Your instinct is right that Rick is needy. He needs a woman in his life and it doesn’t really matter who it is. That he got you an engagement ring after a few dates, showed you a picture after you said you didn’t want to see it, and then told you he needs you “to melt” is creepy AF. It’s probably the same damn ring he’s shown a dozen women before you, just hoping someone will be as needy and desperate as he is and agree to buy whatever it is he’s trying to sell. You’re not buying though, are you? Surely, you see the red flags waving in the breeze.
Look, you’re single by choice. You must value your independence and your personal space and free time to do as you please. Rick does not value these things or he wouldn’t be so desperate to lock it down. He’s not going to respect your need for these things. He’s probably looking for something of a handmaid to take care of him. Please, MOA. You can do a lot better than this.
Because you’re still giving him what he wants: your attention. Just because a man moves on to another woman doesn’t mean he stops wanting the attention and even love from another/other woman. He likes feeling/knowing/thinking that he still means something to you, still has a hold on you, can still affect you. It validates him and makes him feel important and like he matters. It’s patriarchal, really. His self worth is measured, in part at least, by the control he has over women. I don’t imagine he has much respect for them — for you, for his new girlfriend, for any woman. And it doesn’t sound like you have much respect for yourself if you’ve stopped caring about your own well-being because this man left your life.
Come on, you’re better than this. All women are better than this. Your value cannot and should not be measured by the attention a man gives you and the room he makes for you in his life and heart. Your value should be measured by: your contributions to society and to your community and family and circle of friends; your talents; the kindness in your heart; your knowledge (and especially the knowledge you’re willing to share with others and use for good); and your strength. This is the perfect opportunity to prove to yourself how valuable you really are. You may want to seek the help of a therapist to guide you to acknowledging and naming your value if you aren’t able to see it on your own.
Truly, you don’t need a man to validate you. You are valuable as you are, on your own, with or without a significant other in your life.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.