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How do you get over someone that dumped you out of the blue and says they will never speak to you again?
April 3, 2011 8:33 AM   Subscribe

How do you get over someone that dumped you out of the blue and says they will never speak to you again?

About a year ago I was happily in love with a guy whom I was sure I would marry. We were inseparable, and he seemed almost more smitten with me than I was with him. He would tell me constantly that I was perfect, that he never wanted to be with another girl, that we would be married with kids in a few years. I believed it, although at first there was a shred of doubt. I was a bit concerned that I was a few years older than he was (he was 22, while I was 26), that I was his first serious girlfriend, and that he had fallen for me so fast. But eventually, after much insistence, he put my fears to rest.

After five blissful months together that didn't include a single harsh word spoken between us, he suddenly dumped one night out of the blue. This came a few hours after telling me he wanted to be with me forever. It was actually the single most painful experience of my life, because I had trusted him more than I’d ever trusted anyone. What made it especially hard is that he could never give me a reason why, because he didn't seem to understand it himself. In general he seemed out of touch with the logic behind his emotions. He is somebody who sort of scorns rationality and believes in going with what “feels right.”

I foolishly continued to hang out with, probing him for answers but he had nothing to give. I am 100% sure he wasn't cheating, as we spent so much time together that it wouldn't have been possible. Also, I don't believe he was being dishonest with me, which makes it all the stranger.

Right after the breakup he did unleash a list of minor grievances about my personality that seemed petty, things he had never mentioned to me before. For example, he claimed that I was rude to waiters. This surprised me, since if anything I go out of my way to be friendly to waitstaff having been a waiter myself. After probing him some more, it turned out he was basing this on one instance where he misunderstood something I said. Anyway,he could never give me a substansive reason.

More baffling, he also claimed that he had never doubted our relationship or anything about me until the moment that he decided to end it. He claimed his grievances about me also came to him at the same moment, and before that he had thought me "perfect."

As he put it, it was just a sudden feeling, and that knowing himself there was no turning back from that.

For a couple of months I desperately tried to convince him to give us a shot, but he refused. His family, who exerts a huge influence on him, also pushed him to not take me back. For some reason his 19-year-old brother (with whom he lives) had taken an immediate dislike to me, which I had always suspected but my ex denied until his brother berated me after the breakup. His brother is loud and crass, while I'm more reserved, so it was probably a personality clash.

Anyway, he maintained that he wanted to stay friends with me, and would regularly seek me out. He invited me to do things constantly, and I agreed. We hung out and sometimes even had sex (I know).

I impressed upon him how much the sudden breakup had hurt me because I had abandonment issues from my childhood (father leaving). He promised me that even though we couldn't be together, he wanted to stay friends and would never suddenly cut contact with me. One day we went on a hike and got into an argument on the way home, because he I asked him if I could crash at his place for a night while I would be moving into my new place and out of home. He told me I couldn't because his brother didn't like me. I said his brother was an ass. But we made up and hugged, and he mentioned hanging out again the next day. The next morning I got a text message from him that read: "I'm not going to be in contact with you anymore. Please don't ever contact me again."

Of course I tried to call him, but he had already changed his number. I felt almost more devastated than I had the first time, although it took longer for the shock to set in. I was also freaking out because he owed me about a grand for something we had bought together, which he was supposed to be paying me in a couple of weeks when he got his paycheck. Finally, I was able to reach him and he arranged to meet me near my house to give me the check. He came on a bike for an easy get away. I said to him, "will you ever speak to me again?" He shook his head and said, "No, I won't" and rode off. That was in early September. We haven't spoken since, and I haven't tried to contact him again.

I thought by now I'd be over it, and in many ways I am, but it’s like there’s this piece left that won’t go away. Part of the problem is he lives about a two minute walk from me so I see him at a distance from time to time (I simply avoid eye contact). Also, I see his new gf around. He met about a week after cutting contact with me. I saw them together in town, and remembered he had mentioned before breaking contact that he had a first date coming up with someone from OKCupid.

Mostly I can’t let go of this anger. Sometimes I fantasize about getting revenge on him, even though I’d never actually do anything. I’m not proud to admit it, but I would probably be pleased if I found out he had died in a car crash. That's how deeply I hate him at this point. It pisses me off that he was able to easily erase me from his life and past, justify it with the assurances of his family, replace me with another girlfriend, and that nobody around him will ever know how much he hurt me. Everything comes easily to him, while I often struggle with self-defeating behaviors. He’s a people pleaser, and he’s very reliable when it comes to his job and friends, so I doubt anyone except me knows this other side to him. I would love to see him fail, but he seems to float through life, and it’s as if I was just a little bump on an otherwise smooth, scenic ride.

Part of me just feels like if he apologized for cutting me off I would be able to move on. I’ve been tempted to send him a letter, hoping that might prompt an apology or a talk for some closure. But maybe that’s a bad idea.

And then there are these disembodied memories of when we were together that now make no sense. I can’t think of them as happy anymore, because it's as if that history has been erased or overwritten.

I’m just out of ideas. My anger doesn’t seem to be subsiding. No contact hasn't helped.

I just don’t want to care about him anymore, even enough to feel anger.
posted by timsneezed to Human Relations (62 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe find something to occupy your mind, like a hobby or something. You haven't mentioned what you're doing with your spare time or other friends and family. Do you have anybody else you can hang out with?

There's nothing that's going to make the pain go away faster, but you can do things to make you think about it less often.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on April 3, 2011


You fell for someone who's obviously a little unstable; to fall so hard so fast and to fall right out again is unusual.

Do not contact him any further; whatever closure you're looking for is only going to come from within, not from him. Stay away from someone who's so all or nothing, they're nothing but trouble.
posted by dflemingecon at 8:42 AM on April 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I get a sense that there's a great big elephant in the room. Your ex-boyfriend's behavior really freaks me out, and I would stay well away from him and, more important, from his family. I suspect his mother is very much involved with what's going on. You're never going to get any kind of explanation for this. This is crazy acting. I'm sorry.
posted by WyoWhy at 8:45 AM on April 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of confused about the timeline with your last askme question, too? Was that about a guy you dated after this guy?

It seems like you get really attached to guys really quickly, probably before they get attached to you. Maybe you should work on that a little bit, also. The two questions together read as you being a bit obsessive.
posted by empath at 8:45 AM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your ex sounds somewhat deranged. Normal people don't have such rapid changes of heart and do things like change their phone number right away after deciding they don't want someone to contact them.
Either that or his family has a creepy amount of control over him and don't want you interfering in that control.
I would probably start dating someone who wants to take things slower. Get to know them before you get serious.
posted by elpea at 8:53 AM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I often struggle with self-defeating behaviors.

