Dear Captain Awkward,
Your blog has helped me get to a better place- I’ve had 3 years of therapy (long story short, angry father, clinically depressed mother, childhood sexual abuse and I also happen to be a trans dude). I’m finally where I want to be and with that comes the self esteem I’m slowly trying to develop. Relationships are difficult because while I know there are people out there for me, I sure as hell feel like a niche market.
I recently started a relationship with a guy I met through friends, but due to distance chatted mainly online. We had so much in common and I could talk to him about sex stuff that I’ve never told anyone, constantly chatting into the small hours in the morning. I’d already met him in person so I thought it would be fine, we’d tried sexy stuff and it went okay, all was good. It felt like a dream and that I’d finally found the one after several years of awkward relationships.
I went to his house recently and while I knew he was messier than me, it was particularly bad. I’d been ignoring it because I had no plans to move in with him, but then I remembered a Captain Awkward which said ‘DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BACK AWAY FROM THE HOARD‘. From that moment onwards the visit was a series of red flags, mostly indicating that despite being much older than me he was a massive man child, constantly in and out of an overdraft yet still buying shit online, clutter everywhere, nothing his fault, etc.
I made the most of the weekend, had a fun time because he is a nice guy, but I think I knew that despite our compatibility online, some things about him in person I wasn’t willing to live with. I talked with friends and they all agreed I should break things off which I did last night. I tried to do it as nicely as I could (avoiding telling him it’s because he lives in squalor, saying it just wasn’t working for me and stonewalling any of his but whhhhyyys).
Now it’s the morning and he’s messaged me asking for clearer reasons, asking if it’s something about my past that I need ‘working through’, all reasonable questions and ones I’d be asking if I were him. From his point of view I can see that it looks like I’ve done a 180 and I understand why he’s confused.
I know I did the right thing ending it, but did I do this the right way? How much honesty is too much- should I try to preserve his feelings or give some actual reasons?
Dear It Isn’t Me:
I’m so sorry, it’s so hard to like someone so much but realize you are incompatible in some fundamental way. If his place grosses you out I think you’re smart to take care of yourself around this and to end it before you’re more attached.
You absolutely don’t have to answer this guy’s request, if it makes you uncomfortable to do so, but fact that he’s trying to make this about your past or imply that your insecurities or issues are derailing this relationship somehow is rankling me on your behalf. So here is a script for answering him: “I didn’t give you a specific reason because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings even more, but since you ask, I’ll be frank: The dirty conditions in your living space are a dealbreaker for me, so I decided to end things before we got more serious.”
Past tense – you decided. He won’t like hearing this, but I don’t think you are being mean if you give it to him straight. hope you find someone great who is right for you.