Why He Won’t Let You Go, Even If He Doesn’t Want You

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Why He Won’t Let You Go, Even If He Doesn’t Want You

Why he won’t let you go? Even though he crushes your heart numerous times only to remind you that he doesn’t want you.

It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Your toxic man doesn’t want you until you’re finally over him, and then he finds you irresistible. Leaving an abusive relationship for good means you need to know how to protect yourself.

He wants you. You give in. Then he doesn’t want you. It hurts.

You find the strength to walk away. He wants you. You give in.

Related: Finding Peace After A Toxic Relationship

Then he doesn’t want you. Rinse and repeat.

If you’re anything like I was and attracted commitment-phobic, toxic men, you may have had the confounding experience of finally getting the strength to stay away from your guy for good, only to have him come back on hands and knees, swearing that he really, really loves you and that he’s really changed this time.

If you believe him, the “Pursue/Panic” cycle can start all over again. Why does he do this?

In their seminal book, Men Who Can’t Love, Julia Sokol and Steven Carter say, “Often, all the commitment-phobic needs to alleviate his anxiety is distance.

The relationship is over, so he is no longer frightened. Thus, the feelings he has for you are free to surface in this non-threatening environment. No longer panicked by the trap, he misses you. So he calls.”

“When that happens, usually the scenario is played out all over again. The only difference, this time it’s faster.”

I’ve been in two toxic relationships.

You can’t believe the intensity of the love letters I received from my two commitment-phobes when I finally got strong enough to walk away.

Here’s a little taste of what one of my men who wouldn’t let me go wrote in my very own journal:

“Shannon, I have so much to say. I’m thankful for knowing such a dynamically talented, spiritual, intelligent, and beautiful woman.”

(My ego ate that up like a delicious Chow Mein!)

“I have grown as a human with you and had thoughts and hopes of us building a dynasty together and being each other’s champion.”

 (Right about now I was feeling pretty awesome for changing him so much. Man, he needed my excellent love.)

“I don’t understand how a person’s feelings can change 180 degrees after feeling what I thought we were feeling.”

(My feelings changed because he wouldn’t answer my phone calls and disappeared for days at a time when I asked for a monogamous relationship.)

Related: 10 Unexpected Things That Happen When You’re Finally Free From A Toxic Relationship

“I must let you know that I have never felt what I feel for you with anyone.”

(Ego so, so happy. Man, I’m awesome)

“Therefore, the mess I’ve been for the last two weeks is consistent with my feelings.”

(Glad he’s suffering after all the suffering I’ve been doing. I’ll let him suffer a few seconds longer, then take him back and have a perfect life. Because he now finally understands how awesome I am!)

“It saddens me to hear you say you don’t want to be with me. The headaches, sleeplessness nights, and low moments seem to be all wrong. I’m lost. I’m sorry that I haven’t told you I want you in my life. Because I have been slow to discover how I work and why I do the things I do is no reason why we should allow this special thing between us to disappear.”

(This one really hooked me. He was “slow to discover” how he worked. Hadn’t my time in therapy taught me that we don’t always know why we do the things we do? Couldn’t I just cut him some slack?)

“This makes no sense!”

(You didn’t call for a week. Then you just showed up wanting oral sex and moped when I wouldn’t administer it.)

“It’s very simple, I love you, you love me. We are good for each other.”

 (Actually, not so good for me.)

“We should be together. Please, give me a chance. I’m begging you not to throw something beautiful away. Think about it, babe!”

I thought about it for five minutes. Then I gave him another chance. How did it go? Four more years of inconsistency, unreliability, lying, cheating and several more beautiful apology letters were my reward.

So what can you do to protect yourself from falling prey to your toxic partner’s “Pursue/Panic” syndrome?

If you’ve found yourself wondering, “Why won’t he let me go if he doesn’t want me?”

Here are 6 things you need to know about removing yourself from this type of relationship.

1. Understand that the two of you run on different operating systems.

You desire connectedness, intimacy, commitment, longevity. He desires those things when you’re running away. So, he won’t let you go.

But when you come close and offer them, he feels suffocated, panics, and either bolts or sabotages the relationship by criticizing, moping, being unreliable, and/or cheating. What works for you does not work for him.

2. Slow things down.

Remember, “Trust is earned, not given.” If you decide to give your guy a second chance because he swears he’s changed and wants what you want, go slow. He won’t let you go easily.

Yes, make-up sex can be as incendiary as the fireworks at the Beijing Olympics, but it’s not an indicator anything has changed.

Related: Is Your Relationship Toxic? Common Red Flags and What To Do

3. Don’t think you’re in a movie.

Richard Gere came to his senses after he dumped Debra Winger. He rushed to her factory to whisk her away to a future with him as loving, sexy, and pouncy as a cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof.

It’s a fantasy as intoxicating as Beauty and Snow White. But the reality is, the only thing Debra Winger probably got to keep was his hat.

4. Believe what he does, not what he says.

When your guy comes crawling back, tears in his eyes, broken-hearted, he’s liable to say anything to get you back. The really tricky part is he probably really means it because he won’t let you go.

But once he has you back, he feels suffocated and smothered all over again.

Related: How We Fool Ourselves Into Thinking We Need To Stay With Toxic Partners

5. Don’t find excuses for his bad behavior, and don’t blame yourself.

In general, those of us attracted to commitment-phobic asshats have an overabundance of empathy and the tendency to misplace responsibility.

