Friday, April 29, 2011

If X=Praying Mantis, What Is Y?

Sorry for the cryptic title. I thought it was catchy. What do you do when you have an ex that refuses to let you move on? I know I don't usually talk about dating or relationships really, but it's the only interesting subject I have at the moment, so bear with me. I don't really have any "exes", per se, and most of the ones out there that could possibly fit that description are still friends of mine, so the topic today isn't from personal experience. It's about someone else's experience. While I don't know all the details, since I'm not quite a confidante, I think I can get the gist of it explained here.
    So there's an ex, who seems positively hell bent on reconnecting--not necessarily in a romantic manner, but possibly. However, the person with the ex, A, doesn't really want to reconnect. Not because of any character flaws or extreme pain or resentment that's still bubbling under the surface, mainly just that A is over the ex, who shall heretofore be known as--aptly--X. A has simply moved on.
    But how does A explain to X that A doesn't have any interest in "reconnecting"? X is persistent. X wants to spend time with A. Furthermore, A has tried several methods of showing X that A wants nothing to do with X anymore. A has not returned X's phone calls or text messages on several occasions. A has turned down suggested meetings with X several times. And, rather unfortunately I think, A has acted extremely, and perhaps excessively, mean, rude, and unkind toward X in several instances. While I disapprove of this uncouth behavior, I marvel at the fact that X has not yet taken the hint.
   Why do some people, like X, seem to sit back and take the abuse, thinking they must try harder to win someone's affections back? Why, rather than stopping and saying: this is SO not worth it, and telling that someone to put their shit attitude where the sun don't shine? Why do people like X keep at it, never giving in even when it appears that things will only end badly? (On a side note, this is a particularly interesting case study in human behavior. I thought stuff like this only happened in the movies.)
    Perhaps I can answer this question. Although I was never in such a situation when someone treated me horribly and I decided to give up on them, I have been in situations where it is quite clear that the person has no interest in anything beyond friendship, and yet I persisted. I'm stubborn that way, I guess. Sometimes, the person you're pursuing is so great--or at least your obsession has led you to believe that--that you can't let go. You can't stop trying. You can't move on. That may be what's happening here. X is under the impression that A is so great--and knowing A myself, X may have a point--that X cannot give up on A, no matter how badly A behaves.
    In spite of all this, I can't help but condemn X. If someone is treating you like shit, consistently, it seems completely absurd to continue trying to be their friend or get them to like you. Even though A liked X once upon a time, that is no longer the case. I can't believe X doesn't see that to some degree.
    A has decided, according to my most recent knowledge, to tell X that there is something horribly wrong with A, so horrible that A hopes X will decide to back off. I think this is a mistake. Not only is A lying, again, but if X is as persistent as it seems, it probably isn't going to make much difference in achieving A's end--the end being getting X to stop pursuing A.
    What A needs to do to accomplish this is to tell X the truth. What a concept! So simple, and yet, so frighteningly difficult. To really drive the point home, A ought to tell X that A has no interest in seeing X anymore. While A and X shared something once, A has moved on, and A would like X to respect that by not calling, texting, or asking to see A anymore. That kind of talk isn't easy to have with someone. I think most of us avoid it, like the plague. But sometimes, with some people, it is necessary.
    Now, wouldn't it have been so much simpler if I had used pronouns to tell this story? But, for anonymity's sake, I did my best to preserve it completely. While I hope that A will muster the courage to tell X the truth about how A feels about this situation, I have a feeling this drama might continue for a while.
     So, I get to sit back and watch this live soap opera unfold before my eyes, hoping that our protagonist will do the right thing. In the meantime, consider this: exes are like ghosts. Unless you straight up tell them to bugger off, they may haunt you indefinitely.
No means no.


Outnumbered said...

It took me a long long long time to realize that my time/energy/emotions are extremely valuable - even if a significant other or Ex didn't see it that way.
all you can do is the best you can to explain how you feel. I was once given so very good (professional - embarrassing, I know) advice: all relationships are based on the boundaries you set for them. If someone can't respect your boundaries then that "relationship" is meaningless. It is okay to stop talking and communicating with people who don't respect your boundaries.
At some point, when an individual becomes toxic, the responsibility of your well being is completely yours and you really do just have to walk away.

Constant Writer said...

I think that was very good advice. Maybe I can pass that along to my friend. Something needs to get the point across to that ex.
I wouldn't say the ex is toxic, just that their attentions are unwanted. But, again, I've nosed too far into someone else's business, and maybe I should just let them sort this out on their own.

+Constant Writer

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