There can be no true chemistry in a relationship without self-esteem, and when my relationship of six years was officially over, mine was destroyed. I was absolutely ready to be single for the rest of my life.
Here’s the lie I told myself: My relationship fell apart because my boyfriend took me for granted. The truth? I didn’t let the bastard go when I should have because I was scared of saying no when he was being a jerk. I took myself for granted. I let myself down.
That lie created a mindset based on never letting a man take advantage of me like that again. I obsessed over the injustices, held on to every little resentment, and drove myself crazy because I couldn’t get through a single conversation without bringing it up.
It created an incredible amount of defensiveness in all my relationships. And I was absolutely clueless about that fact.
I listened to all the dating advice coaches - I had my vision boards, my lists of qualities, of how I wanted to feel with a man. I journaled my feelings, went on practice dates, and generally prepared myself for the triumphant experience of winning that new and something better man I’d earned the right to be with after all those years of suffering and pain.
I based everything on making sure that never happened again, and I was basically setting myself up for meeting someone who wasn’t like that guy.
During this time I meditated every day on bringing someone new into my life. The carnival of chaos that came out of those meditations culminated in an extended period of grey-area dating - juggling three different men who were emotionally unavailable and generally non-committal. Any time I pulled away they would come running back, professing love and the desire for a deep relationship. But as soon as I reciprocated they would disappear.
It was maddening, so I returned to my meditations, vision boards, and lists. Revising, revamping, and further preparing myself for my soulmate to show up. But all that happened was that these three men kept coming back.
The cycles didn’t stop until I was able to understand what was really going on - I just wasn’t ready for a relationship. I didn’t trust myself, and had completely closed down. I chose these men because they were never going to work out! It was an important experience that helped me let go of all the games I had been playing with myself and admit the deeper issue at hand.
It was totally bizarre, but after that I went through a period of time where all of the men from my past seemed to show up with the same message expressed in different ways, “It’s been a while, but you’re always on my mind. You mean so much to me. Let’s connect soon.”
I followed up in earnest with every single one of these men, exploring what was meant and what their intentions were in reaching out. And it became incredibly clear over time that these men were simply using me to boost their self-esteem. They knew I was someone would never be rude or dismissive to them, that I was the girl they could always count on to help keep their fantasies alive.