Each client with whom I work has one major obstacle in his life that is preventing him from finding love with a compatible partner.
It is incredibly important to figure out what this thing is- whether it is a fear of commitment, fear of vulnerability, another sort of issue he is having with himself, or in the case of today’s client, a very common ailment: an attachment to an old flame or an ex.
The problem with being attached to an ex is that until you cleanse yourself of this attachment and the remaining feelings, you are never going to be able to move on and
a) Find someone who you really want to invest in, because you are still secretly invested in that ex, and b) invest in anyone new at all.
Also, the attachment to the ex- and perhaps the hope that you will one day be together again- can cause you to self-sabotage, ruining your chances with people who are suitable potential mates- and probably more so suitable mates than your ex (there is a reason why you are not with them).
I remember my relationship my junior year of college. I had met a guy who was everything I wanted on paper- smart, handsome, charming- and on top of it all, we got each other, senses of sarcasm building on each other’s like bananas on peanut butter.
But as much as I gave, I was constantly frustrated by Nate, who was always saying self-sabotaging obnoxious things, talking to me in a general condescending and often grandiose way, and was hesitant to turn the relationship into something serious.
I didn’t know what was going on, but I did know that although I cared deeply about him- and was very attracted to him- I wasn’t happy. It was like we were going through the motions of being together, but it was all just an act, nothing real there at all.
After a little while of seeing each other, we were sprawled on the couch on a lazy Sunday watching football, when it finally came out: He was still in love with Ashley.
He barely saw her anymore, he said, she was doing some kind of community service in South America, but yet whatever they had had still haunted him, still tied him in knots, and most importantly, kept him from opening himself up to me and to the potential of us ever really being in love.
This is not to say that I didn’t have my own issues that also contributed to the failure of our relationship- I was terrified of monogamy- but I was also hesitant to deal with my issues and open myself up to the possibility of love and true involvement when I could tell that it wasn’t an option for him. His feelings, and his heart, were somewhere else.
And so my client today had a similar problem today to Nate- an attachment to his ex that was still very much alive, complete with the hope that they would someday get back together.
So here’s the bad news, which I unfortunately didn’t recognize with Nate- I just continued being unhappy. If someone wants to be with you, THEY WILL BE WITH YOU! Don’t make excuses for them- if they are still maintaining contact with you, particularly if they are with someone else, they are taking advantage of you, wanting the comfort and security that you provide, and maybe the love that you still profess, as a security mechanism and an ego booster, or maybe they are still keeping you around just in case they need a booty call. Either way, it’s bad news bears.
Nate was on the right track in a physical sense- he had almost completely cut himself off from contact with Ashley, but not in an emotional sense- having obviously not explored the feelings that were still there that prevented him from moving on.
And so this is the challenge- to figure out what still keeps you tied to that ex, and to recognize the things about them, or about the relationship that simply didn’t work or weren’t right for you. Not now, and not ever. Say Sayonara.