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You Have to Know You’re Worthy to Attract a Healthy Relationship

Couple on the beach

“Your problem is you’re too busy holding onto your unworthiness.” ~Ram Dass

Three years ago I went through a breakup with someone I loved deeply.

I had no idea what had happened to me after I fell in love with this girl. I now know that I was asleep from the beginning to the very end of the relationship.

I was totally encapsulated with this girl to the point where I could not see what was in front of me. I was unable to see the red flags that were there in the beginning.

When I first laid eyes on her, I felt a magnetic pull. I knew that she was it for me. I had her as the one before I had spoken a word to her. And what made it even harder was that when I was with her, it felt like home, as if I had known her before.

So, no matter what she said, I had it sealed in my mind that this had to work.

When it all started she was almost impossible to get a date with. She bailed on me three times. On the third time I was aggravated, and she knew it. We had to have a phone conversation about why we couldn’t go out.

This had never happened to me ever before, and the weird part was that I went along with it. I had the conversation and everything was fine and dandy when we went on a date just a few days later.

On the first date it was as if I had forgotten about the initial weirdness and aggravation. I was sucked in. But as weeks went by, I noticed that I was only able to see her once a month, even though she lived in the next town over from me.

We would have to resort to FaceTime, when she was just at home. I couldn’t pick her up at her house because she wanted me to avoid her parents. But at the same time, she had pictures of us on social media, so it wasn’t like our relationship was a secret. I was confused, but I kept on with it.

I remember my birthday came around and I didn’t get so much as a card. And it was sad because that didn’t dawn on me until I actually broke up with her. All I wanted from her was her time, and that was limited, and at her convenience.

I should also tell you that I was not the kind of guy that just harbors all my frustration and doesn’t talk about issues.

I would try to talk about my feelings and concerns, as well as try to understand her, but she would never want to hear it or talk about it. There was constant neglect.

What could I do? How could I show her that I loved her? What would make her open her heart to me? Take her to more dinners? Buy tickets to a game? None of that seemed to make a difference. But I felt for her and understood she had been cheated on previously, so I used the excuse that “she just has her walls up.”

I would tell myself that eventually she would understand that I was a good guy who loved her. She would eventually not be this way. In other words, eventually she would be what I thought she could be.

I looked past her avoidant personality, the distance she needed, and the fact that we were in different chapters in our lives. I also was willing to set aside my needs to fulfill hers, and only hers. My self-worth was at an all time low. (Or had it always been that low?)

The poison in this toxic relationship set in early, and I decided that I would enjoy more of it until the point where I needed to leave. Let’s not forget the idea that men have to pursue, pursue, and pursue. Because anything worth having won’t come easily, right?

After she put me completely on her backburner in the relationship, I knew that I was worth more. I cut the poison chord and licked my wounds for a long time after.

But there is healing in the “licking of my wounds.” The healing was sparked by a curiosity that I had developed in the search for myself.

Why did I attract this type of person into my life? How could I move upward so that I could attract healthier relationships going forward? 

I wasn’t going to just blame her and just get on with it. I didn’t want to be in denial about the fact that I had chosen to be with her. She was just being her, and how could I blame her for not being the person I wanted her to be? I needed to take some responsibility for my choice and work from there.

I found that amongst my own mommy issues, there was some childhood bully issues, and I’d been living with the “I’m not good enough” belief for years.

Suddenly, I was awakened.

I was awakened to the fact that the purpose of this relationship was to spawn a new discovery in my life, and that was the search for who I really am. It wasn’t just figuring out who I thought I was or being a better me, it was the search for my deeper self—my soul.

I believe this whole event was put forth for me to learn my worth.

Right after the relationship, I took time to grieve. That encompassed the generic reaction of drinking and going out, because at the time I didn’t immediately get the lesson; I was still working from the only place I knew.

But I realized that doing what the generation would consider normal—drinking, going out, and hooking up with other girls, just to run from the pain—wasn’t going to make anything better.

In the past it may have worked, because I wasn’t as emotionally invested and didn’t care as much when relationships ended. But this particular time was unique, because, at the time, I was looking for my soul mate.

This time around I had much higher expectations and a deeper attachment. That’s what had caused the pain from the start. I wasn’t hurting because she wasn’t the girl I wanted her to be; it was the expectation of what I thought she was rather than who she was in reality. 

Had I been present and awake, I wouldn’t have dated her at all because I would have seen that she was the complete opposite of what I needed. But how do I know what I need? And do I feel that I deserve what I need? Am I worthy of it?

On a simple level one could say, well, of course you deserve it and of course you are worthy. But I realized that inside I didn’t feel that way.

I eventually realized that my upbringing wasn’t surrounded by much love, not in the way that I needed. I was taught tough love, meaning little acknowledgement and praise, and as a result I never felt good enough.

Since there was an absence of love in my childhood, I didn’t know that I was worthy of it.

This model that I had worked with since my childhood affected who and what I would eventually attract. I projected unworthiness, and thought that women who love, care, and are nurturing didn’t exist, basically setting forth what came into my life.

I realized that if I don’t let go of my issues, the pattern would continue. The pattern would show up slightly different from time to time, but I would continue attracting unloving relationships if I continued believing I was unworthy and unlovable.

If you’ve had similar experiences, my message is to be present and be aware. This enables you to see the person you’re dating for who they are, as opposed to focusing on who you want them to be, and to see yourself more clearly as well.

This is an opportunity to not place blame in your relationship but rather to learn about yourself and your patterns.

