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Simply put, what does he still want from me?


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Hi there - I have ever posted a question on a website in my life but I'm at a loss. Here it is, Valentine's Day, and I'm talking to strangers (joy). Sorry about the length. Anyway, my ex and I broke up after a very long relationship about 3 years ago. Getting over the whole thing was really hard, and it's still hard to think about dating and trusting again, etc- you've heard it before. We were best friends before dating and broke up after many years - then he jumped into a relationship with someone else and married her in 8 months, moved accross the country, and had a baby less than a year later.

 

I figured I was just the wrong one and accepted that we were young and too much had gone on, but he still texts me in the middle of the night and wants to keep in touch (mind you he doesn't keep in touch with anyone else from this coast). Anyway, this week he was in town for business and asked if I wanted to get together for a drink. Me being curious and single (and probably bored) said okay, and one drink turned into many on an empty stomach and suddenly the conversation was turned from casual story telling into him holding my hand and telling me that he still thinks about what went wrong with us, that he felt like after all the things he had done he couldn't face my parents again or be accepted by my family, and generally doesn't forget us or me and still thinks about me all the time, and that no matter what happens he never forgets and thinks about what could have been. He made every attempt to apologize for everything crappy he's ever done and said he wanted to hang out all night because he misses me and always fears he'll never see me again but reminded me he'd be in town for business maybe once a year, as if this was a consolation. He also kept hugging me and I felt like I could have definitely kissed him if I went for it but I don't really need that guilt on my mind and wouldn't do that to his family. At one point he even had to call his wife and I told him to go for it, but he found a way to text her so he wouldn't have to deal with having a conversation.

 

This guy has been in my life for over 10 years now. We dated on and off and he was my first love. He even met up with me in the middle of the night to basically tell me he was going to be proposing to his girlfriend at the time and then called me at 3am to tell me that he popped the question so I wouldn't hear it from anyone else.

 

My questions: a) if he can't get me out of his head why was he able to marry someone else so quickly when we had planned a life together and talked about marriage? b) what does he want from me now? Does he just want to feed his ego, does he actually miss me, or is he just a father of a 2 month old who hasn't gotten laid in a while and is frighteningly aware of the fact that he is locked into the situation he's in and I'm single out here in the city? If he loved someone so much he could marry her so easily, why does he still talk to me? Thanks in advance.

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It's impossible to explain his behaviour, who knows what's on his mind. But I know one thing, you don't need him in your life. He has no morals, if he could meet up with you and hug you when he has a wife and a baby. You can't control him, but you can control yourself and not engage with a married man. See him for what he is.

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The reality is he's the one who knows the answers to your questions but I'll give you my thoughts on it. First off, it sounds like he wants to see you and hang out for awhile once a year when he is in town.

a. My guess is after so many years of being with the same person, being with someone new was thrilling and he jumped into marriage, believing he'd found "the one", not realizing that those crazy gushing sparks die down after awhile and sometimes things seem routine as you settle into the mundane day to day life.

b. Perhaps he just wants to feed his ego, maybe he's horny if he has a newborn and his sex life isn't what he'd like it to be at the moment. I don't know if he was hoping to hook up or if he still has fond memories of the two of you and just wanted to see how you're doing and reminisce a bit. It doesn't sound like he hit on you so it could be just reconnecting with an old friend. I still talk to one of my exes and I've moved on to a new relationship. We stay in touch because we've shared quite a few years of our lives together and we still care about each other and enjoy being friends. There's no intention on my part of sleeping with him again. It also could have been that he just waned to apologize and make sure there weren't any hard feelings.

He's married and has children so I wouldn't read anything into it and if he makes it clear he's trying to heat things up with you again, it's probably best to cut ties. You don't need that mess on your hands.

