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Mind Games/Move on or try again?


Hi there!

I'm 21 years old and I recently got out of a long distance relationship.  He's 23 and his job requires him to live in another country for 2 years.  We've only been casually dating since the end of December, and we dated officially for about a week.  Everything just happened really quickly and ended the same way.  When we first started, I was unsure about whether I was attracted to him or the attention I got from him, which is why I'm so confused now.  Do I really want this to work, or do I just want to feel needed/wanted by a man?

Just to fill you in on why I broke things off in the first place, here's a little background information.  He can be incredibly sweet, tells me I'm beautiful, amazing, and the most awesome woman he has ever dated.  Other times, he can be really rude and insensitive.  He once told me that my hair (which is natural and curly) reminded him of pubic hair, and he thought it was the funniest joke ever.  He told me that his friend's natural hair looks different and he likes it because she's mixed.  He's very pushy when it comes to getting his way.  Because he's in another country, he wanted me to send him photos to relieve himself to.  I'm a virgin and I don't like taking photos like that, so I told him I didn't feel comfortable doing that, nor would I ever.  He told me he didn't think he could accept that, and he asked me at least three or four times.  This is what caused me to end things with him the first time.  Then I decided to give him another chance.  Sometimes I also feel like we are too different.  I give homeless people money; he says he works too hard for his money to do that and that they'll probably spend it on drugs.  He acts like he hates heavier (or overweight) people and that they bring it on themselves, and says that if we ever get married, he'll drag me to the gym before I gain a ton of weight.  He used to be heavier himself.  He also looks down on others because he's a serviceman.  He says things like "You don't need to know some things.  You're a civilian."  We just don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, like holidays.  He doesn't want his future children to believe in Santa, and he's not big on Christmas because "people don't celebrate it for the right reasons."

When I broke things off, we agreed to stop talking to one another because it's just too painful to be "friends."  It was really difficult, and I stopped myself from contacting him because I knew it wouldn't do any good.  Then he checked in on me via text and we've been talking on and off.  Now it's so hard because I'm always wondering when he's going to talk to me again, what he's doing, etc.  I'm always writing letters to let out my feelings (but of course I don't send them because I just like using them as a healthy outlet).  He also texted me yesterday saying he loves me, and later on he told me he still cares.  He even told me that the things I told him about himself (him being arrogant, insensitive, etc.) stuck with him and that he actually does listen to me, he's just stubborn.  He says he wants to become a better person.  I was good about not looking at his social networking sites for a while, but today I took a peek and discovered that he sent something that was meant for an ex (I'm guessing me) to the new girl he's talking to.  He was worried that he didn't "mess things up for good" with her.  

At this point, I don't know what I want.  Do I miss him or do I just miss having him there to talk to all the time?  Part of me feels like I want this to work, but things are so messed up now.  We're both pretty messed up too.  He has abandonment issues, he drinks quite a bit (to the point where if I ask him if he's drunk, he won't admit it; I used to tease him about his frequent drinking until he snapped one day), he lost his twin sister a couple of years ago, his relationship with his parents isn't the best, and he admitted that he chose his line of work not only because he didn't have money for school, but because it allows him to travel and get away from his problems at home.  Everyone around me says I should move on because he is a jerk and we have nothing in common, but when he contacts me I can't ignore him.  I tried the whole "write the positive/negative" things down and then decide.  On one hand, he's rude, insensitive, and we don't agree on important topics.  On the other hand, he does accept a lot of things about me (including how awkward, weird, and emotional I am, and the fact that I don't have a good relationship with my father and am constantly comparing him to my dad), etc. I feel like I can be myself with him.  He's funny, and when he is actually here and we are together, I'm always smiling from ear to ear.  

The reason I said I'm confused about whether I'm missing him or the attention is because lately I find myself wanting to talk to other males more often to keep my mind off of him.  I have a guy friend who showers me with compliments (so much that it bothers me sometimes and becomes annoying), and lately I've been reaching out to him for conversation and wanting to Skype with him like I'd do with my ex.  I'm not sure.  Should I just give up on this thing and save myself the heartache?

PS:  I apologize for writing you an entire novel.  I figured if I'm asking for advice, I may as well give you all the details I can think of.

Hi Sheyenne!  Sorry for the late response.

Haha!  Don't worry, I often get lengthier explanations than this!

I'm glad that you are questioning yourself.  I realize love, relationships and romance are highly emotional experiences, as they should be, but it's important to have a critical mind when dealing with them.  I believe most of our best AND worst decisions are made emotionally, but in order to discern between a good and bad one we need to incorporate SOME objectivity into them.

In a nutshell, it seems you are looking to fix a relationship rather than cultivate one.  What do I mean?  I mean it seems that you are seeking someone that you can rescue or help rather than someone who is already fixed who you can develop and cultivate a loving relationship with.  What leads me to this conclusion?

It is pretty obvious that your man is mostly, if not completely, self-absorbed.  Every detail you told me about him says so: his attitude towards others less fortunate than him indicates he feels little to no empathy for strangers, his attitude towards Christmas indicates he feels little or no empathy for children and their perspective of the world, his drinking, his anger, and his behavior and demands towards YOU... well, I think you get the picture.

And yet he invokes certain emotions in you that you find fulfilling.  In addition, he admitted to his flaws.  This has filled you with hope and given you a "mission" in a sense: to save him.

I often wonder now, at my age, why people do this.  But then I remember I was the same.  Unless you experience the futility in trying to fix another human being, and then discover the joy in cultivating happiness with someone who can take care of themselves but finds fulfillment in your company, it's hard to understand why you are harming both yourself and him by pursuing this relationship.

The problem is two part:
1. By taking him back - essentially, forgiving him - you are telling him that his behavior is acceptable.  It is not.
2. There are people who will cherish you WITHOUT the problems.  By taking him back, you are depriving YOURSELF of the opportunity to meet those people.

Leaving a person is never an easy thing, because we know that our actions have an impact on others, and the future is unknown, and therefore scary.

Regardless of what you decide, I hope it brings you happiness.  Good luck, and enjoy the journey!

Mind Games

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Besides having an immensely powerful sense of intuition, I am also currently studying (and having been privately studying for years) psychology, and grew up with around psychology and psychologists. I've read considerably in regards to biology, evolutionary biology, genetics, behavior therapy, conditioning and personality. There is almost no human pattern that does not make sense to me (but I'll admit, the opposite sex is a tricky subject!). If someone's behavior makes absolutely no sense to you, I'll be able to help you figure it out, and even give you suggestions on how to deal with it.


As mentioned above, currently studying psychology, a psychology-influenced upbringing, plus countless hours of giving people advice on the behavior of others.

Currently studying Psychology at the California Coastal College.

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