I Don’t Chase 'Em, I Replace 'Em
A couple of fellas have asked on here about cutting contact recently. Here's Matt's comment from the article entitled "Your Mental Model is Flawed":
“Can you explain cut off marks (ie, cutting off contact with a girl... say if she doesn't sleep with you or is not responding well) in more detail? You've talked about that before in several posts, how now if a girl does not sleep with you on the first date, you usually end things with her and are not going to up forth the effort because you have many other options. Do you just delete her number? Richardus talks about keeping "bad" numbers and then firing off texts to all of them in the future and see who bites. What's your opinion?
Maybe a more nuanced guide of cut off marks for every level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) would be helpful. Also I'm a little confused about how persistance seems to contradict this. Hopefully I've made some sense!
Sure thing, Matt.
This is kind of a delicate issue. It's an issue that normally, you want to treat with tenderness, care, and kid gloves.
You kind of want to walk people through it... guide them, kindly and gradually, you might say... help them understand things without being too harsh, or abrasive.
You know... easy on the offensiveness.
Unfortunately, we're going to tackle this one how I want to tackle it: like gangbusters, with a sledgehammer and steel-tipped shoes.
So here we go.
“I don't chase 'em, I replace 'em.
And if I'm carressin' 'em, I'm undressin' 'em.”
- The Notorious B.I.G.
The above quote is from a song entitled "One More Chance," from Biggie's debut album, Ready to Die.
When I was a teenager, I swore off music entirely. It was too much the same as everyone else... everybody had their own groups, or singers, or bands.
The popular girls liked Hootie and the Blowfish. The nerdy girls
liked TLC. The guys back then who'd probably be classified now as
"hipster" (I have no idea what you would've called them in those days
though) were into the Dave Matthews Band. I never really cared either
way about DMB, personally, until I had a roommate freshman year of
college who was the worst roommate of all time, and he incessantly
played Dave Matthews, who cried out about being in the warehow-ouse almost every
night in our room. From then on, Dave Matthews was my sworn enemy, and
I worked to undermine his support every chance I got.
Anyway, when I premiered Chase Amante 2000 (in 1999, actually), I decided that I should start listening to some sort of music that would suit my new, hardcore image. I was wearing leather jackets. I traded my eyeglasses in for a pair of contacts. I had a sporty red sedan, that maybe wasn't the coolest car, but it was the coolest one I could both find and afford in town.
And I decided to start listening to hard rock and rap.
I didn't really have an artist that was my artist, until I bought my first rap CD. It was a copy of Ready to Die, by the Notorious B.I.G. I instantly knew as soon I put it in my CD drive that this was some history right there.
By this time, the CD was 5 years old, and Biggie was 2 years dead. I vaguely knew this, but it didn't matter; this man spoke truth. He spoke realness. I knew right away why he was so popular.
Ready to Die was very different from all the pathetic crooning I heard on the airwaves. There wasn't any crying in it about some girl he could never get back, nor pledging his unwavering loyalty for all time, no matter what she did. There was no sense of helplessness or impotence in it. Instead, there was just grit and cold, steely determination, with the occasional hint of warmth slipping through to imply that maybe all the hardness was just a façade... maybe this guy actually was relatable after all.
It was brilliant.
And one of my favorite tracks on it was "One More Chance."
Big's Philosophy on Cutting Contact
That line - “I don't chase 'em, I replace 'em” - to me stood as the best line on the entire album, and one of the best lines of any song I knew. It flew in the face of what everything in my culture seemed to tell me men were supposed to do... which was, namely, sit around and cry and pine after women who were out dating around like crazy and having the times of their lives.
In "One More Chance," the story was reversed.
The song starts with Biggie's answering machine, playing one message after another of various women trying to get Big to call them... he's stood them up, or slept with their cousins, or disappeared... and they just want to get back together with him.
Totally opposite of what you heard everywhere else in American society. It was, for me, something to aspire to.
Not to be a deadbeat dad or anything, as is implied in one of the messages... but rather, to get to the point where I had so much abundance with women that they were chasing me.
