#219: Will I help you craft an email to the guy who spun you up and then dumped you? No. No I will not.

Dear Captain Awkward – 

This is not the letter I was originally going to send. It was about “Navigating a New Adult Relationship with my Mom as I am 30yrs old, Living at Home, and Seeing a New Boyfriend”. Then New Boyfriend dumped me by email on Friday. So there is a more pressing and semi-time sensitive question I need to ask your advice on. Don’t worry, I’ll send the other question in the near future as it is still valid (and something I really really need help with!!!) even if there is no current New Boyfriend.
Not-So-Quick background – 3/1 Dude emails me out of the blue from a webdating site. It is a clever email, he includes photos, I am intrigued. Many witty and engaging emails ensue. I am cautiously hopeful. 3/9 We meet and I’m pleasantly surprised…plus he helps me move many heavy things down the stairs to travel for a show. He nails down a second date for when I return the next day. 3/11 He helps me move everything back UP the stairs, we go on a ‘real date’ and he gives me a beautiful bouquet of sunset color roses and orchids to help me get through the ‘lousy Smarch weather’ we’d been joking about. Swoon. We get physical and it is awesome. 3/16 – 3/22 New Guy is out of the country to visit family but emails, calls, and texts telling me he misses me. He returns and we pick up hot and heavy. There’s a beautiful well thought out return gift, movie night on the couch after cooking dinner together, walks with my dog and more. Things are amazing. I’ve never met anyone who seems to really have his shit together (house, car, life, not obviously broken/full of baggage, knows what he wants), seems to ‘get me’, is bright and witty, good/nerdy looking, and treats me like I want to be treated. And to find him online?! Unheard of, and I’ve been doing this a long long time. Catching him vacuuming shirtless to Tom Petty when I surprise visit? That’s someone I want to be with. I don’t date seriously or long term very often cause it’s so rare I find this mythical creature. I was really looking forward to seeing where this was all going and couldn’t wait to introduce him to my friends and vice versa (I took down ALL of my webdating profiles. I NEVER take down my webdating profiles…sometimes not even 3 months into a relationship, just in case).
What I’m saying is things were going swimmingly and I let myself fall all in for a change. Then a text or two went unanswered (3/29) and I thought “Oh shit, the slow fade!” I HATE the slow fade. Break my heart but by gods just let me know you want to disappear. Instead I get an email telling me he’s still hung up on his ex (I’m assuming the one of 10 years that he lived with…but it could be one of the more recent ones I suppose) even though I’m so ‘open and trusting, etc’ and ‘better for him/what he needs’ but that ‘I deserve better’ since he ‘can’t give me all of himself’. Oh, and that while away he would think of things he wanted to say about the trip and immediately thought of her first (No duh! He had only known me a little less than a week face to face at that point). Ouch. Kinda wish he hadn’t told me that part. Which colors every tender moment and interaction we’ve had since then, if he was thinking about her, but that’s a totally different email and probably unfair of me to think that. Oh, and he ‘hates himself enough for both of us’ for doing this. So obviously I can’t be upset and disappointed since he’s got that covered, thankyewverymuch.
The kicker is, he’s pretty amazing besides this little glaring problem of not really wanting me/wanting to be with the ex (which he had never expressed despite being asked point blank or given any hint of being anything other than happy and also all in, telling me to go ahead and fall for him). I had planned to go see him face to face at his offer but other than cry my eyes out in front of him what’s the point? I’ve read ALL of your archives and am trying to do this graciously. Part of me is going thissucksthissucksthissucksimisshimandweweresogreatwwwhhhyyyyy???!!! and the other part of me is going ‘get over it, despite how good it was and being able to see a future for a change, you were together less than a month total’. But in my 15 years of dating or so I’ve only found a few guys like this and they never seem to stick around. I started an email response but it quickly got bogged down in the venting of FEEEEELINGS and some guilt and lovely showing of lack of self esteem.
So I turn to you, Captain my Captain, to help me craft a clever last email that covers all of my points. 1 – I’d like to express my appreciation, not for being dumped by email (that sucked) but for the fact that at least he DID email and let me know instead of just disappearing. 2 – How awesome a person he is (for reasons stated above) and that I really enjoyed getting to know him and our time together. 3 – Somehow I’d like to leave the door open in case he changes his mind down the line. I don’t expect it to happen. They may get back together or maybe his nice ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ was really to cover some personal reason he didn’t like me (considering he’s been broken up with ex of 10 years for almost 2 years and has dated a few other women for several months who all dumped him, it seems possible. Lucky me, I’m the first person he’s ever dumped. Wheeeee) But I’d like to throw it out there, if I am still in-state and single. I guess that’s about it. I’m trying to keep my hurt and disappointment to myself.
I am currently working on dating my internet face off at the suggestion of a friend. Nothing like 30 bad dates to make the pain of losing a good one seem less. Sort of. Not really. Sigh. 
– Alone Again, Naturally

