I reconnected with an old coworker about six years ago. We had a bit of a fling until she decided to begin a relationship with another man. I admit, I had feelings of dejection. But in the end, I wanted her to live her life and let this love bloom. We did, however, remain close friends. Our friendship really began to grow. Her boyfriend did not mind my company at all. In fact, I liked the guy. Unfortunately, that relationship ended and it put my friend in a bit of downturn and she ran to me. I informed her I was not going to be her rebound.
She tried dating others during this period of time, but nothing really manifested. I decided to take a trip to Manhattan, and since it was around her birthday, I asked her to come along. It was during this trip that she brought up her feelings for me, how she thought about being more than friends with me. Now, here's the thing: she has a weakness for men. While it wasn't a factor that led to her breakup, I was privy to the number of times she cheated on her boyfriend. While I cared about her, and definitely did have feelings for her, I knew this particular issue was really going to bother me. But, being the hopeless romantic I am, I told her I was willing to give us a shot. Then she decided to start seeing one of her coworkers. It was a coworker who she said reminded her of an ex and saw no future with. So why did she continually prioritize this guy over me?
Eventually, things fizzled out with her coworker and she came running back to me again (noticing a pattern?). I expressed to her how terrible her recent choices made me feel. I wanted to turn my back on her. Against my instincts, I gave us another shot. And, as they say, history repeats itself. Just a few weeks ago, she ghosts me for a man she only knew for barely a month. They're even "Facebook official" after knowing each other for three weeks. I'd had enough. I removed her from all my social media. I deleted our six-year message history. I even uninstalled Hulu from my phone because I was using her account. The sad thing is that I know it's only going to be a matter of time before she comes running back to me, and I really don't know how I'm going to respond. There's a part of me that's willing to give her yet another chance, despite history proving she doesn't deserve one. Why do I allow myself to go through this even though I know it's bad for me? Why do people keep relationships with toxic people?
– Unintentional Masochist
You've allowed her back into your life in the past because you're hopeful, romantic, and open to the possibility that people can change.
But this time around, you're the one who's changed. You want to be optimistic – but only about people who've earned it. For the first time, you deleted this woman's messages and passwords. You admitted that even when she's not your romantic partner, she's not a great friend. The Hulu decision was symbolic, right? You don't want to be connected to her anymore. You don't trust her enough to have a password-sharing kind of relationship.
My advice is to continue setting boundaries and making new rules for yourself because you'll probably need more of them. Maybe the next one should be about how much time you spend thinking about her. If you catch yourself imagining her return – scripting it in your head – call a friend and make other plans. Sometimes we get stuck on people who aren't great for us because our brains can't imagine spending time on anyone else. Train yourself to remember that others are out there.
Also, treat yourself to some new accounts and passwords. It can feel great to start something fresh, even if it's just an HBO GO account – or your very own Hulu.
Readers? Why do we let these people back in?