Ask questions to help you dig deeper, such as: What is causing me to feel this way? Why was this event brought into my life? Where do I need healing? What issues, thoughts, or beliefs am I holding onto that are keeping me from where I want to go?

If you can just be present you will be able to notice your own thoughts and your attachments to stories in your own mind—stories about the past, the future, fear, control, unworthiness, and other issues that you may be holding onto.

Some questions I ask myself today when I’m meeting someone for the first time or seeing someone in the beginning include: Is this person my friend? How is their heart? Is it open?

Simply put, when I’m with that person, my heart is open to seeing who is there.

Do the work to heal your own wounds and to escape from your unhealthy patterns, and your heart will be open as well.

About Brad Ahern

Brad’s life’s purpose is to be of service to people. He currently devotes time to working with Autistic kids. He’s working full time on his Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, and in the future will be pursuing a PhD. He writes to share relatable stories to help with spiritual growth.

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  • Brav3

    Hi Brad,

    Thank you for writing this article. It felt like you wrote my story. I am going through a break up with someone I deeply loved for 2 and 1/2 years. To be honest, I saw all the red flags from the start but my mind was so deluded and attached that I ignored everything. It came to an ending nine months ago, and I decided to stay away from dating for some time, even though, I had some opportunities to date.

    I have found the same underlying issues of attracting my ex into my life. My fear from loneliness, my low self worth and self love, my need to be valued , my poor self esteem. This breakup has been a wake up call and I have been working on myself to win over these issues. However, there are some days when something triggers my emotions and I feel like I am back to square one as if no amount work will help me. Do you feel sometimes like that, you aren’t going anywhere? What do you do to alleviate your suffering in such situation?

    I have also decided to go against the very nature of previous me, who always look for certainty and security. I am planning to travel alone overseas, move to new city where I know no one, find a new challenging work. I also decided to let go the idea of ‘married with kids’ as an indicator of success in personal life.

    Thanks
    Brav3

  • Livelife364

    Hi Brad

    I went through something very similar as well. The real purpose of the relationship I had with this woman was to tear me apart spiritually, and to force me to confront my shadow sides (mommy issues, not feeling loved, not good enough, etc. All those childhood issues). I am deeply grateful to that Soul for helping me learn these lessons. I would not be where I am today without her help. It took me a long time to let go. And, as you said, there were red flags right from the beginning, but my desperate need to be loved was so strong that I betrayed my Self, I made my Self small for someone else.
    So I too had to question my motives, and came to the same realizations as you have:
    – If I think it’s good enough, then it is good enough, because I am doing my best (I know when I’m not doing my best)
    – I have a very large capacity to Love. It’s not like I’m not capable of Love
    – That large capacity to Love must, first and foremost, include me
    – I am worthy of Love. Everybody is. We cannot exist without it.

    Anyway, thank you so much for your post. I was having doubts again this morning, and your post was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Isn’t Life wonderful that way?

    All the best on your path!
    Cheers
    Gunter

  • Donavan Marais

    Hi Brad,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I always find tiny buddha’s newsletters so timely for my life, and your article certainly fits the bill. I recently broke off a long-term relationship and started on the blame game and pity party, but quickly realized that I was to blame for loving the person I thought she was and not who she really is. She claimed she loved me, but in hindsight, ultimately I don’t believe she truly knows what love is. Your article has helped me to dig a little deeper to understand why I lack so much self-worth. I’m happy to report that I am taking a long hiatus from dating until such time that I can be more present and self-aware, not to mention focusing more on my happiness and self-love. Thanks for the article.

    Regards,
    Donavan

  • Never been in a relationship and most likely never will in my lifetime

  • Brad Ahern

    Donavan, I’m glad that you were able to relate. I definitely hear you on the blame game mind game that goes on. I think that taking time to grieve is important for many reasons. Being present, I think is 90% of the game.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Gunter,

    I love that relation you made with referring to the soul being of help for your growth. That is so key, I can’t even begin to tell you. All of those realization I try to repeat to myself daily to keep the energy flowing. I’m glad you related and it was helpful for you!

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Nicky,

    I have felt that way before. You never know what comes into your life. Embrace every moment.

    Best,

    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Brav3

    Sorry for the late reply. But yes from time to time I get thoughts that trigger emotions, but not as much. In fact, I was only able to write my story now after 3 years, because it was such an emotional challenge for me. I meditate daily and just try to stay present. This enables me to notice my own thoughts before they take momentum. Momentum of thoughts creates more emotional releases for me. The noticer gets better with practice. I also tried to let go of plans like marriage and so forth, but for me that created more strain and in essence I created barriers for myself. So I flow with life and embrace it. Hope this answers your questions!

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • VK

    Hi Brad, I really enjoyed reading this. I had the same experience with a relationship recently. As you stated, it is so easy to say/believe: “On a simple level one could say, well, of course you deserve it and of course you are worthy.” But how did you move past that to really believe that you are worthy? Every time I tell myself I am worthy of love etc. I’m not sure if it’s just me ‘knowing’ i am or me really believing i am and thus attracting good relationships. I’m a bit stuck here aware of the issues but wondering how to grow from them. Thanks!