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Silversoul - You're right, I can control myself and not engage with him and I am proud of myself for not falling for it because it would have been really easy to do something regretful. I keep thinking that I should be happy I'm not the one at home with the baby while he's out somewhere holding his ex's hand, it's just hard when you look straight into someone's eyes and believe that their intentions aren't devious and our history together was really, volumes... Maybe he's as confused as I am. Thanks for your answer. I really appreciate it. The main point is, he's married so it doesn't matter. I guess I always want to figure things out in my head anyway just to put them to rest, but maybe that's an illusion as well. It's been a long time and I haven't dated anyone else (not even gone on a date) and sometimes I think he keeps me at bay just to get in between me and the healing. If I'm single forever he'll never have to hurt and then he can have his life and everything and everyone in it, and have mine. I probably shouldn't have seen him. I just hoped that after all this time I could take a different attitude toward the whole thing and feel settled afterward. I didn't expect him to kick up the muddy waters, you know? You'd think the married one would try to keep it kosher. I was more than happy looking at pictures of his baby and telling him I wished him well. I guess maybe that was boring for him!

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jjkk - Thanks so much. Yes, I think you're right about a few points. I think he wants to be friends. In his head, I think that's what he tells himself and then I think there's a break in the code when he sees me in person. I feel the same way. Eventually when we see each other the chemistry is still there, and this encounter taught me it will always be there. Sometimes I think he wants me to be the bad one to make the move so he can make excuses to himself if something happens. He was definitely LINGERING for a while on one of those 500 extended length hugs and I just am not that girl. Never have been, never will be. I don't need it. The thing that confuses me is that I would at least hope that when I'm in love enough to get married and have a baby with someone else, I won't be thinking about him. I certainly hope I won't want to sit with him and hold his hand and kick up the memories. I think part of him wants to apologize, and part of him likes to see me still cry so that he can know he still matters. I guess it really doesn't matter, but I'll try to do the right thing and send him love in my head and hope I'm the only person he's this way with, because I don't know if another girl would think of his wife first. Thanks again.

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He may be confused who knows, but it is not a reason to mess with someone's life. It's extremely selfish on his part. It isn't love if you ask me. When you love a person you stay with them. Because he reappears in your life, you are stuck in the past and it prevents you from moving on and getting married and having babies yourself.

 

I think it's time you really put effort in attempting to move on, life is really short and it's not worth spending it someone who doesn't want to be with you all the time.

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Silver - You're right. I get distracted with him because the thought of opening up to someone new is so terrifying that I avoid it at all costs... next thing you know it's 100 yrs later and I'm his side show for a few hrs on a business trip away from his real life, the people he chose. I don't know how I'll be comfortable with someone else. I really do want to get on with my life and have what he has. I agree with you that he's been extremely selfish and I guess I do question the love factor and whether it was real or a mix of both love and sort of possessiveness,... maybe just the latter. I make him feel powerful and special and though it's not enough for him to love me back forever, I guess it's enough to intrigue him for a night or so. Makes you feel pretty worthless after all this time. I gave him everything, and that was my mistake, but I was young and in love. Getting everything for nothing is probably pretty boring, then again I wouldn't know. It's definitely time to cut the cord. I probably won't hear from him for months, and then just like this time, 6 months of silence and all of a sudden he's 3 blocks from my apartment and ready to reminisce. I'll never understand it but I guess after all these years this is the part where I have to take control and make the choice for both of us.

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Yes, it's a really dangerous situation and a sad one, you need to cut ties with him. Tell him that you can't move on if he continues to contact you. If he's a decent person he will agree not to bother you.It's impossible to be friends when there is still attraction. He won't take care of you, only you can protect yourself. Don't let this guy ruin your life. You don't need to worry about opening up to someone else at this point. First, let go of this situation and heal from this break-up.

 

Moving on is not a walk in the park. You have to go no contact in order to heal. And it requires a lot of effort and commitment on your part to stick to this healing process. You have to be committed to wanting to get over them. It's so easy to slip and get back into wallowing and grief. I'd even say it takes courage to move on. It's venturing into the unknown.

