I had this glorious idea of how I could tell my story, but then I received a phone call from a distant ex tonight. After ignoring 1 FaceTime and 3 continuous phone calls out of nowhere, my curiosity lifted up my hand…straightened my index finger…and dragged that green phone icon to the right to answer.

Why did I do that? 

This guy connects three very different, yet important, relationships in my life. The conversation spanned over about an hour and a half. I probably spoke for a grand total of 5 minutes within that time frame. The conversation started with him saying... ”You ready?” Me: “For what?” Him: “For all that I have to say.” What could he possibly have to say after all this time? Quite frankly…A LOT…of bullshit.

“I know I’ve made mistakes, but I’m not the man you remember.”

“I’ve seen your sincere ugly cries that made me think ‘Damn she really cares…that’s real snot…she has bubbles forming from her nose and shit" (As he laughs since he thinks he is so damn funny.)

“I don’t have to see you to see your smile.”

“I will cut every bitch off for another chance. I can send out a memo. Carry a message by pigeon. Mass email. Whatever.”

“We don’t have to talk for me to hear your laugh.”

“You see that you are the best thing that ever happened to me. So I’m not going to put that battery in your back. I don’t have to keep telling you.”

“I feel that your insecurities prevent you from coming back to me. I think you worry about what everyone else thinks.”

“What haven’t I said yet? What part of the PowerPoint presentation have I not covered yet? Let me review my speaker notes.” (This guy…)

How could I date someone so damn corny? It’s like he had to make one dumb ass comment for every decent thing that came out of his mouth! I cheated on the love of my life with him. Again, why did I do that? He was the tall, athletic Black version of the damn devil. He knew all of my weak points. He literally fucked my brain. He knew how to lure me with music, letters, and poetry. It was different at the time. It was all a game. Over the course of 5 years, there was verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Infidelity, lies, and manipulation. So why would I stay for so long? He was right. Insecurities. That was part of the reason I cheated to begin with. I thought the guy I cheated on was too good for me and that he was going to leave me eventually. He was attractive and we were young. There was no way he was going to stay with me (or so I thought). All of my “friends” were in fucked up relationships at the time so they had no problem encouraging me to fuck up my own before they were kind enough to break the news to my ex… so I lost love, friendships, and trust in people as a result of fucking with this man. I was never the same.

Back to the call…He said… “The reason I couldn’t take you seriously at first and part of the reason I messed around…is because you were in a relationship when I met you. I couldn’t trust you. If we met under different circumstances, then everything would be different.” So, of course, the blame is placed on me. And, honestly, I felt like this was all karma. I felt like I deserved it at the time. I deserved shitty friends. I deserved to be cheated on. I was hard on myself for a very long time. I withdrew from family and friends, because no one wanted to hear about the Devil. I couldn’t talk to anyone. No one understood why I stayed with someone that treated me so bad although I, too, had a history of infidelity. Eventually, I reached that breaking point. Unfortunately, it was in a psychiatric facility because I had driven myself so far into solitude and frustration that I thought a handful of pills and a bottle of liquor was my escape. When I spent that time there, he was out partying. That was my harsh reality. 

Back to the call…I don’t know what he’s talking about at this point, because I really don’t give a fuck. So, back to my story…As soon as I had the opportunity, I moved 12 hours away from home to start over. Less than a year later, I met another man that truly cared for me. There was no infidelity; however, he was insecure just like me. But, I was numb from dancing with the Devil. I didn’t give myself time to heal. Mentally and emotionally, I checked out before this new guy came into my life. I had no energy to constantly reassure a grown man that I wasn’t cheating. I take responsibility as well. I never expressed my feelings. I never wanted to kiss or hug him. I felt nothing. It was more like a great friendship and I didn’t want to be alone. I felt pressure that I would never find another man that would love me as much again so I stayed. But, I realized it wasn’t fair to him to be with someone that wasn’t IN love with him. Eventually, I set him free because I did love him and he deserved more than what I had to offer. I thought I was doing him a favor and I broke his heart. 

On my own. Once again now. One more time. By myself.  – Patti Labelle

I’ve been in relationships consistently over 15 years and I’m 29. Do the math. I don’t know how to be alone or even simply be myself. I have always tried to conform into what someone else wants me to be.  I can’t even speak to what I want in someone else. There are good and bad days. Days filled with empowerment and independence...days filled with loneliness and desperation. I am taking this time to put me first and doing the things I want to do. I’d rather be alone than to waste any more of my precious years. I don’t want to be alone forever though. Contradiction.

If only you could see through my gazing eyes,

The thoughts that cloud me may take you by surprise.

My mood changes by the hour; first, I’m happy, and the next, I may be sad

But I keep my calm composure the best that I can. 

- Submitted anonymously