Dear Alone Again:

The kicker is, he’s pretty amazing besides this little glaring problem of not really wanting me/wanting to be with the ex

Read that sentence again. And then read it again. The operative words are “not really wanting you.” There’s a thing you’re doing where you chronicle all the sweet/romantic stuff he did at the beginning of the relationship where you are trying to make a case for how awesome he/the relationship is/was as if it’s proof of something, but unless he’s your boyfriend now, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

I’m sorry.

It sucks.

I am seriously, really really sorry and I bet you feel a little bit crazy right now, and like if you could fabricate the perfect ending to everything it will all have been worth it?

So again, I say, I’m sorry. I’m not going to give you a script for how you write a great email to this guy that will “leave the door open if he’s single again.”

Take a lesson from the fantastic Samantha Irby: Fuck being gracious. This whole bullshit of “you deserve better?” That’s a trifler trying to still be liked when he’s in the middle of dumping you after putting on a big dog and pony show of trying to make you fall in love with him.

Delete this fucker from your phone, block him on all social media including the dating site where you met, and chalk this one up to “Didn’t work out because he didn’t like me that way.” If he contacts you in the future, your honest answer is “Who is this? I don’t recognize the number.” Don’t give him his “being liked” biscuit. DO NOT sleep with him or text him back when he circles back a few weeks from now (which he will. This guy ALWAYS does, and exes are exes for a reason). Don’t agree to be friends. Don’t get awkward “drinks sometime.”

Your friend is smart. Go meet some more people.

37 thoughts on “#219: Will I help you craft an email to the guy who spun you up and then dumped you? No. No I will not.

  1. Nothing to add to the Captain’s excellent advice. However, I do feel the need to point out that “a beautiful bouquet of sunset color roses and orchids” and “a beautiful well thought out return gift” all within two weeks of having first met the dude is a big fucken red flag sign of manipulative behavior from someone who doesn’t understand or respect emotional boundaries.

    1. That’s what I read… Like, THE FUCK?! Who spends that much time/money on a person they BARELY KNOW.

      Girl, you got played. You will continue to get played for as long as it takes for you to (mentally/emotionally) DTMFA.

      1. YES! Not to mention, that clearly dude does not have all his shit together and is not actually all that amazing, except perhaps in an “Wow, that behavior is amazingly terrible” kind of way. Shut the door, and latch it, and for fsm’s sake do not thank him for dumping you. Also, you don’t need to keep your hurt and disappointment to yourself – take this to your friends! Possibly with alcohol! Give yourself a minute to be hurt/outraged that you were treated so appallingly. Sorry this happened to you, LW.

      2. It does kind of make sense in context, though. If he was using her as a replacement ex, then it kind of makes sense that he was treating her like he treated his ex.

        Not that it means she should get any closer to him than before, of course.

      3. Yeahhhh… I was with my current SO for like a year before I bought her anything that cost any real amount of money.

        Watch out for GRAND ROMANTIC GESTURES so early on in a relationship. Bombarding you with images of HOLLYWOOD ROMANCE to get you invested so early on was wrong of him. As BlackHumor suggested, I think he just wanted to be back in his relationship with his ex ASAP, but of course not with his actual ex. Because she’s gone. Perhaps he had the introspection to realize that about himself.

