Friends with an ex who says he doesn’t love me/want me, but it feels like he does
I have been dating this person on and off for nearly half a decade. I am an aqua, so I struggle with relating to feelings and being aware of the things I say/do that upset or hurt him. When we met, we were both in a weird place, and there was an issue with a past relationship he had that he worked with and was still getting over. I realized a few months into dating, and broke it off, explaining why. He apologized, and said he knew, and then we kind of remained distant friends.
He would invite me out but I would usually decline just because I generally don’t like to go out that much unless its with someone I know quite well; I was also admittedly insecure due to his success and being a known name in the intellectual community, though he mixes with celebrity types and has dated mostly famous women who are on magazine covers. I look like them, but I just don’t value that life, though I tried it. For many reasons, just didn’t work for me. Though. as his actual work is intellectual in nature, and is very humanitarian minded, we share a very interesting and stimulating mental connection, and feed off each other in that regard.
A few years ago, somehow we got close again, and started dating. We always had an intense physical connection, and due to his status, I never really thought a relatioship with him would be possible because of his type and because I would choose Bill Gates over Brad Pitt anyday, without hesitation. However, during that time, our relationship progressed quite nicely. Unfortunately, he is always ambiguous and although I knew he was seeing other women, would not be open about his feelings or what he was doing. I’m very logical and honest, and feel that if I genuinely care about someone, I don’t have to be their end all and be all. I need a lot of alone time, I need time to refresh and recharge, emotionally from people, so in a way, i find it almost beneficial to me if he has someone else, who is a little more “fun” and “flashy” and can help fulfill him in those whays where I cannot.
I’m someone who is monogamous is nature, so even if he;s with other women, I have no interest in other men. My independence and desire to be alone; take off, travel spontaneously is a freedom that I need, so knowing who he is, I feel that in being granted that kind of freedom, it is only fair for me to understand that I need to give him his freedom in his way to be fulfilled. I know that most people define love as monogomy, and that is something I struggle with as well; everyone says “one person should be enough for everyone”, and maybe for me that is the case, but that is simply because I thrive when I’m alone. I love traveling places I don’t know anyone by myself, and living there for a few months. And I don’t believe love has anything to do with ownership or making someone happy; its about two individuals who are able to be happy unto themselves, choosing to be each other’s best friend and lover.
That does not mean there cannot be passionate tyrsts along the way, and that type of fall quickly in love and out, is a pattern he has with those more “glamorous, glittery” types who honestly are not necessarily better looking than me, but who took the oppourtunities I tried but never felt motivatied enough to chase and succeed with modeling and acting, and I prefer to direct my intense ambition into business and technology and philantropy. So, even though I was very open about this and told him I could take anything as long as there was honesty, he never would tell me when things were happening or when he was developing crushes for other women.
He would just slowly start acting from talk every day, many times, to going out all the time, not calling for weeks, and I broke up with him quickly and pointed out why after a few weeks of this behavior. He apologied and said I was right. Then a few months later, somehow, we started talking again, and we got close again. With the intention of remaining friends; he explained what happened and why and that he was having feelings for someone else, ect. I understood, I just didn’t understand why he couldn’t talk to me about it. He agreed.
And so we started talking. and found ourselves meeting for dinner, which inevitably led to more because at the time, we were so intensely attracted to each other. Again we got close, and this time it progressed even more. Meeting family, going to public events togehter, meeting family and friends, but I was never his girlfriend, and he never said he loved me. However, I was going through a tough time in my life due to a family death and some fallout/legal issues over inheritance and other things I won’t bother you with. And being someone who hates asking for help or sharing their problems, he was the only person with the persistance to not only get me to confide in him, but then offer help.
In fact, I fell apart, completely. and he was always there. Always. However, bc of what I was going through I grew selfish, demanding, kind of childish, and just locked in victim mode; never for a minute thinking of his feelings, even as he was doing so much for me. We broke up. It was really hard on me as I had fallen completely in love. And the next few months, he wanted to stay friends, but in hindsite, I had done enough damage to cause him to punish me with silent treatment, dating other famous women somewhat publically, and disappearing.
But we would check in every once in awhile, and a few months ago, I called bc I just needed him, and he was there as if nothing happened. Since then its been kind of tough for us both; communication isn’t like it was, there seems to be a power struggle there never was, and he’s very very adamant about not sharing anything about his life. However, at the same time, he’s doing things that only a person who loves someone would do. This time, we are just friends and have been that way for awhile.
