You Aren’t Responsible for Your Ex’s Happiness

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I stay friends with my ex?” My answer is simple enough to make one word: Don’t. 

Y’all know I’m all about spreading kindness in the world. I strongly believe you should leave every person better than you found them, and one of my favorite quotes from Taylor Swift is,

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

This is such a beautiful sentiment and I think making people’s hearts feel warm and fuzzy is such an amazing superpower we all have. One person you absolutely shouldn’t worry about making happy, though, is your ex. Whether you guys dated for 6 months or 6 years, there are very few circumstances where I think it’s healthy to remain friends with an ex once you’ve broken up.

Sometimes people argue that they think remaining friends is the “mature” thing to do, however, I think many often just an excuse to keep tabs on someone you once dated. As an adult it is so important to look out for your own mental health and wellbeing, and it’s rare that people end a relationship and one or both parties isn’t hurt by the breakup.

I’ve never stayed friends with anyone I dated. The way I see it, I already have enough friends, and there isn’t a place in my life for someone who was once romantically involved in my life. Furthermore, it saves the drama that could possibly come up when you find someone new. You don’t have to worry about your ex’s heart hurting, and you don’t have to make the special person in your life feel at all uncomfortable about a past.

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If I saw any of my exes now I wouldn’t have any sort of feelings — negative or positive — about them. Time heals the heart well, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone in the world other than Robert. Still, though, I don’t have a need for any of my past relationships. I learned the lessons I needed to from each of them, and hopefully anyone who’s gone out with me can say the same with the confidence that I wasn’t the right person for them.

My advice to you if you’re wondering when to reach out to someone you broke up with is to choose to never text them. Choose to move forward in your life, cut ties completely, and to realize that there are bigger and better things ahead of you. Unless this person is absolutely the exception to the rule and you feel like you want to try one last time to make things work, realize that there is someone out there who you won’t have the same problems in the relationship as your ex with. You likely didn’t work for a reasonand there are so many other people in the world that you can now have room to find a person who will work beautifully with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you this will all be so easy. The first few days of a breakup are the hardest because you go from having someone in your every single day life to never talking again. Don’t use the excuse that you need to “be there for” your ex to talk them through your breakup, though. Block their number, delete them on all forms of social media, and cut ties in any way that you need to so that your heart can heal and you can have a new, healthy relationship one day. In the meantime, rely on friends and family to get you through your breakup and realize that your forever person is still out there — it just wasn’t your last boyfriend.

Break Up With Him

I stayed in a relationship that wasn’t meant to be far too long. Deep down I think I somehow knew it wasn’t going to end well — or rather, if we did end up together that we would have a long, rough road ahead of us.

After the smoke cleared I realized that although any relationship will have trials, every single decision doesn’t have to be difficult. Now I am with someone who thinks I’m worth making sacrifices for, and someone who is really excited about having a future with me. I have learned that there are people in this world who are beautifully selfless and know how to love someone with a chronic illness. There are people who are as fiercely loyal as I am, and who won’t give up on a relationship just because things get tough.

Here are a few behaviors that are major red flags in a relationship:

  1. Your significant other puts you down for things you can’t control. In my case this was my illness and the fact that I couldn’t physically work. I was a recent college graduate when I first got sick and had dreams of being an entertainment journalist. I had always been incredibly hard-working, but although I wanted more than anything to work, I physically could not have a normal job with my new chronic health condition. I was constantly told about how it “wasn’t my fault,” but that POTS was the thing keeping us in a rut. If I hadn’t gotten sick, we would be in a much happier place because there wouldn’t have to work through such a new, heavy road block.
  2. Your concerns are always your problem. When someone treats you like you’re crazy because of seemingly normal concerns, it is called “gaslighting.” It’s funny how I never knew what this term was until a few months ago, but if your significant other acts like you wanting some of his time every week is your problem and that you are being needy, this is not normal. Your puppet master will surely turn any conflict in the relationship back on your own insecurities until you really begin questioning whether what you are asking for really is too much (Take note: if what you want seems like a very basic need in a relationship, such as quality time together, it absolutely normal. You are not crazy, and you should get out as fast as you can so that you can find someone who understands the basic fundamentals of a healthy relationship).

