'How do I stop myself from wanting someone who does not love me?'

'How do I stop myself from wanting someone who does not love me?'

When I met P three years ago, I was thrilled when he asked me out on a date. Over time, I found myself falling in love with him. I was obsessed with P even though he did not meet my criteria of an ideal mate.

I have drawn up a checklist of what I look for in a life partner, and P does not seem to fit the bill. Strangely, I am happy just to be with him.

Then P dropped the bombshell: he wanted to end the relationship. The reason? He said he did not want to commit himself to the relationship. He said we could remain as friends. I was heartbroken but because I loved him so much, I hung on to him on his terms.

He would come to my aid whenever I needed help. Then P got transferred to another state. He promised to visit me whenever work takes him to KL. He treats me like a friend. After a nice evening out, we often end up in bed.

I can’t stop myself from wanting him, and I still cling on to the hope that P will change his mind about the relationship. But it doesn’t look like this is happening.

I think I’ve been very stupid. I’m throwing myself at a guy who does not love me. I try to forget him by going out with friends but it doesn’t seem to work. I may be with my friends physically but my heart and thoughts are with P. In fact, I think of him day and night. Life seems so empty without him.

I am a tormented soul. I do not know what to do. Actually, I know what I should do – that is, leave this guy. But I can’t find the will nor the strength to cut him out of my life. Is it because of fear or loneliness that I am hanging on to P?

Why does he still sleep with me when he doesn’t want to be my boyfriend? Why do I still desire him? Is it because I am a weakling? Please help me. 

-Languishing In Love

Thelma's reply:

Like you said, you know what to do. It is not that you can’t help it. Perhaps, you are afraid to. And you stayed on not because you are stupid.

You could call it wishful thinking – the hope that someone will fall in love with you and not change his mind. The fairy-tale ending that everyone is taught to want.

P had made it clear that he did not want to commit himself to a relationship with you. You have drawn up a checklist of the ideal person for you, and P does not fit the bill.

There is nothing wrong in you having this checklist. It is actually good as you can tell if someone is right for you.

Sometimes, we hold on to the hope that though we can’t find the person who ticks all the boxes, given enough time they may change and then all the boxes will become magically ticked.

This can happen, provided the person who is required to change has the incentive to do so. In this case, the person must want to be in a committed relationship with the other party who is asking for the change. And this incentive is obviously lacking in your relationship with P.

He has been clear from the start about his intentions. You know he won’t change. Maybe you are putting up with it because you think this is better than being alone.

Your continuing desire for him could be due to a few related issues. Firstly, you could be caught up in this train of thought of asking yourself why the relationship won’t work out with him.

You are reading too much into what he did for you – he came to your rescue when you needed it. He said he would come looking for you whenever he is in KL – and you are holding on to the hope that something more will transpire from that.

When he is back in the city, he will come to you because he can get what he wants. There is nothing more to it. So, you have to stop this train of thought.

Secondly, it is possible that you desire him sexually. Now, this should not be confused with love. We all feel sexual desire and it can be separate from love. It is ideal if we sexually desire someone we love, or that our sexual desires are fulfilled by someone we love.

The fulfilling of sexual desires is expected to happen within a marriage or a committed relationship. Sex is an expression of love. But sex in itself is not love.

It is normal to feel sexual desire. It does not mean you are weak. Because you confuse that desire with what you wish you had with him, you think you desire him. Again, the key here is to break that chain of thought.

Lastly, there is the fear of being alone. Or perhaps, the fear of not being in a relationship. There is a lot of pressure on people these days to get a boyfriend or girlfriend, get married and settle down. Perhaps you are anxious because you thought you could have all that with him and now it is gone.

So you are back in the dating game. It means meeting more people, facing rejections, and feeling dejected when you return home from a bad date. It is daunting. It would be so much easier if things just worked out with this guy, right? But you know it won’t. He doesn’t want that.

Consider this a blessing in disguise. You are saving yourself from worse heartaches and pain by ending it now. It is not too late. It is time to forge ahead and think about yourself and the future that you want.

As daunting as it is, take up the challenge and enjoy yourself in the process. Learn about yourself a little more. Spend time with yourself. Learn how wonderful you are and appreciate how much respect you deserve. That way, you won’t let anyone disrespect you.

It is time to say goodbye. It won’t be easy to forget him because you have banked your hopes on him. Time will heal. You won’t forget him, but with time, the memories will become less painful.

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