At the time, in high school, I had had various women chasing me at various times, but it was nothing like what it was when I was younger. When I was younger, no one was really doing anything with anyone else aside from the occasional making out here and there, so girls kept chasing me, because I seemed like the most attractive option.
But once the other guys figured out what to do - once they started sleeping with girls, and closing things out - I shifted from being the unavailable bad boy, to something more like, "Isn't it cute... he's trying to seem all bad and independent."
The fact was, I didn't know how to close things out. I wasn't a real man... the other guys in school, they were men.
So, my appeal to the girls in school gradually faded... they forgot about that guy they had a crush on, who never did anything, when these other guys - maybe not quite as alluring, or quite as mysterious, but certainly faster moving - came along and took them to bed.
I was stuck being the sexless guy obsessing over one special girl, but that didn't mean I liked it.
And along came Big, talking about he didn't chase them, he replaced them.
"Someday, I'm going to be able to say the same thing," I thought to myself.
I was still a number of years away from that point.
The Horror of Replacing Instead of Chasing!
Show this post to a woman, and she's going to freak out.
How misogynistic! How objectifying! How chauvinistic!!!
But wait just a gosh darned second there. How much chasing instead of replacing does a woman do?
When you pay attention to the way women are with men, they tend to cycle through them very quickly. Following a breakup, most women's cycles go something like this:
Breakup Day: "I'll never date another man AGAIN!!! *SOB!*"
1 Week Later: "I can't believe John asked me to come home with him! He's so cute! If David hadn't called me right then, I probably would have too... lol! It must be destiny! Maybe I'm supposed to be with David... OMG! I've never dated an Aries before...!!!"
Here that is in pictures:
On the other hand, following a breakup pattern more like this:
Breakup Day: "I'm FREE! Oh man, I'm going to get so much TAIL!!!"
1 Week Later: "I'll never date another woman AGAIN!!! *SOB!*"
Here it is again in pictures:
What's the difference?
The difference is this:
For women, breaking up means loneliness, failure, and solitude
For men, breaking up means singledom, freedom, and zero restrictions
... at first. But then this happens:
Men go out, and realize it's a lot harder to pick up girls than they thought it was
Women go out, and realize it's a lot easier to pick up guys than they thought it was
... and just like that, she's replaced him.
But he hasn't replaced her.
Instead, he fires off a text to her:
"Hey Katie... how are you holding up? Missing you..."
Which she receives in the club, then promptly stashes her phone back away when the new guy she's been making out with asks her, "Anything important?" and she says, "Nope!"
The reason B.I.G.'s song "One More Chance" and line "I don't chase 'em, I replace 'em" are so satisfying is because the song and the line are complete role reversals of what USUALLY happens between men and women.
Usually, women quickly replace their exes and move on, while men dwell on in agony and regret, pining after the women they've lost (who are out busily dating and having flings with one new man after another).
I've seen it, time and again.
And I've experienced it... once. With one real girlfriend.
And once was enough. In the midst of that incident - my moment of weakness - I remembered B.I.G.'s line.
"What am I DOING?" I said to myself. "I don't CHASE 'em... I REPLACE 'em!!!"
And just like that, I embarked upon a new philosophy - one that entails quickly dropping and cutting contact with exes, women I've failed to bed, and women who've tried to friend zone me, and just like that, weakness, uncertainty, doubt, and hesitation disappeared from my life, and the quality and quantity of women I was bedding and dating shot way up.
Welcome to your new way of dealing with exes.
I've been meaning to write a post on here about decisiveness for over a year now. My apologies for my tardiness in getting that one up... there's been lots to do, and other topics kept floating to the top of my mind.
But one of my philosophies on choice is, yes, you ABSOLUTELY can have too much of it.
Choice is crippling. It's paralyzing... limiting.
Being decisive is about taking action. But decisiveness is also about taking extra choices OFF the table.
You want to know the difference between a man who makes decisions and moves forward with his life, and a man who spends his days in doubt and inaction and never moves an inch?
The former removes stale choices from his plate to make room for new ones. The latter leaves the same old choices there, and spends forever deliberating and re-deliberating the same arguments again and again and again.
Well, your choice of mate is exactly like that, and if you let yourself sit there wondering if it's a better idea to find someone new or dredge up somebody old, I can tell you exactly where you're going to end up: nowhere fast.
