Every princess meets a few frogs before finding her Prince Charming. There are thousands of frog species in the world, and every frog you meet in real life is bound to fit into one category or another. I admit, frog may not be the nicest term, but it fits the princess analogy. Either way, they earn the title Ex for a reason and these individuals end up influencing our lives for better or for worse… sometimes a lot worse.
But through it all, the lessons we learn from encounters with toxic traits or relationships only make us stronger and wiser.
Whether masquerading as a Caveman, a Smooth Operator or a Baller, chances are you know, or know of a guy who fills those shoes.
Let me know in the comments, which character have you had the pleasure of meeting?
Disclaimer: These descriptions are just for fun and do not reflect real life experiences or individuals.
The Caveman a.k.a. Peter Pan
This relationship seems easy – don’t they all in the beginning? The Caveman fills your basic needs of belonging, companionship, survival (read: he will feed you), and self-esteem. He is a good friend and boyfriend in your late teens, even early 20s, but he may be lacking the depth we tend to look for as we mature. After the newness of the relationship fades away, you may realize that your Caveman is actually Peter Pan; a man (boy?) with no plans or ambition to grow and grow up. He is content to do things the way they have always been done and may even discourage you from following your dreams.
He’s a good guy, and mostly genuine… but in a relationship, he has a hero complex that is out of this world. To him, you are a creature that needs to be saved. Have you seen ‘You’ on Netflix? You get the point. He gives the impression that he wants to be in a serious relationship, but beneath the facade he is really just another version of Peter Pan. He tries to mold and shape you into his ideal version of a woman, but remains stagnant and set in his ways no matter how old he gets. He considers himself the Hero in the “relationship” – the constant good guy – albeit devoid of the true intimacy of a relationship.
The Smooth Operator
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. The Smooth Operator knows all the right words to say, the song lyrics to quote and will spoil and pamper you just to show how head over heels he is about you… at least in the beginning. The Smooth Operator is big on priorities and because he makes you a priority – and is very vocal about it – he believes that his partner should rearrange your time and priorities to fit his ego. But don’t be fooled – this fella is always, always misunderstood and everyone is out to get him. In fact, he has been gaslighting for so long that he makes you think you are contributing to his downward spiral, as he projects his fears and insecurities on you and others around him. Do you even know who he really is?
Okay, so this person isn’t technically an Ex since he can’t make it out of the friendzone. He has his head in the clouds and can conjure a conversation up out of a daydream. He is a fun companion and seems to be a balanced individual… until the curtain draws back and you see the neverending chapters in his backstory. He has an explanation for everything and is preoccupied by comparing himself to others… or maybe just preoccupied with himself. With all of that comparison, there is a lot of excess baggage that needs to be checked before this guy makes his way out of the friendzone.
Ready, set, go! This low-commitment, high-energy guy is to be taken at face value. There is no trap door and the only way he is pulling the wool over your eyes is if you dive headfirst into quicksand. Entertainment and fun reign supreme in this relationship, over other elements such as honesty, loyalty, and romance, but who has time for that when you’re having so much fun? This guy may be a genuine Ex, or he may be a rebound, to take your mind away from previous frogs.
How to Move On
Moving on can sound harsh, but in reality, it’s just making the decision to set yourself on a course that will put you and your happiness first, while washing away the ashes of those toxic traits.
But what does that mean?
For me, moving on after a breakup meant refocusing on where I was in life and where I wanted to be. My priorities became self-love, family and faith, and each day I worked on something in one of those categories that would get me closer to where I wanted to be in life.
Self-love can take so many forms, depending on what you need at the time. When I am in need of self-love, I find myself looking for a good book or movie to get lost in. Or hosting a solo dance party with my favorite playlist. For my 34th birthday, self-love looked like taking a new class at my gym. Before I had children, self-love was a pampered spa day with my girls or a girls trip. You are the priority when it comes to self-love!
There is the family you are born into and the family you choose. Spending time with my family is always a blessing, as it helps to reset me and ground me in what really matters in life. My family also extends to my girlfriends who I am so thankful for. In need of a reality check? That’s what they are there for. Connecting with your family – or framly – can be as simple as a phone call or a voice note if time and distance separates you.
As I have gotten older, developing my faith and relationship with God has become more and more important. That means spending time reading my Bible, praying and reflecting on the books of wisdom and the gospels. The mountain peaks and valleys of life can throw a wrench in our routines, if you’re used to reading your Bible as soon as you wake up, or before you go to bed at night, but I had to learn how to fit God into my schedule no matter what. After all, He ALWAYS makes time for us.