Yes, you're doing that right now. I'm sure you realize this.

A guy that breaks up mere hours after saying he wants to be with you forever is either 1) lying or 2) out of touch to the point of instability.

You could maybe try to feel sorry for him and his new girlfriend instead of feeling angry. The way this guy treated you doesn't bode well for either his future happiness or hers. You don't need to wish unhappiness on him to be fairly certain it's coming his way, unless he's a complete sociopath.

Everything comes easily to him

Maybe, but easy come, easy go. He doesn't sound like the type of person who is likely to experience the joy of real love and commitment, at least any time soon.

You have lost nothing by losing this guy; in fact, you are lucky you didn't get further involved before he decided to go nuts on you. You're better off without him. This is likely true for his current girlfriend too, only she doesn't know it yet... poor thing. If you can be philosophical about this, it might help you let the anger go.
posted by torticat at 8:54 AM on April 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Right, you're better off.
My guess is there's something he's not telling you.
Not that it matters now. You're better off.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 9:03 AM on April 3, 2011


If it was September that you last spoke to him, then something else is going on here besides "you're simply grieving the break-up."

Because, it's now April, and it shouldn't take seven months to get over a five-month relationship, no matter how great it was.

As you already know, the actions you took between the night of the dumping and the check meeting in September were a mistake. When someone has indicated that they don't want to be with you romantically, it's rarely ever a good thing to keep hanging out with them, sleeping with them, and generally waiting around for "closure".

I've said it before on MetaFilter and I'll say it again: "seeking closure" is usually a euphemism for "please, dumper, give me one more chance for a conversation over coffee or wine and you'll see how wonderful I am and we'll fall back in mad love again."

But in reality, the dumper provides all the "closure" he/she owes at the point where he says, "I don't want to be with you any longer."

I suspect that the reason you can't let go of the anger is that you want to right the wrongs. I'm guessing you feel like things are imbalanced, like he "wins" because he hasn't ever had to be held accountable for his shitty actions, which is just so UNFAIR that it eats you up... especially when you have to see him around town with his new girlfriend.

But the unfortunate fact is that he doesn't owe you anything... least of all an apology. By obsessively dwelling over what he did in the past, and by continuing to fantasize about your interactions with him, you are hindering your own emotional progress. You need to proactively choose to stop wallowing in the past on this. Seek out new friends, new romantic opportunities, new activities, and force yourself to move on. Why don't you sign up for a dating website, and go on a couple of coffee dates? You might not feel like you are emotionally invested in the process, but going through the actions—the anticipation, the getting ready, meeting someone new, sizing him up, etc.—might help accelerate you past caring about your ex.

It sucks that his family decided early on that they didn't like you, and I'm sure you're right in your assessment that they probably coaxed him to stay away from you. But that can't be helped. Neither can it be helped that he's a 22-year-old, and as many, many people can attest... 22-year-olds really have no idea who they are or what they want, for the most part. I'm sorry that you ended up in a relationship with an immature tool who didn't treat you well.

But now, everything lies in your corner. You can choose to continue to wallow and feel sad and angry. Or, you can choose to move on and feel better. Time heals all wounds... but time can't heal a wound that you keep opening and picking at and pouring salt in, by obsessively dwelling on your ex.

>> "I’ve been tempted to send him a letter, hoping that might prompt an apology or a talk for some closure. But maybe that’s a bad idea."

Yes: AWFUL idea. It will end badly, not give you the result you want, and postpone your moving on. Don't do this.
posted by pineapple at 9:06 AM on April 3, 2011 [34 favorites]


empath: Yes, I am kind of obsessive, but he fell for me just as hard. I started dating the other guy shortly after my ex cut contact. That's probably part of why I got so attached to him (rebound).
posted by timsneezed at 9:06 AM on April 3, 2011


Something like this happened to me a couple of years ago -- a relationship that I thought was chugging along greatly just... ended one day. Out of the blue, no warning, couldn't get him on the phone to even discuss what happened for almost a week. (My situation was extra-weird, because his closest friend started emailing me to "intervene" and try to patch things up, and then suddenly WE were dating, and just as suddenly that ended and ended quite badly.)

What helped me was therapy. I was so shaken and confused and unsure of myself, and I didn't want to burden my friends with endless talk about the situation. What I needed was an impartial party -- someone who wasn't my friend first and therefore would have a hard time being straight with me. I found a good therapist through a recommendation from a friend and saw him for a few months. He helped me see how those relationships were part of a bigger pattern for me, helped me figure out some major parts of that pattern, and helped me find new ways to think and cope. For instance, he introduced me to The Work by Byron Katie. I use The Work to help combat the "all-or-nothing" thinking that I sometimes get stuck in -- you know, the kind where you tell yourself you'll never ever find another person as great as your ex? The Work is super great for taking that kind of thought and challenging it through some very basic questions. Do The Work a few times and it becomes easier and easier to see the ways you're tripping yourself up and keeping yourself in the same stagnant, scared place.

Seriously. Therapy. If you are in the Seattle area please feel free to MeMail me, I'd be happy to give you contact info for some very good therapists I know. If you're in the Denver area I might also have some resources to share with you.
posted by palomar at 9:07 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear what y'all are saying. I guess I'm just not sure how to put it in practice. Like how do I change my thought patterns? What do I think to myself when I start feeling anger towards him or dwelling on him, thinking about the unfairness of it or feeling hurt that he won't speak to me again?
posted by timsneezed at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2011


"How do you get over someone that dumped you out of the blue and says they will never speak to you again?"

In this case? WITH VAST RELIEF and the sense that you dodged a bullet. Dude sounds CRAZY. Thank GOD he put his crazy on the table before you were married or, god forbid, had children together. Can you imagine coping with trying to get child support from this lunatic for the next 20 years?

In terms of wanting closure, there is nothing he can say that will make this better. We all want to know "why," but this guy a) clearly cannot express why ANYTHING and b) even if he could, none of the answers would make you happy -- you'd want to argue why he was wrong ("I don't really do X, you misunderstood"), or they'd be about what was wrong with YOU and that would be hurtful and painful and probably not true, or they'd be all "it's not you, it's me" (which IS what's true here) but you can't argue with that and he probably doesn't even know what's wrong with him.

