Does your ex still control your behavior?

My brother met a woman that works for the same firm he does. They chatted and in the end they exchanged phone numbers and made plans to go to lunch. The plan was that he would call her and let her know when he had time and if she was free it was a deal. My brother called her several times and never reached her. He left messages and she never replied, so he pretty much blew it off and decided to move on. About a week later he ran into her as they were leaving the building at the same time to go home. Being in the same vicinity he decided to be polite because for all he knew she could have a logical explanation for why she didn’t return his calls.

When he asked about the slight he was told by the female that she did not call men. This threw my brother for a loop and just like me he possesses that instinct that required him to investigate that statement. He reviewed their first meeting and how they had exchanged phone numbers, bringing up the fact that it was her idea of the number switch. She did a reversal and informed him that if he indeed wanted to see her then he would have to continue to call until he reached her. My brothers take was that he didn’t want to continue to call her because he didn’t want to have that feeling he was bugging her. She assured him that he wouldn’t be and that eventually she’d answer.

Now my brother whom is very inquisitive had to ask that question that was driving him nuts, but he needed to formulate it into words that wouldn’t create a hostile situation. So being the person he is he immediately began to make her laugh so that he could erase any hostility that may have been brewing on the surface and to get her to relax. Then he popped the question he was dying to know the answer to.

“Why is it that you do not call men?” The answer astounded him. She stated that her former boyfriend had her trained to call him whenever she arrived at a certain destination, work, home, shopping etc. He told her it was to insure him that she was safe. Later in the relationship she discovered that the real truth was that he had several other women and by knowing where each was at all times he thought he’d never be caught. She also said that many times when she called him he’d put her on hold telling her it was business, only to find out it was the other women checking in.  

After listening to this story my brother told her this: (he called me on his way home) “Let me get this straight, you wouldn’t call me, a man whom evidently is attracted to you based on the actions of a guy you haven’t dated in over two years?” He further stated, “Have you ever considered that although you are not with him anymore, he’s still controlling you and your actions? Therefore denying you the opportunity to start a new relationship with someone who is honest, caring, sweet, stable and handsome (he had to throw that in to keep the mood light)?  He went on to tell her that if he didn’t like her as much as he did then when she never returned his call he’d have moved on. Also, that because he thought she was a beautiful woman with a kind heart he felt he needed to ask those questions to get to the bottom of this. Now that he knew, and she knew what the problem was, he wanted to know how was she going to fix it? He left her with this message, ” You can continue to let that loser control your life from the past, which is even worse than having him control it in the now, or you can take the memories of him, good and bad, lock them in a room in the back of you mind and throw away the key. The choice was hers to make. He left her with this: “You decide and I’ll see you around.”

While taking to me on the way home from this event he got another call, guess who? They’ve been together for three months now and I think she’s great, so does he. Hell, I may get a sister in-law out of this, at least I hope so anyway.  

Now, you may be wondering where I’m going with this so here it is. “How much control does your ex have over you? What are some of the things you will not do based on what happened in your last relationship? Identify them and write this information down on a piece of paper. Look at it real closely, kiss the paper and then burn it. Get rid of him and all those things for good so you can move on. Now make a new list, this time write down the names of men whom have attempted to get to know you since you broke up with that idiot. These are men that were probably good and because of your ex they didn’t stand a chance. If any of those names jumps off the page at you, do your home work first, don’t just jump into this thing. Find out if he’s still on the market, and if he is make contact with him. He could be the one that almost got away.

I had a girlfriend once, I really liked her. However she had this habit. She’d call me at work and ask me if she could go places, do things. It drove me nuts. So I asked her about it and she told me that with her ex she always had to ask for permission. I quickly informed her that she was an adult and although it is polite to call and tell me that she was going to go out with her friends (keyword being TELL ME) it wasn’t my place to grant her permission. As an adult  man I wasn’t about to ask permission from anyone to go anywhere and therefore I didn’t expect her to either. It took a little while but she finally understood. 

Another girlfriend I had once really screwed up, and when I confronted her about it, between tears she told me to hit her. She expected it. This really shocked me, I’ve never raised my hand to a woman in my life. When I refused, our relationship changed. Later I found out that her ex had hit her whenever she did something he didn’t approve of so that’s why she expected me to also. Not! Since I wouldn’t she doubted I really loved her and we broke it off soon after. (I wish I knew then what I know now about spousal abuse) Luckily she met a guy after me and from what I’ve heard through friends over the years they’ve made a nice family together. 

Anyway, what I’m attempting to say is that we bring a lot from one relationship to another. Some things are good and some bad. The bad things we call baggage and we really all need to dump it as soon as the relationship is over. Don’t let it become a burden on you or the next man whom is trying to get to know you. Start every relationship off with a clean slate, this will make it easier to have a next one.




2 comments on “Does your ex still control your behavior?

  1. Great post. I think that we all (male and female) can tend to overreact and go the reverse direction after a bad relationship. Learning to recognize this and not go to the extreme (such as ruining a good thing) is very important. I think in every relationship we learn what we will and will not tolerate, but making sure it’s a reasonable standard is sometimes hard to do.

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