De-rail this train

Joey Garcia

I have been back and forth with a guy for six years. I never pressed for a commitment because I never saw myself getting old with him, so we introduce each other as friends. Personally, I have one foot in and one out of this relationship because I want to play it safe with my heart. Last July, he broke it off because he had a thing for someone else. “What about me?” I thought. I left for vacation and when I got back he was waiting. I was pissed but gave him another chance. Still, he rarely made plans with me and rarely kept plans we made. Then he said he was going to Reno with his brother, but actually spent the weekend with a woman. I found out because I listened to his answering machine. When he came home, I asked him to tell me what is wrong with me and why he isn’t happy with me. He said he would go to counseling, but has not. Today, I found a check written to the personal ads. Please help me get on track.

Oh sweetie! I want to help you off the track before the train speeding your way strikes.

Six years is a long time to delude yourself that a man will change to become less of himself and more of who you wish he was. The choice to seesaw emotionally for six years is not playing it safe with your heart. It actually imperils your heart and sends the message that you do not value your own ability to love or be loved.

Instead, you imagine yourself to be of value if someone else expresses what you believe is love toward you. Sound convoluted? It is. The neurotic ego (we all have one) will perform somersaults to avoid self-reflection and transformation.

I want you to notice that you and this man each have one foot in the relationship and one out. That means neither of you have ever truly invested in a relationship with the other. Since you both entered with an exit strategy, it’s clear that, from the beginning, neither of you believed that this relationship would work.

So why do you continue? The addiction to chaos is apparently compelling to each of you. The accusation, the argument, the longing for what you never had and project is possible, the (sick) thrill of pushing someone out of your life only to pull them back at the last moment because you believe it means they’ll love you even when you’re awful—all of this coalesces into one huge addiction to drama and avoidance of real love. (And, by the way, there is no friendship in any of this, so, no, you’re not even friends.)

It’s time to give yourself another chance. Cut the relationship off cold turkey. Then, spend some time asking yourself the questions that you hunger to have answered: What is wrong with me? (And its sister question: What is right with me?) Why am I not happy with me? (And its brother: Why do I expect others to be happy with me when I’m not?)

A few sessions with a counselor could really help you with these questions and with building the self-esteem you need for a real life.

How do I tell a co-worker that I value her friendship but I am not interested romantically?

Tell her you want to talk about something and make plans to get together outside of work in a semi-private place like a park where you arrive separately. There, tell her how much her friendship means to you. Then briefly, without apologies, say that you are not interested romantically. Plan to get together soon, if that feels right, and then leave. Simple!

Meditation of the week
I was working on a story for CBS 13 that took me to the office of Bob Driezler, financial planner and author of Tending Your Money Garden: A Practical and Friendly Money Management Guide. On the corner of his desk I noticed this quote: “Success isn’t final. Failure isn’t fatal.” How can this wisdom inspire your life?

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