Do I need to delete my ex & his family/friends off social media forever?
March 7, 2018 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I am having a very difficult time with my break up 2 weeks ago and have mixed feelings towards my ex. On the one hand, I may want to keep in touch with him in the future once the dust has settled - on the other, seeing him take an interest in other women on social media is killing me.

I flew home to collect my things from my ex who broke up with me via email. The meeting itself was strange, as neither of us mentioned the break up. He made me tea & helped me pack, as we talked it felt like one of those leisurely Sundays we'd always had. We talked about intimate things (so much for no 'deep connection' as he cited in the break up) and he came with me while I got lunch after. He carried my things to the train station, held me for a very long time, and brushed the snow off my face. We kissed and he took my hands and stroked them gently for a moment or two before walking away, looking behind him all the time. It was absolutely heart-breaking for me. I went home and my parents literally held me while I dissolved on the couch.

The thing is, despite his god awful treatment of me, I've been feeling sympathetic towards him. He has mental health issues and I am sure he has had some kind of depression or has been on the brink of a break down prior to the break up. I want him to get better and be happy, and he has many qualities that I like.

So I said I won't delete him for now, I'll just take a break from social media and check back later on. However I now see he has been following new women on Facebook (and putting two and two together with one in particular, he has been spending more time with one at a social event he goes to every week. The thing that made me feel sick was that she said she had been spending time in a location he took me to 5 days after he broke up with me via email...and he had 'liked' it, making me think that maybe it was him that took her there. The thought that was already moving on/dating seconds after breaking it off with me makes me feel sick to my stomach).

I feel like I can't cope. I could just about cope before, when I thought the relationship had been meaningful to him, but now it looks like he already has his eyes on others. I have to cope because I have to work and see out my contract here. On the one hand, I feel the only way to cope may be to remove any trace of him. The thing is, I was just about able to honour the break up given the peaceful way we ended things, but now I am wondering if he left me for another woman. Should I ask him? Should I delete him and his parents and his best friends etc from my networks? (and if so should I contact him telling him why I feel I need to do that right now...
posted by Willow251 to Human Relations (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds very possible that he left you for someone else. People are usually weirdly calm about the break up when they do that.

Honestly, delete him, delete him, delete him. You don’t have to give a reason, but if someone asks (?) you can say it was just better to go cold turkey.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:16 PM on March 7, 2018 [61 favorites]


I’m sorry you’re going through this. It totally sucks. Based on your history with this person (some of which you’ve shared on MeFi), I would suggest that deleting him / his family / best friends from your network is the way to go. I know it will be hard. Like, REALLY hard. But I think it will be a step toward healing. I wish you the very best.
posted by sucre at 3:17 PM on March 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


100% no contact or you'll never get over him - tried and true AskMe advice. It sucks and it's hard, but it's what you need to do to get over it.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:17 PM on March 7, 2018 [24 favorites]


This is precisely what Facebook's Unfollow and Take a Break From X features were designed for. You can hit "snooze" on him and his family for a while, and then when you've got some distance decide what to do more permanently.
posted by serathen at 3:18 PM on March 7, 2018 [24 favorites]


Don’t ask him. Just block him. Don’t tell him you’re going to block him either, that just creates an opening for him to manipulate your emotions. You need this man out of your life and I’m sure you can find ways to contact him in the future if there is some sort of ex-boyfriend emergency where you must be in touch with him. (There won’t be an emergency).
posted by scantee at 3:20 PM on March 7, 2018 [16 favorites]


I mean, yes if you feel up to it you should just unfriend him. But if you don't, go with one of the lesser Facebook measures.
posted by serathen at 3:23 PM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm not you, but in the same circumstances I know I would feel a lot better just deleting and moving on.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:24 PM on March 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


My only concern is doing anything drastic will compound the shock I already feel. I thought I had accepted it was over, but I have realised that I am still very much in shock given we had 2 trips booked and a future planned...until 2 weeks ago. Also, how am I meant to think of the relationship now? Can I still think of our time together as meaningful or is it time to condemn him?

Facebook is one thing, but the real issue is Instagram for me. I really just need to exercise willpower but it's hard while feeling this way.
posted by Willow251 at 3:27 PM on March 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


OMG, I remember this guy. You are so lucky to be free of him. Go you!! wow, how shitty of him to break up via email when you had *just* chosen to prioritize him over everything else in your life ... and to then act all sweet so he wouldn't feel guilty. Assholes never make good boyfriends so you are well to be rid of him.

