Reply To: Why does my ex want a connection, if he doesn't want to be with me?

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J Dee

Hi Luke,

Thank you so much for such an insightful response. You are truly a gifted, wise man and I respect your opinion and perspective.

My ex has perplexed me and your views have enabled me to have a better understanding of his behaviour, which is ultimately what I was seeking. I am self-aware and analytical, but can struggle with deciphering male behaviour.

Although disappointing, I don’t believe my ex is a bad guy. However, he wasn’t up front with only wanting something casual (based on what you say, he must have known) and I certainly didn’t present that way, but open to the outcome. We immediately got on and he grew on me. He treated me well and admitted that he really liked me too. He seemed happy to spend prime time with me, regardless of what we were doing. We shared fun times together (it definitely wasn’t just sexual) I challenged him, as a few months in, I felt he made less effort and we were going out less. I didn’t want him believing I was ok with being ‘casual’. We continued for about a year, however, he had become distant, but would just say he was busy.

I have been let down before and feared being rejected, especially after investing in him and the relationship. However, ultimately I was – in a very cruel disrespectful manner by text. He contacted me a few days later, about an unrelated matter as if nothing had happened! I didn’t respond, as I had immediately gone NC. I think he probably expected me to at least text him back, but I didn’t see any point and was angry and upset with him. This knocked my confidence and I was confused about my feelings.

I do now feel that he was probably using me for his benefit and ego. I also agree that he is unwilling to open his heart and be vulnerable. How does a man heal from this? Does he not care that he is hurting women? I can respect a man that is honest about his intentions, or states from the beginning that he isn’t in a place for anything serious (I have experienced this and it has worked for me, if that’s what I wanted from the person/at that time) I imagine he will continue to repeat this pattern to deal with his insecurities. It’s certainly not my role to fix him.

I agree that he is not serious about the girl I’ve seen him with. I wasn’t rude to her, but had no reason to acknowledge her, although she nervously tried to make eye contact and smile at me. I also observed that he was mindful of his behaviour towards me, in her presence and think she picked up on that.

So it’s clear my ex is ‘emotionally unavailable’. I believe his divorce has left him incredibly damaged. He’s a handsome, charming, confident, guy, so this was not apparent when we first met and hard to detect.

I think you’re spot on regarding his lack of ability for a serious commitment. He did share with me that he felt guilty for leaving his wife of many years, for a female friend and I believe suffered financially. Apparently, the marriage had become stale. They become close and fell for each other. However, the relationship didn’t last very long. When I met him he told me he’d been divorced for over 2 years and casually mentioned he was seeing someone, but it wasn’t working out and pretty much done (I had no idea at this point, that that this was the woman he had left his wife for!) I would not have got involved with him had I known, to avoid a rebound situation.

I see now, he does have a wall up to protect himself, but loves the companionship and benefits of a ‘girlfriend’, without the responsibility. If he wants to have multiple, casual intimate relations at the same time, why does he not openly go for willing participants and not present himself otherwise? Does he not care about hurting people, including the new girl?

I know he is still very physically attracted to me, but I’m worth more than to be his play thing. Or for him to have his cake and eat it too. He knows that I am seeking a long term relationship, yet he shows annoyance and tries to ‘cock block’ other guys. This behaviour is unfair and selfish. He shouldn’t be holding on to the connection that could give him the kind of affection, attention and physical intimacy that he needs without having to get serious.

So in your opinion is he ever likely to change? I tend to be of the opinion that if a man doesn’t want a relationship, it’s usually another way of saying ‘not with you’. However, we did have a good thing and we got on effortlessly, which has made it difficult for me to accept. I agree emotionally there is a disconnect. He had shown some vulnerability, but I felt in my gut, he had a wall up and couldn’t give me what I wanted. It’s very frustrating, as it feels like we have unfinished business, lingering feelings and chemistry remains strong. I actually wish I didn’t feel this way!

I am very grateful for the knowledge and clarity you have shared. It is helpful for healing, guiding my thoughts and for future interactions. I have recently started talking to a guy whom I like. I am keen to move forward with my life and do not wish for this experience to cause me unnecessary caution, or demonstrate harbouring feelings for someone else. I wouldn’t want to ruin the good work and progress that I have made working on myself. I want to be the best version of myself – and in a good place for a man who is 100% sure about me!

Thanks again,