I got painfully friend-dumped with no warning by a woman who had been my closest friend, and the only thing that eventually brought me "closure" was realizing that there was no closure that would make me happy. Nothing she could say could make her actions less painful to me, and many of the things she could say would make them MORE painful. Whatever it was, in the end, was about her, and her immaturity in dealing with it by cutting ties rather than discussing it with me, even if the outcome of that discussion had to be "and therefore we can't be friends any longer."

And dude, I was angry for ages. This kind of wound takes a while to heal. But it will.

Therapy is not a bad idea.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:16 AM on April 3, 2011 [46 favorites]


I'm pinning this to my wall:

"I got painfully friend-dumped with no warning by a woman who had been my closest friend, and the only thing that eventually brought me "closure" was realizing that there was no closure that would make me happy. Nothing she could say could make her actions less painful to me, and many of the things she could say would make them MORE painful."
posted by timsneezed at 9:18 AM on April 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Anger is often an expression of pain. It allows you to feel energized and powerful "I could get revenge!" instead of helpless and weak "He hurt me and I can't do anything about it." My guess is that you will stop feeling so angry when you stop feeling so hurt. That kind of break-up is a double blow: it strikes at your daily happiness (spending time with him was the source of a lot of enjoyment) and your self-worth (the "I wasn't good enough to keep his love" feeling). So you should work on getting both of those things back, by doing things you enjoy, spending time with people who think you're great, and really recognizing that your ex's behavior is not an accurate barometer of your value and awesomeness. You don't have to ever wish him well, but there will come a day when you (infrequently) look back on all this and primarily feel relieved that he bugged out before actually marrying you and having kids. Because as miserable as this is, starting a family with a guy who could treat you like that would have been a lot worse.
posted by unsub at 9:21 AM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was going to type something long and elaborate - after six years, my ex dumped me by changing her relationship status on Facebook, never even said goodbye - but Eyebrows McGee totally nailed it.
posted by dbiedny at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did he break it off with you over the phone late at night? Because it sounds like I dated this same guy - the circumstances of getting together, age-difference, change in enthusiasm.

After the break up I made a point of not seeing him again but I did write a few angry emails and made a couple of not well-thought out phone calls. If I had to do it all over again I would sit more firmly on my feelings and not re-establish contact at all. Cutting contact protected me from him messing with my feelings further. I also did symbolic gestures, like getting whatever stuff of his together and out of my apartment, returning his gifts, and putting away his photos.

How did I get over him? I put A TON of effort into my life and making it better. I let my anger and devastation power my efforts. I spent a lot of time with friends, I travelled, I read good books and went dancing. I re organized my wardrobe. I took classes I've been meaning to take for awhile. And at night if I couldn't fall asleep because I was crying so hard I took a sleeping pill. All of those helped. Now when I think about him I shrug my shoulders and I have zero interest in him or his life. I was so lucky to get off so easy.

So my answer - keep yourself busy and give it time.
posted by Shusha at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Shusha -- Yep, he did.
posted by timsneezed at 9:24 AM on April 3, 2011


Obviously I don't know either of you personally, so I could be wrong, but this guy sounds like really bad news. He sounds like a flaming narcissist who only cared about what felt good to him-- and unstable enough that what felt good to him changed radically and rapidly.

If I were you, I'd give that anger an outlet-- maybe burn some photos, cards or paper memorabilia if you still have any (taking safety precautions of course. If you can't light a fire where you are, shredding is an acceptable alternative). Or pour yourself a glass of wine and delete everything related to him off your computer. Some kind of ritual destruction, is basically what I'm getting at here. Then turn on your heel and stride off into the spring weather, leaving him and his baggage behind.

As for revenge, you don't need to do a thing. Life will avenge you. This guy will get exactly the life he deserves. That's also one more reason, if needed, to carry on making *your* life as awesome as possible. Every day you enjoy without him is also a moment of sweet, sweet vengeance.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:31 AM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


We are both tremendously lucky to have dodged this bullet.

I didn't realize it's been awhile since you've last spoken to him and that you are still feeling awful. I would second and third whoever said therapy. Because that feeling of being appreciated, wanted and loved that you experienced during your time with him has nothing to do with this guy. His actions were valueless, but they made you feel so good you crave more. You can talk to a therapist about these cravings, about anger at being denied comfort, and your desire to get some more of this "love" that you know has no real value to you.

And I still stand by my advise to get busy, busy, busy.
posted by Shusha at 9:35 AM on April 3, 2011


More baffling, he also claimed that he had never doubted our relationship or anything about me until the moment that he decided to end it. He claimed his grievances about me also came to him at the same moment, and before that he had thought me "perfect."

Dude's a fucking flake.

As he put it, it was just a sudden feeling, and that knowing himself there was no turning back from that.

A Kierkegaard flake, but still a fucking flake.

We hung out and sometimes even had sex (I know).

Just in case you only thought you knew but actually didn't and needed some reassurance from an anonymous internet stranger: that was pretty dumb.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:42 AM on April 3, 2011


This person seems like a textbook sociopath. People who act like this are toxic, and will wantonly disregard the feelings of others whenever they think it will be in their interest. You won't ever be better off with him -- not by a long shot. You'll be better off running as fast as you can in the opposite direction of such people, every single time.

"I just don’t want to care about him anymore, even enough to feel anger."

My trick for not being mad is to realize that, regardless of whether (a) they should know better -- if their callousness is a choice -- or (b) don't know any better -- if it's part-and-parcel of their personality and they're just not self-aware enough to realize it -- (c) my efforts will not change a thing given that they've already had a lifetime to change their ways, and they have failed miserably.

I prefer to concentrate on (b), since if something is truly beyond a person's control, it seems wrong to me to be angry at them for it.
posted by astrochimp at 9:54 AM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Human nature makes you yearn for answers and reasons and for things to make sense, but the truth of it is that sometimes people have no idea why they do things, and there is no secret answer or reason that explains everything. You will drive yourself crazy if you keep looking for one.
posted by meepmeow at 9:55 AM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pretend the guy you were in love with is dead and the guy you're seeing around is the devil disguised as his evil twin, who swindles widows and orphans for laughs.
posted by anniecat at 10:18 AM on April 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


"Living well is the best revenge."

I should preface this by mentioning I didn't take the time to read through your story. All I know is you got dumped hard and you're in pain.

First, I'm sorry you're in pain. Second, your job now is to live well. Go out on dates, go out and get some therapy, go out dancing, go to that yoga class. In your moments of rational clarity, take practical steps to engage with the things in this world that help you appreciate your life.

