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My ex's actions make me feel like I was never worth fighting for

Tagged as: Breaking up, The ex-factor, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (4 December 2017) 9 Answers - (Newest, 26 December 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

Hi guys,

So this is an ongoing problem with my ex bf that has left me feeling confused, angry, resentful, but mostly hurt, and I need advice on how to deal with the situation.

So earlier this year, I posted on this website about whether or not I was justified in breaking up with my bf of 5 years due to:

1. His unwillingness to get professional help/treatment for his depression, and treated me like his therapist for most of the relationship.

2. His chronic unemployment and unwillingness to look for work (as in drop out of uni/college courses because the courses were "shit", does the bare minimum when applying for jobs, skipped interviews and refusing to do volunteer work) which stopped us from moving our relationship forward to moving in together.

3. His stoner lifestyle and how he became an absolute sloth while getting high and continuing to smoke despite knowing how much I hated (but tolerated) it. Most of his social life consisted of hanging out with his stoner friends and play video games.

4. His lack of motivation to move our relationship forward towards moving in/engagement. How he kept giving me mixed messages about marriage and kids; claiming how he was planning to propose to me on our one year anniversary but was "talked out of it" but wanted to marry me so badly... but also claimed he felt pressured whenever I or his family/friends hinted about marriage after 5 years together.

5. Taking me for granted: using me as a taxi service, making promises he couldn't keep, and an overall lack of romance.

So to summarise, after reading the advice I was given and talking to my dad about it (which his advice was pretty much was the same as it was online): where he said if I was really 'The One', my bf would have made serious plans with me years ago and would have made me a priority. Needless to say, I broke up with my ex a few weeks later.

My ex was devastated, but at this point I was numb towards our relationship. He claimed that he was waiting to "pop the question" after we had moved in together (but... When would that be exactly if he still hasn't found a job and, or saved money towards moving in together.? Hypothetically: How long would it have been before he would find a job if we moved in together- if ever? Then how long would it take for him to save up for a ring if he has a history of spending most of his money on drugs? See what I mean? If we had moved in together, our lives would have been like the opening scene from 'The Nine Lives of Fritz The Cat'). He claimed he wanted the same things as me... But after following the advice I got, I looked at his actions - not his words. And I realised he had no motivation whatsoever to building a future with me. Before ending things, I encouraged him to get professional help for his depression and aim to achieve goals in his life.

That was in March. Since then, I've enjoyed the single life. I feel more relieved if anything and since then I've reconnected with friends, ive went to several social events and enjoyed myself without having to worry if my ex was having a good time, I've been on holiday abroad for the first time in years, lost over a stone in weight, and got a second job in a college. I've also taken time to 'date' myself by taking myself out to restaurants I want to go to(which my ex would never have done), treating myself to flowers and have thought carefully about what I want in a relationship. I realised that there were a lot of red flags in my last relationship which I ignored (like how my ex took me for granted, how he didn't try and go to my graduation ceremony unlike other guys who were there for their gfs, how he took my feelings for granted, that he was jealous of me, how he made promises he didn't keep and that my parents hated him). I learned that it was better to be single than be in the wrong relationship.

Since then, however, my ex has been trying to contact me non-stop, asking to meet up with me . He's appeared at my work and invited me out for coffee. During the coffee, he has made comments about noticing how getting high stopped him from "getting a lot of things done in [his] life", how distraught and bed-ridden he has been since the breakup, and that he's had a few interviews for jobs during that time. While talking to him, I realised:

1. Despite claiming to cut back, he still smokes drugs.

2. He's still unemployed.

3. Despite being so "shocked" about how a number of our friends have gotten engaged during the past couple of months, he still hasn't given me closure about why I wasn't worth the effort to propose to or move in with when we were still together.

4. He hasn't mentioned receiving any professional help for his depression at all during our conversations.

The latest declaration was that he was planning to shave his beard and cut his hair so that he would look smarter for job interviews. I commented that that was a good idea, and that he would look smarter that way. That was 2 months ago.

Well, just a couple of days ago he appears at my work again... And he still hasn't gotten his hair cut or shaved his beard.

I honestly feel like I am at loss. I mean, we're no longer together so it shouldn't bother me at all... But it does. I know it sounds stupid, but his actions are making me feel like I am not worth the effort at all to make any positive changes to his life. Like I'm not worth fighting for. How it's all word, no action. I feel so stupid to even have faith in him and give him more time to fix himself, like I'm a big joke to him.

