Should i cut off contact, or should I continue seeing him occasionally?
November 6, 2014 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm not getting what I want, which is to be in a relationship with him. But I would rather see him occasionally from time to time, rather than not at all. Is this a terrible idea, and if so then how come?

I've been seeing someone for a few months, but we are not in a relationship. He doesn't exactly treat me very well, he cancels last minute all the time. However the times we do spend together are wonderful and he does treat me well then. I've told him I love him (he never has said the same but apparently he doesn't really feel deeply), I listen to him, appreciate the things he does for me, never cancel on him. I like him as a person, and I don't think he means to hurt me. He is sort of depressed and over worked, so is sometimes too tired to see me. I think that even the busiest people see the ones they care about, but he hides away from people and would rather be alone. But sometimes I feel rubbish when he doesn't tell me nice things about me, or try to see me more often. I was thinking of either ending contact completely, or continue seeing him like this until I find someone who appreciates me. I'd much rather be with him than anyone else, and I just want to shake him and make him realise what he has. Other men have been asking me out but we just don't connect on the same level as with this guy. I tried to end things a while ago and he called immediately saying that he has been incredibly busy with work and health issues. He seemed upset that I wanted to end things, and said that maybe soon we can both show each other our feelings towards one another. That confused me because I thought I was showing him how I felt, but he couldn't answer that part.
My friends tell me to move on, that my pride has completely gone, but I don't understand why? Why is it so bad to continue to see him? I thought if i showed to him that I'm still here for him that he would realise that he's worthy of love, as he has been pretty unloved his whole life. Also to me, love is more important than my pride, but maybe I'm just blind right now. So why is it better to DTMFA than to see him occasionally, which everyone is telling me to do?
posted by akita to Human Relations (46 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Of course he was upset you wanted to end things! He got what he wanted without having to extert any thought or effort or consideration of you as a human being. How will you ever find someone who doesn't treat you like a doormat if you don't free up your mind and heart? You deserve more than someone's scraps.
posted by cecic at 12:32 PM on November 6, 2014 [16 favorites]

I thought if i showed to him that I'm still here for him that he would realise that he's worthy of love, as he has been pretty unloved his whole life.

It is a terrible idea to try to be the one to fix someone, especially when they have not asked you to do so. You did not cause his problems and you cannot fix them. He is not going to magically turn into the person you want him to be because you loved him hard enough.

Also to me, love is more important than my pride, but maybe I'm just blind right now.

Well, you're letting him erode your pride, and he doesn't love you, so it doesn't really matter which of the two is more important to you, since you don't have either.

Why is it so bad to continue to see him?

Look. There's something you want out of this relationship: you want him to feel the same way you do. You want him to love you, and you want him to treat you well even when you're not in the same room. This is not something that is going to happen. You are never going to get what you want out of this guy.

The longer you're with him, the more attached to him you're going to feel. You may be thinking you can avoid that, but please believe me when I say you cannot plan on the heart. So you will be more attached to him and he will not change. You will have an extremely hard time meeting other people to date because, whether you admit it or not, you're stuck on this guy.

So why is it better to DTMFA than to see him occasionally, which everyone is telling me to do?

Everyone is telling you to do this because they're your friends, because they care about you, and because they are not blinkered by love when they look at this guy and your relationship with him.

Somewhere out there, there's someone who will treat you nice, who will say nice things about you and who will make an effort to see you. This is not that person. You cannot let that person into your life while you're hung up on this guy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:40 PM on November 6, 2014 [30 favorites]

This guy is not into you. Repeat, this guy is not into you. Is not, and never will be. You aren't going to fix him. No amount of love and affection on your part is going to make him into the man you want him to be.

I have been down this road and it all comes down to: Why waste your time and energy on someone who doesn't treat you well and make you feel special? I'm at the point in my life where anything less than "Hell yes I want to be with you. Let's do this!" ain't gonna cut it. I've said it here before. Love and affection is the best thing in the world, but only when it is given freely, not when you have to beg for it.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:41 PM on November 6, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Hi, this is basically the reason I finally walked away from someone a couple weeks ago.

Let me pull out a couple things you said:

My friends tell me to move on, that my pride has completely gone, but I don't understand why? Why is it so bad to continue to see him?

The reason why it's bad is because you also say this:

I think that even the busiest people see the ones they care about, but he hides away from people and would rather be alone.
sometimes I feel rubbish when he doesn't tell me nice things about me, or try to see me more often.
He doesn't exactly treat me very well, he cancels last minute all the time.

