But, before we address why abuse and abandonment don't add up to second chances in real love, let's first identify what real love is, and, what it isn't:
When I refer to a "physical" love relationship, it is because online romance is in bloom today thanks to smart technology making instant-gratification accessible around the clock. It feels "real," but none of it is based in real time or with real people physically doing anything but typing on a keyboard or touchpad, often hundreds (even thousands) of miles apart. The caveat, of course, is that online relationships can never offer more than virtual friendship, fantasy and fun. Unlike physical love relationships, there is no physical or financial support--both of which are integral to real partnerships in real love. And, basic survival.
As human beings, we have found that combining our physical lives and resources are what allow us to not only support each other in the real world, but also, survive it. With online romance, its easy to be drawn in by fantasy, fun and the friendship that evolves from sharing both. Why can't your real life relationships ever be that good??? Because, real life means facing real problems--together That's stressful. Fantasy doesn't help you pay your bills or take care of you when your sick, cook you dinner, pick up milk from the store, or help you change a tire. That doesn't mean online friendships can't be rewarding--they are! Your online friends can feel more like family at times. You can cultivate friendships that literally span years. I've even met lots of online friends in the real world. I didn't get involved with social media until 2009, but I have friendships that go back to my first trial tweets on Twitter--no joke. I've also had more cyberstalkers as a result. Part of why is because I'm not a real person in real time when on social media; I'm just the idea of a "real" person...theoretically attractive.
When it comes to real love in real life, people's insecurities are more easily seen (and felt). That's why spending time together in the real world--for months, even years--is needed to insure that, beyond real love, there is a real partnership. But it still doesn't prevent insecurity from leading to things like cheating, abandonment, separation, and divorce. When we realize fear is the enemy, and not each other, it's easier to apply compassion over judgment and solutions over problems. And yet, it would be a great disservice to those of you who are perhaps still in love with a toxic ex (an abusive and/or neglectful person you physically shared your life with) to not also write to your needs. To talk about how, in some circumstances, giving a person you love a second chance can actually be harmful...to you both.
While every physical love-relationship may be unique, toxicity is still toxicity. Others may not understand how you can still be in love with an abuser, destroyer, user, narcissist, Svengali...whatever best describes your ex, it matters not. Real love developed in the real world goes no where. You may have known your ex as a gentle, kind person who was loving and generous to you, but something happened that revealed another side--one that frightened you. The relationship may have ended as a result of that change, regardless of who ended it, or, how it ended. Yet, even if years have passed, you just can't seem to shake that sense of love, of longing, and ultimately, of loss.
It's debilitating to suffer the sudden loss of a physical love-relationship--even an abusive one--if it also involved sharing a home and building a family. Your whole life was that person, now your ex. But, if that individual walked away from all you had together without any warning, it pains me to say your ex did not truly love you. Somewhere inside, you know this, because, you also know it's simply not fair to arbitrarily leave a shared life without at least attempting to first find resolutions. That's what commitment means.
A person who is toxic is only toxic because that individual is abusive. Abuse isn't just being physically hit or hurt in some way; it's psychological, emotional, and/or financial, too. If your ex unexpectedly leaves you on a whim, it makes you vulnerable to debt, even bankruptcy. You can lose your home, your job and any security and stability you may have worked hard to earn--perhaps all of that has happened to you already.
When real love is really present, even if you can no longer remain a couple, an ethical ex will make sure your security and stability aren't jeopardized by the break. But when love isn't present, your life becomes a war zone. A toxic ex will show you how little you mean to him or her. And, I am very, very sorry. Your ex's bad behavior is a reflection of their own disconnects, not yours.
Abrupt endings in physical love relationships lead to regret on the part of your ex, but on your end, too. Unresolved relationships need closure. But part of the cruelty of the event itself is that you had none. When one partner disappears without warning, the other has no say whatsoever. Physically disappearing is just an attempt to avoid responsibility--which in turn puts you in the unenviable position of cleaning up someone else's mess. Not fair...not fair at all. When a person loves you, they also respect you. Unexpectedly leaving you to shoulder the burdens of a life you built together is completely disrespectful, lacking in love, care, or honor of any kind.