But I do see the passive aggressive hints of attraction, though he also often goes out of his way to physically maintain difference. I now understand that that is him trying not to give into that. I won’t disclose the details of I mean when I say he does things that only a person in love wld do, but, as a metaphor, let’s say he drew up a contract and asked me to help him with a new project, and wanted to hire me on it. Said project will last decades if it does well, so we will be in each other’s lives doing something we care about together for a long long time, and he has nothing to gain from this. Infact, his work schedule is insane, and he’s, in this metaphor, paying me for a job that doesn’t need to be done…like say, designing and maintaing an organic garden. In my heart, he;s the only person who has ever touched me the way he has. I am fiercly loyal to him, and haven’t been interested physically or otherwise to another man. If I ever need anything, if I need to cry, he’s there. If he thought I needed something and I said I didn’t, he’s the type that would go get it and bang down my door until I answered. However, I cannot figure out if this is love or not.
Sometimes I hate him, sometimes he hates me, and sometimes we send each other texts that bring tears of joy to our eyes. I only recently became aware of my behavior and why he was angry at me/treating me like I was “trouble”, not trusting me with any part of his life. He finally stood up to me, although I have always told him to do so if I hurt him or acted crazy because of stress and grief, he never did. He would take ownership of my anger and complete lack of appreciation for him, and apologize. After which I would snap out of it and realize. But its happened so many times, it took him yelling at me, and explaining it for me to realize. I had become a person who felt he owed me; like my happiness was his responsiblity.
When I saw it, that for over a year now he’s stood by me and I’ve done nothing but moan and complain, I felt so bad, I literally was crying for two days. And I apologized this time in a way that he saw I got it; infact I told him to move on as I didn’t want to hurt him while I was still hurting. But he refused, as he always does. Also, just because we are different in our partnership styles, there is assumptions we both make. Example; When he’s overwhelmed with work, and kind of gives me one word answers or is dismissive, I told him I was going away, when I wasn’t, and asked the secretary for our project to pass all messages to him. I sensed he was mad, but I didn’t get quite how mad/hurt he was. During our arguement, I told him I had lied and why; bc I felt things were tense and he needed a break from me, since our emotional connection can be “heavy”.
Its that intense. I also am brutally honest, and I once o twice had done things that I felt betrayed his trust, although most people would think it was not a big deal. I did this time again, and told him about it…as I did the first, without any prompting or bc there was any chance he would have found out. Infact he never would have, but I hated myself for that behavior and I felt he deserved to know and that face the consequences of my behavior. I think it was in this that he saw me for who I was again, and not the childish and hurtful, just self-centered behavior he had put up with for well over a year. And now, although he has told me he loved me a few times, he switches it to like.
He doesn’t act like a man in passionate love, but I can sense that intense focus you guys get that’s almost smothering, on me. We are tlaking and laughing and being partners and friends again. But, part of me feels like I need ot run away because it’s so hard for me to have these feelings. They hurt, as good as they feel. It’s just never been in my capacity to deal with that kind of connection, where you feel what the other person feels. Infact i’ve always chosen practical partners who loved me more than i them; it suited me better so I can do what i love most and invest my energy in my career.
Emotions like this, make everything in my logical world not make sense. I guess my question is..him having seen me behave and also look my worst…is it possible he is still attracted to me. And why is it so hard for him to own up to the feelings he has for me? Or am I again misreading the situation, and basing my judgements on logic rather than your less emotional world.
I know he dates other women, he must, but I can’t imagine him having a profound connection with anyone else, and still acting like an “old married couple” with me, as people say we do. We bicker, we banter, we tease each other, we try to outwit eachother, we both think the other doesn’t really care, and then when we finally fight and talk about it, we instantly go back to best friends, lots of cute litttle notes, how are you, do you need anything, terms of endermeant, ect. Sorry for the long message, its extremely complicated. I know he will always be in my life on some level, and vise versa, but I don’t want to set myself up for another heartbreak if he for whatever reason, despite my feelings, cannot see me as a viable partner. Thanks
It feels like with your story you basically lost the “benefit of the doubt” factors with him if he ever had concerns about you such as with loyalty and compatibility issues for a relationship.