I'm a big believer in keeping your bridges open. Maintain friendships and relationships from your past, because you never know when they might be bridges you'd like to cross again.
I've had friends who burnt bridges everywhere in their lives. They'd shed old friends, leave jobs in a hurry with zero consideration for their former bosses or colleagues, and dismiss people with impunity the instant those people stopped being useful to them.
To me, this is bad business. Not only is it uncool to those people... it's uncool to your future self, too. You never know when that person you burnt a bridge with might've come back into your life with great things for both of you had you left that bridge intact.
I am a firm, passionate believer in keeping bridges unburnt in all aspects of life except one: those areas you have a tendency to become emotionally weak, waver, and waffle over.
What's this include?
It includes things like:
Refusing to keep junk food in the house when you want to quit eating junk food but you can't stop eating junk food in your house. Throw it away and refuse to buy it for home.
Refusing to stay on Facebook when the only value it provides to your life is addictive, obsessive checking on other people's pseudo-lives (i.e., all you really know about them is the stuff they're letting you know on there... you're not getting a realistic picture into their lives, nor do you have any idea all the things they don't want everybody else to know). Close your account, and if you're too tempted to reopen, delete all your pictures, defriend all your friends, and then remove it.
Refusing to drink at all if you can't stop over-drinking - go completely cold turkey and refuse anything other than an ice water or an energy drink if you're going to bars. Use a varnish (cherry, lime, lemon) to make it look like a normal drink if you're afraid of standing out.
And this also includes exes, girls who've tried to friend zone you,
and girls you've deemed as time sinks who aren't contributing value to
Much of the time after you've completely cut something off, you can bring it back into your life, in moderation. Sometimes you never can, if you simply can't control yourself and are too intemperate an individual.
Me, I'm not totally intemperate... just intemperate enough that:
If there's junk food around that I like eating, I'm going to eat more of it
If there's a computer game on my computer that I like playing, I'm going to play more of it
If there's a girl I like that I can check up on and see what she's doing online, I'm going to check up on her (e.g., on Facebook)
So, for me at least, these are things I needed to control by removing the temptation totally.
How do you cope though? If you can't do the things you really, really WANT to do, what else do you do instead?
Well... you replace them.
Wait... How Do I Know Whether to
Before we talk about cutting contact in detail, you might ask how you decide whether something is one of those things you need to get out of your life as soon as possible, or if it isn't.
Particularly with a girl you want but cannot have, this is difficult. Your emotions are swirling... they're seizing command of your faculties, and making you do strange, ridiculous, embarrassing things you'll feel ashamed of in more rational moments.
The way you do this is with another realization... the realization of imprisonment.
Imprisonment of your mind... of your ability to choose... of your ability to be free and move on and get moving with your life again.
Before you say or think anything else, let me pose these scenarios to you, and ask you what you think about them:
A billionaire businessman falls into utter emotional ruin after his girlfriend breaks up with him to date another man. He stops coming into work, calls and texts her incessantly, and can't stop thinking about how much he misses her and wants to get her back.
A successful politician learns that his wife has had an affair. Broken, he crumbles down into a corner and weeps. Later, he goes to her, red-eyed and teary, angry, hurt, and upset, but unwilling to break it off with her. "We can work it out!" he pleads. "You've just got to promise me this will never happen again!" She refuses anyway, and leaves to go be with her lover. He's devastated, and calls off his re-election campaign to spend time in mourning, disappointing millions of supporters.
A decorated military general, grizzled and tough as nails, becomes a blubbering nancy boy after his woman decides she's no longer satisfied with him, and leaves. He spends the next four months obsessively discussing the situation with his friends, asking them for advice on how he can get her back, planning and trying everything he can to seem like he doesn't need her while really hoping that she realizes how awesome he actually is and comes back.
Seems pretty ridiculous and pathetic, doesn't it? These powerful, successful, accomplished men chasing after women...? The very image is laughable. It wouldn't happen, and you know it wouldn't.
So, then... how come it's okay happening to you?
The Center Point of Your Life
Most men live rather ordinary lives. They don't have any great dreams or ambitions; they want to be thought well of, and get some enjoyment out of things, and be free to seek their own happiness.
