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 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.