Should I be jealous?
May 7, 2009 2:57 AM   Subscribe

Relationship Filter: I dated this guy for a month. We broke up a few weeks ago mainly because I am moving this summer. We have overlapping friends and hang out at the same places, which was fine until last week. He hooked up with a girl that I also know. Since we aren't together, I really don't care, but I think he does. Am I wrong not to be jealous?

I'm sorry for going into so much detail(again) but in order to get good advice I figure I should thoroughly explain the situation.

So we were friends for a while then we dated, which was great while it lasted. I knew going in that it wasn't a long-term thing because I'll be overseas by the end of summer and he's staying in the US. Although I initiated the break up, he completely agreed. We've hung out since and it was fun and platonic.

But, last week, a friend(who didn't know that I had dated him because I don't like publicizing my relationship status) told me that her friend has "hooked up" with him. I don't really know what that means exactly, but I wasn't surprised. I've seen her friend hit on him on many occasions. Actually, once she explicitly tried to get him to have sex with her in the bathroom of a bar. I realize it sounds really slutty, but she is also attractive and can be a lot of fun when she isn't too drunk.

The night before her friend told me, though, he and I had watched a movie together at his house. As I was getting ready to go home, he acted surprised that I was leaving and tried to convince me to spend the night. But I left anyway because I knew if I spent the night, our relationship would not be platonic. Then tonight, I ran into him at a bar. He was absorbed in conversation with his friends so I didn't say hi. At one point, I happen to turn around and I see this other girl all over him, whispering in his ear and what not, but he's staring at me. We make eye contact and he rolls his eyes. I just smiled and went back to my conversation. When i got up to leave, he came up to me and did this awkward hug-like thing with one hand over my shoulder and the other on my ribs right below my breast, and said "see you soon, right?" (Yes, it was as awkward as it sounds.)

So here's the question: what does all this mean and how do I handle this situation? I'm not the jealous type and I like to keep out of other people's drama. I engaged with both of them tonight with the same warmth and friendliness that I always do because what their relationship may be is separate from my relationship with each one of them individually. Should I be jealous? He still notices when other guys hit on me and is pretty sensitive to it. But it doesn't bother me. Should I tell him that I like this girl and I don't mind him dating other people? Is he trying to get my attention? For the record, we'd still be dating if I wasn't leaving, so I understand that we both still have feelings for each other. But I also know how much it hurts leaving someone you care a lot about behind, so I am not really eager to get more involved.

Thank you ahead of time!
posted by xyla2000 to Human Relations (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Am I wrong not to be jealous?

posted by caddis at 3:46 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Although I initiated the break up, he completely agreed.

No, he didn't.

Look, from your last question, clearly this guy has trouble communicating his feelings. Probably he really cares about you and would like to be with you, but you are rejecting him because you'd rather spend the rest of the summer antagonizing him. Or maybe not, I can't really tell why you broke up months before you're leaving. And probably your friend can't either.
posted by TypographicalError at 3:50 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like to keep out of other people's drama.

Then don't create some for yourself by opening this thing back up or overanalyzing this. Be cordial to him, respect him and just leave it alone. This breakup has to be fairly recent. Give him some time and space. You don't need to give him Godfather-like permission to date/do whoever he wants, he's clearly taking care of that.

Looking at your history, so, you were leaving end of May and now it's a few months off? Did plans change after you broke up with him? He might think that's odd...
posted by jerseygirl at 4:18 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

As noted, he hasn't really agreed to break up, regardless of what he's said to you. This thing of watching movies alone together, yet trying to keep it platonic, isn't going to work.
posted by jon1270 at 4:57 AM on May 7, 2009

To me it seems really clinical to break up with someone because you are planning into the future-
then hang around for a few months with the breakup in the air.

Either you breakup because of the usual mess a relationship can become or stick it out and see what's what. Odd way to treat someone- and thinking that this guy "agreed" what choice did he have?

1. Agree and get on with life
2. Disagree and hang around like some pathetic cast-off or weird psycho looser

My pride would see me choosing option 1. Sure your jealous, bummer for you. I hope he's having a ball.
posted by mattoxic at 4:58 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

To me it seems like you a.) pretty much joined metafilter to ask us for advice about this guy, and thus b.) really, really like him. This is clearly evident in your question. Unfortunately you are moving soon so you're scared to let yourself get emotionally involved and you're taking that away from him, too.

I guess I understand it all right, but I find it somewhat sad. There's nothing wrong with suffering some pain in order to enjoy something good, and based on both of your mefi questions it was and still somewhat is really good. Life is short, you know. Your plane could crash. Why are you robbing yourself of a few more months of a great connection with someone? And what are you really expecting this guy to do in response?
posted by sickinthehead at 5:13 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

no, you shouldn't be jealous, although he might want you to.

You are, however, messing with his head.
good-natured breakup or not, doing stuff like watching movies alone together within weeks of a breakup is awkward to say the least.
posted by HFSH at 5:37 AM on May 7, 2009

Since we aren't together, I really don't care

This is a long post for really not caring!

