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Potential boyfriend still in love with ex - advice

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[Just edited this to make it shorter!]


Four months after I split with my ex, after flirting a few times, myself and D (who I had known casually for 4 years) ended up kissing. He told me he liked me a lot but couldn't be my boyfriend.


We continued to flirt all the time. We went on holiday as part of a group and ended up separate from the others constantly. We didn't have any sexual contact though.


The night we came back, we did have sexual contact and he stopped it. A couple of weeks later we slept together on and off for about a week and he stopped it again. He said he thought a relationship was developing.


We are stalled at 'best friends' because he's obsessed with his ex girlfriend. She's not interested in him but they still have a lot of contact.


He has told me he likes me a lot, and he is "enamoured" by things I do. There is no mystery. We are in contact most days and share a bed most weekends. When he loses his inhibitions, he is touchy and affectionate, but we never kiss. There is CONSTANT eye contact and flirting though.


I know it seems he is messing me around. I tolerate it because I feel like I'm on the verge of something amazing with him. I can feel it. I really have tried to 'forget' him, but I can't. Not making contact with him today has been absolutely agonising.


I can't change his feelings for his ex, but I don't know how to move on from the situation, or move the situation on. If he seems obviously and openly interested, is it right for me to 'hang in there' for a while?


The attraction is obvious to our friends and we don't really hide the fact we share a bed etc. They think it's inevitable that we're going to get together.


Can anyone offer any ideas please? I am going crazy.

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Hmmm ... this is a tough situation that I've been (somewhat) in before.


I think you and him and going to be victims of "bad timing". You get along amazingly, are totally attracted to each other physically, and share a special "bond". But then there's a problem: he's still in love with his ex. And you were right to say, "I can't change his feelings". You can try, but if his heart is still partly with her, then you're going to exhaust yourself.


How long has it been since he and his ex split? Why did they split up (or do you know exact details)? The answers to these questions should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from this guy. One thing I can say, is that he sounds like a pretty good guy, not getting physical with you because he's obviously not ready for it.


A few years back I was friends with a guy who had just been dumped by his girlfriend about a month before we met. At first, we were just very good friends, but more developed. The ex eventually came back into the picture and I was pretty much pushed out. They ended up breaking up eventually. I saw him last year and he said, "I wish you and I would have met at a different time, I was going through a lot of crap with her and was still into her so couldn't focus on you".


I guess what I am trying to say, is that as long as there are still romantic feelings for his ex (something that he will most likely have to deal with on his own), he won't be able to focus on you. Try not to be the victim of a "rebounding boy"!

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Pull back from him if u want him to get closer to u. Put a stop to the sexual contact, inject some mystery in there, don't prioritize him. He's got no reason to come closer to you as it is, he's already getting just what he wants and you're sitting there and taking it, being a TOTAL second fiddle.


In fact, read the book "why men love bit*hes" and start practicing the strategies listed in there. If you don't, you will probably never have him the way you want to have him.


Good luck!



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Thanks for the responses! I really appreciate that neither of you said "tell him to f- off!" because I really don't think it's the right thing to do.


He and his ex split about a year ago. The split was messy and he clung on for a long time. They split because he'd split with a girlfriend of 10 years and wasn't sure he wanted someone else so soon, because he wanted to date around (he'd never done it). His 'new' ex got tired of being messed around. Yes, history is partially repeating itself, except that now he would have a girlfriend, but only the ex. (He still wants to date around etc).


We don't have sexual contact - we sleep together and hug. But I know what you mean... he does have me where he wants me now, I'm becoming aware of that. I just really like falling asleep with him so I always allow it to happen. I noticed lately I am starting to try make sure it happens, in fact.


So yes, I need to stop being so eager/available. I have resisted the urge to initiate contact today - the first day we haven't had contact in many weeks. I would like to retreat - I know this works with him. I was holding hands with another guy last month and that was the catalyst for us sleeping together the first time. And of course, he only realised he wanted his ex so much when she dumped him.


I find it hard to stay away from him because I like him so much. I'm sensitive too, so whenever I try to 'ignore' him, I get scared he might 'forget' me and I give in! Especially when I see him being chatty with other girls.


Any tips?


I'm thinking I should start by going back to the way things used to be. I.e. I only email/text if he does it first. I think if we go out together I need to try flit around and be less attentive. And although I am not going to kick him out of my bed, I won't try make sure that he ends up in it every weekend... I'll be a bit more chilled about it.


Thank you again for your posts... I would love to hear any more advice anyone has!


PS. I don't have the book you mentioned Jenn, but I have heard of it. Are any of the 'rules' online anywhere?

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First off, if a guy likes a girl a LOT (as he would have to for him to deserve your company, right?) he doesn't "forget" her when she isn't around... He desires her. And if he DOES forget her, he wasn't that into her anyway. Just remember that, always! As a general rule, if you have to work hard to get and keep his attention NOW, it gets worse not better the longer you're together.


Men love "bit*hes" not mean girls with ice in their veins but more girls that are confident and have a life that they're eager to ADD a man to, not a life they're willing to sacrifice for him. Make sense? The word "bit*h" is used very tongue in cheek in the book's title and the book is actually a great, very sensible read.


Some pointers?


Well, most everything the book tells you (and others like it, such as "The Rules" and "He's Just Not That Into You") facilitate his making the effort for your attention. This works in THREE ways: It gives you the confidence boost of being sought after and essentially "chased", it gives HIM the thrill of the "chase" which men love (with VERY few exceptions among secure, confident males) and if he DOESN'T chase you, it shows you clear as day that he isn't interested in you! What could be better than no more guessing games?!


Women spend far too much time analyzing men. "He did this... What does it mean?" and "Oh I think what he REALLY meant when he said that was (insert female interpretation that is WAY off base here)" When a guy says something, he practically always means what he said, just the way he said it. If he says "I'm not over my ex and I can't be your boyfriend" what he means is (and this is a mystical power I've developed over many years, being able to interpret things like this):


"I'm not over my ex and I can't be your boyfriend" It does NOT mean "I am so in love with you and so scared, please do everything you can to make it easy and encourage me so I want to fall into your arms" even though this is what a lot of girls might have interpreted it as.


Amazing isn't it? I know, I know... Seems like I can read guy's minds, right? Seriously though... I know what you're after and while I think you're totally NOT going to have an easy time of things, the BEST advice I can offer for getting him to CHANGE HIS MIND is the following... And note I said CHANGE his mind about you. Not "realize his true feelings" or any such nonsense. He's probably pretty clear on the fact that he misses and wants his ex and he is not in love with you. Your job isn't to "un-confuse" him it's to try and totally change the way he considers you now. Understand that and realize that before you read any further...


Pull Back

don't call him, don't e-mail him, don't drive around hoping you'll run into him. Don't find reasons to be with him or in contact with him (as in "oh darlin' I left my lip gloss in your car and I REALLY need that flavour...") You may RECIPROCATE basic attention and contact initiation. You can return his calls and respond to his e-mails. We'll get to dating later...


Get a Life

Go find stuff to do other than wait by the phone for him. Get a life that you'll want to keep up long after he's gone and forgotten (which is the likelihood here, keep that in mind and you'll be a better "bit*ch" hehe you will be less likely to get hurt) Take up a hobby or go out with friends you haven't seen in a while... Basically make plans with someone OTHER than him for every night that you want to be elsewhere but home.


Don't EVER (Under ANY Circumstance) Accept a Last Minute Date

Ever. There is no good reason, and "oh well I was all dressed and ready anyway" doesn't count either. If he doesn't call you the night before to ask you out for the next night, you are BUSY. Don't tell him why, don't say you're doing laundry and mopping the floors even if that's all you'll be doing. Heck, I've been known to turn down my BF for last minute date invitations because I wanted to paint my toenails... He didn't forget about me, he just started giving me more notice. Also, when you turn down a date at the last minute, don't YOU reschedule... If he calls you on monday night and says "wanna go out at 9pm?" don't say "no I have plans... how about tomorrow nite?" Just say you have plans and leave it at that. Let HIM figure out that he has to call (in advance) another night. Don't spoon feed him. You want to make it clear to him that he isn't a priority. You also don't want to necessarily make him think you're not making yourself available to other men... Nothing wrong with that, he isn't dating you, right?


Be Sweet as Sugar With Him

When you finally do go out, be real sweet to him and make it clear you like him. We aren't out to make him think we hate him... Cuddle and be all sugar and spice and everything nice when you're together with a few caveats: Don't talk about the ex or the relationship situation. Don't bring it up, if he brings it up, act nonchelant and politely change the subject. Don't talk about the future or whether he could ever see you as a GF (I am telling you, right now he doesn't... it's no mystery he came right out and SAID he didn't) and don't tell him that you're putting these "rules" in place. Don't say "oh by the way you will notice some changes like I won't accept last minute dates anymore so please call me ahead of time" simply sit back, put the rules in place, and let him respond. He's not an idiot, presumably.


End the date First

Always. Politely excuse him from your home when things have "died down" and don't welcome him into your bed even just to cuddle. The bed is for boyfriends that love and respect you, not for guys that want to have some affection while they pine for their exes, right? Trust me, be nice about it "aw well I had such a great time, but I have to get some sleep, have a good nite and I shall talk to you later" and he won't think you're being mean. He'll also wonder what's up and why all of a sudden his season's pass has expired... Good! This is what you want! This also goes for phone calls and MSN conversations. When things start to die down and there's a bit of a lull, don't wait for him to excuse himself, you say "well look at the time I have a million things to do. chat with u later"


So what happens if the rules work? You become more confident, he stops his bullcrap, and you have a great relationship... OR you become more confident, you stop allowing his bullcrap and realize that he's really not that into you so you cut him loose and find someone who IS into you. Win/win. And if you follow these simple rules with even new BF's you'll have great relationships, if only because you will stop allowing yourself to make excuses for a guy's poor behaviour, and drop useless guys before they get a chance to hurt you.


Wow, that was the longest response I think I have ever typed... Feel special And good luck!



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Hey Jenn. Thanks for the reply. I think there are a few things I'm already doing right:


- I never mention the ex. He mentions her often - I am sympathetic, but tell him my comments would be biased so I won't talk about it further.

- I don't pester him by calling him etc.

- I don't initiate IMs.

- I stopped sending emails/texts unless he initiates.

- When he does email/text I send very nice chatty replies.

- If he calls me to make plans to go out, I am keen, but I don't call first.

- I never mention our relationship (or lack of it).

- I always make sure I say that I've been out with other friends.

- If a guy hit on me, I tell him (as a friend, of course ).


OK, things I'm doing wrong.

- "If I always pay him attention, he will know I adore him". I realise this is wrong.

- I see other friends but I often try to make sure he comes along. Often he doesn't. I think I should stop inviting him unless he happens to call.

- When we're out in a group, I constantly make a beeline for him. Maybe I should concentrate more on talking to other people.

- I am always ready to drop everything to see him.



My BIG problem is I always want to be around him. He used to persue me but he doesn't do it any more, probably because he doesn't need to. I think I will try to pretend he's not there and see if he starts persuing me again. Have you got any ideas as to how I can "forget" he's around?




One very big point you make that I hadn't considered: "The bed is for boyfriends that love and respect you, not for guys that want to have some affection while they pine for their exes, right?"


Very succinctly put... thank you!

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No really easy way to forget he is around... It's a really HARD transition to make, but you'll see, the pleasure you get from his pursuing you will be worth it. Don't forget this in no way is an exercise in spending less time with him, it's an exercise in making it so that all the time you DO spend is time he initiated and had to work for, and will thereforeeee be quality time and a step closer in making him want you as a GF (if that's something he will want) rather than away from it.


With my BF, I know there were times I wanted SOOOOOO bad to tell him he looked like a million bucks, I love him, and I wanted him forever (and then hang off him all night because he WAS so hot and I DID love him so much)... But with practice I held it in until he said "you know Jenn you look fantastic tonight" (of his own accord, then I told him I thought he looked amazing too, of course) so it isn't about forgetting these things, or falling out of love with him, it's about rewarding his attention with your own and making sure that he continues to WANT your attention when he's not getting it, because he doesn't get it free.


Be aware that if you ask many guys they'll say "oh this is a giant head game and I hate head games and I'd never date a girl who pulled this crap"... But pay attention to what they're actually DOING... The women they're falling for (even pining for) are more or less playing this "game" because it's the game of human courtship. Even with the sexual revolution as women became more empowered, men didn't change all that much... They're still primal, and they're still driven to go after what they want. Don't think it so far fetched that if you back off, he won't think it's YOU he want's and go after YOU.


I know I put more of an answer than you were after but I guess it's valid nevertheless...


But yeah for forgetting him? Really no hints other than keep busy and then really reward him for seeking you out (within the boundaries of the rules of course) eventually he will seek you out more in order to be rewarded by your company, and you won't feel so driven to get his attention or go up to him because HE will be the one seeking you out... I guess at group functions you could excuse yourself after a bit (when there becomes a lull, or you find yourself following HIM around all of a sudden) say "oh well, catch up later but now I wanna go talk to so-and-so" if he comes WITH you to talk to so-and-so, then he is welcome... that's within the rules, and if he follows you around all night, good for him. Just don't you start following HIM. If he wants to go talk to someone else, let him tell him have fun and chat later... He'll realize that if he wants to be with you it will only be because he has made a concerted effort and dedication of time to be with you.


And always remember, if not, then he wasn't that into you anyway. Find someone who is.


Also, don't invite him out with your friends... A lot of girls think thats the same as having a life and it isn't. If you have plans, you have plans, tough luck buddy... This is to help inject some of the mystery back into the relationship... If HE invites you to a friend's or somewhere, by all means (within the rule of it being ahead of time) or if he asks if you're going to so-and-so's party, say "I don't know...perhaps" don't say "yes! meet me at the northeast corner of the room by our special table" (lol) if he presses, say you're not sure what your plans are for that evening. When you DO end up there (as was the plan all along) you've just made it a pleasant surprise for him, perhaps even a bit of an adrenaline rush that you would have denied him had YOU taken the reins and initiated the meeting at the party... right?

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