Logic vs Emotions re: the ex.
October 9, 2010 12:55 PM   Subscribe

My ex told me he still has feelings for me and wants to see where things go. I'm not too happy with how he treated me in the past and I want to close the door for good, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. Deep down, I want to say "okay, let's see where things go" but I -know- that would be a bad decision. I'd like someone to pick apart my reasons so I don't go ahead and make the decision anyway.


- Dated but then broke up for about a month.

- He told me he still had feelings for me and asked me back out. I suggested we see if we can make it as friends first, but we ended up acting like a couple anyway. After a few weeks I told him yes I would like to be his girlfriend again, but he said he didn't feel a relationship was a good idea for him because the label made him focus too much on the person, to the detriment of the rest of his life. We continue on as before but without the label.

- We have a series of arguments over two weeks or so and the next time we see each other in person we realize we don't have feelings for each other. I told him I'd like to rekindle things; he declined and started dating someone else.

- I didn't talk to him for about two weeks, then we started speaking again.

- We get along fine, and on Sept 30th or so he tells me that he and the other girl were never exclusive, and that she wants to wait for sex so she's allowed him to sleep with others. He invites me out on the 2nd and we basically end up acting like a couple and sleeping together. I'm thinking it meant nothing since the night he told me he'd lost feelings for me we'd also been lovey-dovey.

- He and this other girl don't work out. He starts flirting with me sexually; I reciprocate but when he hints at sex in the future I told him no because I'd feel bad since I'm dating again. He got upset at this and told me he thought things were better between us; meaning he thought we had a shot at a relationship.

- I got considerably upset, told him I saw us talking again as nothing more than just-friends, pointed out that he just stopped seeing someone else and told him that his timing made me feel as if I was second-choice or that he only wants me because he's upset over her.

- He told me that wasn't the case and that he'd always had feelings for me, but that it was a matter of degree. He said he was hoping that telling me about this would be good news for us; I told him for it to be good news he would have needed to have chosen to stick with me during the times his feelings were waning, since feelings always wax and wane.

- He assured me he really did have feelings for me and that I wasn't second-choice over this other girl. He said that since they weren't exclusive he didn't stop considering others, and that when we spent time together and he held my hand/kissed me/etc it meant something to him and that it was special.

- I have trust issues and I'm trying to be more trusting in general so I -want- to believe him and believe that he has the best intentions even if he's going about this in a terrible way.

The problem is that I -do- want to date him. I'm at the point where I'm going out on dates with multiple people and I told him that if he wanted to be one of them that was fine. But deep down I -know- that's a dumb decision. But I'm afraid to close the door for good because...

- What if I do and end up regretting it? I kicked myself for not saying "yes" when he first asked me out again way back when because by the time I was ready he no longer wanted a girlfriend. What if that happens again or what if I say no and he gets back together with this other girl (he told me he didn't think it would work out with her but he said the same thing about me a month ago and now he's telling me he wants to try.)

- The main reason I want to say no is that I feel like he treated me poorly, and I don't trust him because there's something strange going on with him and his feelings for other people. It looks like he's in love with multiple people at any given time, or his feelings are really fickle, or he's not over someone and is trying to replace them... IDK. The speed with which he goes from person to person confuses me.

- But then I think, he's not a bad person and even though his timing is terrible he's probably reacting to some emotion that's part of what makes us all human. He confuses me a lot but I know emotions aren't rational and what if I'm wrong to write him off? I feel like... Yeah, he screwed up. But he's a genuinely good guy, we're all human, and we all make mistakes, and since I still have feelings for him I should give him another chance.

Lastly, I'm sorry for posting another relationship MeFi. I don't really have friends I can talk to about this, and when I post here it helps because I'm more likely to follow advice if a bunch of strangers tell me. As much as I think it's a bad idea to date him again I can't seem to convince myself not to do it.
posted by biochemist to Human Relations (44 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You haven't said anything here about, you know, actually liking this guy as a person. That sort of indicates to me that you should just leave it alone.
posted by number9dream at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I feel like he treated me poorly, and I don't trust him.

I don't think you want advice; you maybe want our permission to go for it.

Please don't go for it. He treated you poorly and you don't trust him. Why are you going back for more?
posted by dzaz at 1:03 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

To me, it kind of sounds like he's treating you like a convenient booty call. Quit talking to him, responding to emails or texts, and find someone who is genuinely interested in you and will treat you well.
posted by bolognius maximus at 1:04 PM on October 9, 2010 [6 favorites]

Take a big step back (in your head if need be, or take time off from seeing him for a few days) and just be for a while. What is your gut telling you on your read of him? Reading your post it seems to me that the myriads of details are getting in the way of your being able to get a handle on the situation, which ultimately boils down how you feel and how he makes you feel about yourself. Forget the details you've shared and see if you can sense what you think/feel about it? Somethings aren't made for a logical breakdown and analysis so much as an intuitive sensing and synthesis of the overall energy exchange.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 1:04 PM on October 9, 2010

...he'd always had feelings for me, but that it was a matter of degree.

You're his backup. So far you've been pretty reliably acting like one, and he has no incentive to change the way he treats you.
posted by halogen at 1:15 PM on October 9, 2010 [6 favorites]

Repeat after me: things end for a reason.

He treated you poorly, and you don't trust him. You've started dating other people. That's a good first step. He's stringing you along, and you're allowing that. Remember, things end for a reason.

Give yourself some time to clear your head and your heart and give yourself permission to hold out for someone who will treat you well, and who you trust. This guy ain't it, and he never will be.
posted by ambrosia at 1:17 PM on October 9, 2010

But he's a genuinely good guy, we're all human, and we all make mistakes, and since I still have feelings for him I should give him another chance.

Lots of bad boyfriends aren't bad people. They're just bad boyfriends. Sure, we all make mistakes, but his were serious enough to end the relationship at least once. You're making excuses to justify the fact that you miss the good things and want those things back. Breakups aren't easy for anybody. Somebody always still has feelings for the other person, but that does not mean it was a good relationship.

I had a boyfriend who cheated on me multiple times and practically waved it in front of my face. He lied to and about me constantly, talked down to me, treated me with appalling disrespect. I still had feelings for him when we broke up. Obviously those feelings were not a reliable guide.

You need space from this guy. Space without any communication for a while is always my cure for breakup trauma. It's impossible to think clearly when that person is still influencing you.
posted by katillathehun at 1:17 PM on October 9, 2010 [6 favorites]

This guy really seems to have intimacy or commitment issues. A tip-off is acting like he's dating someone without being willing to call it that.

To date someone like that would be the worst thing you could do if you want to get over your trust issues. To get over those, you need to keep untrustworthy or hot-and-cold people at arm's length. You need to find someone who is exceedingly loyal and honest.

It seems like getting over any issue has two phases. In the first, you find someone "bad" (e.g., likely to leave again) and try to get them to be "good" while second-guessing your impression that they are bad. In phase two, you realize that oh, actually, they are in fact "bad," and you learn what good and bad look like, and you learn to trust your ability to keep away the bad ones.

So, in your case, I'd believe your own instinct that he is untrustworthy, prove to yourself that you will protect yourself by declining to date him again, and then seek out someone truly trustworthy.

If you are truly tempted, you could set up a test, like tell him that you aren't willing unless he's ready to make an exclusive and monogamous commitment to you and see what he says. But honestly, I suspect that would be a waste of time, even if he initially says yes, and especially if you like any of these others that you're dating, I wouldn't bother. Good luck!
posted by salvia at 1:18 PM on October 9, 2010

You already know you shouldn't say yes. If there's anything I've learned from getting my heart broken, it's to trust yourself first, always. You can do it. Learn from this and move on. Leave him in the dust.
posted by fight or flight at 1:22 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Walk and don't look back.
posted by Postroad at 1:25 PM on October 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Some of the answers in a recent thread might help answer this question a bit.
posted by salvia at 1:25 PM on October 9, 2010

Other commenters (and you) have pointed out the problems with him. But is there any positive reason why you do want to be with him? I'm not seeing it.

- We get along fine

- But then I think, he's not a bad person

But he's a genuinely good guy

Those are not very strong positives. In contrast, the negatives are clear.
posted by John Cohen at 1:28 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

You've asked him out twice and he declined. There's nothing in here that makes it sound like he wants anything but sex from you. He has feelings for you but not enough to date you? Fuck that shit.

You're second-choice. Sorry.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:29 PM on October 9, 2010 [4 favorites]

You know this is a bad idea. You know it intellectually, and you know it instinctively. You also know it will end badly; no matter how pleasurable it may feel to give into the impulse (and that's what this is -- just an impulse) to give it another go, you know that that pleasure will be very fleeting. In its wake will be sadness, shame, anger, and regret. You already know this because this man has shown you, very clearly, who he is and how he treats you. Unlike the stock market, past performance usually is quite a reliable indicator of future results. So unless he has entered into therapy and undergone a profound personal transformation -- which is basically impossible, given the timeframe -- he is the same person who will treat you the same way (and that will happen almost certainly sooner rather than later). You know what you know. Trust it. Trust yourself.

