Dear Dr. Romance:
I knew a girl for a long time and had a huge crush on her. I'm in my twenties, and she is a year younger than me. I am a very shy person and would freeze up whenever I tried to tell her. We knew each other for more than a year and were good friends, so I told her, trying not to appear creepy and such. Luckily, she wanted more than friendship and we briefly dated (maybe a month), until she told me that she "didn't want to go out with anyone."
However, I knew that it was because her ex (who dumped her years ago) knew about us and started things up again. She said that she didn't want to ruin our friendship and wanted to still be friends. I was heartbroken. I stayed friends with her regardless, because I simply didn't want her to go away. Of course, once we ended things, her ex wasn't interested anymore.
A few months later, I was in heaven, because we started seeing each other again. The exact same thing happened. Ex comes back — she lets me go — he dumps her. I loved her and cared about her very much, and stayed very close friends with her for almost a year after this. I tried my best to help her get over this horrible ex, not for me, but for her. He hurt her so much. I admit though that I was madly in love with her, but tried to ignore that fact so that I could just be there for her. I just wanted to give her time before I said anything.
Then she met someone else. And I panicked, and begged her to be with me because I loved her and adored her. As you can guess, we barely saw each other for the next six months. Only here and there. She would call me to hang out with her and I would sit in her house in a cold sweat, wanting to ask her why she never picked me. I knew I was going to have to cut off all contact, as I was physically and emotionally drained. I couldn't bear to hear stories about this guy or that guy, Or see her with someone.
I eventually confronted her for one last time, and told her everything that I felt about her. She was very upset because she was very attracted to me, but she said she just couldn't do that to me. She said she would end up hurting me one way or another. After hours of pleading with her, I said goodbye to her, and haven't seen her since. That was a year and a half ago, and I still love her and want to be with her. She's the only person I ever want to be with.
I've tried so hard to move on and let it go, but I just know that we had something very very special. I really don't know what I'm supposed to do. Please can you help me. I am on the brink of calling her, which at this stage, could mean disaster or lead to a wonderful relationship.
I'm so sorry you've been caught up in this obsession. Every time you contact her, you begin your grieving over again, so that's very painful. You're fixated on her, she's fixated on her ex, and this is not a good situation for you. She's probably afraid of commitment, so it's easier for her to fixate on the unavailable guy. You love her, and she's been available just enough to keep you hooked. It's a dilemma.
As long as you are focused on her, the love of your life could be right next to you, and you'll never notice. Being friends in this situation is devastating. You were right to break off contact. Now, you have to let go.
I don't think you'll let go of her until you're hurt again, so here's what I suggest:
Contact her again, knowing it's probably going to be hurtful, and make a promise to yourself that, if it doesn't go well this time, you'll let go and move on. I think you're going to find that she's either moved on to someone entirely different, or is still stuck on her ex. If that's the case, then have a letting go ceremony: pack up everything that reminds you of her, and put it away where you don't have to look at it. Unfriend her, block her, remove her phone numbers, cut off all contact. Then, burn or destroy a picture or something that reminds you of her, to symbolically end the relationship. You'll be surprised how difficult, but effective, it is to do this.
"Surviving Loss & Thriving Again" will help you through the grieving. As soon as possible, start thinking about finding your true love — the one your fixation is preventing you from seeing. "The Fine Art of Squirrel Hunting" will help you do that. The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again will teach you how to find someone who actually loves you. Good luck with this — I hope you find real happiness.
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