I Have a Wonderful Boyfriend, But My Ex Keeps Me Hanging On


Dear Evan,

I have a bit of a situation right now. My college sweetheart whom I have dated for the past 5 years decided to move out of town. On that account, he decided to break off the relationship with me because he says that he is not ready to be in a relationship right now, but wouldn’t mind to come back with me once he’s ready (which is according to him in the next 5 years – after he has finished fooling around). It has now been a year and a half, and during that time, I have been dating this new guy who I really like. However, I find myself being emotionally unavailable for this guy because somehow I’m still hung up on my ex as I have this image that he will come back to me in the future. My ex basically keeps me on a leash – he’s not my boyfriend but he contacts me every day and knowing that I love him, it’s hard not to resist. The guy I am dating now doesn’t know of this situation and my ex also doesn’t know that I am dating someone else. It’s hard for me to make a decision on who I should commit to. My ex asks if I want to come back with him – but I’m worried that due to his past behavior (non-committal behavior) that he will just end up breaking my heart again and again just like before. But at the same time, I feel that I’m not available for this new guy and I feel that I am cheating on him. Can you help shine a light in my love life?

Cheers, A.

Until you cut him off, you will never be free to love again.

Cut him off.

Cut him off now.

Until you cut him off, you will never be free to love again.

Your ex knows it and loves it and exploits it mercilessly. He thinks he’s being a nice guy because he was “honest” that he needed five years to fool around, but all he’s doing is giving you false hope at a non-existent future.

Actions speak far louder than words — both for you, and for him.

His action — breaking up with you — should have spoken volumes about how he felt about you, but, apparently, it did not. Because the message — YOU GOT DUMPED SO HE COULD SLEEP WITH STRANGERS – is lessened by the fact that he still calls you every day and talks about getting back together eventually. How nice for you.

And your action — allowing your selfish ex to continue this charade, and committing emotional adultery on your current boyfriend — says a lot about how you feel. You already know this and you called attention to it in your email.

So where does this leave you, A?   With a pretty clear path, if you want to know the truth. Consider your options:

1)             Keep the status quo. Talk to your ex-boyfriend every day. Keep your dangerous fantasies alive. Lie to your current boyfriend. Close off the possibility for true closeness and intimacy.

2)             Cut off the ex entirely because he DUMPED you. Give yourself to the man who is NOT dumping you. Watch as your relationship grows with your committed efforts. Learn the meaning of true love.

Most of us cling to our fantasies as long as we can because a piece of us dies when we let them go.

The only thing you lose when you cut off the ex is this: the fantasy that it’ll eventually work out. Most of us cling to our fantasies as long as we can because a piece of us dies when we let them go. But for you to truly move on, you HAVE to tell your ex that it was nice knowing him and best of luck in the future. Sure, he’ll beg to come back — because that’s HIS self-preservation mechanism — but you will be strong enough to resist him.

You know why?

Because you’ll be looking in the eyes of your real boyfriend — the one who wants to be with you.

I assure you, it’s a much better view.

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  1. 61

    This is classic case of you having to work on yourself… Your ex is teaching you some valuable life lessons about self worth and you will grow from this… Learn to love yourself above all else and the rest will follow..

  2. 62

    Yes this sucks and this guy sucks and sure it is your fault for continuing to let him do this to you but I recognize that it is not so easy to snap your fingers and move on and sumo him as it is for those of us writing in telling you to do it.   You spent five years with this man we did not.   You can’t see this objectively right now.   You have to get mad.   This man does not love you.    Someone who loved you would not toy with you would not toy with your emotions and use them against you.   He is being selfish.   It has nothing to do with you.   It’s about him wanting to have his cake and eat it to.   He may come back to you but if he does you don’t want him his behavior speaks volumes about him.   You deserve better get mad hate him.   Then cut him off institute no contact you must. Block the number the Facebook the whatever.   Put the stuff in a box if you are not ready to throw out and ask a friend to keep it.   Tell your friends and family and ask them to support you.   Tell him you are done.   You do not want him to contact you.   And end things with the new man.   No need to tell him about the ex tell him you are not ready and that’s true then take about a year off and get yourself together.   You will know when you are ready.

  3. 63

    i am in the exact same boat…it was 6 years on and off being dumped   and yes each time there i didnt know where he was etc.       this time however   i havent heard from him 7 months and now he wants to come back and says he wants to take things slow   at the age of 55       I wish I could tell you how GREATFUL   i am for coming across this post.       I will cut him off as of today   as my new relationship with a guy has just started           I will not make the mistake of taking him back ever again   that is for sure..

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