This Passover, break free from the person who enslaves you.
Help! I can't stop thinking about the guy
Yaay! He's gone! He left the country! But he keeps emailing me, inviting me (because I'm his “very close friend”) to visit. He keeps promising that he's coming back. By now, I know better than to get my hopes up. No matter what kinds of “hints” I think he's dropping, we're just friends. Just. Friends. But even if I don't respond to his emails, I can't say I'm not stalking him on Facebook. I can't say I'll just cut him out of my life. I mean, I've known him for years! No need to burn a bridge or act all dramatic. Right? Help!
You try to distract yourself. You hang out with other friends. You go to the gym. Maybe you even go out on a date or two. But you can't stop checking your cell phone. You can't stop thinking about him. Reminders of him are everywhere. The thought of him being with someone else makes you ill. If you run into him (by total coincidence, of course; not because you're stalking him or anything), your pulse races out of control. His doesn't. He just seems glad to see you. Except when he seems as if he couldn't care less. But you're always on good terms. Of course you are! He's your friend! Right?
This is a sadly common phenomenon: women maintaining “friendships” with men who give nothing in return. These are flimsy relationships. They won't nourish you. They won't go anywhere. They don't mean much. They just fill a void.
This void is deep inside all of us. It's our desire to give of ourselves. We were created in the image of the ultimate Giver, and we want to emulate that holy act. That impulse you have to take care of a man who does nothing for you? To buy a dog? To cook for someone? Yup, that's your void. Don't feel bad about it. It comes from a good place.
But now what?
- Stay away from Facebook! And Twitter. And Google. Don't let technology interfere with your sanity. Defriend him. Yes, defriend him! No, it's not immature. It's necessary. Defriend his grandmother, too. And his friends. I don't care that you and his brother play Mafia Wars sometimes. He will not miss you.
- Get all traces of this guy out of your life, online and off.
- Get rid of all photos of him and anything he's ever given you. That includes the sweatshirt you “borrowed” one night when you were cold.
- Stop listening to Sarah McLachlan. And don't you dare watch When Harry Met Sally.
- No contact! This is the healing phase. Any contact you make with him will set you back. No “friendship.” He is not your friend. Friends don't cause you pain. Of course it's difficult to let go of someone you got used to depending on for your happiness. But that happiness was an illusion. The only real happiness comes from self-respect and self-love. Because you were created in God's image, you must respect yourself and treat yourself with care. Self-care is holy work.
- Constantly remind yourself who you are. You are a person with self-esteem; you don't rely on others to feel good. You know your strengths and you use them to overcome your weaknesses. Every day, make a list of all you accomplished. Even getting through the day without looking at his closed Facebook profile is an accomplishment worth noting.
- Start building a support network or leaning more on the one you already have. Even when you don't feel like going out, go out. Just for a little while. Just for coffee. Join clubs, organizations, and charitable groups that match your interests.
- Change your thinking. You cannot control what he does, only how you react. For example, if you keep thinking, “He doesn't love me because I'm unlovable,” learn to replace that unhealthy thought pattern with, “We're not a match. He's not the one.” So he didn't appreciate you. Fine. But someone will. And the sooner you get rid of the guy who doesn't, the sooner you'll find the one who does.
- Do things for others. It will get you out of your own head.
- Last but not least, pray. Prayer works. Pray for clarity and inner strength. Your Creator will help you when you strengthen your faith. Believe not just that He is there, but that you can trust Him. He will solve your problems if you let him. He created you, so who in the world could possibly care for you more? God is available 24/7. You don't need an appointment. He will never judge you harshly or talk behind your back. He will never betray you by spreading rumors. And remember: Prayer is free. In this economy, you can't afford not to pray!
Celebrate the Passover season by breaking free from the person who enslaves you. Remember that when the Jews were leaving Egypt, they yearned to go back. “The fish were superb!” they yelled. Of course, that wasn't true. The Egyptians had thrown scraps of fish to the Jewish slaves, bones and flesh, the inedible leftovers.
Do you really want to settle for scraps?
No. Neither did the Jews. The further they got from Egypt, the more distance they put between themselves and their lives as slaves, the better they felt. Let that be a lesson to you. This Passover, I pray we all get the help we need to leave our personal Egypt.