This is an interesting topic because it requires one individual to have insight into the dynamics of another individual’s relationship with someone else. It is characteristic of romantic triangulation, but it also reveals something about the person who cannot get over his or her ex. Many people leave doors open to previous relationships possibly out of some fear that the current relationship will not work and/or the previous relationship may still work if both parties could just talk.
But the person who is still struggling with the breakup from the ex of a previous relationship rarely reaches the clue that the ex simply no longer wants him or her or the relationship. It is the illusion that the person continues to sustain that the relationship is fixable if the two parties can just come together and talk and laugh and eat and have sex. People struggle to let go of previous relationships simply because of the fantasies they hold about those relationships and the fantasies they further create to sustain whatever love or heart or mindset towards that relationship.
Living in the past never works. As difficult as it is to help someone understand this concept, it is equally difficult to help someone give up the ghost, which is a term related to death, i.e., stop working. In other words, the person who struggles to let go of an ex struggles to accept the death of the relationship. The person struggles to accept that what was once functional is no longer functional. The relationship no longer works.
If you are honest, the relationship may never have worked because why would someone leave a relationship that is working? The answer to that question might suggest bias on the parts of both individuals. One person could say the relationship stopped working when one of the parties decided to cheat. The other person could say the relationship stopped working when one of the parties stopped performing preferred sexual behaviors.
These two attitudes towards the relationship speak to the disconnect and the lack of communication in the relationship that now one of the parties is trying to restart. However, when a relationship gets to a point where one of the parties is no longer interested in communicating and arguing and speaking their peace, the relationship is over.
There is nothing you, as one of the parties to the relationship, can do to reignite whatever flame that started the initial encounter. The relationship is essentially dead, and the only thing to do is to perform an autopsy to determine what went wrong, what to do better, and how best to proceed for the future.
This article explores how one partner of a relationship deals with a current partner who is struggling with the idea that the ex no longer wants him or her. In this article, I will refer to the individual as a woman who is with a man who cannot get over his ex, who is female, and who struggles to hear her suggest the words, “I’ve moved on.” The individual never says these words, at least not in a timely manner, but intimates as much, hoping the ex will get the picture! This, too, is a problem because people do not like the idea of closure. Keeping the door open has both its advantages and disadvantages.
Priority vs. Option
I wrote an article about the problem with exes who refuse to let go of their ex-partners simply out of the need to preserve ego. People feel entitled to the benefits of being with you even if you are no longer in relationship with them. My ex told me that his ex said he had a duty to her. This suggests that even if he got married to someone else, she believes to this day that he must forever make her a priority. If he is making her a priority, then the woman he is with is merely an option. That is a problem.
You cannot expect the current person with whom you are romantically involved to accept this idea that an ex can dip in and dip out of your relationship with someone else just because the person knows how to use the word “duty” in a sentence. Many times people embrace these open relationships and polyamorous thinking because it is just more convenient to juggle two or more partners than to sit down and have a conversation with a previous partner about the final termination of the relationship.
Therein lies another problem: using the word “final” in a sentence. Once something is final, it is hard to return to it and give it back life. If people who struggle with an ex can take the time to reflect on the relationship before engaging in another relationship, they may be able to reach the conclusion that the relationship died a long time ago.
It is never sound thinking to treat a person as an option when you really want someone else. If you are interested in making a life with the person you believe you love, then it is better to wait, reflect, heal, and return to that relationship rather than start a new relationship, hoping the person will come around. That is a deadly decision given today’s emotional and mental health climate. People are tired of being treated with disdain, disrespect, and dishonor, and they are choosing violence as the only answer to get your attention.
Use of violence, thus, is another problem because you have essentially destroyed your own life trying to keep someone from destroying your life. It is a vicious cycle of chaos and confusion that could be solved with a conversation. If we did more conversing, then we would get the answers we needed before further engaging in romantic relationships.
