When he DMs you out of the blue on Instagram, pay close attention to the way your heart snags, how your breath trips inside of your throat. Notice how the room around you suddenly goes quiet as you nervously open the message to find out what he wants.
When he says something along the lines of how “it’s been so long” and that “it would be nice to catch up,” admit that you’re curious but also know to be on guard. Cautiously write him back.
When you begin to engage in small talk, chatting about your now-diverged lives, find it peculiar how the conversation still flows as though nothing bad ever happened between you both. As if he never broke your heart. As if he didn’t let you let you go. As if he didn’t choose you. As if maybe this is that elusive second chance you thought you always wanted.
When the conversation turns and he says that you two could have been something wonderful, list all of the reasons why that didn’t end up happening. Recall how he blamed your age gap, how your 23 to his 29 made you too immature to commit to (but not too young to f*ck). Think back to how he put out your fire, dulled your intensity, short-circuited your ambition. Remember how you let him do these things because you thought he knew better. Now know that you do.
When you realize all of this and tell him that you want to cut ties, that your expiration date has long passed, that it is too little too late, watch him try harder to win you back. Don’t fall for it when he expresses regret because the only reason he is back is to see if he still has power over you. It’s an ego hit. Whatever you do, don’t give it to him.
When he says you’re the “one who got away” as one last Hail Mary, shatter your rose-colored glasses and give your eyes a minute to adjust. And when they do, and when you finally see him as the man he actually is, don’t feel much of anything at all. Instead, reignite your fire and let the flames take hold of the bridge you should have burned a long time ago with a simple, “I know.” Be endlessly grateful you were able to leave while you were able to. Finally understand that him letting you go was actually the second chance you had been looking for all along.
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