Awful Breakup
August 9, 2014 3:30 PM   Subscribe

So, I was going out with a guy I really loved for around 3 years. I was going off to grad school and he was living for a couple of years without a job in NYC. He told me a couple of months ago that he had been kind of "dirty talking" with another girl online. I suggested breaking up (even though I don't think I really wanted to.) He wanted to stay together over the summer before I left for grad school. We decided to do this, but then he realized (in the space of a day) that he is totally in love with and obsessed with this other girl he had been talking to online for awhile (but never met.) Now, he tells me he never felt anything like what he has felt for her before. It is completely over and I'm left reeling. I don't know what to think about this or what to do. How can I try to get over this? (I am so hurt, I am crying every day etc...)
posted by Lee Shore to Human Relations (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Time. Chocolate. Crying. Bubble baths. I'm partial to margaritas, but not to excess, just to the point of indulgence. I'm sure you know rationally that someone who could behave like this is a poor choice for a life partner, but it'll take awhile before the rational part gets to have a say, and that's all right. Let yourself have some time to grieve it, just take care of yourself in the meantime: make sure you're getting sufficient nutrition, taking some walks, those kinds of things. That way, when the hurt starts to pass, you'll feel less wrecked by it and better able to get back on your feet.
posted by Sequence at 4:01 PM on August 9, 2014 [12 favorites]

Let me save you a lot of extended agony and heartbreak.

He's not ready to be in a proper relationship with you and hasn't had the guts to say it.

It's not you - it's him.

Time and a clean break is the only answer.
posted by wayward vagabond at 4:03 PM on August 9, 2014 [22 favorites]

It's going to get easier. Please don't take too personally what he's saying about this other person and what that means for how he's felt about you over the course of your relationship. He's in that honeymoon stage where things seem perfect but rest assured, he will soon find out she's a regular person just like the rest of us.
posted by something something at 4:05 PM on August 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Bear in mind also that he is deluding himself. He's never actually met this girl; he's in love with the version of her that's in his head. That isn't to say he doesn't have real feelings, just that the feelings he has may or may not be congruent with the actual person on the other end of the computer screen. So it's going to crash and burn pretty quickly, most likely; don't succumb to the temptation to take him back when he realizes what a stupid idea 'grass is greener' is.

But, yeah: he's immature and craven.

Sorry this happened to you. Cut off all contact (including any social media links), pack up everything that reminds you of him (gifts etc) in a box and shove it to the back of your closet. If he contacts you, inform him that you have no interest in speaking to him again, but only once. After that just ignore his calls, delete emails unread, etc.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:17 PM on August 9, 2014 [36 favorites]

All of the above. It will work. and OMG don't you dare go back with him when he finds out this other person is just a human girl and he's an idiot.
If you haven't already, cut off all contact with him. That can only lead to more tears and you're too smart for that.
And remember, we're all here for you.
posted by donaken at 4:19 PM on August 9, 2014 [20 favorites]

You've got a few weeks to feel your feels before you're off to school. So do the heartbreak boogie. Be kind to yourself, see your friends, work out a bit, and get your head on straight before you head out.

For sure block this guy six different ways from Sunday on social media, your phone, email, etc. Going forward, he's dead to you.

He doesn't know a damn thing about whoever he's 'talking' to on social media. But that's not your problem, now is it? Do you really want to be with someone who is this weak minded?

Look forward to your new life, pack your things, say your goodbyes and thank your lucky stars that you won't be running around in the same circles with your ex.

It's best not to dwell too much on the whats and the whys of this. There's nothing you could have done differently that would have yielded a different result. It's sort of galling that your ex started seeking out people on the internet, a real person would have told you that his interest was waning and that he didn't want to remain in a relationship with you. An asshole cheats, gets caught, talks you into not breaking up and then breaks up a day later with some song and dance about being in WUV. Oh please.

You can't see it now, but you're well out of this.

Go to school, study hard, do well. In a year you'll wonder what you ever thought you saw in him.

Take good care of yourself.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:23 PM on August 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


You must feel really horrible, betrayed and reeling from having someone you thought to have the one to have decided, one day, he's smitten with someone else he's only talked to online.

Breakups suck in general, especially when it sounds like you have the magic carpet pulled from under you in a split second.
Don't be afraid to cry, to feel sad and to feel angry.
The traditional standby of ice cream and chocolate.
Breakup songs, especially angry ones.

And don't contact him or let him contact you, for your own sanity. If he can be this capricious about the relationship, and he ropes you into getting back together again...
posted by Tsukushi at 4:24 PM on August 9, 2014

Break it off--no contact, explicitly calling it done-- before you go to school.

