Excerpts from my brain inside.
August 15, 2006 1:06 AM   Subscribe

My ex-"soulmate" is coming to my town by next weekend, and asked me to meet. Should I?

We never had a "classical" relationship, more like de Beauvoir & Sartre. 2 years ago, he got scared and ran. Instead of destroying himself he put it onto me.

I refused to talk/hear/see/whatever from him, but he occasionally sent IM messages. This year I felt like it would at some point make sense to pick the friendship up again. It really is/was that special and sure worth some effort. In march, there were no more free hotel rooms. In june: he IMd he wanted to meet, thursday. Sunday before I gave my ok (IM aswell), but I did not have an address to contact him since he probably would not be reachable via IM for the week. The next ... saturday he send me his address - but saturday was, well, after thursday. So we didn't meet. This would have been fine with me - if a friend hadn't seen him online on wednesday. And since I do not think that Instant Messaging fails only on the rare occasions you need it: he lied.

I didn't talk to him since. I did not use the alternate addresses he sent. But I knew from approx. march on that he would be in my town in august, and that this day would come. So here I am with a pending question on my IM.

I don't want to meet him as long as I have the feeling it's just bla-bla. I'd rather keep my peace of mind, or what of it I have been able to build up. So, is it just the never-dying hope that something might have changed? Don't get me wrong, it's not that I would want him into bed ever again. But I definately want him to be true to me, and true to himself. If he was, I would be the best friend he ever had. But, in there aswell, lies the hope that he would still want me in his life for more than chatting. Probably he simply doesn't and really means what he said 2 years ago.

Please help me out:
1. Should I meet him and see if it's just small talk and risk my fragile mental health for it?
2. Should I tell him to go f*** himself?
3. Should I simply let this weekend pass?
4. or should I ask him about it? I do not want to intrude or scare him off, on the other hand. Although it is not me he's scared of but what he thinks I see, in him. I can't change what I see anyway, plus I think he is wrong at this point. And I do not have any clue what kind of picture his mind built of me for him to "survive".
posted by ende-neu to Human Relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Since you say you are risking your fragile mental health, I wouldn't go. I would only go if I felt like I could deal with any of the most likely outcomes. It sounds like he's still flighty when it comes to you. I wouldn't hope for too much.

Also, I had trouble thinking through your post because these statements confused me -- want to clarify them?
"more like de Beauvoir & Sartre. 2 years ago, he got scared and ran. Instead of destroying himself he put it onto me."
"it's not that I would want him into bed ever again. But I definately want him to be true to me, and true to himself."
posted by beatrice at 1:16 AM on August 15, 2006

it's not that I would want him into bed ever again...But, in there aswell, lies the hope that he would still want me in his life for more than chatting.

You sound uncertain about what you want. Maybe you should put off meeting him until you figure that out?
posted by juv3nal at 1:45 AM on August 15, 2006

Hm yes. Some points still make me cringe.

As for the questions: Simone de Beauvoir + JP Sartre were together for their life, but in a non-exclusive relationship. More as an intellectually safe home haven... phew this is hard to explain in short.

2 years ago my guy got the impression I was "to close" (see q. 4), though I ... lacking words here. I didn't do anything, we live 800km apart, I never call, and everyone else on this planet thinks of me as too distant. We've seen eachother only a few times a year.
However, he went off into something easier as he ever did - a cheap new relationship every few months. But this time, he forced me to realize there had been absolutely nothing special. He forced himself more so. Besides the fact that this hurt me very much, I think he betrays himself and by running from every situation he never will be able to evolve. And I would like him to!

juv3nal: "more than chatting" would be the intellectual home base mentioned above. There's more in life than sex or talk.
posted by ende-neu at 2:00 AM on August 15, 2006

There's more in life than sex or talk.
More to life, sure, but how does one relate to someone on an intellectual level other than by talking? I could see how just being in someone's presence and not talking could allow you to relate on an emotional level, but intellectually?
posted by juv3nal at 2:03 AM on August 15, 2006

It sounds to me that you are--or were--too close and he's playing games.

If you're not able to have a nice friendship through IM or email, I think it's not likely to be a great friendship in person.

I think it has the potential to be very messy and you should cut your losses.
posted by Lucie at 2:09 AM on August 15, 2006

Your post reads like this relationship is one big wound on your psyche. Picking at it isn't going to make it any better and will probably make it worse. Don't have anything to do with him until you know you can handle it (and maybe not even then).
posted by biffa at 2:39 AM on August 15, 2006

For me, 5 years was about right. I was able to see him more clearly, tasty bloke, but not right for me. An afternoon's chat (with his current girlfriend, a quick hug good bye, and no more angst.

I think if you're still fragile, then it's too soon. What do you have to gain?
posted by b33j at 3:12 AM on August 15, 2006

No. Too soon if you're still in pain from it. I'm not sure why you let him get in touch with you at all... the only ex that I've hurt as badly as it seems he hurt you still won't talk to me. I'm OK with that, because it's best for her.
posted by SpecialK at 3:50 AM on August 15, 2006

Thank you all for your clear answers. Basically that is what I think aswell. Most of the times I find I do good in getting on with life, but ye know how it is. I just needed to straighten it (or have it straightened!) out.

