Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Do You Want Him Back?

I get a lot of e-mails from women who are desperate to win back a guy that has slowly stopped contacting them, or explicitly broken up with them, or refused to engage in an exclusive relationship. They want to know what they can do to "make him want me again." Rather than giving them advice about what will hook him and pull him back in, I point out something to put the situation in perspective...

When a man rejects a woman, her desire to get him back usually consists of two parts:
(a) her desire to be with a man she really values and is attracted to, and
(b) her desire to prove that, deep down, he actually does want her.
In my experience, women are often (if not usually) motivated more by (b) than they are by (a). That is, they want to regain their pride more than they actually want to be with the guy in question. I've had a number of women even tell me (after taking a moment to think about it) that the guy they want back so badly is nothing like the man they imagine themselves marrying. In some cases, they admit that they probably would have ended things with him if he hadn't done it first - or even that they can see themselves ending things sometime down the road if he takes her back. Their authentic desire to be with him is rarely the motivating factor for wanting him back - even if it still plays a small part.

So before you drive yourself crazy trying to salvage a newly-ended relationship, think for a moment about your motivations: do you really want to be with him, or are you just trying to fix your wounded pride? Because your pride will naturally heal over time. But forcing yourself back into a relationship that he chose to end once already is a good recipe for having him end it again, which will just scar your ego further.

By acknowledging your real motivations, you will make it easier to come to terms with the breakup and be able to move on as quickly as possible.


Related Posts
1. Why Rejection Is a Good Thing
2. Get Used to Rejection
3. Don't Initiate Contact
4. Know Why You Are Dating

59 comments:

  1. Great post, I agree. It's hard to keep this in perspective sometimes, thanks!

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    1. So true..i know someone that is dealing with that same issue ec
      Except the situation of the breakup was unfair in her eyes buf men are men.

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  2. Sound advice.I think many women sometimes feel they won't meet a guy as good as their ex bf,and he was the one etc etc.The number one complaint I hear amongst my female friends is how hard it is to meet someone they are attracted to and who feels the same way about them.These factors play into wanting wanting an ex back, it can be better the devil you know..

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  3. Post the 20s series post, already. Geez! :P

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  4. this is definitely true. i also know situations whereby the female wants to date the guy simply because he is known to be hard to lock down - he's popular, "bad boy" persona etc, and so she views him as a goal/prize. It seems pride/ego/self validation play a big role in partner choice. Can't be a good thing both ways i.e - if the "prize" is won and if it isn't, cause the chaser is losing either ways. Make sure your motives are true ladies....(and fellas too of course- but its more of a popular phenomenon with women)!

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    1. I would include that "prize" phenomenon under the category of "wanting to be with him because he is attractive" for the purposes of this post.

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    2. I agree. My ex bf was "the guy" that never wanted to settle down, and was even known for initially telling all women that he didn't "want a gf" before engaging in any casual activity. I never gave into his rules, and looking back now, it took a lot of time, and patience till we actually started dating. Not too long after, he willingly asked to be exclusive. I felt like a champ.

      Meanwhile, the whole entire time, I knew he wasn't the right man for me, so I cut it off. I guess everyone gets played somehow :/

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  5. This is so so so true. Realizing this made a big difference in my dating life...

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    1. Same here. It is not always to apply to a situation, it takes some self-control to not send that stupid text or make that uselesss phone call, but gosh it feels good not to!

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    2. I agree. And I think that how you behave with one guy post break-up will get shared with other guys so the more dignified you act, the better person you'll look. From your ex's point of view, he'll see you in a more positive light once he's over you because of the fact you had the self-control and respect for yourself not to try to get back together with him and to give him the space he needed.

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  6. I have only today discovered your blog and I have to say that it is definitely the breath of fresh air I have been looking for. That being said, I have always wondered this: Why do men come back? My last relationship, which was somewhat serious, when he broke up with me, I cut him off. (This was several years ago.) No contact, no "being friends," etc. There was no nastiness, I just told him I was not comfortable hearing from him so I asked him not to. Sure enough, three months later, almost to the day, he called me and wanted to talk about getting back together and working out any problems we had.

    Now... is is lack of sex? Is it that he thought maybe the grass was greener somewhere else? Is it loneliness? Or is it truly realizing you made a mistake? Or is it a combination of all of the above. I'm always the skeptic.

