My Date With Superman: The Guy Who Couldn’t Resist Constantly Rescuing His Ex-Girlfriend

July 25, 2012  |  

In my utter naiveté, I thought she was the problem.

“She” being my [almost] boyfriend Justin’s needy ex-girlfriend Amber.

I’ll never forget the time Justin and I were snuggled on his couch watching “Alfie” when his phone rang. He didn’t answer at first, then it rang again. This time he picked up.  It was Amber calling him to ask for a ride to her apartment complex’s office.

Her car was in the shop, but I knew the office was a five-minute walk from her place. In contrast, he lived at least twenty minutes away from her.  When I told him as much, he nodded then said: “She doesn’t want to walk to the office by herself.”

He and I weren’t “official” at that point and besides I’ve never gotten into the habit of telling a man what to do, so I asked him, “Are you going to pick her up?” “No.” He answered as though I was crazy for suggesting such a thing. Then he muttered, “I hate how she acts like she can’t get through life by herself.”

Amber was certainly the neediest girl I’d ever met…and I don’t like calling women “needy”, but Justin didn’t hate it. He didn’t hate it at all.  In fact, he was always helping her out which clearly led to her asking for help more and more. They had been friends for a long time before they dated and when they broke up, he didn’t see why they shouldn’t remain friends. He thought he was being nice, but I knew she was being manipulative.

I noticed she had an incredible knack for feeding into his innate desire to play the savior. I noticed it the time when she got into a fender bender and called him, bawling. You would have thought she was hit by a tractor-trailer. Nope, she sailed through a red light at low speed (undoubtedly texting) and bumped into another car that had just turned left. No one was hurt, but the other driver called the cops and Amber got a moving violation. He told me she was hysterical, so I sarcastically suggested to him, if she was hurt that bad then she probably should call 911. Amber begged him to come get her saying she was too shaken up to drive away from the scene. Of course he obliged because who wouldn’t pick up a friend, right?

She did that sort of thing all the time though, calling him when she broke a nail. Seriously, I’ve never seen someone in so much distress. Every other day she lost her job, her car was towed, her grandmother died, she failed a class, or was locked out of her apartment. This girl had more problems than a college-level mathbook! And every time, it was Justin to the rescue! Yet, he would complain to me that her immaturity and inability to manage her life was the reason they weren’t together.

I was visibly annoyed by her because I felt the reason he wasn’t able to be in a serious relationship with anyone else (me!) was because she was always calling him for help. No woman was going to put up with that in her relationship. I was frustrated because I liked him a lot and I knew he liked me, but Amber would not go away.

I was in a different state for a conference when I realized Justin and I were over. He called me early one morning and announced, “I’m going to Indiana, but I’ll be back before you get home.” When I asked him why, he gave me this long story explaining that Amber needed to drop off a family member in their home state of Indiana and didn’t want to drive the three-hours back by herself. She asked him to ride up with them so he could ride back with her. “We’re just going and coming right back.” He said casually.

The next day, when I made the (solo) six-hour drive home, I began to think. I realized it wasn’t her keeping us from being serious. It was him. Yes, she was the one calling and begging him to help her, but he was the one doing it. Sure, he turned her down from time to time like the day we were watching “Alfie” but he helped her more than he didn’t. That told me there was something there still between them whether he would admit it or not. I finally got the clue that if he was really serious about being in a relationship with someone else, he certainly wouldn’t be running to his ex-girlfriend’s side every day.

I felt completely ridiculous because the entire time I had been telling my friends how crazy she was and how bad I felt for Justin. Clearly, none of my friends had the heart to suggest Justin was the problem, but I’m sure they knew.

When I ended things with him, I explained that we couldn’t build a relationship while he was busy fixing Amber’s life. He said he knew that he shouldn’t always be helping her but he felt sorry for her. I wondered aloud if his feelings of pity were actually feelings of care that went beyond friendship. He shrugged and said, “I don’t know. Maybe.”

Well, I wasn’t going to stick around and find out. I knew I needed to be in a relationship with someone who wanted to be in a relationship with me – even if it meant hanging his Superman cape in the closet for the time being and allowing his ex to be “saved” by somebody else.

Have you ever dated a guy who still seemed stuck on his ex-girlfriend?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink

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