I'll have a nice weekend at the sea rather than risking uninvited visits then :-)
posted by ende-neu at 4:15 AM on August 15, 2006

How many times does he have to hurt you before you get over him? If it's really at least once more, then by all means go see him. I think you'll save yourself a bit of pain by really giving up now, though. This guy can't make you happy.
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:18 AM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've been in a similar position. Your head gets filled with what-ifs and the only way to resolve things is to meet. I think you should meet him and talk things over. Whatever happens, you'll find out the answer to a lot of questions. Hope things work out for you.
posted by DZ-015 at 4:19 AM on August 15, 2006

Eventually, DZ- ... if she's still 'fragile' over their relationship ending, then she shouldn't see him just yet ... if ever.

My friend's ex is going to be starting school at the school I work at and she's a student at this fall ... he doesn't really know where her place is (and it's hard to find!), and we're thankful for that. But if he does find it, I've already promised to help her hide the body.
posted by SpecialK at 4:29 AM on August 15, 2006

Your head gets filled with what-ifs and the only way to resolve things is to meet.

Another way to resolve things is to just get over it on your own. Meeting is likely to just prolong it and get you hurt anew. This guy is not relationship material; you deserve someone better. There. Resolved, and you didn't have to meet.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:09 AM on August 15, 2006

If your mental health is still fragile, I suggest just put off the meeting. I don't think you can find the honest answer for your what-ifs anyway.

Second to Lucie....chalk it up as your losses !!!
posted by teapot at 5:16 AM on August 15, 2006

Mm. Been here...

Perhaps at some point you need to see him again to remember why he's a mistake. That point can be at any time, though, not necessarily right now. Soulmate or not, figuring this out isn't as urgent as it might seem.

I had to go through this several times with one person before finally realizing I didn't need him in my life. Now he wants to have lunch when he next comes through town—and I'm at a point now where that's okay, but not thrilling.

[[shrugs]] Sometimes soulmates don't work out. (And this coming from someone who fervently wants to believe in the existence of soulmates.)
posted by limeonaire at 5:31 AM on August 15, 2006

I've been there too. Met with him. Am happy I did so. Turned him down for sex (after four years, I fell in love with someone else, to my surprise and delight) but had a wonderful time. We talk/e-mail/IM more now, and I'm glad.
posted by desuetude at 5:54 AM on August 15, 2006

There seems to be a lot of hostility towards him in your question, to me that answers the question already.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:04 AM on August 15, 2006

Is your answer yes? Go see him and punch my fist in his face?
Man, I sometimes would love to...
posted by ende-neu at 6:40 AM on August 15, 2006

I actually think placing your question here and how you describe your 'soul mate' more then revealing:

* You seem unable to make that decision yourself and involve total strangers in the process.

*Most of what you write make him look very bad. Plus you write mostly about your ego's need, but hardly about your possible failures and shortcomings in the whole story (there is rarely a relationship were only one side is the 100% looser side).

* Your so called questions mostly include half a negative answer in them. So unless you see, formulate and offer real possibilities yourself tend your ego / wounds first, before your start any new process.

* There is a lot of 'he could' and 'he should have' between your lines. Once again - if you don't accept / see / formulate your part of the 'bad game' nothing good will come of a new encounter, since you still perfectly identify yourself with your victim role.
posted by homodigitalis at 6:55 AM on August 15, 2006

I say get out of town, go see something you've been longing to see for ages, like a museum , or your favorite cousin, or the childhood home of your favorite author. This guy is mindfucking you. You'll feel better if you can spend the weekend otherwise engaged.
posted by Sara Anne at 7:48 AM on August 15, 2006

number 4 is the right choice. dont let these things turn into some type of mind competition where each person is trying to figure out what the other one wants or thinks of them or, even worse, is trying to prove they are smarter and more secure than the other. thats all just ego and pride and frankly bullshit. what you need to do is have a real conversation with him-- ask him point blank what type of relationship he would like to have, if he still likes you, how he feels about what he did in the past, and if he wants someone to be there in his life. dont be afraid of asking these questions: it is how adults interract. if he answers these questions honestly you will know where his heart is and can make a choice. if he runs away from the questions or avoids their intent, then hes not ready for a relationship of any type (emotional or intellectual) and isnt worth your time.
posted by petsounds at 9:55 AM on August 15, 2006

DO NOT. Just DO NOT. I just had this happen this past weekend after having dated someone for 8 years and then not speaking for 6 months. We ended on good terms and he moved out of the country. There wasn't ever even any bad blood between us. Both of us had moved on but while I was cool with just having a small meeting and catching up on each other's lives, it was a fucking disaster, and now we are never going to be friends, and there wasn't even sex involved. It was terrible.
Long story short, if you want to see him, see him for maybe an hour for coffee. Don't draw it out. Keep deep talk to a minimum. You will get a feel for things within the first few minutes about where the two of you stand with each other.
The lesson I learned was just don't expect anything positive or you might end up sourly disappointed and ashamed that you ever had feelings for that person to begin with. If you can't handle the drama, just don't even bother.
posted by greta simone at 3:49 PM on August 15, 2006

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