Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): n_shrimp
Comment: this is really long, and i tried to be concise but it’s complicated. please edit as necessary.
My first bf from 25 years ago (who i was infatuated with even at 17- he broke my heart then) contacted me in early may on FB. He lives in Boston, I live in nyc. He had separated from his wife and moved out Jan 1, and was in the divorce process. his pretrial was july 28, and he fully expected to be divorced then so we only had a 2 month wait. he lives in boston, but we were going to make it work.
we’re speaking constantly via email, he starts complimenting me, telling me how much he’s missed me, there was always something about me etc. we email and talk for hours, every night, but he doesn’t ask me a single question about myself, nor acknowledge anything i have to say about myself. He comes here with his 3 kids the following wkdn and we pick up like we had never split up- feels so natural. his kids love me, daughter is crying when i leave, his son starts texting me.. no romantic activity at this point. He visits the following weekend and it’s blissful- i felt like i was on a drug, and realized i’d never been in love before, and it wasn’t overrated. If i could have invented a guy, he would be it. best sex i’ve had, he is, literally, the hottest guy i’ve ever seen, polite, affectionate, kind, (to everyone) funny, sexy, romantic, amazing dad….we were so happy. another amazing week in sf, and another in nyc. he talks about getting a part time apt in nyc, a future after his divorce, things are moving fast and i’m blissed out. I spend the last wknd of june with him- everything is great.
july 4th-his wife takes his kids, major drama stress.. i don’t hear form him for 2 days, he’s ignoring me, which had never happened. usually texted me 20x/day. Like a psycho, i freak out, called him a bunch of times, left a teary vm, texted, emailed.. and i was actually worried something had happened. he texts me later that night with a horror story of his wife/daughter. is very upset, and rightfully so. a few days later, he tells me that he is way too stressed to be a good bf to me, that he can’t handle any emotional accountability to anyone, had nothing to give and wanted to revert to casual dating. I asked him what he would do if I gave him an ultimatum (me or casual dates) and he chose dating, but said he didn’t even have the time or energy for it. And he was an emotional mess- on the verge of a breakdown- he’s not lying, and i know he hates being alone, it’s almost pathological. so i’m ok as long as there is no emotional attachment with these girls.
We’re still speaking daily, he’s sending me pics of his kids etc.. but, now i’m treated completely platonically. no i miss you, you’re beautiful etc..which was confounding and unsettling, and it happened overnight. i started feeling anxious, insecure, got clingy..we’re arguing a lot, can’t see each other for 6 weeks because of work etc. later, i’m later told that he was hiding his feelings because he didn’t want me to get more attached or think we were getting married. of course this tactic backfired and just hurt me. he was sincere, he actually spoke to my best friend about how to make things less serious without hurting me. but my emotions don’t have a switch, i can’t just backtrack. then his pretrial is pushed up 4 months, so my hopes are dashed. more stress.. he suggests taking a break while we’re still friends and before i’ve become so sad and angry that i’ve had enough, and seeing how we feel when his divorce is final. but i want to hold on. i don’t see him all of july because
he’s traveling, kids etc.
late july he tells me that he doesn’t see anything wrong with casual, local dating. i say, if you are really sleeping with other women, then i can’t have sex with you. I meant it at the time, but of course i caved. he tells me not to worry, that he’s too busy working and training for this marathon, he doesn’t tell me that he’s already sleeping with someone. so I feel totally sure he’s not sleeping with anyone.
he schedules an August visit We’ve been arguing so he’s hesitant, but he comes to nyc and says lets just take this slowly and start with one date and act like it’s our first date. he’s been distant. i ask him if he has a gf. a day before he’s scheduled to arrive. he says my instincts were right, and he has been seeing someone locally since early July, and still wants to see me but doesn’t know if I’m ok with that.
I have another meltdown- because it’s one thing to hear that he wants to date others, but to find out that he actually has been dating one person for a month, only a week after i was at his house and things were great, is a shock. I didn’t think he’d move that fast. He sees her because she’s fun and simple and a destressor for him. I am not fun and simple- his emotional fallout and overnight withdrawal, the divorce delay, trying in vain to reverse my emotions, finding out he needed casual sex and was having it shortly after i’d seen him, imagining him in bed with another girl, it all blindsided and hurt me. I became an anxious mess who needed constant reassurance and was having meltdowns, with which he was very patient. i’m told this girl is a relief to him, because i’m not my usual fun happy self. and if i was, he wouldn’t need to see her. well of course i’m not myself! He wanted to see me on his terms at his convenience and expected me to be A-OK with that. But I still
convince myself that I’m ok with this situation. Which I’m so not.
I still tell him to come! I go to his hotel room on Monday night and I bring a bunch of clothing as I assume I’ll be there for the 3 nights because that’s just what we’ve always done, but he says 1 night only, because ‘people who are casually dating don’t spend 3 nights in a row together’. He’s right, technically, but I’m upset. again. it’s hard to downgrade to casual dating after you’ve been serious for 2 months- in his email he signs his name, thanks, michael, like i’m some business associate, it feels forced and contrived. So we go out, and it sucks. he’s usually soo affectionate, has his hand around my waist, holds my hand etc.. But now he won’t even touch me, which hurts. Though I’m with him, I feel alone and awkward, but I put on a fun front as best I can and try to be my old happy self, but i’m not at ease. he reassures me that though he’s dating, he has no intention of getting into another relationship. He can’t, he’s suffering and about to snap over custody stuff and having nightmares. I can tell he’s on the edge. So I go back to his hotel, we’re wasted, and have shitty sex. I want sex the next morning, and he’s unsure, as he doesn’t want me to become more attached, and wants to make things less serious without hurting me. then, we’re sitting in bed, and he says ‘hypothetically, how do you feel about me sleeping with other women”, which a)wasn’t hypothetical because i knew he was because he told me and b)insensitive. I’m upset, AGAIN, because I assumed that dating=sex. And being sexually rejected by someone i had had amazing sex with countless times is awful. he’s clueless, but well intentioned so it’s hard to stay mad. . We see each other Thursday night. Still no affection until end of night, but then we have an amazing time, so i feel good. He leaves next morning, wants to come back to nyc to visit. he was his old self.
