Headgames or... I'm the -other- man!

In this thread—> http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=57870 I described a situation I’m in with a person who I used to refer to as my girlfriend. Turns out she does not want to be referred to as such, because of the commitment issue (Hey- I’m the guy! I’m supposed to be afraid of commitment, not her!) she says she needs a month or two more than the two months we’ve been dating to get to know me well enough to hold my hand and kiss me again (yes, again. Suddenly, I became a leper a few weeks ago).

So, I send her an email and list these possibilities.

  1. You want to break up with me, but don’t want to hurt my feelings.
  2. You just want to be friends.
  3. You’ve been hurt, and are looking to avoid a repeat.
  4. I’m unattractive.
  5. You are interested in someone else.
  6. Some kind of mental game. (I somewhat doubt this theory)
  7. You are not proud of dating me.

All of the seven items were refuted (or at least denied) exept for five, six, and four. The fourth one seemed obviously wrong in the past, but who knows now? I am fully incompetent when playing headgames, and really never know what to do. I’m -way- too selfish to be the -other anyone-.

Fuck this shit!
Why are the truly interesting ones so very fucked up?

That’s what makes 'em so interesting, me boy.

Learn to like the ones that aren’t bonkers, and you’ll do well :smiley:

Cynical, yet true.

Fifteen wonko points to Mr. Cynical.

I was once told “Don’t sleep with a woman who has more troubles than you” Cuts down on the pool somewhat.

Wonko… I wish I could be more sympathetic (I was in the previous thread) but… it’s getting to the point that I can begin to imagine why she is tacitly putting you at arm’s length. You received solid, real world advice from a slew of people in the last thread after detailing your situation and yet you persist in humilating yourself with this woman.

This pathetic, begging email plea in the form of this “list” for her to tell you explicitly, specifically, in excruciating detail WHY she doesn’t want to have anything to do with you physically almost answers itself.

For God’s sake Wonko. I can understand the pain of being in love and then having the rug pulled out but it’s over. Get on with your life. All you are doing at this point is abasing yourself.

Your feeding her power trip by contacting her at all. Drop all contact now. Your letting her call all the shots on this, take control! The best way to win that head games crap is to refuse to play.

I’m with astro on this one.
My only suggetions: drop her and sleep with all of her friends. If your gonna burn bridges… use an atom bomb.

ohh… I forgot… do it before your friends lose all respect for you.
Ever get the feeling your being used? Even psychos have feelings, this bizatch knows what shes doing.
Tell her to stop giving psychos a bad name!

Just broke up with her (if you can call it that, as we were not an item).

She said “Well let me know if you change your mind”.
Stupidly I replied similarly.

I feel like shit.
It will get better.
Thank you all for your harshly obvious and accurate advice.

I’m thick headed when my emotions interfere with my logic.

You and everyone else, bro. It’s easy to know you should get to steppin’. The hard part is really believing it, to say nothing of then having to actually do it.

Your reply to her, by the way, was not stupid, but entirely appropriate.

It may hurt now, Wonko. But, if what you’ve told us about this woman is true, you have made the right decision. You will thank yourself in the very near future.

Hey, if this had happened a couple of weeks ago, I’d have bought you a round. Next Dopefest, I guess.

Thanks Duke- Oh, and her name was not Sara(h). Thank you for relating your story about her. It made a big difference.

you deserve better.

Sorry to come in so late on this topic. I managed to completely miss it.

On reading the general advice (in both threads), I only have a few thoughts to add/reinforce.

  1. The only guy who did anything like that to me (‘I’m confused, I don’t know what I want, can we just back off and be friends until I know what I want’) really just was missing the ego trip of having me pursue him in desperation. He wasn’t even self-aware enough to KNOW that was what was going on (granted, we were both young). All he knew was that somehow something was missing, and every time he said, maybe we’d better just be friends, BOOM, things were ‘better’ (for HIM. That is, I would start pursuing again). Finally, I said sure we can stop seeing each other, and left. He came back. I told him to take a hike. I felt better. :slight_smile: He still thinks I dumped him first (the ‘lets just be friends’ think wasn’t supposed to be a real breakup, apparently!). Too bad for him.

  2. Definitely agree on the advice to look for non-broken females. The less messed-up the better. They will like you, too, you know.

  3. Holding hands and other demonstrations of affection in church is a future no-no unless you are already discussing marriage. Too much of a statement for many people, like inviting them to dinner to meet your parents. I don’t think that was the major issue here (or it would have generated a discussion, not a panic attack), but keep it in mind.

  4. People who freak after physical contact often have issues you don’t even want to get CLOSE to dealing with (beyond ego problems). I’ve had a few friends go through those. Be glad you aren’t going there.

  5. People who need you to play mind games will give up if you refuse to play. If they like you, they will still stick around, but will be much easier to deal with. If they don’t like you that much, they’ll disappear. Making the game no fun at the same time as making it clear that you care is my favorite defense. “I’m so sorry you are mad at me. I hate it when I’ve done something to upset someone and I don’t know what it is. I’m sure you’ll tell me why you are mad when you are ready to talk about it. So, how was work today?” (Followed by either dead silence or spluttering on their part, and calm continuation of the conversation on my part, followed usually by them actually gasp saying what was bothering them.) I find that if I don’t act like it will upset me deeply, they usually can figure out what that ‘something’ was - half the time in hopes to get that expected rise from me somehow, half the time because I derailed their little behavior pattern and freed them to actually talk honestly.

Good luck. Heal your heart and get back out there.

Swiddles once dubbed me the Patron Saint of quality-advice laden posters. But I think that hedra might deserve the title more.

This is wonderful advice:

Sorry, Wonko. The other posters were dead on.

Now, please, for all of us: learn your lesson. When she comes crawling back because she misses the attention, refuse to interact with her. And sleep with all her friends. Don’t be her neutered date to any functions.

Well, it would have been a surprise, I guess.

I hope you didn’t do what some friends and I did to “celebrate” that breakup. I don’t remember everything that happened, but I had to throw away that sweater, I couldn’t face taking it to the drycleaners.

Glad I could help, I guess.

She actually held my hand in church (her move) not me- then later on, she decides it’s a bad idea. Go figure.

Thanks for all of the positive vibes in my post-not-seeing-her-anymore period.

I appreciate it very much everyone.
The stories of others who were in the same situation make me feel not so alone.

Just got a “can’t we just negotiate and figure this out” email. How can you predict this crap? It’s -scary-.

Please, PLEASE say no. She’s just trying to regain the upperhand.

Here is my $0.02

IGNORE the e-mail. Don’t call, don’t write. You do not need someone like this. This is the classic power struggle on her part. She wants to be in control.

My opinion of what would happen if you answer her e-mail and start seeing her again is that she will break it off within a short period of time. She wants to be the one to be calling all of the shots.

But as I said that is just my opinion based on my experience with these kind of games.

Deb is right, it’s all about the balance of power. When you broke up with her you upset the balance that was in place. Now she wants to restore it back to where she is more comfortable.

Use the force, Luke.