It's starting to affect my self-esteem badly. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be worth the effort to any guy at all. I thought my ex was ''The One'... But now I'm sceptical about dating other men, because... Well... I'm just not worth the effort, am I?

I know I deserve a million times better, but I'm just wondering what I should do to feel better about the outcome of the breakup. How can I keep my self-confidence up if all I can think of is "You're not worth the effort".

Any advice would be appreciated

View related questions: anniversary, broke up, drugs, engaged, flowers, jealous, mixed messages, money, moved in, my ex, on holiday, smokes, video games

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (26 December 2017):

N91 agony auntI'm glad that you're feeling better about the situation.

I would say you're being bitchy at all. Not wishing someone a merry Christmas that you don't want anything to do with is completely normal. In fact I think you'd be doing yourself no favours by messaging him as it would invite further conversation.

I would keep the no contact going. I would only get back in touch with him if he continues to make these efforts to get your attention. In that case I would very firmly tell him to stop what he's doing as you are set on moving on and he needs to accept that things are over.

Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (26 December 2017):

Honeypie agony auntMerry Christmas OP!

I'm glad you found some useful advice here on DC and that it is helping you move forward.

I would just like to add that I think you ought to do 2 things.

1. Change all your passwords (including Netflix)

2. Tell him in NO uncertain term (over text is fine) that you are done with him and do not want further contact, that you will be blocking him. Then wish him well, block him and move on. Hopefully he will "get" that you don't want anything to do with him any more. Sometimes guys like him needs to actually "HEAR" that you are done. No contact means nothing to him unless it's spelled out.

Keep moving forward.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 December 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you everyone for your replies!

It was reassuring reading that I was not in the wrong my scenario. I agree with the fact that he considered me his 'meal ticket' and has realised what he's lost. The reason I'm writing this was because before our break-up, he let it slip (and showed no shame In admitting) that he called me a bitch to his friends... Because I was too busy during my teaching placement to answer all his phone calls/messages (if you've trained as a teacher, you have an idea how demanding placements can be and if not: it's the most challenging and exhausting parts of the training). He even let slip intimate details about our sex life to his friends (yet I never revealed any details of our sex life to even my best friend), joking about how "it was basically zero" (How could I possibly be attracted to him anyway the way he is?).

Then I fell out with him majorly over an argument about me being unable to go to some drinking event because i had to prepare for placement and how it was my fault he was 'alone' that night. After a week of no contact I found him sitting beside my car after working crying over how he was terrified of losing me. After reconciling, he mentioned he was going to his friends house to do some video-gaming and could he possibly get a lift to his friends flat?

Regarding the 'meal ticket' comment, I also reflected on how while I lived in halls, every Friday (even during placement) he would text me asking for a lift back to the city despite my workload, and every time he saw me, he always asked to use my shower (seriously - he couldn't even put effort in to washing himself before seeing me?). When I got my car, he boasted about how HE could go on a road trip around the country now that I had a car and could drive, and every time I saw him he asked "did you bring your car with you?".

Now I have no sympathy for him. It makes me sick how much he took me for granted while I was blinded with love, and how toxic the relationship was. Now I smile smugly at the idea of him having to go everywhere by foot due to no license or car.

Recently, I drove past him in the way to work and - no surprises - he STILL hasn't cut his hair or shaved his beard. It was also at the weekend, meaning he still isn't working and is clearly visiting all his friends while they're at work because he hasn't got anything better to do. I've also discovered he's still logged into my Netflix and watching bizarre programmes (even joking one time that he was going to fill my viewing history with lesbian porn as some sort of revenge).

Since it's Christmas, however, he walked past the shop during the day to see if I was in (which spooked me). He even left a card attached to my car that was waiting for me when I finished work. And texted me to wish me a merry Christmas. I've stuck to the NC rule completely and continued with my life as always.

But his behaviour is spooking me now.

He was half-assed during the relationship and now he's lost me, he approaching me in strange and annoying ways.

I'm debating whether I'm being too much of a bitch to even wish him a merry Christmas, but s part of me feels completely justified in doing so. I've tried being a friend after the break-up, but I'm still feeling really resentful over how I was treated and how much he took me for granted.

So... Am I justified in being a little bitchy towards him? What should my next step be?

