It’s Over But I’ll Stick Around

Why Do Men Who Say the Relationship is Over Stay in the Same Home?

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.

  1. They fear having to make child support or alimony payments.
  2. They fear having to give up big toys or golf memberships.
  3. They fear having to tell their friends, co-workers, church members.
  4. They fear having to cook their own meals and wash their own socks.
  5. They fear having to live in an unfamiliar residence.
  6. They fear not being able to see their children.
  7. They fear their partner turning their kids against them.
  8. They fear no one else ever loving them.
  9. They fear no one else ever having sex with them.
  10. They fear making a mistake.

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.

  1. They fear the child support payments won’t be enough.
  2. They fear they’ll have to go back to work or get a better paying job.
  3. They fear having to tell their friends, co-worker, church members.
  4. They fear having no one left to take care of.
  5. They fear living in what feels like a cold, lonely home.
  6. They fear having to share their children and not being with them all of the time.
  7. They fear their children will blame them.
  8. They fear being alone and unloveable.
  9. They fear having to reveal themselves to a new partner if they want sex again.
  10. They fear making a mistake.

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:

  1. Ongoing unhappiness and loneliness while continuing to live with someone familiar.
  2. Always wondering when they’re going to finally leave you.

How to Re-Ignite the Spark in an “It’s over but…” Relationship:

  1. Accept that you’re going to have to dig up a dump truck load of courage.
  2. Accept that nothing changes if nothing changes.
  3. Accept that nothing changes if you don’t [change].
  4. Admit and accept that you’re part of the problem.
  5. Acknowledge this to your partner. (Refer back to #1.)
  6. Ask your partner if they want to re-ignite the spark. (Refer back to #1.)
  7. Ask your partner if they’re willing to get uncomfortable to do so.
  8. Assume nothing. Nothing!!! (Assuming hasn’t worked so far.)
  9. Ask for a clean slate. At this point, you’re starting a brand new relationship. With your partner.
  10. Action. Take action by literally starting over and dating like you just met. If you have codependency tendencies, you may need time apart before re-igniting romance and/or therapy to figure out what caused this dysfunctional behaviour and how to change it.

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.

  1. Too much work? Oh, ok, then by all means, continue as is.

I’m divorced. Learn from my pain, people!

xo AJ

Disclaimer: This post does not apply to those suffering physical abuse or in danger. Seek professional help A-sap.

About the Author Anna Jorgensen

Vancouver Matchmaker and Dating, Love and Relationship Expert Founder: Wingmam

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