The reason why it's bad to keep giving this guy access to you is because he's not making any effort to try to contact you, which is a sign he doesn't actually care about you; he doesn't treat you well; he cancels on you at the last minute; and he makes you feel like rubbish.

Maybe he will come to his senses someday and realize that you were a great girlfriend and he should have tried treating you better. But you don't necessarily have to be accessible when he realizes that. It's okay for you to be the one that got away for a change.

If you still feel uneasy pulling the plug, you can do what I did - let him know that well, if he ever wants to contact you, he knows where to find you, but that the responsibility for keeping in touch is going to be entirely his from now on. Make him bear all that responsiblity. Don't be the one to always set up dates; let him be the one to do that. Don't be the one to call to keep in contact - let him be the one to do that. And you'll go on about your life, and if he ever does call one day and you're free, great. But if instead - as I predict - you'll have by then found someone else, then....that will be his loss.

This kind of being patient while you're waiting for him to get his shit together is not doing you any favors, though. You say that "I'm okay with just seeing him occasionally,"'re trying to make it happen more than occasionally, and that's making you feel bad. So - try that kind of writing him off and look for someone who does actually want to be with you more.

And listen - I hear you on the "but i don't click with anyone else as much as I did with him." Same thing with me and the guy in my case (search my comment history from this year for references to a guy I called "Object d'schmoop"). But while that kind of chemistry is indeed great, if he's not also acting like he wants to share that chemistry with you, then...that kind of doesn't matter. There's actually a great line from this great song I found that summed up how I finally felt about him: "yeah, you've got the good stuff, but that don't last - I just can't rely on you."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2014 [12 favorites]

I'd much rather be with him than anyone else
Have you met all the other people you could possibly be with?

and I just want to shake him and make him realise what he has.

Oh, but he knows that. He has someone who is always there for him, and who he doesn't have to treat well, and who strokes his ego. He gets to do to you whatever he wants.

You are in a relationship. Just not in a good one. It's toxic, not nurturing.
He will only make you smaller and more insecure, the longer you stay with him. That is why it's better to dump him and allow yourself to see what else is out there in the world.

You deserved to be loved and not taken for granted. This guy will never do either.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

The reason it's not good to keep seeing him is that it keeps the illusion alive to you that this will have a happy ending. You keep stringing yourself along. He's not giving you what you want and you're staying around just in case he becomes someone different who is capable of doing what you need.

Life is filled with people who are "okay, but for..." and this guy would be fine to hang out with...if you didn't have feelings for him that he really doesn't reciprocate. If he wanted you, he'd find a way to prioritize respect you enough not to stand you up.

You gotta move on.
posted by inturnaround at 12:43 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd much rather be with him than anyone else, and I just want to shake him and make him realise what he has.

Yeah this doesn't really work. Say what you want and be prepared to listen to his answer - don't invest a lot of time to end up with you resenting him for not seeing how great you are for him, and him resenting you for pushing him into a relationship he doesn't really want. You want to be with someone who is genuinely, efortlessly excited to be with you.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

" ...I don't think he means to hurt me. He is sort of depressed and over worked, so is sometimes too tired to see me."

Rule #1: Do not make or accept excuses about why someone you are dating is treating you like shit. Ever.

There is no Rule #2.

Bottom Line: He treats you like shit.

If you are OK with this, allow him to keep treating you poorly. This is all he will ever do, the best he will ever be.

If you want to be treated with Love, Kindness, and Respect...

Dump this guy and find someone who comes with Love, Kindness, and Respect as a core value they willingly and generously share with you.
posted by jbenben at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2014 [10 favorites]

So why is it better to DTMFA than to see him occasionally, which everyone is telling me to do?

There's really a simple answer to this: Because you're wasting time with him that could be better spent trying to meet someone who really loves you. You're not going to find someone worth your time while you're mooning over this guy.
posted by empath at 12:48 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

"He would realise he's worthy if love..."

That's what therapists are for.
On preview, what FamousMonster says. He doesn't get a free asshole pass because he struggles with depression.

He's just not that into you. If he were he'd be treating you better and in therapy.

It's bad because any time you spend with him is time you're not out with your friends meeting someone awesome.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:49 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I stopped reading at "he doesn't exactly treat me very well."

Life is too short to waste with people who don't treat you well.

Life is too short to waste with people who know you're in love with them, and they don't even try to make you feel better when you're down.