Also a big thank you to those who encouraged me to live my life and explore myself while single. I keep quoting Constantine from the movie 'The Help' to motivate myself: how feeling bad for myself is ugly, that my ex didn't pick his life, and how I'm going to do something *BIG* with mine. I guarantee that 2018 will be a big year to achieve goals in my life, and will be a brighter year for me :)

A big thank you and a huge "Merry Christmas!" To everyone xxx

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (8 December 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntStop allowing him back in to your life. Ask him to leave you alone and tell him you don't want any more contact from him. Stop giving him chances and stop expecting him to change. You need to accept that this is who he is and it has nothing to do with you or what you are worth. You have known for a long time that this is what he is like, you need to stop hoping that he is going to change. You need to get him out off your life completely and move on with things. You need to be blunt with him and ask him to leave you alone. He is not going to change.

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A female reader, Mysterywoman1 United States +, writes (8 December 2017):

I was with a guy for 4 years. He was alot like your guy but mine had a few differences. He had anger issues that I wanted him to work on he didnt. He has caused much grief and damage in my life. By the end of it i said to him all i am is your chef and something to have sex with. Weirdly enough I went through a small faze of wanting to be with anyone just to feel good. To be numb from it.

I pulled out of it and also crazy i met a guy. Who now i have been woth for almost a year. He tells me he is proud of me and how beautiful i am. We go on trips together and spend time with friends. My family loves him. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He pushes me to achieve my goals and holds me while u cry over a bad day.

My ex still tries to get ahold of me even though he tried dating someone else. Telling me how much he loved me and missed me. He never expressed those things at all. He just wants me there as a convienance. He came to my apartment and had an emotional break down. I got the courage to stand up to him. He said he had changed and thats not the truth. The truth was when you are with someone as long as we were you become used to having that person around.

He didnt like i didnt need him around,neither did anyone else. He even messaged my father trying to get ahold of me. The best thing i ever did was block him from my phone and facebook.

My point is you are finding yourself while being single and even if you have someone thats great. Just make sure you are putting your aspirations above his. Make sure he will encourage you to become the person you were meant to be. If you havent found someone yet you will. Do soul searching of what makes you happy.

Sending love dear.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (5 December 2017):

When you broke up with him he lost his meal ticket and he wants it back. Tell him in clear plain language that it is over. You no longer want him contacting you or coming to your place of employment.

Block his phone number and block him on social media and if he continues to bother you get the law involved. You do not need a lazy unemployed dope head as a millstone around your neck.

You say you feel like you weren’t worth the effort. Well you weren’t worth the effort but nothing is to this guy because he’s a lazy unmotivated unemployed dope head. He won’t work for his own well being he’s not going to work for anything else including someone who cared for him.

Dump him and move on

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A female reader, 02DuszJ United Kingdom +, writes (4 December 2017):

02DuszJ agony auntHe's his own person and we can throw all kinds of clichés at you that will relate to people time and time again. I.e you can't make the horse drink etc. Look if he went out shagging girls left right centre whilst lying to you would THAT be your fault? Would that mean that's something fundamentally wrong with YOU that he makes his OWN poor decisions, that YOU warrant his poor character? Is it personal to YOU or do you think he would do that with ANY girl he's with? The latter right?

Ive gone out with men who smoke weed as a big habit.. NEVER AGAIN. Not doing it- it's a proven fact over so many years it changes brain chemistry, in turn personality and behaviour.. it's HIS PROBLEM 100%.

This guy is of weak character and is BEYOND your help.. you could be an angel and he would behave the same.. the only way hes likely going to stay with someone is if she also wants to spend her life dossing on the dole.

You have no problem here. Even in his sunken state he's still clinging to you.. but don't let him drag you down, or you WILL have a problem. I agree you've given him the benefit of doubt too many times, block and cut contact.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (4 December 2017):

Honeypie agony auntI absolutely agree with N91, THIS is not about you not being enough for HIM. He isn't enough for himself, let alone for you.

YOU dated a "fixer upper" - you dated him for the potential YOU saw in him and he fantasized about having, NOT the guy he really was. Blaming the pot/weed is part of the problem already. Because it's actually LESS about the weed than it is about himself. He knows "intellectually" what he needs to do (quit weed, cut hair, shave and buckle up) but he really doesn't WANT to. Hanging out smoking weeds and playing video games is more fun. He doesn't have to be responsible or grow up. He can always blame it on the weed or how hard it is to find a job (which it IS hard to find a job when a person is both qualified and mature enough for the responsibility `- employers are NOT going to pick someone who looks like a slob, and has spent 5 years with nothing to show for when they can pick and choose....)

