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Dear Captain Awkward:

I’ve been with this guy for 2 years now. We had a falling out for about a month but we’ve been talking again since September. It’s been 4 months that we’re talking again and he’s afraid to make me his girlfrend because i messed up our relationship a little 2 years ago. We’re basically going out, we do everything we did when we were together, but its not official. He won’t let go of the past. At this New Years party we went to, he hung out with this other girl the entire night but claims nothing happened between them. He wants to make me his girlfriend now because im threatening to leave him. I dont know what to do, I’m hoping you can help me. Advice at least? I’m so lost.

Dear Lost,

The whole “You can’t be my official girlfriend because you did terrible, unforgivable things that I constantly bring up and blame you for, but I wish to keep enjoying your attentions and your…attentions” is one of the classic jerk-ploys. If whatever you supposedly “messed up” was so terrible that he doesn’t like you anymore, he wouldn’t hang around with you. If he still likes hanging around with you, then what you did can’t have been so terrible. This is a ploy to keep you around 100% on his terms, and dole out just enough affection and attention to keep you hooked and interested, but not enough to make you feel secure and happy and loved. And then, bonus! He gets to use your past to make you feel like everything is your fault. Manipulation 101.

If you really, really want to try one more time to make it work, say “Hey, if you’re interested in a casual relationship, that’s fine, but I’m not, so we should probably end this and let ourselves actually move on.” See what he says. If he brings up past-whatever-it-was, say “Hey, that was 2 years ago. I’ve apologized and done what I can to make amends. You either forgive me, in which case, don’t bring it up anymore, or you don’t, in which case, let’s end this. I can’t have that hanging over my head anymore.

Honestly, though, I don’t like this dude and I think you can do better than reward his shitty behavior or hold onto him with ultimatums. That’s my advice. “This isn’t working, and I want to break up. Let’s make it a clean break and not hang out or talk for a few months while we figure out how to move on. Happy New Year.

If you’re worried about backsliding into some kind of ummmmfriendship where everything stays confusing, the solution is simple:

  • Email: Block.
  • Facebook: Unfriend/block.
  • Twitter: Unfollow/block.
  • Cell phone: Block.

Do not unblock for at least three months.