All in all, he was the loser in the end.
Love is a battlefield but there are certain moments when you need to realize when you're fighting a battle with no end. Nothing quite teaches you that lesson like finding yourself competing for your own partner's love.
My now-ex had basically told me he was getting increasingly interested in someone else and, at first, I assumed that it was a plea to help him stay loyal. I explained how much history we had and he said that he wanted to see things change between us.
So, to try to make sure he was happy, I changed things up. I took his suggestions and applied them, even to the point of wearing skirts, which weren't really my deal. It seemed to work...sort of. But all the work I put in was being counteracted with the other woman's advances.
I'd catch him comparing her to me, and me to her.
Like any normal person would, the constant competition began to wear on me. I began to wonder what she had that I didn't. I began to wonder why he was constantly lording her over my head, and why he seemed so ready to dump me.
My mood got worse and worse, and the competition had no end in sight. Finally, after he criticized my cooking one night, I had enough.
"I don't give a f*ck what you think about my f*cking food anymore. Have your other bitch cook it for you if it's so damn bad," I shouted as I slammed my plate down. He looked at me, shocked and a little bit scared. He never saw me actually get angry before this moment and he had no idea what I'd do next.
I didn't need to say anything else that night. All I needed to say had been said. I quickly got all my clothes from his apartment and walked out the front door. All that time, he just sat there, shaking because of how explosive my anger seemed to be.
Then, I went home and cried. He didn't call back that night.
I felt defeated. Utterly, completely defeated. It was such a lose-lose situation that I knew, no matter what I did, he'd find fault with it. There would always be that other girl and if not her, some other girl he'd chat up.
I felt worthless and used. At the end of the day, I couldn't make him stay and I couldn't make him fight for me. That was all on him.
After one night of sobbing hysterically into a pillow until my tear ducts stopped functioning, I decided to do what just about every other human being does when they hate life: drink with a friend.
We were at the bar and I was on my fourth martini of the night, borderline sobbing into my drink, as I explained to her what happened with him. He had sat there, watching me guzzle each drink without pause. Finally, after stoically listening, my friend decided to give me some real talk.
"So, let me get this straight, he basically pitted you against this random girl he was interested in," he said.
"Yep," I said, sipping what was left of my martini.
"And you fought for him?" he asked. "You told him all the things that make your relationship special, you tried to work things out and open up more... the works, right?"
"Yep," I said.
"And that wasn't enough, so he decided he wanted you to do more," he said.
"Yep," I said.
"You know, you weren't fighting for him at that point," he said. "You were competing for him. He already stopped fighting for you and caring about you a while ago. People who care about their partners don't do that sh*t."
And then it hit me. My ex didn't like me at all, he just liked watching the control he had on the two girls who were interested in him. He was in love with the control and with watching me squirm while I treated him like a king. With that, any loss and defeat I felt fizzled away.
At that point, I realized that I hadn't actually lost any love, nor was I actually defeated by this other woman. I had lost an assh*le, and that was more a victory than any defeat I could think of. I had actually won at his game by simply refusing to play.
He soon started dating the other girl, who promptly cheated on him within weeks of becoming official. He then dumped her, thinking I'd take him back because in the end "I won" the piss-poor excuse of a "prize" he was. I remember that conversation pretty well.
"Listen, Ossiana, please take me back," he asked. "I made a mistake. You're the one I love."
"I loved you. I fought for you, but you know what? I'm not going to compete for you," I said. "If you actually had loved me the way you said you did, you wouldn't have pitted me against someone else to win your affection. I treated you damn well, and you treated me like sh*t. You didn't fight for me at all, you played me like a fool. You made your choices, now live with them."
After all that was said and done, he was the only loser in that competition.