Is This a Lesson in Futility?
July 17, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
Met a guy 1.4 yrs ago. Had the usual 4 month chemistry attachment where he chased me until I caught him. Then he blew hot and cold. Goes back to ex-gf periodically. Toxic relationship. When he's with me, he never wants to leave me. When he leaves me, he never comes back. Keeps contact mostly thru emails/FB. Hadn't seen him in 3 mos. but went on date last week where he says that he feels a great connection with me that he doesn't feel with others. That the fact that we are still sitting across the table from each other says a lot. That having the similar backgrounds that we have is very important. Then he doesn't call again but is receptive if I do, whiich is very infrequent. He is extremely insecure - too much to explain - but asks questions like - what if I find him boring later on, what if he's not really the funny guy I think he is. Do I ever worry that I wouldn't be all that to someone? (that answer is no) My question is: Are there men who need a little reassurance and the woman to be more assertive or is that considered chasing? Do I back off and just let him come to me? Does the squeaky wheel (not nagging or aggressive wheel) get the oil? He seems to care about me when he's with me and we have wonderful dates for hours and then he'll disappear for weeks. If I call, he's happy and receptive. He is used to women calling him and I'm used to being pursued. We are both in our 50's. Is it ever okay and at this age, to be more assertive or does that come off as needy? I feel that he and I are searching for something we've already found but are too afraid to show our vulnerablity. I have never felt this great level of comfort WHEN I AM WITH HIM with anyone else. We haven't slept together in months and he doesn't use me for a booty call. The fact that we've been on 6-7 dates with no sex bothers me too. I don't want the sex as he hasn't deserved it but the fact that he hasn't tried either bothers me. The more I write this, the more I think I should just move on. I do date but it's not the same with others. I thought this would get easier with age but I've since learned otherwise. Thanks
Love him or leave him?
The fact that you’re still sitting across the table from a man who treats you the way he does, tells me everything I need to know about you and the wounds you have suffered.
I’m troubled by the fact that you are mostly worried about not coming across to HIM as needy and chasing, as opposed to your being worried by the fact that you are needy and chasing.
We need to focus on YOU, not him.
This guy is toxic, as you said. Now you need to understand why you are allowing such a man to remain in your life.
It hardly matters that his distant, rejecting and unfaithful behavior is due to insecurity. The fact is he’s damaged goods and he doesn’t treat you properly. Do you want a project or a partner?
I know you believe you’ve found your Mr. Right. I know that you feel comfortable with this man. Hear me good. Your comfort isn’t a sign that he’s a good partner for you but rather a sign that you are right at home. I mean that literally.
This guy brings you to a familiar emotional place. And, the sad fact is familiar pain is comfortable in a twisted way.
What I want you to see is that you are locked in what’s called a Repetition Compulsion. I go into full detail about this in my Advice Archives.
In a nutshell, we ALL choose partners who help us to recreate the worst, most painful relationship from our childhood. We restage the original trauma in the hopes of finally winning what I call our Happy Ending this time around. If we succeed in getting our partner to give us the emotional goodies that we yearned for from our parent, then we will feel as though our Old Scar is healed. Of course, the Repetition Compulsion never works because the partners we choose are limited and damaged in the exact areas that our parents were, so they can’t give us any more or any better than our parents did.
But the need to heal is so strong that we never give up. This explains why you keep chasing this guy. You keep chasing and pursuing him, hoping that you will finally succeed in convincing him to love you and only you.
This dance you’re doing is a haunting from your past. You certainly had a parent who wasn’t there for you. And you will never break free and find a partner who is truly there for you until you identify and heal your Old Scar. When you do, you will run from this guy faster than a rabbit flees a predator.
And he is predator, a vampire. He is preying upon your Old Scar and your hunger and need to heal. I don’t pity him. I pity you.
I encourage you to read my book Till Death Do Us Part, which will show you how to heal your Old Scar and set yourself free.
When you are healed, you no longer be willing to disrespect yourself by chasing and pursuing someone who treats you so miserably.
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