Why can't I let him go?

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Why can't I let him go?

Postby Nomad » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:01 pm

I wonder if anyone out there can give me some advice...

I'm in my late 30s and have had plenty of relationship experience (more than I planned for!), consider myself fairly emotionally switched on and am aware of the things I need to work on in myself - including the mistakes I have made in the past. I've had various therapy, read books, meditate, and am generally the go-to friend when others have a problem.

You get the gist, however in this particular situation I just don't seem to be able to give myself advice.

I'm currently single, but the issue I'm going to mention has been around for a long time, even when in another serious relationship. To give some background: I was with the guy in question for over 3 years back between the age of 26 and 30. It was a carefree time, we both played sports on the weekends and had a lively group of friends. We enjoyed our social life, and each other. It wasn't until I reached 30 that I decided he wasn't emotionally invested in US and that I deserved more. (this feeling was sparked after I went away for a few months - he couldn't come as he had just started a new job, but didn't want to hold me back - and when I returned he said he didn't miss me, purely becasue he didn't have that emotion.. what?!).

At the time he hated his job, was uninspired and didn't seem to take any personal action towards his situation so I decided I should move on with my life. It was incredibly hard, unhelped by the fact that he gave no fight for us. I felt angry that he seemed to just be able to let it go and walk away. In my mind he was super special to me and hoped that I had been to him.

Going back to our beginning, I was attracted to him from when I very first met him (this has never happened with anyone else in my life), both physically (although no one else understands why) and also his fun personality and exhibitionist nature! I just felt inexplicably drawn to him, like a moth to a light. I'm guessing it is some sort of hormonal 'matching up' scenario, but it certainly hasn't happened any other time. I just remember thinking how right it was to look at his face, like he had been put there for me.

Perhaps becasue I felt that way, I just presumed he felt that way too. He hasn't had as many relationships as far as I know - so perhaps he just took what he could get and wasn't really that fussed - who knows!

Anyway - it has been SIX years since we broke up. I am almost embarrassed to admit it. I've barely seen him in this time, but occasionally our social lives cross and I see him. I'm useless. I can't think about anything else before the event, feel distracted the whole time, wondering what he is doing (like a teenager) and then feel annoyed afterwards as I could have made more of the social occasion with other people if only I had got over myself.

During these six years a lot has happened. He moved to london for a bit, I moved abroad for a bit, I stopped playing for the sports club due to injury, and generally we don't see each other. In the summer I bumped into him a few times, once in a random situation in the middle of no where in the countryside, both of us on a walk (weird). It was good to have the chance to see him (sober and not at a party or wedding or rugby game) and hear about his life. He is now lecturing and doing a PhD and doing things he loves. A little part of me wondered if we should consider dating again. Lots in common etc. But I knew that it needed to be him that made this suggestion, not me, and I also knew that he never would, not a man of initiative like that.

Recently we were at a party together. Lots to drink, my guard down, we had great time dancing like in the old days. Two misfits, fitting (or that's how it looks to me). But friends (of his!) told me I deserved better. This reminded me of the question I have always had: do I see something that is not there in this man? Do I hold him on an imaginary pedestal that just doesn't exist. I even remember him saying to me maybe twice during our relationship that I thought he was more than he is.

I think the reality is that my frustration is due to the fact that i expect more than he can give, and actually i probably scare him (not that i am scary, just pro active). I would love for him to be in my life again and thought of getting him to come to my dancing classes with me as I know he would be up for it. But this is just a mad idea - i need to accept that we are not compatible. I need someone more emotionally available and supportive and that just isn't in him no matter how much I want it to be. At one point I thought perhaps I need to just let go and not expect so much, just love him for who he is and enjoy that love. But perhaps I do need more, and need to respect that.

So my question to the masses is.... how do I let it go?? He plagues my mind and makes me so very sad all these years later. I try really hard not to think of him (and realise i now need to actively avoid seeing him). Perhaps there is no answer and I just have to carry it and learn to live with it like a cloud.

Thank you for listening. Writing it down helps. People have such huge problems to deal with in life that I cannot even imagine. I do my best to deal with mine (sick father, 20 years of anxiety and depression struggles) but would so love to have an epiphany about this little haunting so I could move past him.

Thank you all
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Re: Why can't I let him go?

Postby Tarantula » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:07 pm

It sounds to me like you settled and then couldn't accept the fact that you'd settled so fantasised the heck out of him beyond all recognition. He's simple, easy come easy go, a whole lotta meh, and you're dynamic and committed to personal growth, and wanted to badly for him to be something he just isn't.

He's not a bad guy, he's just so terribly average and you sound like a bit of a mover shaker. You sound quirky, probably 10% insane like the best of us... and I think you've become so attached to the IDEA of him, rather than the reality, and THAT'S why it's hard to let go - along with the fact that it was a long relationship, you've got societal pressure saying you're running out of time to find someone etc. If only, if only, if only he was this that 'n' t'other.