The thing is, you were HOPING he would change for you. That LOVE would make him a better man. That OP, is unrealistic. He can't even change for himself. For HIS future.

Don't date a guy who from the get-go needs to "change" for you or have some faults "fixed". You ex-bf in an immature, irresponsible, unmotivated, lazy, full of excuses kind of guy - while he probably had some good sides too, the good sides were not EVER going to outweigh the "bad".

BE glad you didn't get proposed to by him. And that you didn't move in together. YOU would have continued to have to pull a full load of trying to make the relationship to work. Imagine having kids with this guy? No. Just no.

HE needs to GROW up. And that will take years (if it actually happens at all).

You should count your lucky stars that you DID open your eyes (finally) and decided I want MORE and I deserve MORE. And you need to accept that no matter WHO this guy would be dating - THIS is who he is. It doesn't mean that YOU weren't good enough.

The whole notion that someone will "fight" for you and your relationship is some rom-com Hollywood bullshit. That they will totally change and BE all they can be - FOR YOU. BULLSHIT. They are who they are. We can all change little thing over time, no doubt. But when you think about change - consider how hard it is for YOU to change things YOU want to change about yourself. It's SUPER SUPER hard - so thinking you can CHANGE someone else? Impossible. You can try and inspire them to change for THEMSELVES but even that... is rare.

Don't WASTE another 5 years on a guy. If the next guy you like and date, starts to show red flags, recognize them and walk away. HALF the world's population are male! You CAN find a good match/partner out there. You just have to stop wasting time on the ones that hold no future.

I would also suggest you tell him to stop coming to your work and that you no longer wish to have contact with him, because YOU want to move on and he should do the same. Because keeping him in your life it's like an anchor around your neck. He is HOLDING you back. He is STILL occupying your thoughts. YOU are STILL thinking that YOU were the one who failed in the relationship when you probably were the one who kept it going WAYYYYY past its expiration date.

You are probably the best thing that ever happened to him and unless he gets his act together (which is doubtful) the best thing that will EVER happen to him. What girl wants to take THAT on, long-term? YOU on the other hand? You have a job, you take care of yourself, you are rebuilding your social circle and finding that life CAN be great. YOU have a 1,000 time more to offer ANY potential partner. So KEEP working on setting a standard of WHAT you want in a partner - no more dating someone and hoping he will change to fit that criteria - it's unrealistic. There is no such thing as "The One". If we all only had ONE really good match the species would have died out a long time ago. What we can all hope and wish for is "THE ONE that is a GREAT match!".

Accept that YOU and he were not a good match. And when you meet guys if they words don't match their actions, they aren't WORTH your time.

Time to REALLY let him go. And OP? STOP beating yourself up for having tried for 5 years to make it work. That, my dear... is dedication. JUST... don't do that again. Don't give someone who can't SEE your value THAT much of yourself and of time.

Chin up. And cut him off. No more letting him waste your time, even for a cup of coffee... Spend that with friends and family instead. POSITIVE people only! People who ADD to your life.

One last bit of advice? GIVE what you get. If a guy "gives" very little of his time, affection, attention etc. give the same amount back or decide that IF he doesn't "give" enough (for what you feel he should "give") walk away and try again with someone else. Don't pull the FULL load. The reasons a GOOD relationship and marriage works are because BOTH people PULL the load together. And I'm not just talking financially here but overall.

Never ignore "red flags" - ADDRESS them.

And IF you are not entirely feeling the whole dating again thing, then don't. You can still go out and meet new people, enjoy life, see things and do things you haven't done before. Focus on what makes YOU a happy person. IT will not only make life easier for you but it will also attract the people who can SEE your "value".

Chin up.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (4 December 2017):

N91 agony auntI genuinely don't think it's a problem with you so stop making it out that it is. In all honesty he just sounds like an absolute lazy bum in all aspects of his life. It's not that he isn't doing things for YOU he's not doing anything for HIMSELF.

I don't think he's putting you second because it doesn't even sound like he values his own being. There's nothing you can do and nothing you should be trying to do to help this guy. Cut all contact, tell him things are over and it's best for you not to speak to each other as you're not going to be getting back together.

You sound like you're really doing well for yourself now, so stop beating yourself up that you're not good enough, nothing you could of done would motivate this guy, some people are just lazy and try to wing life expecting everything to be handed to them.

Keep moving forwards, don't worry about your ex, he's a big boy he can look after himself.

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