The question of the week was submitted by Shannon in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thank you for submitting such a great question!
“My long term boyfriend and I broke up about a year ago, but we still stay in very close contact. I am still in love with him, but I’m doing my best to move on. Every time I meet someone that I am interested in, he acts as though he wants to get back together (but then we don’t). I hold on to hope because I love him, so in the end I really don’t give other guys a fair chance. I’m contemplating cutting contact with my ex altogether because I really want to find happiness again, and his emotional roller coaster is making my head spin. I don’t know if I should wait and see if he comes to his senses and comes back to me or if I should cut him out of my life altogether. What are your thoughts on my situation? Why would a man act like he wants a woman back if he really doesn’t?”
This happens to everybody. Let me put it to you very bluntly: This is one of those deals where he is trying to pee on your leg. He doesn’t want you, but he doesn’t want you to be with anybody else, either. So, intervening in your life and showing interest at just the right moments is both a way to keep you from moving on, and also gauging whether or not he measures up to new guys in your life.
It seems that you two still live in a small community, or at least close to each other, and still see each other quite often. One of the problems with that kind of situation is that every time you get a new boyfriend he’s going to hear about it, and every time you’re out with someone new, he’s going to know.
My suggestion to you is that you cut off all ties. At the end of the day, an ex is an ex for a reason. There’s a reason things didn’t work out, and the truth is, it doesn’t matter what the reason is. The fact is that it didn’t work out. Let it go.
Unfortunately, I think this is one of those cases where you can’t stay friends with an ex, because every time you get someone new he tries to step in and mess with your emotions. There’s a great quote that I actually just read a couple days ago from Oprah Winfrey that says, “If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If he doesn’t, nothing can make him stay.” I think that’s something that, unfortunately, you need to really seriously think about.
So, my opinion is, cut off all ties with him. Let it go. You don’t have to talk to him anymore. You don’t need him in your life. Delete him from Facebook, delete him from Twitter, and take him out of your phone. There’s no reason to follow him, there’s no reason to be around him.
If he truly wants to be your friend, then he’ll reach out to be your friend at a later date. If he wants to get back with you, let him come after you like he should, like you deserve. That’s my suggestion, and hopefully Jennifer has more insights into this as well.
Also weighing in on this question is Jen Gargotto, author of MsMorphosis.com, a self-improvement blog for modern women and author of the e-book, Navigating Dating: A Single Woman’s Guide to Dating Without Losing Herself.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty much in agreement with Frank on this one. I think that you are a source of emotional support and an ego boost for your ex, which he appreciates and uses but doesn’t value enough to cut the crap and be with you exclusively.
Men are fighters, and if he really wanted to make it work he would step up and work to rekindle the bond that you both had and that you have tried to maintain.
Getting over someone can be hard. Getting over someone that you’ve maintained a friendship with can be even harder. I once heard that in a breakup we don’t just grieve the loss of the other person, we grieve the loss of the dreams and plans that we built with that other person.
This pain has been likened to the pain of losing a loved one to death, and cannot be overstated. In maintaining a friendship with your ex you’ve undoubtedly allowed yourself to hang on to some of the dreams and the life in your relationship.
Although it’s painful, I think it’s time that you set your personal worth many notches higher, and make the brave decision to let go. It will be hard at first, but it will give you the opportunity to make space in your life for someone that treats you as the one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable woman you are.
One of MMA’s most recognized personalities, Frank Trigg dishes on love and the male psyche in “Ask Trigg – A Dating and Relationship Blog for Women” featured exclusively on ProMMANow.com. Each week the mixed martial arts fighter, color commentator and MMA spokesman gives advice to female readers based on questions they have submitted. Ladies can send their dating and relationship questions to AskTrigg@gmail.com.