Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Should I give my ex a 4-hour ride?
September 12, 2013 3:55 AM   Subscribe

My ex is not doing great after I picked an arbitrary day to end our relationship. One annoyance is that he now has to deal with finding his own transportation to some friends. I'm going up that way myself, and feel guilty about many things. Should I offer to take him?

I'm moving across the country for a job, and in the process I broke up with my ex of a little over a year. He had always seemed less interested in a committed relationship than I, so I thought it would be a relatively painless process, but he became a whole lot more invested in the relationship all of a sudden in the last month (after he found out I was moving), and in the end the breakup was a lot more teary on both sides than I expected.

On Saturday night, we had a long, sad conversation about how it wasn't just the distance, I didn't see us as super compatible. (He told me he thought I was perfect, that I was the one good thing in his life and he felt he had fucked it up.) I didn't sleep that night.

We had already planned to get together on Monday, so I told him that that would be the last day, and though it was difficult, I held firm to it. We could have had a few more days this week: I'm driving to my parents' this weekend, so that's the hard deadline, but Saturday freaked me out so much that I didn't want to deal with any more teary sessions. On Monday he mentioned that he had made plans to see some friends in my parents' area, and thought that maybe he could hitch a ride. I told him no, and have been feeling guilty about it ever since.

It would be really easy for me to give him a ride. He's not in a good financial situation, for one thing, so this would help him out. I also picked this completely random day to end our relationship, that just happened to prevent the ride-giving. It seems kind of petty now that I think about it. He's going through a pretty rough time, and I feel like I should give him some control in how our relationship ends.

On the other hand, It's been a day or two since the breakup, and I assume that both of us have already started the healing process. Should I reach out to him and say that I changed my mind? I don't want him to feel like the breakup is mutable.

I did actually reach out to him the day after we broke up, just to briefly see how he was doing, and also to feel out the possibility of extending the offer of a ride after all. He told me that it was hard to talk to me when he knew that we could be physically together at the moment but that I just didn't want to. That sucked. I do want to, I just don't want to in the long term.

At this point I'm really confused. I'm part convinced that I need to cut off contact with him (something that he told me hasn't helped him in the past... but that he seemed to contradict last night), part convinced that I'm being a jerk by keeping so strict about this arbitrary deadline. Whether or not I give him a ride seems like such a small deal, but I'm afraid I'll regret it if I end this on a bad note.

I'm worried about his financial situation, his self-esteem, and his general mental well-being, all of which are not in the best straits at the moment. Should I offer to take him after all? If so, how should I phrase it?
posted by segfault to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
he became a whole lot more invested in the relationship all of a sudden in the last month (after he found out I was moving)

It seems that his new found interest is situational.

You have no responsibility for his well being, transportation, or future activities, you've broken up. I can't see spending hours in a car as a comfortable or healthy situation for either of you at this point.

He's going to visit friends, he's not going to have critical medical attention, it's OK to say no.

Don't give him the ride.
posted by HuronBob at 4:02 AM on September 12, 2013 [32 favorites]


I don't think you should see him. It is his responsibility to deal with his own healing process and his financial worries. Your worries about him are laudatory, but are potentially in part about assuaging your guilt. Talk your guilt over with friends and/or a therapist. If you're concerned about his well being, letting other friends and his family know is probably the most ethical way forward.
posted by Mistress at 4:02 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't give him a ride. Leave him alone. You're not his mother or his therapist, you are not responsible for either his self-esteem or his mental health.

I totally understand the desire to help him out and assuage some of the guilt you feel from hurting him, but as someone who has been on the other side of this situation, it won't help. Anything you do now that isn't cutting off contact and letting him find his feet on his own will just make things more complicated and more painful. Believe me.

It's been a day or two since the breakup, and I assume that both of us have already started the healing process.

After a little over a year's worth of relationship? Not true. Not for another few weeks (or months) yet. The wound is still raw. Be kind to yourself and him and let him go.
posted by fight or flight at 4:05 AM on September 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


You can start trying to be friends in 6 months, for now either give the relationship a chance (he really likes you - who knew!) or give him the space to get over it.
posted by dickasso at 4:23 AM on September 12, 2013


That would be one hell of an uncomfortable four-hour car ride. Don't.
posted by ook at 4:45 AM on September 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


If it were a 30 minute car ride, sure. 4 hours is a life-time. Buy him a bus-ticket, if he's broke.
posted by empath at 4:53 AM on September 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


At first I thought you'd broken up on a trip somewhere and he had no other way back home. But he's just looking to hitch a ride for a road trip to see friends. If you gave him a ride up he'd want a ride back too, and texts/calls throughout the visit to arrange it, and.... (This is like the children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). You've broken up, that means you stop taking road trips together.