It doesn't matter if your time together was meaningful to *him*; what matters is you, not other people's opinions on you. Your shock is totally expected, when people show their authentic selves it is really jarring for those of us that strive to be authentic with everyone - we don't expect manipulation, avoiding responsibility, consequences etc.

Drop him and anyone in his family like a hot potato. Social media sucks when you are not feeling whole, make yourself too busy to be checking your social media anyway.
posted by saucysault at 3:39 PM on March 7, 2018 [40 favorites]


Also, how am I meant to think of the relationship now?

that's not up to him!

Can I still think of our time together as meaningful

his memories and morals aren't any more important than yours and really, they sound considerably less valuable. he has absolutely no say in how you think about anything. the more bad things you find out about him, the more true this is. So he wasn't what you thought, is what you may discover. but you are what you thought. you are not secondary to him. not during the relationship, not now that you're writing your own history of it, not ever. if you loved him, ever since he broke up with you he doesn't own that love anymore. that means he isn't entitled to kill it or strip its meaning away. that's not his, it's yours.
posted by queenofbithynia at 3:41 PM on March 7, 2018 [15 favorites]


You don't need to condemn him to realize that continuing to follow him online won't be good for your mind, heart, or spirit. It's possible to think "I wish you all the best, somewhere else and with someone else, and I don't need or want to know any of the details."

Some people find it valuable to maintain friendships with ex-partners. Some don't. (I don't; I haven't kept in touch with any of my exes and don't feel I'm missing anything.) Whichever is true for you, it's almost always useful to have a period after the breakup where you really do go no contact, no info. Once you've gotten some distance and spent some time processing it, you might want to be friends again. Or you might not. Either is okay, but trying to push it too soon is likely to be unhelpful.
posted by Lexica at 3:43 PM on March 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


I see that you told him you wouldn't delete him for now, but you find it's hurting you to read about him. Delete him now, and change it later if you feel ready later on. You don't have to communicate with him about it, but if you want to you can write saying it's causing you pain so you're going no-contact, no-media, for however long it takes. He will probably be sad about it, but that's normal -- breakups are usually sad. But if he tries to change your mind, remind yourself that he's asking you to keep doing something that hurts. That's not right.
posted by wryly at 3:44 PM on March 7, 2018


on the other, seeing him take an interest in other women on social media is killing me.

So delete or block him. Be kind yourself. You don't have to see that nonsense.

On the one hand, I may want to keep in touch with him in the future once the dust has settled -

If that ever happens, you can always unblock or add him again.

Should I ask him?

What? No? It's nothing to do with him, and his feelings on the matter are totally irrelevant.

Should I delete him and his parents and his best friends etc from my networks?

Do you care what they say or do? Are you interested in reading their posts? Can you read any of it without feeling pain? If the answers to these questions are no, then delete them all. They'll be fine, I promise you.

(and if so should I contact him telling him why I feel I need to do that right now...

Nope, nada, no. Not his decision, none of his damn business.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:47 PM on March 7, 2018 [20 favorites]


Unfollow them all. If you find you give a crap about any of them six months from now (you probably won't) you can re-add them.

If you're so worried about not being able to find him again, write his phone number, address, and email on a notecard and stick it in a drawer. He's not going to cease to exist just because you aren't following him on social media.

It honestly doesn't matter what you decide to think about the relationship right now. It's going to change and evolve dramatically for months and years, so that your feelings even six weeks from now will be unrecognizably different from whatever you want to feel today.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:53 PM on March 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't think about this so much in strictly social media terms. Rather: Is there anything positive that you actually get out of having a continuing relationship to this person? I've stayed in touch with exes before. I've had that go well! But every time I've been like: Well, I mean, I still want to be friends with this person. Because I still want to talk to them and do stuff with them.

I realize that you probably follow lots of people on Facebook who you don't really talk to, but probably a lot of those are also people where at the very least, if you were having a really slow day and they said "hey do you want to get lunch" you'd be like... yeah, sure! You'd look forward to catching up with them in person and find them to be reasonably good company. You might at least hang out with some people if you were also hanging out with a mutual friend. You might be happy to talk to them for a few minutes about an interesting hobby they have if you ran into them at a party.

