It was you and me against the world. And you promised me forever more. Was it something that I said? Was it something that I did? ‘Cause I gotta know what made me unbeautiful. – “Unbeautiful,” Lesley Roy

One big disservice from my relationship with The Ex is I am now completely distrusting of any kind of compliment or declaration of positive feelings towards me. I was the next one in a long line of women she took pity on and wanted to fix. She said all the right things, treated me like I was the only person in the world that mattered, and refused to walk away when I pushed. She fit me so perfectly, even though nothing about her was what I was typically attracted to. And I was never the type she actually wanted.

I can specifically remember reading a text conversation between her and one of her best friends that pertained to me. Yes, I snooped through her phone… There were a lot of things happening behind my back at the time. Which doesn’t justify it, but it is my reasoning… Anyway, The Ex told her friend that she really missed this other girl she was hung up on, who was a princess. She missed taking care of her, she missed how feminine she was. She likened her to an expensive pair of heels that you love wearing, even if its only for a short period of time, instead of me, who she compared to a pair of old sneakers. Her friend, who still has my back all these years later, said the heels may be nice every once in a while, but the sneakers are reliable, comfortable, and what you always end up going back to. The Ex laughed it off. I’ll never forget that conversation. It ripped my heart out. In just a few short lines she confirmed all the things I had always feared in a relationship- that the way I was, my short hair, butch tendencies, deep voice, etc. were all unwanted things. That this girl who I loved more than anyone I had ever known would never feel the same way about me because of who I was at my core. All the memories from my late teens and early 20s came rushing back- the internal struggles with who I was, how I felt, who I was attracted to, how I was put together. I hated myself for a long time. Still do in several ways. And she reaffirmed it all with one fucking shoe analogy.

When did we fall apart? Or did you lie from the start when you said it’s only you? I was blind, such a fool thinking we were unbreakable.

The Ex was a master of deception. She needed a way out of her relationship with The Kid’s Bio Mom, and she saw me as the perfect opportunity to get away. She played me perfectly, making me believe she cared for me more than anyone before. Telling me I was the perfect fit for her, that we were made for each other. That she wouldn’t trade any of the negative shit that came before because it was what lead her to me. And while I was skeptical at first, I bought into every word. I believed that there could never be two more perfect people for each other. That she truly felt for me what I felt for her. That nothing else mattered. And when all those lies were exposed, when I found out she used those exact phrases with numerous women before me and some after me… well, my heart was cut out and laid to rest in front of me. I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. I barely functioned for quite a while. I would sit in the dark, alone, and wait for the brutal night to end and the sun to rise on another pointless day. Everything I knew had been a lie. She wasn’t in love with me. How could she be? She never wanted to marry me. She just let me buy her the ring and convince myself that it was what I wanted. She didn’t want to have more kids with me. She just let me get attached to hers and then tried to rip her away while she watched me try to control the bleed. She never thought I was beautiful. I’m not. How did I not see that?

I’ve been told what’s done is done. To let it go and carry on. And deep inside I know that’s true. I’m stuck in time, stuck on you.

I believed every lie she told. Which I haven’t done since then. I don’t believe the girls I’m interested in actually like me back. I definitely don’t believe that another woman could actually find me attractive. I have a hard time picturing myself as someone’s type. It’s just… never been the case. And the one woman who I thought felt that way, who I couldn’t believe actually felt that way but said every possible thing she needed to in order to convince me she did… was lying.

And you know what? That’s okay. That’s who she is. She did it before me, she did it after me. I was just another number in her long line of partners. (I was the 10th person she dated and 20th person she had sex with, if you’re curious…) At one point during the breakup I was so angry about it that I almost got an XX tattoo on the back of my neck to prove to her that I knew I was just another number and meant nothing to her. On my more dramatic days I still consider it, but as of three years later I’ve held out.

I know what kind of person she is. I know why she lied and led me on. I also know who and what I am, and why she didn’t want me. So maybe all these things weren’t a disservice after all.

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