I did actually reach out to him the day after we broke up, just to briefly see how he was doing,

Leave him be. It's patronizing and inappropriate to check in on him in that way. He's an adult and capable of figuring out rides, finances, and feelings without "help" from his ex's guilty conscience. (You need not feel guilty anyway.)
posted by headnsouth at 5:06 AM on September 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


In all seriousness, this is a guilt trip in every sense of the phrase. It sounds like he's looking for ways to maintain contact when you really should just make a clean break.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:15 AM on September 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Stop checking in with him in the short term. Maybe in the spring ping him, but for now it's more humane to not speak to him anymore.

And no, do not give him a ride. You are not obligated to help him with this. I imagine part of him either wants to take the 4 hours that you would be inseparable to either try to win you back or to make you feel bad for your choice.

Stick to your guns. You broke up.
posted by inturnaround at 5:22 AM on September 12, 2013


segfault: On Monday he mentioned that he had made plans to see some friends in my parents' area, and thought that maybe he could hitch a ride.

Convenient timing on his part, no? I agree 100% with zombieflanders. This is literally a guilt trip, and you should just break off contact with him.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:38 AM on September 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


I think his reaction and his guilt tripping is bullshit, but I would give him the ride. You seem to be pretty disciplined about being able to cut him off and as you pointed out it was an arbitrary day so moving it back a few days is not the end of the world. I would tell him that it is a long ride and you will give him a lift if he agrees in advance that it be a positive ride not one harping on the past or trying to convince you to change your mind. It may suck, but you are doing the man a solid. Makes looking back on the ending easier knowing you did the last favor/solid.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2013


No, don't give him a ride. Four hours is a loooong time stuck in a car with someone, especially if you want to avoid the teary sessions.
posted by mibo at 6:22 AM on September 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would not give him the ride.

If you don't want him to think the breakup is a decision that is going to change, then you need to stop trying so hard to "make it right" or hurt less or whatever is going to make you feel less guilty and make him take it better. That's unfortunately not how breakups work.

Plus. Four frickin hours? There is no way this is going to be a good experience. For either of you.
posted by sm1tten at 6:32 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Denying him opportunities to spend time with you is pretty much a requirement of this breakup.

His friends in that area, assuming they exist, will have to cope with the fact that he does not have a ride, and so will he. Even if this plan was entirely legit, and he was counting on you up until the breakup for a ride (without telling you?), the plan is scotched, kaput, donezo. Worse and far more expensive things have been casualties of very normal breaks, not the least of which were pricey nonrefundable trips, weddings, houses and cars that are no longer affordable, etc.

If you really want to give him a ride, offer him a spot in the trunk, just to see how bad he wants it. (Don't drive him either way.)
posted by Sunburnt at 6:35 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Monday he mentioned that he had made plans to see some friends in my parents' area, and thought that maybe he could hitch a ride.

It would be really easy for me to give him a ride. He's not in a good financial situation, for one thing, so this would help him out. I also picked this completely random day to end our relationship, that just happened to prevent the ride-giving.


Oh man. Do you honestly think he JUST SO HAPPENED to make these plans? And that they have NOTHING to do with the fact that he knows you're going there? It's just a wacky coincidence that on the very day you're going to be leaving him forever, he suddenly "has plans" that would necessitate spending hours alone with you in a car?

He's trying to manipulate you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:40 AM on September 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Go no contact. No phone calls or texts to check in, just radio silence.

Certainly do not cave and offer him a ride, to or from. He doesn't NEED to visit friends, he just wants to. If he wants it badly enough, he'll figure out a way.

If you think you feel guilty now, you'll feel 400% worse after a four hour car ride with 'remember when' playing along the route.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:40 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

this sounds like hell
posted by Jacqueline at 6:42 AM on September 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


You've already told him no; I think any waffling you do at this point is only going to make things feel more uncertain for you both. He may not have started the healing process yet, but (if he really wants to make this trip) he should have started working out how to get to his friends on his own, and telling him at the last minute that you'll take him after all is just going to undermine that process of becoming independent again.

If you're still feeling guilty - and it's certainly understandable if you are - try to refocus your attention away from the whole "it would be so easy to let him come along" aspect, to really visualizing how this trip would go. Picture yourself pulling up to his place and him coming out with his sad little bag. Think about that first ten or so minutes where you both try making awkward conversation and pretending that everything is fine. Think about the atmosphere in your car when a song that was significant to the two of you inevitably comes on. Imagine checking your watch after what seems like forever, only to realize you still have THREE MORE HOURS to go.