        Which does not even slightly excuse his behavior, of course. I’ve been through these kinds of romantic roller coaster rides, too, and afterwards all I can think about them is, “WHY DID YOU PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE ON THE DATING SCENE WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU EVEN WANT?!”

        So, I mean, it’s possible he’s a serial manipulator, or it’s possible he’s just a self-absorbed, insensitive ass. Either way, you’re better off without him.

  2. I can think of one “it’s not you, it’s me” that really was about something in the speaker’s life (this is one a friend of mine got, not me): the person who said that was putting everything except her job on hold for a couple of years to nurse her mother through a serious illness.

    But there’s a major difference between “my mother may be dying” and “I’m still hung up on my ex.”

  3. I’m sorry, LW. It really does suck. You took a risk – going all in – and it didn’t work out, and it hurts. And it’s not ever going to work out with that guy, because if a guy can stage this whole “pleeeeease like me” parade (I also like “dog and pony show,” see above) and then take it all back in the course of a month, he doesn’t know himself any better than you know him. Which is not very well.

    I say that because I’ve been that guy. At the time, I was trying really hard to be dateable when in fact I was not ready to date, and I overstepped my own comfort zone. My subsequent withdrawal hurt a few dudes and I regret that. But! The situation would NOT have been fixed by dating them.

    Here’s something else to chew on… a project you might want to try out? Try not to tell the story of your romantic history as a series of failures including this one. I think I’m cribbing from Dan Savage when I say that all relationships end until they don’t. That is true. There have been but few people you’ve really clicked with because you are selective. It has not worked out with them because of irreconcilable differences between you and each of those people, which is the case with all people until you meet someone you *can* reconcile with. It is sad sometimes to be alone when you would rather have a partner, but it is completely awesome that you are not with a terrible partner. (And that guy? Is not going to make anyone a good partner anytime soon.)

    Also, go on lots of dates with ladyfriends. You don’t have to explain those to your mother.

    1. Yep. All your relationships have end for you to get to the one that doesn’t.

  4. Sending that email would accomplish nothing on any of the points. 1 – You don’t need to thank him for breaking up with you. 2 – Given that he broke up with you and not the other way around, he probably knows that you really enjoyed your time together. 3 – If you tell him the door is still open, you run the risk of keeping yourself on the hook for him. You might have a harder time really enjoying other potential relationships because in the back of your mind you keep thinking, “The door’s still open! I’m just passing my time with this person until Perfect Guy comes back!” It might not happen, but it seems like a high risk.

    Maybe he really wanted to be with you for the time you were together and then something happened that triggered a memory of his ex. Maybe he wanted to commit hardcore to help him get over his ex and he realized it wasn’t working. Maybe he just wanted to manipulate you into falling in love with him so he could break your heart because he’s actually an asshole. It doesn’t matter what his secret motivations were, or if he even had any. What matters is that he told you he doesn’t want to be with you.

    1. I just reread that and realized it sounds pretty harsh. I really do feel for you, LW. I’ve been in similar situations, and being told “The way you feel about me is not the way I feel about you” really sucks, no matter how nicely the person says it. Your friend who told you to date your face off is right. Go meet new people and enjoy life!

  5. Okay, I’m not going to be as tough on this guy as everybody else is, but I am going to try to respond because coincidentally, I had a very productive chat with my therapist just a few days ago about something very similar — a girl who seemed just amazing, who I met online, who dumped me without much of a reason but in such a nice way that I couldn’t be mad at her — in my case this was a few months ago, but due to other stuff in my life I hadn’t been able to really deal with it until now.

    So let me pass on some of the advice that I got that I found helpful:
    1. Allow yourself to be “upset and disappointed.” Even angry. He may have broken up with you in the perfect way, and intellectually you may not see a reason to blame him, but your feelings are your feelings. Let yourself feel them. In fact — and I think you do seem to recognize this — by saying things like “I feel terrible enough for both of us,” he is not actually helping you, he’s helping himself feel less guilty, at your expense, since he’s trying to take away your right to be angry. You can be angry about that!

