Ex's grandma just passed away. Should I text him?
May 16, 2016 3:26 PM   Subscribe

I was dating this 23-yo guy for about 5 months but we were never official. We broke up in March because I wanted the relationship to progress and he didn't. Since then, we still continue to talk and we hang out as friends about once a month. He knows that I want us to get back together since I've initiated us hanging out the past few times. He's told me he enjoys my company and he's considering giving us another chance. The last time we met, he told me he'd text me when he's done with his final exams so we can meet up. I just found out through FB that his grandmother just passed away. I never got to meet any of his family but he has talked about them before. Would it be okay if I send a text sharing my condolence? I really do feel bad for him. Or should I just wait and see if he texts me to meet up and then tell him in person?
posted by missybitsy to Human Relations (29 answers total)
Text him. But don't expect anything in return - expecting your condolences to move things along toward a relationship is basically using his dead grandmother as a pawn to get what you want. Text him because it's a decent thing to do.
posted by Amy93 at 3:27 PM on May 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

It really sounds here like you are angling really hard to get back together with this guy, and like he probably does not have those intentions toward you. An uncharitable read of this question would assume that you are looking for excuses to text him despite the fact that he asked for space, and are hoping to angle this condolences text into deeper intimacy with him.

More charitably, I think it's find to send a text expressing your condolences with no strings attached. Something like, "Saw on Facebook that your grandmother passed. I'm so sorry to hear that. You're in my thoughts." Without extending any further strings of intimacy a la "Do you want me to go to the funeral with you/Let me know if there's anything I can do/Do you want to talk about it?"

As long as you're not using this as an "excuse" to communicate or force further contact, it's fine. Otherwise, it comes off as a little creepy, to be honest.
posted by Sara C. at 3:37 PM on May 16, 2016 [27 favorites]

Sure, text him if you want to, but don't approach this like a dating communication game. It seems clear (based on your past questions) that this guy isn't going anywhere as a romantic partner, so I'd also give up on initiating hangouts.

On preview, what Sara C. said.
posted by chestnut-haired-sunfish at 3:38 PM on May 16, 2016

I would say no. It's a sad situation, and I'm sure you do feel bad, but I think you would benefit by disengaging from this guy emotionally (assuming he's the same one as the other 9 questions).

Let him heal. Let yourself heal. Move on.
posted by Paper rabies at 3:39 PM on May 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

Let it go. This ball is in his court and needs to stay there unless he gets in touch with you. If he does, tell him then you were sorry to see that his grandmother passed.
posted by bearwife at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yeah I was afraid it would come across as creepy or as me using this opportunity to get closer to him. I'm done trying to get back together. I genuinely care about him as a person but maybe I'm better off not texting him at all?

I know you all read my ask history but I just want to clarify those questions pertain to different guys I've dated. Only the past 3 questions pertain to this guy.
posted by missybitsy at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2016

That's still three questions too many for casually dating, IMO.

Offer your condolences if he gets in touch; otherwise, just leave him be.
posted by rtha at 3:58 PM on May 16, 2016 [17 favorites]

This is exactly what condolence cards are for. You can just send a very short note of sympathy and nothing else. It won't make his phone beep and look like an obligation.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:01 PM on May 16, 2016 [17 favorites]

Why not get a condolence card and mail it to him? That's not intrusive at all. Or mail it to his parents if you've met them (as it is one of their parents who died).
It's just a nice gesture-- don't feel weird about it. But don't text. That would seem like you expected a response. A condolence card does not require a response.
When in doubt, I always channel my own grandmother, The Perfect Lady, and she is saying, send a condolence card with a nice bland note from you, like My thoughts are with you. I'm so sorry about your grandmother.
posted by my-sharona at 4:20 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would only do this if you and he had previously discussed his grandmother in some in-depth way. If he hadn't mentioned her to you beyond "I have a grandmother who lives in X" or the like, wait to say something in person.

However, if you know they were close (because he told you, not because you can tell from Facebook or you heard it through the grapevine), send a very brief condolence card* through snail mail. That way he can be 100% certain you're not reaching out as a way to bait him into texting or emailing you (not that you are).

