Writing on the Wall – Part Two



Dear Dharma,

So this is the girl who is still friends with (and in love with!) her ex. I hope you remember me, you recently answered my question When the Writing’s on the Wall.

Thank you so much for taking the time to analyze my situation and answer my questions.  I really appreciate it. And you’re probably right…I do need to move on, but I just have a couple of follow up questions.

  1. Is having feelings for someone and wanting to be in a relationship with them really the same thing or is it possible to love and care about someone and not want to be with them in an official relationship for whatever reason (which is what he told me at the time of the break up)? I know that he does not want a relationship with me at this time, but is it still possible for him to have feelings for me still?
  1. Like you said, neither of us has moved on and our lives are still very much intertwined. Given how close we still are and that there is nobody else in the picture for either of us, isn’t it possible that we will get back together in time when he is ready for a more stable serious relationship?

Just wanted to clarify this point since your answer made it seem like you were saying that things were not likely to ever change between us…

Also I mentioned that I cannot just date someone else and you asked “cannot or choose not to”? The answer is both; I choose not to because I cannot. I have tried to date other guys hoping I would start liking one of them and get over my ex, but it just never happens.

They seem really into it and I just feel so bad and guilty because my heart is not in it… it seems unfair both to me and the other guys.  It’s unfair to me because I don’t want to settle for someone I’m not genuinely into and unfair to them because I feel like I’m leading them on and they deserve a girl who will truly be into them and appreciate them.

It’s really starting to feel that my ex is the only person I can be with, so if that doesn’t work out, I will have to settle for someone else.  It’s a scary and sad thought…

My greatest fear is being married and having kids and going through all the motions of dating, marriage, kids, etc. with a man I do not really love while my heart is still in another place with my ex.  I know it sounds stupid, but I’m actually afraid of this. I do really love him so much and can’t imagine caring about any other man so deeply.

Thanks again Dharma, for taking the time to help me! It does help to read someone else’s thoughts about this.

Living in Limbo

Dear Limbo,

Of course I remember you, and thank you so much for feeling comfortable enough to come back and clarify things as you continue to work through this.

I debated answering your questions point by point, but instead I think we are going to attempt to reframe this for you. In doing so, I think I’ll still be addressing what you’ve brought forward and hopefully be giving you something to work with.

Early on in your letter you say you know you need to move forward, but then spend about 7 paragraphs telling me why you’re not going to.  I only bring that up so that you start to recognize how you are actually the one talking yourself into staying in a situation you know you need to leave behind.

Your head knows it, but your heart isn’t quite in the same place, right?  And that’s okay.  It can be a process moving your heart in the same direction, but one you have to be willing to take on if you genuinely are tired of having your life dictated by this situation.

And that’s my next question for you.  Are you ready?  Are you tired enough, sad enough, broken enough to make the decision to start turning this around?

I’ve been where you are.  And when I had enough of feeling shattered and broken, I was literally vibrating with the need to stop feeling that way.  I hated it.  I hated crying all the time, I hated being exhausted and sick all the time and I just wanted to be happy again.

So I started taking steps to make that happen.  The first being to put distance between myself and the person who was keeping me in that situation.

Which you have never done.

Of course, when you go out on a date with some other guy, you are feeling empty and hollow, and like you shouldn’t even be there.

Because you shouldn’t be.  You still haven’t ended the relationship you are currently in.  Your boyfriend has, but you haven’t.  You are still living in it every single day, waiting, praying, and hoping things will turn around and you’ll go off and live happily ever after with the first love of your life.

You ask if what I’m saying is that scenario will never happen.  Thing is, I don’t actually have a crystal ball (gah, I wish, right?) and who’s to say what he will and won’t do down the line.  But that’s the thing… there is not one single thing you can do to make him behave differently or in a way you want him to, but there are about a thousand things you can do to start to take your life back.

If you’re ready.  Are you ready to stop being a victim to someone who is a-ok having you suffer like this?  Because he knows you’re suffering at his hands – you know that, right?  He is completely aware that his inability to shit or get off the pot has you tied up in painful knots, and that he is a co-conspirator in keeping you miserable.  As we said previously, he actually benefits from it.

And I understand completely that you can’t envision yourself ever being happy with anyone else… you couldn’t possibly, while you’re still in this relationship.

And just a small newsflash… you’re not happy now, either, so…

I’m more than willing to keep going with you on this… but I don’t know how much help I can be until you’re ready…  Are you ready?



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  • Irene says:

    Hi Dharma. Great advice. Interesting, Mark Manson writes about this very subject that came into my inbox this AM. “How to let go – Learning to let go of loss.

    • Dharma says:

      Thanks Irene – and I’ve read some of Mark Manson before, he usually hits it pretty much on the head, so this is something I will check out. Maybe something the LW would be interested in as well…

    • As soon as I read this I thought of that exact same Mark Manson post. It’s very pertinent.

      I think the key really is to cut off contact for a few months. You don’t have to date any one else! But you do need to start making space in your life for things that are not him. Hobbies, friends, travel. Right now you don’t have kids or a partner. Savour that freedom!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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