Why do I still take his calls?

FauxLiz

Sponsor
Okay short story, I became friends with/casually dated a guy starting in the fall of 2019. When COVID hit due to both of our jobs as essential workers and both dealing with large populations of at risk individuals we agreed not to see each other duing the lockdowns. Well, lockdowns ended and he continued to have a never ending supply of reasons for us to continue not seeing each other. By the end of 2020, I had accepted that he did not consider me as anyone other than someone that could assist him with answers to issues he was dealing with for a side project that directly relates to my job at the time. By the time spring had rolled around I had stopped calling him, texting him or sending him useful information that I came across for his project.

The thing is, and I hate this about myself is that I had feelings for him. I know that there will never be anything and I have done my best to move on. But about once a month he calls me. It is always during the workday, it is always when he is in his vehicle on the way somewhere so the conversation has a defined endpoint but I just can't get myself to stop taking his calls.

There are a lot of things that from early on pointed toward this friendship never really going anywhere: he was adamant that our friendship not be public knowledge and would only meet me in other communities or at his place in the country without any close neighbors, and he never denied that he was still very much in love with his late wife (she passed 6 years ago now). I feel that I have moved on, I have moved away from that area and have no intentions of returning other than to clear out my storage unit later this year when my life stabilizes. I don't reach out to him and though he offered me an opportunity to earn some extra money working for an organization that he supervises, I chose to cut my expenses rather than to continue to have regular contact with him. He called me today, out of the blue to see how things are going. He told me that he has heard rumors about where I am and what I am doing, which is funny as I have not tried to hide where I am, I am visiting my dad, for an extended trip as the result of a car accident while I wait on vehicle repairs.

What I don't know how to do is just shut him out. I have had to remove so many people from my life and I am tired of not having people I can talk to (my children are grown but they are my kids not my peers and don't need to be my entire support system). It hurts and I know I need to block his calls so that I don't keep letting myself get sucked in but I am tired and just feel so defeated.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I smell a rat!

It sounds to me he is triggering you in something.

And this just gives me the creeps:
he was adamant that our friendship not be public knowledge and would only meet me in other communities or at his place in the country without any close neighbors, and he never denied that he was still very much in love with his late wife (she passed 6 years ago now).
I hope you listen to your body!
Also though you do not say, I wonder if he has fetish and somewhat you fit in that.
 

Friday

Moderator
What I don't know how to do is just shut him out. I have had to remove so many people from my life
Do you actually WANT to remove him? Or does it just feel like the thing one “should” do, since dating him didn’t work out?

As you say, you have HAD to remove people from your life, for very good reason. This guy is a fizzled relationship. Nothing big bad about him, just not A Contender. Nor, a valued work contact, to keep in your back pocket. You’re not obligated to “keep” him at your disposal, nor has he been an abusive SOB that you’re obligated to kick to the curb.

So if there’s no pressing reason to cut him off, nor reason to contact him, allowing an ongoing acquaintance from someone else putting in all the effort? Doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Even if it does sound like a very neutral thing.

((Which may both be odd, if you’re used to extremes, AND something you don’t want in your life. Which is fair. If you have an “Amazing People Only” bar for your circle of personal acquaintances? Or want one? This bloke clearly doesn’t make it past the velvet ropes. You gave him a shot, he didn’t measure up, clear his ass out of the way for better people. Just because neutrality may be new? Doesn’t mean that mediocre is some sort of goal to achieve.))

Simce you’re not obligated to kick him to the curb for personal reasons, nor obligated to keep him close for professional ones? That means it’s down to pure preference / choice.

To date, the ball has been in his court; he contacts you, or he doesn’t. That removes all decision making from your side. You can keep running things that way, up until a decision is forced, if it ever is. (Either he wants you to reciprocate / it feels too one sided a friendship to him; or he stops calling and you find you miss him.) Or you can decide to clear his ass out of the way. Either by simply not taking his calls, and blowing him off, or by being direct.

How do YOU want to manage the middling acquaintances in your life, I think would be the foundational question.
 
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FauxLiz

Sponsor
@Friday thank you! I haven’t tried to look at this from a neutral position, he isn’t abusing me, and while I don’t appreciate feeling like he has used me in the past I have taken a step of setting the boundary of not working for him when it would have been less than ideal. There isn’t any harm in just letting things continue as they are, who knows we might find a way to be better friends in the future or we both just eventually fizzle out.
 
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