Despite the copious amounts of insult and injury from your toxic ex, you may still think about reunion--even pray for it. That's a side effect of real love. It's also part of the psychology of abandonment. At least part of why you think you may want to be with your ex again is to feel validated and valued by the person who rejected you. When that person returns--which may feel like a miracle--agency is then returned to you. You'll feel happy in the arms you miss, being seen by the eyes you only see through love. Who wouldn't want that???
You can't beat yourself up if you feel as though you want to reunite with a toxic person. It's actually incredibly normal. However, no matter what you may want, an abusive ex cannot be allowed to return. Whatever you had to do to survive your ex's unilateral decisions--which I'm quite sure included some kind of humiliation--can't be erased just because your toxic ex wants it to be. You both may want to go back to happier times, but happy will only exist for you in the future if you stay away and keep away from any toxic influences, including your abusive ex. Unless your ex disappeared because he was kidnapped and held against his will, you absolutely cannot open your life to that toxicity again. No matter how much you still love your ex. No matter how lonely or sad you are.
Perhaps you believe your ex can change? If your ex truly cared for you, you would not have been compromised in any way, shape or form. When someone abruptly leaves without warning, it is a hard thing to do--even if they made it look easy. I guarantee your ex was distraught about walking away. But, your ex still disappeared. So, however he or she felt when they betrayed your trust is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that we give ourselves permission to make an unethical decision only once. After we do, it is easier to repeat that same behavior again without remorse. Re-accepting a person who completely disappeared from your life only rewards negative behavior, a reward that requires you to accept being devalued. Such a reward guarantees that the person who hurt you once already will hurt you again. And again, and again...until you learn to finally say, "No."
Remember, I'm talking about toxic exes who arbitrarily disappear for sometimes years until it is convenient for them to return. There are definitely relationships that seem to end but the love does not, and neither does the friendship. You part as amicably as possible and remain consistent friends. You talk every day. You do not abandon each other or your responsibilities to one another. I think Gwyneth Paltrow called it "conscious uncoupling." Basically, you acknowledge you love one another but have fallen out of love, likely because of a build-up of small issues that have not been properly addressed. Separation can aid the oblivious partner in catching up. Regardless of any individual change or lack thereof, you both stay loyal to your core friendship and continue to share the responsibilities of your previous life together (like family obligations, co-owned property, a business, and/or managing other investments). It's pretty unusual, but it happens. In that kind of situation, your ex is not abusive or toxic. And so, there is space for a healthy reunion to take place in the future.
Though a healthy reunion with a toxic ex isn't possible, you can still do healthy things to increase your happiness as well as your chances of meeting your equal in love and life. An equal who will never abandon or abuse you:
Work out every day, without exception. Keep those endorphins pumping! Stay in touch with friends who are supportive. Floss, drink water, and eat well. Get seven hours of sleep! A doctor-colleague of mine pointed out that lost sleep cannot be replaced. Get your rest. Your primary obligation is to yourself. Whatever excuse you use to lose sleep, like social media, can wait. In fact, you should stay away from the void of social media as much as possible. Ground yourself not in the artificial world, but in the real one. Meditation and connecting with nature helps, too.
Time and patience is what heals a broken heart. No, you will not be the same again after suffering (physical) betrayal from a person you loved unconditionally. But, if you choose to see the experience as an opportunity to learn to love yourself better, you will not only survive--you will thrive. And hey, if a toxic ex apologizes at some future point without attaching any hopes of reunion, accept it, and enjoy your closure. But if you never hear from your toxic ex again, be grateful the Universe helped deliver you safely from an abuser. You are still alive and kicking--not everyone is that lucky. Feel happy and hopeful that you're now free to rebuild. You've been given an exceptional gift: A second chance. There is nothing more precious on the cosmic scale.
Second chances in life are rare...so don't give yours away to a person who has already proven to be unworthy. Give yourself a second chance at a better chance.
#AwakeLife #TwinFlame Post-script: The Daughtry song below was in my head before I woke; it's the reason I wrote this post today. I hope my words help those of you who have lived through abandonment and abuse. You deserved better and still do...remember that.