And, according to psychologist Ernest Becker's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Denial of Death, they each seek a purpose to affix themselves to... and in many men with no greater purpose to pursue, the purpose that they attach themselves to is their lovers.
Suddenly, unexpectedly, she has become the center point of your life.
When she leaves... it's devastating! The center point of your life is now, just... gone!
This actually isn't something you can easily emotionally control. Effectively, whatever you devote the greatest amount of emotional resources to becomes the emotional center point of your life.
Which is why each of those examples above strikes you as so ludicrous.
The billionaire isn't going to break down like that; the center point of his life is his business, not some woman.
The politician isn't going to break down like that; the center point of his life is his political career or the service of his country, not some woman.
The military general isn't going to break down like that; the center point of his life is his military career or the service of his country, not some woman.
But when your friend Larry breaks down after his woman leaves him, and becomes a tearful, whiney shell of a man for weeks or months on end... you can sort of understand. After all, Larry has a crappy job and mediocre friends. That girl was the best thing he had.
You still think he's a pretty pathetic excuse for a man, though.
This means, if you want to be able to effectively cut contact with women and be right as rain, right away, you need an emotional center that's stronger and more important to you than an individual woman is.
That's a bit beyond the scope of this article, and that's going into, "What's the purpose of your life?" type stuff, but that's what it comes down to, really. Just like:
If you want to quit eating junk food, but the desire to enjoy Tastykakes is stronger than the desire to not have a beer belly, you won't be able to throw those Tastykakes away and stop buying them.
If you want to quit Facebook-stalking exes and girls you have crushes on, but the desire to Facebook stalk is stronger than the desire to be free and not be obsessed, you won't be able to disable your Facebook account and never come back.
If you want to quit drinking, but the desire to taste alcohol or feel drunk is stronger than the desire to be able to pick up women better or stay out of jail or not be humiliated or hung over or injured, you won't be able to quit drinking.
You must have a reason that is at least somewhat more compelling to you than the thing you are giving up, or you'll return to it before long.
I don't chase 'em, I replace 'em.
The first time I cut myself off from something, I was back to it within the week. I couldn't control myself, and I couldn't stay away.
It was something of a gradual process, learning to cut contact with bad influences and force myself to replace these influences with good influences.
However, the more I did it, the better at it I got.
Think of it like this: which man do you respect more:
The man who loses a girl, and then tells you, in a calm, determined tone of voice, "It's all right; I'll find another one better then her," then does, within a couple of months, or
The man who loses a girl, and then tells you through his tears, "No matter what it takes, I'm going to get her back!," then proceeds to spend the next couple of months chasing her, then gets her back?
Yeah of course... your respect the first man far more. The second man is chasing after a woman who doesn't want him.
The first man simply shrugs and moves on.
It isn't that he's cold. It isn't that he doesn't care for the girl he's just lost.
It's simply that he looks at the situation, says, "Okay, I messed that one up," looks around himself and says, "Time to get working on finding her replacement."
Rules for Cutting Contact:
I'm going to break these down into stages, based on where you're at. For instance, if you try to cut things that haven't worked out as cleanly as an advanced guy does when you're still a beginner with women and don't have an abundance mentality and aren't all that good yet at getting girls and haven't developed in yourself the ability to go out and meet and take as your lovers very quickly women that you'd deem girlfriend material, you're going to backslide quickly and won't be able to stick to this.
So, let's be realistic.
When you're a beginner (beginner here defined as a guy who's still figuring out his way around women and isn't yet seeing very much success with them), here's what I recommend for the rules of when and how to cut contact with women:
If you've been pursuing her for 2 months and she still is not yours, cut contact. This is a hard rule I adopted as a beginner, and it served me very well. Every time I violated it except once I paid for it. The one exception was with a girl I was already booked on an overseas tour with (along with some other people), and had it not been for that exceptional case, my violation of this rule would've been a fruitless waste of time there too. If you can't get her in 2 months of trying, even if you're a beginner, you're not going to get her... EVER. Cut your losses and get onto the next girl.
