How to get out of an addictive relationship

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren, 
I’ve got a situation with a man who comes on all flowery and mushy precisely when he can sense I’m over him. Then, successfully manages to reel me back in. I know I’m naive believing him but why do people lie about their feelings? Somehow, I have let myself believe this charade. Does this mean my neediness is at the root of this game playing? I’ve had enough and I need closure. Should I write to him or just see it as finished in my own head and leave it at that. I feel so angry at letting myself be so stupid that I feel like giving him a good serve!

Hi Paula,

First off, feeling angry at yourself accomplishes nothing. I’ve been there, calling myself “stupid” just for making a mistake. This is a place where we run and hide when things get tough.

It’s an escape from taking responsibility.

The best way to shed the self-attack is to understand what happened, take responsibility for your part, and understand how to prevent it from happening again. Suddenly you’re in control. So give yourself a pat on the back because you have already set things in motion.

There are a few things going on here, so let’s take a closer look…  

Neediness and Fear 

Certainly he’s got his own issues but I do agree that your “neediness” is at the root of this game.

Someone can only reel you back in if YOU take the bait.

Stay strong in your boundaries and convictions and you will not be so easily caught.

The root of your “neediness” is fear. You, along with thousands of women around the world, are afraid that the man you are with might be the LAST man that could ever love you.

So, NO WONDER you keep getting reeled back in!

It’s terrifying to walk away from “a sure thing.”

You’re closing the door on “love” without knowing that another door will open for you. Walking away from this man’s love could mean you spend the rest of your life alone and unloved. This is the deep dark fear that’s lurking in all human beings. It’s the universal fear that we are not worthy of love. Take heart knowing that this is part of the human experience and that you are not alone.

Of course, if you’re REALLY savvy, your brain will tell you,

"That’s ridiculous! Of course you will find another Love! Of course you deserve love!"

But the truth is, no matter how smart you are, the brain rarely determines how we FEEL. Right?!

What to do about it!

The ONLY thing you can do in this situation is acknowledge the fear that you will never find love again. Don’t hide from it. Don’t run from it. Don’t minimize it.

Look your fear straight in the eyes, tip your hat to it, and say,

“That’s just not a good enough reason to stay with this person.”

Whew! Girlfriend, if you can do THAT you are stepping into your power like you’ve never experienced before!! When you own your fears and you don’t let them dictate your actions, when you look fear in the eye and give it the finger, you are FREE.

This is the most important part of the puzzle but it also might help to understand that you and your mushy man are not so dissimilar. He’s acting out of fear too!

Why is he so hot and cold?

He’s not lying to you.

You aren't being duped.

The emergency center in a man’s brain reacts solely to big problems. Whereas the emergency center in a woman’s brain reacts to lots of little problems. So every time he forgets to take out the trash, or promises to do the dishes and doesn’t, or chooses to watch a football game over having dinner at your parent’s house, your brain tells you: there's a problem!

A man’s brain is just not designed to register these little problems as a big deal.

In your case, this man won’t jump to attention until there is a BIG emergency and you are literally walking out the door. When it gets to that point, he is suddenly very afraid of losing you and very motivated to do what it takes to get you back.

And he knows just how to hook you.

When he feels like he has won your favor again, he figures it’s time to plop down on the couch and play some video games. Mission accomplished!

He’s not lying about loving you, he just figures that expressing it is only necessary in an emergency.

How to move on and get closure! 

In terms of what action YOU should take at this point, I think a letter is a great idea! You need a venue where you can say what you need to say and not have to be interrupted with his frantic “I love you”s and “I’m so sorry”s.  

First write him a letter where you rant and rave and thoroughly give him a good serve. This letter is for you. Don’t give it to him.

Next write a letter that expresses what you are grateful to him for. This letter is for him. It may sound dissatisfying at this point but after you express all your anger, heartache, and disappointment (in the first letter), things WILL feel different.

I promise you, saying what you are grateful for is the most complete closure there is.

If there is lingering anger or vindictive feelings for this person then he is still crawling around inside you. He’s still in control.

The BEST and most FINAL goodbye is akin to finishing a good hearty meal, just say,

“Thank you. That served its purpose. I’m done.”

And then, my dear, you are finally free to MOVE ON.

With love,

Now I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever been in a relationship that you know doesn’t serve you anymore and yet it seems impossible to get over? How did you finally move on? What helped?
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read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • Lauren Gray
     7/4/2014 12:57:53 PM
    It's your call SaraCris. Whatever feels right to you. I personally wouldn't go back, I would move forward with this new knowledge about how men work and apply it to building a brand new relationship with a healthier dynamic. There's always more love to be found. More soul mates to connect with.
  • SaraCris
     5/19/2014 8:06:52 AM
    Hello Lauren! I had a six years relationship and the problem was all about my bf loosing his ambitions and starting to don't care about the little things between us. He never went after me after an argument, while I always did the following (not to make peace with him but to state my feelings and explain why I think he acted wrong!) But he never changed a lot even if he said I was right and that he'd try. And I kept believing! For somehow 2 years! He even said once that usually when someone asks him to do sth it seems fake for him to do it. My question is, if we know that men's brain is set to worry about big problems only, should I embrace it and reconsider going back to him?...
  • Lauren Gray
     7/19/2013 4:42:13 PM
    Hi Andreia, I remember when my high school sweetheart broke up with me. Not only did I have to go to school with him but he was my carpool driver!! I couldn't get another carpool driver for 3 months after we broke up. It was awful. I was still in love with him. It took me about 6 months of crying through the night, writing him letters I would never send and talking it out with my best girlfriends before I could really move on. The best advice I can give you is to fill your life up with fun and adventure. Really take on new challenges in order to distract yourself and also put his "importance" in perspective. The more you enrich your life, the less need you'll feel for him to fulfill you. With love, Lauren...
  • John Gray
     7/16/2013 9:01:53 AM
    You are right, brilliant.
  • andreiatuna
     7/16/2013 7:41:04 AM
    Hello Paula and Lauren, I'm such in a similar situation... In my case, he works at the same company as me, at the same floor... I've written a letter, as you said, that resulted so well ! But it has been 6 months since we have ended the relation and some how the thing is not still completely closed. I feel like I love him still and sometimes we look to each other like the thing is not resolved... I cannot still make the complete separation and look like I don't love him... I don't talk to him, I avoid to open the chats where we used to chat and that gave me power but, as I love him, I feel like I don't know what to do a lots of times... That fact makes me feel good and in power, avoiding me to be in a neediness state. This makes him like me, I feel it when I pass on the corridors. As I said, I don't know what to do a lots of times... Any new idea?...

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