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Thread: Struggle to Emotionally let go Despite Really Poor Behaviour

  1. #1
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    Struggle to Emotionally let go Despite Really Poor Behaviour

    Hi. This is a slightly unusual post in that I'm not asking for advice on a particular dating situation but more on my general mindset. In more than one dating situation in the last couple of years, I've begun dating a woman (I'm male, straight, 35 by the way), I've become attached before she's then displayed really unpleasant behaviour (i.e. obvious dealbreakers).
    But I really struggle to emotionally let go. I struggle to let the reality of her behaviour and actions take precedence over the emotional connection I've built up, and even after they've behaved in such a way, I still yearn for them and want nothing more than for their face to pop up on my phone saying I've got a message from them.

    Let me give a couple of examples:

    Girl 1 (who I dated for about 5 months, late 2017 having met on Tinder)

    On Date 4, she mentioned in chatting that she had a date with someone else the following day. This leads to a conversation in which we both agree to stop using Tinder. The following week, I see she's still on it and has updated her photos.
    Blows very hot and cold throughout the time we date, at times totally love bombing me, at others not replying to messages for over a day.
    After about 2 months, I see 'arrange date with Ant' on a to do list on her laptop. She brushes it off as 'Ant's the guy who's doing my van conversion, it's just a date for him to do the work'.
    After 4 months, I see Tinder on her phone again (we'd both deleted it a couple of months earlier). She brushes it off with 'I just put it back on my phone to show my friend how it all works'

    Eventually, after numerous cancellations on her part, I summoned up the strength to end things. But because of my huge emotional attachment to her, I continued to contact her for months after and after about 3 months, almost begged for her to give it another try.

    Girl 2 (who I dated for only 1 and a half months very recently, having met through Meetup)

    After a month and a half of dating (with no relationship talk), she drunkenly kisses a guy who I'd thought of as one of my closest friends. She messages me the following morning to confess.
    In the ensuing argument (which takes place first on the phone and then by text), she says some truly horrible despicable things to me (that I won't repeat on here).

    We stop seeing each other and I don't see her again for 6 weeks until yesterday when we're both at the same social event as part of the same social group.

    We get talking again a bit as part of the group and I buy her a drink when buying a round for several people. She admits 'I don't deserve this from you. I've been a tw*t'. 10 minutes later, she vanishes, no bye to anyone. I drop her an 'everything ok?' message, and get back 'ah sorry, had to go meet a friend'.

    Again, inspite of her earlier behaviour and her rudeness yesterday in disappearing without a goodbye, I still yearn for contact from her.

    So as I said, I struggle emotionally to let go anyone I get attached to regardless of how badly they treat me. The daft thing is that if anybody else on here posted the above stories, I'd say without a second thought “get rid. Go and find someone who deserves you”.
    Can anybody relate? Any advice on how I can stop my heart from ruling my head in these situations?

  2. #2
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    I can totally relate. I give too much, excuse too much, tolerate too much and still my heart hopes that they will see the error of their ways. If I had more self esteem I would realise that I deserve much better far earlier and get the hell out. I've traced the origins of why I'm like this to the way I was brought up, knowing as I do now (through therapy) that I have maladaptive schemas around abandonment and subjugation. Do you think something similar lies at the heart of why you struggle to let go of people who've treated you badly?

  3. #3
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    If I had more self esteem I would realise that I deserve much better far earlier and get the hell out

    Thanks for the response. I think I'm maybe slightly different in that I do realise at the time that these behaviours aren't right. But I lack the emotional strength to stop my heart ruling my head. E.g. I knew at the time that the chance of the 'Tinder's only on my phone to show my friend' story being true was about 1%. But once I'm emotionally attached to someone, seeing their name pop up on my phone gives me too much of an emotional high. I'm like it's a drug where I know it's not good for me but I'm addicted to the high and don't feel good enough a lot of the time without that high to let it just pass me by.

    Do you think something similar lies at the heart of why you struggle to let go of people who've treated you badly?

    That's a difficult one. The only possible childhood thing I can think of is that I struggled a lot for friends between 11 and 17 and it was only at the age of 17 that I made friends and developed a social circle. In terms of adulthood and relationships, I'd say it's quite rare that I meet a girl who I'm really attracted to (my fussiness is actually quite famous amongst my friends!). So when I do meet someone with whom I develop a great connection (even if their behaviour makes them totally unsuitable), I think I subconsciously think 'it'll be a long time before I meet someone else who I click with like this'. I think if week in week out I was meeting girls I was really attracted to, I'd brush things off much easier thinking 'I'll meet someone equally great next week'.

  4. #4
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    Classic fear of rejection and a misunderstanding that rejection is not personal to the one rejected but the person rejecting?

    Think about times you have rejected another? Why did you? Nothing overly personal about them? Right?

    I’m not just talking about dating but in all aspects. Friendships , job interviews etc.

    We all get rejected more than we get accepted. That’s normal. What’s not normal is your abnormal reaction to normal?

    You have rejected people too. In many ways. And likely never considered what it meant to them and that’s ok.

    But when it happens to you , you get overly obsessed about why and then try to seek acceptance from them when you really shouldn’t care.