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  3. Your well-being is completely your own responsibility. This is a tricky one. Although I do believe people need to be happy by themselves before they can add someone else into the picture, I also believe a significant other should want to take care of you, as you would do the same for them. I’ve always been very independent and balanced my boyfriend/friend time well, but my one of my exes thought that his actions shouldn’t affect the way I felt. He didn’t understand why drunk texting me then disappearing for the night made me upset, and said that the anxiety I felt was entirely on me.
  4. He is not a man of his word. No, it is not okay to leave you hanging for hours on end, and it is not okay to constantly break plans you have together. Yes, things sometimes come up in life that you cannot control, but if you feel like you cannot get excited about future plans with someone because they are unreliable, it’s time to find a person who will remember what they tell you and follow through in their actions.
  5. You no longer recognize yourself when you’re with him. My ex made me anxious, pessimistic, depressed, and short-tempered. None of these are typical “Krista qualities,” and I didn’t like the person I was when we were together. The first 75% of our relationship I was myself. When he decided to change the course of his life drastically,though, and leave our relationship in the background of his life, I became a complete mess. I hadn’t realized how dependent on him I had become and quickly fell apart.

Today’s lesson: Now I am with someone who is kind, patient, and wants to take care of my heart. My boyfriend wants to spend time with me, take me out, give me little gifts “just because,” and remind me that I’m special. If you let go of what is hurting you in life, you make room for new things that are better. It’s really, really scary to let go of something that is familiar and comfortable, but if you are brave enough to, you might just learn how strong you really are.

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The Past Isn’t Greener

This is a letter I want to “send” to the couple of exes who still aren’t over us, but I want anyone who can’t get over an ex to let this resonate with you too. Everyone deserves a fair chance to find love, and thinking about your past isn’t going to help you move towards the beautiful future you want.


Dear Ex ,

You’ve always wanted what you can’t have. Happiness was always just one short leap away — until you took the plunge and missed.

The grass is always greener on the other side. You tried so hard to get me to date you, and when you finally had my heart being with me wasn’t what you had pictured. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, but perfection is what you often strive for.

Now that we’re not together anymore you feel like you made a mistake breaking up with me. I wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you didn’t. Even though I wanted nothing more than to keep you at the time, deep down I think I always knew you weren’t really mine. To all the guys who have ever dumped me and regretted it — I would have eventually gotten the courage to leave. We weren’t right for each other. You are smarter than you think.

I really hope this letter gives you closure and helps you move on. Just because we weren’t a good fit doesn’t mean you don’t deserve someone who will love you the same way — or even better than I did. There are so many amazing, kind, thoughtful, and genuine girls in the world that you will surely find others who will steal your heart. When you find “the one” girl you hope to keep, treat her well. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at her flaws instead of criticizing them. Embrace your differences and take them as an opportunity to learn from each other and grow. Don’t compare her to me. Comparing people really is comparing apples to oranges. You have a tendency to idealize our relationship and only look at the beautiful parts we left behind — don’t forget that we were deeply flawed. Don’t forget that I am a human being, which means the perfection you remember is very skewed.

Finally, don’t be afraid to give away your heart again. Just because I broke it doesn’t mean every girl will. I’m not powerful enough to shatter your heart permanently; it will surely heal, and one day you’re going to meet someone who fits with you so perfectly that your heart will finally feel like it’s home. I was just a small story in your journey to find love.

Even though you aren’t in my life anymore I still care about you, want the best for you, and even pray for you when you cross my mind. I still don’t want to be friends — we both have enough of those already — but I want you to know that you can, and will, be happy with someone else. I know it hurts sometimes to see me with someone new. This is actually amazing, though, because I was always the one in our relationship who felt too much. If my heart can heal from something I thought would destroy me, yours surely will too.

Wishing you nothing but the best,
Your Ex Girlfriend

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Today’s lesson: `Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Some girls may break your heart, but one day someone amazing is going to just stick. Keep trying until you find her. She is your forever — not me — so don’t waste your time wondering about us anymore. We have some great memories together, but imagine having someone to make memories with who will be by your side for always. That’s who your heart will beat fast for.

Anxiety Isn’t Love

One thing about love is that you sometimes don’t understand how it works. I think we often mistake anxiety for feelings of love.

