I've know this man almost nine years. When we met he was with the mother of his child. He said he wasn't looking for a relationship, but the chemistry between us was obvious so we had a two-year fling until he became distant and I backed off. I fell in love with him but didn't show it. Though we were no longer intimate, we stayed in contact. His relationship ended and he met another woman with whom he had another child.
In early 2022, I started supporting a business he started. We reconnected. I became heavily involved in his business. During this time he separated from his partner. After the separation he said we should elevate our relationship but he needed time to process the separation. For his birthday I was planning to treat him at his house but he said someone was staying there and wouldn't be leaving until his birthday. I was upset. We spoke and the call ended with me being upset. Days later, he said he was not ready for a relationship, so I told him we needed to stop doing certain things. He agreed but insisted I stay on with his business.
It seems I have hurt him really badly. He said I was his peace and he looked forward to our time together and I took his only solitude from him. I believed he would never want to get serious with me because of how we started. I always hear men say they do not wife the 'side piece', and I thought I was the only one who was heavily invested in the relationship. So, to protect myself I pushed him away. I've since apologised and asked for the friendship back, and he said no. What do I do? I love this man so much. A part of me wants to wait on him, but I don't want to waste my time.
You've been lovers and you've been friends, and you have shared good times and bad. It hurts because he isn't minded to make the relationship formal. Understood. It's unfortunate that in this beautiful life we live there can be such disappointments. However, there are smart ways to handle occasional disappointments. And remember, not every disappointing situation needs to be "fixed".
It may be that you were both always better off as friends. Yes, the whole "side-piece" thing hardly creates lasting love. And understand that you don't have to return to everything that once brought you pleasure. When the time is up on something, it's up.
Chase personal growth: Don't cheat yourself. Give yourself a break and be seriously available to chase new things. Make a few personal development goals for 2024. Think of what you can achieve if you focus more on building yourself. This way you can take your mind off him.
Build platonic friendships: Take time to enjoy friendships. Schedule travel and tours with friends. Be purposeful about meeting new folks too. Realise the world is huge. Strike up friendships with people in far places through the Internet. Don't be irrational and risky, but certainly be ambitious and adventurous.
Practise verbalising gratitude: Gratitude can bring clarity — thank God you're alive to experience new things. Be grateful for what opportunities exist for you. Take time daily to verbally express your gratitude for all you have, all you have had, and what you will have. You'll realise you don't have to be trapped and tied to a past experience.
Create a bucket list: Yes, distract yourself with good things. Consider what might make you happy — try writing down 10 things. Don't make them too lofty. Keep it realistic and achievable. Pursue them one by one.
The world is too big to make it all about one person who isn't God.
Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to email@example.com.