I have been emotionally involved (in love) with a boy for two years. We began as casual friends then started hooking up. We have a lot of similar interests---fishing, horseback riding, hunting, dancing at bars on the weekend--it was a natural affinity for each other.
I was never the only girl he was hooking up with, however, but he was pretty much the only boy for me. To put it in perspective, we live on a small town on a small island in Alaska. Despite the men-to-women ratio being pretty high, the pickings are pretty slim. But aside from that, I genuinely love this guy and even if there were several others to choose from, I would still want just him.
Anyway, this guys is an unapologetic player. He is in his early 20's and I can't really blame him. He made it pretty clear that he wasn't interested in a relationship with me or anyone. I had reached the point where I was ok with that because I thought as long as we were on good terms but also having good sex (work in progress) I could at least work on becoming really good friends with him, and I wasn't worried about him getting a girlfriend because he was too much of a player. I think this boiled down to me allowing him to treat me like a doormat because I was too busy being the "cool girl" to really notice what was going on.
The hookups stopped 6 months ago when--SURPRISE--he actually landed a steady girlfriend. I had suspicions when he would just never follow up on invitations to hang out, saying he was busy or had to work or whatever. I had to confirm his relationship status from a mutual friend...
(Smitten edit: Over the next few paragraphs the Reader describes keeping her distance but having little moments of eye contact/silent connection with this guy over several months, culminating with him inviting her to a party that his new girlfriend is not at..)
...we go upstairs and try to have sex but at that point he had whiskey dick and I was not about to give him head for this occasion so we passed out. The next morning we woke up full of regret, except his regret was not hurting two women's feelings but about covering his own ass. My regret was allowing myself to get into this hurtful situation when I knew better.
We haven't spoken since. I have not waved to him or acknowledged him since. His girlfriend had suspicions that something had happened between us (a month later). She asked me and I told her the truth. They broke up. I was still very angry with him for not having the maturity to treat me with some respect as a friend. Like perhaps apologize for being an asshole the morning after considering our history.
I ended up leaving town on vacation and thought I was over it by the time I came home (two weeks ago). Lo and behold he is the first person that I see (and last person i want to see) when I am out horseback riding with my dad. They stopped to talk and I completely ignored him again.
But besides all of this bullshit, I still love this guy and I feel like i have never been completely honest with him and it breaks my heart to think that we really can’t even seem to be friends anymore. So I am wondering what to do now? I know he is leaving town for a family visit. Do I request that he meet me in person after he gets back so that I can admit that I've acted childish and I really just want it to be ok between us? Do I start waving at him again and pretend like nothing happened and just give it some serious time and then maybe the next time we bump into each other I can admit to acting like a child? Or do I just hang tight and icy and eventually he'll come around?
We feel your pain! The crazy, maddening thing about love is that it can make absolutely no sense. In the first chapter of Smitten we each describe our most extreme early choices for romantic partners: men who lied, postured, cheated and stole from us. They were obviously bad choices, yet we still felt deep love for these guys. WTF?
Perhaps one reason we fall in love with less-than-ideal men is because intellectual understanding and emotions are processed in two different parts of the brain. So we might know something intellectually but feel very differently. In your clear logical mind you know this guy is not a positive, loving force holding your heart with precious care. Yet you still love him. Oh yes, we have been there. Most every woman has. And you likely won’t move on until you integrate your intellectual knowing with your emotional intelligence.
So first we’ll address your questions about what to do to repair the relationship: Act icy and aloof? Ask for a meeting and admit to your “childish” behavior? Wave hello and pretend nothing has happened?
Since you know something about the Smitten philosophy, you know that we never advocate for acting inauthentically. Therefore waving hello to him when you don’t really mean it, or acting icy when you’re actually burning up inside are not viable options. This is because they aren’t honest responses. When you act dishonestly, you are reinforcing the belief that it’s not okay to live your truth, or speak what you feel, or be guided by instinct. This will diminish your own inner light. So, no. Do not pretend anything with this guy. Nobody is worth that kind of self-sacrifice.
When you do speak with him (which you eventually will, since you can’t get away from each other on this tiny island!), you must speak what is true in your experience--not what you think you should say in order to make him return as your lover. Communicating your honest experience to him without attacking, blaming or trying to manipulate a favorable result, would be an courageous and powerful act on your part.
Twice you wrote that you have behaved like a child and need to make amends. From our perspective, you have been reacting honestly to his irrational, unkind and self-serving behavior.
We applaud you for taking responsibility for cleaning up your side of the street. This is called emotional and interpersonal maturity.
But when you go beyond your part and try to cross the street and clean up the mess made by the other person, or take blame for their hurtful behavior, it is called enabling and co-dependency. You can’t take full responsibility for the broken state of the relationship. He too has made a mess of things. You can’t clean up his side of the street. That’s his job (it is yet to be seen if he has the heart and nutsack to do it). But making things easy for him in hopes he’ll come back to you could never turn out well. He’ll stay immature and you’ll end up on your knees cleaning piss and shit the entire relationship.
Perhaps we don’t need tell you this because it’s obvious you have a good head on your shoulders, but this guy is not in your stratosphere. He is nowhere near your level of awesomeness. His behavior lacks the sexiest attribute men can possess—personal accountability. We suspect this is due to his young age and immaturity, or perhaps bad parenting and shoddy genetics. Either way it is clear he is deeply insecure.
Yes, he’s the one that is insecure. Here’s why:
He knows you are suffering but it doesn’t affect him because he desperately needs to be liked. He’ll keep you hanging on regardless of the damage this is doing to your heart because his ego is being affirmed by your love for him. He’s insecure about his place in the world and how he measures up, which equals seriously low self-worth. Having multiple women desire him (being a “player”) makes him feel better about himself, and that’s all that matters. His personality is not substantial enough to integrate empathy and compassion which are hallmarks of genuine maturity and confidence.
Maybe one day he’ll grow out of this, maybe not. But you are sure as shit not going to wait around for him. And you sure as shit are not going to apologize or take the blame because he is acting like a limp-dicked little douche-baby.
It is your responsibility to set a standard for yourself in how you want to be loved, and then stick to it. By letting him off the hook you are broadcasting the message that you will take less, that you deserve only scraps, that you are not worth the full feast. Continuing to entertain the idea that he is worth your time will keep you from recognizing someone who truly is. But more importantly, it will keep you from building your adult life on a solid foundation of self-love and self-acceptance. Again, this is a sacrifice too great for anyone to make.
So what to do? You must fill your heart, belly, sexuality up with much richer flavors. You’ve been subsisting on this guy’s tidbits and leftover scraps, but he is a very tiny (and not particularly juicy) fish in a huge boundless sea. You’re Alaskan—tap into the energy of pure natural abundance that is all around you. Ride out into the woods alone on your trusty steed, feel the power between your thighs, springtime on your cheeks, and smell the budding blooms pushing through the frost. Let the solid sensuality of Mother Nature fill your soul. Back in town put on your sexiest lingerie (order some if you’re low on supplies) and go out dancing with your friends. Better yet, take a field trip to the next island over to sample some fresh meat. Flirt your face off. Make out with someone else. Vibe out on your own beauty and vitality.
And yes, see a therapist if you are so inclined. A professional can help you uncover some underlying relationship patterns and make deeper connections that will serve you in your next relationship. Plus therapy is awesome and awesome people like you deserve to experience the riches of heightened self-awareness.
We adore you precious Alaskan babe! Please check in in coming months and let us know how it all unfolds…
Ariel & Simone