On Going No Contact

spoon“Hey, Hank!  How’s it going?  It’s weird to see you outside of the bar.”

“Hey, Matt.  I haven’t seen you down there in awhile.  Looks like you’re getting some new gear today?  Have you been doing a lot more fishing this year?”

Matt held up a package of spinners and laughed, “Yeah.  Funny thing is, I’ve been fishing a lot more since …  well ….  since I broke it off with Sarah.”

Hank reached for some leader, “Ouch.  I hadn’t seen you two around, but I didn’t know.  I thought you two were good together.”

Matt shook his head, “So did I.”


“So, do you mind if I ask what happened?”

Matt laughed.  “Oh, there isn’t much to say.  Sarah’s an awesome gal, but she’s got her issues, too.  So do I.  I’m always ready to fix whatever needs fixin’, and she’s never wanting to fix anything.  Know what I mean?”

Hank hung the leader back up on the rack, “Isn’t that the classic issue between men and women?  Men wanna fix and women just want us to listen.”

“I know, but with Sarah, it’s more than that.  It’s different.  She can’t handle it if everything isn’t about her and the stuff in her life.  If I try to bring up something about my day, instead of trying to help her fix something – since I know she hates that – she turns the conversation back to her stuff.”

“Ohhhh……   I see.  Could it be that Sarah has more than just the run-of-the-mill issues?”  Hank reached for a package of spoons.

Matt said, “What do you mean?”

Hank said, “Well, I’m just saying, if she doesn’t give your stuff the time of day, maybe there’s a bigger issue there.”

Matt reached for a spool of line, “Yeah, but I thought partners were supposed to help each other with their issues.  Right?  I mean, not to get all …  well ….  you know.  I wanna be there for her.  But, honestly, she wasn’t ever really there for me.”

Hank looked Matt in the eye, “That’s your clue, man.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s all about her.  It always will be.”  Hank looked at his list.  “She doesn’t want you to help with her issues.  I’m bettin’ she doesn’t think she has any issues.”

Matt peeked at Hank’s list.  “Hell, it wasn’t that bad.  I wouldn’t have stuck it out as long as I did, if she was that self-centered.”


Hank bent down to check out a tackle box.  He stood up and said, “Here’s the thing, and I’m only speaking from experience here, but it’s easier to keep hanging in there than it is to leave.  Know what I mean?  It’s great to have someone to go places with and do things with.  It’s awesome to have someone to talk to about your day.  But, in my case, we never got around to talking about my day.  Pretty soon I was just the dumping ground for all her toxic waste.  I dunno, maybe I created the situation, or maybe she was just looking for a new doormat to wipe her feet on.”

Matt winced, “I have to admit, I have felt like the doormat before.”

Hank nodded, “And here’s the other thing.  I’d think about leaving, only I’d feel like a bad guy for even thinking about doing so.  I’d think, ‘What? Am I some kind of spineless wimp?  I can’t toughen up and be what she needs?  I can’t be fine with making this all about her?'”

Matt said, “I know!  I know!  I’ve had those same thoughts!  I’ve done that, too.  I’ve broken up and then she calls me crying, or she needs something, and I cave and we get back together.  She makes a few promises and I wanna believe her.  Then, a few weeks go by, and ….”

Hank said, “Oh, yeah.  Been there.  Also, you’re ego, or co-dependency, or whatever the hell you wanna call it tells you that you can be the one that she’ll change for.  You can be that guy.”

Matt grabbed for a creel that he didn’t need.  “So what did you do, man?  How does this end?”

Hank took the creel out of Matt’s hand, “Those are crap, man.”  He pointed to a different creel, “Go with this one.”  Hank handed Matt a different creel.  “I had to go No Contact.”

Matt reached for the creel.  “What’s that mean?  No Contact?”

Hank said, “That means I promised myself that I would end it.  I would not put myself through that anymore.  No matter what she promised, or how nice she was over the phone, or how often her cat got stuck in a tree, I was not going to be that guy anymore.   She will not change.  Remember that – she will not change.”

They both started to walk toward the checkout counter.  Before Hank took his place in line he looked at Matt, “It’s hard man.  It’s real hard.  And you’ll feel bad for awhile, but it’s the only way.  You really gotta go No Contact and mean it.  You can’t have three too many out with the guys and drunk dial her.  You can’t “accidentally” be in her neighborhood and drive by her house.  You can’t answer her texts or emails, just to prove that you are a nice guy and you can still be friends.  You can’t check her out on Facebook.  Don’t even ask her friends how she is doing.  No Contact means just that – No Contact.”  Hank pulled out his wallet, and said, “Then go do lots of fishing.”

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  1. First – love your little story there. It’s one of the best ways I’ve seen to show the helplessness inherent in a relationship with an N as well as the steel it takes to get the hell out. And the humor. *Thank the humor Gods for preserving all the thrivers’ sanity*

    And I’m wondering if I maybe need to start including more information on codependency on my own blog cuz it seems to be very interconnected with many personality disorders. Hmmm.

  2. Jenn,

    It’s always great seeing you on here.

    YES on including info on codependency. I’ve also been reading up on Attachment Theory stuff and seeing the patterns there, too. The web gets more tangled …

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