Trying to keep the dependent person dependent – how to come out of relationship dependency

I recently had an interaction with my ex. I wanted to discuss a work matter with him and wrote him a message asking if he has some time. He responded by saying – the third woman asking for my attention during the last hour. I got pissed and the rest of the conversation focused on me trying to explain to him why this was not very nice thing to say.

Couple of months ago my ex made it a point to tell me about three women who were chasing him. I ignored his messages, but he managed to sneak this information to our regular conversations. It might seem like someone just trying to make you jealous, not particularly harmful, but in the case of my ex, I know there is more behind this than what is perhaps evident on the first sight.

My ex likes to date women who are helpless and need to be saved. The same pattern has continued over his two relationships. His attempts to tell me about other women contacting him and ‘chasing’ him, is his way to tell me – look you are losing me, look, everybody needs me. It is an attempt to still have some leverage over me even when there apparently should not be something between us.

My ex has recently also attempted to contact women over different dating sites and has not been overly successful. What surprises me is how he felt really dashed about it, assuming that he could easily find someone new, himself, being close to forty and having ‘multiple’ special needs. This was the opinion he held throughout our relationship, threatening to leave me for someone else multiple times during the last years. I can only assume that when the truth of it not being so easy to find someone hit him, he felt that there was no source that would feed him feeling powerful anymore. Instead he was subject to rejection and indifference – all radically different from what he felt when he was in a relationship with me. So, what he is attempting to do now, is to exploit this feeling of being someone, mattering, being powerful from the only source he knew that would fulfill this need. The only problem being that I am not that source anymore. I am not dependent on him anymore.

I still react emotionally to some of his messages. His message on how I was the third woman to ask for his attention got to me. I could not keep myself impartial. However, I can also see more and more the manipulation behind this. The frequent attempts he makes to keep me dependent. To show me how he still has some control over me. This leaves me on one hand afraid of my own reactions, afraid that I might become dependent again, that I might believe his negative messages about me and how I am not a relationship material, but on the other hand, it also makes me want to distance myself from him more and more. If the consequence of most conversations with him is me feeling myself bad, it is time to perhaps consider limiting my conversations with him to the absolute necessity. It is sad though, because my ex is one of the smartest people I know and his insights have helped me so much.


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