  • Ari Maayan

    Brad, thank you so much for sharing your story, your feelings and your revelations. You have given me the nudge I needed to look at my past failed relationships and how I had set myself up for the painful learning experiences. You have re-awakened me the intent to go slow and look at my real motivations behind the new relationship I am about to enter……..this time successfully!!! Thanks a milion

  • Brad Ahern

    Ari, I’m glad that my story was able to help in any way. I wish you well on your new relationship.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Rick

    This may as well have been my story, Forunately, like yourself, I not only took a long hard look at myself, but also sought out professional help. A year later, I’m still a work in progress but the world looks s lot different. Well worth the discomfort it creates when we get down to the nitty gritty and examine our behavior with a more critical eye. Great post!!!

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey VK,

    Honestly , I think it is an everyday reminder for me. I work with different techniques and one I use is just stating that I am worthy and I am lovable. I believe this to be a thoughts guiding actions approach, which for me I notice in time, my surroundings and people I attract change. For me it has to be constant until it is natural and just my being. I am a work in progress and will continue to be until my time is up. Hope this answers your question.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Laura Dantes

    Thank you for writing this. Brad you have pretty much described what I am going through right now. I noticed I also feel attracted to man who don’t really want to be with me and I cling to them way too long because I never really accept the fact they are not interested on having a relationship with me right now. I am struggling so much because it is really hard to accept that. It’s really hard to accept and see who they are because I always get so blind trying to get from them what I am craving (love, acceptance, laughs, intimacy) that I miss the fact they may have characteristics that I don’t really like or that they don’t treat me well. I don’t even know why sometimes I continue pursuing them even though when I am with them, they don’t really make me feel anything good I just feel super anxious and rejected. Maybe it is so hard to accept it because somehow I feel that I am unworthy that maybe I don’t deserve all what I need and want. That maybe real love doesn’t exist or that maybe it doesn’t exist for me that I won’t be able to meet that person that actually will love me for who I am and that I will feel the same way towards them. Sometimes I even think maybe I feel attracted to this people who don’t want to be with me because I am afraid of really loving someone and get hurt 🙁 I don’t know. So I really understand how you feel. I loved your “licking my wounds” reference. Do you have any advice as to how to start breaking the pattern of feeling unworthy (I received tough love during my childhood too)? I am sick of feeling like this.

  • Adam

    Hey Brad, well done on getting through that period of toxicity. Your story describes my early 20s. It’s really important to not blame yourself or the woman, but just remember to take responsibility for your actions and continue to grow. As well not worry about her. I hope all the neglect and silent treatment you experienced with her has made you a stronger and better person just like it has bettered my life. Afterwards life improves and whenever it happens you end up attracting a much better and more beautiful woman (soul) into your life. All the best.

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Rick,

    Yes it absolutely is a great lesson if we take it as such and examine

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Laura,

    Very interesting comments. I relate a lot to it in fact. Recently I have taken a look at love styles and came across “love addict versus love avoidant.”I honestly think it is worth looking into. There are some great videos about it. And there are great books by Brene Brown. The whole thing for me was to realize that I was already worthy and lovable. And the second major piece was being awake through the whole game. If I feel an explosive attraction to someone I step back and observe because that explosive love is like a sleeping pill. It just sucks you in, and you can’t see what is.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Adam,

    Yes in time it certainly did get better. I appreciate the kind words.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • AMT70

    Thanks for the article. I was in a very similar situation a few years ago. I thought I had found who I had been waiting for all my life. She turned out to be not a very nice person at all, just a great actor who presents extremely well, but at the beginning appeared to be everything that I ever wanted in a woman. There were a lot of red flags that I conveniently ignored that should have been addressed. But I was powerless to leave, I was so attached to her and wanted so badly for the two of us to make it. When she left it was beyond devastating. Anyone else in my future will now make me a priority in their life, not a second thought.

  • I try but I see reality for what it is and I know in reality relationships are not in my cards or my future.

  • Tania Lynn

    Hi Brad,
    Wow I am just blown away by your ability to have realized all of this and to find ways of making tangible change. I am however feeling so sad as I see for myself that until I met my husband of 10 yrs I was (a woman) ALWAYS seeking love from a man and habitually choosing emotionally unavailable ones. At first my husband had fleeting moments of emotional availability but I totally contributed to wearing him down by ‘switching’ to love avoidant. The old ‘I hate you dont leave me’. Its interesting too because he, like you experienced a tough love upbringing and inside what he needs is love and understanding. Strangley he chose me and I have come to see that I can display emotional inavailabity and not be there for him in the way I so badly wanted someone to be for me all my adult life. Its like I shut down from him and I need to explore that (didnt realize this until reading about your journey)
    Thank you Brad for coming into my life this way.

  • DrAwesome

    Almost identical situation to you and Brav3
    but in my case it happened 8 months ago after nearly 3 years. But it never should have gone that long, for either of us.

    From pretty much as soon as I met her, in my mind it was locked in – I was going to spend the rest of my life now that I found someone.

    I missed the red flags, I missed the helpful advice from friends, and when she said she hinted at it herself, none of that made sense to me. We loved each other and we were going to be together. The idea that we needed to break up (not WANTED but NEEDED to break up) made absolutely 0 sense, I dismissed it as fast as it came along

    Eventually she came back to it again, but this time it was resentment instead of tears.
    The things she said to me were downright cruel, but they sure as hell slapped the blinkers off my eyes and I’m sort of relieved now.

    I feared being alone. I’m terrible with women, and that was my first experience so I never ever even considered letting go. But sometimes you have to, because otherwise, it will erode away what little self confidence you have. They won’t have done much, but you will tear yourself apart. All that can be done from there is build yourself up better

  • Brad Ahern

    Yes absolutely, That is exactly how I felt. I felt like it was me being the giver and the other being the taker. There was no balance. And in a lot of ways it felt like an addiction. But without that experience, the path is different after. So, in time I became grateful. I’m happy you could relate!