If you can't say that someone you actually know in person would be good company for you for even so much as lunch, you should not follow them on social media. Is there some reason you'd want to see his parents in the absence of him? I doubt it. His friends? They're his friends, not yours. The stuff they post on Facebook is no longer relevant to your interests, because he isn't your friend and therefore they are no longer even friends of a friend. If none of them are doing something that genuinely keeps you interested for non-ex-related reasons, delete. He's being horrible, but all of this would be true even if he were much less horrible than this, that just makes it that much more important to cut this off.
posted by Sequence at 3:56 PM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Listen to the me-fites. They know whereof they speak. This guy is a manipulator of the highest order. He wants you on a string, thinking he can pull you back and take advantage of you whenever he wants, because you are a sucker. Don't be a sucker. Drop him hard. Go no contact, grey rock. You have your memories of how well you behaved. Everything he did was a lie, but you were true and honest. He does not value that. Don't value him. He will hurt you again. Go to chumplady.com to learn more.
posted by Enid Lareg at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


Don't think that this wasn't an important relationship to him. From your previous questions, it sounds like he had already checked out emotionally but been too timid to actually have the breakup conversation. I wouldn't let the way it ended taint your memories of your whole time together. But if you can avoid spending too much time dwelling on it at all until you've got some distance, that would be best.
posted by serathen at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2018


I'm going to be the devil's advocate so you can see the answer is pretty obvious.

So you keep up with him on social media. You check a few times daily. See where he goes. See who he's hanging out with. See his relationship status. See that he never mentions you. See that he mentions Brittany or some other new woman you've previously never heard of. See that he's moved. To the same city as Brittany. See Brittany's engagement ring with his status, "She said yes!"

Why would you do this to yourself? You don't get any points for forcing yourself to look at things that upset you.

There is no possible reason to see anything he does on social media.

There is no possible reason to explain any of this to him.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2018 [37 favorites]


You can block him (and the others) on Instagram now and unblock them later if you'd like. They just would stop seeing your feed and, more importantly, you would stop seeing theirs. However, the door would be open should you change your mind eventually: all you do is unblock them and things will go back to before without their even getting a notification (not that I'm aware of at least!) Reconnecting with exes on social media is usually something one does after time and heartache has passed, often a few years later.

Think about what YOU need most right now, not what you may or may not want or want in a few years. You are being kinder to him right now than yourself. You deserve to give yourself a break and seeing his stuff is just re-opening the wound. You can always visit things later but I'd go no-contact for now. I have had numerous relationships in my life and this has always been the best option after a break up even if I've tried otherwise at first.
posted by smorgasbord at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Nthing drop him and his family like a hot potato! Free yourself!

Feel however you feel, except save the compassion for YOURSELF.

This guy is an adult, save your goodwill for people who return it. Eventually you will settle on feeling neutral and mostly forgetting he ever existed. As it should be.
posted by jbenben at 4:28 PM on March 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


Delete, block, unfollow, don't ask questions.

The good times you had are still good memories to have, but now isn't the time to dwell on them or try to contextualize them. Keep busy. Reclaim you-stuff. Don't look backwards.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:38 PM on March 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'll give you the same advice I gave my sister who can't seem to get over her ex. She said "I tried not talking to him, but that didn't work..." I said. "Try harder."
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:55 PM on March 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


Nthing that Chump Lady is a great source of information for getting over these types of relationships. There's also tons of great advice on Baggage Reclaim, for example recovering from a relationship with an "overlapper". Both blogs also have excellent advice on going no contact.
posted by jazzbaby at 5:06 PM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


When you remove someone from social media, we're lucky that the platform doesn't display, "Here are 14 stories from you missed today! Click to view! Unblock?"

So he'll disappear silently, you'll be happier, etc.

The guy I got over most thoroughly was the one that wasn't on Facebook until like, 4 years after I'd seen him last.

posted by batter_my_heart at 5:17 PM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Here’s something I almost never say: John Mayer wrote a song lyric about this exact problem.
“I will beg my way into your garden
then I’ll break my way out when it rains
just to get back to the place where I started
so I can want you back all over again
(I don’t really understand)”
This is what has happened. Your ex can only feel a deep connection and kiss you tenderly when you’re off-limits. Having dumped you, he has put you back on the pedestal on the other side of the velvet rope.

He didn’t appreciate having you, but he loves to yearn for what he can’t have. What can you do?

You can oblige him. Let him drool from afar.

Quietly unfollow him and his family on social media, and act like you don’t notice any follow-up questions about why. Let him keep following you if he doesn’t ask — let him be oblivious. You’re a star now — you’re a fantasy to him, and he’s a face in the crowd to you. You have too much pride and too little time to be a supporting character in his movie, just like Emma Stone doesn’t drop everything to be in unpaid student films by Joe Schmoes who have crushes on her.

