A few people have asked me why men stick around after the relationship is “over,” but to be fair, some women stick around, too.
Short answer: Fear.
Long answer: Fear.
Men who say, “It’s over but…” stick around even after their hearts—and maybe other body parts—have left the building because they’re afraid of the changes that leaving would cause.
In my opinion, men who say the relationship is over but who never leave the home are big-ass chicken shits.
And the women who hang on to them are big-ass chicken shits, too.
Women let their men who have mentally left the relationship—or who are the ones who feel “it’s over but”—stick around because of … fear.
It took a long-ass time to get to a stage where two people who used to be so in love are now simply existing together “for the sake of the children”—which is bullshit, by the way, as stats now unequivocally show that kids fare better in broken homes than unloving ones.
If you want to stay together, the first thing you’ve got to decide is that you’re doing it for you, the couple, not the kids. Using the kids is a cop-out and uninspiring to both partners. You might as well say, “I don’t really like you, anymore, but … the kids …” How would you take that? Exactly.
So, if you want to work it out, do it for you, the couple. Here’s reality land: no one is perfect. You may find someone else out there, but you’re just trading in one set of familiar flaws for some new ones. If there’s a modicum of love left between you, and as long as both partners are ready, willing and able, I recommend trying to re-ignite the flame. If it still flickers.
Otherwise, you can count on two things:
Whether or not your partner agrees to participate, accept your part of the responsibility to change the relationship without expectation. If you expect immediate change, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Refer back to #3 & #4. It takes time to see results, and it takes time for your partner to trust your new behaviours.
You’ve drifted apart; now you’ll have to get to know each other all over again. Quite literally, treat your partner like a new potential love. You’re getting to know each other all over. Be playful, be fun. Refer back to #1: Courage. This stage is uncomfortable!
Start by asking any and all the questions you might with someone you just met. (Refer to #8.) “So, X, what lights your fire? What are you passionate about in life?” Stuff like that. Because, guess what? You probably don’t really know anymore.
Once you get past your past and start fresh, this can get fun.
Remember, what don’t we ever do when we’re getting to know someone? Criticize!
AJ RX: No more criticism. Nope, not even sneakily disguised as “helpful advice” or “reminders.” Sorry, you gonna have to shut your pie hole and only give compliments, which should be divvied out generously and often accompanied with flirtation and sexual innuendo. And received with glee. Yep, GLEE.
Of course there’s no guarantees, but if you’ve committed 100% and it doesn’t work out, you may develop the courage to end things and move on to your own happiness without regret.
I’m divorced. Learn from my pain, people!
Disclaimer: This post does not apply to those suffering physical abuse or in danger. Seek professional help A-sap.
Vancouver Matchmaker and Dating, Love and Relationship Expert