Why You Can’t Let Her Go
The following is a guest post by Chase Amante.
I have a friend right now whom I’ve asked to stop talking to me about his relationship tumult with his girlfriend of three years. He keeps coming to me for advice, and then he keeps not taking the advice I give him. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being repeatedly asked for advice that repeatedly isn’t followed, so recently I asked him to please go talk about his relationship woes with somebody else instead, who won’t mind giving advice that isn’t heeded.
His problem is this: he’s trapped in the downward death spiral of a miserable, soul-wrenching waste of a relationship, and he absolutely, positively refuses to break up with the poor girl. He can’t let her go.
He keeps acting like the last straw has been drawn… and then giving her a little more slack. She asked him for a break.
“Dude, she’s unhappy,” I told him. “She wants to test drive some new guys.”
“No!” he vehemently exclaimed. “She can break up with me, or she can get back together with me, but she can NOT date other guys! I won’t allow it! If she wants to do that, then we’re DONE!”
“Why don’t YOU just break up with her, or tell her you’re getting back together?” I asked.
“I tried telling her we’re getting back together. She wouldn’t listen,” he said quietly.
“Then break up,” I said.
“If she won’t get back together with me, I will!” he said defiantly.
A week later, he was telling me this:
“Okay, she’s going take five weeks to date other guys and figure out if she still wants us to be together or not. What do you think is going to happen when we meet up again to discuss if we should stay together?” he asked.
“She’s going to tell you she needs more time to test the waters, of course,” I replied. “Basically, she’ll tell you she’d like for you to kindly wait a little longer while she decides if the cock she’s getting elsewhere is better, or if you’re the best she can do and she should just go back and settle for you.”
“No!” he cried again. “I absolutely will NOT give her more time! She has to choose!”
“Dude,” I asked, honestly confused, “why can’t YOU choose?”
He sat there and stared blankly at me. In a bad situation, where a guy is miserable and unhappy and letting a girl walk all over him, why is it that so many men still can’t let go of their girlfriends?
Supply and Demand
In the study “The dissolution of romantic relationships: Factors involved in relationship stability and emotional distress.” conducted by Jeffrey A. Simpson of the University of Minnesota’s Psychology Department, three key factors were found to consistently and predictably influence the emotional distress of breaking up with a partner:
- Closeness of the relationship,
- Duration of the relationship, and
- Ease of finding a replacement partner
Simpson found that people who:
- Had a very close relationship,
- Dated their partner for a long time, and
- Didn’t believe they could find a desirable replacement partner
…underwent a great deal more emotional trauma during and after the dissolution of their relationship.
Now, closeness of the relationship and duration of the relationship are pretty easy to understand, and there’s not much you can do about those two factors.
But ease of finding a replacement partner – now that one, we’re interested in.
A few years ago, I happened upon a phenomenon I termed “absolute abundance” – a corollary to the abundance mentality, that is. An abundance mentality, you might know from economics, is feeling like there is abundant supply of any particular good. You’ll often hear it used in pick up circles to mean “feeling like women are an abundant resource.”
And this is a good thing.
But knowing you can get girls who are sort of okay pretty easily and knowing you can get beautiful, intelligent, caring, charismatic, girlfriend-quality girls pretty easily are two very different things.
And a great lot of the guys who get the first one down end up never getting the second one down – and this is exactly the reason you’ll see so many otherwise brilliant-with-the-ladies friends of yours turn into weeping, whimpering mounds of puppy dog tears the moment their girlfriend wants to take the neighborhood jock for a spin.
Can’t Let Her Go? Stop Being Scared and Selfish
Once upon a time, I had a girlfriend I also couldn’t let go.
She was remarkable. Beautiful, intelligent, full of enthusiasm and a lust for life I’ve seen in few people before or since. From her I learned how to get to the quick of people with speed and have them opening up to me; from her I learned how to get what you want with others, no matter how unlikely it seems that you’ll get it. But I couldn’t give her what she wanted.
For years I did. Great experiences, inside and outside the bedroom. Great conversation. Great memories.
But eventually she wanted more, and I couldn’t give it.
I also couldn’t let her go.
When I thought of it, part of it was, I thought, for her: if I let her go, what if she never meets anyone as good as me again? What if she’s wasted years of her life on me, and now it’s too late for her to find a quality man?
But part of it was definitely for me: if I let her go, what if I never find someone like her again? We had such an incredible and impossible-to-repeat path we had to follow to originally get together – what if women like her are simply outside my normal reach?
So, I held on, and wouldn’t give her what she wanted, nor would I break us up, for almost a year more. And that year was a disaster.