I'm in a casual non-relationship myself, and I think those can be valid and positive and tend to question a lot of the assumptions we tend to make about women and relationships and the sort of "why buy the cow" logic that tends to crop up in these discussions. However, there's a huge difference between "we both know this relationship isn't ever going to be serious" and "I'm in love with him and he couldn't care less about me."

Get out of there, by going no contact if necessary. You deserve so much better.
posted by Sara C. at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2014 [9 favorites]

He doesn't exactly treat me very well, he cancels last minute all the time
he hides away.... and would rather be alone
I feel rubbish when he doesn't tell me nice things about me, or try to see me very often

He doesn't actually care about you: you're just a booty call, nothing more than a sex doll he can use at will or ignore as he pleases.

I tried to end things and he called immediately

Of course he called immediately: his nice convenient (to him, and him alone) setup was at risk!

Why is it so bad to continue to see him?

Because he treats you like dirt, and doesn't really give a damn about you as a person. Please DTMFA.
posted by easily confused at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

What do you want? Love. For someone to tell you nice things about you. Someone who wants to be with you often. Someone who listens. Someone who lets you in. Love!

This is not it. Hey, maybe he could be it if he got his act together and liked you back enough to give you those simple things above. And you can tell him that if you want. But in the meantime, he's hurting you by treating you like rubbish and you're hurting yourself by actively pursuing the Opposite of what you want.

Your friends are telling you to DTMFA because they want you to be treated like the beloved treasure you are. Go find that.
posted by ldthomps at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Let me put this another way....

You love him deeply, right? OK. So that's established.

And we can all agree that Hurting Other People is a Bad Thing, right? Good. Glad to see we agree.

Well. By continuing to see him, you are allowing him to use you and hurt you - we've already established this is a Bad Thing.

If you love him, you will stop him from doing a Bad Thing by ending his access to you. If you love him, you have to get over him, you have to stop being his victim.

It really is this simple.

Furthermore, by allowing him to hurt you, you are actively choosing to hurt yourself. This is also a Bad Thing, and for your own good karma and wellbeing, you need to end this toxic relationship.

PS - this feeling you have is not really love. Love doesn't hurt like this. I know the feelings you have for this guy are terribly strong and compelling, but it is sorta a reverse image of love. You can still use your empathy and compassion for this man to end the relationship. Helping him hurt you is not a loving act. Removing his ability to victimize you by ending the relationship IS a loving act.

I hope this helped.
posted by jbenben at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2014 [8 favorites]

Hi, me.

If only I could go back 15 years and tell me the following:
He is never going to 'come around'.
He is never going to suddenly see you differently.
He is never going to give you what you want from him.
He is never going to stop walking all over you.
He is never going to realize everything you do for him and be grateful to have you.

It is never going to happen. The movies are a lie.

Don't be like me.
Don't ignore everyone telling you now to not waste more of your time on him.
Don't think to yourself, "They just don't understand how GOOD we are together (when he deigns to spend time with me)!"
Don't wake up ten years later wondering why you didn't walk away.

You are worthy and deserving of the best love possible, not the scraps some self-centered jackass throws you to keep you coming back for more.

Love yourself enough to take this to heart and make the break.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2014 [23 favorites]

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”
― Maya Angelou

"The beginning of a relationship? That is the best your relationship will ever be. If there are things you don't like then, they're not gonna change, they're only going to get worse."
-- My mother
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2014 [14 favorites]

I thought if i showed to him that I'm still here for him that he would realize that he's worthy of love

This won't make him realize that YOU are worthy of love.

Everyone is worthy of love. If you want to show someone they are worthy of love, there are, as they the saying goes, plenty of fish in the sea.
posted by yohko at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

So why is it better to DTMFA than to see him occasionally
Because your plan to "continue seeing him like this until I find someone who appreciates me" is a non-starter.

Here's the thing: most people can only maintain 'focus' on one Love Object at a time. You said it yourself: "Other men have been asking me out but we just don't connect on the same level." And you never will, while you're focused on this guy.

Your friends are telling you to ditch this guy because a) they are your friends and b) they don't want to see you waste your life pining after this guy. And, frankly, probably c) they're tired of hearing about it.
posted by doctor tough love at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

So why is it better to DTMFA than to see him occasionally, which everyone is telling me to do?

It is better to DTMFA because you won't find the love of your life if your energy is being diverted to this guy. You won't have a full heart to give your new guy because some part of you will be wrapped up in the old guy. The new guy will sense this and move along. You'll lose opportunities.

on preview: what doctor tough love said
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:20 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Other men have been asking me out but we just don't connect on the same level as with this guy.

