The ex is moving on, I thought I was but I'm not. What do I do?
March 20, 2013 12:19 AM   Subscribe

My head is a mess after seeing my ex tonight for the first time since we broke up, kissing her, and finding out she had a thing with another girl that never went anywhere. I'm hurt but doing okay, but I'm afraid that if I don't take some kind of action I'm going to get incredibly more hurt in the near future. But what do I do now?

We're lesbians.

She and I broke up in early January, I started dating new people a few weeks later to help me move on, she and I stopped speaking. Around a month ago she texts me telling me she wants to try to fix things, go on a date and see how things go. I accept, but we haven't actually had the date yet as she's been too "busy." I called that out as bullshit, saying if she was really interested she'd make time, but she told me I needed to give her the benefit of the doubt so I did.

That's the backstory. Today she tells me she met someone else at a bar, they exchanged numbers and have texted and seen each other a few times at the bar, but she thinks that's over because the girl didn't text her at all over the weekend and has some guy that's interested in her and when they were at the bar together the girl only talked to her for a few minutes. She also added that the girl sent her a boob picture and that they were "nice." and that she was hot. Great. I don't think she was saying that to be manipulative, she's just the oversharing type and I've certainly had similar thoughts about other women, but ouch. She also said that with her and me, the fact that I've slept with other people is a roadblock for her. She kept saying "I want to kiss you, and I know we weren't together and you can do whatever you want, but I keep thinking about you sleeping with other people."

The problem is the other girl really bothers me. She's been telling me she's not ready to date anyone else yet, couldn't even think of it, and now there's a shift there that she's actually given someone her number. I tried to talk to her about it on the phone after she told me, asking her what about the things she's been saying about me? But she only said I was being hypocritical since I'd already dated/slept with/had feelings for someone else, which is true and it happened the same way, didn't actually expect to meet someone so soon but I did. She also reminded me that nothing actually happened between her and the girl, she wasn't upset that it seemed to be over and she wasn't actually looking to meet someone, she just did. She was basically really upset that I was upset, which is understandable, I guess. I don't know.

I started dating again because I was trying to move on from her, and even after she texted me about still being in love with me and what-not she barely spoke to me and we never hung out. So I didn't stop seeing other people in the meantime because it seemed like that was going to just peter out.

Then I saw her tonight, first time since we broke up, which is when she told me about that other girl along with some other stuff in her life. And also we kissed, and she kissed me goodbye, and afterwards she called to say I looked really pretty... does that mean anything? I'm afraid that while I've been moving more towards her (the main reason the other girl I had feelings for and I never became "official" was because I was waiting on the ex, and we aren't dating anymore for the same reason) she's moving away from me.

I thought I was ready to move on, but after tonight and seeing her again and kissing her I feel like I just want to be with her. But I also feel like I'm just setting myself up to get hurt... she barely spoke to me or saw me in the month or so before we broke up because she was "deciding" whether or not she wanted to be with me. I'm worried if I stop seeing other people now, even just casually, I'll be stuck on her indefinitely while she moves on... when I put the dates together, if I'd been waiting for her to actually see me this whole time I'd have been waiting for 4 months. And worse, I worry that all of a sudden she'll tell me she has a girlfriend and I'll have wasted that healing time. Especially with her telling me me sleeping with others is a "roadblock" for her, it seems pointless.

But if I let go now, knowing that I do want to try again, I worry that I'll always wonder what would have been. Honestly, my feelings over seeing her made me realize I don't want to date other people anymore, I'd rather just focus on fixing things. But that's a difficult decision to make when I barely hear from her and she hasn't been able to make time for me in over a month (tonight was just 5 minutes she had before she went to hang out with someone else.) Plus it seems like bullshit, when she tells me about meeting some other person I suddenly say "Oh I don't want to date anyone else anymore, I just want you?" She did that to me when she asked me on that date, and everyone I knew said it was bullshit, that she wasn't really interested but didn't want anyone else to have me either. I don't want to be That Person, especially since I know I've been interested this whole time, I just didn't think it wise to put all my eggs in that basket.

