Staying in close contact with someone that has hurt you...bad idea?
December 21, 2013 4:13 AM   Subscribe

I basically had a thing with this guy that I ended up wanting more commitment than he did. When I ended it, he begged me to stay in touch so we are. Details inside.

I have to preface this by saying that I never was terribly invested in him but I still felt a sense of dissapointment and hurt feelings when I discovered that he was flirty chatting with another girl online. We were never exclusive or committed (he didn't want that) so my sense of hurt is maybe out of proportion. Still, he accepted the blame and was totally understanding of my feelings, apologized profusely and wanted me to stay in his life in some fashion. We are long distance which complicates things further.

After a brief NC period, I found myself chatting to him when bored. I feel less invested than ever and totally open to other guys. Still, our chats are often extremely sexy and flirtatious. I somehow wonder if in talking to him I am doing the wrong thing and ultimately damaging my self-esteem. We have started talking every day again with no future promises/talk. The idea of him talking to other girls doesn't bother me anymore. Am I fooling myself?

Just want your thoughts on this. Not sure if I should do strict NC or take it one day at the time and let what naturally happens unfold.
posted by sabina_r to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He's a guy that you flirt with online. That's not a relationship. As long as it isn't absorbing a lot of your time and emotional energy, what harm can it do?
posted by empath at 4:18 AM on December 21, 2013

First time around, before his "betrayal" it was a bit more serious than that. He told me that he loved me and we were planning on meeting (though never exclusive). Then it all fell apart and now it's all undefined (which doesn't really bother me). Neither of us is sure if we want to meet after all the drama and "I love yous" have stopped. We still communicate a lot though. I have no idea what's happening with him and the other girl and I don't ask.
posted by sabina_r at 4:22 AM on December 21, 2013

You've never met?
posted by bunderful at 4:37 AM on December 21, 2013

We live like 24 hours flight from each other lol
posted by sabina_r at 4:41 AM on December 21, 2013

Having lived through several iterations of this story my advice would be to cut contact. The emotional energy invested angsting over this guy would be better spent being awesome and/or meeting new people. Preferably face to face. In my experience translating online relationships into real life relationships either needs to be done very early on or requires a level of emotional maturity few people possess (I certainly don't).

I'm not you, but I find it very easy to convince myself that I am ”cool" with a situation or relationship when I clearly want more from it. I regret not having the confidence to admit that I not only wanted more, but deserved more. And then going out to find or create it.

Relationships, friendships, shouldn't be this hard from the get go.
posted by arha at 4:49 AM on December 21, 2013 [14 favorites]

[One comment deleted. Sabina_r, you can answer questions and clear up any misunderstandings, but Ask Metafilter is not for back and forth discussion, so you need to relax and just see what advice you get. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:25 AM on December 21, 2013

I would say no, since this was always an online relationship. If you used to be together in person or in a LDR where you saw each other with some regularity, yes. But as it is, you are just in the same semi-relationship you were before, essentially. Cut it off before you start believing it's something more. I doubt you'll be fine with the arrangement forever.
posted by superfille at 5:28 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's nothing wrong with having a flirty online relationship as long as you are not setting yourself up for hurt. But as has been pointed out above, it's easy to pretend to yourself that you are happy with the status quo. The fact that you don't talk about the woman he is "seeing" is a red flag - it suggests that it might be painful or uncomfortable to find out that he is getting serious with someone else.

If you do decide to stay in touch with him, set some boundaries for yourself - "that picture of you is cute" might be ok; "imagine I'm nibbling your neck" - not ok. And start talking to and seeing other people, at least some of them in person. Put up an okcupid profile.
posted by bunderful at 8:15 AM on December 21, 2013

I never was terribly invested in him

I feel less invested than ever

What are you getting out of this? There are more fun things to do when you're bored. This has "no future" written all over it.

Making it habitual could impair your potential to meet other people with whom you might form actual relationships.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:15 AM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

What do you think is "going to unfold?"

Because it sounds like a dead-end.

If you want to talk to him as kind of a time-wasting ego-boost, I believe that ship has already sailed.
posted by sm1tten at 11:09 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The time you're spending chatting to this guy is time you could be spending on finding someone that you do actually click with. He's the easy and quick answer, for sure, but he's like calorie-free food. Tastes nice, but not actually filling or nourishing.

Something "not hurting you" isn't the same as it being good for you. Time is the most precious resources you have, because it's not renewable. Only you can decide if this guy is worth spending it on. Personally, I wouldn't bother with someone or something that I wasn't in any way invested in.
posted by Solomon at 11:46 AM on December 21, 2013

So, what happens when you meet someone you actually want a relationship with in real life? Do you drop this long-distance sexy-texting habit? Or do you continue furtively because it's become too ingrained a habit to give up easily?

Conversely, what happens when Mr. Sexy-Texting suddenly finds himself swept off his feet by a woman in real-life (hey, it happens even to self-declared playboys), and she puts the kibosh on him keyboard-diddling you? How would you feel then? Since you mentioned feeling hurt (understandably) by him not treating you the way you'd like, I think this could be a new source of pain for you.

Nothing of long-term value is gained by continuing with Mr. Sexy Talk. Zero upside, large potential downside.
posted by nacho fries at 12:37 PM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

I feel like this question is all about ego. He likes flirting with girls for the ego boost, wanting to keep several on the hook but never reeling one in, as you experienced when you wanted more commitment. Unless you have some special interest in boosting his ego, then I'd say let it go. You're bored with him anyway; better to keep to that feeling and not risk getting hurt again. Spend the time you would've spent talking to him on finding someone in your area who will happily commit to you.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 4:48 PM on December 22, 2013

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