May 7, 2015 at 4:09 am #76349
I have something I am confused about which I would really love some advice on. I will try to summarise it as succinctly as possible.
I’m a 28 year old woman living in the Middle East doing aid work. I met a guy, lets call him C, in London in 2012. We hit it off instantly and had an amazing connection, which led us into a relationship. I grew as a person when I was with him more than anytime in my life, he was into the Buddhist perspectives on life. We have friends in common as we are from the same hometown. From the time we met, we had 4 months together of bliss, before he was offered a job in Africa. He took it as his heart is in aid work and it was a great opportunity. I was so happy for him and we decided to continue in a long distance relationship for the next 6 months via Skype, which I found so hard. I kept my frustrations at the long distance set up hidden inside, until I went to visit him and exploded my emotions onto him, that I couldn’t be in a long distance relationship anymore, although I loved him etc etc. So we broke up. And then the next year, 2013, involved him coming back to UK twice, both times us getting together and attempting to give it another go, but again, it didn’t work out as distance was still an issue. In Xmas 2013 I decided to let go for good, as it was hurting me to spend so much energy thinking of him when we were both going our separate ways again and I didn’t want a long distance love.
In Jan 2104 I moved abroad to the Middle East and soon began a new relationship with someone else, lets call him A, who was so different to C; younger, less mature, less spiritual, less values aligned with my own; but somehow I felt this something ‘light’ was what I needed since the final break with C.
A and I continued to be together most of 2014. At the end of 2014, C messaged me to say he was moving to the country I was in as he had been offered an amazing job. At first I wondered if he was moving because of me but we didn’t talk on that level. I told him I was with someone but deep down I felt in complete turmoil! I was now with someone who was perfectly fine and who I actually loved, but then this love of my life was moving to the same city as me which I knew would mess with my head. Rather than facing my problems and ending it with A as I should have done, I hid from my feelings, basically ignored C, didn’t see him or welcome him to the country, I just kind of pretended he wasn’t here as I didn’t want to tell A about him (A could have a tendency to be jealous and possessive) and carried on. Until March 2015, when, to cut a long story short, I found out A had been cheating on me with his best girl friend. It came as a huge shock and betrayal but immediately I ended the relationship and have not spoken to him or had contact since, he is out of my life for good.
If anything, all I felt when I ended it with A was relief. Relief that now I could try and get back to my authentic self after not listening to my inner voice for so long. I reached out to C, who by this point had had enough of me being absent from his life, and I tried to explain myself to him and apologise. We met the other night and I looked him in the eye and said I was sorry, that I hadn’t been true to myself recently and that the reason I hadn’t seen him is because I knew my feelings for him would resurface and I wasn’t ready to face that. I said that more than anything I want him in my life and I will do anything to prove this. Then he went on to say that I had disappointed him, and that yes, he had moved here with some expectations that something might happen with us, but even if it didn’t he expected that I would remain a friend to him, which I didn’t. I was absent and he said it made him feel ‘disposable’ and like I can pick him up and drop him at my whim. He said he doesn’t think that I am good for him as he always feels vulnerable with me. I then said where do we go from here – how do I fix this? And he said he wasn’t sure, though I assured him that I wanted to make the efforts to make things right and show him that I am serious about him and us.
Now I am just feeling a bit numb, I am facing the prospect of losing for good the one person I don’t want to leave my life. He is still very standoffish and distant when I suggest we do things, and I know he is still feeling hurt and disappointed. What I want to know is how I should move forward in the best way? Should I step back and give him space or do everything I can to get him to renew his trust and love for me again? I feel so bad that I was so weak when he moved here, I hid from my feelings rather than listening to them and facing them, but I don’t know how I can move forward and forgive myself for this. I should have ended it with A as soon as I knew C was moving here. I feel like I have thrown away something that would have been an amazing partnership, he brings out the best in me and now we are in the same place I truly believed that this could be our chance to thrive.
So what next? Continue in my hopeless romantic and determined quest to make him see that I am sorry and I wont let him down again? My words don’t mean anything to him anymore so it has to be about actions. I was thinking to drop a nice plant by his place this weekend since he mentioned that he wants one for his garden. I also thought of giving him a small book of my favourite quotes as a nice gesture, but a friend warned me this was too heavy.
Ahh!! Has anyone been in this situation before? I am terrified of losing C but I don’t want to drown him at this stage when he is feeling hurt. What is the best way to really SHOW him that I am human, I made a mistake, and it is HIM that I want??
Any advice would be so appreciated. Thank you all,
Helen xMay 7, 2015 at 5:18 am #76353
You have nothing to apologize or feel sorry for. Long distance relationships are hard! They just are! He’s in Africa, you’re in the Middle East, you meet in London, the Skyping, the length of time of the relationship itself, not seeing each other in the flesh… Stop apologizing to C and stop saying you were wrong. That will just indulge his victim-hood and make him pouty.
Frankly, I would have stuck with A too. Maybe say, “Hey, just so you know, my ex/undefined relationship/old friend is here, how do you feel about that?” But if he’s jealous, I can see why you didn’t tell him.
This is what I would do: Every month and a half, invite C to a get-together, talk to him, have lunch, give him a little something. But that’s it! 45 days seems to be a magic timetable. You are expressing interest in a non-stalkery, non-threatening way. Putting feelers our but at the same time giving him some space.
Try it and see what happens!
May 7, 2015 at 5:24 am #76355
- This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Inky.
Thank you for your lovely and insightful response! It really lifted me. And I know you are right about expressing interest but not making him feel choked. I will do just that. I can’t force him into any kind of believing; when love is not freely given is not love after all, right?
Thanks again and have a great day!
HelenMay 8, 2015 at 2:58 pm #76463JoelParticipant
First we must examine you, the relationship, and C.
From reading the text, I can conclude that your feelings for C are very strong. The question is, do you love yourself as much as you love him? Are you looking for something in him that you are unable to give to yourself? Do you love yourself? The only reason why I ask this is because everything can be found within the self. If you are looking for another person to fulfill your expectations, you must reevaluate where you are standing. Look in the “love and relationships” section, under “BLOG.” There you should be able to find articles that can help you understand where you are at.
Now let’s move to the situation.
In life, we all need to learn certain lessons and those lessons never go away until they are fulfilled. With this said, look at the last 5 romantic relationships you have had, write down what was good about these relationships. Then write what was bad and finally, for each write the reasons that led to separation. I can assure you that there is a cycle and it keeps repeating itself, and if it is not repeating itself, then the situation might have already served it’s purpose. Once we learn the lesson we have to keep moving, there is so much more to be learned in life, getting stuck is simply unfavorable.
Now let’s move to C.
Is he playing the victim? Are you giving him too much power? Now that he knows you are interested, is he playing hard to get? I will say this, once you meet that person that changes your life, their eyes are unmistakable. The eyes are the gateway to the soul. Make sure that you are in communication with him and over a period of time assess his actions. Do they seem genuine? What do you feel? Also, don’t reach out to him every week, do it say, once a month. But, I will tell you this, your intuition is the most powerful tool you have. Listen to it. Also learn to discern the messages. You can use your intuition, but how do you differentiate between a “Yes” or a “No”? One thing you could do is to be aware of your feelings as much as possible. What happens when you see a lost baby reunited with his mother, how do you feel, what do you feel? What about when you see terrible news on TV? Differentiate these feelings. All the advice in the world, at this stage cannot help you. I say this because we are all different and everyone experiences things on different energetic levels. I hope I have helped.
SanchezJune 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm #77947
Better late than never, thank you so much for your words of wisdom, they helped me to see real clarity. The question around loving myself, its a tough one, I feel that I do more than I ever have before in life, but still maybe not enough. it was also interesting to reflect on past relationships and notice a pattern – the pattern is that I gave my everything to each one of them but they all failed (usually due to their infidelity). I began to notice that every guy I had ever been with ended the relationship by saying along the lines of ‘Im so sorry Helen, but thank you for everything you are amazing and deserve better’. All bar one, Craig. I felt that in fact I was the one running ot him to say sorry/thank you whenever we had a bump in the road. Maybe this reflects a type of infatuation rather than real love, it is something I am still working out.