    2. Take him off his pedestal. I don’t think he’s as big a jerk as others here think. I also don’t think he’s as amazing as you think. He’s a human being and that means he’s probably somewhere in the middle. So remember the things that made him human, even if none of those things would have been dealbreakers for you, even if you actually found them endearing.

    3. “You’re worth 10 of him.” Hearing this from your therapist (of course in my case it was “you’re worth 10 of her”) is like hearing it from your mother — you appreciate the sentiment but don’t really believe it — but hey, it’s still nice to hear.

  6. LW, no. No you should not thank this dude for dumping you. No, you should not tell him how wonderful he is and how grateful you are that you got to bask in his company even for a little while. And, no, you should certainly not tell him that, even though he was crass enough to dump you by email when he was not 12 years old, you would still be open to dating him again should he ever be so kind as to change his mind. No. I was shaking my head so hard when I was reading your letter. Don’t do these things. They are bad ideas. Just no.

    Look, about nine months ago I was where you were. I was dating a great guy, then I went on holiday and he went on holiday and then he came back and promptly dumped me (albeit face to face). And I said ok, and he said do you want to talk about it and I said no thanks, I think I have all the information I need. And then he left and I decided I would be awesome. I mean yes, I was be disappointed and sad and perhaps a bit weepy for a while. But I didn’t sit in front of the computer for hours patherically refreshing his facebook profile and panicking whenever he friended somebody new and crying over how amazing he was. Instead I decided to concentrate on how amazing *I* was and got on with my amazing life and made sure I did lots of amazing things that made me feel good about me. During that time I met two other great guys who were great dates and who wanted me and though it didn’t work out with either of them, that was my choice. And eventually my ex and I got back together. How that happened was a long process of getting to know each other better and respecting each other and fixing past mistakes and none of it involved pitiful emails telling him how great he is and how I would scramble at the opportunity of a few more blissful weeks with him. If you can’t hold back on emailing him for your dignity’s sake then at least do it for this: emailing him all those things? The BEST way to guarantee you don’t get back together.

    (although for the record, I agree with the commenters above about the dog and pony show and the red flags. This guy has not impressed me with his awesomeness. Be fabulous and find somebody who is not manipulative and selfish.)

  7. I am not having the negative reactions toward this guy as some others are. But, I must agree that the well-crafted email would just be a screen for trying to convince him to come back one day. If you can’t resist a reply, LW, I would make it an impersonal one-liner, like:

    Hi X, Okay, it was nice meeting you and best of luck to you in future.

    Nothing longer than that. He really should have called or met with you, but hey, the dude sounds mixed up at this point in his life. Time to move on.

  8. LW, I’m sorry that you got dumped. It sucks, and it’s sucked for all of us at some point, and I think everyone can sympathize with your desire to send that last email that perfectly conveys how much you liked your dumper and that this was not just a few weeks of casual dating but something much more meaningful and important and that leaves him thinking “maybe someday….”

    But here’s the thing: that email is bad for you. It’s bad for you because it lets him know that if he wants to mess around with someone in the future (and I mean “mess around” both in the hooking up sense and in the mind games sense) that you are volunteering for the job. And it’s bad for you because it sets up a dynamic in which you are clinging to what you thought he might give you instead of what you got.

    I don’t think any of us have enough information to know whether this guy was playing you or whether he was a perfectly nice guy (not a Nice Guy) who didn’t realize he still had strong feelings for his ex until something prompted that or whether he actually dumped you for another reason and was using his ex as an excuse or whether he was abducted by aliens who programmed him to end all his human relationships. But it doesn’t really matter whether he is a good guy or not, because in any of those scenarios (except possibly the alien one), the take away is the same: he didn’t like you enough. Which is a bit of harsh truth that needs to sink in, because the number one most important thing you should look for in a partner is that they want to be with you. This guy is incompatible with you on that axis, and no amount of “but if I just craft the perfect email he will think of me fondly and want to give this another shot!” can make you compatible in that way.