 

I know how hard is this and I'm going through the break- up with my first love and it really terrifies me when I see people who are still not over their exes even after several years. I hope you have courage to move on. Stick around this forum for support

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Silver - thanks so much. I will. I have to admit, I didn't expect to receive such wonderful advice on an online forum but it's been really refreshing. Don't be scared about not getting over them - most people aren't like me, trust me. I had issues opening up to people before my ex and being comfortable with the physical stuff. The reason I am so attached to him is probably because he was the only person I managed to open up to that way. I go 6 months here and there without hearing from him and this time because his baby is 2 months old I honestly thought, 'okay he's a man now and that's it. no more contact and I will be proud of him if I don't hear from him,' and then as soon as I put the thought into the universe he surfaced again. He's got some old beeper with my number on it in his ear or something. In any case, you are right about going with no contact. I think that starts now. I sort of tend to leave the ball in his park because he's the one in the relationship, and it's obviously clear he is capable of having these moments with me and still continuing his life. My love was too big for that and there isn't room in my heart for multiple people, it's a one seater and always will be. I just want to give something back to you though, I read a couple of your entries on your breakup journal when I was waiting for replies, and I have BEEN there, and I can promise you that it does get better, you will get over it, and though it takes a lot of time I think I would have been much better off if I had at least engaged with someone new to remind me of what it feels like. I am not a fan of people who jump from one relationship to another (like my ex) and I think it's actually quite weak sometimes, but a little flattery can really go a long way to remind you that you're awesome, and he, whomever he is, was definitely not perfect. The other thing that really is at the heart of it, is whether you're going to forgive yourself for whatever it was that made you culpable and choose to love and live life in the present tense. I am still working on this, but it's much better than before. You'll get there, for sure. From reading your words it seems you think and feel rather deeply, something I can really relate to. It may take us longer to process or get over things in life, but at least we can be sure we've lived when all is said and done. These are our battle wounds. They make you strong, remind you of what you've learned, and help you fight the next fight. Maybe my problem is I'm a glutton for the combat!

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I know what you mean about feeling deeper and stuff. I was 21 when I got into a relationship with him and he was my first bf, that says a lot, doesn't it?

It is good that you know that the actual issue may not be him but your inner issues. I know I definitely have them. I have a counsellor that helps me and will start a self-esteem/low mood course in March. I think you would definitely benefit from counselling too to work through any of the issues you may have. Yeah, jumping from a relationship to a relationship is a bad, but being hung up on one person for three years is not good either. I'm just scared I will be stuck on this for years and I definitely don't want that, that's why I decided to take a proactive approach in my healing.

 

You probably got used to this limbo situation but I'm sure with time you will be able to meet someone and open up but in order to do so you first need to close this chapter in your life.

 

Yeah this forum is amazing, I don't know where I would have been if not for the advice of all the wonderful people here!

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Thanks SS - I have actually been in therapy for a few years now, and I think it's working slowly, but I am also very hard to change and had to deal with a lot of things before even getting to the subject of 'him'. My therapist is really amazing and well recommended and has told me I am one of her most challenging clients so I guess that confirms my suspicions about how stubborn I am. I think I have decided that I know what people mean now when they say that if you really genuinely want things to change, they will - otherwise you may not completely want it yet. I was 21 too when I became involved with him and he was my first boyfriend too - I'm 30 now. Don't waste your time on someone who is living well without you. Take it from me. All my friends are married and have babies and I'm here asking questions about him. Mind you, I thought about him sparingly before this encounter this week, but it didn't help resurrecting the corpse. Don't mess with the sleeping dogs is the moral of my story. Maybe this forum brought my experience to you today as much as it brought me to your answers. They're just not worth it. I promise, it will be fine. You're taking steps to handle it and that's what makes all the difference.

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I think I have decided that I know what people mean now when they say that if you really genuinely want things to change, they will - otherwise you may not completely want it yet.

 

Yes, this is very true. I think your circumstances made it harder for you to move on perhaps so don't be hard on yourself. Instead, put all your energy to moving forward. You are still young and there a lot of possibilities and opportunities waiting for you. Just because he was your first doesn't mean you won't meet someone who you will be as much comfortable with. I think you just need the right attitude and with the motivation and help from you counsellor you will be able to get away from this situation. Don't let this guy so easily to get in touch with you. Your company is something precious and he needs to deserve to be in your life but he clearly doesn't. You are right that it a dead situation. They say that first relationships never last any way, so I guess all is for the best.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience!

