Invisible Girl

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Dear Hoopers,
About 5 years ago, I met a guy who happened to be my crush since my first day of college. Not in a million years would I have ever thought that something could happen between us, but it did. He hadn’t completely stopped seeing both his ex’s before me when we started going out, and when we finally dated, it didn’t stop either so we broke up after like a month but kept seeing each other. One day I realized he was hurting me way too much so I told him to back off. It remained that way, but then he came back. That was in 2014 and to this very day, we’ve been having an on and off “something”. He has “cheated” on me a few times and sometimes gives me hints of “yes, we’re dating” and some other days he acts like nothing happens between us. I should also reckon that he is a bad person, treats his folks poorly and can be very manipulative. I go to his place all the time and his whole family does address me as his girlfriend, but there isn’t anything clear to be honest.

In a nutshell, it’s like we’ve been dating for as long as 5 years, except that we aren’t. He has this obsession with a girl who turned him down a little over a year ago, but they recently started to talk again. I know I deserve better and he isn’t respecting me the way he should, but I love him. Why, you might ask – and to which I reply “I don’t know”. He has been in his full right to see other girls all along because we’re not a couple, officially, and have never set our “dos” and “don’ts.” This makes me feel like I’m not good enough. Why does he have to seek other girls’ attention when I give him my 150%? I’ve always put him first, and it sucks. I’m scared to face him and have “the talk” because I’m sure he’ll say that he is honestly tired of me.

Sometimes I just feel so invisible. I’ve read conversations with his friends denying that he has anything to do with me, and some others crying over the fact that this girl that I told you about turned him down. He was my first boyfriend, the guy that I lost my virginity to and my first real love. I felt ugly most of my life and the guys that I felt attracted to never really paid attention. I’ve had guys hitting on me but I wasn’t really into them. I feel completely lost – I’m not ready to let him go for real, but actions speak louder than words and I know he doesn’t give a flying f*** about me anymore, and probably never really did. Why can’t I picture a life without him?
Thank you,
-Invisible Girl

Dear Invisible Girl,
First of all, you are not invisible. You are 100% uniquely you and deserve someone who sees that. This guy seems blinded by distractions and other options. Feeling respected and valued are critical pieces of a healthy relationship. You should never feel invisible to the person that you love.

Your loose relationship has carried on for five years. It’s obviously not in a good place. How long do you want to keep dealing with disappointment? Actions do speak louder than words and if you look at his behavior over the last five years it would be hard to describe this relationship as promising. The fact that you haven’t even be able to clearly define your relationship in this time is also very problematic.

Continue forward in your life by letting him go or settle for what you have now.


Sometimes picturing life without someone can only be possible when moving forward and cutting them out. Until you do that your mind will be bombarded by them. It’s hard to move on if you’re still hanging on. Continue forward in your life by letting him go or settle for what you have now. You are the only one who can make this decision. I think you’ve already made your mind up. Good luck in your journey.

Dear Invisible Girl,
You sound stuck. On the one hand you know that this relationship is bad for you. You know that he doesn’t respect you and that you deserve much better. On the other hand, you have strong feelings of attachment towards him. You fear rejection if you have “the talk” with him and you are having a hard time bringing yourself to setting any boundaries with him.

I would caution you in calling these feelings that you are having towards him as love. Of course we can define love any way that we choose, but I consider love to be a more meaningful connection with someone. Given this disconnected and inconsistent relationship you have had with him, it is something but it’s not love. The night you lost your virginity to him will always be special and that will never go away. But don’t hold onto an unhealthy and manipulative relationship because of one night.

You’re thinking love, he’s thinking “how can I use this to my advantage?”

-Dr. Ryan

I think that is the primary mistake you are making with him. You are making much more of this relationship than he ever has. You’re thinking love, he’s thinking “how can I use this to my advantage?” He’s a manipulator and he’s manipulating you for his own gain. When your relationship no longer serves him, he will discard you to the side.

Is this really the future that you want? Is this future really worth the few small moments of enjoyment that you get with him now? If so, stay. If not, honor yourself and leave him behind. You are not invisible and you don’t deserve to be treated that way. If you leave him know that it will feel unsettling in the moment (it’s supposed to!). Taking care of yourself and your future won’t always feel great in the moment, but you will thank yourself later.
-Dr. Ryan