Question: I wrote in several months ago about a guy I was dating who’d invited me to Thanksgiving with his family, but didn’t want to be in a relationship. We were only dating and sleeping with each other, we said we loved each other, we did everything a couple does except calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend.
He said he wanted to lose weight, he wanted to get a job he was happy with, he wanted to be completely over his ex and other hard stuff from the past, that he had a lot to work on before he could be in a relationship. He said he had too much to deal with in his world to take on somebody else’s world. (I should note here that I’ve know him for thirteen years, though we only really got to know each other last year. His sister and I are old high school friends. His dad and I get along wonderfully. This isn’t just some random guy.) Anyways, all those things made sense to me. He told his dad he loved me, but wasn’t ready for a relationship; he told his friends, too. Believing I understood the situation, I asked for space, so he could get his stuff together and so I wouldn’t feel like I was being strung along.
He called drunk one night, saying he was a loser and missed me. I tried to be comforting and understanding. He called me drunk again on New Years and talked for an hour, literally an hour, about how he was talking about me all night, how he missed and loved me, how I was so thoughtful, and then started crying about the sweetness of the Christmas gift I gave him. It pulled on my heart so much that, like a dope, I went over his place. During sex, he did something that I’d already told him I didn’t like; I got upset. I didn’t get angry, I got sad. I just started crying and told him I didn’t like that and he knew it. I asked him to please talk with me so we could both be on the same page, so maybe he could understand, really, why I didn’t like that, and so I could stop hurting. He refused. He said he didn’t care. I was incredibly confused and hurt and broke the Christmas gift I got him (anger/violence is really out of character for me). He then kicked me out.
A month later (a day or two after I’d contacted a therapist to help sort out all my confusion and hurt), I got a three minute long voicemail from him, saying he was sorry, that it didn’t take him a month to realize he was wrong, but his ego was in the way, that I deserved better than that, that he didn’t want me to think he was a jerk who didn’t care, that he didn’t expect this to fix anything, but just really wanted to say he was sorry. I didn’t respond. He sent an email a few days later, saying he hoped I got his voicemail and that he hoped all was well with me and that he had a job interview soon.
I didn’t want to call or email, but I didn’t want to leave him hanging, either, because I know that that hurts. I wrote him a letter, snail mail, and thanked him for apologizing, told him he still meant a lot to me, that his apology meant a lot to me and that it gave me what I needed to heal. I told him I just needed space, to process everything, to feel okay about it all. He emailed me right away after he got the letter. In his email he made a joke about the thing he did during sex; I don’t want to say what he did, but the joke went something like: I’m sorry I did that to you. It felt amazing and that’s why I did it. If you weren’t so much fun to have sex with, maybe I wouldn’t have done it and maybe you wouldn’t be so mad at me.
He also said he didn’t want us to rehash/discuss what happened anymore, that he was tired of dissecting stuff like that . . . then he explained his side. I realize he sounds like an ass, and definitely screwed with my head, but I’m still hurt. He was the first guy I ever had sex with. I’m 30 and I realize that’s not common, but because of past sexual and verbal abuse, it was incredibly hard for me to let men get close.
Anyways, after his email, I wrote back, saying I didn’t think his joke was funny, and that he explained his side after saying he didn’t want to discuss it anymore. I wrote: people have the want/need to be understood, but they also have the need/want to not have to deal with hard things; maybe you needed both. I told him I still cared about him, but was very hurt and to please not write back anymore. He wrote back right away, saying he was sorry, and he included a link to a cute animal picture (I love cute animals). I didn’t write back. Several days later, he sent another email with another cute animal link. At this point, I was having panic attacks when I saw his name in my inbox. A few days later, I finally wrote back telling him all this was very hard, that he needed to be fair in terms of communication, to be all in or all out, to either have a long, hard discussion with me about everything or leave me alone completely. This was in February. I haven’t heard from him since.
Five or six weeks after I sent him that email, on April 1st, he got into a relationship with a girl he was already friends with, who, about a month or two prior, separated from her husband (a guy she dated for years and was married to for not even a year). After a week of them being boyfriend and girlfriend, he took her to Easter dinner with his family. I’ve deleted him from Facebook and have deleted my account all together, but the last I saw was that he was working out and was much “healthier and happier”; his girlfriend liked it and commented that she would “love it” if she could.
I am in therapy to help me deal with all the confusion, which is helping, but I’m writing to get as many points of view as possible; I’m still confused about it all. It’s May and I’m better, but I still get really sad sometimes. Here’s my questions: is it normal to still get so hurt/sad by stuff that happened three months ago? From the outside, his new relationship looks like a rebound, or a confidence booster for both parties, but could it be real? That blows my mind and makes me feel like he was lying to me the whole time about not being ready, which means he was using me, which makes me feel awful inside, because I believed him and believed in him.
I think this would be a lot easier if I wasn’t friends with his sister and dad. I’m going to her wedding later this year and am so scared to see him there, to maybe see him with this girlfriend who he got with so soon after me.
I’m 30 and I realize that’s not common, but because of past sexual and verbal abuse, it was incredibly hard for me to let men get close.
Okay, but you let this guy get close. That negates the “I was abused and it’s hard for me to let a guy in” reasoning. It’s not hard for you to let a guy in. It’s hard for you to let the right guys in and reject the wrong ones. This is similar to the excuses you read in the dating blogosphere. The women in their thirties and forties whining about how hard it is for them to trust men and that’s why they keep dating unavailable men or none of their relationships work out. The relationships don’t work out because the women are limited or damaged in some way and refuse to change. They like being the wounded bird. It’s a comfortable and convenient excuse to explain why they can’t keep a guy around. You can’t keep falling back on the abuse excuse to justify your behavior. It’s not an excuse. It’s a contributing factor, but not an excuse. I say that as someone who has been through a similar experience. We don’t get to play that card after a certain point. We just don’t. You just don’t go breaking items in people’s homes and then say, “But..but..I was abused!” It’s great that you’re in therapy, but if your sessions revolve around examining his behavior and relationship, you’re wasting your money.
I don’t want to say what he did,
Trust me. Most of us have figured it out. I get that you set a boundary and he crossed it and you felt violated. You are absolutely justified in being upset at that. Someone who does that doesn’t respect you. He then made it worse by trying to downplay it. This guy is a mess in numerous ways.
Here’s my questions: is it normal to still get so hurt/sad by stuff that happened three months ago?
Nobody gets to dictate when or how you process something. Normal is subjective. Is it destructive to stew in this situation? Yes. It’s not healthy. But you’ll get through it when you get through it. You have no experience with this, which is why it’s taking so long to heal. Like anything else, it’s a learning process. Trust me. You’ll eventually get to a point where you look at his Facebook page and laugh at him. Once you stop caring what he thinks, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to see him for who he really is.
From the outside, his new relationship looks like a rebound, or a confidence booster for both parties, but could it be real?
Sure. He could even marry her. I highly doubt it’s any more healthy than his relationship with you, though. He just managed to find someone who accepts and embraces his immaturity and stupidity. They aren’t compatible in spite of his issues. They are compatible because of them.
That blows my mind and makes me feel like he was lying to me the whole time about not being ready, which means he was using me, which makes me feel awful inside, because I believed him and believed in him.
Yup. That sucks. But I don’t think he was lying about being ready. I don’t think he is ready for a truly mature and adult relationship. Like I said, he just found someone who is accepting of his very obvious limitations. Someone who will fawn over him on Facebook and write cutesy replies to his lame commentary. Men like this don’t wake up one day and become self-actualized and mature human beings. They just find someone who doesn’t know any better and then hopes for the best.
You’re both emotionally immature. That’s why you engaged each other. That’s why you believed him. He will never truly understand why you were hurt. There is no point in trying to get him to see your side of things. He’s not capable of doing that.
Use this experience to propel you to the next level.