    Why?

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  6. #5
    Gold Member Gary Snyder's Avatar
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    Your heart is telling you one thing about a woman (you love her), but your gut is telling you "no". Obviously you have been doing the right thing and going with your gut.

    You'll get over these girls with time, and with a new girlfriend.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I think Billie makes a really good point about rejection—something that, speaking in broad brushstrokes, I think women handle with more grace than men.

    When we take rejection personally we infuse it with meaning—and, by extension, with feeling. So let's take Girl 1: after four dates she's still dating, which is pretty normal, not about you. That she feels the need to crassly tell you in the sideways manner she did—that's not about you either, but her revealing her character to you. Yet it sounds like you made it about you, using a moment in which you felt insecure as the moment to get more serious. She was flattered, but clearly didn't take it very seriously. Problem was, the less seriously she took things the more seriously you did, and your connection became less about you and her than about staving off rejection.

    What I also see going on here is projecting being mistaken for connecting—or, to put it another way, that ruler you are calling your heart is actually your head. You're turning these women into stories, and it's the story that compels you more than reality. When reality really takes an unappetizing turn, you lean even harder into the story, magnifying it, taking comfort in it, and longing for it to be true. When it fails to become true, you ache, and that ache gets labeled as the heart beating in curious ways, so you turn to the source of the ache to be its healer.

    None of that is to negate the feelings you're describing—the hope, the hurt, the latching on instead of letting go—but perhaps if you can see that these feelings are more you-generated than generated by a connection they'll lose some of their sway. Saying "the heart is crazy" or the "heart wants what it wants" is very often a way of rationalizing what is a kind of self-centric view of people: that they are supposed to be one way (the way we want them to be) rather than simply who they are.

    Human beings inherently want what we can't have. The kid and the cookie jar: those cookies get really tasty the second the jar is closed and put on the unreachable shelf. As adults we're really no different, though hopefully we learn to see things, including these instincts, a bit more broadly so they aren't as mysterious. We learn that the sweetest cookies are the real ones, not the ones we can't reach, and we learn that it's okay to go a day or a month or whatever without a cookie at all—not a real one, not an imagined one.

    So the advice I'd give you is to change the story here a bit—to make it less about figuring out how to get your head to take back the controls from your heart, but to acknowledge how your head is preventing your heart from connecting in a more authentic manner.

  8. #7
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    I do agree with a lot of what's been said by Bluecastle above. I can take rejection quite hard and I am guilty of building up a connection / relationship in my head beyond what it is at that point.
    Also I do agree that I tend to want more what I can't have or what I feel is slipping away from me. With the 2nd girl (the one I saw yesterday), when we were dating and all was well, I was enjoying seeing her and if we had stuff planned for the evening, I'd be looking forward to it all afternoon, but I wouldn't go as far as to say I was in love at that point. The real yearning only started after it all went wrong.

    I think though for me, it's a lot easier to be aware of the above things than it is to successfully deal with them. I was thinking before of a job I used to work in years ago working with domestic violence victims. Very often, they'd be beaten black and blue by their partner but be back together within a week. They knew it was the wrong thing to do and would say as such, but didn't have the emotional strength to walk away.
    I understand that my dating situations aren't the same as this but I do feel that, like those domestic violence victims, I find it hard to prevent the emotional strains from ruling my logical mind. If Girl 2 had messaged me this morning saying 'do you fancy meeting up this afternoon?', I wouldn't have been able to stop myself accepting like a shot. I've got the emotional strength not to contact her myself but not to not yearn for her or hypothetically to come running if she called.

    Something I would say as well is that in my choice of women, I've got a tendency to go for girls who are a bit unpredictable and different. A bit hippie, a bit of a wild side. But then I kind of want them to be reliable as well in a lot of ways, which I guess is a bit of a contradiction.

  9. #8
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    Seems like you get something from people disrespecting you. Perhaps, you should explore through therapy what attracts you to this dynamic. Address your lack of self worth.

    Your picker is also way off.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry this was happening. No matter who you are there are a lot of flakes with online dating and Tinder seems to have more than it's fair share. All you can do is message them, set up a brief meet, decide of you want a second 'real' date.

    After a time when you're ready and usually around the time you want to move it to sex have the exclusive conversation. Forget deleting/hiding dating profiles/apps, it's nonsense. Either you are dating exclusively...or not. Never act jealous or question what's on someone's phone, simply take note and proceed from there.

    Keep in mind, anyone can be moved to the 'flake' basket at any time, as needed

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Seems like you get something from people disrespecting you.
    I've been thinking about this for a few minutes, trying to figure out if I agree or not.

    I think when everything's going well with someone I like and there's no problems and no dramas, I feel happy and content with life in general. Then as soon as something goes wrong, my happiness levels plummet and that general contentedness goes. I feel the need to repair things as quickly as possible to bring me back up to that happy place and that can result in me overlooking / ignoring an obvious dealbreaker.

    I think maybe the problem lies in my baseline happiness (this was talked about in a Law of Attraction class I attended earlier this week). While I wouldn't say I'm depressed as such, I feel my baseline happiness is too low and I'm too dependent on being in a good place with dating / a relationship if that makes sense?

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