My boyfriend of two years broke up with me to join the Peace Corps in May 2015. We had been broken up for a full year before he had actually taken the steps to apply, get in and receive his date to leave. In that year, I learned a few things about myself.

I had always been in a relationship. I felt like I thrived in them because frankly, I’m not that promiscuous. Sometimes I wish I was — that I could have some kind of saucy alter-ego that played upon the hearts of many— but in reality I knit a lot, blush when I speak publicly and can only hold a witty conversation with the helping hand of Mr. Whiskey.

Anyway, I like being someone’s girlfriend. So after my boyfriend (who I used to think loved me unmeasurable amounts) broke up with me it sort of felt like, well, here’s a way to put it: have you ever moved out of a house you’ve lived in for a really long time? It’s like leaving that house, moving somewhere else, but every time you see the house, you feel like you should be allowed to walk into it.

Because it was yours, maybe you want it back. You felt like you earned the right to walk right up to the doorstep even though a new family lives there. That’s how I felt with this boy.

So we still texted after the breakup. We still called after the breakup. We still hung out, had sex, got breakfast, long, long after the breakup. I think he might’ve been lonely. I still loved him. I think he just wanted sex. His intentions were blurry to me, so I made them out to be honest. I told myself he still loved me and we weren’t supposed to be broken up. It soon became pretty clear to me when his frequent texts diminished into “You up?” or “What time are you off work?” or “You free tonight?” I knew what he wanted.

People hook up with exes all the time. They also might keep in touch with them, insist that there’s still a friendship there, but I’ll let you in on a secret.

It’s absolutely impossible to get over someone that you loved to your absolute core if you’re still in contact with them. It doesn’t help you.

It just pacifies you and becomes a harmful cycle. It’s always the ones we love the most that we have to take the most extreme measures to forget about. It can get unhealthy. And for me, it did.

He was still following me on social media. He’d ridicule me for taking pictures with other boys, tweeting silly things, posting pictures that might’ve shown a little bit of what little cleavage I have.

He wouldn’t leave me alone. He started treating me like his property and suddenly I was glued to my phone, fighting with someone who I didn’t even have an obligation to anymore. So I unfollowed him on every social media I possibly could (which sounds ridiculous, but in this day and age is so necessary) and I tried with all my might to ignore his texts. It took that separation for me to realize that he was using me in the end.

If you’re going through a breakup that seems like a never-ending battle for a winner, a solution, or an easy hookup, just let it go. It’s not nearly that easy but it’s imperative. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you two are still meant to be.

Maybe you’re hanging on for dear life, or maybe you’re living in a delusion that exes really can be friends. In most cases, no, no they cannot.

Another person does not make you who you are. Another person does not account for half of your being. The ability to remove yourself and walk on your own is a beautiful trait. Don’t let that go to waste by hanging on to what’s burning you.

Email Courtney Casey at fuse@cardinalpointsonline.com

<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/courtney-casey/" rel="tag">Courtney Casey</a>