Dear Dr. NerdLove:
First off, I’m really glad you do what you do. I’ve read through some of your material and it’s helped me so far.
Now, in order for my question to make sense I have to give some context. I’ll try and shorten this down as much as I can.
Met a girl through OKCupid sometime in 2016. Hit it off right away. She blew my mind and I was head over heels for her.
She was on again/off again with her (now) ex, and I met her during an “off” time. Well, I went to my first year of college out of state, and then transferred to a school in-state. So I was talking to here more once I was back. She was now dating her ex again.
From the beginning I could easily tell she liked me. That kind of attention and chemistry – I knew there was something there and it wasn’t just me. But she was still dating this guy.
Well, I was awash with infatuation and I wasn’t ready to walk away, so I stuck around. She was everything I’d ever wanted. Smart, passionate, a gamer and artist, had drive and goals, had a good head on her shoulders, good person, and drop dead gorgeous. Full package deal. Amazing.
From my perspective though, across the next 4 years, I felt… I felt like I wasn’t being treated well. It didn’t help that she was into me and was still dating her ex, and was torn, and dealing with her own emotions and life, etc – and I also let it continue. I couldn’t walk away yet. Wanting her was far greater of a force than sticking up for my worth. We would only hang out sporadically, and rarely. It was always last minute and was late at night or something similar where I was compartmentalized from the rest of her life. We never *really* went out and did stuff. It was 99% of the time at her house, sitting and talking or watching a show. Not that I don’t want that, but not at the expense of doing anything else.
Well, I walked away the first time in 2018, and she roped me back in. Then again about 6 months later. Then about another 3-6 months after that.
The last time she pulled me back into her life was at the end of August, last year. We met and talked for 3 hours, she confessed to having been REALLY into me this whole time (she had even had dreams about me during the time I had walked away.) and just… didn’t know how to handle that, didn’t feel comfortable with it yet, etc.
She said she only came back because she felt like she was over her ex and wanted to treat me right instead of as a recovery. She even kissed me.
Well, she’d been planning and working up to transferring/going to school across the country, and it was going to happen starting in January.
So I wanted to make the last 4 months she was here great: go on adventures, eat, have a blast, and have some fun in the bedroom. (Which she had opened up about wanting for awhile, but again wasn’t comfortable with it yet.) (we never did.)
So we hung out a few times, and then, of course, it felt like it went back to how it had been before: rarely seeing each other, at-arm’s-length, compartmentalized, etc.
I ended up not seeing her at all for about the last month of her being here, and I called her while she was at a hotel room in St. Louis while on her drive to school. Basically, I ended it. I told her that we hadn’t actually taken any steps forward and I needed to walk away. I think she knew the conversation was coming but was hoping it wouldn’t. When I told her this was it, she talked about how I was one of the only people in her life anymore that she felt close enough to and trusted enough to talk about things with, etc etc.
She then added that “I figured we would keep talking and stuff and we would pick up where we left off when I came back for the summer, just like I’ve done with… all… my… relationships….” (I used ellipses to try and show how, when she said this, she ended up slowly trailing off as the sentence went on, because I think she realized how shitty it sounded.)
I told her that it wasn’t fair to me to wait around and essentially twiddle my thumbs until she came back, with no guarantee of it actually being anything when she did. I shouldn’t have to put my life on hold anymore than I already had.
I told her that, if she reaches a point in her life where she wants me to be a part of it and I’m a legitimate priority, she should come and find me and we would see what happens. (A priority as opposed to what felt like just an option – because I was never really a priority – other friends, family, and other things were always more important or urgent than me.) it ended amicably, I told her I loved her and to “go be successful”.
I will say, up front, that I know I had issues of my own that were a problem. I had expectations, I had a lot of trust issues.
She has insecurities and self worth issues, and I was honestly looking to her to give my life meaning for a long time. Not the most recent stint, but for a long time before I was.
Sorry if that was a bit long winded, it’s a long story.
NOW – it’s been almost 3 months since she’s left, and we haven’t spoken since. I do still care about her, and there is a large part of me that misses her. That’s the same part of me that is considering contacting her and seeing how she’s doing. (In part to see if she’s ok, given the recent pandemic going on.) part of me misses her. Still wants her. Still wants to do all the things we said we’d do. I don’t want to have her as a regret in my life because we didn’t actually move forward. And I still want her.
However – do I trust her again and believe that things will be different? Is it a waste of my time and energy to invite her back in, given that she will be going back to school I’m the fall and, once graduated, be moving to that end of the country/somewhere else in pursuit of her career? Am I BS’ing myself in thinking that there really actually was a chance for anything to happen, or was she just not being truly honest with herself and didn’t have the same feelings? Was her indecision and at-arms-length treatment a much better indicator of her interest and intentions than her words?
And lastly, do I miss HER or am I really just struggling to feel like I have a chance finding someone else as amazing, or that I’m worth being with someone else as amazing?
I’ve struggled with feeling “good enough” for most of my life – one of my parents was always critical, even when given a compliment, and I think it created my struggles with self worth, or at least started them. I’m much better now, but I’m wondering if it’s really that I’m feeling like I have a better chance with her than anyone else because I’m “not worthy” of love.
I don’t know. I’ve been mulling over this for about a week, and I’m just filled with uncertainty. Is there a “litmus rest” or a question to ask myself in order to weed through some of these thoughts?
I hope you can help, I’m not sure what to do/how to approach this.
Also, probably way too wordy, so sorry for that.
Really appreciate the help,
Just When I Think I’m Out…