OP, I would like to gently suggest that maybe this is not a coincidence. Maybe the fact that this particular guy is treating you badly and is unavailable to you, is part of the reason that you want him above anyone else - including guys who are interested and available.


Why is it so bad to continue to see him?

Because this is an unhealthy pattern and here is a chance to nip it in the bud and maybe be single for awhile and look at where that pattern came from and work on changing it.

I wish you the best!
posted by reshet at 1:28 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

but we are not in a relationship. He doesn't exactly treat me very well

You answered your own question here. Do you want to be treated well, or not?

That is the question you should be answering. Also, this:

continue seeing him like this until I find someone who appreciates me

Is a pretty crummy way to treat people. How would you feel if someone were just using you as a placeholder until something better came along? Pretty awful, yeah?

The bottom line is this guy has priorities in his life other than you, while you want to be at the top of that list. Nothing you can do will change that at this point. So, use Miko's breakup script with details adjusted for your situation and move on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:34 PM on November 6, 2014

If it were me, and it is not, I might continue to see him on my terms while actively looking for another alternative (and I would be honest with him that was what I was doing and why -- "I want/need x. You are not delivering. I am not putting my life on hold for this crap. If you want to keep me, you can grow up and start delivering what I need. And if all you have is excuses, hey, we can bump pelvises occasionally while I look for someone more available. Mmmkay? Don't like it? You know where the door is."). Other men are asking you out. Are you asking them out? It doesn't sound like you are.

I mean, you know, it's nice to have a semi-guaranteed means to not starve to death sexually and emotionally while looking for love elsewhere (when this is so obviously Not It). But if you are unable to play the field while seeing him because you want him to feel loved and you have all these ideals and blah blah blah blah, yeah, DTMFA.
posted by Michele in California at 1:34 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Reading your question again, I find that you have answered your own question in the very first sentence:

I'm not getting what I want

There you have it. You are not getting what you want. And you know what: you get to want what you want.
Isn't that all the answer you need?

End it because you are not getting what you want. Go out and try to get what you want.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

It sounds to me like this relationship, or "relationship," is toxic for you in ways that you will only appreciate when you can see it from the outside. FWB or dead-end dating can be fine but usually there is an upside, like that you don't have the problems associated with serious relationships that may not be working out. This is like the worst of both worlds.
posted by BibiRose at 2:08 PM on November 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

The "simple" question you should be asking yourself is:

Am I happy?

Not "will I be happy?" or "should I be happy with what I have?" or "is this the maximum happiness I can hope for?" or anything else, but just if you are happy. No one is happy in any relationship all of the time, but most good relationships generally make each member of the couple happy most of the time.

No one other than you is allowed to tell you what does or should make you happy. That said, from what you've said, it sure doesn't sound like you're happy.

Yes. I recognize that answering this "simple" question is incredibly hard and complex, but sometimes trying to boil down hugely complex issues into a simple question can really help us.
posted by Betelgeuse at 2:14 PM on November 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm so sorry you're in this situation. I've been in a similiar one and it really, really sucks. The best advice I have since found is from Maya Angelou:

'When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.'

You won't get over him if you keep seeing him and he will continue to get what he wants (your attention) without making any committment to you or treating you well. You deserve better than that. Be prepared that, if you cut off contact with him he might suddenly show an interest because he's worried he's going to lose your attention. He might send out 'fishing' texts and calls to keep you interested.

I know it feels like you're in love with him, but love is so much better when it's fulfilled. And I don't think you can find that, or even be happy on your own, while you're hung up on this guy.

Good luck! It does get better!
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 3:08 PM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

You're being used, and you're not only allowing him to do it, you're asking him to!
It's past time to walk. You can't find a positive relationship when you're already involved in a negative one. Remove yourself, heal yourself, and then seek a healthy relationship.
posted by stormyteal at 4:51 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lordy, I've been with one too many of these types. Deep down they cannot love. You are a game to him-- at best, a backup plan. If you end it he will act like a big baby because you are taking his toy away. If you treat him like a prince he will walk all over you. There is no winning.

Unfortunately, when you fall in love with them it takes a long time to realize how toxic they are. And it really takes falling out of love with them to end it. But then weirdly enough, they get a little obsessed with you. It's just a game they lost. Try to remember how he treats you wrong. It may feel like love but its not. You deserve real love.
posted by dulce_ex_machina at 5:19 PM on November 6, 2014 [5 favorites]

I've been in this situation many times. What I think most answers miss is that we are programmed, as women, to spend a significant amount of time on finding and pleasing men. Without this guy, you won't have anyone to please, and the finding part is not as satisfying, and not guaranteed to be successful as staying with this guy and trying to get him to come around.

