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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]I feel wretched right now :(

I just want to explain my general position on relationships before I explain more. Since I can remember I've only ever wanted to settle down with one girl; not play the field, but find a girl who I love and who loves me and commit to her. I think that stems from when I was a child and I witnessed many arguments between my parents whose marriage was under pressure at the time. I believe my father was having an affair and I remember very vividly horrible arguments between he and my mother. At that time I was caught in the middle and felt scared that they would split up and I would have to choose one of them to live with. My brother was too young to confide in so I spoke to one of my parents' friends and she reassured me that my parents were fine but I didn't believe her. Nowadays my parents are generally happy in their marriage, but I believe my experience as a child has shaped my attitude towards relationships: I want to make them work and I hate infidelity.

That is a big part of why I am struggling to come to terms whether it is my ex that I want back or simply a loving relationship in general. I hate the idea of throwing in the towel. With my ex before Natalie I couldn't believe that she wanted to end things because I thought she knew how important it was to me that we stayed together forever and she always promised me that she felt the same way. Then I found out she left me because she wanted to have some time as a single person before finishing her degree course. That made me feel like I had just become a nuisance to her enjoyment of the lifestyle she wanted. Needless to say it wasn't a good feeling. Meanwhile, I felt like I was abnormal because I wasn't attracted to the idea of sleeping with lots of different girls. It felt like I would be single for a long time because I wanted the opposite to what the majority of girls wanted.

So after three years of being largely single when I finally met Natalie and she seemed to share my viewpoint on relationships, I thought I had finally found a girl on my wavelength. At that time she told me that she didn't know any men like me and was so happy that she had found somebody who wanted commitment, like her. She told me about the mistakes she'd made in the past and assured me that she never wanted to repeat them again. I believed her. She promised me that she would never hurt me like my ex and even had nightmares about cheating on me with her ex and said she never wanted anything like that to happen. And then it did. So once again I felt like I had been stupid for putting my faith in someone. People were telling me that Natalie and I were very young, as though that would make me feel better about her cheating and my evidently unrealistic ideals in relationships.

Cut to tonight. My stomach's been in knots since Wednesday night and Natalie telling me that she "wanted a cuddle" from me the other night. I wanted to know if it meant anything. So I sent her a text message just to see if she would give any hints. Nothing much. I sent her another one to ask her if she was okay because she sounded down on Wednesday night. She sent me one telling me not to be silly and that she was fine but she just gets down sometimes and that it's a "constant battle" (presumably referring to her imaginary weight problem). That really hacked me off. For four days my brain had been working overtime because of the things she told me and now she was acting like nothing's wrong and said "glad we can be friends", clearly making sure I knew where the boundaries are. But the way she spoke to me on Wednesday didn't make it clear where the boundaries are. And she knows that.

So I went for a long walk to clear my head and try to work out what to do. I know I should just wash my hands of Natalie and never look back because she is an immature, attention-seeking, selfish little girl who loves herself first and foremost. I honestly know that. But remember what I said about my attitude towards relationships: I hate throwing in the towel. At the very least, I don't want to lose the friendship. But I can't be treated like this. So I had to let Natalie know. I told her that she needs to spare my feelings when she picks up the phone and decides to call me when she's feeling down. I still care about her so much that I hate to hear her sounding vulnerable and insecure. For instance, I hated it when she told me that her job wasn't going so well because, if nothing else, I thought that she was happy in her job and I was proud that I had helped her get it. I told her this.

It felt empowering to tell her that so I proceeded to go the whole hog. She asked me if I wanted to talk tomorrow night and I responded by telling her that I probably shouldn't because I've got to be cautious with my feelings because I forget about her and then we talk and it starts to hurt just like the day she split up with me. I said it feels like she sometimes plays games with me. I told her explicitly that when she said "Promise you won't read anything into it... but I wanted a cuddle from you the other day", it seriously messed with my head and has left me in a daze. At first I didn't really want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that, but by this time I just felt like I had to be honest about how she made me feel the other day. Her reply sounded a bit disingenuous: [COLOR="RoyalBlue"]Oh god im so sorry x i really am...i'll leave it 4 a while then x hav a good nite x spk soon.[/COLOR]

I think I've really got to learn my lesson about Natalie: don't speak to her until I'm confident that I have got over her. That's not going to be any time soon. I hate the thought of not talking to her, but these last few days have been awful so I've got to make that sacrifice :( With respect to my question, I guess I am coming to the conclusion that, although I would love more than anything for things to be like they were before with Natalie and I, I need to let go. Despite my ideals about relationships, I have to accept that it will be better to pursue a fresh start that it would be to chase something that "broke" a long time ago. Thanks for reading if you got this far.[/COLOR][/FONT]

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