What An Affinity for ‘Sad Boys’ Has Taught me About Toxic Relationships

Whats in this story

I was, not long ago, suffering from some mild man-induced drama.

So, as one always should in these instances, I consulted my best friend via Facetime because best friends always know best. They tailor every word to perfectly fit your soul. And what my little lady gave me was a brand new term to define our collective taste in men: Sad Boys.

As the conversation went on, we ended up defining Sad Boys as, essentially, men (or women) who hurt you (because they’re sad and looking for something no one can give them but themselves), but feel bad for doing it so you have to console them… for hurting you. They pummel you with all the right words and then take them all back as soon you start to believe they could be true because, for them, at that moment, real vulnerability is not an option. Through exploration of the topic we also came to find that we both have an affinity for Sad Boys.

I’ve dated a few of them, but most notable was the first Sad Boy I ever encountered in a romantic sense. He was the only person I think I’ve ever loved more than myself (unless you count my cat as a person) and he broke my heart into a million little pieces time and time again. But he never had to carry the full weight of crushing another person because I always tried to make it easier for him. If he cried because he had made me cry, my tears would stop immediately so that I could focus on easing his pain. So that I could tell him what a good person I still believed he was.

It sounds insane. But loving that Sad Boy made sense at the time, because, well, I was a Sad Girl.

What doesn’t make sense is that the confident woman I am now would be attracted to the toxic patterns of a Sad Boy. But somehow, even when I know how this story ends, I sense myself entering the very same cycle.

What the fuck gives? I couldn’t put my finger on it.

So I vented to the bestie’s runner up: the ever-helpful guy friend. After repeating my shallow drama again, first he did what guy friends are best for: “He sounds like a loser. What the fuck kind of name is ******* anyway? Can you imagine having to introduce your dude as ****** forever?” And then he told me what I already knew.

“If you let him do this shit to you, that’s going to be your fault. That’s on you.”

“I KNOW!” I exclaimed. And I did. I think I knew all along that that was the whole point of my frustration. This was not the earth-shattering guy. He was never going to be ‘it’ for me. Then why was I going to let him fuck around with my emotions?

And I still don’t really know. Maybe I’m not the confident woman I thought I was. Maybe slipping into old, unhealthy patterns is my way of  punishing myself for recently breaking up with the nicest guy in the world. But whatever it may be, I am smarter now. I know that there is only one person who can fill the void that makes me a Sad Girl. And it was never him. Hell, even the perfect guy isn’t going to do it. That ability belongs to me alone. And recognizing that takes away Sad Boy’s power to do too much damage (unintentional as that damage may be.)

I’m learning through my Sad Boy-itis that you can’t make yourself matter to someone. We can’t force someone to care more, try as we may. And sometimes that knowledge makes it easier to call it. To walk away from the endearing Sad Boy no matter how much he may seem like he needs saving.

It’s better, I’m learning, to take all the love you want to give to him, and give it instead to you.

Because Sad Girl, you’ve got some happy to find, and it’s not in his pretty, sad eyes. So you’d better get to it.

***FULL DISCLOSURE*** I wrote this months ago and have since fallen for another sad boy and it is not going well… So, that is to say, this piece holds up.