I recently talked about when we ‘suck it and see’. This is essentially where we fall off the wagon because we may be stuck and obsessing but are also clear enough to go in with both eyes open and recognise the meaning of the consequences. For some people, knowing that they can’t deny what’s happening is enough to bolster the resolve without having to get their fingers burned. And for others, experiencing a temporary brush with pain is the final nail in the coffin of the relationship. They finally move on.
Let me be clear: Sharing my experiences and mistakes isn’t me saying ‘Please run out into the relationship equivalent of oncoming traffic and get run down’. I recognise that we are human, we make mistakes, and we have overactive imaginations. During the grieving process, we may seek validation or assume that we‘re in a much better place than we originally were. Next thing, we resume contact or try to be friends with our ex.
If you’re looking for any ‘ole opportunity to break No Contact (NC), you will find a reason in a grain of sand to legitimise the opportunity. You will.
This is why I thought I’d share another story about my experiences with NC. This time it’s about when you feel that you don’t give a monkey’s about them anymore so you’re OK to be friends and assume that they possess the same level of maturity as you.
Long-time readers will know that I dated a guy, Dot Dot Dot Man (he used to finish his text messages with annoying dots…). We spent five months in a non-relationship/situationship. I had no idea what the hell was going on. He blew hot and cold, lived with his ex-girlfriend and was so ambiguous, it was like trying to see meaning in a blank wall. This was my epiphany relationship where it dawned on me that I was the only common denominator to my dodgy track record of relationships with emotionally unavailable men.
In retrospect, I recognise that I was not that into this guy. It’s why the ‘relationship’ worked for me. I got to burn up brain energy wondering what was going on between us while at the same time contradicting myself by saying that I didn’t want to ask him about defining the relationship in case I was asking for more than I wanted.
Reflecting on this non-relationship revealed my contradictory, commitment-resistant self. I effectively backed myself into a corner and then focused on the other person’s behaviour.
After I ended things, I rebuffed his occasional attempts at staying in touch. Once I recognised that I wasn’t interested in him anyway though, I reciprocated the contact. I think he thought we had an ‘understanding’ and that we were ‘friends’. And because I recognised my ambivalence, I thought that we could be friends too.
So, a few months roll on with our pseudo friendship. I’d fallen off the wagon and had my whole ‘suck it and see’ episode with my ex with the girlfriend. One Friday night after a horrendous day at work, Dot Dot Dot Man invited me to join him and his friends for drinks. Foolishly I accepted.
To be clear, I accepted because I knew that I had no interest in him and we shared mutual friends. That, and the bar was close to my house. The evening offered a welcome escape from the madness of the day.
Within an hour of arriving, another woman turned up and promptly proceeded to treat me in a very aggressive manner. She closed me out of conversations, draped herself all over Dot Dot Dot Man, and endeavoured to make me as uncomfortable as possible. At one point she cornered me and explained (unsolicited) that they talked “all the time” and “hung out”. The ‘back off’ warning from a fellow Fallback Girl was more than clear. I was uncomfortable but not for the reasons she wanted me to be.
Inside, I was fuming. Why the eff has he invited me out to have me treated in this hideous manner by this repulsive person? What exactly does he think he’s playing at? And how the hell was he managing to call his new woman and hang out with her “all the time“?
Her level of assclownery went into overdrive, and I started to feel very vulnerable over the course of the evening. Was it all a horrible, pathetic joke?
I kept asking myself what on earth I had ‘done’ to warrant being treated in this manner. His friends were equally uncomfortable and embarrassed by her behaviour and one of them actually left!
As usual, I was too fricking nice and polite for my own good. I stayed and sucked it up because flouncing out was not an option. Still, when Dot Dot Dot Man cornered me to ask if I was OK, he got it from me with both barrels. I made it clear that I had no interest in him but I didn’t appreciate being setup and being involved in his dumb games. I even repeated what she’d said to me. Of course, he denied it down to the ground. He even said he was embarrassed by her drunken behaviour but did nothing to quell the situation.
Finally, I left, but not before letting him know exactly how I felt and telling him to stay the hell away from me. I felt humiliated and when I got home, I cried. I cried for being embarrassed. For assuming that he was decent and an actual friend. I cried because Yet Another Dipstick had upset me. Because I felt so fricking low. I cried for having to stand up for myself yet again. For being too nice instead of showing how I really felt.
Calling my bestie at 2.30 am and hearing her fury stopped the crying and allowed me to start looking at things differently:
- He and I were not friends.
- I made a misplaced assumption, albeit using common decency as a basis. But let’s be real, he’d been more than happy to use me for a shag, an ego stroke, a shoulder to moan on. Why on earth was I giving this guy more credit than he deserved?
Do not expect someone who’s previously regarded you as little more than a casual relationship to treat your so-called ‘friendship’ anything other than casually.
It was also clear that this woman was very insecure. She felt the need to stake her territory by peeing a line around him in a very embarrassing way. If she really was secure, that’s not how she would have behaved. I realised that it wasn’t something personal about me. She would have behaved this way with any woman.
Be careful of getting territorial about guys who you ‘hang out’ with or claim to be ‘buddies’ with. They ‘hang out’ with other women and often have a narcissistic harem, their own posse of women made up of friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances who will keep their ego-stroking permanently topped up.
None of this was a reflection on who I was as a person, so why was I doing the whole ‘Poor Poor Me Whine’? Yeah, I had a right to be pissed off, but berating myself and thinking I must be a ‘bad person’ to be treated in that way was extreme.
Don’t internalise other people’s bullshit behaviour. You can be accountable for your part where you facilitated what they’ve done, but don’t blame yourself for their behaviour or allow it to distort your perception of you.
What happened was a reflection of his unavailability, not my worthiness.
Don’t get things twisted. It’s all too easy to slip into blame or wonder what’s wrong with you. You should be asking what the hell is wrong with them!
When someone is hellbent on maintaining a deception where they get to believe that they’re a Great Guy, you’re wasting your time trying to get them to acknowledge their shadiness. When you know someone has done wrong, you don’t need them to validate it. You knowing is more than enough! Move on! Don’t try and raise grown adults!
I learned that when you put your hands in the fire, even under the guise of friendship, your hands will still get burned. He had always been thoughtless so expecting more from him was setting myself up for pain.
Don’t allow yourself to be a sufferer of Relationship Amnesia or even Relationship Stockholm Syndrome! This is where you either forget the pain of times gone by or feel affection for your persecutor. Don’t press the reset button on yourself! The fire still burns!
Dot Dot Dot man took a chance and assumed that he could get away with the situation. He had no idea she’d come out behaving like a lairy, jealous drunk. Yet again, he didn’t think. He thought he could use his usual bumbling friendly ways to get an ego stroke and on this occasion, it backfired. Big time.
Mr Unavailables and assclowns are short-term thinkers. They consider things from the context of what suits them. It’s like shag how you feel! As a result, they often overestimate their abilities and interest and underestimate their potential for creating conflict and confusion. This is what happens when you don’t think and are Me, Me, Me, It’s All About Me.
Rest assured, I never made these mistakes again!
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