Relationship Help Forum: Confidence To Stay Away

This blog has been running a relationship help forum for some time, addressing women who’ve been mistreated by the men in their lives, giving them the confidence to move on from bad relationships. When a relationship has come to a natural end, it's sometimes extremely painful and difficult to go your separate ways and let it die. However, the stop-start approach brings more pain and torture than many people can bear. This is seen by Samantha’s story below. These stories have all been edited and details have been changed to protect identities.

Find more genuine relationship issues at the relationship help forum page

have you got the confidence to stay away when  the relationship has ended?
Here’s what ‘Samantha’ said

Relationship has left her feeling lost

I’m going through a painful breakup which has turned my life upside down, especially at the beginning. I lost my appetite and all I wanted to do was sleep, hoping that when I woke up, everything would be alright – the pain would go away, he would be out of my life and I would be happy once again. I’m lucky I have a good support system of friends and family, but I feel that I am being a burden as we keep talking about my problems without me being able to make any progress. I even defend him when they start reminding me of various things he did!

He won’t break the relationship ties

I have tried the *advice you gave to me, but unfortunately we are still in touch, actually he is. At first it was drunken calls, later it was in the afternoon with some lame excuse that he needed my help. I’ve explained and tried not to answer but that only resulted in him coming over to my house because he was worried. People keep telling me not to open the door but how could I not? I want him back! He creates a scene when he realises that I’m out with friends trying to enjoy life, and got seriously jealous when he realised that I was spending time with my male friends.

No confidence to move on from the relationship

My biggest problem is that he keeps telling me he loves me very much, that he wants me in his life but feels pressured about where things may lead. He’s very vague about all of this but my impression is that he is afraid of commitment. It is very difficult for me to accept that one would let someone they loved go simply because they are afraid of commitment. Love to me is simple. You either love or you don’t. And if you do then you do everything you can to make it work. He also keeps repeating that if it is meant to be it will…which gives me hope, which in turn is killing me!
He is 32, not 18 how difficult can it be for him to make up his mind and stick to it? I want the pain to go away.

The relationship help I provided

Dear Samantha, the first thing that went through my mind when I read your post was how utterly selfish and unfair this man is.

I stopped typing there because I suspect you’re thinking I shouldn’t say that because I don’t know him, and that he can be kind and adorable sometimes.
Well, sometimes is frankly not enough. He’s obviously hanging onto you because in doing so, he can boost his ego knowing that you need to be with him (people with low self-esteem have to manipulate conditions which result in them feeling desperately needed). At the same time, he is keeping you at arm’s length (just far enough to be able to grab you if he can find no one else) in the hope that maybe, someone he thinks is worth his commitment would flit by. In that case, having you at this safe distance would allow him to drop you easily.

Selfishness, not love

He is obviously not thinking about you. If he loved you, he would let you go free to find happiness elsewhere. This is evident in the way he behaves when you go out with friends. His ego would not let him accept that you’re not at home pining and weeping. (Your happiness - in spite of him - makes him feel less important, you see).
You obviously know all of this because you’ve said yourself, “It is very difficult for me to accept that one would let someone they loved go simply because they are afraid of commitment. Love to me is simple. You either love or you don’t. And if you do then you do everything you can to make it work.”

He either wants a relationship – or doesn't

At 32, a man has to know what he wants from a relationship. If he doesn’t, you don’t have to wallow in his juvenile confusion. You can and are free to leave permanently. Tell this man what you want and let him know that there is no point for you two to run together if you’re not even in the same race. Let him know that if he should come to your house again, he wouldn’t be welcome. Make sure he knows you’re not broken enough about him to do anything drastic (which is what his inflated ego thinks you would do) because he is out of your life.

If he doesn’t want you, let him know that means he won’t have any hold on you or what you do. I think you’d be better off without someone this controlling. Imagine if you were married and you wanted to go to a work party with friends and asked him to watch the baby for a few hours. Would he behave any worse than he does now, when you two are not even properly together?

Be confident about what you want in a relationship

I suspect that because you want him back, he is not the only person who needs to make up their mind about staying away. Your last question was ‘how difficult can it be for him to make up HIS mind…?’ This is half the problem. What makes you less than him, that you’re handing him the power to say what happens in a relationship in which you’re also involved?

Maybe the time has come for you to take back your own power that you surrendered to this man some time ago and say, “I will make up my mind and stick to it!”
The pain will only go away when you see that HE does. If you’re sure you don’t want him you will find a way to make him see this. Don’t let him ruin your life. I have a feeling that you’re not 18 either, and you feel it’s time to get on with living.
One last thing, sometimes it is helpful to enlist the help of a male friend to tell needy men off if they persist in their crazy, unrealistic pursuance of a woman.

*I said keeping in touch was a mistake when you’re trying to get over someone.

Have you had a hard time ending a relationship?
What happened and how did you eventually gain the confidence to stop hanging on?


Beyond Wandering October 26, 2011 at 12:32 AM  

I didn't have too many break-ups, but once I was over with someone, I ended completely..

sewa elf jakarta October 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM  

Nice article, thanks for the information.

Anne Lyken-Garner October 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM  

It can be so daunting for some people to do this, especially people with low self-esteem. Good on you, Icy!

Self Sagacity October 30, 2011 at 8:35 AM  

when you're in an abusive- doesn't have to be is really hard to stay positive. I think it is easy for some people and not others.

Anne Lyken-Garner October 31, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

Yes, Amanda. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you - friends and family can be very helpful.Some people distance themselves from friends when in abusive relationships. This is a very bad sign.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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