August 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm #41076
I’m really hurting right now because of a recent fallout with a friend, and I could use some help seeing what the reality of the situation is. I’ll try to describe what happened as objectively as possible… Though inevitably I can only speak from my own perspective. This is going to be long, so if anyone actually reads it and responds I’ll be very grateful. Maybe it will help just to get it out though.
About two years ago, I started talking to this guy online. He had come across my blog and reached out to me because he liked what I wrote. We had a lot in common and I enjoyed speaking with him. But he sometimes made me a bit uncomfortable because he kept flirting with me, even though I knew he had a girlfriend. At one point I flat out told him this, but he assured me he only wanted to be friends. After several months, we met in person when I had the opportunity to visit his city. I enjoyed spending time with him as a friend and nothing happened.
But several months after that he ended up breaking up with his girlfriend, and we started talking more often. After a while I began to develop feelings for him. I tried to keep those feelings at bay, because I didn’t want to be pining after someone who lived so far away and who also seemed to still have issues with his ex, even though he claimed to be over her. But he kept flirting with me, and eventually I couldn’t hold it in anymore and confessed that I liked him. It was hard not to like him because he was so nice and we had so much in common. We started talking constantly and made plans for me to visit him again. He expressed reservations about not being ready for a relationship and not wanting to hurt me. I should have listened to him and backed away… But I didn’t. I had already given in to my feelings and I was too far gone by then.
I stayed with him for three weeks and we both had a great time. Everything seemed to be going well… Until just a few days after I left, when he told me out of the blue that he’d just realized he was still in love with his ex girlfriend. Apparently she had showed up, he’d told her everything that had happened between us and she’d gotten really upset, which had made him realize he loved her. He said he didn’t want to get back with her due to some issues they had, but I told him I couldn’t be anything more than friends with him if he was in love with someone else. I should have told him I needed some time to myself to process my feelings… But he had expressed concern on more than one occasion about losing our friendship. I knew a lot of people had abandoned him in the past, so I was determined not to be another one of those people. I had promised him I’d always be there for him as a friend no matter what. So I felt like I had to be there for him and help him through the pain he was feeling in relation to his ex, even though I knew he would have been perfectly willing to give me space if I’d asked for it. But I was trying to be stronger than I was, and honestly I just didn’t want to stop speaking to him.
Foolish as it seems now, I held onto my feelings for him, thinking he was sure to come around and fall in love with me if I just showed him what an amazing friend I could be. But things didn’t work out that way at all. What happened was that he stopped moping over his ex and moved on with his life… And the weird thing is that it was really sudden. I swear, one day he was depressed and staying at home in bed all day, and the next day he was out partying. Then he became really busy with his work and social life, and I started hearing from him less and less often. Pretty soon it seemed like I was always the one contacting him first. He seemed to be really happy, and although I was glad for him, I couldn’t help thinking there was something unnatural about it. I also couldn’t help feeling hurt because it was clear he didn’t need me in his life anymore. Although he had talked before about how much he was going to miss me when I left his city, he didn’t seem to miss me at all. Now I was the one desperate to maintain the friendship, even though he was the one who’d seemed so worried about it at first. This sudden transformation of his was incomprehensible to me. He seemed to have changed in the blink of an eye from being smitten with me, to being depressed about the situation with his ex, to being really happy with his single life and not needing anyone.
A couple times he got irritated at me for complaining about him not contacting me as often, not treating me like he used to, etc. A couple times I sent him emotionally charged emails about how I couldn’t understand why he didn’t love me even though I’d done so much for him, etc. Each time I felt stupid immediately afterwards, apologized profusely, and tried to give him his space. But it was hard. I couldn’t seem to go more than a few days at a time without checking up on him.
Just a few weeks ago, I saw he’d posted a picture on Facebook of himself and another girl with their arms around each other. I couldn’t help myself: I asked him what was going on. I said that I was still in love with him, but maybe if I knew he was with someone else I could finally get over it. He responded that the girl was his girlfriend. I told him I was surprised, since he’d been quite insistent about not wanting to be in an official “relationship” with me, and now just a few months later he had a girlfriend. I asked him why he hadn’t just told me about her.
And then he got really angry. She had just become his girlfriend a few days ago, he said, and he hadn’t told anyone yet. He hadn’t been trying to keep anything from me. He said he was annoyed with me, and that the way I reacted to such things wasn’t normal. He told me he thought I was obsessed and needed professional help. He accused me of “emotional blackmail.” He said I scared him. He said he’d tried to make it clear he wasn’t interested, but I wasn’t taking the hint so he had to be blunt. Then he told me to leave him alone.