    Best,

    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Tania,

    I’m happy that you found this to be helpful and that you had some realizations! I think those are big moments when we can have insight.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Yes the attachment can be an addiction of sorts, atleast it was for me. It became unhealthy and unbalanced. I’m glad you can relate and that you know what you want looking forward.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    That’s something I would have said at a time. It’s very familiar to me. For me, I got to the point where my thoughts and feelings shaped my reality and what I saw as reality. At that realization I started to work on myself. I read books, talked to therapists, and really dove inward to see what my makeup was. It enabled me to find out how I was viewed by others and most importantly viewed by myself. This is honestly a topic I want to write about, because it is close to home with me. Keep trying though, I’m confident you’ll find your way.

  • Victoria

    Hi Brad thank you for your story. Though I’m a woman, i have nearly the exact same story. But whereas you have moved on from this toxic relationship, I am in the middle of it. Also, we are married so it is a much tougher call than just letting go of a dating relationship. I am so glad to read your blog, to know that I am not alone. I continue to seek clarity and enlightenment in my journey. I wish you light on your own :).

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Victoria,

    I’m glad that my story gave you some comfort in knowing you are not alone. I think that you are on your way! Everything will unfold as it should. Thankyou for the kind words.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Well for me, being that I am disabled. I doubt relationships and dating are in my future

  • J. Doe

    Thank you! Just about right time. I have been dealing with this now for months. Something in me graves those girls that imeadiately don’t give the acceptance and love. And the ones that gives them makes no feeling in me. This “wrong” part of me is in charge and I see it but don’t know what to do it. It just feels bad. And all of this adds the non-acceptance of my self.
    How to get out of this negative spiral?

  • Paulo S.

    Thanks for your words. Myself have been in similar relationships in the past and a few months ago met someone and there I was with the same old patterns until she made me realise what I was doing, I was finally able to see the patterns of unworthiness I had all my life and now I’m trying to break them, it’s still a daily struggle.

  • Byakko

    Would love it if you´d share other techniques as well. 🙂

  • FM

    Beautifully stated. It’s life changing when we can see past the negative experience and into the life lesson and self realizations needed to grow spiritually. Thanks for sharing!

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Paulo,

    I hear you and I can understand that struggle. I’ll tell you even when I notice it, the struggle for me is justblowing I’m worthy on a consistent basis, enough to attract that in which I seek. Keeping the awareness though is the main point. Glad you can relate.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    J. Doe,

    I can understand that situation. The best thing I ever did was come up with a practice to work on myself. My personal way was meditation, books, yoga, and others. Some other people may find their way through religion. It’s all up to you and what you relate to. What this did for me was get me to the present moment and enjoy my moments instead of wanting something other than what is in front of me. I grew a lot from these practices and it help me attract different types of people into my life. Hope this helps a bit.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Byakko,

    I work sometimes with mantras. There are many different ones in which you can find ones that you are comfortable with. I also meditate daily which is a great base to work with. I’m continuously reading different books and watching different lectures as well. It is just a continuous journey inward within myself. It in turn releases all of which is not for my highest benefit.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • DS

    This post hits me at the core and good for your for realizing that it was time to look inside and realize that it was something in you – not just the other person. I feel like I can relate to your post because after getting out of a series of toxic relationships I ended up finally reading Free to Love, Free to Heal by David Simon and everything you’ve posted is what he goes into in his book. Anyway enjoyed the post. All the best to you.

  • Brav3

    Thanks for replying.

    Its been a huge challenge for me as my ex is my co-worker. Therefore, there are plenty of triggers, daily, that I can’t run from . However, I think I am getting a hang of noticing my thoughts and stories. Sometimes, I think I got it and sometimes I just fell flat on my face.

    It has also been a test for my mental resilience and knowing that everybody struggles gives a relief that I am a work in progress just like others.

    Buddhist psychology and meditation really helped me as well.

    Good luck
    Brav3

  • Brad Ahern

    Absolutely. I can imagine the difficulty in that situation. But sounds like you are doing fine, keep going! And yes Buddhist Psychology is phenomenal.

    Best,
    Brad

  • Brad Ahern

    Thankyou for the comments! I’m glad you can relate to it! I’m going to check out that book, always up for new reads. Thankyou and the best to you as well.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • alex

    Yeah, this is a great read. Oh so true. As we get older, it’s harder to find “tribe” friend members, let alone a love interest. 🙂

  • Adriel Sison

    Thank you for sharing this. I currently reflecting on my own insecurity about my own self-worth. You just helped me to connect it with me attracting the wrong partners in life. I have a similar childhood and am currently working on my self-worth. Thank you again.

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Adriel,
    I’m glad that you can relate to my story. You are not alone. The fact that you are working on it means so much, keep it up.

    Brad

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Alex,

    I appreciate the kind words! I agree with you on that.

    Best,
    Brad

  • Amber

    I too was very needy and lacking in self-love, got married at a young age for all the wrong reasons…. many years later still working on the self-love. you need to love yourself first before you can fully give yourself to someonelse.

  • This paragraph struck a chord with me Brad.

    “If you can just be present you will be able to notice your own thoughts and your attachments to stories in your own mind—stories about the past, the future, fear, control, unworthiness, and other issues that you may be holding onto.”