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    1. It's nice to have someone ask "why did he come back?" for a change, rather than "why isn't he coming back?"

      My bet is that it was some combination of those things, but without knowing more about the situation it is difficult to say. The important thing in those situations is to ask him, and gauge his answer. If he balks at answering, it is bad news. If he knows exactly why he is back, you are in good shape (unless he say something like "because I want to get laid!").

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    2. From my experience with men, once they make a decision, that is it. There is no turning back. Even when men come to regret their decision, they generally stick to their decision - due to ego as well as the fact that they don't second guess themselves. By questioning their judgement, they are setting themselves up for questioning every single decision they make and introducing indecision into their lives. I have found that when men "come back" it usually doesn't work out. His motivations are usually not honorable - ie he can't find someone else to have sex with, lend him money, make use of etc. Sure it can happen that men return to the women they can't live without, but this is not a common thing.

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    3. Yes masculine men don't go back on their decisions,they tend not to contact women they've broken up with.This is actually tough at the start of a break up but allows the time and distance a woman needs to get over an ex. The worst is when a man "want to be friends", in my experience they just want to make themselves feel less guilty about the break up and play the nice guy.

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    4. The "can we just be friends" seems to be a uniquely female thing. Unlike women who worry about what people think of them and don't want to appear mean or heartless, men are more matter of fact and upfront. To men, a short, sharp, quick execution is always preferable to a long, protracted, agonziing, lingering death by a thousand cuts. When a guys decides to break - it is the end as far as I am concerned. If he wasn't sure, he would simply ask to take things slow or take some time out rather than break things off completely. If a guy is totally gutless, he would simply ask to take time out, and then do the slow fade. He would be hoping like crazy his ex would find someone else and forget about him which would not be possible if they "remained friends".

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    5. "I have found that when men "come back" it usually doesn't work out"

      True but not only because he has other "motivation" than come back for good, but because when he comes back, his ex has already moved on. So he comes back as a looser. I like it when exes come back and make them as loosers. To not accept them back, ignore them and delete them completely from my life (not only cut off all contacts but also from my life). I do it if the relationship ended badly. But if not we can be friends after they contact me when I have moved on.

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    6. Didn't we all go back at one point? Usually boredom or lack of anything else interesting going on ... Very selfish, but still true.

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    7. Some people go back because they want validation that the person is still into them...not because they genuinely like the person. Sometimes, the person themselves doesn't even realise this.

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  7. So here's my question: I want my ex back for reason a. He was everything I want in a man. In fact, I thought for sure we'd end up getting married. He broke up with me. I was pretty on/off hot/cold & I was always so afraid I'd mess up & we'd split that I sabatoged our relationship subconsciously. Terrible. He & I even had a few talks about it, and he was working through it with me. But that night was the breaking point. Anyway, its been two months since our split. And I've gone on dates etc., I've tried to keep busy, focus on me & move on, but every single day, he comes to mind & I wish he'd come back in my life. So to my question... is there anyway a woman can get back their ex? Or at least is there anything I can do to get him thinking about me in a positive way again so if I were to contact him he'd be more likely to talk? I want him in my life for all the right reasons. I can say that I've never wanted an ex back before. Ever. Every other boyfriend was worth ending. It wasn't worth trying to fix something broken with any of them. So what can I do, if anything, to be back on his mind, in a good way, and for communication to reopen. Please give me the male advise and perspective.

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    1. "Or at least is there anything I can do to get him thinking about me in a positive way again so if I were to contact him he'd be more likely to talk?"

      Yep, don't contact him. By showing that you are self-assured and not needy, he will remember only the good things about you (this happens with memory) and will be more likely to want you back. If you highlight your neediness and insecurity about the relationship by contacting him and taking action to try to get him back, you will make it less likely for him to come back.

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    2. To me, the best way forward is simply to get on with your life. You should not, and I emphasis NOT, contact him when you're still so hung up about him. It would definitely come out in one way or another, with you probably ending up in a flood of tears begging on your knees. Not a good look. It would just remind him how lucky he was to have gotten himself out of an entanglement with you.
      You. Need. To. Get. Over. Him.
      It can be done, it has been done by countless of women before you and countless of women to come after you.
      Just accept he is gone. Hoping and hoping he would return is just reopening the wound and not allowing it to heal.
      A friend of mine was so hung up over an ex that she totally overlooked several nice, attractive and interesting men who wanted to date her. When she finally got over her ex (Okay it was a LTR), she was at an age where there were hardly any men left who wanted to date her. So not only did her ex cause her pain, he caused her to deny herself happiness with someone else - well actually she denied herself.

