Ex-lovers should stay just that. Ex. And, delicious though they may have been, stay firmly in the past.
But he did not. And each time he reappeared, despite all misgivings, I let him back into my life. Eagerly even. On his terms – free to leave without obligation. And leave he did, with a contrail of disappointment. With me.
I am horrified at my own lack of self-preservation. When he enters my world, it rocks on its foundations and I dream of a shared, if fleeting, connection. Not any forevers, mind. Just joy in the moment. When he leaves, my self-worth plummets. I tell myself I don’t care. That I have a lot to be grateful for and love. Which I do. My lot is a pretty splendid one and I’m not a victim by any stretch. Why then don’t I think about the cost to all these things and people when he reappears?
It dawned on me lately that only to me it felt like a departure. He wasn’t leaving me, he was going towards something else. New focus, adventures, lands, opportunities. And that I was an interesting somewhat familiar diversion. Does a tenuous thread of attraction through the decades justify such vulnerability?
When he left the first time, I was naive to believe it was just the distance. He was selfish to let me. Devastation swept over me upon realizing that he’d deemed me not fitting. Or perhaps enough. Also, not deserving of an end. It was the beginning of a lasting sense of inadequacy.
Subsequent encounters and rejections only serve to increase my pathetic need to appear worthier the next time. Somehow. Yet, repeatedly, I come away with a sense of having failed to meet expectations. Again. Left with only my playback of events and conversations to assign blame. For there never is a postmortem.
I want to scream “What was it this time? What is it that is not right about me? What? What? What? Why am I not good enough for you?”
Instead, with polite chit-chat and smiles, not quite making eye contact, I am cordial and friendly as though we really were just “friends from a long time ago”. Till the next time.
My world is now full and positive. When he rejects me I am hurt but not adrift. I love and want what I have. Yet, I want him. Most of all, I want him to want me.