Once we officially broke up though, I went on a dating tear, and in quick succession I found myself with new high quality girlfriends – in some ways, better than that one I’d struggled giving up.
And I realized that I could get high quality replacement girlfriends easily.
I never had another bad break up again, and I never held onto a girl I should’ve let go again.
When I look back on that girlfriend I’d resisted letting go of for so long, I realize two things:
- I was scared, and
- I was selfish.
Despite the fact that I was never exclusive with her in the relationship (and I told her as much from the very outset), and despite the fact that I was sleeping with women instantly the moment we’d take any kind of break up, I didn’t believe I could find a girlfriend-caliber girl of her level of quality to replace her. So, I feared giving her up, and instead I held onto her, wasting her time.
And for a woman, whose value to men and ability to attract high quality men declines the more time goes by, time is one of the most precious things she has.
Any time you can’t let her go when you should let her go, you are making the life she’s going to lead ever after a little bit worse, and a little bit worse, and a little bit worse, because the longer she has to wait for you to set her free, the lower the quality of man she’ll be able to get to replace you will drop.
If you’re doing this, if you really care about her (and not just yourself), you need to knock it off, before you wreck your life and hers.
How to Let Her Go
If you’re in a situation where you feel genuinely miserable or unhappy in a relationship and you know you probably should end it (or, alternatively, you’re spending all your time explaining to people why, no, they’re wrong, your relationship is perfectly FINE! but in fact they’re just aware of something you’re not letting yourself be aware of), but you can’t let her go, you need to start yourself on the following process:
- Start figuring out where to get more options. If you don’t feel like it’ll be easy to find high-caliber girlfriend-quality girls to replace the girl you’re breaking up with, you need to sit down and figure out where you can meet more high-caliber girlfriend-quality girls and map out a plan of attack. Here’s how to know if this is hard for you: ask yourself, “How hard will it be for me to find someone just like her?” If the answer is, “Really hard,” or, “I could NEVER find someone like her! She’s the most amazing woman in the world!”, then you’re in the “Hard to Find a Replacement” part of the spectrum, and you need this exercise.
- Consider travel as an option. As you hear again and again from Mark on this site, there are lots and lots of wonderful, extraordinary women living in other parts of the world for you to explore. If your answer is to immediately reject that and say, “No, I’ve got a job here!” then let me ask you if that job, and your life sitting around feeling miserable because the girlfriend left or is seriously unhappy, is a life you want to keep the same at all costs… or if it’s one you might consider trading in for a life of adventure somewhere else (surrounded by lots of gorgeous, adoring, exotic women – tough call, right?).
- Start going out and meeting women. You don’t find a high-caliber girlfriend-quality replacement for your current girlfriend by sitting around moping. You do it by going out and getting a lot of fresh new women into your rotation. Once you’re meeting lots of girls, it becomes a lot easier – and a lot lower pressure – for you to meet the kinds of girls you really like – you know, the ones who are similar in quality to that girlfriend you can’t let go of or, gasp!, even better.
- Last but not least – stop thinking about her so much. One of the most insidious ways the brain works is that the more you think about something, the more you are going to think about it. For instance, if I ask you to sit and think about grilled cheese sandwiches for 10 minutes today, and you do it, I bet you 20 bucks you’re going to think about grilled cheese sandwiches randomly at some point tomorrow. Well, now imagine it isn’t grilled cheese sandwiches we’re talking about, but some female human being you’ve got tons of memories and emotions tied to whom you’re now afraid of losing. Think that thinking about her might have an impact? Start monitoring your thoughts – and whenever you catch yourself thinking of her, distract yourself with something else that can hold your interest and engage you.
Trust me, you don’t want to end up like my friend. Because he’s unable to man up and end his bad relationship, both he and his girlfriend end up getting to feel terrible, trapped in an awful situation both of them know they should end but both are too cowardly to (she’s afraid to let go of him, too, in case maybe she can’t find anything better – just look at her, “Let’s take a break while I date other guys and figure out what I want, and then if I can’t find something better we can always get back together!” proposition).
If you can’t let her go because you’ve got too many emotions involved, it’s time to wrest back control. Build some absolute abundance for yourself, so that you’ll never get trapped in an unhealthy relationship again.
If you can do that, then you’ll only ever be in a relationship again because you want to be in a relationship – not because you fear what’ll happen to if you let that relationship go.
And trust me, you will be a LOT happier and more productive because of it. And so will your girlfriend.
Chase Amante runs GirlsChase.com, a men’s dating advice site that focuses on pick up, seduction, female psychology, and more. He has several programs out now, including a 406-page ebook on dating, a 1 hour video on conversations, and several audio training courses. You can read more about his Mastery Package containing all his materials on his page about how to be a pick up artist.