He won’t dump me

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I've been deeply in love with someone for 13 years. He has always told me he loved me, but I think that was a ploy to get me into bed. He has never really wanted me but never really let me go either. I dated someone else for several years and was just platonic friends with this guy, but in truth I never stopped loving him.

For the last three years he’s been back in my life but he doesn’t want a serious relationship with me and is never there for me when I need him. But he tells me how much he loves me, and I am desperately in love with him. I need to get over him. I have to move on. I’m 44; I don’t want to waste my whole life on a man who doesn't really care about me.

But he won't break up with me. The closest I can get to that from him is him saying "I love you, but it's about my mental, physical, emotional limits." That's a typical "it's not you, it’s me" cop out. I know that what he means is that he doesn’t love me enough, but he won't say that. He's just using me for sex; anyone from the outside can see that. I love him but I don't want this, but I don't seem to be strong enough to stop it.

I have been trying for years to get over him but I can’t because deep down I'm hoping/believing/wishing that what he says is true. That really he does truly, deeply love me and can’t give me what I want for totally legitimate reasons.

He won't dump me. It has to come from within me. So how do I do it? How do I make myself feel like I've been dumped without being dumped?

Please help.

– Help

Let's do an exercise. Let's pretend time travel exists, only for the purpose of you visiting yourself. Now let's imagine that 48-year-old you has traveled back to today to give you a message. What do you think Future You would say?

My guess is that it would be something like this: "I have traveled back in time, just for today, to tell you to get it together and end this relationship now. If you don't end it, we will still doing this at 48. But if you do end it … maybe we will have a real chance to be happy. Cut this man off, block him, and find the willpower to fall out of love." Then image Future You telling you, in the style of Princess Leia, "Help me, younger version of myself. You're my only hope."

You must find the courage to drop this guy as a favor to your future self. It doesn't matter whether he loves you or not; he will not give you what you want.

Also, I'm not sure you’re really in love with him. It might help to know that longing and pining can feel like loving, but … it’s not real. After 13 years, love should be about still wanting someone who continues to show up for you. Love should be about wanting more, even when it’s kind of boring. I think some of what you feel is that yearning, which, again, seems like love, but is something else.

He has broken up with you in his own way multiple times. He did not disappear, but you can use the block button and walk away. You owe Future You that much.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you dump someone when they won't dump you?