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Hi, my name is ____ and I’m heart broken. That’s how these things start right?

Let me begin by saying that I’m not one of those people that fall head over heels for every person they meet. If anything I’m cautious to a fault – shout out to mom and dad for my endless trust and commitment issues. My only real relationship was some puppy love high school nonsense that crashed and burned when I left for college. So six years later and I’ve become the kind of person who goes on a few dates with someone and then picks a fight and ditches the second it feels like it might become anything serious.

But then I met someone. I met this guy, a friend of a friend, and I was already plotting the fight in my head, I was already planning the end. But then he surprised me. We had a really crazy strong connection and he convinced me not to pick the fight. And that scarred the shit out of me. Because I didn’t know what came after that point. What do I do, what do I say, how do I have mature reactions to emotions that I’ve never really dealt with?

So about a month in things were feeling serious, like this could actually be something. I wasn’t in love, and I didn’t think he was “the one” but I could see us getting to that point. I even stayed over at his place for a few nights in a row and it felt natural, everything felt easy. Don’t get me wrong, it was still terrifying, but it felt solid, I felt safe and comfortable. Then a week or so later he stopped texting me. I’ve experienced ghosting and there was no way in hell he was going to get away with that. But later that week he reached out and explained that he was dealing with some shit and sorry he’d been out of touch. (Note: I’m not here to tell you about his life, so just trust me that he was really dealing with things and it wasn’t just an excuse.) So another week goes by and after another brief conversation he says that he really liked me but he needed to “hit pause” on to figure himself out.

Let’s talk about pause for a second, shall we? Pause isn’t real. Pause means done. Right? Everyone knows that yeah? Well I didn’t. So I paused. I paused and I held on to him with everything I had. I read his favorite book, I watched a TV show he’d mentioned on our first date, listened to a band he showed me on our second. I did anything I could think of to hold on to the amazing feelings that I hadn’t felt in so so long.

But then a week went by. Then two. Then a month. It became clear that he was never planning on hitting play again. And then I started seeing him at work. We both work freelance in the same industry, it was bound to happen. But that didn’t mean I was prepared. That didn’t mean that I could wave back to him as we passed in the hall or even look in his direction when we were in the same room.

I realized I had to suck it up. The situation wasn’t going to change, but I could change how I reacted to it. So I texted him. Checked in said it was nice seeing him around. He responded with similar sentiments and that was it. I’d put the ball in his court and then told myself it was time to get over it.

And I did. At least I convinced myself that I did. But nothing’s that easy in 2017, and he had to stir the feelings up again. Do guys have some radar? Some alarm that goes off telling them that a girl is okay again? Because he picked a perfect time to start paying attention to my Instagram again. And the tiniest sliver of hope that he might want to un-pause came back. I was back to square one. Waiting. Waiting to see what that meant, if he would reach out. He didn’t. He hasn’t. He won’t.

So now what? I keep being told that I need closure. But do I? I know it’s over. As much as I may not want it to be, it is. I don’t need hear him say it. And I guess I just want him to know that while he was dealing with his own hurt he was also inflicting hurt on me? What’s the point of that conversation? To make him feel bad? I don’t want that. But I don’t know what I want.

He hurt me. This experience messed me up. I finally let someone in and then he was gone. And not months or years later but weeks later. Almost instantly. It destroyed me. My self confidence has disappeared, I feel hopeless and unwanted and I don’t know how to pick myself back up when he keeps showing up to pull me back down. And I know a lot of that is my own issues that I need to work on, but I don’t know how to disassociate him from those feelings.

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