More broadly: Do you want to make the choice that's good for you, or make the choice that's bad for you? Do you want to start establishing healthy patterns in your relationships, or do you want to continue to reinforce unhealthy patterns in your relationships? Do you want to send the message to yourself and others that you are worthy of respect, or do you want to keep telling yourself and the people around you that you aren't worth it?

These questions are not rhetorical, nor do I mean my tone to come across as snarky or lecturing (and I apologize if it does). They are sincere questions that I think you should take the time to consider at length.
posted by scody at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

He's a turd. His preferred place for you is at arm's length emotionally, just hooked enough to have sex with him but not expecting any sort of commitment.

He dangled “oh I thought we had a chance for a relationship” only when you turned him down for sex. He’s just stringing you along.

Date the other people, and forget about turd boy.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:48 PM on October 9, 2010

To chime back in:

When you say this...

As much as I think it's a bad idea to date him again I can't seem to convince myself not to do it.

...you are actually playing a mental/rhetorical trick on yourself that paints you into a corner. Saying things like "I can't do X" (and its cousins, "X is unbearable," "X is impossible," etc.) renders yourself helpless and without agency. You construct a scenario in which you essentially take away your own free will.

However, if you rephrase it this way -- "As much as I think it's a bad idea to date him again it is difficult to choose not to do it" -- you have removed your helplessness from the equation, while still acknowledging the truth.

Now, this might just seem like a subtle shift in semantics. However, it's actually an extremely powerful reframing of your entire role at this moment. It is one thing to say you CAN'T do something; it is another thing to say that it's DIFFICULT to do something. "Can't" cripples you; "difficult" challenges you. "Can't" says you are helpless; "difficult" acknowledges your agency. "Can't" makes you a child; "difficult" makes you an adult.

Claim your agency and adulthood. You can do this, even if it's hard to do.
posted by scody at 1:52 PM on October 9, 2010 [39 favorites]

You don't owe him anything. It's all about you. Just because he "still has feelings for you" doesn't mean you have any obligation to give him another chance. He had feelings for when you guys started dating, wasn't that enough? You have every right in the world to just let him go. You have your doubts, so just tell yourself "I deserve to be treated right, all the time. "

You deserve to go out with people who are easy to date and get to know. You deserve to feel secure and trusting. You deserve to feel at ease about whomever you are dating. You deserve to drop anyone, instantaneously, if you don't feel you are getting what you deserve.

Yes, people make mistakes, but only some of them actually learn from those mistakes. Find someone who learned how to treat people right.
posted by Locochona at 1:52 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

he tells me that he and the other girl were never exclusive, and that she wants to wait for sex so she's allowed him to sleep with others

Not really. He just told her he didn't feel a relationship was a good idea for him because the label made him focus too much on the person, to the detriment of the rest of his life (guess it's detrimental to his life to just sleep with a single person).

Do you want this, again?
posted by clearlydemon at 2:14 PM on October 9, 2010

"I'd like someone to pick apart my reasons so I don't go ahead and make the decision anyway."

I'll do you one better! Given that your judgment is currently clearly compromised, I am temporarily assuming command of your life and all your decisions. You must now live your life according to my decree.

You don't have to wrest with this decision anymore because I'm in charge now and that means you can leave all the worrying about these things to me.

My decision: Don't get back together with him. Instead, I command you to go forth and find someone better who won't mess with your head and heart like this.

There. Your problem is solved! Whenever you feel tempted to be with him, just remind yourself that Jacqueline from the internet forbade you to date him so you're not allowed to date him. No more complications. You can relax and get on with your soon-to-be-happier life.

You're welcome. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 2:38 PM on October 9, 2010 [7 favorites]

You already know how this is going to go, I think. I suggest you take a moment to close your eyes and visualize how you would see it all unfolding, if you were honest with yourself.

Now open your eyes, and consider this: it will actually turn out worse than that. And you weren't seeing anything good during those few minutes, were you?

And the consequences of having your mind messed with are always worse than you think they'll be, because we all tell ourselves we can see through him or we won't let our emotions run away with us or we'll just let it be a fling, and so on. And then the effect on us is actually PAIN. Pain pain pain. Oh the naked aching pain. Added to this the burning pain of your own awareness of your own stupid, okay not stupid but you saw it coming and you don't get to complain because you said "I'm going into it with my eyes open," and your friends have been really really patient up to now but you know the next time you say anything about him, it will be strangling time, and you won't blame them.