If you get a little jolt from knowing that he’s desperate to win you back, that’s fine — just remember that you can’t go back, or the spell will be broken. His longing looks and suitcase-carrying charms will turn into pumpkins. John Mayer will be there for him if he needs a friend.

Out of the goodness of your heart, let him stay outside the garden gate. For his own happiness, really, at least until you can remember to prioritize yours.
posted by armeowda at 5:52 PM on March 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


My only concern is doing anything drastic will compound the shock I already feel.

I really encourage you to try to stop thinking of something like unfriending on social media as something drastic. This is like, the minimum required self-care in the wake of a breakup, and you will be able to add him again with little to no trouble should you find that you still want to a year from now (spoiler alert: you won't).
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:39 PM on March 7, 2018 [39 favorites]


Hmm... It seems like you're sort of grasping at straws here to feel good about yourself in the framework of that relationship, and the way that it ended made you feel sort of empty, sad, and desperate (*I say with no judgement!). Just from what you're saying, and how much his ideation of you and your ideation of you in the relationship means to you, it might make some sense to try to build up a stronger sense of self, a sense of self that can withstand loss and so on going forward. It took the loss of- what?, 5?- good friends/exes of mine for me to really grasp and understand that I had put way too much stock in these relationships, and the way these people thought of me (do they think I am horrible? Do they still care about me? Do they still laugh about good memories? Are they telling vicious lies about me?), and it made me feel pretty bad. However, over time, I realized that ~letting go~ felt ....really... good, and that letting go neither demeaned the good of the previous relationships, nor defined my selfhood in the present moment. I guess it's a matter of finding some way to hold on to both the good and the bad, while recognizing that the outcome of loss isn't hell. Also- fuck this guy, he's probably just some manbaby shmuck who did you a favor in the end by freeing you of his manbaby ways. Most people are recommending no contact and I support that too; also, maybe, invest in some new hobby so you can build up your sense of self-esteem while simultaneously distracting yourself from this (understandably) big blow. Certainly, feel sad,reflect, learn, grow... etc. But...It's not your fault! And- what he thinks simply does not matter, because what he thinks does not determine your value as a person. All the best! <3 You got this.
posted by erattacorrige at 6:55 PM on March 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


> Also, how am I meant to think of the relationship now? Can I still think of our time together as meaningful or is it time to condemn him?

You don't have to decide anything about these questions now. However you feel now (confused, hurt, angry, sad, grieving, etc.) is fine AND it is also not permanent. You can decide to decide LATER how to think about the relationship. You're still in the midst of a big disruption! Decisions about how to think or feel about what you're currently in the midst of can come when you are no longer in the midst of it.

I agree with everyone who's said you need to block or unfollow him and his friends and family on whatever social media platforms for now. Again, this does not have to be forever, but it should be for at least a few months. You have to get used to your new reality, and you can't do that if you're still living in the old one. It sucks and it's painful but it's also survivable. And disconnecting and going no-contact is not drastic: it's healthy. And for the love of whatever, don't tell him or ask him: he doesn't get to be the person you tell or ask anything anymore.

I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by rtha at 7:24 PM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


You don't have to block him, but do unfollow him on fb, unfollow on Instagram. Find some new people to follow. I would unfollow most of his family - it's just going to hurt. It's hard to deal with a breakup. Get active, distract yourself, let some time pass.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 PM on March 7, 2018


I made the mistake once of using someone's severe mental illness as an excuse for their treating me badly. I swear I'll never do it again.

It took 5 years for it to finally become known to me (and others) that almost all of this person's shitty treatment had nothing to do with his schizophrenia and everything to do with him being a shitty person who was taking advantage of people's compassion towards him.

What you wrote reeks to me of a guy who knows a little more about what he's doing to you than he's letting up. Another vote for unfollowing him and his family.
posted by fantasticness at 9:13 PM on March 7, 2018 [10 favorites]


How to think of the relationship now -

Something I blurted out to a long gone ex-husband, (who left me for someone else at his tennis club) was an angry 'ok, I'm just some link in the chain of your life!?' and at the time I thought it was to make myself feel more pitiable to him.

But I'm aware that those words needed to be turned around. And they have. His part of my life has been a mere link in the chain of *my* life. He was just one of many attachments I've made in my life, with man, woman, animal. As it happens, with time I know it's one of the weakest links of my life, even though processing his injury to me has been an undercurrent to other relationships I have had in some ways.

