I did The Thing.
You know, the one thing you are not supposed to do after you break up with someone.
Okay, let me start off with this disclaimer: I know it’s been almost a year (HOLY COW) since my infamous break up, and I swear I’m not harping. I’ve actually kept pretty quiet about all of the events that have happened in the last few months involving my ex and all of the drama that unfolded, and I’ll stick to being vague about those things (because what would Audrey Hepburn or Taylor Swift do?)
But I should tell you this. It has not been a quiet year. Have you ever heard the song “All You Had to Do Was Stay” by (duh) Taylor Swift? That song describes literally every single one of my post-breakup relationships. Every. Single. One. That is five, everybody. Five times have guys dumped me (or been so awful I’ve dumped them) and then come crawling back, asking for another chance.
This time was different though. This time that ever-familiar text message came at me about once every 6-10 weeks.
“Let’s go get coffee and talk.”
“I miss you.”
“I was wrong. I want to keep pursuing you.”
Now, here’s the problem: this almost sounds romantic, doesn’t it? A knight in shining armor who has been humbled, coming back to you heart-on-sleeve, admitting you were right all along and professing you’re everything he’s dreamed of and he will fight for you no matter what. Sounds almost like a rom-com doesn’t it? A fairytale romance unfolding in front of your very eyes.
I had made up my mind though, and there were no third chances here. But despite my asking (which turned into pleading which turned into demanding) that he leave me alone, he kept coming back. And you know what? That’s not romantic at all, actually. It may sound good on paper to have someone pursue you like that, but it actually feels awful to have your wishes – your opinion – completely disregarded. Which left me wanting to scream or cry or do a weird mixture of the two.
Taylor Swift says it and I’ll sing at the top of my lungs with conviction every time, “This was what you wanted. You were all I wanted, but not like this. All you had to do was stay.” Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?
Anyways, it’s been a month or so of quietness, and I’ve delighted (and if I’m honest, doubted) every minute of it.
Which leads me to The Thing.
You guys, I instagram-stalked. I know, I know! I’m sure you’re shaking your head right now (probably in empathy – don’t try to tell me you haven’t stalked an ex on social media before… I can’t be the only one), and thinking “ohhhh noooo…” Oh yes, my friend. Oh yes.
I fell down the rabbit hole. Or, rather, I knowingly jumped headfirst into it. And let me just tell you, I was not exactly jumping for joy with what I found. Which was a girl (who, by the way, looks shockingly like me).
I’m sure you can guess my emotions. I felt like I was smacked in the face with a freezing wind that was so cold it actually paralyzed me. I was shocked, hurt, relieved, confused, incredulous. I couldn’t tell if I should laugh or cry. I kept scrolling, I couldn’t look away. A video stopped me. My heart hurt, my stomach filled with panic. I could have told you where they were and what they said before I even watched it. He used to do the same thing with me. And suddenly every moment and every memory I kept alive came crashing over my head, soaking my thoughts with a chilling realization. All those things about our relationship I had preserved, all of those moments that were over but still regarded as special and unique were nothing of the sort to him. Every date, every adventure, every conversation and video that I thought was solely for us in our little world suddenly seemed like a formula he had created and followed. Do this, make this, say this, take her here, show her that, tell her this story. They were not things he did for me because of who I was, they were things he would have done (and would continue to do) with any girl. Every moment I cherished was tainted.
Which leads me to another idea. If he did all of those things not for the sake of me, of who I was, who was he doing them for? I think I know the answer, but I’m sure he doesn’t.
I’m torn in two. Do I pout and panic because he’s not pining for me, or do I try to be happy for him? Honestly, I don’t want to do either. Both are ridiculous (trust me, I realize I sound crazy). I didn’t want to date him, so why should I be upset about it? But I don’t want to be happy over this echo of our relationship.
So here I am. Sitting in a room in my mother’s house with my laptop burning my bare knees writing out a semi-frantic and painfully immature-sounding piece trying not to sound too snarky while still getting my point across (honestly, if you’ve made it through all this, bravo to you. I owe you candy or something). Why did I jump into Wonderland and how do I get out of here? The window is open and the cool night air brings me back to life. I’ll do neither of those things, I think. I think instead I will go back to letting those memories fade into the darkness where they belong.
Because someday when I’m ready someone will stay and all those moments will be organic and meaningful. It really could be easy. Until then though, I’ll keep going through my list, beginning new adventures, and learning to enjoy where I’m at right now. No looking backwards or forwards.
Also, no more instagram stalking, I swear. Worst idea ever. Remind me to read a book next time or something. Or at least stick to insta-stalking fashion bloggers, those are safe (and yet super addictive)!
If you have a story you want to share about insta-stalking, share it in the comments!