So you'll try to get over it, and the PAIN PAIN PAIN will go on for way longer than you will ever dare admit to anybody because in addition to being painful, it's embarrassing to be in this kind of pain.

Having said that, I do still understand that sometimes you just have to ignore the DANGER signs and pee on the electric fence yourself. Experience is a hard school, but maybe necessary in order to learn the lesson.
posted by tel3path at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

What if [close the door] and end up regretting it?

Ok, and what if you do go for it, and end up regretting it? No one can see into the future, so you can't base your decisions on what might happen. All you can do is consider how he treated you in the past (not if he's a decent guy, but how he treated YOU), and base your decision on that. From here, it sounds like he treated you as his backup plan, but let you think that it meant more. (Sorry if that's harsh but that's what it looks like to me.)

Also, people you're supposed to be with don't cause you to have big long "should I or shouldn't I" questions like this.

(I've been there, and I wish I realized this about a year ago. It would have saved me a lot of frustration.)
posted by AlisonM at 2:56 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Eek. From personal experience, that disquieting sense that something is deadly weird, that something strange is going on that you don't really understand and can't put your finger on? (And, worse, that you find yourself intrigued by or attracted to him in spite of this conflict?) That's really bad news. If your feelings—your very real feelings—are that you don't trust his excuses, please believe in what you're feeling. There is something weird going on in him, you can be certain for all intents and purposes, and, as another poster said, unless he's been through therapy and/or had some sort of massive personal revelation in recent days, that weirdness is not going to go away. You might not know what it is, but you seem to know on some level that it's something to avoid. Follow that instinct. He's not going to work this out while he's with you, trying to use you. He might never. He probably won't ever.

It's not your job to be his emotional (and sexual) chewtoy while he varies back and forth and back and forth. Teach him he can't pull that shit. Teach yourself that you're worth so much more than that?

(For what it's worth, this sounds like a person I know who cycles between women, pursuing them until they get too intimate, and then dropping off the face of the earth... only to start pursuing them again a month or two later, sweet as can be. He's still doing it. People are different, of course, but... reading this, I'm getting icky chills that tell me that you need to step away for your own mental safety.)
posted by Keter at 3:04 PM on October 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I just had another thought. You say AskMe is who you turn to about this instead of friends. I think your very first priority should be to make more friends. Most likely part of the problem is that you're lonely.

I also think you have plenty of time for this because, let's face it, WeirdAttachmentGuy is probably not going to go away as long as you string him along just enough.

I had a look at "The 48 Laws of Power" today. In it is a chapter titled "Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky". This is the kind of chapter title that causes people to be scandalized and not bother to read any further. Out of curiosity, I did, and it turns out that "the Unhappy and the Unlucky" category doesn't include people who are simply down on their luck. "The Unhappy and the Unlucky" are perpetual seekers of trouble, continual makers of bad choices, people who tell you they go into anaphylactic shock from time to time and they have Epi-Pens which are out of date and they never get around to renewing them because they're too busy running out of antidepressants just in time for Easter Weekend, so that they can become suicidal and tell everybody at the office about it over coffee. On the green, we would call these people Drama Magnets, or Toxic, or something. Anyway - a lot of people instinctively avoid these folk. As a result they have a reduced ability to make friends.

I think the reason why you posted this is because you don't want to make what you know is a bad decision. This is really great judgement on your part. You know that we will talk you off that ledge. We've all been tempted.

But if you do date this guy... who do you think you'll be turning into?

You're in your early 20s, aren't you? There's more at stake here than one bad decision. If you can hold off making this bad decision, it will affect the course of your entire life, and much for the better.

Use the Force, biochemist.
posted by tel3path at 3:15 PM on October 9, 2010 [11 favorites]

I second tel3path. You know we all believe you can do this, sister. You can take on the rest of the stuff you're dealing with and have more people who care around you IRL, and you can choose not to have this guy be part of it.

Avoiding this relationship is a favor to the future you. You are taking care of the future you.

I also believe you need more Gloria Gaynor in your life. I am not kidding. I totally have rocked out in my living room in similar circumstances, and it helped.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 3:42 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rather than looking for a great guy, you may be looking for the "romantic" story of the crappy guy who loves you so much that he changes for you.

