Some of the best ideas for writing come to me when talking to friends and yesterday, one such conversation took place. My friend expressed regret for not pursuing the “one who got away.” Without going into too much detail, the story unfolded somewhat like this. He was with “the one” for almost 3 years. She dumped him for an ex. He felt strongly that if it was meant to be – and there was true love between them – she’d be back. Based on this belief, he decided to not chase after her. She never came back and that is where he thinks he may have failed. He felt he should have “fought for her.” I, however, disagree. I feel he did the right thing and I don’t think he lost “the one.”
I am not going to speak for others, but the way I see it is like this. When someone leaves me, it isn’t my “duty” to chase after him; unless I caused the breakup. When someone chooses someone else over me, I see absolutely no reason to attempt winning that person back. Being dumped is bad enough; but losing my dignity, too, while attempting talking someone into being with me, especially someone who clearly does not want me, makes no sense. I am not saying that people don’t make mistakes. I am not saying that someone who leaves shouldn’t be forgiven or even be taken back. But it isn’t my responsibility to make it happen. I feel that the one who broke the agreement and the trust should be responsible for reestablishing the bond, and actually do the work to make it happen.
The truth is, at least in my experience, those who dump you generally don’t come back. The reasons are plentiful and include shame, guilt and “feeling bad,” but sometimes the reason is much more simple: They didn’t want me! They chose someone else over me and not only moved on, but forgot about me. I was a temporary solution to maybe fill a need. No amount of pain on my side, no amount of chasing and sorrow, guilt trips or anger will change that. I wasn’t it, someone else was/is. Done – end of story.
See, I expect anyone who is a grown-up to do the right thing and own up to their mistakes. So when someone walks out on me, I’ll do absolutely nothing. As crappy as it sounds, I’ll suffer, mostly silently, because nothing is worse than being dumped by someone you loved AND having your friends beat you up for missing him. But no matter how much I hurt, I will not contact him. And yes, if that means he is lost to me forever, it gives me all the answers I needed – including the one that hurts the most: he didn’t love me and he doesn’t want me back. The “he will see what he’s lost once is gone” is BS. I don’t buy it. Nah, he doesn’t see that he’s lost a precious thing, or he wouldn’t have left to begin with/been back already.
The most destructive pattern we can fall prey to is beating ourselves up for not having been enough. Nothing beats down one’s dignity and self-worth more than chasing after someone who doesn’t want us. I’m not saying that one should be a self-righteous jerk. But I am saying that it isn’t up to you to pursue any person who disrespects, hurts, lies or walks out on you. As such, I have always upheld the simple policy of “you think I’m not worth spending time and space with or being with? Well, that’s OK. I’ll miss you, I’ll morn you, but there’s the door.”
If a person who is supposed to respect, love and care for you does not find it necessary to come after you and clean up their mess, if someone has no ability to apologize, own up to their crap and fix it, then they are simply not worth it. All that means is that they would do it again. It takes self-reflection, humility, integrity and decency to truly own up to being an ass and why would you want to be with someone who has neither of these traits? Your worth is not determined by others. It is determined by yourself; so when you allow people to treat you a certain way and then go and chase after them, you essentially say that it is OK for them to mistreat you. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the message I want to send.
I am using a simple philosophy in life for both, friends and relationships. If I screw up, I’ll clean up my mess and attempt to make it right. If they deny me this opportunity, well, I can at least say that I tried. But if a trusted and loved friend, partner or family member betrays me or walks out on me, I’ll let them go. I choose to be around those who know that their life wouldn’t be as bright without me in it – even though I am not perfect and can be a royal pain in the butt. But that is love and exactly what I want in my life. Life is too short to chase people who don’t give a damn. If someone leaves and doesn’t come back, it’s because they don’t want you, not because you “let them go.”