I recently started dating again after a bad breakup with my 28 year old boyfriend. We were on and off for three years. Everything was fine the first year and then he started distancing himself. He put everything before me: friends, work, family. He would tell me that he loved me and wanted to be with me, but his actions showed the opposite. I gave him so much space we hardly ever saw each other. He neglected me and our relationship, but would tell me over and over again that he loved me and wanted to be with me. I finally got to the point where all I did was fight with him every time I spoke with him. I tried not to fight with him but just couldn’t hold-in the way I was feeling. I sounded like a broken record. I just don’t understand why he would want to be together when we rarely saw each other anyway. It just didn’t make sense to me, and all I did was spend my time talking to friends and family analyzing everything he said and did which only made it worse. Everybody had their opinions which confused me even more. My relationship with him made me depressed and lowered my self-esteem. I started to think he was just being cruel. Each time we got back together I thought maybe he had finally changed, but it ended up being worse. I realize now that maybe he just wasn’t ready for a serious relationship but was just keeping me around for when he was ready and who knows when that would be. It still baffles me especially when he texts me to say he misses me (I will not text or talk to him ever again). I have finally been able to move on and am feeling much better. My problem now is I’m afraid to be hurt again and am afraid I’ll be wasting my time on guys like my ex. How can I tell the difference? I’m interested in a guy that I have been on a few dates with, but he still talks to some of his ex-girl friends. He seems trustworthy, but I’m not really comfortable with the situation. Am I being insecure? Can a guy just be friends with an ex? Is it natural to feel this way or is it because of my previous relationship??
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It is important that you draw a distinction between what "guys" want and what you want. You are still mystified by your ex boyfriend’s behavior. However, his motivations really should be far less important than knowing what you want from a relationship. Your question should be refrased into "how can I trust myself again?"
You evidently remained with this young man for a long time during which you would argue, beg and plead with him about why he was so distant. However, it would have been more important for you to tell him that "actions speak louder than words" and that if he continued to absent himself, it was over!! Instead, you remained attached and became obsessed.
So, what point am I making to you? What I am telling you is that your fears are not about other men hurting you again but about your capacity to use poor judgement when you are with a guy.
How dare I say this? Good question! I dare to say this because you have already started to date someone who fills you with doubt because he speaks to his ex girl friends. Instead of trusting your instincts you are asking if you are being unreasonable or insecure. My answer to you is to follow your instincts. If you are already having doubts then go no further.
I want to urge you to enter psychotherapy because I believe that the problem you are presenting is not about these men but about your self. There are many people who seem to choose those who are unavailable and they make that choice for one reason or another. Some people select partners who, like your ex boyfriend, cannot be close, or they select people who are already married and have no intention of leaving their spouse. People who make these selections use up enormous amounts of time and energy obsessing about the relationship and what this unavailable partner wants.
You need to learn about what you really want and how to stop being connected to those who are not ready for serious relationships.
So, the answer to your question lies inside of yourself and not in men. There are plenty of men who are ready for and want a serious and permanent relationship with marriage and children.
Please enter psychotherapy and, listen to your instincts and dump this guy you are dating.
Best of Luck