That story is bullshit. The best you can hope for is that he learns something from your breakup and decides to be a decent guy to some future woman.

The satisfaction comes a few years down the road when you're happy and he's happy and he sheepishly apologizes for having been an ass.

That's as good as it's going to get with this guy.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:09 PM on October 9, 2010 [5 favorites]

Please, please, for yourself, follow the heartfelt advice we gave you when you asked your last question on this, and are giving you here. Cut. Him. Out. He is no good for you, not any more.

As I mentioned last thread, I broke up with my fiance about 2 months ago. Have seen him once when he got his stuff, and no contact at all since then. I'm doing my best to figure out how to be a whole person again on my own. There is still a large part of me that wants to run back to him and try to forget this all ever happened.

Just before I logged on I was wondering if it was completely unfair to cut him out, to not give him the opportunity to worm his way back in. But no, it's what I had to do to get through this. And he's not an awful guy at all, but I know deep down, as do you, that it just won't work any more. And if a repeat of this heartbreak is the only logical outcome, why sign up for more?
posted by yellowbinder at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Stop being his friend, too.

This person is manipulating you. We (including YOU) can not know why. It's OK not to know why.

1 month you say? Get out of this NOW.
posted by jbenben at 5:20 PM on October 9, 2010

I have trust issues and I'm trying to be more trusting in general

You can't resolve trust issues by blindly trusting people: you'll only make things worse that way.

Go ahead and believe that his intentions are good. They could well be. But his actions aren't good, and his treatment of you isn't good. Trust what he has shown you about himself, not what he says or what you want from him. Trust that you deserve to be treated well, continue to date other people, and when you find someone who treats you well, trust him.
posted by Meg_Murry at 5:24 PM on October 9, 2010

You have trust issues for a reason in this case. This guy has repeatedly refused to term himself in a relationship with you and demonstrated that he sees multiple people at the same time without always being on the up-and-up about it. You are one of those rotating people, and you are his backburner girl. He sees you when things are slow or when he'd like to have sex and then wanders out again to see what else is out there. He puts in just enough effort to keep you from forgetting about it and in fact still slightly interested- but he also always leaves you wanting more. He's playing you, and will keep up this on-again-off-again routine as long as you let him without ever making any changes or committing to you. You won't regret it if you pull the plug because you really don't have to wonder what would have happened; you already know, and are just holding out hope that he has changed into the really nice guy you initially thought he was. He hasn't. Cut off all conversation, and see who else is out there, because you're probably not seeing nice guys around you given this guy is monopolizing all of your time with his head games.

I'm so sorry if any of this sounds cold; I recognize it all too well, and I let it go on far too long, and would hate for you to waste any more of your time, energy and emotions on someone who is clearly not putting in the same amount for you. You deserve so much better!
posted by questionsandanchors at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2010

It took me a really long time to admit to myself that I truly couldn't tell the difference between "We still have a deep emotional connection and I can't resist you because it's love and therefore you didn't make a mistake before" and "Oh dude, I'm so not having any luck finding new girls to fuck, but you're around and you were OK in bed so why don't I turn this pain you feel over the breakup into a sleazy friends with benefits" thing.

I was cured when I told my ex, "Listen, I really appreciate the support, but it feels like you just want sex. If you want to hang out and see if we really still have something, that's fine, but I'm not going to sleep with you or have sex with you until we're back together for 3 months." He was offended that I thought he just wanted sex and acted like I was a monster for suggesting it. We never "hung out" ever again.
posted by Gucky at 7:03 PM on October 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh god, everything about your question just screams this:

He's just not that into you.

Do not waste your time. You can do better.
posted by emyd at 7:25 PM on October 9, 2010

He only wants you when he can't have you.

You deserve to be with a man who is with you because he loves being with you.

This man does not want to be with you. He just wants to jerk you around.

I'm with scody. Resisting this man is not impossible. It may be really, really, REALLY hard. It is worth it.

You can do this.
posted by omphale27 at 8:00 PM on October 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I admit I haven't even read anything here, but noticed your long bullet-list question.

Drop this guy.
Drop him like a hot rock.

Look at what you wrote, all organized.