    My wife has a tattoo on her wrist that says exactly that “Be Present” and each time her and I look at it, we are reminded of its message.

    Thanks for the post

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Joel,

    Im glad you can relate to my story. It is definitely a key reminder. I remind myself everyday.

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Amber,

    Yes I agree with you in that you have to love yourself first. Self love is definitely something that took me a while to cultivate. I can relate to the needy part as well to some degree, in that what I needed wasn’t available in the relationships I chose. In the event that I met someone who was giving and balanced, the neediness subsides for me. Im glad you can relate to my story. All the best.

    Brad

  • Charlie

    I am getting a divorce. I feel the need to have the safety from a relationship, but I know my heart needs to heal. I am also scared that I will just end up in a toxic relationship again. How did you get your self-worth up? I feel that is my biggest issue in relationships.

  • Chen Siying

    Hey DrAwesome, just wondering how you’re doing right now after 8 months. I went through the exact same thing as you did, I was with him for 2 years and he left suddenly saying that he no longer love me. It’s been 3 months now and I feel terrible about it…. Do get back to me, would like to have a chat with you 🙂

  • DrAwesome

    Hey, the sting is gone, but I have to make a conscious effort to avoid the triggers. Alot of things in my life happened in the short time, I moved away, am graduating university so that helped distract me.
    But it still hurts sometimes when I let myself think about it.
    Am happy to chat whenever 🙂

  • Chen Siying

    That’s great. I’m so proud of you.

    Well it’s been some time since we broke up. We broke up in late July and the reason of the break up is due to his feeling fading. I couldn’t believe this at the start, who could? Everything was so sudden. Of course I committed the most common thing which was to beg. I begged throughout August and till mid September for his return. Nope, he was certain about leaving me. During August-September, he was mean to me and said things like “I should’ve known you better before I got together with you, look at the mess I landed myself in”. He went on to play the blocking and unblocking game on communication platforms.

    He was messing me up with my feelings. There was once when he told me to get out of his life and he went ahead to block me on Telegram and unblock me a week later. After unblocking me, he started the conversation and talked about our past and how happy we were that we forgot time. Little things like these gave me hope. I was hopeful that a tiny bit of him misses me and want me back but that wasn’t the case I guess.

    So the blocking/unblocking game carried on from August-September-Early Oct. We didn’t really cease all communication because I wanted to stay friends. (I guess that a part of me really love him so I didn’t want to lose him fully. I wanted to be there even if it means not being his girlfriend)

    But yesterday was the last straw for me. I came to realisation that he being here with me will only prolong my pain and it’s been a hell of a 3 months to be crying everyday. I hope that the pain will subside soon… I don’t mind keeping the memories and the love buried deep in my heart but I hope for the pain to subside.

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Charlie,

    I just took the time to be by myself. I focused on other aspects of my life. i also knew that what i attracted was a mirror of myself. I didn’t want to attract the same kind of person so i Worked on parts of myself that i felt i needed to which one was being able to express my emotions instead of bottling them up.

    i started listening to lectures and reading and doing meditation. one big thing I found valuable was the idea that I can view my life objectively. this meant that I could be in the audience and witness me on stage. it is the ability to see what and who is there rather than being sucked into another toxi relationship because of an explosive attraction. Self worth honestly is always there, it is just a path to figuring out that you were always worthy. Through my life conditioning, ‘my self worth was hidden and disguised. I just became present in every moment and began to peel back the layers.

    Best,
    Brad

  • DrAwesome

    It was slightly different for me.
    I sent her flowers on Valentines day (which is actually ridiculously expensive to have delivered). And she told me she felt nothing for me.It was funny because she took me to meet her mother a few weeks before that. Nothing made sense, nothing at all. I was so shocked and confused, I said absolutely nothing for a month.

    Then she sent me a note saying why she did it. She said I manipulated her into staying with me. When I told her I loved her so much and I’d be lost without her, those times made her feel guilty to leave. But now she had made the decision herself and felt she didn’t owe me anything, so she never spoke to me about it before.

    I won’t make any comments about her ‘reasons’ but what matters is she sent me a note. After three years of me giving her the best I could, she just turned me off like a switch. She didn’t even think I was worth speaking to….and that was it, I couldn’t do a damn thing. We go to the same university campus, and I see her quite a bit. She pretends I don’t exist. She has never spoken to me since.

    I haven’t cried since I was young but i woke up in tears every single day for ages and ages. The best thing that happened in that time was a friend of mine who went through and deleted all her contacts, stopping me from becoming desperate and helped put distance between us.

    Then I came to the same conclusion as you, but it took me a lot longer. Do I really want to be with someone who doesn’t value me like I value them? Yeah, I was not alone for the short term, but could I really go my whole life with a person I knew was not being honest with me, and who was not going to give me a sense of security and peace of mind? According to me, those are the only reasons you invest effort of getting into a relationship, because everything else can be got outside of it. It seems selfish, but you have to give that same feeling back to your partner to make it work.

    The title of this article sounds incredibly corny, but it is true. You have to know you are worthy of the same love you give to someone else. If a relationship ends, you will know it is because you were not getting what you need from it, not because you are unworthy. This was my first relationship (I am 22) and was a starry eyed believer in romantic ideas of love.

    Sadly, I no longer think that love just happens. That is just attraction between two people. My new idea is; Love happens when both partners become willing to work on their differences because they want to be with each other more than anything else. So you have not lost everything, just a person who doesn’t love you.