This is leftover from childhood. Little kids think they’re the cause of everything that happens to them, both good and bad.

The brain stem at that time is underdeveloped and doesn’t understand the concept that the child isn’t the center of the universe.

So if we’ve had volatile upbringings — parents with addictions of any kind — we often take that feeling of being the cause of the problem into adulthood with us, leaving us vulnerable to chaotics, addicts, narcissists, commitment-phobics and the like.

Take a look at your guy’s past.

Did he leave a trail of broken hearts? Then you are most likely not responsible for his commitment-phobic behavior.

6. Take care of yourself.

When a toxic ex comes back broken and bleeding from missing the relationship he detonated, it’s in our nature to rush in and fix it. Notice when you have that impulse and doubt its validity.

Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?

What would make me feel grounded, sensible, peaceful?” Then ask a Higher Power of your own understanding for the strength to do that.


Written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary
This post originally appeared on Yourtango and has been printed here with permission

toxic relationship: he Won't Let You Go
Why He Won't Let You Go, Even If He Doesn't Want You Pin
Why He Won’t Let You Go, Even If He Doesn’t Want You

13 responses to “Why He Won’t Let You Go, Even If He Doesn’t Want You”

  1. Mary Olie Avatar

    I’m in one such…9 years!
    Exactly as described, even worse.

    1. Meg Avatar

      Same 12 yrs eek!

  2. Julianne Gunn Avatar

    I knew this man

  3. Lisa Marcus Avatar

    Amanda Langbaum

  4. Jaime Penney Avatar

    Exactly. 🙁

  5. Heather Guthrie Avatar

    Wow sounds flipping familiar…toxic

  6. Le Tecia Avatar

    Ambher Ash’a Minah Bean

  7. Tammy Nester Avatar

    Wow, so familiar 🙁

  8. Prince Raj Avatar

    girl freedom of circle…..shld not be disturb.man behind the lovely girl knw well abt it.

  9. Abraham Blackhearty Avatar

    Personal..
    After reading this post.. It made me feel like I’m the one who is toxic, just because I left woman that is not ready, not mature enough to take responsibility.. Strong woman does not hide behind masks nor plays games.. Strong woman doesnt seek revenge. Revenge is for weak, brave ones forgive, intelligent ones ignore.. She asked ‘Why do I fight for her that much?!’ Because I felt world fucked her up a bit.. I wanted to comfort her, to love her, I would have crossed the whole world now to just hug her, but no.. She is used to suffering so much that she actually likes being mistreated.I’m a strong men but this relationship has taken a tall on me.. Yes I do believe in soulmates.. She did changed me, but she was overthinking my love for her. And no he did not wanted to ruin any of your celebrations and holidays. Believe it or not it was all coincidence. It’s all in your head.. I was all good until he felt your pain and out of curiosity wanted to check on you.. Just to discover your self-victimization on profile.. He thinks he is trapped in this..He can get pus**, go out and take them all.. He can sense emotions and use them so horribly against people that it would destroy them. But that does NOT make him happy. He wanted you to open up to him,all of his letters to you were just so you see that struggle is present in all of people lives so you should not feel so sad.. He saw that something hurt you badly but you do not allow him to be there with you. You play games while he is trying to cheer you up.. He does not need anyone, he told you so.. I guess he should trust himself more, maybe he is not that strong to handle you after all.. His first decision when he left was not just because he felt like wanting to hurt you.. So yeah act like psychiatrist but start with yourself please. I will always be next to you. You can talk to me about anything.. I believe in soulmates, but I also believe if I keep pursuing you I’m gonna lose myself.. Lose everything.. I am ready to lose everything for the person I love but you my dear keep running away. I will always wait for you.. I may not be able to love another after this relationship, but I will at least try not to hurt her. Its not my fault that I am not ready enough to physically fight with another men to have you. Its just not who I am.I do not force love. I can love but its not my fault I have such a low confidence to believe someone can love me, fucked up me.. I will always love you, and I will never lose hope in us, in what we have.. I thought I have finally found someone who will understand my desire to be alone in times of overthinking and all of the anxiety it follows me through, but no… You are easy to say goodbuy just as I am. I guess we are both too independent. But to keep accusing each other of narcism?? Its hurting.. I have to love myself. Trust me you got your revenge, but I am changed person because of you and for that both my mind you changed and my heart that felt your heartbeat will love you. All of those split personalities have one thing in common.. So thank you, you are strong woman now.. All I ever wanted you to be.. for I saw your beautiful and broken soul. Tried to pick it up while struggling with my own shit.. I am loosing my mind.. Everything tells me to keep fighting for you, the whole damn universe, or maybe I have lost my mind. You keep hurting because you are hurt, so yes I will always be here for you to leave and hurt me.. Im used to aloneness so go on, give it your best.

  10. Melody Omnas Suyao Avatar

    Cos.thier life is to make u suffer it can save them from thier dying life..makes u dying save them to living. and he/she want to be with u..we are all human and we all seek love what we deserves. Love is respect humble sensitive care defender.comforter.loyal honesty helper.Lover..ALL.JUST LIKE SATAN ALL IN him is beaitiful but really a poison.so beware..of SATAN DONT BE DECEIVE.LOVE IS PURE.ABUSIVE LOVER NEVER BE CALLED LOVER BUT KILLERS….BE WISE.SEEK THE TRUTH.AND DIFFERENCESSSS…..

  11. Abraham Blackhearty Avatar

    You run away and never turn back. Its clear he does not deserve you…

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