As for the Craig situation, I did as advised, took a step back but still reached out to him now and again. It became apparent that he didn’t really want to hang out or spend time with me, often he would make an excuse like he had to work all weekend, but then I hear that he had a pool day on one of the weekend days. Or he would simply not answer my suggestion of meeting up when I wrote it as part of a bigger message. It came to a head last weekend when I said we should get together before he goes away for a few weeks, and again he squirmed out of it and said he was busy for the whole weekend. I then, with nothing to lose, straight out asked him why he seemed to be avoiding me, as I was making efforts but it seemed like he didn’t want to see me, and I would just ask for his honesty on this one. He replied saying sorry it wasn’t intentional he does want to see me but ‘romantically…I just don’t think I have the energy or trust for that after our most recent history. Lets work on being friends’. Which I guess made sense after what happened, but I just felt a sense of sadness and slight anger because actually, I hadn’t really done anything wrong as Inky mentioned, and I felt that for my own sense of closure I had to reply to tell him my side, so I wrote:
Hey again. Thanks for your honesty. I totally understand, it’s been on and off for a while now and I don’t think that’s healthy for either of us. Since we’re on this discussion, there’s a few things I want you to know.
The last few weeks I’ve been making an effort to be kind to myself and understand my motivations for taking a step back from you earlier this year. Put simply I did not want to break my loyalty to my partner. Because I still had feelings for you I couldn’t risk being disloyal which I felt seeing you would lead to, especially since we both know we can’t be just friends. Combine that with having a really difficult few weeks personally and professionally, I made what was the ‘right’ choice for me considering the state of mind I was in at the time.
I can’t let myself feel ashamed by what happened as I know my intentions were pure and I know my feelings for you were real. I just had to work out how to sensitively let this other person go, which involved not seeing you until it was done. Yes, it took longer than I wanted but I couldn’t anticipate what would knock me down emotionally during that time, and the much needed support I would receive from him. There’s actually a lot you don’t know that I think would soften the sense of betrayal you felt.
Without making a direct comparison, remember on our yurt trip when I found out you’d been messaging an ex quite explicitly, at a time I thought we were together? That hurt me, it disappointed me, it eroded away my trust. But I realised that I couldn’t judge you based on your actions at face value, I had to go deeper and think about what was driving your actions; insecurities and fears we didn’t talk about. Just as my lack of contact with you earlier this year was because I felt stressed at the thought of making a complicated situation even more difficult.
I’m not meaning to turn the tables in saying all this but I’d just like you to see it from my view too. Do you have more than friend feelings feelings for me? If so I don’t think we should let a blip like this ruin a chance for a fresh start with everything open and on the table. But since I don’t think you’ll see me in the same light again, I’m happy to work on being friends after some time. I can’t force you into any kind of believing, nor will I try to prove my worthiness if its not felt by you freely. I’m at peace with that and I hope you are too.
AND…no response. I don’t know why, maybe it was too much for him to take, but in a strange way it helped me to draw a line under everything, because I know that my intentions were always good and that I did have strong feelings for him, the circumstances just meant that it was a difficult time for me to act on them.
What do you think? Why would he not reply, in the most likely scenario? Shall I just leave it now completely? His birthday is on Friday and I had bought him a gift (a book and his favourite delicacy) but I am not sure if its best to contact him again and ask if he wants me to give it to him. Is now the time to let go?
Thank you for helping me out with this, sometimes you just need an extra bit of advice before you can confidently stride forward with life.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you!
HelenJune 10, 2015 at 10:39 pm #78058
Ok so he replied… “Sorry for the late reply. I just don’t think it’s that easy. We’re not the same people we knew each other as. You’re not the way I knew you. Something was lost in that change and the same connection just isn’t there anymore.”
These words really upset me, I feel like he always finds a way to twist the knife in and make me feel guilty. He is insinuating that I changed for the worse over the time we were apart and with other people, when really I just feel like the same old Helen deep down inside, but a little stronger as a person with more knowledge of the world. These words make me feel like I’ve stepped backwards and become someone he doesn’t even want anything to do with, which really hurts.
How can I overcome this guilt which he is placing on me? And should I now step back and keep a quiet silence or reply once again defending myself? A friend once said that he sounds like an emotional manipulator as he makes me feel guilty about things when I shouldn’t necessarily feel that way. Part of me wants to reply and make him reflect on HIS flaws as he always maintains an air of moral superiority whatever the situation.
Or, perhaps I am just too emotional and reading into this too much and its actually a fine harmless message trying to tell me ITS OVER FOR GOOD. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.
Helen xxJune 11, 2015 at 5:18 am #78065
You write back, “I am the same person I’ve always been. There was no change. The loss of connection is something you should examine within yourself. Craig, don’t feel you have to reply. You made the right decision for both of us.”
