When my high school sweetheart dumped me (yes, he didn’t leave me nor did he break up with me, he literally dumped me), I was more than devastated and heartbroken. My whole world was tearing apart. Before you get the wrong impression, let me tell you that he was my high school love, but we broke up years after high school was over. We talked about marriage, we even moved in together, and then, all of sudden, everything broke down into pieces.

It was then when my mum told me they all come back sooner or later and that I don’t have anything to worry about. Of course, I didn’t believe her and I thought she was just saying the things all mums say to comfort you. But, guess what? She was right.

He did come back eventually. But when he did, I felt like I outgrew and had the feeling our story was going on ages ago, although just a couple of years had passed. We met at our high school reunion. I was already a woman and he remained the same emotionally immature boy he was when he cheated on me with the first random girl that crossed his path. I was sure I was completely over him, otherwise I wouldn’t expose myself to seeing him. However, I was a little bit afraid whether he would be able to wake up some kind of emotion in me. I must admit it, he was still charming, but I felt literally nothing.

And he must have felt my lack of emotions, because he was all over me. He couldn’t stop babbling about how sorry he was and about how he was thinking of me all of these years. He told me I was the only girl he ever loved and that he will never find someone like me. But, I couldn’t care less about him.

Besides, I knew he was obviously lying and that he was probably just drunk with memories. But, I must admit one thing. It’s nice when you finally hear all the things you were waiting to hear for years. They don’t wipe up the pain you have been through, but a little vain part of me enjoyed it. He insisted we exchanged phone numbers and he called me for a long time after the event. He just wanted a chance to show me he is a changed man and an opportunity to make things better. I tried to stay polite but, despite my ego rising, I felt nothing else.

And that was when I realized my mum was right. When you no longer want them, they come back. This guy hurt me in more than one way and I’ve been through a lot because of him. We dated for years and he was my first everything. Most importantly, he was my first committed relationship. Even for a long time after he was gone, he was the only man I could have imagined myself married to. But he treated me like shit and left me emotionally damaged. He was toxic for me, and now I know that I’ve done everything I could to fix him. Actually, he wasn’t toxic for me only—he was toxic for everyone around him, including himself. And somehow, he made me think I was this superwoman and the only person alive who could heal him. But instead of me healing him, he managed to break me. He managed to change me and kill the girl I was. He was a narcissist who killed my self-esteem and who made me think I could never get someone better and that I should feel blessed he’s around to put up with me.

I thought about leaving him for the last couple of years of our relationship. I just knew there was nothing healthy left in that relationship and that I was just sinking deeper. But the thing that kept me around was the fact that I knew he would never chase me. I knew he wouldn’t ask me to stay. And he never did. It was only after he left me for someone else that I found out about his cheating. But while he was dumping me, he acted totally indifferent. He never said he was sorry or that he loved me or at least that I meant something for him. And I think that hurt me more than everything he did while we were together.

But, later on, I realized that it was the best thing he could have ever done because if he asked me to forgive him, if he has shown remorse, I would have stayed. And God knows what would have happened with me since then. I’ve suffered from his absence and it took me years to move on. It took me a lot of time and energy to grow to love myself again and even more to realize I deserve better. After him, I couldn’t bring myself to trust anyone. I thought that I wasn’t worthy of anyone loving and respecting me and that every guy that is interested in me just wants to use me or is feeling sorry for me.

Weeks, months, years passed by. And it was easier as every day passed by. Suddenly, he wasn’t all I could think of. I was still thinking about him, of course, but those thoughts didn’t consume me as much as they did before. After a lot of time and tears, one day I was getting ready to sleep and I realized I hadn’t thought about him not once for an entire day. And for the first time in years, I felt free. We run into each other after a while and I felt nothing. It was like all of my suffering was suddenly erased.

I never saw him again until our high school reunion. I thought of him from time to time, when someone would mention him or when something would remind me of him. Although it may sound like a cliché, I didn’t hate him. On the contrary, I remembered him as an old friend and I wished all the best for him.

But when I saw him that night, I felt like I was looking at him for the first time. I knew it has been some time since our last encounter, but objectively, he didn’t change that much. He was still very good looking and handsome. But what changed was my perception of him. I simply didn’t see him through pink sunglasses anymore.

And when he started talking to me and calling me, I didn’t doubt whether I should give him a chance for even a second. I saw he was surprised at first. He was actually shocked that I am not around whenever he feels like it. I didn’t believe him. Of course he didn’t love me all of these years—I am not even sure whether he loved me when we were together. But he just needed to prove to himself that he can march in my life whenever he pleases. Obviously, I was that person who made him feel special by always leaving the door open for him. He probably thought I will be around, waiting for him forever. When I told him I was seeing someone, he couldn’t believe his ears. His face was surprised because I’ve had the nerve to try and find someone better than him. Someone who deserves me and accepts me. But I think that the thing that shocked him the most was the fact that I’ve finally put myself as a priority.

So, I guess they do come back when you don’t want them anymore. There are times when you would give everything in your life just for one phone call or one apology. And when those things finally come, it’s too late. You don’t want them anymore. And you should be proud of yourself for that. It means you’ve survived.

 

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