I'm glad you're being so adult about this.I'm of the opinion that jealousy is a completely disposable emotion. It's something to acknowledge and transcend, but not to cultivate or encourage. What good can ever come of it?

Sounds like the best thing you can do is continue being friendly and generally avoid turning this into anything bigger. They don't really care what you think, or they wouldn't have hooked up in the first place. Any guilt or apprehension they do feel now is the product of their own insecurity or craving for attention. Do not feed the troll.
posted by hermitosis at 5:39 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

He could just be trying to reassure himself that he's still attractive to you, or that you're still an the same time he's free to have other girls hanging all over him.

Sometimes jealousy isn't, "I want her back for myself" but, "I want to be reassured she thinks I'm more SEXYTIME than anyone else."
posted by availablelight at 5:41 AM on May 7, 2009

If you're not jealous why are you concerned with the details of every interaction with him to the point of asking about it here? The posters above have it right--you seem to be making this worse, either out of carelessness or cruelty. If you don't want to get involved, break off contact with the poor sap, unless you can honestly chill out and encourage him to hook up in bathrooms with randoms.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is he trying to get my attention?


Whether he's doing it because he wants you back, or doing it to hurt you because you broke up with him is not entirely obvious, though I'd lean towards the former given the awkward hug thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:50 AM on May 7, 2009

Ok here it goes:

He still likes you and is trying to move on and replace you with attractive slut. Since you happen to bump into him at bars this throws him into weirdness. As for the movie nights alone, only reason he does this is because he wants to spend time with you because he likes you still.

You still like him but you are stuck doing your retarded girl thing where you have to stop liking him because of some drama or another. If you didn't like him you would not have wrote all of this, stop at bars where you know he hangs out, watch movies with him late night, and get jealous when hot sluts talk to him.

Two things you can do:

1 - Accept the fact that you are moving overseas and simply do not talk to him. This is better for him because he can forget about you (something subconsciously it sounds you don't want) and you can become focused on more important things like travel plans etc.

2 - Get back with him (normally "lets watch a movie and screw" will work to restart things), have fun until you move away, promise the whole I'll write and call everyday, and in a few months say this isn't working.

posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:06 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Should I tell him that I like this girl and I don't mind him dating other people?

If you are being absolutely honest with yourself when you say that you aren't jealous, it doesn't bother you, and you don't like to get into other people's drama, then no, you shouldn't tell him (unless he flat out asks you). Do you tell other Platonic friends that you don't mind them dating other people?

However, if on some deep level, which you aren't fully admitting to yourself, you are jealous, and it does bother you, and/or you do like to get into other people's drama, then you probably will (not should) tell him, in which case it will be obvious to him that you are trying to convince yourself you don't care more than you are trying to convince him.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:08 AM on May 7, 2009

Points of clarification:
The Move: I'm moving a 100 miles away the end of this month. But I have an ongoing project here so I'll be spending a few days every week here until mid-August.

The Break up: About a week before we broke up, we talked about whether we should continue dating. We agreed that we would see how it goes. What prompted me to suggest breaking up was that he said he was becoming too emotionally attached. Maybe I was wrong, but I figured that he also wanted to break up but didn't want to hurt my feelings. So I put the option on the table and he agreed.

Joining MeFi: I actually joined because I read an article about it and I thought it was an awesome idea. I was really attracted to the fact that advice from the hive is unfiltered. I've found that the closer you are to people, the more likely they are to instinctively take your side. If you are wrong, it is very difficult for friends and family to call you out then and there. It just so happened that it was around the time I started dating this guy.
posted by xyla2000 at 6:20 AM on May 7, 2009

Oh jesus: 100 miles away? 100 miles is not long distance. That's a long car trip every other weekend. If you want to break up with this guy because you don't like him, that's fine, but don't get all weird about being "too emotionally attached" when, if this is going somewhere, you can make it work with even the tiniest bit of effort.
posted by TypographicalError at 6:38 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Okay, 100 miles really isn't that far. Seriously. Yes, it's a pain and all but it's not 1000 miles (and people sometimes make even those relationships work if they really want to).

Concerning the breakup, based on your update it sounds as if he may have been agreeing to the breakup to give you what he thought you wanted. It's not unreasonable to think that he hoped there would still be something going on between you two if you were still going to be hanging out, watching movies alone together, that sort of thing.

I've never understood the "preemptive breakup due to changing life circumstances" myself. Relationships can adjust if people want them to. Stop overthinking things so much! If you really care about this guy and would like to date him, then do so. If you really don't want to date him, quit hanging out with him entirely because at this point you're just stringing him along.
posted by chihiro at 6:46 AM on May 7, 2009

Should I be jealous?

Oh, yes. You'd better start getting jealous right now!

You can't make yourself have feelings that you don't. And in this case, why would you want to? It's a silly question. You're creating drama.