If you've gone on 5 dates with her and she still is not yours, cut contact. If you can't take her to bed in 5 dates, unless this is a very serious relationship with a very conservative girl (and don't kid yourself; if you're not 100% sure without a shred of doubt in your mind, it's not), and even then much of the time, it isn't happening. Unless you plan to propose, and marry her sometime very soon (see: "Dating Without Sex: Why It Usually Doesn’t Work").
If you've tried to escalate to sex 3 times with her and she still is not yours, cut contact. This is the girl who keeps coming over to your place, and you keep making out with her and maybe getting her shirt off... and nothing ever comes of it. If you can't do it in 3 tries, it's time to cut bait and move on.
If she was your girlfriend and the two of you broke up, cut contact for a minimum of 6 months. Don't try to get her back. Don't scan her social media profiles for some hint of a new boyfriend... in fact, block her there so you can't check her out (or get off social media entirely - the smartest play you can make in that arena). Don’t ask friends about her. Don't think about her. Just move on. You can come back and talk to her again in 6 months if you want... but no sooner, unless you want to be one of those needy, clingy ex-boyfriends who keeps chasing his former girlfriend while she's out chasing new men. Don't be that guy.
How about following up later? What are the rules there? The rules are these:
You may send out a "reconnecting" text ONCE (1) per year. I have a post on the forum about sending one of these messages; you can see it here. Make sure you're texting at least 15 to 20 girls, however, as most of them aren't going to respond, no matter how good your text is, and you don't want to make yourself feel any needier than necessary.
You may agree to meet women you've cut contact with, but ONLY if they are coming to your place to hang out with you. If they refuse to be alone with you, refuse to see them - as they are looking for something different with you than you are with them (i.e., for you and them to be just friends).
Do these rules seem harsh, rigid, and draconian?
Because I believe you need them.
If you didn't, you wouldn't be reading an article about how to cut contact with women... you'd just do it.
Most men, if left to their own devices, keep chasing women on and on and on until the girl finally makes it crystal clear she isn't interested.
And at that point, the guy's wasted a lot of his time, and, even worse... he's missed out on TONS of beautiful women who would've gotten together with him, and he's missed out on TONS of opportunities to level up his skills with women so he'd never be in such a desperate place AGAIN!
This opportunity cost is what makes this so dramatically bad. You've only got a set amount of years on this Earth... if you squander a year here, a year there, chasing after women who don't want you, well... that is a loss of infinite value.
Because you can't buy that year back. It's just gone and wasted.
You might as well have spent it asleep. Just skipped a year and grown older. Goodbye, year.
Use it for something better than chasing after someone who doesn't want you.
Rules for Cutting Contact: Intermediates
Once you're in the intermediate stage, and you're sleeping with women every now and again and the fog and confusion of relationships and understanding women is receding from your eyes, you've begun to realize and accept that attraction has an expiration date. You've seen - from some hard knocks you've taken along the way - how quickly women move on, and how little time you actually have to get together with girls you want to get together with, or turn things around with girls they're failing with.
You've begun to believe, more and more, in the philosophy of "don't chase women." It deprives you of opportunities to meet other women who are actually interested you, and it wastes your time, which is the most precious, valuable, finite resource you've got.
Because you are both far more skilled with women now than you were as a beginner (and can make things happen much more quickly) and because you have far more options with women now than you did as a beginner (and can move from woman to woman much more easily), your deadlines for cutting contact with them move forward - to reflect your stronger skills, and waste less of your time.
Here's when and how to cut contact as an intermediate:
If you've been pursuing her for 1 month and she still is not yours, cut contact. You're learning fast now, and you're meeting women comparably a lot more easily these days than you were when you were just starting out. If you can't make it happen in a month... let's be honest, you know if you can't make it happen in a month, it isn't happening. You gave it your all - now, it's time to move on.
If you've gone on 3 dates with her and she still is not yours, cut contact. You really should be going for first date sex at this point, but let's say you're still not fully confident you can do that with girls you really like. Fair enough; most guys at intermediate haven't fully realized that those exceptional girls are still just girls, and that "exceptional" for one man is "ordinary" for another. If you absolutely must, do the traditional 3-dates-to-sex thing... but if you can't bed her on Date #3, it's time to abandon ship.