Those words were especially hurtful because I’m afraid there may be some truth to them. I’ve long suspected that the attachment I feel to the people I fall in love with is beyond what’s normal, that it borders on obsession. When I fall in love with someone, I think about that person so much that I can barely function. I fall fast and hard, and I don’t get over it easily. I seem unable to control my emotions. It is scary even to me. I thought it had gotten better, that I’d matured… But I still hadn’t been able to keep myself from obsessing and sending long, emotionally charged emails. And now here was this guy, who once thought I was the best thing since sliced bread, telling me I’m crazy and shouting at me to stay away from him.
Then I read about something called “love addiction.” Yes, apparently such an addiction exists, and it’s not much better than a cocaine addiction from what the literature says about it. According to psychcentral.com:
“Love addicts spend much time and effort on a person to whom they are addicted. Love addicts value this person above themselves, and their focus on the beloved other often is obsessive. This behavior results in love addicts neglecting to care for themselves in a variety of ways, in essence abandoning important aspects of their lives and well-being to stay connected to the object of their affections. A love addict’s core fantasy is the expectation that someone else can solve their problems, provide unconditional positive regard at all times, and take care of them. When this unrealistic need isn’t met, love addicts may find themselves feeling resentful, and may create conflict in their relationships with others.”
Then I found one of those self-diagnosis checklists, and I found myself checking most of the boxes.
So as I’m sure you can imagine, I haven’t been feeling too great about myself since then. Apparently I’m a crazed love addict, and any guy in his right mind should stay away from me because I’ll become obsessed and needy and eat him alive. And now it seems I’ve lost a friend for good. (I just tried contacting him the other day to ask if he wanted to make up and be friends again. He told me very bluntly to leave him alone.)
And that’s pretty much the whole story. It seems to me like both of us did things wrong, and like I’m not the only one who has issues… But the nature of my apparent problem disturbs me.
I don’t really know what else to say and I don’t know what kind of response I’m expecting… But I guess I’m hoping someone might say something to make me feel better. ><;;;
At any rate, thank you for taking the time to read this novel of a post.August 24, 2013 at 12:49 am #41078Buddhist WifeParticipant
I’m a so sorry for what you have been through.
Firstly I must say that I think you need to leave this man alone. He has been very clear more then once that he doesn’t want to hear from you. Contacting him again is only going to result in more pain for you so don’t do it.
I also have to agree with your statement that you have some issues around relationships. I’m not sure I’d agree with the term ‘Love Addict’ because that sounds a bit of an odd concept. It may be worth it to seek some therapy to find out what your issues are around relationships.
I would also say please don’t despair. Just because you did things in this relationship that were less then ideal doesn’t mean that you are damaged or that you will repeat the behavior in your next relationship. Having awareness is the key to making changes.
I also think some of the blame falls on your ‘friend’. I have write the term ‘friend’ like this because I don’t believe that he was ever much of a friend to you at all. I think this individual was actually quiet manipulative and used you. He certainly isn’t the innocent party in this story.
Lets look at it this way. First of all he contacts you, a strange women on the internet and begins flirting with you despite the fact that he is in a relationship. He persists even after you tell him how uncomfortable you feel.
He then breaks up with this girlfriend and bombards you mixed messages. He flirts with you, insists he is over his girlfriend, makes plans for you to go and see him . . . but then says he is unsure about wanting a relationship. He doesn’t say he doesn’t want one, just muddies the waters by saying he has reservations.
He then dallies with you for three weeks, then tells you he has reconnected with his ex-girlfriend, whom he still loves, but doesn’t want to be with and he doesn’t want to loose your friendship. Talk about mixed messages!
It seems to me, from what you have told us, that he dragged you along on a string and that he wanted his cake and to eat it too.
Now I agree that your emails were over the top and you should not have sent them. However I think his response of anger towards you was pretty cheeky. It’s obvious that the two of you were emotionally intimate and to not mention that he had started seeing someone else when things were still up in the air between you was wrong.
In short I don’t think you have lost much at all by ending this relationship and I think having no further contact with him is one of the best things that could happen to you. If I were you I would block him on Facebook and all social media and block his email address.
What is left to you now, is to work out how you are going to begin your journey towards more healthy relationships. I think you need to work on your self worth and perhaps also learn how to interpret red flags better. Be compassionate towards yourself.