A friend of mine was recently dumped pretty hard and she's doing these kinds of things. It's definitely not easy, but I think she's coping well. I wish you good luck, although luck doesn't have much to do with it.
posted by boghead at 10:21 AM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I get the sense that you're thinking that he's great despite what he did to you and you're feeling like you had any control over how he's treated you and that you must have done something wrong.

It's not your fault. Look, everybody makes mistakes in relationships. He did not go into a relationship with you with the intention of nurturing the relationship or putting in a heartfelt effort. He wanted to use you to fill the "girlfriend" hole in his life until he could exchange you for something. This was not a genuine person and a lot of men and women do this kind of thing in modern dating culture. It's like holding onto a lotto ticket until the numbers get announced and if it wins it wins and if a few numbers are off it's garbage. People have different aims for what they want to get out of dating. One approach is using and disposing people and filling their time by trying to seem very Prince Charming-like because they know they just want to use someone now and will say and do anything to get what they want. Other people date with openness and honesty and a sense of responsibility and compassion because they see their dating partner as a human being and are capable of empathy. Your ex was not the latter.

You have a very genuine approach to treating people compassionate and like they matter. There are a lot of evil people in the world who look like they have it easy. They do bad things to good people. They are self-serving and narcissistic. Often, they are charismatic and lovable, which they figure out how to use to their advantage to get what they want.

Don't go feeling sorry for him. He is straight up one of the bad guys who uses dating to serve himself and will go to various lengths to deceive someone to get what they want.
posted by anniecat at 10:33 AM on April 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't necessarily agree that this behaviour from a 22-year-old is crazy, however nasty and confusing it might be.

A couple of things stood out to me:

For a couple of months I desperately tried to convince him to give us a shot

The next morning I got a text message from him that read: "I'm not going to be in contact with you anymore. Please don't ever contact me again." Of course I tried to call him

All this about him "giving you a reason" and you "probing him some more"... it makes me wonder about your ability to take no for an answer. People, especially younger people, sometimes behave as he did in response to that kind of thing.
posted by tel3path at 10:39 AM on April 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


How?

Time. Lots of it.
Tears. Lots of them.
Serious self-work. Maybe via therapy if you haven't already figured out how to ask yourself the hard questions, and demand honest answers. But hard work. regardless.
Allowing hope to rekindle in your heart, despite any failures of hope in your past. You fell down a lot learning to crawl, walk, and run, too. But you kept going.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:03 AM on April 3, 2011


Congratulations for getting mr. crazypants out of your life.

I have had one of these. It took a huge amount of time to get over him. What made it hard was that he lived close enough that I might see him about 4 times a day. And I never knew when. The shock and surprise of seeing him unexpectedly while in my own world, going abut my own business, was what made healing take so long. Each time I saw him, it was like shock treatment. Unexpected and painful. This would rip off the band aid over and over again. It never allowed the wound to heal.

If you can get some physical distance, that will help.
posted by Vaike at 11:33 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: Shusha's comment... wow. I was in a very similar situation, except it was a much longer term relationship, and I too got dumped on the phone in the middle of the night out of the blue, then didn't speak for over a year.

It takes a while, but you get over it. You can "know" that you dodged a bullet, but it will take a while for you to truly know. Thinking about the idea that we could have followed through on our plan to have babies, and then eventually my children would have been the victim of my ex's crazy withholding and totally capricious affections, usually helps me keep things in perspective. The perspective where I think "Thank God this ended before we got married."
posted by telegraph at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everyone has done a good job of giving you sympathetic advice, so I'm here to offer some tough love, becausen hearing it straight helped me more than anything else when I was where you are.

1. Words are meaningless. Judge people by their actions, not their words.
2. Anyone can leave a relationship at any time for any reason. This happens all the time in adult relationships. It happened all the time back in the day when people died suddenly or went off to war. Preparing for it psychologically is how you become a self-actualized adult.
3. You left out the part of the story where you were obsessive and clingy, and what you left in still makes you look bad. Seriously, don’t be obsessive; it’s an extremely bad thing. You control yourself in this life; everything else is a rationalization that will make you do things you regret.
4. You probably didn’t really love him that much either, because when you love someone you want them to be happy, and if they can’t be happy with you, you want them to be happy with someone else. (Yeah, no one loves perfectly unselfishly all the time, but as a general rule it still applies) The underlying emotions here weren’t love but a sort of rivalry-possession-pseudofriend-attachment thing. I’ve been in real love and this was not it, sorry.
5. There’s no way he was a total lily white boy scout here. He messed up. He’s probably a more tormented, messed up person than you realize. But seriously: He wasn’t good to you, but he wasn’t grandiosely terrible to you either. Stop feeding yourself the dramatic, wronged heroine storyline. Honestly, this was pretty mundane, middle-of-the-road, mistakes were made, everyday, bourgeois romantic stuff, not lifetime movie material. Realize that from an objective outside perspective, it’s a pretty boring, common story. Try to think of it as more "meh" than anything.
posted by Nixy at 11:55 AM on April 3, 2011 [27 favorites]


This seems like a person who doesn't recognize his own feelings or issues. He seems to be dashing headlong into – or out – of relationships, rollercoaster-style: all in, or all out. So whenever he happens to wake up one fine day and is struck with the thought that his relationship du jour is not perfectly perfect and storybook-ideal, he'll be jumping ship again. And again. Until he learns that real life isn't like a Hollywood film. He probably just had normal doubts and issues that you two could have addressed, and which might have eventually led to a split, or might have been resolved... but I'm thinking his mindset was that if there were any mundane irritations (that he apparently wasn't willing to admit to himself – until he did) then it couldn't be Twoo Wuuuv.

This is either just the immaturity of youth, or a more serious emotional problem, but not something that should be worth such deep anguish to you now. How can you be perfect on Tuesday and a lost cause on Wednesday? For one reason or another, this guy is someone who wasn't firing on all cylinders emotionally.

It seems from your own self-evaluation that you may also have your own (different) version of a somewhat unrealistic and headlong style as well, so it was probably a particularly ill-fated combo in terms of inevitable crashing disillusion and confusion. Please don't torture yourself over this.
posted by taz at 12:16 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lots of good discussion here about how you dodged a bullet and how closure really only comes from yourself. So I will only list some practical suggestions that will not only help the time pass, but will also put you in a better place to be in a healthier relationship down the road: therapy, yoga and/or meditation, physical activity (exercise, hiking, whatever you enjoy), taking a class in a topic you've always found interesting and/or a creative activity you've always wanted to try, hobbies (gardening, cooking, knitting, restoring vintage ukuleles, seeing all of Kurusawa's films, whatever). All of these things not only allow you to occupy yourself, they allow you to do things for yourself that are productive, thus confirming that you have the capacity to have a full and enjoyable life without him.