If you've tried to escalate to sex twice with her and she still is not yours, cut contact. You probably had a hard time getting her back for the second round, didn't you? Any plans to keep doing that? If it doesn't happen twice in a row, I highly advise you cut contact then and there, unless you're going through a really rough patch / dry spell. Even then, still think about it...
If she was your girlfriend and the two of you broke up, cut contact for a minimum of 8 months. Why's it longer than the guy who's a beginner? Shouldn't you be able to get in contact sooner and not suffer for it? Well, here's the thing... you're intermediate now. You're good! And that means, you stand a pretty good chance of being able to get this girl back. You'll figure out a way, most likely. Great news, right? Actually... no. If you broke up, there's a reason why, trust me. You want to give yourself more time to fully move on. If you haven't moved on in 8 months and decided that life's a LOT better without her, well... maybe it's time to throw in the towel on this whole pickup thing and settle down with Miss Good Enough. My guess is, though, by the time 8 months roles around, you'll be glad you waited, and you'll be performing at another level.
The same rules for following up apply to you as an intermediate as apply to a beginner (one reconnecting text per year; only see her if she'll come to your place).
Do I HAVE to follow these rules? you might ask. No, of course not. I'm not going to come to your house and put you in an arm lock and make you cut contact with women who've been wasting your time. If your time is so cheap that you'd like to continue throwing it after women who aren't interested, be my guest.
However, if you have bigger fish to fry than hounding after women who are running away from you, I very much suggest you abide by them.
Rules for Cutting Contact: Advanced
By the time you're advanced, you don't really need rigid rules all that much... you automatically forget about and retain zero interest in women who are time wasters.
She wants to be your friend? Oh, totally forgot about her.
She doesn't want to come home with you? Wait, what was her name again?
I'm sure she's a great person. She's probably really cool.
But if she doesn't provide value to your life, you can't waste time on her.
This probably sounds really cold and uncaring to anyone who isn't advanced with women. That's because he hasn't experienced what it's like to be this guy.
If you're advanced with women, you necessarily already are:
Which means, people are lining up for a slice of your time.
Everybody wants to be around you!
And everybody is trying to pigeonhole you into the place in his/her life that he/she wants you in.
People do this to everyone, but as an advanced, charismatic, talented man with tons and tons of choice on how he spends his time and whom he spends it with, you now have the freedom to pick and choose whom you'll spend your time with, and what you'll spend time doing with them.
So, a girl may be very pretty and very nice, but if she doesn't offer some great non-sexual value to your life (e.g., wild parties, great business connections, incredibly insightful and scintillating conversation that's better than any of your other friends, etc.), you have better options on how to spend your time.
The guy who moves into being advanced often has to get much better at saying "no" to people. Whereas the guy who's a beginner is often struggling for any chance he can get to spend time with cool people, and the guy who's an intermediate is at something of a happy medium, with lots of cool people around him but not so many demands on his time that he's overwhelmed, the guy who's advanced has way more people who want his time than he can give it to.
Therefore, he must choose.
And if a woman he's interested in sexually is not interested in him sexually, and she offers no other gleaming, redeeming value to his life, he needs to very quickly cut contact with her and move onto other people who want his time who do have something of value to offer him (whether that be sex, parties, business connections, very valuable friendships, truly amazing conversation, or whatever it is).
Having hard rules about this can help, since you won't always be emotionally on-top-of-the-ball, and when you have logical fallback rules you can pull these out when you're not flying high, so you still stick to the game plan.
Here are the cutting contact rules for a man who's advanced:
If you've been pursuing her for 2 weeks and she still is not yours, cut contact. You're charming. You're sexy. Women want you. And if you can’t put this together within 2 weeks of having met her, it's time to move onto a woman more receptive to your charms.
If you've gone on 1 - 2 dates with her and she still is not yours, cut contact. This one depends on how advanced you are, how many options you have, and how lazy you are. Some girls it really is difficult to get in one date, or you aren't thinking when you schedule the date and logistics are really bad, or you mess up somewhere along the line. Will you take another shot? Depends how busy you are, and how interested in her you are. Usually, for most advanced guys, I'd say don't bother with the second date, unless you really like the girl.
