I regularly hear from people who are in the rather uncomfortable and ambiguous position of having an ex that they still love (or think they do), claim that they miss them and/or that they wish they could be together. However these ex’s are not leaving their current partner or are unprepared to address the concerns that lead to the demise of the relationship. In some instances, these ex’s are claiming to miss but are not making any moves or suggestions towards getting back together.
If you’re experiencing this, what is likely to result is you becoming very heavily invested in the idea that this person wants/misses you, it’s just that they have an obstacle beyond yours and their control that is preventing you from being together.
The reality is somewhat altogether different: The obstacle isn’t whatever excuse they’ve given. The obstacle is them.
Someone can miss you but not actually want to get back together. They may think you’re great, claim to be crazy about you, or miss the things that ensured they got their needs met, but they don’t miss you that much. They like their life and even if you don’t ‘get’ it or think it’s ‘wrong’, their situation ‘works’ for them.
Someone can miss you but have enough awareness about their own capabilities to know that nothing would actually change if you were to get back together.
Someone can miss you because they get to avoid dealing with someone or something much closer to home that requires their attention. Dodging being emotionally available and of course being uncommitted through their actions.
Someone can miss you but it may not be for the reasons that you think. It may be for an ego stroke, shag, shoulder to lean on, money or whatever floats their boat. The point is that there is a disparity between your idea of what they miss you for and what they actually miss you for.
People who say they miss you but don’t back up the sentiment with real action are talking hot air and being non-committal. In particular, if this is how they were in the relationship, this ‘I miss you’ BS is just an extension of the all talk and little and no action issue.
The mistake that we often make is assuming that they miss us or that they want to get back together because:
1) They’ve got in touch
2) They’re looking for a shag
3) They’re moaning about their ex
4) They’re looking for an ego stroke
5) They’re poking around in our business
6) They’re not wanting us to move on because they like having us as an option and backup plan
7) They’re asking dumb hypothetical questions about what we would do if they were able to be available (only to swiftly follow it up about how they can’t do anything at the moment but ‘might’ in the future)
Ultimately, what this headwrecking boils down to is this:
If someone misses you that much, they will handle their situation to enable them to be with you. Period. Anything else is talking doo doo.
Think about it logically: Let’s imagine you hear from someone over the course of a few months to a year or even more. I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you. We were so good together. They don’t get me like you do. I can’t talk to them like I do with you. If only I could be with you. Blah blah blah blah blah.
Here is the question: Why, if you miss me so much, are you ensuring that you stay in a position of missing me but never actually doing anything about it while you continue on with your merry little life or even your merry little relationship, while muggins here, yes that would be me, puts my life on hold on the possibility that you might actually do something about it one day?
If you are not in reality about who you were involved with and the reasons for the breakup and are still looking for validation such as wanting them to crawl back on their proverbial hands and knees and say how crazy they were to leave you to be with someone else or whatever it was, you will be receptive to your ex’s bleating.
What’s not being acknowledged here is that You.Broke.Up! You are a valuable individual entity – the least they can do is miss you but stop giving them the entitlement of enjoying so much access to you.
What’s all the more galling is the chief offenders of this type of behaviour are often involved with other people. It doesn’t matter what you think of that person – it’s disrespectful to a current relationship for your ex to creep around telling you they miss you.
For you, the eager beaver listener, keep your ego and your boundaries in check. It may feel like sweet retribution that they ‘appear’ to be coming back and that you seemingly have the upper hand, but you’re still losing.
You need more than an ego stroke and empty promises and they are moving on with their life while using you as an emotional airbag to cushion the transition and a very comfortable fallback position should things ever not work out.
Surely you are worth being more than someone’s emotional airbag and their backup plan?
Put a golden boundary in place: Never allow someone to hang around in your life claiming they miss you while disrespecting another relationship. It doesn’t matter what their reasoning is – what they’ll do to others, they’ll very comfortably do to you. Don’t bother taking the high road of ‘Well they were mine first’ because you open yourself up into petty reasoning. That and unless you fell out the sky into 2011 and they have no prior history before you, someone else could easily come along and have that same attitude.
The more you listen, the more you build sandcastles in the sky, is the greater the illusionary relationship that you end up creating. You end up being suspended in No Man’s Land and basically, you’re not moving on.
Do you know what’s so horrible about this situation? The more airtime you give it, when it all goes tits up and you finally accept that the relationship is over, you will often grieve the loss of the relationship far harder because now you have to factor in the the reality that you have put your life on hold since the breakup and prevented yourself from getting a life. Without them.
And, no matter how annoying and even manipulative your ex’s behaviour may be, if you put your life on hold and that includes in the physical day-to-day and the emotional, the buck flatly stops with you.
You have a responsibility to yourself to assess the risk and act in your best interests, even if the reality of something involves making uncomfortable decisions. Yes they should be aware that they’re playing around with your time, energy and emotions, but actually, you should be even more aware of it.
You have always had the option to pay attention, stack up the information, and opt out.
You might say ‘Oh well I was afraid if I didn’t give them attention that they might think I wasn’t interested/wouldn’t leave their partner’ – that’s not a basis for this. If them stepping up to the plate is dependent on you putting your life on hold and not acting with love, care, trust, and respect for yourself, this whole thing is doomed anyway. If they can only leave their partner if they have someone on ice, the relationship is also doomed.
When someone tells you they miss you whether they’re with someone or not and you’re edging into thinking about getting back together with them, slow your roll and say:
You know what? I miss you too but let’s not have this conversation unless you’re prepared to convert that sentiment into action and get back together.
Or the not so polite version: Come back when you’ve got your shit together/are not creeping around behind their back.
And make sure when you miss them, that you miss the reality of them, not the illusion of what you thought they were or what they could become with a bit of twisting, prodding, and projecting.
And asking why they tell you they miss you is like asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’ It’s because they can. We’re not all responsible with words and they don’t always know how to articulate their emotions and desires because many people, and that would include you, assume that feeling out of control and wanting to get back in control equals missing someone. It doesn’t. It means wanting to control things you can’t control.
But I feel the biggest reason is fear of finality which is for them, not having you as an option anymore and for you, not being an option anymore. But remember, don’t sell yourself short. People who genuinely want to be with you don’t resist being with you. They need to stop missing you and be with you, or…jog on.