Boy, Let Me Be! The Attack Of The Joy-Sucking Ex (Just When You Get Back to Happy)
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We’ve all lived the tale. Long ago in a distant life, you were happy and planning your future with the man of your dreams. Then, without warning (or due to a subconscious choice to avoid red flags), the dream shatters, the relationship ends, and you spend the next few months or years locked away in your castle mourning the life that never was. Friends and family try to coax you from your self-imposed exile; they even bring potential suitors in hopes that you will see life after heartbreak in their eyes.

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For a while, your love life is dormant, but then, in an unexpected chance meeting you find someone who unfreezes the ice that was creeping into your spirit, and before you know it, happiness is in bloom and you’re on the path to love again. The castle gates open and the kingdom (aka your friends and family who were two seconds from slapping you silly) rejoices. Oh happy day! However, just when you thought you could settle into your new bliss, it happens. Like a rabid bloodhound it moves with intent and precision. Lurking in shadows and dark doorways giving off an ominous danger you can’t quite put your finger on. You’ve heard tales and feared it might come looking for you, but still you dismiss signs of its presence; a like on Instagram, a message of ‘hello’ through a friend, but ignoring it only draws it closer. The scent of your happiness intensifies its desire to be near you, until finally the screeching ex leaps out of the shadows, descends on your life like a dark cloud, attaches itself to you and attempts to suck the happy from your bones with one text message, “Hey, what’s up? Miss me?”

The. Horror.

You may have laughed, but how else would you describe their insanely keen ability to pop up at the exact moment that you’re wrapped in happiness. All those nights you were looking to get drafted for cuffing season, they weren’t interested enough to put in a bid. Yet the moment you’ve moved on, it’s like a Bat Signal and now they’re creeping out of trash cans and alleyways with invites for dinner, random texts to “check on you,” and my personal fave the ‘Too damn late to be on my phone because granny says nothing is open but legs past 12’ call to say they were in the neighborhood and want to “see” you. I know what you’re trying to see sir, and the answer is hell nah.

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When my ex and I broke up it was devastating. To say I was crushed would be saying too little. My friends definitely wanted to slap me. I was a zombie, and a stupid zombie, because for a while after our breakup I offered chances for reconciliation and invites to “just hang.” He wasn’t just my boyfriend, he was also a good friend, and losing them both hurt like hell. However, he wasn’t thinking about me. He wasn’t trying to get back together or come over to chill. He didn’t have time to talk or even text.

Now I’ve moved on. Not the fake move on where we look like we’ve moved on from the outside, but inside we’re still hurting and healing. I did the work and called a thing a thing, and while I’m not perfection, I’m in a much better place. I’ve found me, happiness and even an awesome piece of magic again. But like that rabid dog, my ex has the scent and now those frequent calls and ‘in the neighborhood’ drivebys have popped up again. I’ll admit it was tempting to fall for the attention, I mean this was a man I loved and I’m still technically a single woman, right? However, that’s how future sucking exes work. When he had access to all he’s seeking now, it wasn’t good enough. For years after, he still didn’t want it, but all of a sudden he misses me, blah, blah, blah. Sounds good on paper, but the reality is he doesn’t want me any more today than he did last year.

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He wants the best of me. The pieces that helped and served his needs, the pieces he feels the new man will get, but without the thing the new man actually wants…me. That’s how they suck your future happiness away. They trick you into thinking they want you and another chance to be as happy as you once were. They fill you with memories of good times and promises of change that will never come, and while you’re busy easing back into that comfort zone, your new joy is slipping away. By the time you wake up your future will be gone, and so will the ex.

I’m not here for anybody stealing my happiness, and because of that I’ve had to learn to start setting boundaries. No future sucker you can’t call all hours of the night. No, you can’t slide through at 11:47pm because you were in my neighborhood. No I can’t help you write that business plan, bio and event pitch letter, try Google. No I don’t care you’re upset that you called two days in a row to check on me and I didn’t answer. Mr. Magic made sure I was okay, and he’s not looking for assistants. Trust me it’s not easy. He tries me with guilt or reverse psychology on how he knows things have to change because he messed up, but he just really values my opinion and friendship. Boy bye.

As days go on the struggle to say no to someone I’ve always said yes to has gotten easier, and while he still tries, I think it’s slowly sinking in that this is not a drill. I’ve fortified my castle against foolishness. No happiness will be stolen here. The future I am building is amazing, and most importantly, doesn’t include him. So let him and all the other exes continue to try. Let them wait for a response to that “Miss me?” text in ego bruising agony with the knowledge that I’m never looking back. And I hope it sucks.