Guess I'm just hoping I can get some outside perspective on this whole thing, and what I should do from here, because my mind is just turning in loops right now and I feel confused. First time I see her since she break up and we kissed, she also tells me about some other girl, I realized I haven't moved on as much as I thought I had... It feels like a sudden case of vertigo. My mind is doing flip flops. I'd like to talk to her about how I feel, but given how poorly that went when I did it earlier it seems like a topic I should just stay away from.
posted by Pericardium to Human Relations (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why are you not no-contact?? Go no-contact. Immediately. For a long time, if not forever.

She is jerking you around, and you're setting back your own recovery by letting her.
posted by Salamander at 12:24 AM on March 20, 2013 [22 favorites]


I don't think in all those paragraphs you wrote a single thing positive about her. That says something. Move on.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:29 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


"But if I let go now, knowing that I do want to try again, I worry that I'll always wonder what would have been".

Er, you know what "would have been", cause it's happening now. No new tale to tell. This is what it would be, more jerking around. You know it. Be better to yourself, move on.
posted by readygo at 12:51 AM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


She is dead to you. At least for a few weeks or a few months or whatever it takes to not be upset when she kisses someone new. You don't have time for her to decide if she wants to be with you. Move on and make her pursue you if she wants to... You don't have time to wait around for someone to realize how awesome you really are when you are that awesome already and you know that you are.
posted by bendy at 1:34 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


You sound as though you're trying really hard to come up with a story that has a happy ending for you and her together. As a total outsider, it doesn't sound like there is one. She sounds like she's using your lingering feelings for her to manipulate you and make herself feel better by how much you clearly still care about her and want her. I think imagining what might have been/could be with her involves her being a different person.

I think sometimes you can still maintain contact with exes and sometimes you can't. This sounds like a no-contact situation, for a good long while, until you really have moved on. It's all too raw and fresh right now. Give it some time.
posted by Athanassiel at 1:34 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


You really need to find another girl.
posted by spatula at 1:50 AM on March 20, 2013


Going to disagree that you don't need to find someone else, but you do need to completely sever all ties and go no contact with her. I don't necessarily think it's the healthiest idea to just go out looking for someone else while you're coming out of a breakup (in my experience, those relationships always end up being a continuous mental comparison of the new person against the ex, which isn't fair to them). You need some space and there's nothing wrong with learning to be alone and finding happiness in that.

But if I let go now, knowing that I do want to try again, I worry that I'll always wonder what would have been.

Except that you are trying again and the results are right in front of you. This woman (who I'm sure has some lovely qualities or you wouldn't be attracted to her) is not treating you with the care and respect you deserve.

Someone who can't make time for you, who tells you about someone else they met and the potential for that new relationship, this is not someone who is looking out for you.

You deserve better and there are women out there who will treat you kindly and with respect and love. But it won't happen as long as you allow yourself to be drawn into a relationship where you're waiting while someone else creates the rules and acts as the the puppetmaster.

Go no contact. That's the only way you're going to move on.
posted by kinetic at 2:51 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


She gets what she wants; you get what you're given?
No contact sounds the way to go.
posted by Prof Iterole at 3:06 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know exactly how you would answer this AskMe and your advice would be excellent.
"But I also feel like I'm just setting myself up to get hurt..."
Yes, indeed. Don't do that.
"...it seems like a topic I should just stay away from."
Yeah pretty much. Do this instead.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:12 AM on March 20, 2013


Agreed. Go no contact. I know you feel like you're going to wonder what might have been if you don't try again, but consider this more like getting stabbed. You don't need to get stabbed a second time to know it hurts. It actually is totally unnecessary and really self destructive.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 3:15 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's been telling me she's not ready to date anyone else yet, couldn't even think of it, and now there's a shift there that she's actually given someone her number.

What you describe is not dating. It is ego flirtation. Don't give it more weight than it has, which is virtually none. Also recognise that this is probably what she's doing with you.