I've done this-- dragging it out-- in the middle of a semester and my grades suffered bad for it. Until I went no contact and dealt with it (friends, therapy, crying, vices); then my grades improved.
posted by RainyJay at 4:26 PM on August 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

He's living in the most expensive city in the country while he's unemployed? For a couple of years?? You get over it by realizing it would have been a huge mistake to spend your life with someone so foolish and irresponsible.
posted by Asparagus at 4:42 PM on August 9, 2014 [16 favorites]

No contact. Block all electronic access in either direction STAT.

I can't tell you how incredibly effed up and emotionally immature this guy is.

PS. It's weird to learn people aren't who you thought they were. It happens, tho, and in no way does this say anything bad about you as a person. Chin up!
posted by jbenben at 4:55 PM on August 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


In a month or so you are going to be happier than you suspect about this.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:58 PM on August 9, 2014 [10 favorites]

Now, he tells me he never felt anything like what he has felt for her before.

Well, la de da. Just Add Internet. You dodged a bullet and grad school just got 3000% more fun.
posted by rhizome at 5:03 PM on August 9, 2014 [45 favorites]

Holy shit, I am so happy for you! What luck that he would reveal to you in such a short span of time how much of a loser he is to go and cheat on you with someone he hardly knows. He is unworthy of you now, and that means that whoever is next is undoubtedly going to be better.

You are not defective. You are not worthless. You loved him rightly and did right by him. He is not the one! Rejoice -- because why would you want to chase after anyone who is telling you in no uncertain terms that he does not want you?

Rejoice, rejoice. I promise you, this is a blessing even if it doesn't feel like it. Feel better soon, love.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:22 PM on August 9, 2014 [14 favorites]

Also: don't take him back. No matter what he does, no matter what he says.

He is not worthy of you. You deserve and will get better.

Do not take him back once you dump him.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:24 PM on August 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

Seconding Hermione. You are way too good for this guy and he is doing you a FAVOR by being such a dummy that he's in love with a stranger. He's living a fantasy life that he's got in his head, the past 3 years of living and breathing next to you isn't as good as what he's come up with in his mind. This guy would rather be wrapped up his little ideal than actually be in a relationship with you, someone he's known for 3 years. Hello? Can you say reality check, dude? Anyway, you don't have time to sit around until he gets his head out of the clouds and you actually have something going for you in your life. You said he's been long-term unemployed? Is he doing anything else besides fluffing around on the internet? He doesn't seem like he wants to live in the real world.

Move on and don't look back. You deserve better, truly, and as someone who actually values their future and their life, you are doing a whole lot better than he is. Good luck... it'll be tough because breakups suck, but it'll get better with time and the next relationship you'll know what you want out of it and be able to communicate your needs and dealbreakers more effectively. Maybe the next one will be better, and if it doesn't work out, maybe it won't hurt as much. Sometimes people aren't right for each other, and that's ok, because you will find someone who is right for you, and when you do, you'll know it. *hugs* P.S. Lots of ice cream. Marathon Friends episodes and tons of yoga.
posted by lunastellasol at 5:48 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Someday you will remember this guy and be so, so glad he did you the favor of ending it. Truly. Nothing good was going to happen if you stayed with him. And now, once you are ready to move on, you have the chance to go out with someone better. And there are lots of better ones out there, I promise you.

In the meantime, take care of yourself in any way that makes you feel good. Also, if there was anything you tended not to do while you were with him, out of consideration (eat certain places he didn't like, see movies he didn't like, listen to music he didn't like, wear your hair a certain way), well, dust those things off and enjoy them. Because what he likes is no longer a limiting factor in what you do.
posted by emjaybee at 6:02 PM on August 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

This sounds like a great excuse to party like you don't give a fuck until you leave for grad school.

Looking back on past similar situations, in which some amount of summer was left until i went back to college, this was never the wrong decision.

Go party with your friends.

The last time i got dumped for someone else in a pretty limp way, very shortly afterwards my bike was totaled in a bus accident. The metro insurance cut me a check for a stack of Benjamin's, and i spent the rest of the summer drinking great beer and going to shows for bands i liked that i wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.

It was 100% the right thing to do.

Oh, i also got a semi-crappy replacement bike on the cheap and rode it a LOT. Like miles and miles every night i had nothing better to do. Not only did my legs get way stronger, but the combination of exercise and friends just really made me feel fine in only a couple months. It took what could have been a completely shit few months into the memory of a shitty breakup, but memories of some of the more hilarious things i've done and just general good times with friends.

In a few months this will just be "wow, what a chode".
posted by emptythought at 6:33 PM on August 9, 2014 [9 favorites]

Seconding everyone. Congrats on getting rid of this fool, honestly. He sounds really, really dumb. And of course he's never felt anything like what he's felt for this Internet girl before -- this isn't a real person -- this is basically the computer talking back to him and he's projecting his fantasies onto whatever's on the other end.