Finally, one more thought: "once we love ourselves, people no longer look good to us unless they are good for us."
posted by scody at 1:14 PM on April 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Stable, well-centered people don't do what Mr. Crazy did to you. Thank the Universe you were spared a longer relationship with this guy, have your own private closure ceremony, and move on.

He's broken. Don't let his brokenness break you too.
posted by Jezebella at 1:20 PM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


It turned out to be a toxic relationship. It happens. Keep in mind that, even if he did try contacting you again, this would just keep happening. So, it may be helpful to decide for yourself to never speak with him again, even if he were to get back in touch with you.

I had a friend of several years that I felt very close to. We talked about everything. He was always nice to me and seemed to think I was an interesting and thoughtful person, and I thought the same of him and had a lot of respect for him. Then, after not hearing from him for a few days, he emailed me to say that he did not like me as a person and he didn't want to talk to me ever again. I was bewildered, blindsided, and wanted more specific information just to see if it was something I could at least try to change or be aware of in my interactions with others, and he never told me what it was he didn't like about me. I've never had that kind of experience with anyone else. I really valued his opinion, so this was very hurtful, and made me think maybe I was a bad person, even though I had no idea what his problem with me was.

After lots of thinking, agonizing, etc, about losing this friend, wondering what I can do to have this friendship again, I decided it's not worth it. Even if he were to get back in touch with me, saying he's reconsidered or maybe that he had been having a hard time or something and regretted what he'd done, I'd have to tell him I can't get involved again if I even reply at all. Anyone who would do that without even offering any warnings or saying what the problem is, without giving me a chance to try to work on it, is not worth the trouble.
posted by wondermouse at 2:10 PM on April 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wondermouse: That sucks; it's that's eerily similar to what I went through with my ex. I also agree with you that it wouldn't be worth it if he contacted me. I'd never want him back as a friend or lover. Still, though, I have this idea in my head that an apology from him would be enough to set me free. I know it's irrational. I guess it's partly because years ago I had an ex who hurt me, and then a couple of years later contacted me to apologize. After that I was able to totally let go of him, and now I never think of him.
posted by timsneezed at 2:38 PM on April 3, 2011


The underlying emotions here weren’t love but a sort of rivalry-possession-pseudofriend-attachment thing. I’ve been in real love and this was not it, sorry.

OP, you might find that this rings true for you - but if not, I'd respectfully add that there are an awful lot of views of what 'real love' is, and an awful lot of people who don't think that being upset at a shitty breakup somehow means you weren't in it.

I've been through one of those devastating out-of-the-blue breakups, and one of the things that kept me dwelling on the hurt so long was all the obsessive self-examination I did in its wake. What did it say about me that someone had done that to me (or that I hadn't seen it coming, or that I'd got involved with him in the first place)? What did it say about me that I was still upset about it? How could I fix that? And looking back on it now, it's pretty obvious to me that I was trying to find a way to put the whole thing under my control. After all, if some flaw in me was behind this awful experience and all the pain I felt as a result, then I could fix that flaw and never get hurt again. Result!

Except it never works like that. What helped me move past the pain and the dwelling and the obsessive churny thoughts was realising that it wasn't something about me that had caused the situation - it was someone else's emotional turmoil, and it had nothing to do with me at all, really. Why hadn't I seen it coming? Because people didn't normally act that way, so I wasn't expecting it. Why was I still upset? Because I'd been through something very upsetting. That's it. That's all. I still didn't understand why he'd acted the way he had, but he was out of my life and I didn't need to. I had all the answers I needed.

After that, what helped was realising that my frustration at him somehow getting away with it, with hurting me that much and facing no consequences, was misplaced. As is yours, for the same reason. Someone who acts the way your ex did is deeply messed up, and in the long run his messed-up-ness will be affecting his life long after it's stopped affecting yours.

After that, what helped was giving my brain new thngs to chew on. New coffee shops to hang out in, a big supply of House DVDs, and a martial art. Those particular things might not help you, but try other new things - something will.

After that, it got better. It will for you, too, in the end. Hearts are tough.
posted by Catseye at 2:39 PM on April 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nixy: I'm totally with you on my post breakup behavior being self defeating. The breakup devastated me a lot more than it should have. I felt like I was having a nervous break down. I couldn't sleep or eat for a month. I wish I had coped in more healthy ways.
posted by timsneezed at 2:41 PM on April 3, 2011


Catseye -- I can relate to a lot of what you wrote, especially about the post breakup analysis. I am prone to over-analysis to begin with, so these thoughts consumed me for a couple of months after he dumped me. I also judge myself harshly for taking too long to move on, and worry what that says about me as a person. Just toxic thoughts like that.

I like this: "After that, what helped was realising that my frustration at him somehow getting away with it, with hurting me that much and facing no consequences, was misplaced."
posted by timsneezed at 2:50 PM on April 3, 2011


Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm really glad I started this thread, because I was seriously contemplating sending him a letter.
posted by timsneezed at 3:19 PM on April 3, 2011


"If somebody has insulted you, feel thankful to him that he has given you an opportunity to feel a deep wound. He has opened a wound in you. The wound may be created by many many insults that you have suffered in your whole life; he may not be the cause of all the suffering, but he has triggered a process. Just close your room, sit silently, with no anger for the person but with total awareness of the feeling that is arising in you — the hurt feeling that you have been rejected, that you have been insulted. And then you will be surprised that not only is this man there: all the men and all the women and all the people that have ever insulted you will start moving in your memory. You will start not only remembering them, you will start reliving them. You will be going into a kind of primal. Feel the hurt, feel the pain, don’t avoid it. That’s why in many therapies the patient is told not to take any drugs before the therapy begins, for the simple reason that drugs are a way to escape from your inner misery. They don’t allow you to see your wounds, they repress them. They don’t allow you to go into your suffering and unless you go into your suffering, you cannot be released from the imprisonment of it.

You are angry, and you watch it. You are not just angry, a new element is introduced into it: you are watching it. And the miracle is that if you can watch anger, the anger disappears without being repressed.

It happens inside exactly like that. Meditate on anything negative, and slowly slowly you will be simply taken by surprise — that sadness turns into joy, that anger turns into compassion, that greed turns into sharing, and so on, so forth. This is the science of inner alchemy: how to change the negative into the positive, how to change the base metal into gold.