I’m sorry for what you have been through and I wish you health and happiness.August 24, 2013 at 1:29 am #41080AdityaParticipant
Hello and really moved by your experience. You must be feeling that all good deeds are reciprocated with bad ones right now. I had a similar kind of situation to tackle a little while ago(I still haven’t tackled it) where I went from being the most important person in her life to an unwanted presence who kept badgering her in just 1 one week. The first thing you need to realize is that you have no business being in a place where your presence is not warranted or appreciated for that matter. Secondly, For you to have developed feeling for him is very normal considering the sheer quantity and quality of the time you spent interacting with him. And him being flirtatious made things even more easy for you to fall from him.
Now lending a shoulder to cry after a break-up or any other loss is the easiest way to get close to a person as he/she is most vulnerable then and naturally you got to get close to him after his break up. But obviously your efforts efforts were in vain as he never had moved on from his ex. It was here that you should’ve have stopped yourself but you couldn’t.
But now what’s done is done and you just have to get over things and you MUST block him from whatever social media you’re using, contact list, whatsapp etc. That’s the only way you can move forward because those archive messages are a major impediment to your path to freedom. Hang out with your pals(Single one preferably), try enjoying small things in life and there is no better healer than time. It’s all a passing phase and remember THIS TOO SHALL PASS and you are bound to meet someone better, someone who appreciates your efforts to make them feel better and will reciprocate your deeds and feelings the right way.
Good luck.August 24, 2013 at 2:28 am #41082AdeParticipant
Hello I am really sorry to read about your pain. Most of us who have experienced the mind numbing hurt of unrequited love will understand your plight and know how terribly you are suffering at the moment. I agree with all the advice you have been given by the other contributors- the only thing that I can offer is that this pain will pass. Slowly, perhaps too slowly, but it will go even though it may persist for 1, 2 or even more years. Slowly you will forget the selfishness of this other who you once considered a friend. He has been no friend to you in truth and you will come to understand that. Please stop beating yourself up and recognise that the process of grieving- for that is what you are doing- is well documented and ends with the final act of acceptance so that you can move on with your life. This man has made a big hole in your heart but, you know, the heart is a wonderful thing. It has powers of regeneration and healing and you will be alright in the end. Look after yourself and be kind to yourself.
AdeAugust 24, 2013 at 11:18 am #41096
Thank you so much for replying.
Of course, you’re right that I need to leave him alone, and I intend to do so. Just before I posted this I was trying to think of something I could say to him that might change his mind, writing and rewriting all kinds of possibilities… And as I tried to view things from his perspective, at some point it became clear to me that there was absolutely nothing I could say to change his mind, and saying anything at all would only make things worse. I won’t contact him again.
I also agree it would be worth seeking therapy. It was quite demeaning the way he told me I “need professional help,” but maybe he was right. At this point I unfortunately don’t have the financial means of seeking such help… But I’ll see what I can do about that.
Oh, he actually did make it quite clear that he didn’t want to be in a relationship. And yet he was perfectly okay with flirting and being intimate with me. Yeah, yeah, I know… I should never have accepted that. I should have respected myself more. But at the time it seemed like I couldn’t help myself. I guess I was confused and didn’t know what I really wanted. All I was aware of was my loneliness and my strong feelings for him.
He claimed he never meant to hurt me, that he had good intentions the whole time. That he genuinely didn’t realize he hadn’t gotten over his ex, and that he did make it perfectly clear to me he didn’t want a serious relationship, after all. I think this is true… I don’t think he’s a bad person and I don’t think he meant to hurt me. I didn’t mean to hurt him either, after all. But still, that doesn’t make what either of us did okay.
I don’t think I would say that things were still “up in the air” between us when he got a new girlfriend. If things were still up in the air, it was all in my head. In his mind, he had made it perfectly clear to me that he was not interested in being with me. And indeed, he HAD told me he thought it was best we just be friends. And then he became distant. And yet, he seemed to feel bad about it at first and tried to make time for me in spite of his busy schedule. And we continued to confide in each other about personal issues when they came up. He continued to ask me favors, etc… But he did stop flirting with me. To be fair, I did ask him to stop… But my asking him to stop had never deterred him before. -__-;; He could have been more clear I guess, but I really should have accepted it was over. If I had just given myself some time to process my feelings without speaking to him for a while, maybe this whole thing could have been resolved peacefully.
I do think he has anger management issues though. When he gets angry, he goes over the top and starts hurling insults that are really cruel and unfair. At one point he called me “a complete joke.” And once when he was ranting to me about his ex girlfriend, he referred to her as “stupid” (which I know she is not). That’s not okay in my opinion, even when there is good reason to be angry.