Do not, do not, do not allow him to talk to you and especially do not stalk him online. When you think of him, visualize him being catfished by some sweaty beardo in a basement somewhere until you laugh. Party with your friends, and arrive in grad school unencumbered and happy. You will be fine.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:33 PM on August 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

All of the above is excellent advice, it's true, you are better off without him.

I want to add this, bookmark this page and print out a hardcopy when all the answers are in. Keep it somewhere handy, where you can look at it whenever you need a reminder and a virtual hug. Count up all the answers and favourites so you can imagine us as a big cheer squad.

It's all true, you need no contact plus time and chocolate/wine/your best friends/richard curtis movies and to remember that he is too immature and doesn't know himself or life well enough to be in a relationship with anyone yet.

You will feel better eventually. And even after a while, you might think of him suddenly and maybe feel sad, but you will be okay.

Take care of yourself.
posted by stellathon at 9:18 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Now, he tells me he never felt anything like what he has felt for her before.

Don't take it personally. He's in the throes of limerence, which is effectively a form of temporary insanity. He may have felt this way about you in the beginning too but can't remember now because his brain is currently lighting up like he's on cocaine. Think of how batshit crazy people on drugs get to understand WTF is going on in his head right now.

It's sad that he's not mature enough to realize that his crazed obsession for her will eventually pass as well. Move on and find someone who has a better grasp of these ups and downs and doesn't let dopamine rushes make his decisions for him.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:41 PM on August 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

What a shmuck! This happened to me, so I will tell you a little story and maybe it will help you to feel a little better, and also be angry at dudes who emotionally weasel out of relationships in this way.

We'd been together for a year, through some really intense personal, financial, and medical shit that made it feel like ten, and we'd discussed being longterm committed partners. He met this chick (I privately refer to her as Ms. Fugly because no, I'm not bitter at all!) via events that wouldn't have occurred without my help. He said they were "working on a project together," while I was at work. I was suspicious for sure, and discovered the truth one night after he'd left his Facebook logged in on my computer. He'd sent her drunken missives of the *hand+staple+forehead* variety, like "he would die to be near her right now." When I confronted him, he cried and asked me to stay so we could talk. He was pretty thoughtlessly cruel about it; said he loved me, but blamed me for everything and took zero responsibility for himself. It crushed me and I had to work hard to recover from that. I got the same song and dance your dude served up, about how she was this miraculous unicorn of a person and his twoo wuv and everything about them was rainbows and sparkles. His FB page was full of pictures of them having magical blissful times together like everything was picture-perfect, except it wasn't, really. His life was exploding in the background, and he was pretty obviously trading her for me in terms of having someone who would minimize the chaos he caused himself. The whole experience was deeply hurtful and yet quite sad at the same time. He threw away someone who loved him for a fantasy, and one that she couldn't possibly live up to, just as much as I couldn't. I felt sorry for her, in the long run. They lasted about a month and a half. He'd tried to contact me multiple times in the interim, because he missed me...but it wasn't as exciting as being in the throes of limerance.

Long story short? I did the therapy thing and the no-strings-attached-FWB thing and the taking-time-for-self-care thing and griped about him with my friends. Some days I cried my eyes out over a bucket of ice cream and binge-watched cheesy shows on Hulu. You know the drill. You'll need time to grieve the person you were with him and the life you thought you would have together, and that's totally okay. It does hurt like hell, especially if he was a person you loved deeply, and time is really what heals it. Be nice to yourself, get rid of the crap that reminds you of him (or box it up & store it at a friend's house), and do all the things you like to do but he bitched and complained about. It helps. :)

Eventually, I had the very freeing realization that it was never really about me. Whatever your ex's issues are (depression or whatever), it's not your responsibility to fix that for him or take care of him. (Ask me how I know...) Give yourself time and space from him and go No Contact. To quote a great line from another MeFite that I stumbled across recently, "Not your circus, not your monkeys, not your problem!" You are FREE now! Be glad!
posted by cardinality at 1:20 AM on August 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

The above posters are correct. You're real. She's just a fantasy, and you can't compete with someone who doesn't poop. So don't make this about you. It's all on him.
posted by yeolcoatl at 2:19 AM on August 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

"It's called a breakup because it's broken" is a great book - incredibly, it might even manage to make you laugh once or twice in the middle of this hell.

I bet you a million dollars his projected fantasy about this person turns out to be a crock of shit.

No contact is a must - as a great friend once said "sometimes you can love someone BUT NOT BE ABLE TO BE WITH THEM" I can't tell you how many times this mantra has helped me stay sane ish;).

Rest a lot, this level of psychological assault knocks a person out.
posted by tanktop at 2:27 AM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thank you all so much. These posts mean a lot to me.
posted by Lee Shore at 10:51 AM on August 10, 2014 [11 favorites]

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