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In one way or another, we see the same depiction of relationships in movies and books.
There’s almost always a sexy, brooding, and damaged man with a flitty and beautiful woman who wants to fix him for the better.
They tell us it’s a relationship filled with deep passion, love, communication, and a healthy and flourishing future. The classic tale of Mr. Big and Carrie from “Sex and the City” always comes to mind—the woman is good, she waits around, and she puts up with a lot of bad behaviour from a damaged but beautiful soul.
In the end, love must win.
However, what we don’t see is that one person’s toxic and non-committed “Mr. Big” is someone else’s sweet and devoted Aidan. That’s right, the same person who cried wolf and refused to commit to you could turn around two months later and commit to someone they met in a grocery store, an elevator, or in my case, a gym.
This is what happened to me—and not just once, but repeatedly. I chose a man who chose other women because it was easier—a stripper, a gym trainer, and women he would meet in bars.
Everything about that man required low effort, and I was more than happy to allow him to float in and out of my life over and over again. The all-consuming passion that was felt between us was enough to keep me on his hook. I traveled to see him, canceled plans with others if he called, and constantly waited for him to show up in my life just to throw me on the scrap heap.
Meanwhile, other relationships with potential partners suffered, and I even allowed him to come between me and a really nice man who I had been dating. I couldn’t say no—it was unhealthy, ugly, and I was completely consumed.
I was addicted.
He was absolutely my drug, and I did anything to hold onto the high, even if that meant having to struggle through the lows until I could get my next fix.
The periods of horrible emotional withdrawals started to seep slowly into my self-worth and my mental health. His emotional unavailability—along with not sharing any kind of feelings he had—started to make me feel unloved, unwanted, and therefore, gradually created more insecurity overtime. I suffered insurmountable anxiety and stress, and I wrestled with inner turmoil.
Even more than this, I was addicted to the story.
We all know the drill. The tall, sexy, and deeply wounded playboy tames his wild ways for a woman who walks into his life, holds space, and “fixes” him.
He’s the Christian Grey type who does no therapeutic inner work, and the patient, down for anything, passive woman heals him. This woman’s sole purpose is to lift this man up, and suddenly, he is cured of his philandering ways, he opens up, and he lets her in. Of course, they live happily ever after.
Not only did I eat this story up for over a decade, but I also clung to it and fed myself lies. I held tightly to the little comfort that one day, he would “wake up.”
But he won’t.
I’ll repeat that again for the ladies hiding in the back. I see you, and he won’t.
The only thing we ever really change for is ourselves—when we are sick and tired of our own garbage, and when we have hit our own personal rock bottoms.
For me, my rock bottom with him was when I had flown to see him, rented a hotel room, had a passionate night with him, and then he asked me if he needed to stay. That was the last slap in the face I needed, after many kicks.
Over the years, I just hadn’t gotten it until then. It was like a light bulb string that was pulled above my head at that exact moment.
This wasn’t some fairy-tale I lived. I wasn’t Carrie Bradshaw, walking around Paris in a beautiful ball gown, with him rushing in a taxi to tell me, “I’m the one.”
I was the woman who had spent her own money to fly there, rented my own hotel room, and bought my own lingerie—especially for him—just to be asked at the end if he “needed” to stay.
How the hell did I get here?
I’m strong, beautiful, caring, and fierce. Am I really that woman?
Evidently, I was. I was used, manipulated, and gaslighted.
The problem was that the person I was really angry with was myself—I broke my own heart. My codependency issues pushed me so far to the point that I convinced myself it was just a matter of time before he saw what was right in front of him.
The movies I watched and the books I read fed my mind a glamorous story that was never real. It wasn’t until I lived it myself—with a different outcome than what Hollywood depicts—that I found out, the hard way, that these relationships are not only damaging, but traumatizing.
Ultimately, these men are not for us to fix. We can support, love, and guide others, but we cannot fix them.
If you find yourself stuck in this type of toxic dynamic, you need to look in the mirror at yourself. It’s not pretty, ladies. In fact, it feels horrible to look at our ugliness and wonder why we allowed that behaviour.
But once we do, we can stop attracting this kind of addiction into our lives and call in real love—real love for ourselves, and if we choose, real love in a real partnership.
We deserve it.
We absolutely deserve someone who lets us in completely and wholly. We deserve to be loved, cherished, and considered. We deserve to be seen, to go out on dates, binge bad shows, laugh hysterically, and dance.
We deserve to be known.
We deserve a witness to our tears, a cheerleader for our accomplishments, and a person who chooses to love us with every fibre of their being. We deserve a commitment so unwavering that we never have to guess if this person is going anywhere—let alone wonder what the status of our relationship is.
We deserve a real, vulnerable, and tangible love.