    I, too, have gone through a really rough patch with guys and then met someone who was AMAZEBALLS and who I really, really liked, and then had him make clear (in a very, very nice way) that he thought I was a cool girl but was not up for a relationship with me. And it sucked. But it sucked a lot less once I stopped thinking of it as “but I really thought we could be great together! This is the best guy I’ve met in forever! I will die alone!” and instead thought of it as “he was the first guy in ages that I was really interested in, and although it didn’t work out I now know that there are awesome guys out there that I will be super into and one day I will find one who is super into me as well.” What you had with this guy meant something, but I would submit that it’s something closer to Hope For The Future than True Love Forever.

  9. Man, this guy is a mindfuck ninja. You spent less than a month with him (part of the time he was on a trip, no less), and you want to write him a “thanks for the memories, you’re amazing” note after he dumped you via email? The guy has mad skillz.

    Regardless of how he treated you (in the end, badly) or how short this “relationship” was (super short!), I am going to advise you not to write this email just because it never turns out well. Best case scenario, you give him SmugFace over how important he was to you and how you’ll never love again, even though you totally will love again thankyouverymuch. Worst case scenario, you prolong this excruciating it’s-not-you-its-me dance and then he feels like the door is still open after he fails to win back his ex. Shut the door! Slam it!

    And don’t lose too much sleep over the one that got away. I know he seems fun and cool on a month’s acquaintance, but he proved to you he kinda sucks with the dumpmail. Who wants a spineless guy who’s always making excuses for poor behavior based on his Feelings? Not you.

    1. “Who wants a spineless guy who’s always making excuses for poor behavior based on his Feelings? Not you”

      This times a million.

  10. I think that there is a point where you can validly say, I love you (even if we’re not going to be together and have sex), you’re going to be in my life, I’m sorry, you can’t get rid of me, we’ll just have to find a mutually satisfying accommodation, I know because I have been in that place. But with someone who I have known and had many different relationships with over the past 15 years, and even then the main challenge was fighting through a lot of What is you and What is my vision of you that has much more to do with my head than yours? bullshit. It would be hard to be there after a month, you might not have enough information about who he really is.

    That being said, not everything is a romantic comedy where we’re guaranteed to get together in the end. Maybe you leave the door open and stay friendly and wake up in 20 years and realize you have been together for 20 years.

    Rambling point: You don’t have to solve forever today, you just have to decide what you are willing or unwilling to do right now.

    1. I think that there is a point where you can validly say, I love you (even if we’re not going to be together and have sex), you’re going to be in my life, I’m sorry, you can’t get rid of me, we’ll just have to find a mutually satisfying accommodation,

      Wow, do I disagree with this. I mean, you can tell someone those things, but they may decide that they do not want to have you in their life, and you’re just going to have to deal. You cannot unilaterally impose a friendship on someone.

      1. Oh, yeah I can see how that might read that way, but it’s not what I meant. Sorry.

        What I was trying to say is sometimes we can have an all or nothing, fairy tale view of the world and say, We will be in love or I don’t even want to know you. And we can lose people who we don’t want to lose by drawing Love me or leave ultimatums when sometimes it’s not necessary or what either party *really* wants.

        It’s possible to change our starting assumption to something more like, I love you and want you in my life, let’s see if we can make that happen even if it’s complicated and sometimes difficult and not what we might have had in mind a year ago or five years ago because I think you (and we) are worth it. If they say No, I would rather you fuck off, there is, of course, nothing for it.

        1. It’s possible to change our starting assumption to something more like, I love you and want you in my life, let’s see if we can make that happen even if it’s complicated and sometimes difficult and not what we might have had in mind a year ago or five years ago because I think you (and we) are worth it.

          Wow, do I know you? Because you’re writing about my relationship right now, and my partner(?) and I have been saying almost exactly these same words to each other these last couple days. But we’re admittedly in a weird situation, where neither of us wants to break up but I’m leaving in a few months and he’s too afraid/unwilling/in denial to make future plans and I’m unwilling to do a LDR without future plans and and and…yeah, it’s complicated. I contemplated giving him the “love me or leave me” ultimatum, but thing is, he does love me and I love him, and neither of us want to break up, but yet our relationship is nowhere near the conventional fairy tale, either. So we’re trying to find a way to enjoy what time we have because we don’t want to end it, but it’s bumpy as hell right now.

