Esther O’Reilly looks at why an Oxford Professor and a California...
There are some things that you just don’t do. Most of us would agree that voting for UK Independence party, reading The Daily Mirror or dousing someone in petrol, are all things we shouldn’t do.
Here’s what else we shouldn’t do. Go back to the ex.
Did she just put dousing someone in petroleum on the same par as going back to the ex-boyfriend? Yes – yes she did.
You/he self-sabotaged, had no boundaries, had no desire to compromise or compromised too much, kept going to your caves without explaining it to each other and he had the personality of a bullfrog. Yet you want him back? You’ve tried to make it work. Different methods, different wardrobes, different ground rules. But the self-help books never seem to do the trick. Your intrinsic core values concord as well as Thatcher reading Madonna’s 1992 book, Sex.
But you’re planning to return because he can play the guitar? So can Marilyn Manson. Because he’s a nice guy? So is Ronnie Corbett. He’s the hottest man you made out with? Sweetheart, you haven’t travelled enough.
I dare not claim to know everything about relationships, but this is an area that I’m happy to guide you through blindfolded. The few times I manipulated my way to win the boys back, through the cunning use of the LBD and heels so killer, I had nose bleeds from the high altitude; let my pain, be your gain….
Years ago, I didn’t live with much hope for a future man more suitable to me. I just settled. I didn’t look at the long-term game plan before I fell into the merky waters. I gave emotional attachments right of reign and before you could say Bob’s your pyscho-boyfriend, I didn’t know whose soul was whose. Despite the fact that many of our ethics were as aligned as Goofy’s orthodontic treatment, I wanted to believe my fight could turn this around and make it work. If I forgave that, or I worked harder on this…I didn’t take ownership of my emotions or my reactions to what I was given. That type of fight is for marriage. Right now, you’re trying to find the right fit.
Thanks to my LBD-premeditated plans, I’d go back and I’d be happy in his arms. For 2 weeks.
No matter how often you try to fill the cracks with joint compound, the cracks are still there and the foundation to the relationship is as stable as subsidence.
So why do we?
It’s not the fear of being alone. Ironic, given the fact that loneliness is more palpable when you’re in the wrong relationship. So we aren’t alone. The u-turning will continue for as long as hopelessness stays sheltered in your mind.
Threatening to leave doesn’t change them. They are who they are, unless they decide to change themselves. If you believe your actions can change their heart, then quit manipulating and ask why you are controlling the one you supposedly love?
What keeps you there?
Guilt, shame, self-questioning, irrationality of age, what others think, what the family thinks, what culture expects of us, pressure we place on ourselves, self-doubt over how we behaved, insecurity, a need to be loved, codependency, a need to fix others, a need to fix ourselves, a fear of the unknown, a fear of stretching outside, a fear of discovering how different we are when alone, a fear of rejection, a fear of compromise, a fear of selfishness, a fear of having no one to hide behind, are just a couple of reasons that come to mind – the underlying factoid being – they are all lies.
Above all, you just don’t have peace if you stay in it, and that will niggle. That voice will never shut up. Your heart deserves a megaphone, not asphyxiation. Turn off the brain and ask how your heart really feels. Then honour the answer and stick to it. Your heart is not the addict. Your brain is.
Learn to know the difference.
Why do great women, who believe in a Heaven that has enough power to line the pavements with platinum, settle for walking on cement sidewalks in their relationships? You’re royalty, so if we really believe that, we are whole and have standards derived from worth not neediness.
Until we really enjoy the uniqueness of ourselves, and learn to love us, we’ll be happy to accept anyone who will take us. No? And we’ll continue to desolate what we actually deserve, turning off the opportunities, even our own eyes to the right teammates for us.
Make your parting amicable and harmonious. If he can’t seem to do the same (gets antagonistic/defensive), have your own funeral and move on. Do whatever you can to rid yourself of needing to be in his life. Write down your core values. Write down the deterrents learnt. Take ownership rather than pointing the blame or writing bitter IOU spreadsheets to them. Work through the pain – this is paramount. No rebounds. You’ll only be with the same type again.
This takes guts but it’s possible. Very possible, if you like yourself. Develop a muscle memory that doesn’t involve him in it. Use your killer heels to keep moving forward, because at some point the belief in yourself, the values you have and the hope you clutched to, will bring you to places you never dreamed of. Friendships and adventures that rouse your world.
You heal. You move on and before you know it, just like I did with my brilliant 5 year ex-man, you’re sharing thoughts about current relationship adventures and sending your love to his current partner.
As a woman who now uses stilettoes for pleasure, instead of using them as a relationship soldering iron, nothing - and I mean nothing - compares to the power of walking forwards. By honoring ourselves, profound decisions are created which, in turn, will always venerate the heart – not expunge it.
It’s time to make life decisions routed in love. Not need.