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    3. A friend told me once: breakups are bad, but divorce is worse. So get over your ex. At least you were not married to him and you don't have to deal with lawyers. And as said above: many women have done this before, you will too!

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    4. If you don't get over them, then you're letting them win and prevent you from becoming happy (though you're actually blocking yourself from happiness). The more you pine over someone who isn't worth it, the more you miss out on high quality men. This happened to me before. I pined over an abusive ex and high quality men came and went and if I could turn back in time I would do things differently. I don't put them on a pedestal either though because I know there are high quality I just haven't met yet.

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  8. Thanks, I guess I was looking for a bit more. We haven't spoke in two months. I thought maybe trying to open the lines of communication or something with a nonrelatiomship topic or something would work. He knows I'm not desperate. But thanks anyway.

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    1. Actually my previous post was a bit harsh so I apologise. If you want to contact him, sure. Before when you do you must do so from a postion where you have totally accepted the break and not expecting a reunion. Your calm acceptance of the situation would show him you respect his decision and if anything, this respect would dispose him well towards you.
      Meanwhile it would help to work out why you sabotaged your relationship and work on addressing it with a professional. You don't want to be repeating this with someone else, and when you do contact your ex you want him to see that you are a changed, new person that he could rekindle a romance with, if he wanted to.

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    2. I don't think your previous post was harsh. The fact is, most women who really felt for the guy that left them can NOT contact a guy "from a position where you have totally accepted the break and not expecting a reunion." If they truly had accepted that, they wouldn't want to contact him.

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    3. I guess the point I was making is that if a guy is ever ever to come back (which is usually not likely anyway), a total system reboot is necessary.

      From my experience, men always look forwards, never back. So if a woman is ever to have a chance in hell to get a man back, she must show him a path forwards, and not a path back.

      Sure, by the time she is over him she could possibly have moved on so well ahead that she doesn't want him back. But this is a win win for the woman. If she does this, she would either be happy in her new state, or else be in a much better position to get her man back, starting from a totally new position than the last.

      Thanks for your great post.

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    4. If you would like an alternate view point on this I'd suggest checking out Yangki Christine Akiteng. She has a lot of advice on keeping in touch with an ex and reconciling.

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  9. Great post! I'm a true believer that things break for a reason; whatever the reason is, it just wasn't working. You don't have to burn bridges, but move on with pride, the next best thing is waiting. There are many amazing matches out there, the world is enormous...there is more than one "soulmate" for everyone. If someone does not want you, there is nothing you can do...it hurts but you can't control people and why the hell would you want someone to stay with you out of pity? Dust off that sexy black dress, get those Louboutin heels and try to enjoy yourself and your new opportunity to date around again. Have fun! xx

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  10. Well said Andrew... I don't really want him back. I just want him to want me, you know?

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  11. why men move on so fast after break up ? why they always look forward ?

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    1. Men just deal with break ups differently,they make a concerted effort to forget about their ex gf.They'll hit the gym hard,try to get to meet other single women and not talk about the past relationship.It doesn't mean they don't care or think about you at times but they made a decision and they have to stick to it and you have to make them stick to it!

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    2. Yes.. men look forwards, never back. Especially if a past experience was not particularly good. They don't want to be reminded of failures and seek out future successes to validate themselves. Particularly if dumped by a woman, they seek reassurance that they are desirable by dating again soon after. Their egos won't let them mope about - they need to go out and prove that one failed relationship does not define them.
      If even they break up after a very long meaningful significant relationship and are hurting really bad, they will never let you know it. They may cry softly in their beds at night and you would never know. Outwardly they may seem they are coping really well but they would rather die than admit to you that you had so much power to hurt them.

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  12. Goddamnit Andrew! I think I really needed to hear this right now, but it still blows.

