by Wendy Morley
Writing this shortly after New Year’s Day, I’ve been hearing about people’s resolutions for the coming year. I’ve never been big on resolutions; I’m a driven kind of person, with a seemingly infinite number of goals. I’m always working toward some crazy feat or another, whether that’s in fitness, business or building a piece of furniture by hand.
This year, however, I’ve decided on a resolution to last not just these 12 months but the rest of my life: I will open myself up emotionally ONLY to those willing to do the same.
There. That’s it in a nutshell.
Listen, we’ve all done it. Fallen for someone who hasn’t fallen for us, or even developed a friendship with a person who doesn’t reciprocate. If that person is a mature, kind and responsible human being, he or she will let you know gently that it’s not going anywhere, but a great many people are not mature, kind or responsible. They are too cowardly to let you know things won’t work between you, or they are actually real asses who use you as some sort of convenience, someone to relieve boredom or loneliness, to take advantage of for dinners or gifts or to sleep with, but with no emotional attachment. Somewhere inside you have a feeling things aren’t right, but your hope makes you brush that feeling aside.
Last year I received a message from a young woman about how a former acquaintance of mine had taken advantage of her mother; how her mother had given and given – money, a place to live, items he needed (and presumably sex) – and this man had taken and taken, finally disappearing and never paying her back. Here’s what I told her.
Whatever happened, I’m sorry for. But you and your mom and every one of us in this part of the world have complete control over who we spend time with and invite into our lives. That does not mean we never make mistakes, but it does mean we need to pay attention and listen.
Your emotional space is the most important thing you have. Don’t give it away without care or caution. Don’t give to takers. Give only to givers. Don’t give your heart to anyone unworthy. When someone proves to be unworthy, don’t beg or cajole or coerce and try to make them worthy. That is a waste not only of your time but even more so, your emotions.
Recognize your own worth. Don’t allow anyone not worthy of you to destroy you or your peace of mind. Don’t give them a second thought. Move on to someone who adds value to your life. Have you heard of the saying “throwing good money after bad?” It means once you realize your investments are not paying off or are indeed losing you money, you should not keep adding more money. The only thing that will happen is you will continue losing more and more.
The same can be said of emotional investments. If they are not paying off, then accept that you’ve wasted emotional time and energy. But don’t continue to waste more. Walk away. You have complete control.
Here are some clues that you’re opening yourself up emotionally to a person who will not open up in return. Even one of these is a strong sign. More than one? Run for the hills.
1. You always get in touch first.
2. You get excited to see his/her name come up on your phone, but are often disappointed at the content. (Eg. His name comes up and you’re thinking, ‘oh maybe a date!’ And he says, “What are you wearing?”)
3. You are always the last one to text during any given conversation. (Eg. You decide you’ll meet on Thursday. You say: “Great! See you Thursday!” and she says nothing.)
4. He/she takes a long time to respond (with no excuse such as being an emergency room doctor).
5. He/she asks for much and offers little. This could be money, gifts, sex or even time.
6. You are the one who suggests getting together, unless it’s a booty call.
7. You do not do things together that involve other friends.
8. If you are around others either of you know, he/she makes it clear that you are not partners.
9. You are never quite sure where you stand.