After treating me like shit in this affair, he asked to remain friends, well before the social media landscape we have now. I said no. Twenty years later we became Facebook friends for awhile but fuck, he was the same crapola guy I remembered. He has never maintained a relationship of significance and is a social loner. I saw some pro-Trump stuff on his feed and I just hit unfriend without a qualm in the world.

i know how much pain you're in now. It's so hard t make decisions like this. In a recent break up (~5 years ago) I got a friend to sit with me and exorcise the whole lot. It was awful, with tears, but the trauma feeling passed a lot quicker than it might have had I not gone cold turkey.

When you're seeing that apparently he can attract and be attracted to others you feel worthless and terrible, I know. Cut the supply. This pain you are in will pass much more quickly than if you linger on social media.

I also think it wouldn't hurt to puncture the balloon he's in of a salvaged guilty conscience by the apparent good graces he's managed to manipulate you into right now. He's a jerk, jerks don't get to take up your social spaces.
posted by honey-barbara at 2:13 AM on March 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


The "strange" post-breakup meeting you describe - oh, I've been there. We talked a lot, processed the breakup together, hugged, walked down the street holding hands - the word 'bittersweet' was invented for occasions like this. Later I found out that the very next day, while I was crying my eyes out, she hung out all day with her new partner. We were in very different places. (And stoneandstar is spot-on.)

You can, like me, still value the fact that you were able to have a peaceful breakup. But it's not a mutual breakup. He dumped you (after you had invested a huge amount of emotional energy in this relationship, as your previous posts make clear). Also, he did break up with you through e-mail and then didn't even mention the breakup while meeting you in person - not so great, actually. So, please, you don't have to "honour the break up" because of its peaceful nature. You owe your ex nothing at this point. Do create some distance: unfriend, unfollow, block - whichever you choose. Do not explain or justify this to him - reclaim that power and put yourself first.

The sympathy you feel for him - again, I relate entirely. You still want to help him and understand him, because you're still emotionally invested. Don't try to fight these feelings, but don't act on them. I promise you, sooner rather than later, you'll start feeling some different things too. Anger, amongst others. Take it as it comes. And focus on you. Best of luck!
posted by Desertshore at 2:25 AM on March 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


Kelsey Grammar was once asked during an interview about the best advice he's ever received. He said his grandfather once told him: "Kels, when you see a bug, you can step on it...or you can go around it."

I'd like to mash that advice up with the best advice I've received, in hopes that you'll see a patina of wisdom here. My father once told me, "Sometimes the best way to deal with things is not to deal with them."

Seeing your boyfriend interact with other women upsets you. That is a very normal and very human reaction. You have the power to avoid that upset. Delete without giving it a second thought. This isn't about him anymore...it's about you and you looking out for you.
posted by Mr. Fig at 3:11 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also, how am I meant to think of the relationship now? Can I still think of our time together as meaningful or is it time to condemn him?

These are not mutually exclusive options. You can be sad and angry and get warm fuzzies at certain memories. It can have been meaningful and he can be a jerk. But it will take time for this to feel nuanced and not black and white. To get there, yes, you should block him.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 4:13 AM on March 8, 2018


Should I ask him? No, go full "No Contact"

Should I delete him and his parents and his best friends etc from my networks? YES

(and if so should I contact him telling him why I feel I need to do that right now... No, that would be contact and you should go full "No Contact"

how am I meant to think of the relationship now? Think of it anyway that comforts you.

Can I still think of our time together as meaningful or is it time to condemn him? These are not mutually exclusive or maybe even necessary. It was meaningful to you regardless of how he feels about it or how it ended. You don't have to "condemn" him, just accept that you two were not right for each other.
posted by Julnyes at 7:15 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Do yourself a favor and block the "new women" too so you're not tempted to fb stalk them.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:37 AM on March 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


I unfollow people on facebook when they post too many inspirational memes.

Unfollowing/unfriending is not a drastic move. It's just a few clicks and then the thing that's bothering you is no longer algorithmically in front of your eyeballs every time you turn on your phone. No one has to know or care or be involved in any way. It's just like changing the channel.
posted by phunniemee at 7:38 AM on March 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


The point of no contact isn't cruelty or righteous bridge burning it's peace of mind, calm, and space to heal. It's a release from the pressures to ruminate, interact, stalk and stir drama.

Block, un-follow, disconnect. Give yourself time/space.