    The more I think about the guy who a month ago cut off contact with me, the more I know it was not going anywhere. When I thought about him, I didn't think about how great we fit together, I thought about all the great sex we had. While I do miss that (so much!), I don't think either one of us saw a future for us.

    Thank you for all the advice. I have been trying my best to incorporate it into my dating life... no initiating contact, I have not called the guy who cut me off, working on my looks/femininity (as I tend to be assertive and quicker witted than most of the men I meet and could certainly afford to lose a few pounds). I anticipate better results :)

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  13. You need to consider why he left. One of my exes went so far trying to make me jelaous, she convinced me she was in love with someone else.

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  14. If a guy who seemed crazy about you that you were dating for 3 weeks tells you he met someone 5 days ago and wants to be friends. But made out with you the night before and I asked if you met someone why did you ask me to hang out he says "i didn't expect to be this attracted to u" what does that mean? And should I take him back if he comes around in the future.

    AnnonymousLilly

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    1. You know what it means but you can't or won't accept it for what it is. He wants to use you for sex. Fine if that is all that you want. Yes, he is crazy about you - crazy in lust.

      Let me tell you something. Men who are really into a woman and sees her as a serious relationship prospect ask for exclusivity early on - certainly by the three week stage. Why ? Not so much because he has changed his ways and become a one woman man - it is more that he can't stand the thought of you with another man - it drives him crazy to think of another man running his hands all over your body. Asking you to be friends means he is giving you permission to be with other men - so you can figure out how much he cares or loves you.

      I am also called Lilly too

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    2. I disagree. Most men (who have options) will not "ask for exclusivity early on". It takes time to find out whether a girl is long term material, especially if he is at an age where he might be thinking about finding 'the one'. Even the guys I know who seem to become infatuated very easily, do not rush into exclusivity. The chance that she might meet someone else is irrelevant compared to the sacrifice it is to give up other women for him. It all depends on how good his options are and how confident he is that you'll meet someone better. If you're dating below your league, it is more likely that he will try to lock you down early on, as you describe.

      Other than that, I don't think you should wait around till he comes back. It seems like he had a shot with you, but didn't go for it. I'd just cut him loose and move on.

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    3. Rushing into exclusivity is a sign of low self esteem for men and women.

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    4. ..... It all depends on how good his options are and how confident he is that you'll meet someone better....

      Well if he is open to options then he really can't be that much into you in the first place. You are just a placeholder until someone better comes along. Not a good augur for a long term relationship. But OK for a fling though.

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    5. A man can be open to other options until he has decided that you are his very best option. That takes more than 3 weeks. If a man tries to "lock you down" within 3 weeks, I can guarantee you he is desperate.
      The reason women are almost always the first ones to bring up commitment is that sexual variety is not as important to us as it is to men. I think you should read the other posts on sexual variety and commitment.

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  15. You know what it means but you can't or won't accept it for what it is. He wants to use you for sex. Fine if that is all that you want. Yes, he is crazy about you - crazy in lust.

    Let me tell you something. Men who are really into a woman and sees her as a serious relationship prospect ask for exclusivity early on - certainly by the three week stage. Why ? Not so much because he has changed his ways and become a one woman man - it is more that he can't stand the thought of you with another man - it drives him crazy to think of another man running his hands all over your body. Asking you to be friends means he is giving you permission to be with other men - so you can figure out how much he cares or loves you.

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    1. We did not have sex. I think it might be

      1. He asked me out a lot and I did not go out with him a lot.
      2. BUT we had lots of fun while we were out.
      3. We mad out a lot and then LATER on that night is when he told this information.
      4. I actually thought he was way too into me until he told me this. He kept asking "how is it possible your single" on several occasions.

      You guys are right though, he chose someone else he thought was better over me and nothing will ever change that I was not priority for him.

      Also I read your other posts and working on my looks, lost 3 lbs already since this happened.

      AnonymousLilly

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  16. What about guys who yo-yo? What's their problem?

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  17. WTF this post has been hijacked. Andrew come back and delete all the spam!! :)

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  18. i really love your advice. Now i feel like i dont want to get back with my ex anymore. because you were right that most woman just wanted to do b.

