If you’ve ever dated a manipulator, you know what it’s like after you finally pull the plug.
I subconsciously started to recognize how exhausted I was.
Historically, I’d tossed my energy at whatever my whims desired, and these characteristics—charming, confident, successful, witty—usually depleted me of my otherwise healthy self-esteem.
It’s easy to get sucked in by articulate charmers, especially if you have somewhat of a “fix it” or savior complex; Even after the breakup, you want to see true change in the person. When I’d kindly but firmly decline his invitation for dinner or coffee, as I always did, he’d find ways to press buttons that made me hurt all over again.
One moment, it was “you were the best girlfriend I’ve ever been with,” and the next “we were never really together.” I’d smile, tell him I wished him well, and bite back the floodgates.
They were deep and perplexing, enticing since I loved a challenge.
They were confident enough to break through my walls of busyness and fear, but their cocky attitudes eventually gave way to their deeply-rooted insecurities. I don’t see you with a smooth-talker, more of a legitimately good person.”I went to bed thinking about what he said, letting those seeds start to take root. Of course I wanted someone “good.” But did I actually look for that in practice, or just seek out recovering bad boys that I could rehabilitate toward some kind of “good-ish” end?
In the end, I hugged him goodbye and thanked him for dinner.
When he texted me the following day, I told him that, although he was lovely, it was probably best we went our separate ways.
Maybe relationships weren’t about fixing a person at all. So with the dawn of 2016, I actually started to think about what I needed in a relationship—not what I wanted or was instantly drawn toward, but the qualities that would make me feel safe and supported.