General Dating Questions/Prior Intimate Relationship
I dated a man in my complex about 9 years ago. The relationship ended because we wanted different things. He wanted a casual, commitment-free, sexual relationship and I wanted an exclusive, committed relationship. We remained friendly even though the intimacy ended. We remained friendly throughout all these years talking on the phone often talking about anything and everything: the complex business etc. I confided in him a lot. I loved him in a non-sexual way. I thought he cared about me but he’s a selfish man and I’m not so sure. Very hurtful.
In February, I (and other neighbors) noticed that it appeared that another woman (that lives in the complex) and he were apparently away together for a week. I was devastated. People have told me that he has the right to do as he wants. What they don't understand is that we told each other things like that (at least that's what I thought) I cried for days at this betrayal. I need to stop here and give you a little background:
For about 6 months to a year prior to February, whenever I would mention this other woman, he would defend her. This I found odd. Also, whenever I would bring her up, I could tell from his voice how uncomfortable he was. My suspicions started here. In this time, I noticed that he would pick fights with me: blaming, criticizing, sometimes even verbally abusive.
In the 9 years that I’ve known him, there have been occasional times where we’d not speak – but never more than a month would pass until he or I would pick up the phone and all would resume as usual. It has been 4 months since we’ve talked. It feels surreal.
I decided in February (when the two of them were away) that I would sever the relationship with him. I believe that it’s been a good thing as I have been using my own initiative and I’ve started to move on and mingle hoping that I will find a person who wants the same things that I do.
My dilemma is this: I still have strong feelings, mainly anger, at this guy even 4 months later. How can I deal with the awkwardness of running into him. Will the intense feelings of betrayal and anger go away eventually.
A couple of time when I’ve seen him out and about, he has asked me “how’s it going” trying to prompt conversation. Acting like nothing happened is offensive to me. I do not want to have anymore to do with him however, it is awkward as we all live in the same complex.
You first have to come to grips with the fact that this "relationship" was all in your mind. You created a believe and associated expectations during the last 9 years that simply weren't true. Now, you're blaming him for living his life because it's not what you have created for yourself.
You can see the problem here, right?
No, he doesn't owe you anything. It sounds like he's done more than he's obliged to do. He's been not only cordial and polite, he's been your friend for all these years. You wanted what you wanted and he wanted what he wanted. There's no crime in having different goals. However, you can't impose your expectations on him because of your wants. There's nothing offensive in him being the way he's always been with you. YOU are offended because it doesn't match the picture in YOUR head.
You have two choices here.
Either cut all ties and be angry with him for not living the life you want him to live (with you or without you - it doesn't matter). Purge him and every memory of him. Avoid him as much as you can and continue to hurt because you're creating something real when nothing real actually exists.
Or, you can do what you really NEED to do - move on with your life. If he doesn't share your relationship goals, get out there and find someone who does. Then, connect with that person on the level you wanted from him and forgive him - totally and completely.
Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”