          But LW’s situation? I think is different. He wants to end it, or at least thinks he wants to end it, and if that’s the case I don’t think there’s much LW can do about it. It sucks, it really does, but it sounds to me like more of a straightforward breakup. I think “I love you and want you in my life let’s make it work…” has to come from both sides. Also, too, I think it happens with people who’ve known each other for years, not weeks, at least in my experience.

  11. LW, I will echo the Captain’s advice–make this dude dead to you. Block him from your phone, email, Facebook, any profiles you have up, etc. You are allowed to be upset and disappointed. You will get over this, but contacting him or allowing any contact from him will not help you in this process.

    Also, fuck gracious. If he got an award you were both up for, be gracious. If he beat you at checkers, be gracious. If he had gotten you a gift he thought you’d enjoy and you really hated it, be gracious. You don’t have to yell or scream at him, but you can shut his ass out. Being gracious doesn’t mean making yourself available for ex boyfriend’s carnival of drama.

  12. Oh man, LW, I was in your exact shoes several months ago, and I’m so glad you asked this question, because the Captain’s advice is truly spot on. Just reading this has helped me put words to why I was so angry when my dog-and-pony ex did contact me months later and try to be all sweet and perfect again.

    I hadn’t recognized his elaborate, thoughtful gifts, his saying things like, “I could see myself with you forever” after ONE MONTH !!! of dating, as manipulative and disrespectful of emotional boundaries, but I see it clear as day now. And I did just what the Captain is advising you – I deleted him from my phone/social media, deleted his friends even, and now it’s been 8 months since we broke up (when we dated a whopping 3 months), and he still texts me every once in awhile to say something stupid like he hopes I’m doing well. I’ve stopped responding, but it was still very upsetting the last time I got a text from him.

    So I feel you. It sucks so much right now, but the one thing he’s right about? You DO deserve better, and you just keep being your awesome self and make him eat those words.

    1. Can you screen your ex’s phone number on your cell phone? I have a feature on my cheapo pay-as-you-go dealie where I can add numbers to a screened list and any texts or notifications of missed calls goes to that list. I don’t get any alerts about texts or calls coming from those numbers, as well. If you have that, it will make your life a lot easier.

    2. I’ve been coming around some time to the idea that to some people (the manipulative ones who are used to things going their way), it is so much worse to have a narrative about them that says that they did something bad/mean/thoughtless than to actually hurt another person. Hence the “hey how’s it going” texts to people who have made it clear they don’t want any more contact with you. Because then they might have to confront the fact that they actually are not always a Good Person (which is a pretty black-and-white concept anyway).

  13. I may have a slightly biased (extremely biased) view on the situation, because of my personal history. So here’s that:

    Around 10 years ago, I was with a boyfriend for about 4-5 months. I was madly in love with him. I didn’t think anything was amiss. Then there were a couple days where I noticed his enthusiasm was less than usual… and then I got a phone call that started with “I don’t want to do this anymore” and after tearful pleading on my part, ended with him saying “I don’t love you.”

    I was distraught. I cried/imbibed lots with my friends. I called Boyfriend repeatedly and cried at him and begged him to reconsider, and tried to convince him I would change anything I needed to change, we could make this work. I showed up at his house, walked bawling past his mom, to cry at him in person. It was awful, and I humiliated myself, on the off-chance that anything I said or did could bring him back to me.

    Then, after a series of events where I tried to give up on Boyfriend and go on dates and Move On, Boyfriend called. He’d thought about a lot. He had issues he needed to work on. But he wanted to work on them together, if I was in. We’ve been together since, and have been married now for a couple years. We talk about The Break-Up a lot… and he’s mentioned that he doesn’t think he would have had the courage to call me if I hadn’t expressed such headlong desire to be with him. If I had responded with “Ok. I wish you luck in the future” or something along those lines, his self-doubt likely would have prevented him from contacting me again. I’m so glad I acted the way I acted, even if neither of us were in a great emotional place at the time – it ended in a wonderful, strong relationship that I wouldn’t give up.