If you've tried to escalate to sex once with her and she still is not yours, cut contact. By now, you know what you're doing. You know just about everything there is about physical escalation. You're totally in tune with the bodies of the women you escalate with... you back off before they can pull your hand away, touch them in places they didn't know excited them, and have their clothes off before they even know what's going on. If you can't sleep with a girl in one shot, she's going to be a much bigger headache than she's worth... trust me.
If she was your girlfriend and the two of you broke up, cut contact for a minimum of 10 months. This time around, it's actually more for her than it is for you. You can probably get back in touch with her within a few weeks and it won't much affect you. You can move her into a friends-with-benefits type role in your life, and you probably won't much care if she's seeing other men. The reason you're cutting contact is for her, not you. Chances are, she sees you as the most incredible man she's ever been with. Her emotions for you are through the roof. And, while she can hook up with other guys with you around, she can not move on, and she can't really have a truly astounding, fulfilling relationship again so long as she remains in your shadow. Give her space, and let her move on.
On that last one, if she was a good friend in addition to a good girlfriend, you may want to pick things up again after enough time has gone by, and be friends with her again. You're fine with that. I highly recommend against sleeping with her again though, even though you probably can... you're going to mess her up, confuse her, and cause a lot of problems for her.
And don't believe her when she says she can "handle it." She thinks she can... but that's just like you thinking you could "handle it" trying to balance getting an ex back with meeting new girls when you were a beginner. Remember how well that turned out?
Don't Chase 'Em. Replace 'Em.
There's one other reason to completely remove women from your life that it isn't going anywhere with: your ability to get new girls while they're still around is crippled.
Most beginner and intermediate guys overestimate their abilities with this kind of thing. You talk to them, and they tell you, "Don't worry! I'm still meeting new girls, even while I'm trying to get this other girl back!"
Well, I've been there, and done that. And I've seen countless other guys go there and do that. And you know what happens?
The guy cripples his ability with new women. You can't fully move on and tackle "replacing her" gung-ho while part of your mind is still fully devoted to "chasing her."
It's like trying to work two jobs that both want your full attention. You've got your 9-to-5 as an office worker, and then a job after work from 6-to-11 doing strategic planning for some other company. Do you really think one's not going to detract from your performance at the other?
Of course it is.
Taking on two different things like this forces you to half-ass it on at least one of them.
In this case, the one that suffers is moving on and meeting new girls.
You'll actually do better at chasing an old girl if you're meeting new ones. The new ones provide distractions, and they lessen your scarcity mentality somewhat. But you'll do far worse at meeting new women when you're stuck spinning your mental wheels on some old one you can't let go. You're duller, slower, less certain, and less determined. I've seen it happen to some of the most talented men with women I know, and it's happened to me, too. There's nothing worse than trying to meet new women while you're stuck obsessing over some old one that you haven't made up your mind to cut contact with yet. You half-ass your way to defeat.
Ultimately, there's nothing I can do to prevent you from chasing after some girl you can't let go of.
I can't walk into your house and throw out that bag of potato chips or box of cookies you can't put down even though you want to lose weight; I can't delete your computer games off your computer if you want to quit them; I can't disable your Facebook account even though you said you wished you could; I can't take the drink out of your hand that you said you'd stop drinking but your will wasn't strong enough.
You've got to do this, or not do this. It's on you.
I'll say this, though: if you ever hope to do anything of any note, anything of any importance, or anything of any real significance in your life, you're going to need to learn how to let go.
You're going to need to learn how not to chase 'em, but replace 'em... with something far better and more productive and more rewarding than whatever the "em" you're replacing happen to be.
Until you can do that, consider yourself a paduwan, a learner, an apprentice. Because this is one of the most important skills you can learn - it's control of your mind, and control of your time.
Until you figure this one out, you relinquish that control to anything and anyone else that comes along and pushes the right buttons and creates enough desire or fear of loss or anything else that prompts knee-jerk, gut reactions.
Seize control of the ability of other people and other things to control your mind and your time, and you will seize control of your life.
And at that point, instead of chasing them down, you'll be replacing those things you've lost with other - and far
better - things, instead.
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