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Four years ago, I broke up with my last serious, long term boyfriend. I was 26 and for the better part of the decade I had been in relationships. Single life both terrified and excited me. I was jaded from that last relationship and wanted desperately to just be on my own and regain my energy. But on the other hand, I was also scared of the unknown of being alone, the nagging “what if I never find anyone else?” constantly on my mind.
Fortunately, the pros of single life won and I came into it with full force, wanting nothing to do with anything remotely similar to having a boyfriend. I went out with friends more, tried new things and concentrated on having a good time, with good vibes only. For the first time in a decade, I just devoted all my attention to healing and rejuvenating myself, without caring about my relationship status.
Being so “traumatized” from my previous relationship, I had no desire to jump into a new one, thus I could keep my feelings in check. I knew how to separate, but it also didn’t always work. Not only did I develop “feelings” (now I see it as more of an infatuation) a few times, but I drove myself crazy over men that didn’t deserve it in any way. And even worse, I chased them, while they just lay back and “permitted” me to do so.
This can happen also in platonic relationships, which is no less worse, but I will focus here on romantic ones. Specifically one “relationship” I had with this guy I met at a bar a few years back, during the Purim festivities. I was out with one of my best friends, we were sitting at a bar, when the owner and one of the waters hit on us. It was actually pretty great, because we got a lot of free drinks, but it was also the start of my obsession with the owner.
That first night, he was such a gentleman; He offered to pay for the taxi my friend and I took, then messaged me to make sure we got back safe, and even invited me over to the bar the next evening. And I was so desperate to see him again, that I accepted the offer, despite still having a slight hangover. We hung out, we drank, we kissed and it was absolutely wonderful. In the end of the evening I went back to his place, completely disregarding how quick it was.
It was my first time having anything akin a one-night-stand, which at the time I didn’t really see it as. He was so sweet, respecting and responsible. I had no reason to doubt him, and mixed in with how well we clicked, I had no reason to hold back either. After that first night he was still very kind, and even drove me all the way home (despite the 30 min. commute each way). Then the irrationality began, and I wanted more and more of him, even though I knew deep down that he couldn’t give me what I wanted.
I was blind to his charms, and just ignored my gut feelings and the bold signs yelling at me to stop, that he wasn’t worth it. At first he was more responsive, and showed interest, but as time went by, it was just me. If I didn’t contact him, then I wouldn’t hear from him. What was worse, was that he eventually started making me feel bad about it, how I was being overbearing, how I just didn’t understand him, that he was running a business and I needed to be more lenient with my approach when he didn’t respond.
It took me embarrassingly long to finally realize that I was running amok down a one way street, and that the boy (not man) I was chasing, was so far from being worth it. Being in too deep to see it, it took me a while to finally say enough is enough. And it entailed hitting a new low, one I had never reached before, and refuse to ever, ever do so again.
The last couple of times we met up, I was already starting to feel standoffish about him, slowly coming to the awareness of how disgusting he was. Especially when he wanted to do things I had no desire to – some of which I allowed him to convince me to do. Today I am in a place where I’m confident enough to say no, and I cannot stress enough how critical it is to do so.
On my last visit at his place, I had a bad feeling all the way there, and I knew it was a mistake even before I went through his threshold, but convinced myself to ignore it. What followed was the worst sexual experience I had ever had. I wasn’t even remotely in the mood, but I said nothing and suffered through it – hoping that it would end soon and counting the seconds until it did.
When it was over, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. By the time I got into the car, I was already crying and shaking. When I was securely locked inside, I started sobbing, harder than I had in a long time. I felt dirty and disgusting, I hated myself for getting to that point, and swore to never again.
It was a terrible experience that I will never forget, and will cringe at the thought of it for the rest of my life. But it is also a HUGE life lesson I had gained so much wisdom and resolutions from. Besides never, EVER allowing myself to reach that point again, or to chase another man (or anyone else for that matter), it was the beginning of my path to self love and care – to learning how to be more confident and independent, to never letting anyone else affect how I feel about myself or be degraded.
But most importantly, I never chased anyone else again. Or at least not to that extent, it took me a while to get to the point where I really chase no one – because it is a long and gruesome path, but also super crucial, and the hard journey is worth every moment. Now, when I find myself in sexual situations where I’m in pain, uncomfortable or just not in the mood anymore – I don’t allow the shame and embarrassment to prevent me from stopping it, even if it’s in the middle of the act. In these situations there is no such thing as “I feel bad for him/her”.
I know very well how hard it is, when you get that deep yearning for someone and it is near impossible to stop thinking about him / her. All you want to do is be with them even if they are bad for you. Here are a few tips that might help:
# First of all, you can delete their number or even block them, so you don’t get tempted.
# Find a friend you can trust and call or message them instead, a friend who will help you hold back every time you get desperate. In general, also try to spend time with friends who will distract you and make you feel good.
# Make a list of cons about them or the potential relationship, and remind yourself of them everyday. Constantly think of all the bad and annoying habits and traits they have, that will do wonders to turn you off them.
# Repeat positive affirmations to yourself everyday, remind yourself of all your qualities and attributes, and boost your own confidence. Tell yourself that you deserve better, that they aren’t worthy.
# Self care – Take the time to pamper yourself and schedule time to do the things you love and enjoy – hobbies, sports, friends, courses, etc.
The most important tip of them all, is to not lose yourself in someone else. There is a famous saying: “the best way to get over a man is to get under another.” which is absolutely terrible advice! You cannot build yourself while depending on others, and you should only put yourself as a priority to feel better. It has taken years of experience and maturing to finally put myself on a pedestal, and not anyone else.
Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.Will Smith
Take care of yourself and always remember your worth
All the best,
Michal B. L.
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