Arguments and Sex
People think that sex is the answer to all their everyday problems. Sex, like money, only exacerbates the problems you have in relationships because you never get to the root of your problems with the person. You never address the deal-breakers for the relationship.
For example, if cheating is a deal-breaker, then this is something that should be known early in the relationship. The cheating partner should not be surprised when you end the relationship because of cheating. The person who says, “I didn’t know you were going to leave me” is suggesting that you were not upfront with your standards. The person does not have the right to cheat on you, but if this is your standard, then this should be something you address early on in the relationship.
When you do not outline your standards, boundaries, and expectations, which is another article I wrote, you run the risk of creating communication gaps in the relationship. No one knows what you stand for as a guiding principle. No one knows what boundaries you have for the relationship. No one knows your expectations.
For example, if you want to marry, then setting the standard of dating for a period of time is something that needs priority consideration. You may only want to date for a year until you find the partner you want to marry and who wants to marry you. There is nothing wrong with setting that standard. However, what is wrong is not letting your partner in on the secret that you want to marry and not date forever!
A person should not be surprised that you want to marry. It should not come as a shock. Therefore, the places you visit for dating should be places that center on people who want to marry. People who frequent bars are looking for short-term mating strategies, i.e., sex. These are not people who want to marry anyone. In fact, some of these people in bars may already be married. These are not the places that will yield you the results you desire.
Instead, the places that will yield you the results you desire are those places that simply center on preparation for marriage. These are the places where people are of the mindset about marriage, long-term commitment, and future planning. These are not places that cater to short-term thinking, i.e., get in and get out. These are the places with people of sound mind, sound mindset, and sound belief system. None of these people in these places are confused about why they are there. In other words, if you join an online group for singles who want to marry, each of those people who join the group have decided to pursue this life path. They expect you to possess the same type of thinking.
The same line of thinking can be suggested about having sex while dating. If people are searching for short-term mating strategies, meaning they are unwilling for a season in their life to entertain long-term commitments, then you must accept their reasoning. You cannot enter their dating market that is flooded with sex and say, “Well, I want you to commit to me and not have sex with anymore people.” That does not work for a person with a different mindset. You will engender arguments from a partner you are trying to convert into a long-term romantic partner. People who want one-night stands want one-night stands. It makes no reasonable sense to tell a person what he or she wants when he or she wants something temporary.
Many partners who struggle to let go of an ex struggle also with this idea that they were going to convert the person to long-term considerations and their plan did not work out. You brought someone home for the night, and now you are trying to convert that person into a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You “caught feelings” as some would say, and now you are suggesting that the person is wrong because he or she does not reciprocate the same feelings. Arguments are usually created out of some misunderstanding about the current situation and/or a refusal to see the situation for what it truly is.
There is dating. Then there is courtship. Then there is pre-marital counseling. Then, of course, there is marriage. Each romantic relationship category has its own dictates, boundaries, standards, expectations, and seasons. People struggle when they mix seasons, bringing one person who falls under one category into another category and hoping that it will work out because they believe love is involved.
Sometimes love has nothing to do with it. Sometimes you can just meet someone at the wrong time in your life, and you can push for a relationship at the wrong time in your life. There are times in life when you should be resting and not working, and then there are times in life when you should be working and not resting. You just have to know the seasons in your life that require you to work and that require you to rest. How does this look? If you are running after relationships and you have not taken the time to rest your mind, you will burn out. You will affect whatever process you have been making. You will interrupt whatever progress you are reaching.
Working, i.e., pursuing romantic relationships, will affect your mind, body, soul, and finances. In other words, all elements of your life need a rest from romantic relationships! Without rest to your mind, you will find that you become more argumentative and frustrated in relationships, and you will bring those frustrations into other seasons in your life and other relationships.
You’re Not the One
You are not the one is one of those statements we all do not want to hear. A person who struggles to let go of an ex is a person who cannot reach an understanding about being someone’s option and not the person’s priority. I think people know early on in their encounters or relationships with you that you are not the one they are going to marry or be together with long-term.
