How you can get back to being her boyfriend instead of being her backup plan.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer whose long-distance girlfriend of two and a half years started monkey branching from him to another guy. He became needy and clingy until she dumped him. He walked away, but she started reaching out after several weeks of no contact but wouldn’t commit to seeing him in person.
She still reaches out every week but doesn’t bring up getting together or mention any desire to see him. He asks what he should do. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
This is a good email for those of you that are in kind of that that limbo area, where you’ve walked away from your ex-girlfriend, or some of you were dating, maybe they broke up with you or stuck you in friendzone, or said she was confused, she needed space, and she continues to reach out after you ended things. And then, you tell her to only get in touch if she wants to see you romantically again, yet she keeps reaching out, but she won’t see you. So, this is how you handle that particular situation.
This guy’s got some things working against him. He’s obviously long distance from her. It’s not like they live in the same town, so that makes things different. Because if you’re going to date somebody long-distance, especially when you’re going to date for multiple years, at some point, somebody’s going to have to move. And if nobody is planning on moving, then it’s just a matter of time before it ends.
I hope you’re doing well. Last summer, my (now ex) girlfriend started growing distant, and after I confronted her about it, she confessed that she had met another guy she was interested in monkey-branching to.
I don’t know that she actually said “monkey-branching,” but he recognized that she was interested in him, because this guy is in her city and he’s long distance.
This happens a lot, especially when you see people that are high school sweethearts and they go off to college, but they go to different colleges. The girl goes off, joins a sorority, she’s got all this attention from other attractive men her age. The boyfriend’s on the other side of the country, they don’t talk very often. So, unless the boyfriend has lots of interest from women, a lot of times things end up going sideways.
We were long-distance for 2.5 years, and I was actually supposed to leave the country for a year this September.
Yeah, that’s almost impossible to maintain a relationship when you never hardly even get together, and now you’re going to be gone out of the country for a whole entire year. It’s like, how is that supposed to work? Why be committed if you literally physically can’t even be together?
So, even though this did take me by surprise, the writing was on the wall. I came to my senses, (rejection breeds obsession, does it not?)…
This is true.
…but became needy, and by the end of the summer, she pulled the plug on our relationship.
Well, it’s obvious that you communicated that you were way more into her than she was into you. And having that other guy in the picture, it’s understandable why he would become fearful. But from a leverage perspective, he doesn’t have much leverage. And then when you act needy and clingy, you’re just literally chasing her out of your life, what little she’s actually in it, because again, they’re long distance.
Luckily, I had found your videos prior to the actual breakup. I remained calm and polite, told her that I didn’t want to be just friends, and to only give me a call if she changed her mind and wanted to see me.
Well, that statement right there, especially if she keeps reaching out after you’ve told her that, and then you try to get together with her and she keeps going, “I don’t know,” and she won’t make plans, you can say, “Look, I told you that I’m not interested in being friends, and yet you keep calling me and wanting to talk as if we’re friends.”
You’ve got to understand, as a man, especially in this case, he’s displayed a lot of weakness. And so, she’s not going to just cave and agree to see him. He’s got to be consistent with what he told her. This is the important thing. You can’t be consistent nine out of ten times, because that one time that you’re not, you’ve now failed to be congruent with what you said.
And so, in this particular case, he says, “only give me a call if you’re interested in seeing me romantically.” Well, she keeps reaching out, but won’t see him romantically, and yet he keeps taking her calls instead of reiterating, saying, “Hey, you keep calling me, and I told you that I don’t want to hear from you unless you want to get together and you want to continue seeing each other. So, you need to respect my wishes.”
You might have to actually say that to her to get the point across. So, let’s continue on the timeline. After he does that, he walks away. It sounds like there’s no contact.
Forty days later, she reached out saying that she thought of me every day, doubted whether she made the right decision and hoped that if it was “meant to be” we could find each other again down the line.
When she says something like that, it’s only meant to be if you actually make the effort to get together in person.
I asked her to come visit me, and she said she was afraid of trying again too soon and feared she would be distant towards me.
When you hear something like that, then you say, “Well, you’ve got to respect my wishes. Because the last time we spoke a month and a half ago, I told you I wasn’t interested in being friends and I only wanted to hear from you if you were certain that you wanted to see me. And so, now you’ve reached out, I assume you wanted to see me. I try to make plans and you’re saying, you’re afraid. You’re afraid you’d be distant.”
Well, it’s like, “That’s not the answer I’m looking for. I’d love to see you, but if you’re not excited to see me, then quite frankly, I don’t want to hear from you again. You’ve got to respect my wishes.” What’s happening is he’s allowing her to just kind of leave things in limbo, instead of being firm in his boundaries.
So this is the problem here. He’s not being firm in his boundaries. He’s letting her get away with validating her, giving her attention and time. Probably what’s going on is, because things aren’t going so well with the other guy she monkey-branched to, what she’s doing is she’s putting her finger in the water, stirring the pot and seeing if he’s still interested. And as soon as he confirms he’s interested, she goes, “no.”
He’s letting her, in essence, keep him in friendzone. That’s why you’ve got to set and enforce healthy boundaries. He set the boundary, but he didn’t enforce it. So, because he didn’t enforce it, he’s continuing to display weakness that he doesn’t really mean what he says, and so she’s not going to trust his masculine core. So, there’s really no fear of loss on her part, because he keeps validating her. He keeps giving her what she wants.
She reached out again another week later, turned down my offer once more, saying she was thinking about it and liked the idea, but was pretty busy these days, (she’s moving out of her parents’).
So, again, you just reiterated, “Well, I told you I’m not interested in being friends, and you’re calling. I said, ‘only call me if you’re interested in getting together.’ And so, you’ve reached out twice now, I assume you want to get together, but you don’t want to get together. You need to respect my wishes. I don’t want to hear from you unless you want to get together.” You’ve got to reiterate that.
I since then stopped asking to meet up, but she keeps reaching out every week to ask how I’m doing and what she’s up to.
Take twenty-four hours to reply to her message. Let it go to voicemail, reach out the next day. Just say, “Hey, I got your message. Nice hearing from you. Have a great day.”
Our convos are nice and even flirtatious, but she’s never taking the bait.
Well, you’re not enforcing healthy boundaries. She’s calling to get attention and validation and to see that you’re still on the hook and there’s still interest on your part, in case she decides she wants to monkey-branch back to you. And that’s the wrong move. You told her you weren’t interested in being friends, but yet you’re letting her keep you stuck in friendzone.
My guess is the rebound guy either ditched her or doesn’t want to commit.
You’re probably spot on.
And she’s realizing with no contact, that I am slipping away too.
Yeah, but you’re still giving her a little too much time and attention.
I want her back.
Well, that mindset is the wrong mindset. It’s not, “I want her back.” It’s “I’m willing to give her another chance at getting me back. But her her attitude needs to change.”
But I’m also nobody’s backup plan. What would you do in this situation? I feel like it may be salvageable, but I don’t know how.
Thanks for your work and for making relationships as they should be: effortless, fulfilling, and fun.
You have to enforce the boundaries and you’re not doing that. You see, what’s happening here is that she’s selling you on why you should be her backup and be her friend. You’re not congruent with your actions, instead of you selling her on why you don’t want to hear from her again unless she wants to see you.
And so, sometimes you’ve got to be a little more harsh. And in this particular case, you’ve set the boundaries, but she keeps violating them and you’re not holding her accountable to that. That is the little subtle difference that makes the difference. There’s no real fear of loss, because she knows as soon as she texts you next week, you’re like, “Hey, what’s up? What are you doing?” And you’ll go back and forth a few texts.
And like I said, I would only do that for a few times. If she keeps calling you or keeps texting you, just wasting your time, what she’s really doing is looking to see if you’re still in back-up zone. And so far, you’ve continually validated that. So now, it’s time to be a little harsher, a little colder, a little more distant, because she’s not giving you what you want. Because she thinks that you’re compliant with being in friendzone.
The strongest negotiating position is being able to walk away – and this is the most important part of walking away – and mean it! And you didn’t mean it. That’s what you’re communicating here, is that you didn’t really mean you’re walking away. You told her you were walking away, but you’re still giving her your attention and validation.
So, that’s what I would do if I were you. Just respond to her text messages twenty-four hours later. And then if she gives you a hard time, just say, “Look, you keep calling and texting me, and I said I don’t want to hear from you unless you want to get together in person. And every time I’ve asked you to get together, you still won’t do it. So you’re not respecting my wishes.”
“I told you I wasn’t interested in being friends, and you’re doing exactly that. You’re trying to keep me in friendzone or as a backup to this other guy that you’re dating. If you’re with this other guy, I want you to focus on your relationship with him, and I don’t want to hear from you unless it doesn’t work out.” Be harsher. Be a little firmer in your boundaries. She’s treating you like you’re a low priority, therefore, she needs to become a low priority. That’s what I talk about when I say, matching in mirroring their actions.
So, if you’ve got a question or challenge and you’d like to get my help, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen in book a coaching session with yours truly.
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Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“If you don’t date and court your girlfriend or wife properly, eventually, some other guy will. Women want to be in a love story. Relationships that last and stand the test of time are the result of mutual respect, admiration, strong romantic attraction and intimacy, and open and honest feedback and communication. Without these, the bonds of emotional, mental, spiritual and physical intimacy start to break down, and the relationship will eventually end.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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