Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is He Worth It?

Dear Terry,

Love your blog and your perception of the bleedingly obvious..so hope you can help me.

I will keep it brief..I visualised and met the most amazing man..so good so far..except that he had a breakdown..and chose to deal with this on his own. He distanced himself from me by basically disappearing without giving me much of an explanation.

This was a year ago..since then he has written to me via email to apologise an offer an explanation. He has now divorced, overcome his depression with medication/psychotherapy and seems to be in a good emotional space.

After no contact for nearly a year, we arranged to meet recently. It was so good to see him again, but I was surprised to hear he is now seeing someone else. He painted a picture that said he was not that happy with this new woman. I came away feeling hurt that he chose to move on with someone else when we had a great thing going before his breakdown.

He was very interested to know if I was seeing anyone. I told him the truth that I was dating a few men at the moment, but nothing serious.

I feel I have maintained my dignity and been gracious throughout our year of no contact. He apologised and says he feels ashamed of how he acted. He wants to be friends now.

I like to always keep the door open, and to just let life flow. But another part of me wonders why he not only let me go..but pretty quickly moved onto someone else.

Have I answered my own question?

-Keep Me Anonymous

Hi, Anonymous-

A couple of things strike me about this "amazing" man:

He disappeared, got psychological help, divorced, and then resurfaced to inform you that he's got a new woman in his life, and he's not really happy with her.


I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was separated (and that his wife was aware of the arrangement) when he started dating you. If I'm wrong, I dislike him immensely.

I get it that you were really, really attracted to this guy (otherwise, you wouldn't describe him as amazing), but you have to know you deserve so much better than this. Yeah, I'm sorry the guy had a breakdown, but what about the rest of it?

And now he want to be friends, but is he capable of being a friend (I don't know the answer to this, but you probably have a hunch)? Before you let him into your airspace again, ask yourself if it's worth it.

Being a friend means having someone you can share a laugh with, but it also means taking care of that other person. It means occasionally having to listen to them cry about their problems when you might rather be doing something else.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that, but will you end up having to tell him? Is he truly worthy of your time? Is he worthy of the time of the new woman he claims to be less than excited about?

I do think you answered your own question.


Eve said...

You give really good advice. I do believe that most of the time, when we women ask questions, somewhere inside of us, we already know the answer. I am very skeptical of men who reappear in their old girlfriends lives wanting to be "friends." Sounds like he wants to keep her on the back burner, just in case. But none of us deserve to be the "just in case" girl.

Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Over 40 Dating Coach said...

How amazing is a guy who disappears, has a break down, stays out of touch for a year, get's a new girlfriend and then looks her up? Your advice is right on target! You have a wonderful, gentle way of looking at situations and providing your perspective.

My take away is that this woman has managed to let all the good things overshadow the pain she must have felt to be abandoned. So many women are good at this.

What I tell my dating coaching clients is to take a step back and observe objectively. This gives them a chance of seeing the big picture which includes all the good and hthe ugly. That's the best way to make realistic, healthy relationship decisions.

Anonymous said...

two possibilities. one, he's sees you as a friend and was just casually complaining about his new girl. or two, he is really unhappy and is sounding you out so that he can keep you as a "backup" when his latest relationship fails.

if it's the second, forget it. you ought to be pissed off, not ensnared. he doesn't even respect you as a person, much less love you.

either way, even if he remembers you fondly, you have already moved on and have been seeing other guys. do yourself a favour and keep falling back on the dignity that you possess.

breaking up is hard to do. one try for each relationship is good enough. you may not have a serious boyfriend now, but you have a lot of other intangible things, such as your dignity, your self respect, the respect of your friends, your self esteem. this guy may have been amazing to you before, but that was all in the past. don't give up what you have for someone who doesn't care about you.

if you keep your self confidence and wits about you, you will definitely find another guy who's much better.

Anonymous said...

mmm...I can see where all the commentators are coming from, but to me they all appear to be coming from a place of defense.

To me the writer seems to be coming from a place of self acceptance. If she is anything like me, perhaps she sees the irony of the tables being turned...for instance, what if it was she who had a nervous breakdown..and who presumed the guy wouldn't be interested in her any more ..so started testing the waters.If a guy just brushed me off after I had been through such trauma Id think he was callous. We also don't know how long they were dating for. If it was only a short while you can understand the situation evolving as it has.

I like to think that people treat others with kindness. I am going to go against the general grain of advice here. If you like him as a person, keep in touch with him as a friend. Set your boundaries. Make him work hard for your attention, but don't write him off. Doing this does not mean you have low self esteem. Quite the contrary.
Best wishes