back to totally platonic. but still talking every day. i have no idea if we’re dating or friends or where we stand and don’t want to ask, but i finally do., the night before he’s due to visit, and he says he really likes her. I’m shocked, blindsided- i was so sure that he wanted to avoid a relationship. i’m a mess at this point, and all he can say is, i’m so sorry, i never wanted to hurt you. I can’t control my feelings, and i went with what i felt” he says ‘this just can’t work right now’ if he wasn’t so stressed he could deal with me, but not right now. I finally accept it.
we spoke briefly this wknd about some things i’d left at his house, and i discover that he’s just spent 4 days in Canada with her. We struggled so hard to find time together, and had so much fun before the divorce drama became too much, so this is unbearable and i finally snapped. i start sending texts, emails, he tells me these meltdowns are why he broke things off with me. which i get, he’s under so much stress, but he made his bed. I’m driving myself crazy with what ifs.. what if i had been more mellow and accepting, and just gone with it and not been so reactive.. would that have changed this and kept me in the picture? Did we have anything real? Was he playing me or just clueless? Is he a player? How strong could his feelings have been if he was willing to forsake me for casual sex two weeks after he had asked me to move to Boston? Did he stay in touch so he could keep me on the back burner? One second i love him, because he was nice to me and very patient with me always being
upset, but the next i hate him, and then the next i hate myself for ruining it. I feel like i’m going insane.
i told him that i could never be platonic friends with him, and he said that was mean of me, that he wanted to be friends forever. He couldn’t understand that nobody wants to be around the source of their pain.
And sadly, even after two months of emotional torture and volatility and heartbreak and crying and losing 12 lbs, from stress, I STILL want him back!! I’m still making excuses for him, and remembering how safe and happy and loved i felt with him for the first two months, and i’m driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to get that back.
and of course every single one of my friend and family warned me of this at the very beginning, that it was a disaster in the making, but i felt so good and loved that i dismissed them as cynics. I was such an idiot.
State: new york
Before we unpack this, I wanted to link to the previous letter you submitted a few months ago.
Okay. Now for this letter.
Fuck. This. Guy. Fuck him and all his words about how sorry he is and how he never meant to hurt you. And totally fuck him for being way more honest than he needed to be. Seriously. Fuck. This. Guy. He doesn’t care about anybody but himself, and that includes his children.
He took his three kids to NYC so he could spend a weekend with you? Yeah. That’s selfish. He dragged his three kids who are probably going through their own personal hell due to their parent’s divorce to another state so he can introduce them to another woman?
Listen to me: you do not want this guy back. Right now you feel shitty and awful and like you did something to ruin this, but you didn’t. It was always going to end like this. This guy separated from his wife and immediately started combing through his little black book and reached out to women he could bang. He was planning a new life before his divorce was even final. I absolutely believe you when you say this guy can’t be alone. He probably needs the security of a relationship to function.
I know this guy. I dated this guy. And like you, the way he treated me and how he handled things absolutely broke me. Not because I had feelings for him, but because – like you and this guy – his abysmal treatment of me triggered a massive several month long depressive episode. Guys like this are bad for us. They’re too self-involved and self-obsessed to even consider the feelings of other people. They’re too reckless with their words and actions. They’re unhealthy for everybody, but especially people like us.
While I have no doubt that your flurry of erratic messages bothered him, he’s AN ASSHOLE for trying to use that against you. This guy is like Lucy with the football. He builds you up and then, just as you’re about to kick it, he pulls it away and you crash to the ground. Then he’ll stand there looking down at you while you writhe in pain and ask, “What did I do?” And he will genuinely be confused, because he truly doesn’t understand what he did. It’s not an act. He honest to God hasn’t a clue why you’re hurt. He’s so utterly consumed with himself that there is no room in his brain to make any sense of it. Then, when you call him on it, he won’t just re-trace his steps to see if – maybe – he’s at fault. Nope, he will turn the tables and makes it about you and what you did to bring the pain on yourself.
Like I said: I know this guy. Intimately. I’m sure, to the woman he’s dating now, he describes you as some crazy pants who can’t let go. I guarantee you he will tell her about you, too. He’ll probably give her an abbreviated version of your history, which is what I think my guy did. I’d love to believe he had the backbone to tell his extremely young new girlfriend the truth: that I was a woman he cheated on multiple girlfriends with, possibly even her depending on the timeline, but I know better. He worked her up into a frenzy to the point where she was watching everything I said and running back to him about it. He in turn would tell her I was delusional. And, of course, because she was young and he was desperately trying to cover his ass, she believed him. He’d write me emails where he was a bitchy cunt rag so he could show them to his wife, then turn around and do a 180 degree turn and email me to tell me how sorry he was and how I was an open wound for him. I have no doubt in my mind that if he meets a woman who is assertive enough, he’ll cheat again.
But enough about me…
Girl, get yourself to therapy stat before this situation does anymore damage. And if he tries to do spin control by assaulting you with words, ignore him. He will never see things from your perspective. Ever. It is all about him and his feelings and his needs. He will say whatever he needs to say to walk away with his image intact, and he will mean none of it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my voodoo doll and stick some pins in it.
Seriously. Fuck. This. Guy.