If you are angry, the priest will say anger is wrong, don’t be angry. What will you do? You can repress anger, you can sit upon it, you can swallow it, literally, but it will go into you, into your system. Swallow anger and you will have ulcers in the stomach, swallow anger and sooner or later you will have cancer. Swallow anger and you will have a thousand and one problems arising out of it, because anger is poison. But what will you do? If anger is wrong, you have to swallow it.

I don’t say anger is wrong, I say anger is energy — pure energy, beautiful energy. When anger arises, be aware of it, and see the miracle happen. When anger arises, be aware of it, and if you are aware you will be surprised; you are in for a surprise — maybe the greatest surprise of your life — that as you become aware, anger disappears. Anger is transformed. Anger becomes pure energy; anger becomes compassion, anger becomes forgiveness, anger becomes love. And you need not repress, so you are not burdened by some poison. And you are not being angry, so you are not hurting anybody. Both are saved: the other, the object of your anger, is saved, and you are saved. In the past, either the object was to suffer, or you were to suffer.

What I am saying is that there is no need for anybody to suffer. Just be aware, let awareness be there. Anger will arise and will be consumed by awareness. One cannot be angry with awareness and one cannot be greedy with awareness and one cannot be jealous with awareness. Awareness is the golden key.

First observe, examine, and then start looking into the roots. Why does a certain thing happen again and again? You become angry again and again: examination will simply show you that anger comes and goes. Investigation will show you the roots of anger, from where it comes — because it may be, it is almost always so, that anger is only a symptom of something else which is hidden. It may be your ego that feels hurt and you become angry, but the ego keeps itself hiding underground. It is like roots of the trees: you see the foliage but you don’t see the roots. By examination you will see the tree, by investigation you will see the roots. And it is only by seeing the roots that a transformation is possible. Bring the roots to the light and the tree starts dying. If you can find the root of your anger, you will be surprised that the anger starts disappearing. If you can find the root of your sadness you will be again surprised."

-Osho
posted by Thinkmontgolfier at 4:37 PM on April 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


First off, your ex boyfriend is an a**hole. More specifically, he is lazy and stupid (he clearly makes no effort to examine his feelings), unempathetic (who would want to be lead on and lied to like you were?), and spineless (he wanted to be your "friend" after the breakup, when it seems clear he wasn't genuine). He repeatedly lied to you and he strung you along. Be glad you're not with him.

On the lying to you part:

More baffling, he also claimed that he had never doubted our relationship or anything about me until the moment that he decided to end it. He claimed his grievances about me also came to him at the same moment, and before that he had thought me "perfect."

> As he put it, it was just a sudden feeling, and that knowing himself there was no turning back from that.


That's not how these things work. It's one thing to be a feeling person, i.e. to take time to feel things out, and to be comfortable making your decisions based on feelings when you can't exactly put your finger on what it was that made you do something. It's another for all of his issues to "come at the same moment", due to a "sudden feeling" all the while he was telling you you were perfect and you would be together forever. Clearly, these latter words didn't mean anything to him. Feelings take time to develop, they don't just pop out of nowhere suddenly. I am really sorry, because I know exactly how you feel, and how devastating something like that can be. When something similar happened to me I learned not to over rely on any one person and to always try to maintain my independence. The kind of connection and relationship you thought you have, I think can only come after a much longer period of shared experience.

People are flawed. Some, like your boyfriend, are not only flawed, but when they make a mistake (any by mistake I don't mean that he dumped you, because love is, after all, a matter of feeling, but that he told you those things and led you on, when he didn't mean it) they don't try to face up to it and treat others with respect, but keep digging themselves, and you with them, farther and farther down. And they don't even do it on purpose. They have an explanation in their mind about being a "feeling", "intuitive" person. I.e. a**holes.

There is nothing that this person can tell you. Try to gain some perspective by dating other people (but take it seriously and don't do what he did), and treat this as a valuable experience because it shows you exactly how not to treat others. And for all the words one can write about the ethics of the situation, it's something that you can't fully understand without having experienced it.
posted by adahn at 5:10 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, on looking at your other question, you might have to do something about these fixations that you develop.
posted by adahn at 5:27 PM on April 3, 2011


1. I know you said you weren't clingy until after he dumped you, but you may not be the best judge of that. Hell, one of my exes started calling me "Limpet" TO MY FACE and I didn't get the hint. When the two of you are both schmoopy in love, it's easy to not seem clingy to yourself because it's not clingy if you are both okay with spending 24-7 all over each other. But... that wears off after a few months. And then that's where "clingy" comes in. I don't know if he dumped you for that or not, but it is something to watch out for. Holding back and taking it slow and letting someone else breathe in later relationships is a GOOD thing.

2. He did what I call "the snap." Sometimes a guy will just wake up and be magically over you. It happens. I don't know why. The guy himself probably doesn't know why. (Your story sounds a lot like Limpet Ex's method of dumping me, I have to say.) But it ah, might be an indicator of him having a fucked-up mental state. Which uh, really seems to be the case here.

3. "Closure" is something you make for yourself. It basically means that you pretend the guy is dead. Because he is dead to you now. The guy you loved is GONE and has been taken over by an evil pod person. Him cutting you off did you a favor. The only way you'll ever get over him is to regard him as dead.

4. If you send him a letter, he will throw it in the trash without reading it. Nobody ever, ever reads those letters.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:25 PM on April 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is all water under the bridge, because others in this thread have addressed the important issues.

But I'm left with the nagging impression that his family had a lot to do with this. He is still young, and their pressure alone could well have led him to do just about everything you describe. His behavior doesn't make sense on its own.
posted by gentian at 7:07 PM on April 3, 2011


But now, everything lies in your corner. You can choose to continue to wallow and feel sad and angry. Or, you can choose to move on and feel better.

People are often given this advice, and I always find it frustrating. Perhaps some of us can choose how we feel, or change our feelings just by wanting to. Lucky them. I have never been able to choose my feelings; the only choice I've had is to try and learn good ways of dealing with them. After my last breakup, it was really a matter of one foot in front of the other, and that's what I would advise here, too. One foot in front of the other, and one day you look back at how far you've come and see that the landscape has changed. It takes time, and looking forward, and engaging in life as much as you are able. Keep busy, keep working, write stuff out when you need to, exercise, and so on. And trust me: life has a way of ironing out what may seem like utterly unfair power imbalances, and cooling the deepest angers. And it's not your job to right the scales when it comes to you ex; if this is how he treats people, he will take care of that himself, eventually.
posted by jokeefe at 10:36 PM on April 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


I've been there. It isn't easy, and there are no crowning moments of realization where you just feel better. There are just good times and bad times, or rather, times where you forget and times where you remember. All you can do is ride it out until the latter becomes less severe and less frequent. Write letters if you have to, to say the things you feel like you need to say in the moment. But I'd advise against sending them, because in my experience you never get the reply you think you want, and even if you do it doesn't make you feel the way you'd hoped it would. Alternatively, keeping a journal is also a good way to vent when you need to.

