Never Risk Your Sanity or Happiness For a Man

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Dear Moxie,

First of all if I want to apologise if I use some terms incorrectly in the following paragraph, English is not my mother tongue and my vocabulary tends to fail me on some subjects.

Since you seem to struggle with depression (is that how you would label what you are living ? Hence my previous apologies) I thought I could ask you :

I met up with an ex on Thursday, we were together a few months two years ago and his behaviour towards me was not the most considerate and though he has written time and again since then, I’ve always sent him packing. I texted him out of the blue last week because he always said he wanted to say sorry and I thought since I’m to move very soon, why not ?

At the time, I stayed with him because we had great chemistry, were into the same things and if I’m honest because I’m attracted to pain (I’m working on that). The chemistry is still there, we talked a lot and he told me he was feeling much better than when we were together and that he thought he was going through a depression at that time and apologised for the way he treated me, listing all the things he could think of. Honestly it would explain part of his behaviour though not excuse it. I left to meet up with a friend, we were both pretty drunk, he texted me when he got home that he wanted to see me again and then again the next morning. I told him I’d think about it and let him know by monday evening (aka yesterday). I’m moving to another city in 10 days so I don’t risk much if I see him again but I’m still wondering : do you think that someone would really be different in some ways if no longer going through depression ?

Obviously I could not get back with him after everything even if I were staying. I guess I’m just wondering if there is an actual case where people can change for the better ? I’m not sure I made much sense, I’d like to see him once more but I don’t want to indulge someone who is manipulating me or waste even an evening on them. I’ve decided not to text him first but I’m still unsure what I’d tell him if he texted me. I used to like drama and be attracted to people in pain but I’ve worked on that, stayed single for the past 8 months and have shut out any guy who gives off the “my life is a movie” kind of vibe. I don’t want that anymore.

Point is I’m confused, I can’t be rational because just seeing him brings the butterflies back…
What do you think ?


I have to ask: what does any of this matter if you’re moving away and don’t plan to see him again? Why not just ignore him? The reason I ask is so that you can be honest with yourself about what your true goals are in this scenario. I disagree that you don’t risk much by seeing him once more. I think you’ll risk your sanity and the progress you’ve made. Is hanging out with this guy really worth taking two steps back?

Do I think people can change for the better? Eh, not really, not without the intervention of some kind of catalyst that woke them up and made them want to become better people. I’m talking near death experience or illness or loss of someone close to them. It’s very possible that he’s changed, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As for his depression, it’s important to understand that “going through a depression” and being diagnosed with depression are two very different things. Depression is an emotion everybody has the capability of experiencing. If something sad happens, you get depressed for a period, then you come out of it. You don’t come out of being diagnosed with depression.  Last spring I was told by doctors that I suffered from dysthymia, or chronic/persistent depression. The depression is always there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to be triggered. Clinical depression is more severe; the lows are much lower. The former typically lasts for years. The latter is a life-long. Both are very manageable conditions. I take medication and it’s helped greatly with the symptoms. I still can go through dark periods, but now I get out of them faster thanks to Wellbutrin and talk therapy. People like to casually self-diagnose themselves with various disorders like depression or OCD, so you have to dig further to find out what they are or were actually experiencing. And for the record, depression is not an excuse to treat someone poorly. He was a dick to you because he’s probably a dick.

At the time, I stayed with him because we had great chemistry, were into the same things and if I’m honest because I’m attracted to pain (I’m working on that)

I had a very brief “thing” with someone recently. The whole time I was a mess inside waiting for the anvil to fall on my head. Finally, I bit the bullet and asked where I stood. I knew what the answer would be, but I had to know in order to make a decision that was right for me. As expected, we weren’t on the same page but I was extended an offer of friendship. Even though I liked and enjoyed this guy very much, I had to say no.  I’d come too far in the past couple of years to put myself back in a situation that could very well undo all the work I’d done on myself. But here’s the best part: I was so sure I’d fall apart if he rejected me. I thought an old wound would be torn open and I’d crumble. You know what?

I didn’t.

I made it through and the pain was surprisingly minimal. I faced up to something that terrified me, just tore me to shreds inside, and I still lived to tell the tale. There’s no way I would want to go backwards. I wasn’t going to be friends with that guy just to get more attached and be have my heart ripped from my chest when two months down the road he told me he had  a girlfriend. My happiness was worth far more than that.  If you’ve really done the work on yourself you’re saying you did, don’t look back now. Keep it moving.