As for relationships well our expectations are sorta weird when you think about it. They ALL end. Best case scenario is death. We're literally hoping that's the way it ends, that's pretty unique. A relationship isn't defined by how it starts or ends. It's about the days you spent in it, good or bad, what you learned and how it impacted your life. You get to choose how to remember things.

Depending how I'm feeling most past relationships were delightful but unsustainable or terrible catastrophes built on lies. Perspective really colors memory.
posted by French Fry at 8:29 AM on March 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Also, how am I meant to think of the relationship now? Can I still think of our time together as meaningful or is it time to condemn him?

I don't want to tell you how to feel, but from what I'm reading, there is an undercurrent of dishonesty and manipulation in the way this person treated you, ended the relationship and has seemingly moved on almost immediately.

I don't think there's anything to be gained from maintaining any sort of contact, particularly in the short term.
posted by cnc at 9:51 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cut contact. You say "delete my ex" but nothing's actually getting deleted; you're simply pushing them out-of-sight so you can have a chance at some time with them out-of-mind. Unfriending him and whatnot is not the same as burning a bridge, at least when both parties are mature about such things (and if they aren't, well, it's just as well). You can reconnect later, if you feel like it.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:13 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


rtha said this but I'll second it.

Also, how am I meant to think of the relationship now?

Short answer: think of it as over. But yes I totally get it. Give yourself time to figure it out, figure out what it meant to you in the past.

I didn't meet up with/contact again my ex of five years until about a year after we broke up. That gave me a ton of time to get some perspective on the relationship and to process the reasons we split up. The farther away you get from the relationship the clearer your perspective.

This also involves some introspection. I'm not saying - by any means - to take responsibility for his behavior. Think about specifically what you want to avoid in your next relationship. What were the red flags in this relationship? What did friends and Mefites tell you about your relationship? Ponder those other viewpoints and keep refining your boundaries.

My advice for most life situations is picture yourself five years from now. Will leaving this relationship be a gain or a loss? What kind of relationship would you have with his friends and family after five years? Are you that connected?

PS. Do not ask him about any of this. He has no say or sway in your personal life or relationships from this day forward. It's not his decision to make.

Happy International Women's Day! The refrain at the meetup I was at this evening was, "I've got this." You've got this too.
posted by bendy at 11:28 PM on March 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Thanks for all your responses. For now I’ve unfollowed him and his family/closest friends. I haven’t done more than that because I sense we may want to reconnect in some way, however small, later on. My mother collected the rest of my things from him & said he barely looked her in the eye. I also saw something online that suggested (but did not prove) he has been leap-frogging to a new woman days after our break up. This news has turned my sadness and confusion at least partially to rage and motivation.

International Women’s Day yesterday made a big difference. I felt that my lessons with my students were especially important and the content I prepared seemed to inspire both boys and girls. On the way home, I met many women who had been marching and connected with them in various ways. It gave me a lift.

I think the reason the last time we saw each other felt strange was because it was almost date-like. I think the relationship had come to feel in a ‘rut (and I was the only one attempting to plan fun things). However it seemed to be a manageable one given we only had 3 months left of long distance. Anyway, during the time we spent together on the last day (when we didn’t discuss the break up) we were continuing to teach each other things and learn from the other. I felt stretched and motivated, much like I did on some of our earliest dates. And it was clear that he was enjoying my company just as much as ever by coming with me to get lunch and so on.

I have been looking at this thread: https://ask.metafilter.com/237071/A-good-man-is-hard-to-find. I think what kept me around for so long was that my ex seemed to have a genuinely kind heart…not just kind, but he was very tender. And when he wasn’t helping little old ladies stuck in the snow, he was assisting trapped animals and that sort of thing. As the Neil Young song goes, I thought he had a ‘heart of gold’ and I think that’s what kept me around.

However, I did not appreciate:
- That he was able to look me in the eye and lie to me about where he was going/who he was seeing. Although it may have only been once.
- He was consistently seeking emotional validation and having secret online relationships with other women…who I had never heard of, but who knew all about our business.
- He couldn’t communicate, so I felt I was just trying to iron things out all by myself. I began to feel very alone.
- He behaved as though holidaying with me/spending weekends with me long distance was a chore that got in the way of his old ‘single’ life vacationing with the guys.
So actually, I think he possesses a lot of qualities I do want in a man. But there are some key ones that are really just irreconciliable. Damnit!

jbenben was quite right to say I should save the compassion for myself. I have still saved some for him, but its mostly for myself now. I started yoga again today and have music and dance lessons planned for next week. Here's to a new start, little by little...
posted by Willow251 at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


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