    So that’s my story. One of my closest friends recently went through a very different experience. She’d dated Dude for quite awhile, and he broke up, “It’s not you, it’s me. I’m confused. You deserve better”, etc. She asked me for advice, and what I told her was it depended on how much emotional risk she was willing to take over what she and Dude had had together. He seemed perfect for her in almost every way, and she cared for him a lot, and was willing to work things out together, so she kept herself open and stayed in contact. They ended up back together and apart several times, and it was uniformly awful, because she’d get reinvested just enough to be crushed when he pulled the rug out from under her again. In hindsight, she wishes she would have told him to get lost the first time around. It might have saved her a lot (A LOT) of pain.

    So, you’ve only been dating this guy for about a month. You see a lot of good in him, from the experiences you’ve had, and what you know about him. He may be a great guy that’s confused, and you guys could eventually work it out together, and it would be great. Or he may be a great guy that’s just not going to work out with you. Or he may be a complete asshole who put on a show at the expense of your emotions. It’s up to you what kind of emotional risk you want to take based on the information you have, and how you feel about it.

    I agree with some other commentors – relationships all end until they don’t. It’s better to find strength and happiness in yourself than to string yourself along for a relatiionship that’s destined to fail. But it’s your life, and none of us right now have the benefit of hindsight in your particular situation. You might contact him and wish you never had, because it ends up showing your vulnerability or exposing you to future mind games. My opinion is that you have to decide if you think that’s a worthwhile emotional risk to take. Relationships, including the ending or changing of relationships, are often a tricky mess of sharing thoughts and emotions and there is no right answer.

    I wish you luck in healing… if you never see this guy again, you will still be okay. You will be awesome. The same is true regardless of what you decide to say or not say to him.

  14. “DO NOT sleep with him or text him back when he circles back a few weeks from now (which he will. This guy ALWAYS does…”

    Yes. Yes, he does.

  15. Dear LW,

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. Like many of the other commenters, I was in a similar situation recently. I started something I thought would be really great with a guy I thought was really great, and it very quickly turned out to be Not Great in the slightest because yeah, he liked me, but he was still thinking about his ex. I went through a rough couple of months trying to deal with the aftermath of our non-relationship; whatever you decide to do, know that there are others out there who can identify with what you’re going through, and have gone through it before. That’s important, I think: it is get-through-able, even though it sucks now.

    I also want to give you some advice that differs from what most people are saying here, and that is to write the email. I think you should sit down with a pen and paper and say everything you want to say. Write it without worrying about what anyone else will think and make sure to get it all out.

    But don’t send it.

    Instead, fold it up and hide it in a drawer or on a high shelf. Tear it to shreds and throw it out. Put it somewhere where you can’t access it. It often helps me to write down what I’m feeling, and maybe giving yourself the chance to express what you seem intent on expressing will sort of get it out of your system so to speak, or at least allow you to make your feelings more manageable. I agree with the other posters that it’s not a good idea to send anything back to this guy, but hopefully you will gain something from the exercise of writing. Just a thought.

    In my personal experience, it’s difficult to heal from these things. I know that you’ll be okay, eventually, and I hope that the eventually doesn’t take too long!

  16. I have written/ached to write such an email so many times. And while it is NEVER a good idea to actually deliver that note/letter/email/song, it CAN be valuable to write it out. Just for yourself! ON PAPER, BY HAND, so you don’t “accidentally” hit send or any of that. Pour it out. Lob all the feelingsbombs you can lob. Scratch that itch! But do not send it. I cannot stress that enough. You will never never send it.

    A week later, read it back to yourself. Or imagine it is being read to you by someone you just rejected. In just a week of being away-from-the-dog-and-pony-show, you may already have enough perspective to cringe a little at what you have written. Wait another week. Read it again. NEVER send it. Share it with a bestie. Each time you re-read it you will see how you open a door for him to hurt you, or told him he was great when he demonstrably wasn’t. It’s the best cure I ever took for this letter which oh, god I know, how much you want to write. “Thank you SO much for briefly giving me a taste of what love could be…”

    It sounds super awful and judgy when I say you will cringe, but that is “young, foolish you” being read by “older, smarter you.” And the cringe is the growing pain. BUT I swear I will not judge you for any of your content or the emotions driving them because you took a risk, you saw the good in this person, you are coming from a place of trust and love and even graciousness at his rejection. There is nothing at all to be ashamed of by being an open-hearted person. The cringe is you going, “oh jeez I am so glad I didn’t say that to him!”