I think it's important to think about what your opportunity cost is for spending time with this guy. It's not that you won't find the love of your life, because there's really nothing you can do to make that happen or not happen. Since there are no actions you can take either way, it's not a cost of staying with him.

What is a cost is the time you would have spent doing EVERYTHING else in the world: making money, saving the whales, curing cancer, learning to dance, traveling to Antarctica, or just watching a TV show you like and spending the day in the park.

As women, we are socialized to find a man to please, so all of those great things seem less important than that. This is not your fault; it's just how we're all raised.

The fact is, that is a lie. It's more important to explore this world and your own nature than to please any man. You will (almost certainly) find someone to love who loves you, over the course of your lifetime. What may not happen, is that any particular guy will be the right one. And this guy, by his own actions, will NEVER be the right one.

IMO, it's not about "keeping your pride" or "settling for scraps" because I don't think your pride is relevant to what's going on, and sometimes you're busy too and don't see them as scraps. The issue is: what else could you be doing with your precious time on earth other than spend it with this guy? If the answer is: be lonely and sad and alone, then that's not a good enough answer.
posted by 3491again at 6:52 PM on November 6, 2014 [8 favorites]

I was you for 7 months last year. He took everything I had to give and gave very little back. Sometimes he was downright insulting and callous, and I knew in my gut I was selling myself terribly short. I broke it off with him, multiple times, until I finally changed my phone number and he couldn't text me anymore to lure me back in. I've been single since then, though I've gone out with a few guys. 8 days ago, after many months of silence, he emailed me to say, "Hello, how have you been?" but I did not reply.

To be honest, that guy was the best chemistry I'd ever had with someone, by miles. That's partly why I took such crap from him. There was something he was giving me (his "splendid", "beautiful", "charming" presence) and I wanted a little piece of what he had and represented. He had something I felt I lacked. I could never be exactly like him, of course, but I am working on being more of what he represented to me: "sophisticated", "attractive", "worldly", "person of action"... I think it's helping me love and cherish myself (a kind of inoculation against being susceptible to overly falling for someone like him again).

I may never feel that powerful instant chemistry with someone else again. I sometimes wonder if the intensity of my attraction is directly related to how bad they are for me, and how impossible the relationship/love is going to be.

But then again, who knows, really!

All I know is that I was damn lucky to have known that feeling while it was good. I'm also damn lucky I got away from the bad. So... being an optimist, I'm hoping I'll find some decent middle ground where there is something of that strong attraction but also trigger no misgivings or feelings of being treated poorly (which I am so much better now at recognizing). I think there is hope, just not with that guy. :)

Good luck!
posted by Sa Dec at 7:36 PM on November 6, 2014 [6 favorites]

And really... take a good look around you... there are hot AND good guys out there. One does not necessarily exclude the other.
posted by Sa Dec at 7:43 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

His behavior is telling you that he doesn't care deeply about you. You deserve so much more.
posted by theora55 at 8:34 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

The reason you should cut off contact is that he is, for you at this moment, like a drug that you are addicted to. As with other addictions, you can wean yourself off him, but this requires a certain amount of time away. Every time you get together with him, it is like taking a small hit of the drug, and to break fee of it, you have to reset the clock and begin the detox period again.

OK, the analogy is not perfect, but I, and every person who has ever been in similar circumstances will tell you that physical distance can help you with psychological distance. And you need to psychologically distance yourself from this person because he does not, by your own lights, treat you well.

I don't think this situation is best thought of as one where you risk losing your pride. This is to romanticize what you describe (I can hear Sade singing, "love is stronger than pride"), and pride probably isn't so important. However, I do think you risk losing your self-respect if you continue on this path, and that's a real problem.
posted by girl flaneur at 11:56 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

