Dear Dr. Love, For nearly two years I was involved with a woman who was separated and going through an unwanted divorce. We were intimately involved, very close and spent every weekend together. The divorce process took two years.As it neared completion, she began pulling away from me and ‘getting on with her life’as she put it. Soon after it was final, she ended our relationship completely to be ‘free and single’. She said she could not be involved in a ‘serious, committed relationship’with one person, and just wanted to have fun and date many men.But, she had decided that was not a good situation for me and that we should not continue to see each other. I had alwaysAlthough I was very much in love with her, disappointed and very sad, I accepted her decision.However, she told mutual friends that I had ended the relationship because I could not tolerate her ‘casual and platonic’dating, and because she would not commit exclusively to me, and continue to be intimate with me. She also said some negative thiI was hurt very much by this, but I never discussed it, or even let her know what I had heard. However, soon the truth came out. She had been involved with someone else for quite some time, and had ended our relationship to be with him.As much as I understood my role as a ‘rebound’, and the tenuous and temporary nature of such a relationship, I became angry by the way she ended things between us. I felt used, betrayed and deceived.e did not communicate, and did not see each other for six months. However, lately she has initiated some contact and told others she wishes we could be ‘just friends’. The contacts are very sporadic and platonic, if not indifferent on her part.know she is dating, but I do not know her level of involvement with anyone else. I have tried to be with her under these new circumstances, but it is very difficult.On the one hand I still love her and want her very much. It hurts to be with her as ‘just friends’with no emotion or affection.At the same time, I feel a certain amount of residual anger from her previous behavior. Should I continue to try to see her under these terms, as platonic friends? If yes, how do I handle these emotions and feelings? If not, how do I say ‘no’in a mature and honest way, so that she will understand?Thanks for your advice.
It isn’t my role to tell you what to do. What I can do is help you understand yourself better so that you can make the healthiest choice for yourself.My first question to you is why would you want to be friends with a person who treated you so badly? She lied and cheated on you behind your back? That’s no friend. I don’t care that she was on the rebound. Not all people on the rebound behave so immorally.So ask yourself why you want contact with such a person. I know you say that you love her, and this is a very telling statement. The fact that you fell for someone and stayed attached to someone who wasn’t willing to return your love tells me just how mistreated you were growing up. We all seek out partners who treat us the way our first loves (our parents) did.If you dissect the nature of your relationship with this woman, you will see a relationship in which you pined after someone who not only didn’t return your affection, but also treated you like a thing instead of a person. She two-timed you, then dumped you, under the guise that it was in your best interest (when, in fact, it was in her best interest to break-up so that she could be with the other man that she had been seeing behind your back), then she had the nerve to lie about the break-up and bad mouth you!If you take a moment and figure out who this woman represents from your past (mom, dad), you will understand why you don’t want to give her up. You are trying to heal a very unhealthy relationship from your early life.I also have to point out how self-effacing you have been. No matter how badly treated you were, you never said a word to her. Your silence is another tip-off to the fact that you were an abused child. All abused kids keep quiet in order to protect themselves from the risk of further mistreatment. Plus, abused kids think that they deserve the abuse, and that if only they were better children, their parent(s) would be kinder or more loving.for a change for the better.Can you see the parallels in your relationship with this woman? You took her garbage, stayed silent, and now find yourself on the verge of going back for more (are you secretly hoping for a change in her?).I am not telling you that you should or shouldn’t be her friend. Just be conscious of what you are doing and why. Also understand what unconscious fantasies and hopes are tied up with resuming contact with her, and how these fantasies relate to your childhood wounds. Make sure you are clear on what you hope to gain by seeing her again before you resume contact.If you do decide to speak with her about her behavior, then you should simply detail her various behaviors and tell her how her behavior made you feel. My X, Y Formula (I felt X, when you did Y) which is a good formula to use whenever you want to let someone know how his/her behavior affected you.Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you aren’t allowing yourself to be victimized again. All adults who were abused in childhood think that abuse is so normal that they don’t even see when a lover or spouse is treating them like dirt. You were treated like dirt by this woman. That isn’t right, nor is it the way life is supposed to be.Armed with all this knowledge, it’s up to you to make your choice.