Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dismaying Story #105: Not Her Knight in Shining Armor

Dear Andrew,

A man I had flirted with and known platonically for three years told me that he was attracted to me physically, emotionally and intellectually, but he couldn't act on it - yet.

He'd be around intermittently, always acting like he was so interested in me but he was a loyal person and wouldn't cheat; and if I disappeared, he'd come find me, saying he was worried that I'd met someone else.

We are both in our forties, clean-cut, exercise, dry senses of humor, religiously indifferent and politically incorrect, morning people, like to read, like to cook, like to travel up the cast on vacation. I thought we had so much in common. I am single with no kids, financially stable, and figured I had no baggage/a lot to offer him.

He told me we had a "connection from the beginning," and that I was "beautiful, sensuous, intelligent, warm, loving, giving, genuine and beguiling." I told him I adored him, and he said I was "dangerous" and "he was scared to death of me", and "the physical and intellectual chemistry between us is great, that I drove him crazy, and he fantasized about me."

Then he broke up with his girlfriend and put his house up for sale, since he couldn't afford to carry the mortgage by himself.

Five months went by and I heard nothing from him. I'd see him in the neighborhood driving by, and his face would light up and he would smile and wave, but that was it. I was baffled, but figured he needed time to heal, and that I didn't want to be a rebound. I heard he was really depressed about his financial situation and might be facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. I called him, and he was as cold as ice, told me that we hardly knew each other, and that when he began to date again, there was a single mom co-worker he's been friends with for a year and a half that found him interesting.

They went out right after this, and he dumped her, and supposedly according to a mutual friend of ours, they are no longer speaking to each other AT ALL.

I was utterly devastated. How could he have said the things he did to me and then been so completely disinterested? I thought I knew him. I thought he was my Prince, and that we were twins. My heart is beyond broken.

Please help me see.

Signed, Blinded with Hurt

Dear Blinded with Hurt,

This is going to sound like a cliché, but you are FAR better off without him.

I understand that with all the commonalities he could seem like a good match, and all those complimentary words of attraction stroked your ego in a positive, empowering way. He allowed you to build up hope, which can be powerful but can also be dangerous. In this case it was dangerous, because there was no substance behind your hope for a possible future with him.

Plain and simple, he is an emotional train wreck. He was on again, off again with his previous girlfriend, the interim girlfriend, and also with you. I don't know what issues underlie that, and neither do you, but you're better off not knowing. If you did start dating, you would end up getting hurt even further when he switched off again and ran from that relationship. The manner in which he was so dismissive of your phone call is another indication that there are serious issues lurking beneath the surface.

He was flirting with you while living with someone else. If he'll do it with you, he'll do it to you. That means he would likely be cheating on you today if you had let him into your life.

Your pain is because you are grieving the loss of your hope, your dream. I know you weren't all the way to counting on this relationship, but it had at least graduated to the level of "very real possibility" in your mind. When he was so cold, this plummeted immediately all the way to "no possibility at all," leaving you in this grieving state. You're angry too, asking "How could he lead me on like that and then be so cold?" The answer is because he has serious problems. You had no way of knowing about them earlier, but now you do.

There is a silver lining. A worse scenario would have been for him to begin going out with you, allowing you to make an even deeper emotional commitment, before his problems reared their ugly head. You would have been even more devastated and angry if it had worked out that way.

There never was an opportunity there -- it's just unfortunate that he was able to fool you into thinking there was. As hard as it is, this is one you're going to have to chalk up to experience and move on.

Will that advice make your grief dissipate? Not right away, but time will do that. Then you'll be on to greener pastures.

I hope that helps, and that you find some peaceful relief soon.

All the best,

I've been having a blast hearing about your favorite love songs. Why don't you take a moment now and join in the fun?


  1. Hei Again Andrew,
    Where were you when I had messed up relationships??? LOL. Honestly, you analyze problems well and give very good advices. :)

  2. I'm confused--why is she confused? From what is written there, it sounds as if he was waffling the whole time. He told her plenty, even if it wasn't in so many words.

    If he really thought she was "the one" and was so afraid she'd find somebody else, he'd have done something about it. Instead, he apparently expected loyalty from her even though he was being disloyal to someone else and stringing her along.

    He sounds confused, too (heck, let's all be confused together), but she shouldn't waste her time wondering about him. Definitely time to move on.

  3. Let me add "What a jerk." People need to detect this behaviour sooner and avoid these troublemakers. He played you so that you'd be an option open to him if later he decided he wanted you.

  4. Great advice. I think the writer created more in her mind than what was really there. Agreed, she is much better off that this did not go the way she thought it would. "A train wreck" is a very good way to describe this man.

  5. right on - doc...she can learn a lot from this experience -- like never flirt with a man who already has a girlfriend...

    i was wondering while i read this -- why she goes after men who are unattainable? maybe because they are keep her safe and unattached? like she's been for the past 40 some odd years?

  6. Thanks for dropping by my blahg the other day, Andrew.

    As for this woman, she had me until the line "And then he broke up with his girlfriend." I'm a little confused about how events actually transpired...but it sounds like she was messing around with a guy who was seeing someone else.

    I'll never understand people who say they want a serious relationship and then date attached individuals. Clearly, they don't have that much respect for monogamy. Maybe you can shed some light on that whole mindset, cuz I just don't get it.

    If you're into having a serious relationship, date people who are available. If you like messing around, go to town but don't get all broken-hearted when the guy you're cheating with dumps you.

    (Er, it's probably best that you're the one with the relationship advice blog and not me.) :^)

  7. Wow. This guy is clearly a clinging, needy person. As I see it, the moment his girlfriend disappeared and the next Ms. Right showed up, this poor woman was no longer needed.

    To the poster - This man has DEEP issues. Run like hell. If he calls again, hang up and never take his calls again. Engaging with someone who plays such sick, childish emotional games is beneath you.

  8. Anonymous6:13 PM

    I just found this blog today--wow! What a great thing to be out there. I don't have a major issue going on (right at this minute!) but I have a couple of friends I'm going to recommend read this tonight! (And I'm sure my own issues will be along soon enough!)