He cannot emotionally manipulate out of that one. Maybe several years from now you two can reconnect, but let him have this life lesson. Again, you did nothing wrong. Nothing.
InkyJune 11, 2015 at 6:12 am #78067
Thanks @Inky 🙂 that made me feel better! I love the reply you phrased, it is strong and to the point, but I’m still mulling over whether I should reply at all or just walk away after what he said and completely cut off. I don’t want it to become a war of words. But I fear if I don’t reply that he may think that I feel guilty about ‘changing’ so am retreating, when I actually don’t feel that way, I just feel angry he has placed a huge burden of blame on me!
Thank you again, I hope one day I can return the favour for you.
HelenJune 11, 2015 at 7:03 am #78069
How about “I haven’t changed. I’m the same person I’ve always been. I wish you all the best.”
I do admit I’m a stickler for the last word. So if someone says I’m (whatever) I always say (actually I’m this). I do this until they say, “OK, fine” and don’t make it about me anymore (basically when they stop saying/implying “you”).
June 11, 2015 at 12:13 pm #78094KatParticipant
- This reply was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by Inky.
Hello Helen. I can tell from reading what you wrote to C that you try your best to be kind, approachable, and fair. Perhaps C is a great guy, and for whatever reason he is very hurt right now and cannot try out a relationship when he is wounded, even if it is with someone so clearly as wonderful as you. This is a good opportunity for you to cultivate your compassion and ability to forgive and let go. No one is perfect, and we are all a product of various factors that accumulated during our lifetimes. His hurt however misplaced is very real for him. My advice is to approach him with only compassion and let him go gently. Only pursue the friendship right now if it doesn’t have the ability to reopen healing wounds for you. Maybe years from now he will look back on how you treated him and call on you to be a friend. Maybe he won’t, but it doesn’t matter, because you did what was right for both of you. You could say that you understand right now both your wounds are too fresh for pursuing anything and you do not want to cause anymore suffering. Bid him love, apologies, and forgiveness. I know it’s incredibly hard to walk away from someone you love so dearly, I am familiar with the hole it can leave in you. But it is worse to break your own heart by disrespecting yourself. It sounds like he is unwilling to reciprocate your feelings, don’t hurt yourself by trying to get something he is unwilling to give. Please do what is right for you Helen, you’ll do no one good if you are not good to yourself. These are my humble thoughts on your situation, I hope I have helped some and have not come across as preachy! Much love!June 15, 2015 at 2:28 am #78238
@Inky I ended up sending the message and felt like a huge weight was lifted. He didn’t reply initially but a couple of days after just sent me a normal kid of friendly chatty messages and has been in contact more these last few days than at all the last few months. Talk about confusing?!?!
@Kat Thank you for your wise, lovely (by no means ‘preachy’) words shared above! I completely align with everything you say. As I mention in the lines above, since he started messaging me more on a friendship level, in my head I am getting carried away and reigniting old hopes like maybe he’s changed his mind and appreciated me standing up for myself when he said I’d changed. Who knows. Anyway I think you are right, it is healthier for us not to be in touch right now as it is all quite raw and if it continues I fear I may be left with more pain – springing from unrequited feelings and misplaced hopes from my side. I wonder if I should tell this to him and say that from my side I just need some time to step back and reduce the contact so I can heal and not create expectations in my head, and I hope he respects that?
Thank you again for both of your input into this, it’s so touching to know that other people on another side of the world care enough to respond to my (non!) problem!
HelenJune 15, 2015 at 5:14 am #78244
Well, he realized that you are standing in a position of being right and won’t back down. You also released him, putting the ball back in his court if he ever wants contact again. And it worked! This is great!!
Just don’t get too carried away. Like, return one text a day, you know? It’s so easy to “lose” ourselves through technology, but it is a poor substitute for face to face. And that said, don’t re-enter into a relationship with him right away either!June 16, 2015 at 7:48 am #78319
Thanks @Inky! Contact faded again the last couple of days, nothing. So, for self preservation, I think I need to not get carried away on this and really work on letting go. I run a mile with every inch he gives, and I just don’t think that’s healthy or good for me and the kind of person I am. I really needed this time of reflection and feedback from wise and experienced souls like yourself to muster the strength to say out loud, and mean, that this individual is not right or good for me and I need to let it go.
Small steps but I feel like I am on the right track now! Thank you again! xxxx