    Then you can burn, shred, eat, whatever the letter. Just never ever send it to him. I saved the ones I sent (painstakingly writing out a second handwritten copy because of course it was the dark ages of the 1980’s) and they are…educational.

    I love the commenter’s idea above just to reply “Well nice to meet you” but I know how tempting that can be. Enjoy your gift and throw the rest of the experience in the educational bin.

    Many Jedi hugs to you!

    1. Yes, this can be a great therapeutic, and if you choose to try it, please make sure you don’t and can’t send it to him. If you think you might falter, seal it in an envelope and give it to a trusted friend for safekeeping. My ex got this advice from a mutual friend, but of course he sent it. And since he was abusive and I broke up with him, it was filled with a great deal of hate. It was quite a punch in the gut to receive it, though I could understand the pain that drove him to write it. Not that I think your letter would be like that, rather the opposite–wedging that door open so he can come back and get in a few more emotional swings at you. Please shut that door firmly and use this exercise to wedge the door closed.

    2. Agree a million percent with the write it out by hand — it gets all that shite out of your head. I put them all in a box, and when it’s really over, in my head and outside it, I burn them. I have never had the strength to re-read any of those letters, but knowing they are out of my head is good for me.

      And like most of the other commenters, I had one of these guys, too. You know how you tell if this guy was a nice guy with issues or a Nice Guy? The latter will call you and string you along later. Mine was a nice guy who just apparently found someone else in the world. When he finally told me he’d moved on (he’d done the “fade away” bit), I was taken aback. I still hope I can find someone else who wants to talk Doctor Who that way, but it’s not him, and that’s okay.

    3. Back in the olden days before email (nearly before computers, come to think of it), I had gone off to college and First Great Love was back home. We wrote letters almost daily. Made it all through Freshman year, then she broke up with me after I came back home for the summer. Still, I kept writing her letters, but this time I wrote them in a journal. That journal was a FEELINGSCLUSTERBOMB, but since it would never fit into an envelope, I wasn’t tempted to send it to her.

      It helped me a lot to write those “letters” and then one day, I just stopped, done, ready to move on.

  17. I just had a friend breakup this weekend that is working out something like this. I went back to my parents’ house for the weekend for the first time since my dad died, and it stirred up all sorts of emotional stuff, OF COURSE. My stepmom is still grieving pretty hard herself, so I wasn’t comfortable wailing about how it felt like my dad had been erased from the house etc….

    So I got in touch with some high school friends, whom I have hung out with often and repeatedly when back home. One of them in particular was really awesome through Dad’s sickness and death, as his dad died several years ago. I mean, I spent several evenings crying on his shoulder and he was super supportive and also kept me from disappearing into the grief black hole. So I turned to him (the others were out of town) Friday night with a “I really don’t want to be alone tonight, I’m having a tough time; can we hang out?” He said he wasn’t sure what he was doing but he’d get back to me. Of course he never did.

    The next night my stepmom was out with friends, so once again I was alone and feeling sorry for myself. And once again, I got “Eh, I’m not really up for hanging out tonight.” And I had had enough. First I cried because I was super hurt that, when I really needed someone to just sit and watch tv with he couldn’t be arsed; then I got really angry and threw some stuff; and then I said “Fuck it, I still have SOME dignity left.” So I deleted his info from my phone, unfriended him on Facebook, went and bought some beer and watched Iron Man and got wasted.

    Have I written a FEELINGSBOMB letter? YOU BET. Do I hope he eventually notices that I unfriended me and feels bad? YES. But I know that sending that “I really value your friendship and hope someday we can hang out again when it’s convenient for you” email will just keep me “on the hook” so to speak. And I have better things to do with my time than beg people to act like the friend they claim to be. And so do you, LW!

  18. Take a lesson from the fantastic Samantha Irby…

    OMG. Soooo. Muuuuch. Looooove. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! Thanks for a great new blog to read.

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