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My Ex Still Has Feelings For Me But Doesn’t Want To Be With Me – What Should I Do?

by Tracy Kelly – LMFT, Heather Ehinger – EdD, LMFT, Tamara Harrison – MA, LMHC, CMHS

My Ex Still Has Feelings For Me But Does Not Want To Be With Me

“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”

~ Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale Standards Quote
Tracy Kelly

Healthy relationships consist of individuals who care about one another, share common interests, and who are attracted to each other physically, mentally, or both. 

There are times when an individual has feelings for another, but cannot commit, or perhaps does not want to stay in a relationship. 

Some possible reasons for this could include disparity in values and morals, spiritual or religious differences, fear of commitment, confusion with sexuality, or other reasons that are difficult to share with the partner. 

When an ex partner shares maintaining feelings for you, but does not want to be with you, this can be confusing. 

Sometimes women might believe it is something negative about them. They assume that something about them is not enough, such as being not fit or thin enough, not being good sexually, or not being attractive enough. 

Whether the ex still has feelings for you or not, the important point is that the person does not want to be with you. 

You deserve to be with someone who has feelings for you AND wants to be with you. How lovely that a person feels fondly toward you, and perhaps a friendship can be maintained, but if you are looking for a committed relationship with a partner, you need a partner who wants to commit just as you do. 

What should you do? 

Move on. 

Do not waste time attempting to figure it out, trying to change someone else’s mind, or blaming yourself for not being enough. You have heard the famous dating excuse, “It’s not you, it’s me.” 

Well, this really isn’t about you. And if it is about you, then you deserve a partner who can be mature enough to be open and honest. 

Chances are, the feelings that the ex has toward you are not deep enough to sustain intimacy and connection, and the ex is not being up front. 

Again…move on to find someone who does have those feelings toward you, can express those feelings, and can sustain closeness and commitment.

Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com

Heather Ehinger

How people feel is complex and often confusing.   

Who hasn’t been annoyed, angry or disappointed with a significant other?  Who has not questioned the validity of a relationship?  

You look across the table and you say to yourself “man, this guy’s table manners gross me out” or “I wonder if he loves me, I’m feeling insecure?” and other frequent questions that run through our mind when thinking of a long term commitment with someone I’m sure they have their feelings about us too.  

Today we say we love that gruff feeling of their 2-day old facial growth, tomorrow we might complain and say, “Aren’t you going to shave?”  

If we acted on every emotion, no one would be in a relationship.  

Our emotions are a signal that we should take a moment and think about things. Do your feelings signal a moment for self-growth, or new ideas and traditions you need to consider?   

He says he has feelings, but he is not with you.  

Consistent and persistent doubt about someone can mean it’s not the right choice, he is honoring his gut, and you can trust that.    

If you think or know that your ex has feelings for you, but he chooses not to be with you, thank your lucky stars you are not with them. 

If he is not with you because he has that much doubt you don’t want to be with him either.  

Cut the option out of your life. 

If you have an ex that keeps telling you how they feel about you but can’t be with you or can’t decide if he wants to be with you then one can assume that he has some other “irons in the fire” and is debating between you and others. 

As a therapist I hear many tales of ambivalence followed by disastrous relationships and unhappy endings. 

Part of my own life story is like many others I have worked with. 

I knew I was the second choice for my ex-husband.  I felt lucky I had won the prize.  And do you know what? After 10 years of dating and 17 years of marriage, 3 children later it was always there:  the subtle reality that I was not the first choice.  

Ladies, do yourself a favor, be the first and only choice.  

In the end actions always speak louder than words.  In life, the best advice is to look at what people do, not what they say.  

Real love is straightforward.  

Real love works through those little things that make us uncertain.   I have no doubt that many of our exes have some feelings about us.  Why wouldn’t they, we are terrific.  

If he is in doubt you should be in doubt. Do not walk away from an ambivalent man, run

Heather Ehinger, EdD, LMFT – www.heatherehinger.com

Tamara Harrison

It sounds like your ex is dangling a carrot in front of you: he’s sending the message that he’s still interested, which gives you hope, but he’s not willing to commit, so you feel frustrated and confused. 

First, let me normalize what you’re going through. 

Breakups can be messy, painful, and confusing. They can leave you feeling insecure, anxious, and uncertain. These emotions may create a longing for the comfort and security of being in a relationship again, but you could be discounting the very reasons it ended in the first place. 

If you still have feelings for your ex, you’re likely looking back at the relationship through “rose-colored lenses”  highlighting the good and dismissing the bad. I wonder if it would help for you to revisit the factors that led to that decision to break up? 

Keeping those issues at the forefront may bring you a lot of clarity as you consider your next steps. 

Another tip is to “play out” the different options in your mind. 

We all know how common it is to believe that “this time will be different”. It’s also tempting to go along with the idea of “if I play along, he’ll eventually want to be with me”. But, it’s important to consider the cost. 

Think about what it would be like for you to continue engaging with someone who doesn’t want to fully commit. 

  • What would that look like? 
  • How do you imagine this dynamic playing out? 
  • Could it potentially lead to a situation where your ex gets to “have his cake and eat it too” while you remain frustrated and disappointed? 

The final thing to consider is this: what’s keeping you attached to this person? 

I encourage you to ask yourself some hard questions. 

  • Do you believe you deserve someone who fully commits to you? Or do you think you’re not worth that kind of commitment? 
  • Do you fear being alone? What would it mean for you to let go of this person? 
  • Who are you without him in your life? 

These questions are tough. But they can get to the heart of the issue and help you understand why this is such a hard decision to make. 

  • At the end of the day, what kind of relationship do you really want? 
  • Are you okay with non-commitment in order to keep this person in your life? Or do you want more? 

Neither option is right or wrong, but you do need to be honest with yourself. 

Once you know what you want, it’s time for an open and transparent conversation with your ex where you communicate exactly what you’re looking for. 

If you have mutual agreement, that’s great! 

But if he can’t or won’t give you an answer, it’s time to move on. Although you may not receive the outcome you were hoping for, the respect and love you’ll be giving yourself by walking away is better than anything your ex can give you. 

Tamara Harrison, MA, LMHC, CMHS – www.tamaraharrisoncounseling.com

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The TRUTH About Why Men Pull Away

If you want to trigger strong feelings of attraction and adoration in your man, you have to know how to get on the same frequency with him.

The key is understanding men on a deep emotional level, and how the subtle things you say to a man affect him much more than you might think.

If you’re frustrated with your man going cold, losing interest, or pulling away, then this video is a must watch.

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