  • Chen Siying

    Hi DrAwesome,

    Exactly. I totally understand how you feel. I gave him everything I possibly could the past 2 years but he left like as though I didn’t matter.

    I tried asking him to come back to me. I sent him gifts and a cake on our monthsary but the more I do such things, the more annoyed he gets with me. He broke up with me saying that I was too clingy and I wad too insecure. But it’s normal for you to want to be with someone you love so long as you don’t go overboard, right?

    I read back on our chat in August (a month after we broke up), he told me that he doesn’t love me anymore and that he find it hard to agree to meet me. He also told me that love is about accepting but he cannot accept me for who I was and he doesn’t love me enough to commit. He mistook his feelings for love, I guess it was just attraction that dies down after 2 years.

    I’m still crying everyday. I’ve since lost 5 kilos and am not eating really well. I lost interest in things I love to do and I can no longer love anyone that much again. This 3 months was hell of a torture, really… There are times when he gave me hope yet the next moment he told me that we are a thing of a past, no more future no more memories to be made. It’s not easy but I’m trying really hard. I find myself crying on a bus ride home alone and little things like the name of a restaurant would trigger me to feel really upset.

    I still love him and I guess a part of me will never forget whatever we went through the past 2 years. I’ve had relationships before but this one is certainly the best, we have been to 2 countries in a year on a holiday together..

    Two nights ago he posted a picture of him with his female co-worker on Instagram. Well… he barely have any individual shot with a girl on instagram. We were together for 2 years and there’s only 4 photos of us on Instagram which he has deleted. In a way, he did announce to the world that he is single. It got me hard two nights ago. I cried for so long.

  • Chen Siying

    And i decided to end things for real with him. I wanted to stay friends for 2 reasons. I didn’t want to lose him fully and I was hoping for another chance between us.

    At this point in time, i’m not sure anymore. Even if he comes back one day, I don’t know how to love like before again. I was so hurt the past few months… how am I supposed to face him again and trust that it will never happen again.

    I guess ending communication with him would be the most optimal solution right now. The amount of false hopes he gave me the past few months was mentally draining.

    I don’t know how to move on from here but I guess I have to.

  • DrAwesome

    It’s not easy, but if you focus on other things, I promise it does get better over time.
    Staying ‘friends’ is never possible between two people who were closer than friends. When you have gone through as much as you can, you will let go of that idea, and then you will be able to get better.

    The hardest part is, no one can help you. You must realize this yourself so your own mind does not consume you.

    I too have only a handful of pictures from a 3 year relationship. She barely invited me to anything, she never made plans for my birthday and she barely did anything for me. I missed all the red flag moments, but now I saw them, so I dont feel I have lost much. Only my own effort that I gave.

    As for moving on, I am still stuck 8 months later. Women seem intimidating to me, and I dont know how I will feel saying all the things I said to my ex, to another girl. I have no self confidence but I know it was a good thing that we broke up.

  • Chen Siying

    I guess it will never be easy to let go of somebody who meant everything to you. My ex didn’t do much for me too but one thing I know for sure is that he was committed to me and he was loyal throughout the 2 years period. He told me before we got together that he disliked commitments and that he was afraid he will end up hurting me. I’m proud to say, the man I dated for 2 years tried with all his might. The only thing he didn’t do well in this entire relationship was he failed to hold onto his feelings for me.

    I’m sure there are some things I didn’t do well in the relationship too. But I’m aware that he was loyal and faithful in the relationship, even though he wasn’t expressive and barely did anything for me. Truth to be told, I was happy with him. We didn’t have any major problems in our relationship, which is why I’ll never be able to understand how his feelings faded gradually while we were still together. I was hurt once before by another ex-boyfriend of mine which was why I had insecurities and became rather clingy. Before I met him, I was soo into fairy tale love stories. I was a typical girl who loved surprises, gifts, handwritten notes, etc. But now that I look back, simplicity can be blissful too. I was the one giving surprises, gifts and notes. I remember he once told me that he was craving for bubble tea and within the next hour, I had it hanged at his door.

    Love is about accepting. He had anger issues, sometimes words he said can be harsh but I understand and accepted him for who he is. He didn’t accept me for who I am though, which was why he left.

    I guess I’ll be like you. Emotionally it will not be as painful 3-6 months down the road, but I’ll never be able to date other guys like how I dated him. I fear the day I’ll be in another guy’s arm feeling so bad because he isn’t the one I love. I’m afraid of getting out meeting new people, afraid of putting in my all and end up hurting myself all over again. I’m afraid to love.

  • Vaishali

    Hi Brad, thanks for this. I really needed to read this article, as it resonated with me. I am currently a thirty one year old woman, and I’m attempting to make major changes in my life. I’ve never had a relationship that’s lasted for more than two months, and I tend to attract people that have a very detached personality. After going through a string of “relationships” where I’ve never reaped any emotional benefits, I have felt that the problem perhaps lies with me and have been questioning my self-worth. After my latest encounter with a man who constantly gives me conflicting signals, I swallowed a bitter pill and realized that perhaps he isn’t into me and that realized that how can anyone be into me when I have a very dysfunctional relationship with myself. My insecurities (although I tend to think I hide it very well) are very apparent, and I am currently undergoing a journey where I am attempting to heal myself. It has been extremely difficult, but I hope by the end, we all know that we’re worthy of love.

