Relationship Forum: Keep Him Hanging On

The relationship forum is a regular element on the Relationship Blog. It's based on a relationship forum connected to this site. These are real relationship issues faced by women like us. 

I edit all identifiable details of the women who write to me, but I present their stories here because I know that many of you face the same issues in your own relationships. I also include my advice to them so that you too can be helped, not only by this advice, but by the strength of the women involved in these relationship crises. Today's story is about *Lily (not her real name), and the way in which she's dealt with the aftermaths of a relationship she chose to walk away from. 

Relationship forum: keep him hanging on

Here's what *Lily said about her ex:
I am heart-broken. I am the one who ended the 7 year relationship. I know I deserve someone who will be my partner in life. I still love him very much, he is my best friend. I trust him completely, but he just hasn’t been willing to be the man I know he can be, so I have to move on, but it is sooo damn hard! 

I don't want him to have any other relationship

I still talk to him every day. He knows me so well and I feel comfortable telling him how I feel. He hasn’t done me wrong. I almost wish he was a terrible boyfriend so I could leave and never look back.
I want to know, is it possible to get over him and let go while we are still good friends? I can’t imagine not knowing him, but I can’t imagine him with someone else! I can however imagine me with someone else.
Also… How long would you say is too soon to start dating?

My response to 'keep him hanging on'

Hi *Lily, the fact that you can see yourself with someone else says to me that you’re not in love this man anymore. However, you’re still selfish enough to want to hold onto his emotions. How is that fair? If the tables were turned we would all say he was a controlling, egotistical man.

We shouldn't have to change to fit into a relationship

Love is about seeking the best for those we love. Let him go and find someone new, just like you want to do. Loving someone is also about taking them the way they are – faults and all. This doesn’t mean we don’t see their shortcomings. It just means we’re willing to look through them and into the person we love. You mentioned that he won’t change who he is, so you left him. We don’t have the right to change people with whom we have relationships. We shouldn’t try to make them into someone else because then they cease to be the person we fell in love with.

He deserves to find love just like you do

You don’t want him. You’re not in love him, yet you do not want him to move on. What would be your reaction be if he’d started dating again, but did not want you to? I’m not saying you should give up your chance at romance and true love, but you said yourself that this is a good man. Therefore, just as you ‘deserve someone who would be your partner in life,’ so does he.
Remaining in constant contact is not a good recipe for getting on with your life at all. Neither of you will be able to start afresh while you’re still so close. Make a break. If the friendship is strong enough, pick it back up when you’ve both gotten over this failed relationship.

About going on dates, there is no set time. Sometimes rebound relationships help the healing. At other times, they don’t. It’s all up to the individuals and the relationships. Some people need longer to recover, not because of what happened to end the relationship, necessarily, but because of the time that particular individual requires to heal and move on.

You know yourself best. You will know when you’re ready.
In the mean time, let go. I have a feeling you’re keeping him on a short leash, not ONLY because you want his friendship, but because you feel that if you’re not there he’ll meet someone else who’ll appreciate him for who he is. When this happens he’ll realise he doesn’t need to hang onto you anymore.

If you enjoyed 'Relationship forum: keep him hanging on', please share it on your social networking sites or with someone you know will benefit from it. You can also read the rest of the relationship forum articles here. How about you? What advice would you give to *Lily? Do you think it's a good idea to remain friends right after a break-up?

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:


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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