There’s is an underlying, core belief that needs to shift in order for you to stop chasing after someone who no longer wants to date you, someone who has moved on. And the belief is very hard for me to describe here, but I’ll try via a story:
When I was younger I fell in love with this kid named B. I chased after him and chased after him, until finally, we hooked up. I was in bliss. One night of bliss that is. Because the next day, when I saw him, he ignored me. This hot and cold behavior went on and on over the course of a year. He mostly ignored me and then when he was bored or lonely and wanted a hook up, he’d call and I’d run out the door to meet him.
Then one day, I went over his house after school, and I had with me my backpack with all my books. In one of my star-crossed moments I told him I was a writer and wrote stories about “us.” He laughed at me, but wanted to read my journal and so I showed him, thinking he would love me more if he knew I had written about him.
After he finished reading my journal, he placed the book down on the coffee table. In an extremely rare, uncharacteristic moment, he looked at me and said, “you’re a really good writer.” I was flushed with joy! Finally a compliment where usually there was an insult. Within seconds I started to have hope. But two seconds later, he flicked me from my pedestal. He asked me a question that would change my life. He said, “LJ, why don’t you chase after someone who really likes you?”
I was crushed. How dare he tell me who to chase after, or how to feel. How dare he reject me. I quickly left his house crying, only to continue crying for him even more when he started to date another girl, who, in my opinion, was total trash. How could he date someone so yucky, classless and trashy when there was ME. I was good, wholesome, funny, pretty, SMART and available! I didn’t understand. I was so confused. And soon enough, not only did I become jealous of this other girl, but I wanted to be more like her.
Here I was trying to be someone I was not, and I was trying to erase all my good wonderful qualities. I falsely believed that if B was ever to love me, I had to be more like this girl. And I was in no way shape or form like this girl. She was missing a tooth, she did drugs, she had quit high school, and she hung out with bad people who got into trouble with the law. Nothing like me. There was however two things about her that I envied: (aside from her missing tooth, she was a very pretty blond, AND she had B).
I couldn’t for the life of me understand why he would go for her and not me. And then it HIT me like a brick wall. His preference in women had NOTHING to do with how smart I was, kind I was, pretty I was or available I was. His preference in women was simply his own weird, quirky preference and nothing more (maybe a bit of his own insecurity for smart, bold women). Sure, he liked me. He tolerated me. I’m sure it boosted his ego to have someone chase after him like I did. But when it came down to it, he did not have feelings for me like I had for him. And it had nothing to do with me being a “loser” or a “failure.” It had to do with normal, natural, healthy personal preference. Period.
To further support this, I compared this same idea to celebrities. My friends used to make fun of me because I was madly in love with Prince, while they were all in love with Bono from U2 (I’m dating myself now!). But when I thought of Bono, I cringed. I thought he was ugly and I simply wasn’t attracted to him. But he was a star! Millions of women loved him. Millions of women would have died to sleep with him. But not me. And the truth, even if I ran into him in a night club and he tried to pick me up, I would have probably told him to take a walk. Not interested!
Think about it. WHat did Bono do wrong? What was he lacking? Was he a loser? The answers: he did nothing wrong. He wasn’t lacking anything. And he was not a loser. But I simply had no feeling for him like I had for Prince. Prince was a totally different story!
So…do you get my point? You are not doing anything wrong except one thing: you are denying yourself the opportunity to be loved FOR YOU, by someone who deeply appreciates you, just the way you are. If your ex has moved on and is dating someone new, it means his PREFERENCE has changed. Period. It does not mean YOU are no good in the eyes of the entire world. Bah! It means it’s time for you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and stop trying to be someone or something you’re not. It means it’s time for you to deeply understand what B told me years ago: “chase after someone who really likes you?” (OK, well maybe “chase” is the wrong word, but you get my point).
Before you can stop the stalking and end the jealousy, I believe you have to have a deep understanding of this concept. That other people do not validate us. When they leave our lives or reject us, it is not because we are losers. It is because their preferences have changed. I am a dark-haired 43-year-old Italian woman. I am 5’3″ fairly well-educated, funny and a little bossy sometimes. I have two kids. I am divorced. If meet someone who prefers young blonds, with a PhD, no kids and a jet set life, then I am denying myself the opportunity to be loved by someone who prefers MY qualities and what I have to offer. Understand?
The very basic point I am trying to make is LOVE YOURSELF. Respect yourself. When you love and respect yourself, you want nothing to do with people who ignore you or no longer want to date you. Your core belief in you and your own self worth becomes more important and more crucial than your need to be loved and validated by someone who is only offering scraps.
7 thoughts on “Chasing after someone who’s moved on?”
It’s so true. Amen. It just hurts when the preference that once was you has changed to someone else. I think I was involved with a romance addict, who by the info on Peabody’s site, actually do bond with their “targets”. I was love bombed. I became addicted to it. Now it’s over. I wasted a lot of time “chasing the dragon” until I realized the only way out was recovery. thank you for writing, it really helps me to put my experience in perspective. I had no words to what was happening to me.
I am bookmarking this article. I know I am an addict because I have constantly sought that external validation. My first POA- D, started in grade 1! I chased him until grade 6. I remember whenever he would show interest in someone other than me, I had to be like her. I was insanely jealous, but wanted to be like her. I made these awful assumptions about my worth based on what a child thought of me. This was just the beginning. I have done this for 3 decades on some level or another and things only got more intense as I grew. It took that long to really know that this was the cause of my depression and anxiety. I was abandoning myself and did not even know I was doing it. I am now learning how to love that little girl and the woman I am now. The peace this brings is beyond words. Your writing continues to inspire my recovery, thanks!
@Present So glad to hear you’re on the right track!
@Lola I know it hurts!!!! Ugg. But we’re stronger. Glad you’ve put it all behind you.
Thanks for this blog. It was exactly what I needed to read.
Thanks for the words! I somehow felt this way before, like shortchanging myself just to meet his end. But nah…. not anymore. I should not do that anymore. Thanks for putting my feelings into words. And yeah, you’re a great writer.
Yes, don’t shortchange yourself!!! You are worth more than that. 🙂
WOW, LJ…just, wow. Spot on. Reading this might be just what I needed to read today.
bdzc (from the love addicts message boards).