I wrote a recent article about how we water weeds using the romantic relationship context, and it outlined the lessons I learned from a previous relationship that I concluded in 2016. I do not wish to return to that relationship, of course, but reflection is still needed to understand fully the magnitude of decision-making and investing into certain relationships for which there will never obtain a true, substantial, and stable return.
In reflecting on both the article and the relationship, I realized that I missed the most important warning sign my ex gave me. He said that he still had feelings for his ex-partner. In this blog post, I want to work through my understanding of his statement and warn you against providing solutions for problems when you may not be designed or hold the capacity for solving that person’s problem.
In other words, just because you think you are necessary does not mean the person equally thinks you are necessary. You can be the right person because of your experiences but also be the wrong person to solve a person’s problem because he, in this case, may not want their problem resolved. That is the difficulty that comes when you misperceive a person’s problem and you mishandle your own capacity for solving problems.
Here are some ideas I want to explore concerning the relationship followed by a warning and video lesson at the end of this blog discussion.
We were roughly five to six months into our own relationship when my ex informed me literally out of nowhere that he still had feelings for his ex. We were about to eat pizza at the park, and he sprung his truth onto me. I had invested time, money, heart, body, soul, and communication believing that we were moving forward. Eating the pizza under that emotional cloud made life feel strange at the moment.
He was the first person I had a serious relationship with later in life. I never dated because I always thought that if you dated you run the risk of having too many partners. I didn’t want that for myself.
Even if I did not always make the best romantic decisions, when I did make them, I knew enough that I didn’t want a record of a high body count. Regardless, in my late 30s is when I entered a relationship that I believed was serious and that had some merit.
However, I walked into another relationship that had not quite ended. I didn’t know initially. Although both parties said they were done with each other, they were not done with each other. He was in her heart in whatever way she carried him, and she was in his heart to the point that he didn’t want to let go.
When we got together, I assumed that he no longer wanted that relationship because, after all, he said he no longer wanted that relationship. He said he prayed that God would send him someone else way before I entered his life. I would have never entered a relationship with someone knowing that he was still in relationship with someone else. That’s not my style.
However, what I realize today is that he told me how he felt early enough for me to get out without getting hurt and burned emotionally. When she returned to pursue a relationship with him, he put off having a relationship with me. In other words, what I understand about that now is he was breaking the connection processes with me to reserve room for her physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially.
I did not understand that at the time because I hadn’t had many relationships. I can think of only two live-in situations and there was no learning going on in those relationships. One live-in situation happened in 1994, ending in 1995, and the other live-in situation is the subject of this discussion, beginning in 2013 and ending in 2016. In both live-in situations, there was sex and cooking and going to the movies, but there was no learning!
Therefore, I had no true understanding about game, about love, about conflict or conflict resolution other than using sex for comfort, and I had no desire to make marriage a priority. I was part of a game of which I had no understanding, and I made hasty decisions thinking they were sound. When he said that he had feelings for her, I should have taken more time to explore what he was talking about and what it meant for our relationship. I should have asked more questions.
Instead, I believe my ego was bruised. I was shocked at the words. I proceeded to push my own agenda, which included continuing my relationship with him. They never got back together romantically, but they did sleep with each other behind my back. I have to wonder, then, if what they did together was truly behind my back if he indicated that he still had feelings for her. This led me to think of a few questions that I believed I should have asked at the time:
- Which relationship was real?
- Was my relationship with him real?
- Was his relationship with the ex, whether on or off, real?
That is the paradox that needs further exploring.
People enter relationships before their time, especially when they are experiencing a previous breakup. It’s called rebounding, and it is a subject I have taken up in the medium of audio lessons, which you can find on YouTube and on this site.
It is a fascinating topic, rebounding, because what people should know by a certain age, and I’m being a bit sarcastic and hypocritical here, whether they are ready for a relationship. Relationship readiness is also a discussion available on YouTube and this site. I am being sarcastic and hypocritical here because I realize that I have to include myself in the same dynamic.
For example, he had just gotten out of a relationship with his ex-partner. Why did he desire to enter another relationship with someone else? This question is deserving of an answer especially because people break up all the time and get back together. In fact, my ex-partner and his ex-partner always broke up and got back together. This prompted further questions that I should have asked him and her:
- If you know this is the pattern, i.e., breaking up to making up, then why engage another person?
- Why not wait until the relationship is back on track and continue from there?
- Why include another person in your mess?
These questions bother me even to this day because you know people can do better, but they just refuse. At the same time, I continued a relationship with a person who told me he still had feelings for an ex while he was in relationship with me. I was forced to create and assess my own questions:
- Where is my thought process?
- Why didn’t I heed and accept what he was saying to me?
- Why did I continue the relationship while he was still working things out with the ex?
- Why did I choose him and their relationship over me?
- Why didn’t I make myself a priority?
The last question is the true question that needs an answer because all decision-making begins and ends with you. At the end of the day, it does not matter what that person does. It only matters what you need to do for you.
You should not be in a relationship with someone who is in relationship with someone else. It doesn’t matter what they say. It only matters what they do. If they are still involved with each other, then that means you do not have a relationship with the person. Let that person go!
When you are romantically hasty, you make yourself a priority, as in wanting to ensure your emotional, psychological, and financial needs are met, but it is really a false priority because you do not get all the information you need to make an informed decision. Before I engaged my ex-partner, I should have had a conversation. Period. Instead, we both made sex the priority, allowed sex to sustain the relationship, and ended up breaking up because the sex could not keep us together.
His heart was somewhere else.
It doesn’t matter if you give a man money, give him great sex, give him everything he wants as a man, serve and submit to him, and love him unconditionally. If his heart is somewhere else, which means he has a strong connection to someone else, then there is nothing you can do.