OP, I lived with this guy for 5 years. I believed we were in a serious LTR moving towards marriage. Except he resented me for "trapping" him into a relationship he "didn't" want to be in (then why did he ask me out?!?), and I resented him for not being the man he said he was or would be. Dr. Dracator and everyone else above is right, so are your friends. This guy is bad news and if you're so inclined, Carrie Underwood's Cowboy Casanova pretty much sums it up. You can't make someone love you, and you can't make them change. At some point, you realize you truly deserve better. And you can give that to yourself as well as find it with someone else. This guy may be as great as you say he is, but he's not great for you or to you. Doesn't that give you your answer? It took me 7 years and two failed relationships to learn this. There is an amazing person out there who will treat you how you deserve, the beauty of it is that you get to define what that means, but you have to let him find you.
posted by lunastellasol at 2:55 AM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for the answers everyone. He just called and asked to see me, but said he was busy Friday, Saturday night to see a friend he hasnt seen in a while (we havent seen each other in 7 weeks), and then busy also on Sunday. So he suggested a quick lunch on Saturday. I said yes, then called him back straight away and said that actually I didn't want to because it didn't seem like he was into spending time with me much. He said he wouldn't have called if he didn't want to see me but 'whatever it was my decision', then said bye, and now I feel awful and sick to my stomach and angry.
posted by akita at 4:12 AM on November 7, 2014

A lot of people are saying it really well and you're not going to listen to me, but I really hope you do. Like really. It will save you mountains of heartache in the future. So please, please listen.

Yes. You're being blind. I'm sorry. I've been there. It sucks to be in unrequited love, it sucks to be rejected--I've been where you are, and for the same reasons, and it's a terrible crappy road to tread with no happy ending. I'm so so sorry.

- I also met a guy who I connected with in ways I hadn't connected with before, on an intellectual and spiritual level. I felt he was 'different' and special, and he immediately impressed me.
- As we got to know each other, I recognized my feelings early on and let him know.
- He was happy and flattered about them.
- He reassured me about those feelings and said that while he didn't reciprocate, yet, (he was getting over a previous relationship), I was amazing and a fool to think he couldn't develop those feelings for me in time.
- Every time I pulled away or had a DTR talk, he made an excuse (he wasn't a very connected person, the distance was hard, he was busy with work, he was stressed)
- He repeated the same things when I questioned his absences
-He told me he loved me a lot, even though he couldn't justifiably said he 'loved' me (yet).
- Any time I threatened to leave for good-- he doubled down his efforts to keep me there or placate me by promising me things, like being more attentive.
- I was asked out by three guys in the interim, but I felt most connected to him and so they barely registered to me.
- He had been abandoned a lot and I felt I owed him a better person, someone who would stick by him and love him and not hurt him.
- He told me I was the only one that understood him, a lot.
- I felt he was special and it would be difficult to find someone amazing like him, so it made it difficult to even look elsewhere.

This went on for at least a year and a half, give or take. I kept distancing myself, and coming back when he needed me.

As a consequence of our interactions, I started to second guess myself a lot. I was scared he'd find someone and it gave me a lot of anxiety, which I took out on him. I was insecure all the time. I got upset at him a lot. We argued. I ranted. I cried a lot. When he made comments about women's looks, I held myself up to that standard. I felt he wanted someone more conventional and could never love me. I started to second guess myself a lot. I started to get depressed. I said things I'd regret. He'd do things like casually mention women who were hitting on him, and hurting my feelings. When I'd mention this was bothering me, he'd make an excuse and act like it was on me or my problem and that I was too insecure. I was almost always sad, and I sad that he wasn't interacting with me on the same level I wanted him to.

When I was in his presence, it felt 'right' to me-- it felt perfect. I wanted to bug him all the time. I felt really happy when in his presence. Even when I was trying to emotionally keep my distance, he'd suck me in again.

It also eroded my pride. I also felt terrible when he wouldn't tell me the things I longed to hear.

It got to the point where I was really deeply unhappy, and at least in my case, a lot of it had to do with my looks-- I felt like I picked up on this weird subconscious vibe from him, whereby he longed for someone more conventional, or that he somehow elevated himself above me on a physical level. I didn't think he was more attractive than me, but he was more conventional and I was not, and I felt that difference between us very acutely.

It did a gigantic number on my self esteem, and it's something that continues deep down even months later, somewhat.

You may ask yourself what you stand to lose by just sitting there loving someone-- and it doesn't matter if he can't reciprocate yet, and I thought the same, but the truth is that it can give you lasting psychological damage, even if you think you're okay, now.

I thought if I was a better person, even more attentive, more attractive, or smarter-- or took care of myself more, or strive more, looked more perfect, less needy, was more what he wanted physically or mentally, that he'd suddenly magically feel I was worth fighting for and want me. I thought if I showed him how much I loved him and being with him, he'd realize I was special. I wondered how I could love someone so much, have SO much fun when we were together, 'get' them on a fundamental level, and have them not feel the same way. Surely he felt it too?