Should I tell him that I like this girl and I don't mind him dating other people?

Only if he asks. If someone dated me for a month, broke up with me, and then told me that he didn't mind me dating other people and, in fact, approved of my choice, I would laugh in his face. It's just not your place to do that, and it would be shit-stirring.

Just stay away from him. Stop hanging out. You're being cruel.
posted by amro at 6:50 AM on May 7, 2009

About a week before we broke up, we talked about whether we should continue dating. We agreed that we would see how it goes. What prompted me to suggest breaking up was that he said he was becoming too emotionally attached.

That sounds like he said 'I'm starting to really like you' and you said 'we should break up', there's not much he could have said to that. Or was it him who said he's becoming too emotionally attached, maybe you should stop seeing each other?

Also, is the move permanent? I don't think you said either way.
posted by serak at 7:34 AM on May 7, 2009

I'll start by saying I think you're in the right here -- you should feel however you want to feel. But I think you're wrong about this:

...he said he was becoming too emotionally attached. Maybe I was wrong, but I figured that he also wanted to break up...

He sounds a little like me, and if I had said that, what I would have been saying was "if you don't want me to fall in love with you we'd better break up, because if we let it go any longer it's going to be really hard for me to let go. But even at this moment, I don't really want to let go."
posted by crickets at 8:10 AM on May 7, 2009

1) There's no such thing as whether a person OUGHT to feel jealous. You either do or you don't, and from the sounds of it, it sounds like you both are and are just playing games with each other.

2) 100 miles is NOT long distance.

3) When someone says they're getting emotionally attached, or even too emotionally attached, does not mean they want to break up. Unless they're lying. And it sounds like he wasn't in this case.

Just be honest! You posted this question. You obviously still care. He obviously still cares because of the way he acted with you. The long distance aspect really isn't that big an issue, it sounds like you can still see each other almost every week if you wanted to, so stop making excuses. Don't ask whether you should be jealous, but ask what it is that you WANT. Otherwise you'll just keep toying with each other, and by extension other people.
posted by Grimble at 8:16 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have no idea how old you are but you are too immature for this relationship. And that is okay. It's really okay. Your first step toward maturity in love and life is to apologize to this guy for stringing him along and let him go. Who cares if you're jealous or not? Let him go and leave him alone. Maybe a year from now if you haven't moved on and you're regretting your decision you can see if he's still up for it. And you'll be more mature then and more able to be a good partner.

Focus on your life and your impending move and leave the poor guy alone. But seriously, give him an honest face-to-face and say, "I'm sorry I've been so wishy-washy, I know how annoying it is. I want you to have a great time this summer and I'm going to back off. Thanks for being a sweet guy." Mean it and do it.
posted by amanda at 9:45 AM on May 7, 2009

I really like that you're trying to be as undramatic as possible about the breakup, but I think in trying to reduce the drama you're not dealing with your own feelings properly.

The reason you gave for breaking up makes no sense to me. You broke up because you would eventually move away?! Why not keep dating until you actually move away? It like not dating anyone because you know that someday you'll all die and it'll be pointless.

So, really, why did you break up with him?

It also sounds like he's a bit immature and crazy to please you. My dimestore reading of it is that when he said he was "becoming too emotionally attached to you" it wasn't prelude to breakup talk, it was the opposite. He was becoming so attached to you that he couldn't bear you moving away. He just forgot to mention the last part. He's stupid in love with you and wants to do what he can to make you happy, including breaking up with you if that's what you think is best. Even though that's not what he really wants, he wants to be with you. And so he set himself up for some crazy time while he's still in love with you, broken up with you, and still seeing you everywhere.

But to answer the question asked, no you shouldn't be jealous. You never "should" be jealous.

But you should really stop hanging out with this guy in any way, it's just taunting him and making him crazy, which isn't good for you or your shared friends.
posted by Ookseer at 9:49 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

You guys, she's moving first 100 miles away and then overseas in a few months.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:44 AM on May 7, 2009

You're very wrapped up in this guy for someone who claims to be over it. From your description, it sounds like he's gotten on with his life, but would enjoy the occasional screw from his ex (you).

If you're not interested, it's time for you to move on as well.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:39 AM on May 7, 2009

Am I wrong not to be jealous?

There is no set of rules written on the Sun telling us when it is "appropriate" to be jealous or not. You just feel it when you feel it.

You need to decide what you want to do, regardless of what your feelings are telling you.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:55 PM on May 7, 2009

In my opinion, an hour and a half highway drive,both ways, is a bit far if you want to have a normal relationship with someone. I also don't think long distance relationships are that great of an idea.
I've realized over time that people tend to want to have things clean up emotionally more than they ever will. "Alright, I'm going to stop having feelings for you now!" I think if you ever had any feelings for him you probably still do, and from what you described it sounds like he still does too.
I don't think anybody here can rightly say what you should be feeling. Only you can decide that.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2009

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