I equally believe you know early on in your encounters or relationships with someone that the person is not the one. What is most confusing, however, is why you continue to remain in the relationship and pursue it as if you are considering it for long-term? The best answer to this question is people choose to remain in relationships with people they do not want out of sheer convenience.
A wife will stay with a husband she no longer loves or maybe never loved for 10, 15, 20, or 25 years and divorce that person once all the kids are out of the house, off to college, and grown adults. A man will stay with a woman he hates just so he can continue to have sustained access to his kids. Once that child grows up and can make fully adult decisions, the man will leave that romantic relationship.
A man who secretly believes he is gay will marry a woman just so he can have a place to stay until he pulls himself together financially. Then he will leave. He will say that he was unsure at the time he met his wife of his sexual status and that he now believes he is ready to embrace his truth!
A man will move in with a woman knowing he does not want her and knowing that he still loves the ex-partner until the ex-partner decides to give him another chance and take him back. He knows he is not going to be with the woman who may be a rebound for him, but he will stay in that relationship, tolerate it, not contribute, and secretly go behind the woman’s back and try to make things work with the ex-partner.
A woman will pursue a man knowing that she does not want him after she has gotten pregnant by a man who refused to marry her. The man she wanted did not want her. Instead of taking time to reflect on that truth, she pulls at the man she initially rejected because now she needs financial help.
In other words, people know early that they do not want someone. Just because they may return to the person of a previous relationship does not mean that they still want the person. I often believe that they need the win from rejection.
Ultimately, people do not like to feel the pain of rejection, and it colors their view about themselves and their capacity for relationship-building, especially if the relationship they really wanted fails or the person who they really wanted does not want them. That is a hard pill to swallow when your fantasies about someone outweigh your reality of the situation.
When the ex does not want your current partner is not only hard for your partner to accept, but also hard for you to accept that your partner still wants a person who does not want him. I do not know which one is worse: the fact that he cannot get over his ex or the fact that you entertain him not being able to get over his ex.
Therefore, this article is really about you! You are the one who is struggling more than your current partner who refuses to leave the person alone emotionally, psychologically, and maybe even financially. It is likely that he is sending money outside of the house he lives with you to cover the house he cannot even visit with her. He is funding a relationship that no longer exists!
Let that sink in for a moment. He is funding that relationship emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and financially, but the relationship stopped a long time ago. The person just refuses to let it go because of whatever potential he believes the relationship has for repair. You might have some sympathy for the person, but you also have to take into consideration that if your partner is still preoccupied with an ex and refuses to let her go, then it is likely that she has a hand in the matter. In other words, she is leading him on just as much as he is leading you on.
You are both being led by someone who is holding your relationship hostage. He wants to be with her, but she does not want to be with him. However, she also does not want to let him go for convenience, sex, money, or just to sustain whatever win she feels in the moment. This means that she is dangerous and to stay with your partner who cannot get over his ex will prove dangerous and self-destructive for you.
Once you understand that your partner is not going to let his ex go, then it becomes necessary for you to plan your exit. You cannot live in two relationships. You cannot thrive in your life still battling with your ex and his ex. Something has to give, and only you can make the decision because your partner refuses to make the decision for himself, for you, and for the relationship you have with him. You must plan your exit, even if it takes you one to two years to get him or her out of your life fully.
You must plan your exit because your very life depends on it. You must plan your exit because the state of your finances is at stake. You must plan your exit because even if the ex does not want him, they both could get married behind your back. You must plan your exit because your sanity matters. Just because they are crazy does not mean you have to be crazy along with them.
Be careful entertaining situations that do not serve you. If your ex is still struggling over letting go of his ex, then this means that you do not have a relationship with him at all. He is just at your house physically, but his heart is somewhere else. Staying with him in this dynamic leaves you in bondage. The way out of bondage is to reflect, self-correct, pray, and heal.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors
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