Unavailability Factor 1: The Exgirlfriend

The first step on my long journey to self-improvement will consist of giving a list of all the factors that clearly indicated that for the last few months I have been dating a so-called “Mr. Unavailable”. I will focus on just one factor in each of the following posts, so I can dedicate enough time and space to every single one. Most of them will sound familiar to those of you who also dated a Mr. Unavailable at some point in your life. As I have learned through reading different books on the topic, those men always tend to showcase the same or similar characteristics. I was very surprised to learn that I was not in the least bit alone with what I was going through, and that the man (or men) I was dating are similar to such an extent that it is almost a bit uncanny. I was always convinced that no one else had to deal with the same level of bullshit and pain. It felt good to learn that I was not alone with my worries and codependent behavior.

The first unavailability factor I will be dealing with is probably the most important one, and also the one that probably many of you are familiar with: Many of the guys we fall for tend to be unavailable because they are still too attached to a former girlfriend. When I started dating my Mr. Unavailable a few months ago, I was in denial about the fact that he might still be very attached to his exgirlfriend. He didn’t say much about her in the beginning; he only mentioned that he was still friends with her and spending time with her on a regular basis. I didn’t really have a problem with that, as I am still on good terms with my last boyfriend. He waited for quite some time before he dropped the bomb and told me that even though they had broken up more than a year ago, he was still living with her in the same apartment. I guess I should have withdrawn right at this moment and told him that I would refuse to meet him again before he had moved out. Instead I wasn’t even that shocked. I naively blocked out all of my troubling thoughts that struggled to come to the surface. I never asked any questions about her and just denied her existence. Besides, I began to believe that the situation would soon be different. He started promising me that he would move out and look for his own apartment so that we could spend more time together. I believed him without even having a glimmer of a doubt…

This turned out to be a grave mistake that would entangle me in a lot of drama and heartbreak…Weeks went by and he still lived with her. I never dared to touch upon the subject. I just kept silence, convinced that the time would come when he would finally move out. However, things started to get weird. He denied my existence, never told her about seeing me and tried to keep me a secret from her. He never spent the night at my place because he had to go home again so she wouldn’t find out about him meeting with me. Of course, I was shocked and hurt. He just went on promising me that he would soon move out and told me he couldn’t tell her the truth because she would just totally freak out. He even suggested she was – as he called it – mentally imbalanced.

However, she finally found out the truth as my phone number turned up a lot on their shared phone bill. She tried to call me several times and wrote me text messages. I felt like I was in the middle of a bad TV soap opera. This was the moment I should have finally realized that the two of them were still inseparable and that as long as he was still that attached to her, I didn’t stand a chance. I was still naive and weak and believed in his promises that there was nothing romantic going on between them, that he was more of a parent-figure to her than a lover and that he wanted to move out because his living situation was unbearable.

As you might have guessed by now: nothing changed. She kept harrassing me and him. Whenever the two of us met she would send him tons of text messages, threatening him, telling us she would find us. It was crazy. I began to struggle with myself as I was never before part of so much drama and never found myself in the middle of such a fucked-up mess. I still held on to him, offering him to stay at my place for now. He kept blowing me off to be there for her. One day he was supposed to spend the night at my place. He told her about it and she completely freaked out. Instead of following through with his plan, he cancelled on me and stayed at home with her. I know this should have been the final wake-up call to get the fuck out of this mess. You will probably think I’m a total screw-up: but I still didn’t tell him to go to hell.

I spent a few days in Hamburg with a good friend in order to recover from all that drama and find some space to breathe. The plan didn’t work out. While I was in Hamburg he added me on a social media platform as a friend and I clicked on his profile. I had to look at several very intimate looking pictures of him and his exgirlfriend that had apparently been taken only a few days earlier. I nearly collapsed. I felt so betrayed and unappreciated that I had trouble breathing. When I confronted him, he just told me the pictures weren’t that intimate and that he felt trapped between me and her and didn’t know what to do.

This was the moment I finally found the strength to opt out. I couldn’t take any more of it. The past few months had left me completely weak, drained and emotionally exhausted and I felt like I would be having a break-down at any moment. I had to finally look after myself, to gather the tiny rest of my self-respect and get the hell out of it. I was patient, understanding, kind and enduring and never got rewarded for any of it. His exgirlfriend put him under pressure, was harrassing and insulting him and always got what she wanted. It was a slap in the face to realize that being the nice girl didn’t get me anywhere. It left me feeling like a complete idiot without any self-respect. I should have saved myself a lot earlier but always held on to him, hoping that he would finally turn into Mr. Available. I learned my lesson the hard way: When a guy is still attached to his exgirlfriend there is nothing you can do about it, no matter how hard you believe in your power to change his mind. All of your efforts will in the end only leave you shattered, heartbroken and feeling like an idiot.

Always being treated like a secondary option dealt a harsh blow to my self-esteem that never was really high to begin with. I struggled with nagging self-doubt and blamed myself for not getting his unshared attention. I let myself be harrassed by his exgirlfriend and pushed aside by him and never did anything about it. This damaged my self-esteem even more. I felt weak, dependent and needy because I couldn’t free myself from a situation that was doomed and sucking the life out of me. I always thought I was too much in love with him to just give up. It felt like I would let his exgirlfriend win if I just gave up.

Now that I’ve managed to let go I still find myself struggling. I dream about his exgirlfriend laughing at me because she turned out of the situation as the winner. I know I shouldn’t feel this way. It is slowly getting better and I will learn to live with it eventually. Of course it leaves a lasting impression on you if the guy you turn into a priority treats you like an option and gives another woman priority over you. It hurts, it makes you feel inferior and powerless and it sucks the life out of you.

I got out of all of it feeling extremely damaged, hurt and disappointed. Those of you who are lucky enough and never had to deal with a Mr. Unavailable will probably think I was too naive and needy and therefore responsible for my own misery. You are partly right. One of the characteristics of being codependent is that we often hold on for too long to situations that are unbearable because we fear being alone and feeling abandoned. For us, staying in a damaged relationship and debasing ourselves in the process is better than having no relationship at all. This is why I chose to write down my experiences: We have to see through our faulty behavior, we have to find strength and learn that we need to change. Only if we start believing in our own self-worth can we stop being dependend on men that clearly don’t do us any good. We have to approve of ourselves and not seek approval in damaging relationships…

That’s it for now…to some of you the stories I just shared may sound awfully familiar. Please always feel free to leave a comment and share your own views and stories. I would really love to hear from you!

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