Taylor Swift’s music has always spoken to me, and Out of The Woods was my anthem with a guy who was once in my life. When the acoustic version of the song came out, Taylor introduced it perfectly. I could so relate to every word she said and felt like she was speaking about my connection to this gentleman.

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Things with us felt so shaky and I never knew when what we had might just decide to crash and burn. I felt myself slipping down further and further on his list of priorities and did everything I felt was humanly possible to try to pull him back towards me. Nothing worked.

After months of feeling like this I finally realized we were falling apart.

We still had fun when we were together, but I was so up and down and didn’t realize that wasn’t normal. I cried as much as I laughed with him, but my feelings were so all over the place that I mistook them for butterflies. I thought that was the way love was supposed to feel and that even though I wasn’t currently a priority of his, that I would be one day.

Now I realize I wouldn’t have ever come before things like work in the future for him if I wasn’t even in a dating relationship. I would never have been a priority in the way I want to make someone mine in my life. Relationships just don’t work if you’re not on the same page with the really important things in life.

Today’s lesson: It isn’t normal to feel like your relationship is always on the verge of breaking. You deserve to be with someone who makes you feel secure. I promise those kind of relationships do exist, even though it might not feel like it when you are used to being on edge.

Check Yourself, Mate.

Whoo boy am I furious. I don’t actually remember the last time I have said something like that. When was the last time I was furious? I honestly don’t even know.

So let me set the scene.

There’s a guy in the area I’ve been going out with for awhile now.* I went over to play chess with him (Seriously, what is my life? I am beginning to accept the “nerd” label my dates have bestowed upon me) and we got to revisiting some about what our relationship looks like. After telling me things like he liked that I was a wholesome and sweet girl and that he wasn’t sure he could still just be friends, I reiterated I didn’t want to date, but would respect whatever he wanted to do from that point forward. He admitted that I have been very open about my intentions and that he appreciated the honesty, but that his feelings had changed.

We then started talking more about why we work better as friends anyway, his main reason being that we don’t have a lot in common when it comes to activities — fair enough — that, in my opinion, is a great reason to not want to date someone. You need to be able to enjoy going out with one another and bonding over activities.

What he said next, though, completely caught me off guard. This is the way the conversation went:

“Well, I don’t want to sound like a douche…”

“What is it?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t want to be a jerk…”

I sat silently waiting for an explanation, as I wasn’t sure what he could be thinking.

“But maybe we should just put everything on hold until you’re better…”

I was floored.

Was he talking about my POTS? My chronic illness that he has known about for months now?  I sat on my armchair, looking at him as he casually reclined on the couch.

After processing everything he had just said, I realized that was exactly what he was talking about.

Oh. My. Gosh. You sure meant it when you said you would sound like a douche!

Honestly, I totally get it if someone doesn’t want to date me because of POTS. I do believe we all have our own flaws we bring to a relationship, but mine is more confusing than most, and I will never fault someone for wanting something simpler.

But here’s why I think this statement is unbelievably jerky.

He essentially thinks I should work my ass off and shed blood, sweat, and tears (All literally) until I am all better, and then when that day comes this guy — who left me — can have me in all of my fixed glory? Hell no. 

I stared at him blankly until I could come up with the right response to what he just said. I chose my words carefully, as I knew at this point I just wanted to leave and we had absolutely nothing to figure out.

“Okay. That makes this decision really easy now,” I said. “We’re all done here, and I’m going to get going.”

I grabbed my shoes as he said, “I think you’re really mad right now. I think I made you mad.” No shit, Sherlock.

I gathered my things in silence as I marched to the door, knowing fully I would not be coming back.

I honestly didn’t know how to react in a situation like that, but I felt like Beyonce and Taylor were cheering me on as I grabbed my things and left. I can do better than a guy who is going to tell me I’m not good enough for him right now and have the nerve to ask me to come back again later once I’m all fixed. It felt really good standing up for myself and realizing just how much I have grown. It also didn’t hurt that I had smoked him in chess in the very last game we would ever play together. 😉

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Do you agree or disagree with my opinion of what this gentleman said to me? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

*Please don’t make assumptions of who it is, as I am dating around right now.