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Vaishali,

    I’m glad you can relate. I can also appreciate your journey in your life. I think it is very good when you can be able to see yourself as the common denominator because then you can move forward to figuring out yourself and why you are the way you are. Out of that comes the awakening. I wish you luck, and I know that you will see you’ve been worthy all along.

    Best,
    Brad

  • Jill Derman

    Hey Brad!

    Thank you for sharing your great article with us all! I stumbled upon your article and am so glad that I did! I truly related to a lot that you discussed, especially when you mentioned that you were not “present” or “awake.” I too saw what I wanted to see with my ex. In hindsight, I feel I was so enamored and drawn in that I never authentically saw the situation or who he was as a person. However, I’m grateful for my breakup because I am learning about myself on a deeper, more vulnerable level. Cheers to a journey of continuous learning, growing, and healing! Take care 🙂

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Jill,

    I’m glad that you were able to relate. Thankyou so much for the kind words. I’m grateful for that situation as well, it taught me a lot. Take care Jill!

    Best,
    Brad

  • Anelda Roos

    Hi Brad, I just signed up so I can reply to your post. I know it’s about 6 months after. I just broke up with my boyfriend less than 2 weeks ago. We were together for about 8 months and he still doesn’t know where I live… We also lived about 40 min apart, but I was always the one driving through to see him. I kept telling myself his business is just keeping him busy, but after a while it bothered me. There are so many quotes about how people would make the time and travel the distance if they really want to spend time with them. I keep wondering why he didn’t want to make the effort when I knew he did it for all his ex girlfriends. So I tried by inviting him over for dinner and he looked thoughtful and said “yeah, I should probably give you money for petrol so I don’t have to feel guilty about you driving the distance all the time” Yup that did a lot of good for my self-worth. Eventually I just told him it makes me feel like you just don’t care about seeing me and I stopped going to his place. He ignored me for 2 weeks after he told me how angry he is about my “childish” behaviour. The ironic thing is I drove the 40 min every weekend and he slept on the couch every second weekend because of something I said (he wouldn’t tell me what I did wrong). And now, 2 weeks after the breakup, I am sitting with this boiling anger (not sure if it’s at him or myself). Several articles say you have to know your worth and be whole to attract healthy relationships, but what if you don’t know till it’s too late? For the first 4 months he treated me like a princess and the he just checked out? I just don’t trust myself and my judgment anymore to know when it’s wrong before it’s too late. Do we ever really know? I hope in the time since you wrote the article you have found your self-worth. I sure need to find mine…

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Anelda,

    Well Im interested in seeing if you could reflect back to when you first started dating him, that you could recall any perhaps red flags that may have come up, but due to your overwhelming attraction to him, you weren’t able to see? I realize it has only been two weeks, so maybe not all of the reflection has come up for you. But Im just wondering this.

    As a second thing that can be possible, is that the “checking out” that you mentioned, may be a defensive mechanism that he used out of fear of getting close to you. As a whole it does seem as you described it, as a one dimensional relationship as you gave much of the effort.

    The self worth is a very difficult thing to get ahold of as it is often intangible and has many components that require a conscious awareness. Even as someone like myself who practices this very often, it can be difficult and there are times in which I don’t see all of my actions in a conscious manner. In other words, Im not perfect either. But thats ok. Its a work in progress in life. Thats why we are here. I hope this reply finds you well!

    Sincerely,

    Brad Ahern

  • Anelda Roos

    Hi Brad,

    Thank you for replying. Yes there were red flags from the beginning. He kept making comments like “we’ll do it next year, that’s if you haven’t left me by then”. It worried me. It felt like he didn’t see a long term future for us. Like your ex, both his ex girlfriends cheated on him so I figured he was just scared and if he learned to trust me in time he will have more hope. Since I have my own pain with abandonment, I asked him about 2 months later what does he want for himself in life, but what he heard is “when are you going to marry me?” and “are you wasting my time?”. That’s when he checked out. About 2 months later he told me, ok he misses me and I am part of his life now “there’s no going back”. He still kept me at a distance they, I never really felt the “connection” again, but I still hoped. When I tried to talk to him about it he just said I’m a drama queen. I tried and fought so hard for us, but it’s a 2 way street, so I had to leave.

    After reading your article and realising how similar your situation was to mine, I was inspired by what you said about knowing your worth. If I knew my worth I wouldn’t have dated a man with one foot out the door. But knowing yourself and your worth is the difficult part. I don’t know if I am just not used to being alone anymore, but I was sitting on my bed trying to do the “bond with yourself” thing and all of the sudden I got this abandonment anxiety. I don’t understand why I find it so lonely to be with myself. Like I was waiting for someone to rush in the door and save me from myself. That’s when I realised the truth in your article, if I choose someone in the state of “self-love” I am in now, I am only going to settle for anyone.

    So thank you for your article. No one can walk your path or heal your broken heart for you, but knowing your not alone and getting some wisdom from someone whose been there definitely makes it easier and gives you hope that maybe someday it will all turn out ok.

    Regards
    Anelda

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Anelda,

    It does sound like a lot of fear on his part. Maybe fear of vulnerability because of being scorned again. Either way, whatever his predicament is, that’s his journey and his lessons for his life. What’s important is what you learn from this and the journey you take on your own growth. I don’t know what you are used to or if you are used to being with someone regardless of who is there or not, but only you do. But what I find to be the pattern with myself is that usually who it is I am dating, is a projection of myself on many levels. For example, if I am feeling fear of vulnerability or have disbelief in that there is someone who will put the same effort and be nurturing; one hundred percent of the time the person I am dating will be many of those things in which I feel or believe in. So, just some food for thought, chances are there is a pattern.