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a) Because in reality he doesn't love you. He is incapable of real love. He only loves himself. He is so selfish that he only thinks of himself. He is incapable of empathy. Some people are broken like that. They are attention addicts who only love themselves and feel that everyone else were put on this earth to attend to their needs. Again, I recommend that you read about narcissists. Right now, due to his newborn he is not getting the attention he needs from his wife, so he is trying to fill in that gap by using you. He sounds pretty narcissistic to me.

b) Yes, he just wants to feed his ego. He is seeking for attention and validation that what he did to you was OK and that he is not the crappy person that he clearly is. And since he clearly sucks at taking responsibility for his life's choices and tries to escape whenever the going gets tough, yes, he feels locked into the situation he's in and is trying to use you to make himself feel better.

 

Sorry for repeating myself so much but to me there seems to be a pattern in this guy's behavior. This is a guy who doesn't want to take responsibility for his actions, mistakes and life choices. He is someone who bails from responsibility when things get hard and uses people to make himself feel better. That's all there is to it. You need to stage an intervention here or he will keep messing with your head for as long as you let him. It is your choice if you will kick him out of the pedestal and cut his crap out of your life or you will keep yourself stuck by letting him come and go as he pleases. If he was any good NONE of that would have happened. You are missing out on noone special.

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Clio - Thank you for your honesty. You don't have to apologize for your redundancy, it's about as repetitive as his pattern is with me and demonstrates how many times I have been stupid about him. Maybe I need to hear it repeatedly to get it through my thick skull. The problem is that I know all of this, and yet I continue to hope that he's not as heartless as all of this seems... he is. During our relationship I couldn't understand how he could do things that hurt so much to someone he claimed to love. I think it was all in revenge to an ex that cheated on him and broke his heart and he hated that I wasn't tainted yet. His parents were also going through a divorce (initiated by his mom) and he just hated women at the time. These are not excuses for his behavior, just more details that paint the picture.

 

I hate the idea that he feels guilty and I hate that look on his face, not because of how it makes him feel but because of what a victim it makes me. I told him I wasn't interested in that role (even though I know that's what I am here to him). Maybe he thinks if he apologizes enough he won't feel like a piece of garbage anymore. He knows he left me in a terrible state and used me like a dish rag. I told him, 'what's the point of saying this now? I feel like you're looking to make yourself feel better about your actions and no amount of apologizing is going to cover the real facts.' He knows who I was when I met him, and the broken, sanded down version of me he left in New York - all my edges had been buffed down like a piece of sea glass, I was a boring shell of a girl. Problem is, it's my job to fix myself, not his, and no amount of apologizes is going to make him a better person, and me less affected. In one way I think he wants to see me move on and be with someone else so that he can clear his conscience and say 'she's okay' and in another I know that when I am finally with someone it's going to irritate the heck out of him. He's never had to see me with anyone else so he still feels like I'm his even though we have nothing to do with each other anymore. I just can't stand that look of pity. It makes me want to backhand him in the face...with a few rings on.

 

To your advice, I have read a book about narcissistic personality d/o and he definitely has it, you are right. I guess my flaw is the eternal hope flame in my chest, hope more for myself not to be such a terrible judge of character, hope for him not to be such an emotional , etc. Bottom line is I am wasting my time. I seem to like to avoid, and this is a great way to avoid, but fear is probably the least attractive quality ever and I want to like myself again. When you love someone so much that you spend every waking moment in their brain trying to make sure they're happy with you because they were never ready to commit, instead of inside yours trying to make you happy, and you suddenly break up, it's hard to decipher who is in the mirror anymore. I guess it's easier to then jump back in and stay attached in their brain and their likes and needs so you don't have to figure out who you would have been without everything that happened - or maybe not even figure out, maybe so you don't have to face the fact that you, my friend, have completely abandoned yourself. I guess the point is to take from what happened and make yourself better then you were before. Easier said than done but I still have hope, so that's something. Maybe one day I'll be the one on the phone warning him about an engagement. The difference between him and me is that when I love someone enough to agree to spend the rest of my life with them, he's going to be the last thing on my mind, and I can't imagine agreeing to forever any other way. Thanks for all of your help.

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