I’ve liked a guy for over a year. In the past few months a girl has been playing and using him. They used to date and he says he loves her. I’ve been helping him through her torment and it finally paid off. We started dating a week ago! He wants us to be together but he says he feels too damaged to really get into our relationship and doesn’t want me to end up getting hurt because of it. He said he needs time to heal his broken heart. I care for him greatly and don’t want him suffering from what this girl did to him. What can I do to help?
-Desperately Trying to Help
Dear Desperately Trying,
Sometimes being in a rebounding relationship can end up in a good place, but more times than not someone bouncing from a serious relationship to another is going to have baggage. He’s not over this other girl. Believe him when he says he’s not ready to move on right now.
You’re wrapped up in the thrill of the chase of him and he’s wrapped up in the excitement and turmoil of her. She knows exactly what heart strings to pull and she has them in her hands. As crappy as her behavior has been to him, he’s still holding on to something. When you care about someone, especially when you’re crush’n hard, it’s hard to see them treated poorly. But, he has to get over her. And it sounds like he still needs time. As you said, he still loves her.
Let his damaged heart heal.
You’ve shown over the past year to be an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on. You know him. You have to give this time. This can be the hardest part, but he’s been honest with you about not being over her. Let his damaged heart heal. If you can stand it, try to stay friends. If it’s too much, make some distance apart. If he gets his act together and you are still on the market, maybe give it a revisit. As of now, surround yourself with your friends and healthy distractions.
Dear Desperately Trying,
When someone warns you that you might be hurt in the relationship, I would take their word for it. He’s trying to be quite honest with you about where his heart is at right now and how he believes that this relationship might go. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue the relationship but that you should be aware of the risks.
There is no guidebook on healing from a harmful relationship but it usually involves a period of reflection. I typically recommend some time away from dating when leaving a painful relationship. This can allow someone the time to spend in reflection to learn from the relationship, including learning to heal and figuring out what you need in a new relationship. You can’t do the healing for him; he must do it for himself.
You can’t do the healing for him; he must do it for himself.
Since you have liked him for quite some time and he is pursuing you right now, time away may not work. Just know that if this doesn’t work out and there does end up being some hurt feelings, it was a risk you were willing to take.