One of our beautiful readers, Tracey, sent in the following story about a man she reconnected with after 20 years who then pulled the disappearing act! She allowed me to share the story with all of you so that we can all learn from this all too common experience.
Hi Jane, I'm one of your followers from the UK, and i need your help.
I fell for the trap of somebody returning to my life after 20 years !!!
I was madly in love with him back then, but our relationship ended and he went onto marry somebody else. He separated at the end of last year, and in the January of this year he found me on facebook (ahh facebook, bringing people together).
We chatted non stop on facebook and by phone for 6 weeks for hours at a time.
It was like time had stood still.
Where had 20 years gone? Anyway, long story short, it was a long distance thing, but we did meet up for a weekend initially in February. It was great.
After that weekend we carried on chatting, although less frequently, and met again in July for a weekend. I met some of his friends, but then I started to realize that there were red flags popping up.
There was a woman - married, still with her husband I might add with a young child who was very obviously making a play for him. He did mention her, but said she was just a good friend, and he didn't think of her in that way!!!
She also called in to see him whilst I was visiting. We all sat and chatted for a while and then she left. She was always popping up on his FB page and then started leaving little cryptic messages and photos she had taken with him in them.
A few days after my July visit he sent me a message saying that he didn't like me discussing him/us with mutual friends - red flag again.
He was quite harsh actually. Why did he not want people to know about us?
Well, I guess he was keeping his options open, and probably didn't want this other woman to know anything was going on so she could carry on stroking his ego. I truly believe that they are having some kind of relationship. Call it a gut feeling if you like.
He must be a fool to have a relationship with somebody right on his doorstep especially as she is married with a child. He has 2 young children by the way, and shares custody with his ex.
Anyway after the harsh message about keeping things a secret, I didn't hear anything for about 3 days and then it was just a brief message to say he was going on holiday with the children for a few days. After that as I didn't hear from him.
So after 3 weeks of silence I deleted him and her from FB, I guess so I couldn't "stalk" their profiles. Did I do the right thing or was that the wrong thing to do?
I guess I did it for my own sanity really. We were intimate during my 2 visits, so I suppose what hurts more than anything is that I feel so used, yes and stupid for falling for him again. You'd think I'd know better at nearly 50 years old.
He left me with a broken heart 20 odd years ago, and I never really got over that. I suppose I thought things would be different this time around, but looking back I guess some people don't change.
Oh Jane, how do I move on from this?
I realize now that I bought into the fantasy of what it could have been rather than the reality of what it actually was. How could he hurt me and cast me aside so easily? I guess I was just an ego stroke, and somebody that he knew held him in high esteem. More fool me!!!
Why couldn't he just man up and say he didn't want me rather than just disappear?
It's so cowardly and disrespectful that a grown man could act this way to another person especially when he was the one who pursued me so vigorously in the beginning.
I guess I wasn't pretty enough, funny enough, maybe I was just plain boring, who knows.
All I do know with certainty is I am heartbroken once again, by somebody who didn't treat me with care and respect. Any words of wisdom Jane would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and all the best from across the "Pond".
First of all, know that this wasn't about you at all, my beautiful friend. You didn't do anything wrong.
There's nothing wrong with you.
You weren't not enough of anything.
It is everything you say, you get all this, you understand exactly what happened when you think of it from a practical view.
He wasn't there, he never was, and yes, he took complete advantage of you.
And I know, it hurts, you feel so many emotions because it's so hard not to think of it emotionally and beat yourself up here, but don't.
You did what any believing, fantasizing, loving, caring, woman might have done - you got caught up in the romantic fantasy, the romantic ideal we all share to some extent, of what now, after so many years, might be! Don't take any of this personally, he's caught up in a game that you don't want any part of, and now you know.
So stop first and foremost with being so hard on yourself, Tracey. It doesn't matter how old you are, you're human. Give yourself a break.
Accept that this is what happened and whether or not it should have or not, whether he shouldn't have been able to treat you like this, whether he should have been a better human being than this, what happened happened.
Get it all out.
Write a letter to him, but don't send it.
Tell him everything you want to say, but don't do anything with it except use it to get your thoughts and feelings out because men like this don't care. As much as we want them to, they don't and that's why they can do this.
Forgive him, forgive yourself.
Accept he is who he is and you are who you are and be so glad you didn't get involved with him years ago and end up married to him living like this for more than a short season!
Laugh about if you can get there, and be so glad you have your own life and not his. Can you laugh at how crazy it is that he would think that he can behave like he did and have you not see right through it?
Separate as much as you can from this whole thing. You did the best with what you knew at the time, and now you know what he's really like, and you can accept the reality and put this all behind you. You've been saved from anything more!
I know the intimacy is tough to let go of, but know that even there, it was more of a fantasy than reality and there's no reason to be hard on yourself.
And then when you're ready, be done with him.
Tear up what you wrote to him, realize he is not worth wasting one more second of your beautiful time and energy on, and then forgive yourself and him again anytime you're tempted to go there and think about him again.
Celebrate your humanness, your ability to believe in love and that romantic believer you are. Those are beautiful qualities, Tracey, when you're with the right guy.
It's crazy what a guy can do.
I've found it especially healing to write whenever an old memory came up that made me doubt myself or be hard on myself - you may find this helpful, too.
But most of all, since what keeps us stuck is usually our own beating ourselves up and being so hard on ourselves, the more you can do to reinforce all the beautiful qualities about yourself and what you know to be true, by spending time doing the things you love to do, are passionate about doing and make you feel good about yourself, the easier it will be to move on for you.
Can you take a vacation? Can you give yourself a change of scenery by redecorating or creating something new? Can you follow a new dream, a new idea, a new project, a new cause - something like that?
Because it's when you focus on you, when you focus on what you do well and what makes you feel good about yourself, you'll find him fading into the background.
I hope this helps a little. It'll get easier in time.
Infuse as much humor as you can into your life, Tracey, as I find this to be such a cure-all with some of the experiences I've been through, once you can get to that. But in general, be so gentle on yourself and your heart.
It's OK. All of it. We do the best with what we know at the time. At any age!
Lots of love to you,
What do you think? Any other advice for our beautiful, kind-hearted friend Tracey on how to move on? Tell us about it in the comments!