It was the wee hours of the night, a lot of laughs and several bottles of Chardonnay later, I found myself at the home of my neighbor, surrounded by the ladies of my street. I like my neighbors, they’re fun and we always have a good time together. Especially these impromptu gatherings that just seem to happen, spur of the moment, where everyone ends up laughing so much that no one wants to leave.

It was 2:30am when the phone rang. “Ohhhhhhhhhhh,” came the chorus of giggly females at the prospect of a gentleman caller at that time of night.  We all knew who it was – her long-time, on-again- off-again, love interest.

My neighbor and I have had many, many conversations about him. She has used phrases like, “He’s not just my soulmate, he’s in my blood.” To which I would respond with quips like, “Really? When I think of a soulmate they usually aren’t sleeping with other women, treating me like crap and ghosting me whenever I need something.”

We all took our cue and started heading for the door. “Enjoy your evening,” the ladies giggled as they walked out. I was the last to leave. I opened the door and turned around to have one last look at her. We made eye contact without saying a word. “I know, I know,” she said. With that I left and walked down the street to my home.

My phone rang several days later. “You were right,” my neighbor said. “Right about what?” I asked. “About him being a huge a-hole and that I shouldn’t have anything to do with him.” “Oh. I don’t remember saying that,” I replied. “You were thinking it,” she laughed. “Maybe I was.”

“It’s just that I always think it’ll be different this time, you know?” “I think finally he’s seeing things my way and I don’t get why he doesn’t want what I want when it’s so good. I don’t know what he’s thinking.”

I laughed, “What do you think he is thinking at 2:30 in the morning? He’s thinking of one thing and who would be his easiest target. He wasn’t meditating and suddenly had this moment of Zen and it all became clear to him that you were the one, so he thought 2:30 in the morning was the perfect time to tell you.”

If someone is calling you in the middle of the night this isn’t a compliment. It’s not an indication of their undying love for you, or that they can’t get you off their mind. If you want a booty call – which means you have a very low emotional attachment and no expectations, then have atter. But if you’re looking at it like it’s an indication of true love then you need to get some perspective.

What does calling someone, who they know has strong feelings for them, in the middle of the night, really mean to them? It means – I want to get laid and I don’t want to have to work for it. I want what I want, when I want it and I don’t care about who gets hurt in the process. If they did really care about you they’d realize that they can’t give you what you need and they’d leave you alone. Treating you like a last minute Lisa isn’t the way someone who loves and respects you behaves.

Think about this for a second: If a person you’re involved with really had an epiphany about you and your tumultuous relationship, you’re not getting a booty call in the middle of the night. It should be – first of all sober – it should be respectful and it should last longer than an orgasm.

As I sat down to write this blog I got the following comment in my inbox, which cemented in my mind the need to write on this topic of self-esteem and boomerang relationships:

I hate that people always assume that you have low self-esteem. Sometimes it’s just because you want to be with that one person and no one else so it makes it harder to let go. So every time they return it feels like a new opportunity to get it right this time and finally have the relationship you want. I have very high self-esteem– I’m attractive, outgoing, educated, I have a good career, I own everything, I’m caring, fun, adventurous—but I’m just tired of always starting over with someone new. I’m tired of the whole “get back out there and try it again. There’s someone out there for you.” I just want to be with one person who I am comfortable with who makes the relationship feel secure..…

Let’s analyze this for a second: I would reply that first of all – I don’t hate you, sorry you feel that way about me. Second, I would ask you – how do you feel when he leaves? Do you feel hurt, disappointed, devastated as most of my readers do?

If you do, I would say that people who have high levels of self-esteem don’t consistently put themselves in situations where they keep causing themselves harm. If someone hurts you once and they hurt you again, odds are this trend is going to continue. If you keep giving them opportunities to hurt you then it stops being about them and it becomes about you and why you keep allowing it.

If you have become conditioned to accept and expect this kind of treatment I would argue that your level of self-esteem has been eroded to the point where you think this is ok and you’ve gotten comfortable with it.

Most people that get involved with emotional manipulators are attractive, educated, successful and responsible. Why? Because they make the best targets. Just because you might be all of those things is not indicative of your level of self-esteem.

I put up with his poor behavior and treatment of me because I’m tired of always starting over with someone new. Does that sound just as crazy to anyone else as it does me? Staying with someone who treats you in a disrespectful manner because meeting new people makes you feel uncomfortable is not only illogical it’s really harmful to your wellbeing. How about you learn to be alone and learn to be ok with that, because I promise you, being alone is much better than being with someone who makes you feel bad. Being with the wrong person can make you feel more alone than actually being alone.

Self-esteem is about doing things that are in your best interest – that enrich your life and empower you. Being with someone that can take you or leave you and only shows up when they want something from you is neither empowering nor adding value to your life.  So the next time that call comes in the middle of the night, respect you enough to let it keep ringing.

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