What to do when you realize you’re being used in a relationship

Jean asks: I met this man in the cafe shop where I worked: he’s my customer, he’s kinda professional travelling for business, he ordered coffee. He stands up and pretended he has something to ask about internet connection, but he was just giving me a small piece of paper with his Facebook account. The first time we met he was forcing me to kiss him and it shocked me, didn’t know what to do. I find out he’s a player, can’t trust him. But I was soft-hearted and went martyr. I still want to meet him despite everything I know about him. It’s not about his profession but it’s how he treated me when I’m with him. I can’t stop thinking of him. He’s a “busy man” with lots of places to travel. He only texts me for his needs and then he’s in a rush for work again. Now it hurts me when he texts me. I don’t know why. I confessed to him that I fell in love with him. But he said that it’s difficult because of the distance but he said he likes me a lot too. What should I do? Should I forget about him? Ignore him? Block him? Or should I text him first? He only wants to flirt. I need help!

Hi Jean –

I see this situation in humans a lot.  You meet someone who shows so much interest in you that it sweeps you off your feet, and then they start treating you badly, or neglecting you, or push-and-pulling… and you’re stuck, not liking the situation but desperate to stay with them.

The problem, and the way this works so well, is that you are so obsessed with him, you’re losing you

You call him a “player,” but I’ll say he’s more than that.  He’s what I would call a “collector.”  Like a person who collects different kinds of animals, he’s captured you and now has you where he wants you – but you know you’re only one of his collection.  If he had “had his way with you” and then disappeared, I’d be more likely to call him a player.  But the fact is that being with a player can be kind of fun.  This isn’t.

It’s like when I go to the dog park.  I love getting all crazy with the other dogs, and people petting and hugging and kissing me.  It’s delightful.  But when I’m done there, I want to go home with my human Handsome, not one of these other people or dogs.  Because I know he truly cares about me, and would do anything for me.  They might be more fun and exciting that day, but they might just put me in a cage in their basement if they took me; I’ll take my boring trustworthy guy over that anytime!

This guy is exciting, he’s passionate, he’s a little dangerous – why he almost sounds as great as the movie character Tramp, my romantic ideal!  But Tramp really loves Lady, and devotes himself to her in the end.  This guy… it doesn’t sound so likely.

So my advice, my friend, is for YOU to be the “player” here.  Love him and leave him.  Let him go away and see what happens.

Now maybe he’ll go just bonkers at not hearing from you, and come back to you and beg you to stay with him forever.  Which would be great.  But if not, then you’ll have freed yourself from his – what psychologists call a “Double Bind.”  Where you can’t win no matter what you do.

I’m not blaming you a bit for what you’ve done.  Again, what he did was exciting and romantic.  But not anymore.  So while I wouldn’t put you down for staying, it sounds to me like you’ll have a happier life if you step out of this and open yourself up to new experiences, and maybe a new guy!

All my best,


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