*"Bob, I am so sorry to hear your grandmother died. You and your family are in my thoughts."
posted by sallybrown at 4:23 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

No. Leave it and him alone. If you run into him socially--that is, run into, not you initiating plans with--say "I heard about your grandmother, I'm so sorry for your loss."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:24 PM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you must, send a card. Other than that,no, just don't.
posted by InkDrinker at 4:32 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let it go. Don't let him string you along with "hanging out"

Move on, move on, move on.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:36 PM on May 16, 2016

Put your condolences in a comment on the Facebook mention, with everyone else's. Don't try to make them stand out by texting. (Just tag him in the condolence comment if it's not something he himself posted.)
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 4:44 PM on May 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

If anything, just a comment to his FB post. These days, a text is more intimate, and a condolence card even more intimate and personal than that. FB would be the only possible non-creepy option. But, really, I'd skip it completely.
posted by Vaike at 5:04 PM on May 16, 2016

Thank you all for your comments! I was gonna text him but then I refrained knowing that most people agree that I shouldn't. I'll just say my condolence if we meet up again in the future.

Last time we met up was a week ago and he was the one who initiated hanging out but I was the one who texted him first. We went out for dinner and had a great time. He even paid for me. Towards the end, I told him that I'm interested in trying again and he seemed a little hesitant. He told me that he's attracted to me and he enjoys spending time with me but he said the chemistry wasn't quite there for him. However, he said he was open to going out for a few more dates and see where it goes. I decided to just let him initiate in the future if he wants to try again. When we were leaving, he said he'd text me after his exam is over. I'm not sure if he said it to be nice or if he'd keep his words. Either way, how is it possible that someone likes me and enjoys my company but doesn't want to date me? Does it sound like he's being genuine about wanting to try again or is he stringing me along? Btw, he's not the type to use me for sex because we haven't been intimate at all.
posted by missybitsy at 5:06 PM on May 16, 2016

(And I'm saying the above for your own personal happiness. Distance is good.)
posted by Vaike at 5:07 PM on May 16, 2016

Stop keeping score of who asked who to do what, and who paid, and who said what complimentary thing.

This guy very obviously is not interested in you, and you need to back way off. Not just "leave the ball in his court, let him initiate" sense, but like literally no contact for the foreseeable future.
posted by Sara C. at 5:14 PM on May 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

Does it sound like he's being genuine about wanting to try again or is he stringing me along?

I feel like everyone, myself included, keeps telling you the same thing about guys: we don't know. He is the only person in the world who knows. We cannot tell you what he is thinking. Maybe he wants to try again, maybe he's stringing you along, who knows? What you can know is his actions. This is a guy who has been telling you since November that he doesn't want to commit.

Move on. Just move on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:28 PM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

Either way, how is it possible that someone likes me and enjoys my company but doesn't want to date me? Does it sound like he's being genuine about wanting to try again or is he stringing me along? Btw, he's not the type to use me for sex because we haven't been intimate at all.

"She's really nice and I don't want to hurt her feelings by making her feel unattractive...I'm not into her, though...but maybe if things don't work out with Shirley...or Wanda...or Miranda...or some other girl I meet and want to date...maybe I'll feel differently in the future?...."

(if I had any doubt about what to recommend vis a vis the condolence situation, the fact that you followed up to ask questions having zip to do with his grandmother or his grief has put me firmly in the "don't use the death of his close family member to try and ingratiate yourself into his affections" camp. This is not how you build a romantic relationship.)
posted by sallybrown at 5:31 PM on May 16, 2016 [14 favorites]

That's a harsh truth to hear, but I needed it. Yes I do like this guy a lot but I'm not trying to use his grandma's death to get his affection. If I did I would have gone ahead and reached out, I wouldn't be asking a question on here.
posted by missybitsy at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

He told me that he's attracted to me and he enjoys spending time with me but he said the chemistry wasn't quite there for him. However, he said he was open to going out for a few more dates and see where it goes.

This is something you say after the first date, not after 7 months. Yes, he's stringing you along. Let him go.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:13 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

In light of your update: congratulations on deciding to skip texting him/ writing to him. Express your condolences in person if you bump into him. Don’t try to initiate meeting him.

Also re. your update, I’m going to try to summarize your story with this guy. You went out for a few months, and soon after your first date you were concerned (probably rightly) that he may not be as into you as you are into him. Two months later, he confirmed this. One month passes and you break up ‘cause you obviously want more than he can give. Painful, but fair enough. 2–3 months have now passed since your breakup, and you have more or less singlehandedly carried a friendship with this guy which you obviously hoped would leave the door open for a relationship. A week ago, you have persuaded him to possibly maybe give your relationship another chance. Radio silence since then, but you find out from Facebook that his grandmother has just died.