Also, please read back over your many posts regarding this woman. She is a disaster for you. I realise you guys are really young and that you fell really hard for this girl in a first love sort of way, but you should know that kind of love takes a long time to get over, like a space of year(s) not weeks or months. I also know that relationships are messy, and that there is (typically, and stereotypically, and I'm sorry about this) a generalisation towards "I am friends with all my exes" is a lot of lesbian communities, but you do not need to be friends with this woman to prove your maturity or something. She's wrecking your head. STOP seeing her altogether - go no contact and stay that way.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:26 AM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


If she wanted to be with you, she would have taken steps to make that happen. Jerking you around doesn't count. It's time to move on.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:53 AM on March 20, 2013


she told me I needed to give her the benefit of the doubt

You don't need to give her anything, including and especially your time and attention. This is the same woman from a couple questions you asked in the fall, right? She's not ready to be in a relationship. That's okay - it happens. But you are not required to be someone she tries to get ready with.

She wants to date you again but is too busy? Tough. When I've been too busy to date (I can't swear that's ever actually been the case, mind), I didn't date. I didn't go around telling people - especially exes! - that I wanted to date them but OOPS I was too busy, because that is manipulative bullshit.

Tell her it was nice to see her again but you don't want to be in contact for a while. Actually, skip that first part. Just tell her you want to move on with your life, and you'll call her, and that she should please respect that and not call you.

bonfides: 40something married dyke who was once a 20something unmarried dyke with a string of (fairly mild) drama-with-exes in my past.
posted by rtha at 6:02 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh Sweetie, I really feel for you. It's scary out there and sometimes it seems like it would be so much easier to just go back into a relationship where you already have feelings, and you know what to expect. Don't do that. You broke up for a reason, and it's really important to remember that fact.

You need to break off all contact, no Facebook, phone calls, texts, Twitter, notes passed between you. Nada.

Perhaps you can arrange to go out of town for a week or so. Maybe offer to drive a car across country or something. You want a task that keeps you incommunicado for awhile.

You need to get to a place where, when you think about her, you don't feel anything. No twinge of regret, no anger, no love, nothing. Trust me, you can do it, but not if she's hanging around, pushing your buttons and playing you like lotto.

There's nothing here for you with this woman. You're toxic together. If you have to decode everything she says and does, then this is NOT the relationship for you!

You are going to find a relationship where your partner will love and cherish you, where you'll be intellectually challenged, where you're a true partnership. You'll be amazed at how easy it will be and how natural it will feel.

I too recommend being alone for awhile. Don't go looking for other women to fill the hole that this one left. YOU need be 100% complete, in and of yourself, before you're ready to be in another relationship.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:10 AM on March 20, 2013


The ex is moving on, I thought I was but I'm not.

Because ex saw that you were moving on and has taken to actively hindering you from doing so by playing games with you. She wants to keep you on the hook, so to speak, while not actually putting herself out there at all.

You deserve better then someone who is self-involved and manipulative. Cut her off then start to heal.

One more thing: when you tell her to get lost, she'll blame everything on you and try to make you feel like shit. This is another manipulation to keep you from walking away out of sheer guilt. It's another game. You are a good person, the two of you are just not a good match. You can do this.
posted by dry white toast at 6:23 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Right now you love her. Before you can like her again, first you have to hate her.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:07 AM on March 20, 2013


Nthing a thousand times everything Dry White Toast said.
posted by jbenben at 7:11 AM on March 20, 2013


You aren't moving on because you're not letting yourself. Heed the relationship clock. You need to cut people out of your life if they harm you, no matter how nice they are or ow much they don't mean it. You have to look out for yourself here, because your ex isn't going to.
posted by Solomon at 7:22 AM on March 20, 2013


The thing that really strikes me here is that some part of you KNOWS what to do.

Around a month ago she texts me telling me she wants to try to fix things, go on a date and see how things go. I accept, but we haven't actually had the date yet as she's been too "busy." I called that out as bullshit, saying if she was really interested she'd make time

YES!

She was basically really upset that I was upset, which is understandable, I guess. I don't know.

You sound like you do know that her reaction there was not okay. And you're right.

I started dating again because I was trying to move on from her, and even after she texted me about still being in love with me and what-not she barely spoke to me and we never hung out. So I didn't stop seeing other people in the meantime because it seemed like that was going to just peter out.

Aside from continuing to take her texts, you were doing exactly the right thing here.