He didn't.

He gave me just enough to make me think he might, but the truth is, if he did, he just would have gone for it.

Despite it all, I really did love him, with my whole heart, and I don't regret that love, really, or feeling it. Don't feel bad that you took a chance. Ultimately it's pretty brave to get out there and tell someone how you feel.

I also wanted to show him he was worthy of that love, no matter what.

He wasn't, though.

The problem was, he wouldn't pull the cord, because I felt so good.

He kept me by his side as long as it was convenient to him and he needed my support and love and encouragement, and he kind of fed me little drips of love when I started to pull away or question things. The bits of love was addictive to me. The culmination of this was where he finally promised to 'try' with me, because he recognized he didn't want to lose me.

And so it went, we planned a date to have an actual go of it, and on the leadup to this... he found someone else.

While trawling a hookup site for friends (! yes, I know) he (without meaning to find someone, he claimed) met up with someone that spoke to his soul and felt 'right' with, he felt 'connected' to. Someone that finally 'understood' him -- someone that excited him and he could see himself with. Once this happened, he dropped off the radar almost immediately and stopped interacting with me on the same level we used to. Suddenly it was like we weren't ever friends, even. And in three weeks, (compare to me being there for years) he was certain about this person, had made a choice, and ended things with me, breaking my heart in the process. It's more complicated than that-- a massive amount of drama ensued from that side, whereby they kept throwing a bad light on my motivations and kept wounding me while I was trying to withdraw and lick my wounds, and it ended in betrayl of my trust so terrible, it hurts me even now today to think about.

So. Sorry for length. It's just, I've been there. We've been there. This is why your friends and everyone on this thread is imploring you to leave. We know the ending to this.

The best thing you could do is respect yourself, now, today -- and stop interacting with him. The problem is that you feel good to him, and he doesn't want to lose something that feels good without something better on the horizon, so he won't do the right thing and cut that cord.

So you have to. And it's tough and it really really sucks, and I'm sorry, but it's the best thing for you.

No good can come from this relationship, and by walking now, you will save yourself a really painful end.

Also, as yourself, what do you want from this? To support him? You're not his support network; he needs resources, therapy, and the only person that should love him and be that for him is a therapist, or his family, or his next relationship-- not you.

Deep down, I guess you want what I wanted; I wanted him to want me, to be better to me, and to love me like I loved him. That just won't happen. So don't stick around on the slight chance it will. If it was supposed to, it would have already.

You deserve to have someone think you are the shit, because you are. You deserve to have your needs met in a relationship. You deserve more than someone who is lukewarm for you.

Please please learn from my mistakes and break away from him, and don't look back. It is a waste to be in unrequited love. You did feel it, it was beautiful and worthwhile for a while and that's a great thing, take the nice things from it, and walk away into better and brighter things.

On the plus side-- in my case, I met someone wonderful through him, once I was able to shake off the haze surrounding me (helped by him betraying me. If anything it was the sole catalyst for me forcibly moving on).

Once I entered a relationship with this other person It was kind of if a veil had been lifted, and every day, I think; "Oh yeah, this is how it's supposed to feel."

It's like night and day. He checks in with me every day. He tells me I'm amazing every day. I trust him implicitly, I don't have anxiety any more, or wonder if I'm pretty enough, or if he's going to leave me or find someone 'better'. It feels good all the time, rather than bad. And even when we argue, (which has only been twice) they're great, well communicated arguments where we try to see eye to eye, and they bring us closer together rather than pulling us apart.

I'd had this before, but the allure of the guy I loved was so strong, I had forgotten it.

Sometimes I do something and my boyfriend sits there and shakes his head and says, "How could (that guy) not see it? You're so so great."

I shake my head, because I used to think the same.

The reality is that he didn't; he never did-- and he never will. Some people just don't see it, some people won't. Don't worry about it; it's life. But someone else will. Save your energy and time for that person, and don't settle until you find it.

Sorry for the wall of text. It's just that this is near and dear to me-- and I didn't heed the warnings people were telling me, and the red flags I knew were there. I knew it was not the relationship for me, but I kept on that path anyway. I wish I hadn't been so obtuse in hindsight; it would have saved me a lot of angst and deep deep hurt.

Good luck.
posted by Dimes at 4:13 AM on November 7, 2014 [10 favorites]

Just a note after your update:

He said he wouldn't have called if he didn't want to see me....

