Learning From the Past
We learn some of the best lessons AFTER a relationship ends. The problem is that you usually can't go to the source and get it - you need to learn it from looking at the relationship objectively - and sometimes that takes an outside opinion. This reader is seeking just such an opinion...
I'm writing to you again not because I'm in a jam, but because I want to learn from a previous relationship. My girlfriend broke up with me 2 months ago. It was cold-hearted and all of a sudden. We dated for 4 months and were so glad to have found each other.
Nonetheless, after claiming she loved me so much one day, she claimed she need to get her life together and broke up with me the next. A few weeks after she canned me I was still looking for answers and was still very upset. I called her brother one night to ask his advice since Angela would no longer speak to me. He was very nice, but told me to move on. I also spoke with her best friend on a few occasions whom I had become buddy's with, but I began to piss her off since she obviously didn't want to take sides.
Although you probably would have told me never to contact this woman again after the break, I called her last night. I told her that I was having a hard time hating someone who I cared so much about and wanted to at least be able to be civil to each other. What I found out was that she was in North Carolina for 2 weeks visiting her ex-boyfriend who she hadn't seen in over a year since he was serving in Iraq. She claimed that they were "talking again" and she was considering moving back there. I told her she was making a huge mistake because this was the same guy who cheated on her not once, but twice during their 2-year relationship. Likewise I said that she would regret it. We talked about our breakup. She told me that he contacted her a week before and that added to her decision to break up with me. She then told me how annoyed she was that I contacted her friends and family (this is my main concern in writing to you.)
Though I suppose it made me look insecure, I had no one else to turn to and was trying to learn why she would break up our relationship so suddenly. I told her she broke up with me very childishly, and that she couldn't even do it in person. Had she done so, I would have been pissed, but would have at least thought of her as somewhat mature. We agreed to be civil to each other if we ever ran into each other, but that there is zero chance of getting back together. I've read BAM1 and 2 which were very helpful, but I want to know what can I learn from all of this? Did I go overboard in talking to her friends? What steps can I take to make better decisions with my next relationship? What would you recommend if this ever happens again? How does one adopt a cool, uncaring attitude when I'm not that way?
Thanks for your time and effort!
So, let's see here - what lessons did you learn? Well, here are a few:
1) The person that wants the relationship LEAST is in control.2) I don't care how sweet and loving and "perfect" a girl is, the fact is, any girl will lie to you if it's in her best interest.3) By the way, lying though omission (such as not telling you that she was talking to her ex) is lying all the same.4) She's a much, MUCH better liar than you are!5) You rarely will know why someone really breaks up with you.6) You will rarely tell someone why you're really breaking up with them in the future.
These probably seem like something you'd hear from someone that has a chip on his shoulder. I have no chip - I'm just trying to lay it out for you like it really is. The sooner you accept these "lessons" the sooner you'll be in a position to do something about them.
We all get into new relationships with the best intentions, but in fact, what you believe and the realities are often different things. In my new book, "BAM3" I'm writing about the "Male Test". I can't go into it all here as it's rather extensive, but it's something that I think all guys need to learn to do. It's a way to find out at various stages in your relationship exactly where your partner stands. I strongly believe that if guys learned this tool that there'd be far fewer painful breakups and divorces!
I also believe that despite your long conversation that you still don't really know much more than you did before it. You're going to have to accept that when you break up with someone, you're never going to know all the details of why. Most break ups happen during a fight, so the fight itself (or on a secondary level, the think(s) you were fighting about) become the assumed reason. In reality this is rarely the case. What you really want is to be that guy that wants the relationship least - or at least to make her think this.
As soon as you give this away by being overly clingy or needy or too happy in the relationship or pledging your undying love or start getting too romantic or start giving far too much and getting far too less (do you get the picture here?) she has the control - and she knows it. Have you ever had a dog hump your leg? That dog "owned" you. More important, that dog was going to be mentally unhealthy simply because YOU should own the dog - not the other way around. When dogs are in packs, the leader will hump all the other dogs - it doesn't matter if the pack is 20 animals or 2, there has to be a leader.
In a family situation, it's YOU (and every other person in that family) that should be above the dog. The dog will totally relax and be happy and loving when this happens because he no longer has to keep and maintain the power/leadership roll. Relationships are like this too. As soon as your girlfriend starts humping your leg, she's going to get far less happy in the relationship.
The reason for this is that it's YOUR job to be the leader of that relationship. You do this by using WTW (“Willing to Walk”) and IDGAF (“I Don’t Give a F**k”) to establish your dominance. YOU have to maintain that power and frankly, you never get to let your guard down very much. The up-side to this is that it's actually built right into your natural wiring as a man. I don't think any of this will make you feel better right now. Only time will do that. But I hope you save this email and refer to it again once you're out of this funk and ready to move on.
Have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? You can write to me by going to: http://beingaman.com/ask_question.asp for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's Worldtm" (volumes I and II), and other products visit: www.beingaman.com. Check out the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beingaman.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Neder is known around the world as a tough, but fair relationship expert, dealing with all sorts of dating, sex and relationship issues from a man's perspective. Having written 3 books ("Being a Man in a Woman's World™" series) and is working on others, hundreds of articles, been on hundreds of radio and TV shows, he is funny, direct and intuitive.
Do you have a burning question that needs an answer? Are you a man that wants to better experiences with women, or a woman that wants to better understand men? To learn more, go to http://beingaman.com.