    I think that it is great that you are asking yourself these questions. It means that there is a part of you is really yearning to grow and know yourself. And know yourself on a soul level, not just identity. That is the key spark you need.

    It was no problem replying. I always try to be there when anyone needs help of any kind. Im glad this article was inspiring for you. Keep on your journey, its only going to get better.

    Best,

    Brad

  • Littlered

    Hi Brad, what a heartfelt article! It resonates on so many levels with my feelings. Like they say hindsight is always 20/20 and now I know what a fool I have been. Waiting around for a few minutes of conversation, giving more than 100% and still feeling not good enough, waiting to be acknowledged, apologising for feeling the things I felt, suppressing myself so I could save the relationship, convincing myself that it is really ok that he goes on holidays, movies or whatever outings with the ex and kids ‘for the sake of kids’ or ‘I have no choice but to go’ or ‘I won’t enjoy I promise, it is just a duty’ or some other BS like that. He used to address me by his ex’s name sometimes and said it happens as it was a long relationship and I am overreacting. I cringe even as I type this now! At the slightest sign of protest I would be showered with apologies, sweet talks and how I am the true one, I just need to understand that this is all for the kids and really I am the only one. I finally realised that I had to leave. There’s no way I am going to continue being treated like an option anymore. Investing all my time and energy not to mention blocking other good people from entering my life, I was not being loving towards myself. Like you said i might have held the notion that I could change him and that once he sees how wonderful life can be with me, he would commit. But guess I was fooling myself. I just don’t know why such things happen to me? I always had best interests of everyone at heart but end up with such things. When all others are getting their loved ones easily(like literally popping up on their doorsteps or via common friends), I have to end up with such complicated people. Why do I have to struggle to get the simplest things? Why did I allow someone to take advantage? Why could I not see it? I know I am whining, but really would like an honest opinion. What am I doing wrong?

  • Brad Ahern

    Hey Littlered,

    You aren’t doing anything wrong. I relate to you on this because I can see the same things around me. We see couples that appear to have it all. Honestly, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. What we want seems so foreign at times as well. Believe me I understand this very well. A lot of this goes back years in why we attract the people we do. What is important is noticing what we are doing in the present so that this doesn’t happen again, and if it does then it means we need to learn the same lesson.

    It is very frustrating because it’s a battle between logically saying to ourselves that we are worthy, but not really acting in such ways. But we aren’t alone. I see many people doing the same thing as in falling for someone who doesn’t seem to be giving it back the same way. I always wondered why so many do this, but it seems that it is just why we are here in the first place, to grow and evolve. I suppose through pain and growth, we will one day meet someone who confirms our own worthiness that we cultivate for ourselves. Until then it is somewhat of a bumpy ride. Be light with yourself and the answers will come to you.

    Best,

    Brad Ahern

  • Littlered

    Thank you so much for replying Brad! It feels really great for once to be acknowledged that I am not being unreasonable and indeed such behaviour was not acceptable. At times I have doubted that whether I was too picky or really was it my fault. But then I realised it is better to be alone than to be treated this way. In your reply above you have said why we attract such people. And I, for the first time, actually sat down and instead of feeling like a victim, actually thought why did I get involved with him in the first place. In fact I thought about all other areas of my life and saw a glaring theme. I got a lot of answers all down to low self esteem, craving for relationships and longing to be understood and acknowledged. It feels good when you say I am not the only one feeling this way and doing nothing wrong. Maybe I have put too much pressure on myself. I have now started working on my self esteem with affirmations and observing my behaviour so that I can gently change it. It will take time but I am willing to heal and this time around attract the right experiences. Thank you once again!

  • Brad Ahern

    I really like the momentum you have going for yourself. It takes a true warrior to go down the path where you are searching for the answers. Self reflection is a must and I think there isn’t enough of it now a days. If you ever need to talk to someone you can reach out. I am a Spiritual Growth Life Coach and this is what I love to do, guide and support people on their path in life. You can email me at any time. Brad.E.Ahern@gmail.com

    Best,
    Brad Ahern

  • Littlered

    Thank you so much for the kind words! I try my best. I allowed such treatment to continue because I thought this is what I deserve. When I realised that I deserve better, I found the courage to leave. It is recent and it is very very hard. I feel paralysed at times. There are days when I feel what the hell, at least I had some good things. Why give up all that? But I have promised myself I won’t go back. I have given enough time (7 years is long!) but it still is the same. Same excuses and same sub standard treatment. Trust me,one more time someone tells me ‘it is just for the kids’ or ‘I really have no control over this’ I will pull my hair out! Just kidding, but I am sick of those phrases. Nothing changes and there are more holidays, movies, dinners and vacations with the ex with such pathetic excuses and I don’t want to be treated this way anymore. I am trying my best to cope and one day I will heal. Maybe I will find someone who can see my worth for what it is and appreciate me, maybe not. But I will work on my own self but I am not going to spend another single minute trying to convince anyone of my own self worth anymore. I am done. I don’t know what I want, but I am sure what I don’t. It is all raw and new and will take time to figure stuff out but I will. Thanks to platforms like these, we realise we are never alone. Your words changed my perspective completely. I will definitely reach out if I need guidance. Thank you once again, it feels good to know that it will get better. May you help many more souls like mine. Lots of blessings to you!