Why dating unhappy or depressed people who have more problems than everyone you know combined is a recipe for drama, conflict, frustration, disappointment and heartbreak, and why it’s not your job to fix them or solve their problems.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a female viewer who recently dumped her boyfriend of six months, because she felt that he left her no choice. She came to realize, after he started withdrawing, becoming grumpy and combative, he was simply depressed and unhappy with his life. At first, she tried to be supportive and understanding, but his continued hostility and disrespect continually turned her off. They even went to relationship therapy and counseling, which she says did not help them at all. However, he did admit in their sessions he did not feel like he was good enough for her.
She wants to date him again if he gets his act together, since she obviously feels like he has a lot of potential, but he just seems to be checked out and not even close to turning things around with his life. She asks my opinion. My comments are in (bold parenthesis like this below) in the body of her email.
Thanks for taking time to read this. I’ll get right to it. I broke up with my boyfriend last week. I didn’t want to, but I felt I needed to. (Women are usually the ones who end relationships.) Here’s some background info: We dated 6 months. In the beginning, he was amazing, and everything I wanted. We both shared very rare and unique interests that had us very excited about one another. (Like attracts like.) When we met, he was on the path to meeting his goals for his career and financial independence. He was 6 months away from quitting his regular job to focus on his professional practice, as we’re both accountants. However, a few months after we met, he had a family emergency that depleted his nest egg that would allow for him to quit his job. (Nine times out of ten, you giving your money to help someone is not going to solve their problems. What ends up happening is their financial problems then end up becoming your financial problems.) He became stressed, and everything went downhill from there. I understood his situation, so I was very patient with him, even when he got frustrated at me over literally nothing. He seemed to have zero ability to reason logically, he jumped to conclusions, (Obviously, he’s in a fearful and stressed state), and also put hurtful words in my mouth constantly. We thought getting some tools for communication problems might help and started seeing a relationship counselor, but things seemed to get worse. (At the end of the day, you can have the best counselor, but if the man or woman getting the counseling is not naturally in line with their male or female essence, it’s not going to matter. You won’t be able to save it.) Nothing I said mattered, because he was hell-bent on believing what he wanted to believe about what I said. For the last month, I walked on eggshells, and a few weeks ago, he finally talked to me about what was going on. Between what he said, and his decreased libido, (If a guy doesn’t feel successful at life, he’s going to feel inept and impotent as a man, and that will definitely show up in his sex life), I realized that my boyfriend was very depressed. This didn’t scare me, but it really helped me to understand what he needed, and it helped me to understand why in the counseling sessions he repeatedly said he felt that he wasn’t good enough for me. (Until he gets to a place where he’s happy and complete, he’s not going to be able to share himself with somebody else. He feels like his cup is empty, and you can’t give away what you don’t have for yourself.) I knew he needed space to work on his business, and for me to quietly understand why he didn’t call me. I did my own thing, got back into the happy groove that was my life before our problems and stopped trying to fix the relationship, (That’s exactly what you should be doing), since I honestly believed it was all a symptom of where he was. (Yes, it wasn’t about you. It was totally about him. He stopped making the effort and is projecting his unhappiness onto you.)
The last time I saw him, he commented on how I am always so “happy and smiley” and kept commenting on how “sexy” I looked in my work skirt, but when I kissed him, I felt that he didn’t want it. (You can’t give away what you don’t have for yourself. This guy has recognized he is not happy. Quite frankly, he’s thinking you’re better off without him anyway.) He then got short and rude with me through text the next morning, not to mention oddly delayed response times, and ultimately made me feel as if I annoyed him. All I was doing was loving him. I literally was super sweet to him, but he was disrespectful, and I had enough. (You can’t tolerate that shit. You did the right thing by saying he was crossing your boundaries and being rude and disrespectful. No one will ever do or say anything to you that is not a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves in a moment. He is projecting his unhappiness onto you.) I told him I needed a little bit of time to calm down. He knew he did something wrong and apologized, but I just couldn’t talk to him because I was so hurt. (He was unable see what he was doing to you. Until he gets to a place where he can make himself happy, he is incapable of being the type of guy you’re looking for. You have to see him as he is.) I waited a few days and texted him. He quickly responded, but said he was unable to talk because he was busy, and that he’d respond as soon as he got some time later on — understandable. Time rolled by, he never got back to me. I was done. He was on the verge of losing me, I wasn’t even important enough to get back to at this time, and his apology and plea to let me call him tomorrow didn’t help.
The next day he realized that it really was over. He tried to make me feel bad, and then said it was sad but probably best. I simply explained I loved him well, and that I was walking away with a clear conscience. (At this point, there’s nothing you can do. He has to fix his life and career. You fell in love with his potential.) All I needed was some sort of love, affirmation that I was wanted, or confirmation I was even just liked by him. (It’s not your job to fix him.) He responded with, “I love you too” — the first time he has ever said that to me… ever! Followed with how amazing he thought I was, and how smart, that he loved me, but things held him back, things he needed to come to terms with, and that neither of us could afford to do the roller coaster, as the ride just got worse. (He’s admitting that he can’t be what you want. He feels he doesn’t have what it takes to be the man you deserve.) He said our paths would cross again, and until then, I had a place in his heart. This of course sent me reeling. I was so pissed and didn’t know what to believe. (Just take him at face value and understand that this is where he’s at.)
We had a few light conversations. Again, he said I was so great, never asking me to come back. He “referred” a client to me, which puzzled me. (He still cares, but he’s a bitch and can’t give you what you want. However, you haven’t accepted that reality, and that’s why you’re suffering. The guy you thought he was doesn’t exist. It was an illusion, and that’s why your relationship dissolved.) He liked my status update on Facebook, briefly chatted about a common interest we had, every text interaction was a quick reply and very sweet, and then the next day he went completely silent. (Again, you want him to be different than he is, and that’s why you’re suffering.) It was so skilled and perfectly executed that I hate him for it, and it worked. (It’s a scientific fact that women are more attracted to men whose feelings are unclear.)
Where do I go from here? (Focus on your outcome. What do you want? You want the type of guy he was in the beginning. It’s possible that some time down the road, he could get his shit together, but that may not happen.) I do love him. How long should I wait to see if anything happens? (You shouldn’t wait at all. You should assume he won’t change, and focus on your outcome.) I know you say the dumper is the one who does the work, but he sort of pushed me into it and then agreed with it. (You made the right decision. He can’t be what you want, and deep down you know that.) Honestly, I don’t want him back right now, but I don’t want to be out of his life either. (Being his friend is not going to work either.) I do care for him. Not only that, but I want to leave the door open for us to get together when circumstances are better. I want first dibs dammit! LOL! What would you suggest? (I would suggest that you never call or contact him again, and move on with your life as if it’s over. If he reaches out, let him know before you get together, he has to work on himself and get his shit together first. The bottom line is, when you really love and care about somebody, you want them to be happy, even if it’s not with you.)
“When people do not feel good about themselves or like they are good enough for someone or something, they often will either sabotage their relationships or their life circumstances. It is not your job to fix a potential lover’s problems, fix them or save them from their crummy life or circumstances. Unless someone realizes and admits they have problems or challenges that need solving and are open to doing what’s necessary to fix them, there is nothing you or anyone else can do to help them. You should not care more about someone else’s success than they do. You can’t do for others what they can and should do for themselves.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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