When you're in the discount section of IKEA looking for a sweet deal, and you come across a sofa that's PERFECT in every dimension EXCEPT for the colour, you don't sit around for six years going 'but if only it was red instead of blue...' you have to face the reality that it is the wrong colour, even if it was perfect in every OTHER way, and that it therefore isn't a match for your pad, and move on.

I wonder how much of your 'attraction' to him is based genuinely on who HE is, his own merits, and how much of it is you and your pre-existing things/how you perceived him. In my experience, it has become a huge warning sign when a guy tells me I'm too good for him, or I can do better, or he's not as good as I think, or similar. As the authority on themselves, if they're saying that, it's probably true! And whereas I used to find the white flag waving of basic insecurity endearing (because I needed it to feel secure myself), now I find it a turn off (I want an equal, not someone who uses their self-claimed inferiority as an excuse to be defeatist when we're having problems).

You can't let him go because you're resisting something about the reality of your situation. What are you refusing to face here? Is it that you settled? Is it that deep down you weren't that into him in the first place, but felt you should be? Is it that your current reality has gone a bit tits up so you're romanticising the past, when it wasn't actually all that at the time? Is it that your options are thin on the ground right now?

I don't think you're struggling because it's fate telling you that this guy was magically, inexplicably 'right' for you. I think you can't let go because you keep telling yourself that and don't want to abandon hopes of some magical reconciliation because you've spent so much time investing in it in your mind. You say he's not one to take the initiative, not one to fight for you - what is he, a corpse? Does the idea of being with a balanced, assertive man intimidate you deep down? Is your ex merely the comfortable pair of slippers you can't bear to chuck out even though they're worn and moth-eaten?

Hey I'm just throwing out food for thought here.

Practically speaking, No Contact is absolutely mandatory. How are you supposed to move on when you keep seeing him? Don't kid yourself that you really did just wanna go to that party or that outing - if he's there, don't go. Avoid him like the plague. Delete/block him on all social media. Total annihilation because it's been 6 years and it really is time to clean the slate to allow for something new to happen. If he thinks it's hostile, well, he'll get over it - already has by the sounds of it. And don't send him some Epic Last Message under the gise of being polite when really you're fishing for a reaction.

Get rid, and start looking inwards to figure out if anything I've said is ringing bells of truth. I used to settle for kind but shrimpy, dull guys who could take it or leave it because they were indifferent to pretty much everything. I told myself they were hot when my friends were bewildered by my choices and it all just so that I could feel comfortable because, yes, the thought of going out with someone who would hold me accountable for my bad parts was scary and I was as emotionally unavailable as the guys I would go out with.

Now I've overcorrected, but that's another story. ;)

You can't let him go, not because he's special, but because you've kinda cemented in that belief within yourself. That's my verdict!
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Re: Why can't I let him go?

Postby Bel Bel » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:53 pm

If you try again it may help get him out of your system once and for all
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Re: Why can't I let him go?

Postby Nomad » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:47 am

Wow Tarantula, I really do appreciate your involved reply and for taking the time to give me advice. I also fully appreciate someone who is so articulate and direct. Thank you.

I love your ikea sofa analogy. I think one of my major issues in many parts of my life is I am not sure what colour of sofa it is that I really want (or need) so the decision bit is almost impossible. A serious case of lack of self worth. I try really hard to work on this but realise I need to work harder and am not looking to be anything but single at the moment becasue of wanting to get these things straight first (I really thought I did have them straight the last time, but turns out I was wrong again).

Again, the slippers. I' a big fan of analogies. Yes, comfort is definitely a factor here. He is easy and comfortable and I know where I am (plus you are probably right about going for guys with insecurities like me - I've been out with a lot of 'problems' and just don't see it to start with). "Does the idea of being with a balanced, assertive man intimidate you deep down?" - in all honesty, i cant imagine ever meeting one. I don't think i ever have, accept a few married to my friends. The only people I seem to meet are by definition not assertive or balanced which is why they are available. I am one of these it seems. I'm being slightly perverse here, but these things do run through my mind. And perhaps becasue of this sometimes it feels like I have two options 1. to be alone and learn to love it (to be fair im pretty good at it), or 2. choose someone straight forward who I already adore as I'm deluded to think I will ever find better.

Again, provocative comments, but more of that in my head than I realise perhaps.

Luckily I have almost zero contact with him so breaking that off is not hard at all. No phone number, facebook or anything like that. I've seen him twice in a year. And once was this party last weekend (yes perhaps i was aware he was going, but i have always gone to it... seems like i might have to stop whether i want to or not).

I didn't leave him becasue I fell out of love with him, I left him because I decided I needed more and I need to respect that decision however hard it is. And however upset I feel thinking about it.

Bel Bel, thank you too for your very contrasting idea. In fact that is what my house mate said too. As tempting as it is, I would be a broken wreck if I went there again and it didn't work out. The idea of him with anyone else makes me feel physically sick, but that is why I need to never see him and somehow let go of these old perceptions.

Tarantula, it's hard to believe right now, that the strong feelings i have are perceptions, but I know I need to find a way. Thank you again.
Nomad
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