“I’ve saved every guy who has hurt me as the same emoji, a ghost, so when any of them text me I know to either make fun of them or ignore them,” one of my best friends texted me early on a Sunday morning.
I sat back and thought for a minute. One — brilliant idea, because then you can’t decipher which crappy dude is texting you, and therefore it is way easier not to reply and attempt to restart something that never really began in the first place. Two — it’s symbolic because, really, people like them are all the same in their relation to us, aren’t they?
For context, we’d been talking about two men who had hurt us. In different ways, but wounds just the same. For her, it was definitely a connection that he decided to unplug the minute it got too real. For me, it was just some stupid guy who came and went from my life in the same, disrespectful way, hitting me up when it was convenient for him and then blowing me off last minute with the plans he initiated.
(Brief side note: Yes, yes, on my end, I realize I should have probably seen his pattern in behavior earlier. However, I was young for most of our interactions. Also, bear with me. I’ve learned now.)
To be honest, does it really matter how a bruise came to be? The point is, it still left a mark. It still aches. And that’s all you need to know that something mattered to you. It’s all valid.
When we encounter people who don’t want to commit to us or don’t like us enough to respect us or our time, it sucks. And, to be honest, until you find the right partner for you, you probably will always stumble across a lot of humans like this.
While you don’t have a choice in who you fall for or encounter, you do have power in how you react and respond. You have the ability to decide how much you’ll put up with. And you do this by reciprocating in kind.
Observe and then match their energy. If you sense something has shifted, it probably has. So move along with it. If you are realizing they probably aren’t as into this as you are, back away. Follow their lead until you take the reins yourself.
If you find you are always the one reaching out first, stop. If you know they are only using you when you hang out, decline their invites. If they take forever to respond to a text, don’t rush to reply when they finally do. It’s all dependent on your unique situation, of course, but simply behave as if you’re their mirror, a mime.
This is not an easy feat. Believe me, I know. But you are smart. You are strong. You deserve more than half-assed effort. And frankly, you don’t have the time to be used. Chasing those who do not want to be caught will only leave you gasping for air.
The pattern I realized was that this dude did not like me. Or respect me. And would never follow through. So I responded in a similar matter. I unfollowed him on Instagram. I do not reach out. He’s saved in my phone as a nickname my friends came up with. When he decides to creep back, which he probably will, I’ll leave him on read. Because let’s face it, he’s not listening anyway.
Now, for what it’s worth, I’m all for sharing our feelings and communicating. But also there reaches a point when we’re just shouting until our voices grow sore for someone who never had the capacity or will to care about us or love us back. Eventually, you need to settle with reality and accept that it’s just not going to work.
At some point, your want will fade. You will miss them less. You will realize you deserve more and only look for partners who can reciprocate with the same enthusiasm. Matching the energy doesn’t just work when you’re trying to let someone go. It helps you to fall in love with the right person, too.
The right person will deliver energy that feels like love, like care, like home. You won’t feel like someone they could take or leave. It’ll be calm and safe. If they want you, you’ll know. And until then, only give the energy you’re receiving. It’s better than expending all you have on someone who frankly does not want or deserve you.