Cheryl has been in touch with me on and off since last year. Here’s the situation:
Cheryl has a male friend, let’s call him Bob. Bob and Cheryl have been ‘friends’ for several years. She has supported him emotionally through his various trials and tribulations and was in love with him the whole time, but knew that he didn’t want a relationship. Naturally, being a Mr Unavailable, Bob not only had an ego massage on tap, but they also started sleeping together.
Cheryl assumed that by sticking at his side and showing her support, that she would be first in line when his various problems were sorted and he was ready for a relationship. In true Mr Unavailable style though, he announced that he had a girlfriend towards the end of last year…
Naturally Cheryl was furious and hurt and it was actually only when she expressed her initial annoyance that it ‘occurred’ to him that he might not have played this out too well. He was very keen to ensure that their ‘friendship’ wasn’t lost and told her that they should talk.
It was at this point that Cheryl first got in touch and of course I told her 1) they aren’t friends, 2) he’s a freeloading user that enjoyed the fringe benefits of having a besotted female friend that he could screw without conscience, and 3) I suggested that she step back, give this friendship malarkey a rest, lick her wounds, pull herself together, and work on moving forward and getting over him.
Instead, they “hooked up” a couple of times over Christmas, then she kept a distance, then he started bleating on about how he doesn’t want to lose a friend, then she said that she wants to be with him and yada, yada, yada, and they had a Big Talk where after three days (I did wonder if there was a torture camp involved) he said she was his soulmate and she was the one he wanted to be with. Relieved that he had finally “admitted” she was the one, Cheryl naturally thought that Bob would stick to his word, and end it with the girlfriend.
Right? Wrong of course!
He didn’t finish it with his girlfriend, because you know, it’s like, hard, because Bob like a lot of Mr Unavailables, believes that he is the centre of the universe and that he’s the only man who has ever had to end a relationship.
And so it continues and Cheryl keeps saying what she wants, walking away, coming back and he, get this, has even said that he’ll forgo them sleeping together if it means that they can remain friends.
Cheyl’s biggest concern seems to be wondering why he chose the other woman as a girlfriend and not her, and analysing/obsessing over the situation. She asks, “I mean, I understand that he is probably emotionally unavailable with his girlfriend (based on his cheating etc), but how was he able to take action with her and to continue to do so and care enough to get back together? How can I possibly not take it personally when it was just me that he didn’t and doesn’t want to be in a real relationship with?”
And where is Bob? With his girlfriend of course!
And this is where I have stepped in, because even me, several thousand miles away who speaks to many women over the course of the week, feels perplexed by the absolute madness.
Cheryl, he’s not taking any action with her. Having a girlfriend, cheating on her by having sex with you, and also telling you that you are his soulmate and how he is leaving her (emotional cheating) is not the act of a boyfriend who is taking action with her. In fact, he’s in No-Man’s-Land.
He’s not probably emotionally unavailable – he is emotionally unavailable.
You should take it personally!
You should take it personally that he is trying to be with you when he is with someone else and that he makes promises that he breaks.
You should take it personally that he has been sleeping with you when he has a girlfriend. But you should take it very personally that you don’t see what is wrong with the situation, you won’t be the one to walk away, and you are still trying to rationalise his behaviour.
You are focused on the fact that this man has a woman that he calls a girlfriend. She’s that in name only because you and him have been conducting a relationship behind her back!
You are seeking status. You want a seat at the top of the table so that he can call you his girlfriend. Why? So that he can then cheat on you with someone else? So that you can feel validated and vindicated for your efforts?
Here is the deal: However you choose to break up with him, whether you tell him, don’t tell him, whatever, you and only you can be the one to break up. It takes more strength from you than it does to lie back and accept a ridiculous situation.
He will be there, badgering you for sex and for your so called ‘friendship’ and breaking promises to you for as long as you let him.
This is a situation that you are creating and aiding and abetting, and you can walk away, even if you have to sit on your hands, or you cry for the first while.
But here is something: If you walk away he is likely to stay where he is, with her. He will chase you but if you don’t go back, he’ll still be with her because these men specialise in inertia.
If he left her and came to you, very soon after, he’d either start sleeping with the girlfriend he just broke it off with, or find a new woman.
Surely this would bother you, or are you so focused on the ‘prize’ that you don’t see the reality?
You don’t go from screwing a guy that’s effectively screwing you over, to the fairy tale! You can’t just erase his treatment of you! I doubt you’ll even be able to sleep easy at night because even if he told you he finished it with her, how will you know that he’s not creeping back there?
You are never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, going to be his one and only because this guy is an asshole and an assclown.
He isn’t your friend – he’s a spineless, cheating, deceiving parasite and you and only you allow him to behave as he does. She is clueless, you are not.
You can’t shag someone into shelving his girlfriend and replacing her with you – that’s ridiculous!
On top of that, he has told you what it is that he thinks he values from you…and it’s this so-called ‘friendship’. He would rather be your friend than do the decent, honourable thing.
What makes someone ‘girlfriend’ material with Mr Unavailable and what makes you the Other Woman? A surefire thing that puts you in the Fallback hotseat is that you don’t care that he has a girlfriend and you will be there regardless.
One of you seems a bit clueless and innocent, the other is all knowing and trying to turn the situation to her advantage…fruitlessly.
You’re the Fallback Girl because you have never asserted your better sense of self and not allowed him to take advantage of you. You’re the Fallback Girl because you allow men like this to disrespect you and you’re behaving in a disrespectful manner to yourself.
I am sorry to be so blunt but I think in a situation like this, it is the only option.
Stop making excuses for him and make the break. If you stay, you and only you are responsible for where you are.