I was chatting with a friend today about her one. Not ‘THE ONE’ as in a soul mate but the one you can’t seem to leave alone. Most of us have had a one, that person who you cared for despite logic, the opinions of friends and even your own intuition. The one you stuck by regardless of the pain they caused, the anxiety of trying to maintain a relationship with them and the fear deep down inside that it would never ever work.
These ones flit in and out of your life; sometimes causing ripples and other times real damage but never sticking around long enough to pick up the pieces. That’s just not their style. They know just how to push your buttons and manipulate you; they suck you in and bleed you dry. Yet you anticipate their return. Maybe just a little shamefully. Thing is with these ones there is never smooth sailing. It’s always high intensity or vast stretches of nothingness. Either way you’re twisting in the wind and hoping desperately for calm and certainty. Reading, analyzing, reaching.
I sit here now thinking back a bit wistfully over all the times mine has come and gone. All the havoc he can cause and how good it can be to be near him. I no longer love him, thankfully, that passed awhile ago. I do think about him, often, mostly fondly but at times with a profound sadness and a little bit of longing for what I thought was there. After eight years, I finally let him go for good almost a year ago. One final last ditch effort to feel at home with him ended in the realization that he wasn’t really what I needed. That for all his appearances of being present and oh so attentive he never was really there at all.
I feel, at times, like these ones are an addiction. You try and try so many times to walk away only to let them back in when they appear at just the wrong moment – every single time. A few years ago in one of those moments I wrote the following on my old blog. I think it’s still good advice. You just may need to practice a few times to get it right.
I’m considering starting my own 12 step-ish self help group. There are all kinds of these groups out there in the world; alcoholics, overeaters, drug and sex addicts. Where are the group for those of us who can’t leave are exes alone? Where are the interventions? Where is that road map of easy steps to follow for ridding the unhealthy people from your life?
Write a closure letter. Include everything that he or she did to hurt, aggravate or piss you off. Put in everything that you ever wanted to say to them but didn’t have the nerve or opportunity to.
Keep the letter. Anytime you feel like calling or get a phone call read it BEFORE you dial or answer.
I highly recommend boxing up keepsakes and remembrances for at least a year. You may think that photo on your nightstand is perfectly fine – trust me it is not.
Make an effort to start replacing your ex with friends. If you always went to the same coffee shop with your ex on Sunday mornings, find a friend to go through that ritual with you until it longer feels like a couple thing. Until it no longer hurts.
Wallow for short periods. Schedule it if you have to but do not let it interfere with your life. Do everything and anything that makes you feel good about you.
Start dating. Even if it leads to nothing at all, getting out there and meeting new people is always good.
It will get better. It will pass.