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  19. Love love love a guy and I blew it big time I totally am leaving him alone I'm so damaged from a past relationship I really don't ever know if ill be ok . I miss this guy he was the one but my own insecurities ruined it would love to reach out pride don't matter to me but I screwed up so completely I could never expect his forgivness so for his sake I am out of his life for good sometimes no matter how much you want something you must put another's needs above your own and give up ,tricks and begging isn't the way if its meant to be it will so just let it go .

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  20. i loved your post Andrew.
    I came across your blog posts recently and have been hooked onto them ever since.
    You have given some great advice and lot to ponder over.
    Thanks!

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  21. How do I get my stuff back from him? The breakup wasn't terrible but now he's gone into the "no contact" phase I guess, which is fine by me, but I want my things back, lol.

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    1. Well, it's not like I can break into his house to get them lol. He has to first be willing to gather them from his car/house and either meet me to give them back, give them to a mutual friend, or use the convenient prepaid package I sent with his respective things via FedEx. I'm looking for ideas to make him more willing to give them back. It's not a revenge thing because there's no slight to avenge, and neither of us are bitter. They're not worth anything either so he can't gain anything from it. I don't get it honestly.

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  22. I've been in a committed relationship for 2 years this man has relationship issues and this is the 3rd time he has broke it off in a year and a half the only difference now is we live together but he moved out yesterday and I can't live here much longer, should I try and get him back or just cut the strings this time :/ help?

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  23. Great post! It's always about our ego/pride.

    Once I got over the wounded pride, I realized that he actually did me a favor - only if I had understood that sooner, could've saved a lot of heartache and a WHOLE lot of time!

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  24. What are your thoughts after contacting someone you rejected him?

    I was chatting with someone I met online on and off for about 2 months. He seemed great and we had a lot in common and our emails/texts were fun! But he's lives about a 1000 miles away so we never actually met. About 2 months ago, I ended things with him because he wasn't making enough effort and I felt he was wasting my time. Now I'm going to be in his city (for a business trip) and I was wondering if I should contact him, JUST to see what he is like in person. What are your thoughts???

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  25. So what do you do if you actually do want him back?

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  26. My boyfriend of nearly two years has just broken up with me yesterday. He has to me that he doesn't love me in relationship capacity anymore but loves me still. He will seek therapy as he has some problems, we still live together as it happened not even 24 hours ago. I will move out as soon as I can because I have not stopped loving him or hoping but it's degrading me with every passing minute. He wants to be friends... I only asked him to be faithful as the therapy begins but tell me if he decides to date someone else so I can move on or at least try with my last shreds of dignity intact..... what to do...I'm completely baffled that he didn't fight for it as he told me that I'm really important to him, have helped him grow and change to a better person but he lacks empathy and I know this, a part of him died the part that cared for people and me.... how do I survive this....

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    1. 1) By taking care of yourself and realizing he's quite clearly not the guy for you. I fully understand and respect peoples' decisions to go to therapy (I was there once, too), but you should be with a guy who figures his life out first before joining his life with that of another person.
      2) By moving out as soon as humanly possible.
      3) By not remaining friends with him -- I would elaborate more, but I think Andrew has a few posts about this one: http://www.therulesrevisited.com/2012/07/no-you-cant-be-just-friends.html and http://www.therulesrevisited.com/2013/02/the-importance-of-silence-after-break-up.html
      4) Don't require that he tell you if he decides to date someone else...it will only make you think about them constantly and will not help you move on. Only time and silence can really help you move on
      5) Recognize that while he's probably not lying about how you helped him, he ultimately doesn't love you in the way you want or deserve to be loved -- fully, compeletely, willingly. A guy who is willing to leave you is not the guy to whom you should bind the rest of your life.
      6) By surrounding yourself with friends, family, and people who really do love you.

      I'm really sorry this happened to you, but you're going to get through it and in time, probably realize that this was for the best. Now you're free to find the actual love of your life!

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  27. The yank you for taking your time to answer, you have opened my yes a bit.more although the are quite puffy with crying... I'm trying to surround myself with friends and that helps a bit only till the night time when I think of closeness and intimacy..k hope it will diminish in intensity some time, up until few days ago I believed that he is the love of my life.

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  28. Thankyou so so sooo soooo much!
    Today you have changed my life completeley, before I came on your blog.
    I was so sad about my break up.
    But now I'm reading this, I realize he isn't worth it.
    I don't know how to thank you! This feels as a relief!

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