I definitely need to learn to interpret red flags better. This is the second time I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship and not realized it until it was too late. Maybe my problem is that I never talk to anyone about my relationships… I tend to just deal with everything on my own, until things get really bad and I feel I have to confide in someone. I need to start confiding in people before things get bad.
Thank you once again for your kind, thoughtful reply. I really, really appreciate it.August 24, 2013 at 11:39 am #41097
Thank you for your reply, and I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been through something similar. It’s awful when someone who once doted over you suddenly gives you the cold shoulder, especially when you haven’t done anything to deserve it.
I know it was a huge red flag that he was basically using me as his therapist to help him sort out all the issues with his ex. I know it’s standard dating advice that you shouldn’t talk about your ex, and that anyone who goes on and on about their ex is someone you should stay away from. But I was trying too hard to be noble and compassionate… I thought to myself, “I don’t want to treat this like some kind of game. He obviously needs to talk about this, and if he trusts me with it, how can I not listen?” But I was forgetting to love myself first. I should have immediately written him off as a potential romantic partner and given myself the space I needed to get over my feelings for him. But oh well… You live, you learn, right?
I have blocked him from all my social media accounts, and he has blocked me as well… The only thing that’s not blocked now is email. I guess I should block that as well, but it’s kind of hard to “pull the trigger” and burn the last bridge, you know? Anyway, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to contact me. I think the most important thing is to have him blocked on Facebook so I don’t have to see his status updates and be reminded of him.
You are right— time is the only thing that can make this better. I will try to keep myself busy and spend time with friends.
Thanks again, and the best of luck to you too.August 24, 2013 at 11:43 am #41099
Thank you for your kind words.
I know time heals all things, but I certainly hope it won’t take as long as one or two years to get over this!
I have an unfortunate tendency to beat myself up and blame myself for everything, but the replies here and the words of a few friends are helping me to see that it really wasn’t all my fault.August 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm #41102MattParticipant
I’m sorry for the pain and confusion that you’ve been suffering with, and you’re in my prayers. There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer, and you do not come across as broken. I find the internet to be a mixed blessing in terms of information exchange, because on one hand we can find all sorts of labels for who we are and how we suffer, but on the other we can “diagnose” ourselves and practically give up, just thinking “yep, this is how I am”. What nonsense! There is always a path to joy, and no heart is so convoluted that it cannot find its way with a little love and light.
When I read your words, a few things came to heart. I agree with Buddhist Wife, that with the guy in the story its probably best to just get him out of your life. But, I don’t think that you have addictive patterns, it sounds like you have codependency patterns. Consider picking up a copy of Pia Mellody’s books, they are fantastic.
The nut of the pattern of codependency is that some people don’t feel content with who they are, and don’t take time to self nurture. They look for love outside themselves, and often fall fast and hard into unhealthy relationships and ignore red flags. They also think they can “change them with the power of their dedication”.
Pia Mellody does well to explain the patterns, and how to untangle them. It may really help, not because “you need professional help” but because maybe your journey would be softer and happier if you can learn from people who have looked deeply at the driving force of the patterns and how to overcome them.
Buddha taught that we all have a fundamental ignorance about how to work with our minds and bodies to find balance. That you’ve stumbled along the path is normal, usual and unavoidable. Don’t give in to the critic (internal or external). Your beauty and passion come through in your words, and with a little tweaking here and there I’m sure your path will be much more peaceful, and full of all the love you deserve. Namaste sister, I wish you well!
MattAugust 25, 2013 at 10:25 am #41128
Your message just gave me this warm feeling inside! Thank you so much.
I know it’s dangerous to take labels too seriously, but to a point they can be helpful in learning to understand and accept yourself.
“Love addiction” does sound like a weird concept, but it made a lot of sense to me when I read about it. They actually say it’s a variation of codependency. I have to admit, though, that “codependent” sounds a little nicer than “love addict”…
I will look into Mellody’s books. Thanks for the tip!August 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm #41149MattParticipant
I agree codependent sounds better than love addict, but I also find neither of them to be accurate. Codependency isn’t something you “are”… its just a game you’ve played as you try to find joy. Being a codependent is too permanent, false, unreal. We’re changing all the time, and as we uncover the reasons why we played that game, we stop. No problem. Then its just a matter of upkeep. Namaste!
MattAugust 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm #41150
You’re right. I can’t assume that I just “am” a certain way, somehow implying that I can’t change.
Thank you. 🙂August 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm #41152LydiaParticipant
Matt I love everything you say. Do you live on a cloud?