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

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  J Dee 3 years, 1 month ago.

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    J Dee

    I dated a guy 2 yrs ago. He initially showed a lot of interest, pursued hard, with heavy investment for around 3 months. We got on straight away and I became fond of him. He told me how physically attracted he was to me and commented about how well we got on. We did a lot of enjoyable different things together and there was a good vibe and chemistry between us. However, a few months in, he said he was ‘confused and couldn’t commit’ when I challenged HIM about where we were at (I felt he was taking things a little too casual) In hindsight, I probably should’ve walked away at this point, but I didn’t want to and thought it was worth continuing. He made much more effort again and things were pretty good. However, he then started back pedalling, became distant and eventually went cold. He ended it by text, stating I should find someone who could invest more time and energy (he’s a divorcee and self employed) I was shocked, hurt and angry. I didn’t respond to the text and immediately went NC. This was so cold of him! I ignored his slight attempts to communicate with me (a few days later and over many months) I see him socially as we mix in similar circles. Over time, I have been able to be cordial, but aloof. I felt I was holding negative energy and felt better bring ‘friendly’ when interacting. I don’t do social media and there’s no scope for communication via this medium.

    I’m attractive, confident and always been in great shape and carry myself very well. I’ve maintained my fitness, healthy lifestyle and have a good balance of work, family, friends and an active social life. I’ve been on dates, but haven’t met anyone special. I do feel ready to date, but rather quality over quantity. I believe I’ve healed a lot since and always try to learn and grow.

    He always seems happy to me, flirts and compliments me. He also shows jealousy of other guys. A few months ago he gave me a lift home and showed a lot of kindness, interest and curiosity. He was reminiscing and said we can be friends…and you’re welcome to come by my place…’ I played it cool and wanted to ascertain his real interest. My response was that I don’t do friends and I’m not interested in casual. I’m still attracted to him, but cautious as I have lingering feelings. I’m only interested in a relationship and if we were to get back together and it would have to be a new start. I have suggested coffee (to catch up properly) but as yet that hasn’t happened. He was his usual self around me, when I saw him again about 1 month ago.

    However, more recently I saw my ex with someone else. I told him that I’m leaving him to it, as I don’t play games – setting my boundary. It stung, seeing him (she was all over him) but I kept it classy. I can still feel the chemistry and attraction between us. The new girl looked a little nervous around me – almost intimidated. He didn’t introduce us. He approached me later on during the evening (when she wasn’t around) and insisted on buying me a drink. I reminded him that we weren’t friends and added that I know he understands why! He laughed it off, but I could tell he didn’t like it. He then told me ‘not to burn my bridges’ (as if to suggest I’d be missing out?)

    I’m not even sure I want him back and I certainly do not wish to stroke his ego. I’m really trying to move on, looking to date others, but still emotionally a bit attached and I don’t wish this experience to cloud future relationships. I’ve come along way since the break up, but also wish I still didn’t feel so sensitive about him (I believe sending that text says a lot about his character) I find his behaviour confusing. I’ve never experienced a situation like this with an ex before and usually have no involvement with them. I’m a proud person, Yes, of course I’m the one that matters and I continue to focus on myself, but I’m not sure what he wants from me. He rejected me and I’ve had to deal with that and wouldn’t want to experience that from him again on any kevel! Is his behaviour residue feelings, control based, hot and cold, or does he think I’m his back up plan? I’m nobody’s option!! Why hold on to a connection, if you didn’t appreciate and value the person when you had the opportunity?



    Hi J Dee,

    His behavior isn’t residue-based. There was something about you that wasn’t quite enough.

    That is why he ended the relationship by text.

    He didn’t even feel that the connection was worthy enough of a phone call or face to face meeting to let you know that he wanted to end the relationship.

    He has always had doubts about his relationship with you.

    He was initially too casual with the relationship to the point where you felt the need to challenge him in asking him about where the both of you were.

    He made more effort after that but he eventually started backpedaling and then became distant.

    Not long after this, you got the text from him letting you know that you should find someone who can invest more time and energy into you.

    This lets you know that he didn’t believe that his relationship with you was worth his time and effort.

    It was always about being casual.

    He may have made more of an effort when you challenged him about what the both of you were.

    However, he only did that because he was worried about losing the casual benefits that he had with you too prematurely or before he was ready to.

    Even though, since the breakup, he has given you a ride home, at which point he suggested that the both of you can be friends and even told you that you were welcome to come by his place, this doesn’t indicate that he wants to get serious with you.

    The new girl that you observed being all over him at that social meeting isn’t someone that he is serious about. If she was, he would have introduced her to you and most likely wouldn’t have offered to buy you a drink when he knew that she wasn’t around.

    What he has most likely been doing of recent is trying to see whether he can reestablish a casual relationship with you.

    It is not so much that his behavior is control-based, it is more so that he doesn’t want to let a good thing go.

    You don’t do it for him emotionally, neither does this new girl that you saw him with.

    However, you do it for him physically. That is what he desires the most.

    His unwillingness to become more serious or committed could have something to do with a previous relationship that left him incredibly damaged emotionally.

    He may have not gotten over it and has a protective invisible wall up to his emotions as a result.

    He is hot and cold because he knows that all he wants from you is something casual.

    That is why he hasn’t taken you up on your offer to meet for coffee. He would much rather you just come over to his place and get physically intimate with him.

    He doesn’t want to put in the work on building a stronger emotional connection or level of trust.

    He doesn’t want to expose himself to that nor make himself emotionally vulnerable by opening up to you.

    He just wants to get physical. That is where he feels safest.

    He doesn’t necessarily think that you are his backup plan. He sees you as being someone that he can have physical intimate relations with at the same time as he continues the same kind of relationship with the current girl that you saw him with.

    In essence, he wants to have multiple intimate relations at the same time.

    This way, he increases the chances that he doesn’t get bored.

    He is holding on to the connection because he knows that you are a person that could give him the kind of affection, attention and physical intimacy that he needs without having to get serious with you.

    At least, that was what it was like initially before you challenged him on what you both were. He wants to go back to that.

    He wants to go back to the time that he didn’t have to commit or be serious about his relationship with you.

    That is why he continues to hold on to this connection.

    He is not looking at it as never having appreciated or valued the person when he had the opportunity.

    He is more so looking at it as his opportunity to keep someone in his life that he hopes will revert to how it once was because that is all that he believes he is able to give her at this stage in his life.


    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,

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