Dear Captain Awkward:
- Dated a man
- He broke my heart
- We did friends with benefits
- I called it off because I still loved him
- We were friends
- I tried to kiss him
- He said no
- I asked for some space to get over him
- He granted it (nicely)
- I came back when I was ready
- He blanked me
- He’s read my messages
- TOTAL blankage.
- For WEEKS now.
I don’t get it. I know you can’t tell me why he’s blanking me but I really, really don’t understand it at all. He was really nice about giving me space, gave me a big hug, said “if you ever need anything…” – then when I was ready to come back (admittedly after only 2 weeks), he acted like I don’t exist.
Do you have any insights into why that’s happened? I guess there’s nothing I can do without making it worse, but I’d like to at least understand, y’know?
– Bullet Points Are Awesome
Dear Bullet Points:
I can’t read this guy’s mind, so whatever I come up with for you will only be speculation.
- A brief story that you might be able to tell yourself about what’s going on.
- A recommendation for you.
Here is the brief story:
This guy cared for you and was attracted to you, but it ended between you for a reason. Something just wasn’t working and making both of you happy. He tried to stay engaged – sexually, for a while, and then as friends, for a while, but at the end of the day it was just too much work, so he decided to bail completely, let some time pass, and completely move on. During the time that you took “space,” he learned something about how space was really good for him and how he needed it, too. I’m sure he felt weird and guilty the first few times that he didn’t respond to something, but over time it’s getting easier, and he’s figuring out that staying away is the right thing for him to do. At the very least, it prevents him from making promises he can’t keep or getting your hopes up.
Here is the recommendation:
Do the same thing. Block him everywhere. Stop obsessing about him. Decide for yourself “This is over, because I say that it’s over.” When thoughts & feelings about him come up, think them, feel them, and then put them aside. Distract yourself. For example, “I miss X, I wish he would call me. But I can’t do anything about that now. Right now I have to make dinner and then I will read a book.” That distraction & deciding not to think about something is really hard do to, but if you do it long enough it becomes a habit and then time does the rest of its work and you heal. But you don’t heal if you keep looking for communication for him and waiting for something to change. He made that decision to cut off contact first, but you also have the power to make it for yourself.
You’re probably not ready to be friends if this is still a story about how he broke your heart and about how the removal of his attention is breaking it again. The fact that he’s not communicating with you is its own answer. It says, pretty clearly, “I don’t want to communicate with you.” It’s a cruel answer, and I’ve been where you’ve been: bewildered, lost, hurt, addicted. It would be much cooler if he responded to your first communication after the break with “That’s good to hear, but I am still not ready to talk. I will get in touch when and if that changes,” but he didn’t. That doesn’t mean the message of radio silence is not a message, or is an unclear one.
This story where you fuck and fight and break up and make up and try to be friends even though you’re still in love has run its course. It seems like the common thread in every stage of your relationship is you wanting something he doesn’t want to give; this is just one more version of that. There were a lot of possible versions of a happy ending for you and this guy. The one you think you’ll get by receiving a communication from him now is “closure”, where you will talk through everything and come to some kind of mutual decision that feels good for everyone. I don’t think this ending is likely, so let me offer you another one: You’ll disengage and move on with your life, having learned something new about what makes you happy, and eventually you’ll meet someone else who will be equally invested in a relationship with you. You will get closure, because you will create it for yourself by making a decision to stop chasing someone who doesn’t really want to be involved with you and who can’t be counted on. Years down the road your former partner/lover/friend will be a passing blip in your thoughts.
When you doubt, say this to yourself, “If he wanted to reach me, he would reach me. Since he’s not reaching out, I must conclude that he doesn’t want to. That’s his choice to make.” Accept it, grieve for what you lost, and be good to yourself. Be good to yourself the way this person is not equipped or willing to be good to you.
Relevant to your interests: