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No one else will tell them, so I’ll tell them that they are cowards. Cut and dry. Plain and simple. But I think they’re already hip to that, right? It’s the reason they lash out when their significant other comes to them with the “What are we (doing)?” conversations. It’s the reason they are in a relationship but act single as often as they can. It’s the reason they feel it’s fine to keep in constant, inappropriate contact with their ex(es). They are cowards with egos and no vision.

Could they stick around and continue to make their partner’s life miserable by not fully committing and stringing them along while they sit back and take it? Absolutely! But why though?

We skate from one ‘relationship’ to the next, never really doing the work it takes to love someone else because we are afraid and selfish and in short supply of vision/purpose. That’s the long and short of it. The saddest part is that most of us who string others along emotionally within relationships see no reason why to stop.

“She/He is still here, aren’t they? If they really wanted to leave, they could have BEEN left me.

We blame them for loving us fervently, and when they do, some of us also treat these significant others like they’re the most annoying people in the world. Sick, right? We’re unsure of exactly what we want but we’re too afraid of committing to the one who genuinely wants us, so we make statements like the one above to absolve ourselves of any guilt. Instead of separating from that person and working on ourselves, we project the blame onto them for sticking around. “Shame on you for loving me. Leave me, then.”

We fail to realize that we further strip ourselves of our power to change when we behave this way. I should know.

My ex tried his hardest to keep in close, inappropriate contact with me for a while. He has a girlfriend who is thinking about marriage, and he knows this, but marriage is the furthest thing from his mind. So what would he rather do? Call and share with ME every major change that has happened in his life. For a while there, he would text me at all hours of the night. He called ME to complain about his girlfriend. We all have an ex like that, yes? And, as quiet as we keep it, we’re that ex sometimes.

For a while, I’ll admit that I allowed it. It was only phone calls and text messages. I liked the attention. I was glad that it seemed that he realized what he missed out on with me. But then it got so unreservedly annoying and troubling. I thought it through – something I had refused to do before. His girlfriend, this poor woman, was doing all of the things I used to do when I was with him. Staying, trying to convince him of how much she loves him. She’s sitting by the phone waiting for him to call her and here he was calling me. She has no idea that she is the furthest thing from his mind while she’s totally committed to him. Will all that finally in mind, I cut contact. There was no way I would continue to be an accomplice to such blatant disrespect. He is holding her chance for reciprocity hostage by selling her a dream that more than likely he will never deliver. It’s unfair, but of course, it’s not uncommon.

So often our fear of being alone and working on ourselves is allowed to grow so much bigger than our desire to do right by those who care for us the most. It takes strength and uprightness to make that kind of choice as opposed to holding our relationships and those we claim to care about in limbo. The question always is: Are we strong enough individuals to make that choice?

La Truly is a writer, college professor and natural hair and holistic lifestyle enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young women. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.

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