Why Can’t My Ex Let Me Go?

Last night, I had a brief but interesting chat with a gentleman who approached me after hearing me introduced as a Love Doctor.

“I wonder if you can help me with my situation” he said, drawing me aside. “It’s about a woman I’ve been seeing on and off for the last four years”.

For 20-or-so- minutes he told me about the woman he loves. The story began with how much he loves her… she is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, etc… midway she was the most manipulative B-word he’d ever met… and by the end of the story, I’d have sworn I’d just been introduced to the profile of she-devil incarnate.

“If you really think that of her, why do you still want her?” I interjected almost knowing the response. I’ve heard this same script over and over.

“What I want to know is why she can’t just let me go? I am tired of not knowing where I stand. If she doesn’t love me, I’ll be okay with that and will move on.”

“May be she has told you in her own way, but you don’t want to let her go”.

“Told me what?”

“Told you how she really feels about you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Her actions and the way she treats you is inconsistent with someone who loves you. Love is supposed to make you feel good about yourself – and life in general. You obviously aren’t feeling too good”.

“You’re right about the not feeling too good part. It’s been like this for years. Every time I decide to move on, she contacts me, asks me to come over and stirs my feelings, then disappears. She just won’t let me go.”

“So why don’t you let her go instead?”

You should have seen the look of anxiety, worry and fear on his face. You’d think I just asked him to kill himself!

“Does he/she or doesn’t he/she love me” is a manipulative ploy that both men and women use to keep the other person confused, uncertain, insecure and second-guessing him or herself. It usually works because there are men and women – young and old — who confuse love and manipulative control – and sadly just as many who will use love as a manipulative tool.

Any time someone exerts pressure/force to get what he or she wants from you or intentionally says or does things to generate anxiety or insecurity or worry, you’re not being loved, you’re being manipulated.

It’s all about control and power – one of the worst forms of emotional abuse.

The most dangerous part of this guessing mind game is the unhealthy link between love and emotional abuse. The little “tokens of love” the other person throws your way once in a while may seem like expressions of love, but in reality are tools of manipulation and control.

It’s like a physically abused woman saying “But he apologizes and treats me really wonderful afterwards”. In her mind, she’s made an unhealthy link between love and abuse.

You are enabling and feeding the sickness and the other person is most likely controlling and emotionally abusing you in ways you are not even aware of. No wonder you feel like crap.

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  • my ex offered me money to start over .. is it so he can walk away feeling better or so he can leave his options open see me ‘realise my dreams’ and meet in a better situation to work from ?.. i havent taken it or made a decision

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    • Most people would be offended if their ex offered money to start over. Personally, I’d take it as an insult and punch the jerk in the face (and I am a pacifist).

      As a coach however, I can’t tell you whether or not to accept the offer. You are the only one who knows what you are ‘worth’….

      View Comment
    • No. I’m asking you to answer those questions for yourself. It’s more important that the answers come from YOU. That way it’s YOUR decision, not some coach’s decision.

      Making your OWN decisions is empowering.

      View Comment

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