I’m sorry to say, but it seems pretty obvious that this wasn’t going the way you wanted for a while before you broke up, even if the guy obviously liked/ likes you well enough.

Please don’t try to persuade someone to be with you, either directly with your words, or by taking advantage of the stuff that goes on in their life. As soon as you need to convince someone that it might be a good idea to give you a try, you should take a big step back. This is not how you get a good relationship; this is how you make sure that you always doubt yourself, second-guess both your action, and live with continuous anxiety.

how is it possible that someone likes me and enjoys my company but doesn't want to date me?

I assume this is a rhetorical question, because surely we all know a lot of people whose company we enjoy, but who we nonetheless don’t want to date!

Does it sound like he's being genuine about wanting to try again or is he stringing me along?

No, it doesn’t sound like he really, truly meant that. It sounds like he gave in because you badgered him (or he felt that way). As fffm says above, no one knows what’s going on with your ex other than himself (if that), but here’s my guess: he likes you well enough, thinks you are attractive and whatever, but for reasons he may or may not be aware of it just doesn’t come together for him. Maybe he was hoping to be in a really relaxed and easy-going relationship? Maybe he really has no headspace for anything other than a really casual relationship? Who knows, could be anything.

It just doesn’t matter, really, because he sounds lukewarm at best, and you don’t want to be with someone who is lukewarm about you. You want excitement and enthusiasm.

Here’s what I hope for you: you realize that you have become over-involved emotionally with a situation that is not good for you and that has no future. You realize that this guy is not really your friend, because a. you don’t actually know him enough as a friend, and b. you’re still hung up on him. So you need distance.

This insight is bitter, and, if you are anything like me, it’ll provoke quite a bit of upset and some more rhetorical questions. That’s fine, you indulge that with a glass of wine/ a film/ friends, then you hide him on Facebook/ cut out contact and move on to act 2.

Here, you realize that you need to feed your mind some new stuff, because it’s become fond of ruminating about this guy and it needs a kick up its butt. You discover a new hobby or something. You allow this guy to recede to his proper place, which is the periphery of your existence. You don’t give in to the temptation to get in touch again even if you hear he now has a cute little puppy that needs walking at 6am.

Act 3. You build a life outside of dating, and focus on the rest of you. I’m saying this because I noticed you had a rough year dating-wise, and maybe it is time to regroup and ‘find yourself’ for a few months. At some point, after quite a while, you possibly meet this guy again. At this time you can be gracious and see if you can resume an honest relationship this time, without false hopes on your part and prevarication on his. Not friends – friendly acquaintances who may or may not become friends in time.
posted by miorita at 6:13 PM on May 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

That's a harsh truth to hear, but I needed it.

I think you will find that most people have been on both sides of this relationship, if that provides any comfort. The number of stories I have of my friends doing ridiculous things to find reasons to chat people up...endless. I almost bought a broken guitar I didn't even know how to play so I could ask a guy I was crushing on to fix it for me. Over time you learn that it's a lot easier to just reach out and talk to someone you like, and move on quickly if that doesn't lead to encouraging things.

You'll also come across a person you may really, genuinely like and admire as a friend, but for some reason you just don't have that desire to be with them beyond friends. It's tempting to sit and bask in the warmth that person is sending you when you don't have much else going on, but you get that guilty feeling of taking advantage of someone because you know it's just not right. And the minute someone you're interested in comes along, that person just kind of vanishes from your mind (no matter how much they continue to think of you).
posted by sallybrown at 6:54 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

You need to not hang out with him as friends if you want to move on.
posted by zutalors! at 7:24 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Of course you are good enough for him! There just isn't mutual chemistry. That's nothing to worry about. There will be a mutual click with someone else, sooner rather than later if you let yourself let go now.
posted by bearwife at 9:53 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

[One comment deleted. Sorry, OP, but Ask Metafilter isn't for back and forth conversation. Best just to take in the advice and evaluate what works for you.]
posted by taz (staff) at 2:57 AM on May 17, 2016

It's always kind to express condolences.

For yourself, you are likely to be happier and more successful in relationships if you listen harder to the messages people are giving. Make sure you have your own strong interests, friendships, activities. It makes you happier and more attractive. You deserve someone who is crazy about you.
posted by theora55 at 5:08 AM on May 17, 2016

You need to let him go so you are free when someone comes along who really is into you and wants to be with you all the time.
He's out there! You just haven't met him yet.
posted by my-sharona at 10:00 PM on May 22, 2016

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