Find new interests or hangouts or groups, things that you don't associate with him. The more distance you can put between that time of your life and where you are now, the easier it will be. That means physical, mental, emotional, temporal, social; whatever kind of distance you can get. Pull out that list of life goals and take a good long look at which ones come next. If a part of you can't believe yet that he's out of your life for good, that's okay. Live with it for now. But keep going. Getting past something painful is much, much easier to do in motion than when you're standing still.
posted by Zorz at 11:10 PM on April 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


You don't always get closure in relationships, especially relationships with emotionally manipulative immature jerks like this guy sounds like. You're well rid of him. Make a list of the reasons why. Keep adding to it. And if he ever tries to make contact with you again, please don't let him back into your life. He'll find a way to manipulate you again.
posted by easy_being_green at 11:36 PM on April 3, 2011


I think what this guy did wrong was to pressure you into a relationship in the first place, then end it without warning after saying you'd be 2gether 4ever.

But once he'd ended it, the rest of it sounds to me like a young inexperienced person trying to deal with guilt feelings and relentless pursuit. His parents telling him to end it sounds to me like advice from older people "just tell her it's over, you don't have to give a reason, set boundaries" etc etc. As for the fakey friends thing - at that age, I often found myself trying to maintain imposed friendships with people who were demanding to date me and then said "okay but we can surely be friends, can't we"?

I agree that "He repeatedly lied to you and he strung you along" but that was probably his disastrous attempt to offer you the consolation prize of friendship knowing how abruptly he had dumped you, especially since you were begging for closure and answers and demanding to get back together.

Never slept with any of them, though. And neither of you did that on your own. So don't think I'm totally exonerating him here. He's definitely behaved badly. But he didn't do that on his own either. I don't see any evidence that he deserves to be called "deranged", under "a creepy amount of control" from his family, "out of touch to the point of instability", a "sociopath", someone who is unequipped to attain "future happiness", "crazy", "CRAZY", a "flaming narcissist who only cared about what felt good to him", a "textbook sociopath", "toxic", "the devil" who "swindles widows and orphans for laughs", "not a genuine person", "just want(ing) to use someone now", not having "openness and honesty" or being "capable of empathy", "one of the bad guys who uses dating to serve himself and will go to various lengths to deceive someone to get what they want", "broken", or even "emotionally manipulative". I have definitely encountered people like that, and I do not see that he's one of them.

Honestly, I think he's just inept. If he were 30 and doing the same thing, it might make sense to demonize him this way. But he's 22 and all signs, to me, point to this being a process of him learning how to finish what he starts, a process which finally ended when he handed over your check. On schedule, I might point out, and with a very clear goodbye in the process.

Not everybody who gets into relationships and then breaks them off is personality disordered, mentally ill, toxic, "the devil", or whatever. People make mistakes, and you can't always get what you want. Maybe an apology would satisfy you, but I don't think he's the only one who's owed an apology here TBH (not that I'm suggesting you apologize, just stay out of his way).

I think what Nixy says is closest to the truth: "There’s no way he was a total lily white boy scout here. He messed up. He’s probably a more tormented, messed up person than you realize. But seriously: He wasn’t good to you, but he wasn’t grandiosely terrible to you either. Stop feeding yourself the dramatic, wronged heroine storyline. Honestly, this was pretty mundane, middle-of-the-road, mistakes were made, everyday, bourgeois romantic stuff, not lifetime movie material. Realize that from an objective outside perspective, it’s a pretty boring, common story. Try to think of it as more "meh" than anything."

And finally: sorry, it sucks. Believe it or not I do know how it feels, and I'm very sympathetic. I just don't agree with the way this guy has been painted black here.
posted by tel3path at 3:08 AM on April 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Check your memail.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:27 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


@tel3path -- Straight up, the idea that I owe him an apology is absolutely ridiculous. What for? I never wronged him in any way.

While I agree that some of the characterizations of him in the responses border on hyperbole, he's still an ass. It irritates me when commenters take it out on the OP for other commenters going over the top. I never demonized him in my OP. I think he's an ass, but I didn't say he was the devil or deranged, because he's not.

While immaturity excuses some of his behavior, what he did is still disgusting on whole. Not so much how he broke up with me but how he suddenly refused to ever speak to me again (in a text) after promising me that he'd never do that and also realizing how sensitive I was to abandonment from my childhood. I don't think it was immaturity so much as extreme cowardice and weakness. The fact that he displayed no guilt about his behavior (which was obvious in his smug tone when we met for the check) means that it can't be just chalked up to an immature mistake. That's who he is.
posted by timsneezed at 5:32 AM on April 4, 2011


@tel3path -- Also a lot of unfounded assumptions in your comment. He was the one who initially wanted to stay friends. In fact, I wasn't sure if I wanted to, and I remember on more than one occasion him almost pleading with me to stay friends. As I said in my OP, he was just as often the initiator in terms of contact and get togethers after the breakup. He continued to tell me he loved me and was in love with me constantly, which made it all that much harder to move on.

I feel like you're projecting your own experiences into your advice and ignoring some of what I wrote. Sorry if I sound harsh, but your comment just struck me as rather insensitive and misinformed.

I think when somebody does something inexplicable like this to somebody else it's tempting to assume the other person deserved it in some way. I wish I could say that I had done something to have it coming, because then at least it might make some sense. But I really didn't.
posted by timsneezed at 5:41 AM on April 4, 2011


"He continued to tell me he loved me and was in love with me constantly, which made it all that much harder to move on"

Really, well, that bit of information does change my view quite a bit. It certainly dials his crazy meter up into the red zone.

I also didn't accuse you of being the one who was painting him black. I said I disagreed with the way he was being painted black. Nor did I say that immaturity excused his behaviour, only that it was a better explanation for it given our knowledge state than severe and lasting personality pathology.
posted by tel3path at 6:16 AM on April 4, 2011


[few comments removed - OP, you can follow-up with people over MeMail but getting fighty with people giving you free advice is pretty well outsire if what's okay for AskMe.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2011


@tel3path: I agree that some of the characterizations are over the top and that he was very likely inept and inexperienced. However, I don't think this redeems him in some way. I think what makes us who we are is to a very large extent how we act in situations like this, when we have to rely on our empathy for others and our ethics and not on past experience. So, while he may not be a sociopath or a narcissist in the clinical sense, I would say that he is more so than most people in the colloquial sense, i.e. a self-absorbed, thoughtless jerk. Not that this helps the OP, but it needs to be said, lest people think what he did is ok.
posted by adahn at 10:43 AM on April 4, 2011


People are often given this advice, and I always find it frustrating. Perhaps some of us can choose how we feel, or change our feelings just by wanting to. Lucky them. I have never been able to choose my feelings; the only choice I've had is to try and learn good ways of dealing with them. After my last breakup, it was really a matter of one foot in front of the other, and that's what I would advise here, too. One foot in front of the other, and one day you look back at how far you've come and see that the landscape has changed. It takes time, and looking forward, and engaging in life as much as you are able. Keep busy, keep working, write stuff out when you need to, exercise, and so on. And trust me: life has a way of ironing out what may seem like utterly unfair power imbalances, and cooling the deepest angers. And it's not your job to right the scales when it comes to you ex; if this is how he treats people, he will take care of that himself, eventually.
jokeefe's comment highlighted and quoted for truth. I didn't mean to be flippant, all "just choose life! it's soooo easy," etc. This step-by-step practical advice is what I should have written instead of simply tossing out, "don't wallow, elect to move on," and I apologize that I didn't quite nail it in one.

(sincere thanks to jo for the totally solid assist)
posted by pineapple at 10:45 AM on April 4, 2011


Again, speaking just from my own experience in going through something similar a couple of years back, so please take it with a grain of salt as no two relationships are the same. But it's all that I have to offer:

I see a lot of tearing him down, and that might not be what you need to hear right now. Or at least, it certainly wasn't what I needed to hear. It's easy to in the moment think, "Oh, this person was horrible", or "oh, this person was perfect", but to me that just seems to lead to more sadness, because you feel like what that person did starts to steal away or recolor the good memories you have, and then you have to grieve for those.

What helped me is realizing the very simple fact that no one is a villain or a saint. They're all just people, and so was the person I lost, and so is the person you lost. People change. Haven't you changed from who you were, say, three, four years ago? You got the very best that he could offer in that time, but it could be simply that he could no longer offer you what you needed past that point. But that doesn't change the person he was then in that time with you. Nothing can take those memories from you or damage them. And while they're painful to carry, they're -yours-, not his, and he doesn't get to take them with him. They're a part of you and who you are now, just like every memory you've made before you met him or after you parted. So I say let your memories stand as they are. If he was perfect for you in that time, who is he, or who are any of us, to try and take that from you? Just accept that it was real, but it was finite, and you got all that was available of that experience.
posted by Zorz at 11:03 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that ineptitude and inexperience don't redeem him. He's behaved like an asshole to say the least. I still maintain that a young person who behaves like an asshole towards his first serious girlfriend deserves to be described as an asshole, rather than as personality disordered. And I get that clinical terms have colloquial meaning ("I'm so depressed that there are no cinnamon buns left in the cafeteria"), but the effect of using such terms as "narcissist" or "sociopath" is still to portray the guy as permanently broken and fundamentally impaired in his ability to relate to people and likely to remain so across the lifespan. I certainly learned from the mistakes of my 22-year-old self in ways that I imagine would surprise many of the people I so regrettably and shamefully alienated (mostly through obsessive behaviour FWIW).

Looking at it that way might be comforting in the short term, but I think that judging in such extreme language is Jerry Springerish and not putting it into any kind of realistic perspective, which is what I have always needed in order to move on.
posted by tel3path at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


What Nixy said.
posted by Windigo at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2011


I think you should write that letter, and put into it every single thought and feeling you ever had about this relationship. Write out a side by side comparison of why you're an awesome girlfriend and why he's a shitty, horrible person. Add a few footnotes about how you don't actually hate him, and you want him to have a nice life and to someday figure out what he wants from that life. Write about how you're glad he taught you how not to behave in a relationship. Then go up to a high place, burn the letter, and watch the embers float off into the wind. Bury the ashes under a plant that will benefit from the nourishment.
posted by lhall at 2:54 PM on April 4, 2011


tel3path --- I agree that he doesn't have a personality disorder, and I don't think even the more extreme posters seriously believe he does. People throw around words like "narcissist," especially when they're incensed in the moment by someone's actions, but they don't usually mean it in a clinical sense. He's not deranged or disturbed imo; he's just a garden variety asshole.
posted by timsneezed at 2:43 AM on April 5, 2011


Thanks for all the responses, guys! I've copied a number of them and pasted them into sticky notes on my computer as constant reminders whenever I have negative thoughts. I also started working on a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy handbook today that I'm hoping will speed up the moving on process.
posted by timsneezed at 11:53 AM on April 5, 2011


This reminds me of something I experienced a few years ago with a couple of online friends: they were a father and daughter, the daughter being emotionally unstable, and we came together through discussions about our personal struggles and our mutual interest in art. What appeared to be blossoming into a pretty decent friendship (with talks of meeting up for coffee, etc), was dramatically and rudely exterminated one morning via an email form the father telling me that i had ruined his daughters life. This hit me quite hard, and I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, for all of our conversations had been so warm, productive and open. One thing that did stand out to me at the time: they had been almost too kind and flattering towards me from the outset, praising me to the point of embarrassment (similar to your guy, in many ways).

The important part is - at the time I really did torture myself inwardly over what I might have done wrong. For surely I was a lousy person to have encouraged something such as this? Right?

Well, actually no.

It strikes me that this type of behavior (via persons who administer mysterious, abrupt dumpings) whether romantic of friendship based, is possibly tied up with issues of control, because nothing robs you of power quite like a negative accusation without any explanation.

And holding that explanation back is exactly what drives/feeds this type of agony. It robs us of power and insight, and leaves the 'offender' somehow on top, all powerful, and almost devoid of guilt because we cannot argue back when the reason for the dumping is withheld from us, can we?

This is the very thing that stands out the most, to me. For when I repeatedly asked this guy what i had actually done, for him to explain the very thing that had made him act this way, he simply presented me with a wall of silence.

Avoid these people.
Sadly we can't always tell until it is too late, but be assured they are a certain personality type, and this at least ought to help in the healing process. None of us are perfect, but we deserve better than this.
Age is irrelevant in my opinion, for my guy was over 60.

Good luck, and best wishes with your recovery.
posted by noella at 12:06 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


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