When you know he loves you but isn’t doing his part in the relationship, it can be really tough to walk away.
There is something so addictive about the idea that he may wake up and start to treat you better. It can be so tempting to believe that he will wise up and realize that he may lose you. But the reality is that you can’t stick around hoping that he will change. And chances are—he won’t change, at least not long-term.
I dated this man for a while who pushed all the right buttons inside my heart. I was aflutter with lust and new love within hours of knowing him. We had a spiritual, emotional and physical connection that was off the charts, and I knew he felt the same way I did. I could see in his eyes, in the way he looked at me and softened-over when I walked in a room. I knew in the core of my being that he was hooked on me. I felt sure we were soul mates and that we were destined to take care of each other for life.
The problem was that he soon started treating me like I was an option, like an ‘afterthought’ that came after work, friends, booze, hobbies and even other women. Sometimes he even acted like I was the plague. He was so casual with our relationship and was always quick to tell me that we were just friends or that he wasn’t in a place in his life to be serious. At times he even ignored me and didn’t return my texts for days, as if I had to learn my place or something.
Even Though You Know He Loves You, Don’t Make Excuses For Him Like I Did
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What did I say to all of this poor treatment? “He doesn’t know what he feels and he is scared”. I used to make up excuse after excuse for him. I basically betrayed my own feelings and heart and gave him free passes to walk all over me. I thought that he just needed time, patience, understanding and the love of a woman who REALLY cared about him. See, I told myself that he just needed to know true tenderness and unconditional love and then he would change. I believed that I was this omnipotent healer who was going to save him from himself. That may sound egotistically but guess what? LOTS of women feel this way.
Lots of women relish in being martyrs and thankless nurturers. They get power in these roles, even if the men they love are treating them like doormats. I was one of these women so I should know how powerful it feels. I felt special and privileged. I felt honored to hold a place so deep in his soul—to be able to have touched his being so deeply—even though I wasn’t actually getting anything from him in the relationship.
This guy would cancel dates, ignore my invitations, flirt with other women in my presence and refused to have a sexually exclusive relationship with me. I made excuses for all of it and felt so lucky when he would contact me or engage me. I told myself that he was damaged and it wasn’t his intention to treat me like a bus-stop bench. I edited all his texts, emails, phone conversations in my mind and only listened to the parts that could have been translated to mean that he cared about me and loved me.
And he DID love me. He told me repeatedly. He even admitted that he was a commitment phobe and wished he could avoid feeling smothered when he got close to me. I don’t think he was lying; the problem was that I was lying to myself.
Be Realistic About The Potentiality Of The Relationship
I was lying to myself about the potentiality of that relationship. I refused to even think about the fact that it would have been impossible to ever trust him after all he had done to me, and that for us to work, he would have had to change the fiber of his being and everything about the way he related with people. I didn’t want to accept that people usually don’t change (not without a willingness and a proactive attitude) and that he never said anything to me about wanting to change.
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He said, “I wish I wasn’t _____” or “I’m sorry I’m so _____” often. But did he ever do anything about his regrets? Nope. He didn’t care to change, he only wanted me to know that he wasn’t proud of who he was. And what does that say to me now? That he was a masochist who knew he was a chicken and wanted to constantly beat himself up for it. He was the martyr—the martyr for wounded bad boys everywhere.
Love Is Not A Feeling, It’s A Treatment Of Someone
So… if you are stuck in a relationship where the “If only he ____” is so powerful, you can’t walk away, then dare to change your idea of love.
At times I discuss the true love connection (TLC) and use it as a new and improved definition of love. Just like John Mayer sings, “Love is a verb”, this program dares you to think of love as a connection—a space between two people—where love freely flows throughout the connection in the form of behaviors, not feelings. You can’t give your feelings to help another person, but you can give your time, energy, words of love, acts of love and thoughts of love to a person. You can’t add to someone’s life by feeling love in your heart—you add to his or her life by giving freely and selfishly of yourself.
If you think that you are soul mates with a guy who barely gives you the time of day, think about how one-sided your connection is and how it will never be a TLC because both of you aren’t actively participating in extending love.
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A good relationship is overall good at any given moment. A good relationship never carries an “on the condition that he changes in the following ways:” clause. A good relationship isn’t based on hope; it’s based on concrete evidence of togetherness.
The Soul Mate Feeling Can’t Be Trusted
Most women who feel a strong, immediate soul connection with an uninvolved partner have been badly rewired in childhood. We are born all-loving and all-trusting, but life experience changes that and sets new relationship patterns in place for us.
When you grow up with an emotionally unavailable father or a controlling mother (or some variation) whom make your feelings and opinions feel invisible (I don’t mean vicious, horrible parents, I just mean flawed in this way) then you get familiar with feeling emotionally unseen and cared for.
Then here comes Mr. Emotionally Unavailable who’s acting from his own life pain and you suddenly feel that familiar feeling of one-sided, misguided love. It’s like you are home again. Even if you are in pain and stressed out because of this man, the pain and stress are so oddly familiar. In that familiarity, a soul connection is created and a bond put in place. The more you suffer because of him, the more you feel connected to him and the more he leaves you feeling empty and emotionally dropped, the more your mind says “Ahhh. Home.”
Dare To Step Out Of The Darkness And Reclaim Your Life
If you want to escape a bad man (or stop a good one from treating you badly) you have change your relationship patterns. That means you have to start ignoring that part of you that wants to play the role of savior and pain-bearer and start preventing yourself from spiraling into the darkness.
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Spiraling into the darkness is about marinating in sorrow, heartburn and anxiety. Spiraling into the darkness is about obsessing and crying over your aching, bleeding heart. Spiraling is about contacting him and jumping to please him even when you don’t want to but have to in order to ease anxiety. Spiraling is when a man has taken your compulsive-side hostage and has you doing things against your better judgment and feeling things that slowly suck out your light and leave you drained of happiness and confidence.
Instead of trying to be a soul mate to some emotionally detached man, try to be a soul-protector for yourself.
Try to do what you can to protect your soul and reclaim your life. Stop allowing him to send you spiraling into the darkness. Be realistic about the relationship, don’t be a doormat and surgically remove him from your heart like the blood-sucking tumor he has become.
When you know he loves you but isn’t treating you well, you must be smart about things. So what he loves you? Did you know a lot of serial killers fall in love with their victims? This may sound dramatic and sinister, but the point is that actions speak louder than sentiment!