You cannot drown him in sex, food, money, love, etc. The ironic thing is he could want you and think you are great for him. He could have some love for you. However, if he doesn’t have the heart for you, the relationship you have with him will not last.
That is a hard pill to take. That is why it is better to let people work out their own relationships with the people they love. When I got into a relationship with him, I did not know he was fresh out of a relationship with someone else. He didn’t say a word. I just remember seeing text messages and when he received a call, he stepped outside to talk to the person, which I thought was strange.
To make a long story short, I confronted him and her and discovered that he was still exercising his rights to their relationship. There were some other discoveries, but for privacy sake I will keep that information to myself. It has no direct bearing on this discussion.
Regardless, women who have suffered through a relationship with a man they discovered was married and then decided to stay in the relationship after the discovery must address their own romantic hastiness. There was something in you that decided to engage that person without knowing the full story. When that happens, you set yourself up for disaster.
Men do not always reveal that they are with someone else or still married or just got out of a relationship. That’s unfair to women, but the goal of men in that instance is to get the benefits gained from being in a relationship. Those benefits always include companionship, sex, and related needs. It is still incumbent upon single women to ask the right questions, to wait until the person reveals their true nature, which he always does, and then to make an informed decision, post-discovery.
If I had just waited and had the necessary conversation and not engaged him hastily, his heart would have revealed itself. Then when he said that he still had feelings for his ex, it would have made it easier to leave the relationship. Once you engage with sex, you become attached, and it is difficult to leave.
It took two years and eight months for me finally to leave that situation-ship. He cheated and played around with the ex. I lost time, heart, health, and finances pursuing and staying in that toxic relationship. I also struggled with my faith and my soul. It was a hard crossroad season that almost cost me my life. I will never pursue that type of situation again, and when there is a strong indication that someone is still desiring to be with someone else, I will just walk away.
What I Learned
What I learned from that situation, in addition to romantic hastiness, is that he told me early how he felt about his ex, and I just ignored this as a warning sign. I could have gotten out of that relationship much sooner had I not let my ego get in the way. My ego was bruised, and I thought of a better way to keep him in my life by attempting to solve what I believed was a problem.
For him, still having feelings for his ex was not a problem. He voiced his truth. However, I interpreted those feelings as a problem because they were a problem for me and my relationship with him. I believed at that time that if it is a problem, then I need to “woman up” and solve that problem.
But the problem was not what he said because he spoke from a place of truth. The problem was me trying to solve someone’s problem that the person has not labeled or categorized as a problem. It is jumping in too quickly thinking that just because you see something as a problem, it makes it a problem.
In other words, I tried to be a solution for a problem in his life. Granted, they never got back together and he ended up marrying another woman. Thank God for that. I do not ever want to revisit that situation again, not even in friendship. I wish him well.
But solving other people’s problems is reminiscent of my past struggle with people pleasing, thinking that I have the answer and volunteering my time, mind, and finances to helping that person reach conclusion.
What I realized with this previous situation and old habits is that we all must let people solve the problems they have in their lives. That is an obvious realization. However, we also need to let people call anything they deem as a problem . . . as a problem. That is a less than obvious realization.
If a person does not call something a problem, and you perceive it as a problem because you see the long game and the consequences, then it is not up to you to call it a problem and back that decision up with your solution. It is not your problem to solve.
My ex told me that he still had feelings for his ex. That should have been enough for me. That should not have prompted me to continue the relationship, confront his truth and call it a lie, and proceed to perpetuate the fantasy that all relationships endure their struggles, but this, too, shall pass.
The exit out the door was clear, but I did not take it because I got into the relationship hastily and without any true direction. Anything you get into hastily, you will have to endure the process of exiting it with correction.
If you want to learn about about how to overcome setback through correction (receiving instruction), then definitely purchase the books I have written on this topic. You can access the titles by clicking the “Purchase on Amazon” tab on this site or by accessing the titles on Amazon.
Be careful volunteering your time, heart, body, mind, and finances in a non-marital relationship, especially with long-term live-in situations. You are under no obligation to commit to someone who has not committed to you. That means also be careful committing to someone when there is no intent to commit on the other part of the person.
People not only show you who they are, but also tell you who they are and what they want. My ex-partner clearly told me that he still had feelings for his ex, and I ignored the warning signs. Even prior to that statement, he wanted to wait before the relationship proceeded simply because she had come back. There was no promise on her part or even intent, but because she came back, he invested into the promise of what that meant. That is his prerogative, but he just should have ended the relationship with me and sustained that decision.
Regardless, that is not the point. The main point I want to begin and end on is the notion that when someone tells you that he or she still has feelings for an ex, that should be the first and only sign you need to exit the relationship until those feelings are resolved, if they will ever be resolved. You cannot resolve those feelings for the person by trying to be more available and/or trying to prove your worth. Proving your value only makes you look like you do not have value. Strange how that happens.
The very last point I want to make concerning this issue of trying to be a solution in someone’s life is this: only God can heal someone’s heart. When a man or woman is still struggling over a previous relationship, it is not your job to make life better for that person. It is not your job to heal that person’s heart. It is only your job to work on you, your mind, your heart, and your finances.
Getting too far into someone’s business will prevent you from working out your own life business. Your business takes a greater priority, and you need to make “your life,” your business. Only God can heal that person’s heart, and you are not the solution to their problems just because you know how to solve problems. Keep that also in mind as you plan your way out of relationships that no longer serve you. In addition, plan your way out volunteering your time to solve someone’s problem when the person is not willing to take that initiative.
I leave you with a video lesson I created about romantic hastiness. It is useful for helping you understand the importance of assessing your romantic hastiness regardless of your age. I will likely leave this same video for subsequent posts under what might become a series on romantic hastiness.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
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