But if he really did want to see you he wouldn't have said "oh, but wait I have this thing with my friend on Friday and that thing on Saturday and...." He would have waited to schedule something with you FIRST, and THEN made his other appointments with his other friends.

now I feel awful and sick to my stomach and angry.

He just implied that something he did that made you angry was your own fault rather than his fault. It's no WONDER you're angry.

At least the guy I tried dating didn't blame me for things, and didn't make me feel bad if I complained. You don't even have that.

I'm sorry, but it really is a situation where you're better off without him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:20 AM on November 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

Dude is playing you. Turn the tables. It will feel awfully good when he's sputtering wistfully, "But... but...!" and you've already moved on.
posted by tomboko at 6:50 AM on November 7, 2014

Why is it better to DTMFA?

Because you are going to get crazy hurt by him. Over and over.

Because you will waste all your love and your energy and your good looks and the best years of your life on a man who will never, ever change but will keep throwing you enough crumbs to keep you hanging around. Oh, he's not evil. He has his reasons. He's not doing this on purpose. He doesn't even put enough thought and care into his relationship with you to deliberately do anything.

Be honest, you can't see him "casually." Your feelings for him are not casual.

It's going to hurt to be without him, but not nearly as much as it would hurt to stick around.
posted by kapers at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

I feel awful and sick to my stomach and angry.

Take those feelings and do two things with them: use them as a base to encourage yourself to find someone who is amazing and into you, and use them as a reminder of what it is that you left behind and don't want again.

This guy is a bad guy for you. Quit wasting your time and your energy and your emotions on him. Throw your shoulders back and your chin out, and go find someone who will treat you the way you want to be treated. Find someone who is Into You, which this guy isn't. While you're in a relationship with him, you've closed the door to other amazing people. Other people will show an interest in you if you let them, but by continually attaching yourself to this guy, you're sending a message that you're not available. Un-addict yourself to the scraps of affection that this guy is giving you.

Also, if you say you don't want to do something with someone, and they say OK and accept that, it's adult behaviour. It perhaps wasn't what you wanted to hear, I'm thinking? It's just another reason that you and this guy are not compatible, and life is just too short for waiting for someone to change to suit you. Much better, and easier, to find someone who is already compatible with you.
posted by Solomon at 3:30 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

He said he wouldn't have called if he didn't want to see me but 'whatever it was my decision', then said bye, and now I feel awful and sick to my stomach and angry.

You know why people stick with relationships that aren't really working? Because breaking it off means you feel miserable for some time. It's a necessary if unpleasant part of moving to a better state of mind, don't let it scare you off right away.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:30 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

You know, I spent much of my marriage terrified of being alone. I felt very emotionally needy and I feared that I could not survive being alone. Something like three months after the marriage ended, I stopped feeling so desperately needy. I look back on it and I view my spouse as an emotional vampire, causing me to be needy rather than meeting my needs.

I have thought long and hard on that. I think "addiction" is a hunger that grows larger and leaves you more empty the more you indulge it. In contrast, a healthy hunger can be sated. This man sounds like a hunger that leaves you more empty the more you imbibe.

If you do leave, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you aren't as hollow as you think you are, once he is no longer bleeding you.

best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 3:35 PM on November 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Michele, I too was with an emotional vampire. That's a great term because that's exactly how it feels. OP, men like this are so unhappy with themselves and don't believe they deserve any better, that once they do it's like you're invisible. They can't believe someone can be truly happy and in a fulfilled loving relationship so they do everything they can to sabotage it. And once you open up to the realization that they are unwilling or unable to meet your needs, they find someone else who has yet to learn the truth about them because it's easier to find someone who won't ask to have their needs met, than to be reminded by your mere presence of what they are lacking within them.
posted by lunastellasol at 6:14 AM on November 8, 2014

Response by poster: So many really amazing answers. I thought I would get at least a couple replies saying how I should give him a chance, but I'm so glad there wasn't. They've all given me strength to cut off contact with him. I need time alone to look inside me and think about why I let people treat me this way...
posted by akita at 12:40 PM on November 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: So I have to say that after I decided to cut off contact completely, I feel so free and don't even miss him. I'm really glad he couldn't see me for a few weeks and cancelling, as now that he is trying to reach out via email, I don't even feel like seeing him anymore. Thanks again for all the great advice.
posted by akita at 11:35 PM on November 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

Not exactly the same situation, but similar in terms of 'he can't (won't) give her what she needs, and she's pining for him.' My favorite quote on that thread? "Assholes gonna asshole."
posted by Everydayville at 3:08 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

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