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I am having a problem. I recently left a troubled relationship, in fact, moved away from a town last November in order to put distance between myself and someone I was involved with. The relationship we had was very troubled and abusive, and it was not a happy situation by any means.


My problem is this. Despite the fact that I have been away these past few months, he still calls me to keep in touch, which I am not upset about.........but I am concerned because although I have explained to him that we cannot be together, he still thinks we are. He even knows that I am talking to someone new, and he has told me that he wants me to be happy, and he knows I must follow my heart. But it breaks my heart to see that he still is holding on to the hope that we might be together again one day.


I am a very sensitive person, and I am very very careful with people, and I just need to find a gentle way to handle this situation.


I know this is difficult for many people to understand, but it is very hard for me to cut off all contact with people. I really can't explain this in full detail, but I know it has something to do with a traumatic experience earlier in my life involving my dad's sudden departure from my life.


This is very hard for me to write, as I have been struggling with this for quite some time, and I am not sure what to do. The problem lies in this feeling I have deep down inside that I care very much for him, but I know what is best for me, and I must continue to heal my life and try to pursue a relationship that is very healthy for me.


It gets further complicated with the fact that I do have someone who is interested in me, but I am having a difficult time trusting him because I am afraid he will be continually angry with me because of what I am trying to work through. I am struggling with my feelings, and I am worried and scared, and am afraid of people's judgements. I am not sure my new friend completely understands my situation and how much pain I am feeling now, and so I am feeling very troubled and just wish I knew what to do. I feel I need a friend now, and a lot of gentleness and patience, as I am feeling a lot of emotional pain.


This new person in my life lives very far away from me, and has visited me once, but the timing was not ideal, as I had just left the previous relationship.


I have had relationships end before, and most ended with a more "clean" break, but this troubled relationship has caused many conflicting emotions in me, and it's very hard to make sense of what I am feeling.


One thing I can say is that I feel a great deal of concern and well-wishes for the person I moved away from, even though that might seem so bizarre. But he had suffered quite a bit as a young man, and I only wish to see him happy.


I have wanted the distance to heal the pain and help us each move on. But it looks as though he still has hopes for us to be together, even though I know he probably realizes, somewhere in his heart, that we just cannot be.


I need serious advice, because I do intend to heal my life and have a healthy relationship, and I don't want to feel guilty about it.


It is not my way to tell someone coldly, "Get out of my life." I have never done this to anyone, and I just can't do this. I need some advice as to how I can let someone down gently, if you will.


I just need some words to say. I just keep hoping that this continued separation, in time, will help the wounds heal and help him understand we cannot be together.


Thank you for reading this, and for helping me.

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From what you say, your ex is clinging to any sign of hope that your relationship will resume one day.


It sounds very much as if he is likely to interpret your concern for him, as an ex partner, as a sign that all is not lost.


You mention that the relationship was abusive and that part of you is reluctant to pull away emotionally - one way of seeing that is to recognise that your 'inner journey' regarding this relationship continues still.


I think that for his sake and yours you should explain you need to complete your inner journey and that you feel it will be best for both of you to refrain from any further contact.


I can appreciate this may not be easy, but it sounds like something that needs doing with a gentle but firm approach.

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I think this is one of those cases where the concept of "you have to be cruel to be kind" applies.


I agree with coach -- your ex is clinging to any shred of hope that you have a future together. You said as much in your post. Even though you know your intentions are strictly friendly, he just isn't seeing it that way and he probably won't. Any positive interaction he has with you gives him "proof" you still care and that can easily sprial into "she wants to be with me" in the mind of someone who didn't want the relationship to end. Unfortunately, you cannot change the way another person chooses to interpret your actions.


Just look at some of the posts elsewhere on the board of people who want to get back together with their ex. The slightest little good interaction with their ex sends them on a mental rollercoaster ride..."I bumped into him/her at the store...he/she said hi and smiled...that's a good sign isn't it? Is there a chance he/she wants me back?" and so on.


You also mention that the relationship was abusive. If a reasonably mentally healthy person can go on that "isn't that proof he/she wants me back?" thought train, certainly someone who's off-kilter is going find their thoughts going that way just as easily...if not easier. In addition, I don't believe someone who was abusive toward you deserves to have the pleasure of your company in any way, shape or form after you have left. Again. Ever. No exceptions.


The longer he keeps holding out hope he can get back together with you, the longer he will pass up opportunities to become involved with someone who may be more compatible with him. (Although, I think he ought get his own @#!* together before he gets into another relationship, but that's a separate issue....we're not talkin' about him here, we're talking about you.) So, in a way, your continued contact with him is actually a hinderance to him moving on with his life.


As long as you keep throwing him a bone every once in a while, you keep that false hope alive in him. As I have seen on these boards, some people manage to live on a diet of "bones" for a very long time.


Difficult as it is, sometimes we have to shut the door completely for our own well-being and highest good and for the eventual well-being and highest good of the other person.

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Coach and shes2smart did a good job helping you out. I just wanted to chime in with some words of support, since I know how difficult this all is on you.


You are a beautiful soul, caring and nice. Unfortunately, I sense that you have a hard time letting go of things you know is bad for you. I'm the same way. Part of me knows to let go of something I went through, but I have a hard time doing that. The relationship was abusive with you, and he will cling to any sign of hope that you give him. Even if you only mean to be friendly, he will find some way to twist that around. If this is the same guy I recall you posting on before, you should cut contact. He'll take any opportunity he can get. It isn't a matter of being cold and mean to him, its about looking out for your own safety. If you had to move cities in order to get away from it, that should be a warning that things were very bad and that he isn't really someone that you should keep contact with. You are too nice to just end things coldly. So what you should do is to explain to him that it is over, and that keeping in contact is just hurting you more then its helping you. If he didn't hold on so tight, you may be able to be friends, but since he doesn't seem able to do that, you have to say goodbye for your own good, your own mental health.


With this new guy, I bet that he would be patient and work with you, letting you take all the time you need to recover. You are a once in a lifetime catch, and I have the feeling he sees this. He may not be able to understand everything you are going through right now, but he should understand enough and want to help you out. Trust him, I think that in time things can work out.

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