Q: Kathryn, I've got a guy in my life who is totally frustrating. He comes on strong and then backs off. I'm quite addicted to him. But I fear he will never give me what I want. I seem to remember you talking about an eel, and I'd love it if you could give me some advice on what to do with this frustrating man.

A: You may not like my answer, but my question for you is how long do you want your life to be in limbo over this guy?!

 He will probably never give you what you want and deserve. Here's some more info on dealing with an eel.

 As you know, I often deal with people coming out of a divorce or breakup. Or those with an stubborn attachment to another person.

 Some of the worst cases of attachment I've seen come from people who got hooked by THE EEL.

 Definition of The Eel: someone who seems in your grasp, but then slithers away just when you thought it was going somewhere, only to reappear again as you give up hope. 

 This is akin to the mouse-cheese experiment so famous for explaining addictive attachment toward another person. The mouse would hurt itself when sporadically offered the cheese, whereas both the mouse who regularly got cheese and who never got cheese accepted the situation calmly.

 If you are being distracted by an eel, I invite you to adopt my rule concerning eels. Don't touch! Eels seem to somehow NEED to keep you dangling, and it can be terribly exciting playing this game, but it doesn’t produce a soulmate relationship. 

 My advice: recognize when you're swimming after an eel and change course. Yes, letting go of the hope will hurt, but every time someone swims in a different direction while doing my work, they end up finding their soulmate quickly. If you keep your eye on the love ahead waiting for you, it will make the release much easier. 

If you are in doubt about whether it can work out or not (and in most cases, you are simply in denial), I suggest this technique for seeing if this relationship is salvageable.

 When the suspected eel lets you down -- disappears, doesn’t call when (s)he says, suddenly wants to cool things down -- give him or her notice. You can do this playfully, s o it doesn’t become heavy, but draw a boundary here. “Flakes are just not my favorite cereal, if you get my drift. I’m liable to brunch elsewhere if it gets too flaky around here.” This takes back your power, while keeping it light. 

 Keep track with a three strike maximum limit. If eel-like behavior shows up three times, this is a trend. It’s too much to ignore. Unless you want to continue in a frustrating, uphill battle to make this person become reliable, I would bail at this point.

 Do some release work, and remind yourself that
your soulmate will leave no doubt that they want to be with you and they will be even hotter to you than the eel has been.

I bless you for moving on and being free to find REAL LOVE on the double. You just have to get past the pesky eel :)