But I also feel like I'm just setting myself up to get hurt [...] I'm worried if I stop seeing other people now, even just casually, I'll be stuck on her indefinitely while she moves on [...] And worse, I worry that all of a sudden she'll tell me she has a girlfriend and I'll have wasted that healing time. Especially with her telling me me sleeping with others is a "roadblock" for her, it seems pointless.

I really hope you go back and reread every word you've written here. The part of you who knows how to take care of you is coming through loudly and clearly.

In a nutshell, it sounds like you are a strong, smart woman who knows deep down that this person is not healthy for you, no matter how much you wish it were otherwise. I hope you do listen to everyone here saying that you need to take care of yourself by cutting off contact with your ex completely - if this were a physical wound, what you're doing here would be the equivalent of repeatedly exposing that wound to harmful, caustic elements and then wondering why it never heals up (and surely you wouldn't take that as a sign that you were "meant" to have that wound forever, would you?).

Trust your instincts. They are spot-on.

(and for whatever it's worth, I was rather hung up on another lady shortly before I started growing close to my current partner ... she and I are now engaged after three amazing years together, but if I had clung to my limerance and wishes about the other woman, I would have missed out on the most joyful, positive, fun, and healthy relationship of my life. You never know what's out there, but it's pretty much guaranteed that you won't find out if you stick with the detritus of what will not be.)
posted by DingoMutt at 7:37 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pericardium, I know it feels good and familiar and safe when you're with her. But this woman isn't good for you, friend. You're mistaking her nonchalant tone whilst recounting her romantic encounters as oversharing, but she is doing this in retaliation. Even if she is the oversharing type, that doesn't excuse her insensitivity in telling you all of this. She knew it would sting. And she did it anyway. You know why? Because it makes her feel good to see you get jealous. It is an immature way of validating one's attractiveness and worth.

She is deliberately hurting you, probably because she herself was hurt when she found out you were moving on without her.

And you were moving on. You were making smart choices, taking care of yourself, looking after your future. And—I say this with kindness—now you're back in a dyke drama tar pit. Do you want to be in a tar pit? Why are you so attracted to the tar pit? Questions worth exploring.

How am I so sure about all of this? Because I've been you and I've been her. Sometimes I've been both of you at once. Drama (especially lesbian drama, we are experts) is fascinating and intense and intriguing. It can be a 24/7 brain flood of serotonin and the resulting crash can drown you in sorrow. But at a certain point, you must move beyond it. It consumes you. It teaches you to ignore your own boundaries. It drains you, leaving you too exhausted to attend to your career, health, and friendships.

In my experience, the only way to extricate yourself from the tar pit is to crawl out, forge a path forward, and don't look back until you can barely remember what she looks like. When you can look back on your relationship with something resembling objectivity, when you can place a tidy frame around the story, when seeing her picture or hearing her name doesn't cause your stomach to ache, then you're free.
posted by Lieber Frau at 1:43 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


She told me I needed to give her the benefit of the doubt so I did.

And now you know you shouldn't have, because she only texted you that to confirm that you're still into her, not because she intended doing anything about it.

I don't think she was saying that to be manipulative

Well, of course she was, because that's what she does. That's who she is. The problem you have isn't that you don't know how to move on; the problem you have is that you're trying to move on from a toxic, manipulative person who's using every high school trick in the book to stop you from moving on, solely so that she'll have your attention.

The only solution is no contact. Period. Delete her texts unanswered, ditto her mails, don't answer the phone when she calls, and if you see her in public, say hello pleasantly and go find someone else to talk to.
posted by davejay at 2:49 PM on March 20, 2013


Also, what dry white toast said, and those who suggested focusing on yourself instead of relationships for a while.
posted by davejay at 2:50 PM on March 20, 2013


It sounds like she's keeping you on the hook... and you're letting her, hoping to be caught. Let's look at this as risk-reward. You risked the opportunity to be with someone new, even if that person wasn't The One. The reward was five minutes of your ex's time, a couple kisses, a statement about your post-breakup activities being a roadblock to your future together, some TMI, and a compliment.


The action I'd recommend that you take is "opposite direction of this girl."
posted by sm1tten at 4:32 PM on March 20, 2013


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