Dear Sheila,

I’m struggling with getting over a man that I thought was the love of my life. I met him three years ago, and I have never experienced such a connection. He and I had the same lifestyle, the same sense of humor, and connected on an intimate level that I had never experienced. After several months in our relationship, he ended it without a reason. Six weeks after that, he came to me and apologized for his disappearing act. He told me that he had fallen in love with me and was scared that I would hurt him. Then three months later, he ghosted me. I did not know if he was alive. He text messaged me about four weeks later and told me that his no­-contact episode was, again, his fear. We then went our separate ways. Six months later, he tried to contact me, and we started a long ­distance relationship because, by that point, he had moved out of state. A couple of visits and many phone calls followed. He pulled away again to show up only after hearing that my father passed away. He comes and goes into my life, and each time, when he leaves, it hurts me more.

When we are together, it’s like time doesn’t even exist. He keeps telling me how much he loves me and how I’m the one. He sends me poetry, he sends me music that means the most to us, and he does little things to romance me at each turn, and then he just moves on. I have recently kept him at a distance, as he has not taken any action to help us be together in a full-­time way. I have offered to go to him, and he says he wants to come to me instead. I’ve decided that I need to break contact with him. I do love him, but I no longer want to play games like this. I’m just trying to figure out what I am doing wrong to attract such a man in my life, and what do I need to change?

–Done Playing Games

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”

-Brené Brown

Dear Done Playing Games,

My first question would be, who in your life before you met this guy showed up like that? Could it have been a parent? Could it have been a friend? Somebody might have shown you that it was okay to be treated that way. When somebody shows you that they’re not able to have an open and honest relationship and they disappear a lot, you’re going see it’s very congruent with possibly somebody with an alcoholic or a narcissistic or sociopathic personality, somebody that’s not fully present. It’s good to look at how you’re showing up, and what’s okay and what’s not okay. When somebody’s showing you, “Hey, I can’t be present,” that’s not your person. Realize that the only way somebody can play a game with you is if you’re playing back.

When you stop playing games and you let people know, “Hey. Okay, if you’re going to play this game, I’m not playing anymore,” you’re attracting what you’re used to in your life. The fact that you wrote in and said, “Hey, I’m aware that this person is playing games and I was playing along, and now I’m done,”you’re going show up differently, with awareness. When somebody else comes into your life, they’re already going to sense that you’re not going to play those kinds of games, so you’ll already attract a different type of person. If you notice the same kind of actions, or games, or dishonesty, then you’re going to shut that off right away and say, “Oh! Yes, that’s something that somewhere in my life, somebody showed me was an act of what might have been considered love, but now I know that’s not the acceptable love.”

As always, I wish you,

Life, Love, Laughter & Light!”

—Sheila Mac

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