you’ll just be that guy who taught me what I absolutely do not deserve.