You tend to focus a lot on physical appearance when it comes to comparing yourself to the woman he has been seeing in your writing. Just for a different perspective for something to think about usually when someone is in a very “glamorous” or “well known” position a lot of people can’t treat them like a “normal” person as a result. Just like the feelings you expressed where you are self-conscious about his success and all many people would feel the same. So when it comes to woman you can imagine how many people are afraid to even be with him.
Now these “model” looking woman often have one thing in common. The confidence. In many scenarios “attractive” woman that know they “look good” feel that they can talk and get any man they want in sense. They would have no problem talking to the “successful” person while treating them like a “normal” individual as they are confident about themselves in their own skin. By the simple matter of “taking the chance” these woman are often the only ones who even take a shot at it. So don’t focus so much on physical appearance here I say as it’s all about being yourself naturally and showing that genuine care and desire to learn and be with the other. It’s like the saying on how so many famous people love the idea of just being able to go to the grocery store and buy things like a “normal” person.
Think about it even with friends. If I was constantly terrified in being around you where I can’t be myself, always felt the need to impress you to be on your “level” or thinking that I am so “boring” compared to every other guy you can be with do you not think that will show while effecting our friendship?
With the conflict you had where you mentioned he helped you during a time in need and you hurt him that makes me think that your analogy example of paying you for a job that isn’t even needed would make me think fundamentally it’s about trust/relatability and not necessarily love. Again, based on what you wrote so far I am inclined to say you used up your “benefit of the doubt” moments in his book for a relationship but he still values you in his life per se. Even for myself I do all those things you mentioned for people such as being there in need while going out of my way to do so. That doesn’t say love in any way but rather care in a sense of you did something right where the person feels your health and well-being is a positive thing.
For some extra thoughts in that we often gravitate towards people we relate too. Odds are there are a ton of things about you and your circumstances that reminds him of himself. Therefore, offering you the help in times of needs can be like a way where one reflects “if only I had someone to help me during those times” moments where the hope is you are like just as genuine as he was in those situations in times of need.
So to me in that regards everything would make perfect sense that way. Basically at first your life experience and all was something he was really able to relate to. The bumps you experienced on the way in a sense placed barriers to seeing it as like a lover type of relationship. Is there still a chance he is attracted to you? Well, technically yes if he is still associating with you and he is “available” per se. Is it realistic based on what happened to push for it? That is stretching it as I would imagine if it was to happen it has to happen naturally. Many things can happen in that time too.
Why is it so hard to express the feelings? The simple answer is he doesn’t know exactly what to make of it and doesn’t want to say the wrong things. Example, by the sounds of it meeting other woman helps him to answer these questions too as unfortunate as that may sound for you. It’s like situations where so many things seem right but it constantly blows up. Example, are all woman just like that? Does he have to ”compromise” his beliefs on what his ideal significant other is?
A general comment about you saying you only chose people who you felt loved you more than you did for them. If you haven’t already I think it is very important for you to understand this for yourself in an honest way. Because I would imagine these types of questions alone are more important than wondering like what and how this guy thinks about you. In many ways you can logistically eliminate the possibility of a relationship if those goals and wants don’t align.
You say you thrive when you are alone traveling as an example. What if theoretically you found a person that literally loves and related to the same things you did where no questions asked you actually did thrive better with this person with you on those adventures? Would you actually still not want them with you? Again, the circumstance is it is guaranteed that everything will be better. This is to kind of challenge yourself where hopefully you truly do understand why it is you have those preferences as it directly relates to the realities of you and this person being a potential couple I feel.
It should answer things like what exactly is it specifically that you fulfill by like being alone where you currently think it is impossible to experience with another? Why is that important? At the same time, if you must frequently take like a few months away from your partner then what exactly is this partner to you in life? Like for myself and my personality when it comes to a relationship I also believe it shouldn’t be about having to make someone happy as opposed to like two people already being happy where coming together just makes everything so “perfect” as they say. But at the same time all connections require consistent care. Especially if you designed a life together around it.
Like saying if I am the water and you are the sunlight where we decided together we wanted to make a beautiful garden then that is something that requires a consistent presence from the both of us. If you decided you want to leave for three months myself as “water” will still be the same. But that garden you agreed to create with me is now destroyed which will take more time to clean up and rejuvenate. Would either of us want to constantly live like that? If you say no where that means we shouldn’t have a garden then what’s the point of us coming together in the first place? You may as well just come to me whenever you want some water and that will be the extent of our relationship. Just some extra thoughts to think about that I personally feel could be related to like this person’s way of thinking too.