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'Dear Nicola...'

How do I let go of my 'soul mate' when he won’t let go of me?

Written by . Published on January 7th 2011.

'Dear Nicola...'

Nicola Mostyn

Friday 7 January 2011

How do I let go of my soul mate when he won’t let go of me?

Dear Nicola

Several years ago I had a fling with a guy who I believe is my soul mate. We have great sex, great chemistry and really get along together. We were both in relationships at the time and later when we were single I laid my cards on the table and told him I wanted to be with him.

We live in different cities, so would meet up sporadically, but despite telling me that he loved me and wanted to be with me too, we never properly got together and eventually I began dating someone else. Now, years later, he has a child with a woman whom he lives with but says he is not in a relationship with. I am single again and he still visits me, contacts me all the time and tells me he wants to be with me, but now says he can’t because he does not want to risk losing contact with his child.

I’ve tried just being friends with him, but my feelings get the better of me. I’ve tried cutting contact, but he persists in contacting me for so long that I let him back in, we meet up for drinks and end up back where we started. I want to start this year afresh – so how do I get over him for good? And if he doesn’t want me, why won’t he just let me go?

Nicola replies:

Okay, simple questions first: he won’t let you go because he is getting exactly what he wants from this relationship. It sounds like he’s the kind of guy who likes to apportion his affections, so the idea of committing to one woman – any one woman – might be a bit of a push. And there’s no amount of great sex, company or chemistry that can make someone change unless they want to.

Having said that, so far he hasn’t got much motivation to change. He knows you’ll be there for flirtation, sex and attention when he wants you and he gets security and a family from his ‘non-girlfriend’ (who might not even know about her demotion). Even if you go silent on him, he knows by now that if he persists long enough, you’ll take his calls and he can wheedle back into your affections.

Well, why bother, you might ask again, if he doesn’t want to be with you? But that suggests human affections exist absolutes – that someone either isn’t interested in you, or wants to marry you when, alas, there are all sorts of unclear and confusion-inducing steps in between. Trying to understand his motivations will drive you crazy so don’t even try. Just keep it simple – if he wanted to be with you, he’d be with you.

Relationships are like jigsaw pieces. People only come together for as long as they fit. When you were both seeing other people, you fit. Now you are free, you want a proper relationship, the fit is not so compatible anymore.

Perhaps it might help to consider that, in any given circumstance, you are always exactly where you want to be. So, say, if you are seeing someone who has a partner and child and lives in another city the question is less why won’t he sort out his messy life to be with you and more why you are still choosing him, when he is so uniquely unable to give you what you say you want in the first place.

In some ways, you must want this relationship – perhaps for the same reasons he does: It’s exciting, it’s distant and it never has to challenge you the way a proper, committed relationship will. But it’s obvious that you’re ready for more, and perhaps it’s just familiarity and romantic dreams that he might develop into what you now need that are holding you back.

Instead of trying to work on falling out of love with this man, your energy is better spent thinking about what you really want. If that is a loving relationship with someone equally able to commit, then keep reminding yourself of that, witness it in the relationships around you that you admire and start to really believe it. Soon enough, the crumbs your ‘soul mate’ is giving you should start to seem like a pretty poor offering and phasing him out of your life won’t seem like all that much of a challenge after all.

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