Drop, drop drop this guy. Please. Some better person is waiting out there.
posted by lilywing13 at 3:14 AM on October 10, 2010

Good grief, this guy is only interested in you for sex when he's not getting it somewhere else. Tell him to fuck off.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:51 AM on October 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone - all of the answers were good so I'm marking the ones that struck a chord with me emotionally.
posted by biochemist at 10:26 AM on October 10, 2010

He's back with the other girl...............
posted by biochemist at 4:29 PM on October 11, 2010

I'm sorry, biochemist. That really sucks. Speaking from my own experience, you need to cut all contact with this guy so you can move on. Choose to put this guy who is totally waffling on you away. It is really hard, and your mind will want to keep obsessing about him, but act like you are potty training a dog: you don't get mad when the dog messes up (or your mind thinks about the guy), you just pick it up gently but firmly and put it back in the proper place (thinking about other things). Focusing on other activities and friends would be great right now. Email if you want another online friend.
posted by emyd at 8:57 PM on October 11, 2010

Geeeeeeeezzz... talk about playing it like a numbers game!

You're lucky the other girl didn't drive a harder bargain, biochemist. What if you'd had to throw in some earrings and a handbag and change her five-dollar bill just for taking him off your hands? Be sure to post a clear policy: no refunds after 28 days.

Actually I am serious about that last bit. The waffling, all by itself, has a way of gripping the mind. But it's not him that's so captivating - just his intermittence. I second emyd, only going no contact will keep you safe.
posted by tel3path at 2:45 PM on October 12, 2010

We're no longer speaking... I told him there's no way our friendship could go back to normal after that. He either doesn't really care or he got the hint because he didn't beg me to be friends like he did the last time I stopped speaking to him. He basically just said "goodbye."

I just don't understand it though... he's SUCH a nice/likable guy and he has so many friends... I would have never in a million years think he'd do something like this.

I will admit that I feel some satisfaction in that I don't think it'll last, because they were only together one month and already had a bunch of issues that he told me about. But regardless of what happens with them I don't want him... I feel like i hate him right now... even though I know deep down I don't... right now i think of him and I think "wow what a jerk."
posted by biochemist at 10:04 PM on October 12, 2010

he's SUCH a nice/likable guy

No, biochemist, he's not. Nice guys -- and trust me, the world is filled with them -- DO NOT behave this way. Nice guys do not play mind games. Nice guys do not string people along. Nice guys do not treat women with disrespect. He has repeatedly done all of these things to you and to others; ergo, he is not a nice guy.

The thing to remember is that all of us show who we are through our actions, not how we act. He may act nice, when it suits him, but his behavior betrays him.

As long as you persist in the fiction that he's a nice guy, this will be a baffling puzzle that will keep you tethered to him mentally. But once you remove "he's SUCH a nice guy" from the equation, you can see his behavior more objectively. Suddenly, the aggravating-yet-intriguing mystery disappears, which means you can start to move on that much more quickly.

Acknowledging who he really is doesn't mean you hate him; it just means you see the truth about him. And the truth is, he's not a nice guy, and he gave you plenty of indications that he would do exactly this sort of thing... and will do it again, if not to you then to other women.

The lucky thing for you is that he inadvertently gave you a real gift: the chance to start learning how to identify the real nice guys from the fake ones. Believe me, relationships get a lot better as you develop that skill! Good luck.
posted by scody at 11:01 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

I fully understand that this is very puzzling. He seems nice, loads of people like him, yet his actions don't match his words.

There's the thing. His actions don't match his words.

Unfortunately that's often the only way to spot an un-nice guy. But if he went around waving an axe in public and twirling his moustache and tying Clara Bow to the railroad tracks, he wouldn't get very far, would he? Everyone would immediately know what he was up to. So he acts nice.

And the contradiction is still really hard to accept.
posted by tel3path at 5:09 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

This'll be the final update as I don't plan to respond/engage with him in any way, shape, or form. But I wanted to give you guys the "end" of the story.

He texted me this earlier today:

"You were right, i was wrong. [Girl's Name] blew up again and this time its done forever. I'm sorry for what i did and i know you won't forgive me and i'm not asking you to. I just want you to know that you were right and you deserve better."
posted by biochemist at 10:37 PM on October 14, 2010

Heh. That's better than nothing, isn't it.

[Girl's Name] blew up, did she? He helped her to. Now he has no girls. Maybe he will learn his lesson... nah, didn't think so. Unless, next time, it's to have at least four girls on the go at once and make sure only three of them are blowing up at any one time.

What a piece of work! That's a victory for you, biochemist.
posted by tel3path at 1:33 PM on October 17, 2010

Tel3path, I read through your thread about hindsight and the comments in there have -really- helped with my "but he's -so- nice!" complex.

So if anyone's going through this in the future, read that thread too!
posted by biochemist at 6:48 PM on October 21, 2010

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