Think about this trip not in terms of the bigger picture, but in terms of the mile-by-mile slog it would be, and I suspect you'll be a little more okay with letting him figure out how to get there (or not) without you.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:50 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another vote here for no, do not give him a ride to his friends' --- and I'd say that even if you were starting from the house next door to him and ending at the same address he's going to.

This four hour drive wouldn't really be anywhere near 'four hours' --- it's fours hours of drive time plus texts to arrange who picks up who when & where, 'are you ready yet?' phone calls, stops for lunch or bathroom breaks and "I just wanna get you something in this souvenier shop to thank you for the ride" times two, because of course there's also the trip back home plus probably "why don't you come in for a quick drink before you head home?" and if he's successful you'd end up staying overnight. And during all of that time, I guarentee you he'll be guilt-tripping you about the breakup.

He is your ex, you have broken up with him: full stop. Two days is not enough to even begin to heal. Don't contact him, by any means or for any reason, for at least six months or even a year: not to offer him a ride, not to ask if he's okay, not any contact whatsoever --- it'll be kinder and easier for both of you than dragging it out would be.
posted by easily confused at 7:13 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think you should look at this from a deeper perspective. You really aren't doing him a favor by spending half a day with him at this point, especially if he's taking the breakup so hard. You would be extending HIS grieving period, I think. The best way to help him is to let him deal with it at his own speed, and your continuing presence in his life only makes it harder for him. It really is better for him for you to cut contact and let him work it out himself.
posted by raisingsand at 7:28 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


He just happens to be seeing friends near your parent's house? 4 hours away? The day you are moving back into their house?

My instinct is he orchestrated this situation just so he could ask you for a ride and spend 4 hours trying to talk you out of breaking up with him.

RUN AWAY!
posted by amycup at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


You can't both drop someone and catch them. Even if this isn't a manufactured situation (which it sounds like it might well be), you're not helping anything by giving him a ride.
posted by KathrynT at 9:19 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


So wait. You're giving him a ride one way, right? So he has a way of getting back on his own? That means he has a way of getting there on his own too, and you should not be manipulated into giving him a ride. He does not absolutely NEED that ride from you, and I'm sure you know yourself that him spending 4 hours in the car with you is going to be worse for his well being in the long run. The less contact between you guys, the faster you both get over this. And good for you for making the decision to break up and knowing what's best for you.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 9:34 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're going to feel guilty when you cut off contact with him, and every time you say no to him before that. I can see why you're reluctant to go through that pain; putting it off is understandable. But since the uncomfortable conversation is inevitable, you're better off drawing the line as soon as possible. It's okay to say straight out that you think it's better for you if the two of you have no contact with each other, rather than that this particular request is too much.
posted by wryly at 9:57 AM on September 12, 2013


Don't enmesh yourself with this individual again unless you're looking to reform your friendship/relationship. Right now, you need to be having a clean break for things to work out and settle down.

Just the idea of being in a car with a recent ex is giving me hives, let alone being stuck in said car for 4 hours together. If you start arguing, or guilt tripping, or whatever kind of actions you're dynamic together means, you've no way to get out of it for several hours.
posted by Solomon at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:14 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. You don't have to be rude about it, but, just no.

It would be easy to read manipulation into his actions, and perhaps unkind, because it's reasonable for him to be unsettled right now. He seems to want to play your emotions to squeeze out a bit more time with you. It might be wise to not give him any slack in that direction...it would be uncomfortable, pointless, and I believe you'll have a better opinion of him (in the long run) if you don't encourage him to be...well, manipulative.

Politely putting your foot down now could save you from having to kick him rudely with it later on.
posted by mule98J at 1:54 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My ex is not doing great after I picked an arbitrary day to end our relationship ... we had a long, sad conversation ... I didn't see us as super compatible ... he thought I was perfect, that I was the one good thing in his life and he felt he had fucked it up ... Saturday freaked me out so much that I didn't want to deal with any more teary sessions ... [he said] it was hard to talk to me when he knew that we could be physically together at the moment but that I just didn't want to ... I'm worried about his financial situation, his self-esteem, and his general mental well-being, all of which are not in the best straits at the moment...

Should I offer to take him after all?
Sweet fancy moses, NO.

Honestly, after everything you have written above, a four-hour car-ride alone with this person has Gift of Fear written all over it.

You've broken up with him.
Now you need to walk away.
Anything else would be hurting him more than helping him, enabling him to not face facts.
Breakups suck, but he'll live.
posted by blueberry at 10:58 PM on September 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


« Older Can you guys please help me fi...   |  I'll be staying at my mom's ho... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments