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Mind Games/What's he playing at?

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Question
Hello Brian. I am a 28 year old woman who has one guy who won't seem to GO AWAY! A little under a year ago, he and I met on PlentyofFish.com and hit it off great. I was excited to connect with him. But things went wrong fast and super early. The morning of the day we planned to go on a first date, he texted me suddenly saying he will not take me out because he had seen activity on my profile. I had not made a full commitment to this man since we hadn't even had a first date yet and was still responding to the few, dead end messages I had gotten. I had told him it was really none of his business. I let it go after that, figuring the "moment" was gone and to move on, since he made no indication any contact would continue. The later that weekend, he gave me an ultimatum. Delete my profile or we were never going to date. This had me bristled like a grill brush. I had never felt so offended. I told him A) we never agreed to delete/cease contact with others on our profiles, B) I was not his girlfriend and he had no power or right to give me an ultimatum, C) he seemed incredibly controlling and quick to anger so I no longer wanted anything to do with him. He blew up my phone like we were in high school with hostile and vicious comments, none of which I responded to. After a few days, he stopped and that was that.

6 months later, I decided I'd see if he had cooled off and could manage a civil conversation to just see how he had been doing. Well... I realized my mistake when I received another angry email about how immature and stupid I was when I was the one who called everything off. After that, I gave up 100%, burnt the bridge and moved on. However a month later, I received a very crude text from him asking about my intimate encounters after we first broke things off. I told him it was none of his business again and ignored further messages. Sadly I had not changed my number at all, did not want to over one idiot... so a few more times I had received annoying and immature messages from him. Then it finally went dead.

Flash forward to now, I have gotten a new phone and number and could not be more at peace. Sadly I am still single, but my choice in men have become more strict. But this morning, my facebook notified me he had sent me a friend request(he must have tried to text me, realized my number was no longer working, found my picture on facebook and sent a request) but no message. I was floored and severely annoyed. What is his game now!? Does he really think I'm stupid enough to accept a friend request or even want to speak to him?! My mom thinks he must have really liked me... this did not bring out a laugh or a heart flutter... I feel like I am being stalked somewhat now since he obviously won't let things go and move on(by the way, he's 8 years older than me) but it leaves me wondering what he is playing at.

Why won't he just let it go and move on? Did I anger him that much by not giving in to his demands? Was I unreasonable in the first place? Is he trying to mess with me further? I just want him to leave me alone and move on because I have... and want this chapter to be closed.

P.S. I will never try the internet to find love again...lesson learned.

Answer
Hi C!

Wow!  That's quite an unusual situation.  Let me first attest that, while it may be comparatively more common, that situation is not at all common or the norm for internet dating, so I hope you don't feel the need to write it off completely!  In any case, on to your questions.

Whenever I hear stories like this, two basic answers always pop in to mind: lack of experience - in other words, immaturity - and/or psychological problems.  These two answers are usually what is behind any bizarre behavior that most otherwise healthy people don't understand.

Jealousy is a natural, and some would argue even healthy, emotion that arises particularly in romantic and/or sexual relationships.  There are tons of arguments as to what causes it, but in any case the fact remains that if you have any emotional investment in a relationship, jealousy is a potential product of it.  However, no matter how prevalent or natural an emotional state is, there are always extreme forms of it which are unhealthy, sometimes inexcusably so.

What we are talking about here, specifically, is obsession and morbid, even partially delusional, jealousy, two states that are very intertwined.  It is normal for us to sometimes FEEL possessive of others, but it is another thing altogether to act on it.  A controlling person, like the man you dealt with, feels compelled to manipulate his surroundings and the people in it so as to minimize the risk of getting hurt or betrayed.  Often they have a delusional fantasy built in their minds wherein they are already envisioning an idyllic relationship with you, and they have already "anticipated" some drama in the relationship which they must preemptively thwart.  The irony is that when he does find a healthy, normal, happy woman he can trust, this very behavior is what's going to drive her away!  And what's worse, controlling people do not deal with rejection very well: their strategy is not to lick their wounds, learn from their mistakes and try again, but rather to try and control EVEN MORE!  This explains why he wouldn't leave you alone: your healthy boundary signaled "defeat", in a sense, to him, and he wasn't prepared to accept that.

I was extremely happy to hear that you did the mature thing and ended the relationship before it could escalate.  I don't know about that man in particular but MANY of these relationships turn out traumatic, even dangerous.  To have been so consumed by your private activity he seemed to be expressing traits of potential partner-centered relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder #ROCD#, where he is already looking for what's "wrong" with your "relationship" before you've even started one.  Many people who exhibit these behavioral traits follow what's called an "obsessive love wheel".  Some examples of this are rushing into intimate relationships quickly, making unrealistic demands of the other person and complete disregard for compatibility.  The next stage is controlling behavior, and if it goes on too long, they can become violent.

I'd like to leave you with two things: First, if any of the above is true about him, I hope you can find it in your heart to have compassion.  Most likely, these problems are so overwhelming he isn't even aware of the destruction they're causing, neither for himself or for others.  Even if he is, he most likely wants to stop but doesn't know how or even believe it's possible.  Second, and more importantly, you handled this in the best way possible: without getting vindictive you set your boundaries and did not let him cross them again.  That is highly commendable.  You were not at all unreasonable, you were just dealing with a man who doesn't understand what reasonable behavior is.  You were able to come out of this with your sanity intact, that's success.  Well done.

I hope that helps!  Take care, and good luck with your future romantic prospects!

Mind Games

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Brian

Expertise

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.

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

Education/Credentials
Currently studying Psychology at the California Coastal College.

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