A YourTango reader contacted me with a complicated story of unrequited love. Her boyfriend broke off their engagement and cut off all methods of communication in 2012. Yet, she kept chasing him even though it was clear that he clearly didn't see her as "the one." She has tried to let go — to even forgive him after he blamed her for all their troubles. Then he began sending mixed signals — sometimes indifferent and sometimes showing that he cared about her feelings. This, of course, left her hurt and confused. Her question: Should I break off all contact with this man?
My response: Only you know the full complexity of your story. Only you can decide what is best for you. That said, here are a few points for your consideration:
- A truth you can count on is this: trust and believe what people do more than what they say. Words are easily spoken, but the truth of our heart-felt intentions make themselves evident through our behavior. That's true for you, me, the person about whom you write, and everyone else you'll ever encounter. If what a person says sounds nice, but doesn't fit with their actions, their words are meaningless.
- My book LIES That Limit, can help you uncover some of your long-held patterns that are surely playing out in the drama of this relationship. If this relationship is painful, it's probably not good for you. If you're feeling confused, you have important work to do — the work of looking within yourself for your truth and next steps.
- Confusion is a way of keeping yourself stuck in a holding pattern because you're afraid to take action. The question is, what are you afraid of? Being alone? Rejected? Never being loved the way you want? In effect, aren't you currently living life without him as your committed partner and lover? Has he not already rejected you, time and again? What do you have? Empty promises? Vain hope? Ongoing drama?
- If you find this quality of relationship satisfying, then by all means, stay in it. Accept it for what it is. Admit to yourself that it is what it is AND it's what you want. There is nothing wrong with that choice. Unconventional relationships can be good, IF they work for both people.
- On the other hand, if what you're experiencing is not what you want, out of respect for yourself and the other person, give it up and move on.
- If moving on is what you decide to do, as best you can, do so without resentment or hatred in your mind and heart. Both feelings diminish your capacity to let go fully and live happily. Negative emotion that you hold on to ties you to the exact thing you're trying to be free from. So, you'll have to say to yourself, and mean it, "I'm moving on with love and peace in my mind and heart. I release you (say his name) and I release me from all past entanglements. I am free." This is a mantra you may have to say privately to yourself, over and over again, for a long time, until it becomes your emotional and intellectual truth. You're literally using this mantra to help you change your mind and think new thoughts - thoughts that lead to freedom.
- Should you break off all contact? Of course, that's entirely up to you. Experience suggests that when you're emotionally entangled in an unhealthy, unfulfilling relationship, it's often best to eliminate or severely minimize contact. If you don't, you risk being triggered and trapped by the drama, once again.
- One key strategy for grooming yourself to be a strong woman is to respect and take loving care of yourself. If you want love, kindness and respect, begin creating it by making those attributes the foundation of how YOU treat yourself. Care enough to remove yourself from situations wherein mistreatment is the norm. Your first love has to be Self Love. Have standards for how you treat yourself, and how you want to be treated. Know what is acceptable to you, and what is not. Use your standards as a guide for decision-making in every aspect of your life.
- You may want to consider engaging the support of a local therapist, or life coach. Trained professionals can provide much needed support as you work to transform yourself and hold true to being the woman you want to be. Professionally supported constructive change can help you redefine your life and set you on a course to lasting happiness — happiness within yourself and in all of your relationships.
Remember to love yourself. Respect yourself. Trust yourself and take good care of yourself.
More on emotionally unavailable relationships from YourTango:
- Is Your Man Emotionally Unavailable?
- Is He Just Not That Into You Or Is He Emotionally Unavailable?
- Relationship Advice You've Never Heard Before