Why Bother Telling Off An Ex?



Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Mad as Hell
Comment: I want to know your opinion on confronting exes.  I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two years (who I met on OKC) because he is moving to WA and doesn’t want to do long distance.  Although the decision was “mutual” it was him that was less interested in doing an LDR.  A little back story, we talked about moving in and possibly getting engaged a couple months ago.  He initially agreed but between now and then he found a job out of state and moved just last week.  It all came out in January that he wasn’t ready for marriage yet etc, what a way to start the New Year.

Anyways, this evening I was on social media and did some snooping.  Apparently, he is not alone on his trip up to NY.  A female friend I had always had reservations about posted some pics/check ins across state.  He told me the general route he was taking up and what do you know her tags/check-in corresponded with the route he was taking.

I feel so used and taken advantage of.  I helped him pack for the move and continued to profess love up until he left.  He told me he loved me but he still didn’t want to do LDR.  In a moment of weakness I took screenshots and sent them to him calling him out as a coward.

I know he is technically my ex and what he does/doesn’t do shouldn’t affect me but this is huge betrayal.  He planned this trip while we were still together knowing damn well what it would look like.  While I am not proud of my moment of weakness I still feel justified to a certain extent in calling him out.  Am I wrong?
Age: 25
City: Somewhere
State: TX


I’m not going to tell you that you’re feelings aren’t valid. I totally understand why you’re hurt. But…I don’t feel so bad for you that I can’t say you brought this on yourself by monitoring him on social media. You’re right: he’s not your boyfriend anymore. He can do whatever the hell he wants. But you should have clued in to his ennui about your relationship when he magically got a job out of state just weeks after discussing marriage with you. I mean, helloooo? What does that tell you?

I have to say that I’m always skeptical when I hear someone relay that they have “talked about” marriage or kids or moving together with a significant other. I would bet in at least half those cases, one person did the talking and the other person just nodded along. This is why I take everything people like Dater X and Sheena Sharma and every other dating blogger says with a huge grain of salt. It makes no sense that your guy would talk with you about getting engaged and then turn around and move hundreds of miles away. There’s a disconnect there that you’re not picking up on. I hate to break it to you, but your guy was planning his exit strategy for a while.

You have no idea what the circumstances are of his trip to NY with this female friend. I mean, yeah, they’re probably totally doing it, but that doesn’t mean they were hooking up behind your back. If he started seeing her after ending things with you, then it wasn’t really a betrayal. He could have planned this trip with her after you and he broke things off. You don’t know. And you never will.

Look, I’ve done my share of social media stalking and have sent guys things I found. All that did was make me look crazy. You’re not wrong or bad for lashing out. You’re just hurt, and that’s a completely normal reaction. But you have to understand something: it’s uncommon for people to get the resolution or closure they want from behavior like this. Why? Because the people we’re accusing will probably lie. This guy isn’t going to tell you he was cheating on you or harboring feelings for this woman. He’ll say it all came about after you two split, and you’ll never know if he’s telling the truth. The only thing you can do is decide that none of this matters anymore and move on. Stewing about it serves no purpose other than to keep you stuck. I can assure you this guy isn’t sweating it.

That’s the other reason why confronting people about things like this has no value: they don’t care. They really don’t. They might feel a twinge of guilt, but they’ll push that feeling to the backs of their brains and forget all about it. So, really, the best course of action is just to just bitch to your friends and let that be that.

My guess is that you’re now regretting your actions and fearing that if there was a sliver of a chance of things working out, you just blew it, yes?

I’m going to spoil the ending for you: it was never going to work out. He wanted out and so he left. That’s it.




Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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27 Responses to “Why Bother Telling Off An Ex?”

  1. Mad As Hell (OP) Says:

    Thanks for taking my question, Moxie. You are right, the most recent convo about marriage happened exactly like you described. He always talked about the future in the first year but when we started to round out the 2nd year he got more and more vague about things. When I actually presented him with a 2 year timeline he just said “Yes, I’d like that”. We flew to meet his parents about 6 months ago and I thought things were going well. We were having communication issues but I didn’t think it was anything we couldn’t work out. Even he said “every couple has their problems”

    Although we knew the relationship was ending we didn’t break up until the night he left. I stayed with him until the movers packed everything and his car was packed. He definitely planned this with this woman while we were together.

    This whole thing just leave me flustered because he was my first everything. I understand things don’t work out but this just seems cruel. In the weeks leading up to the breakup I did call him out on applying to jobs out of state, that type of thing doesn’t just “happen”. He denied that it was intentional but I know better than that.

    Again, you are correct that my regret was sparked partially because I might have blown my chance. However, like you said, if he at all serious he a. wouldn’t have left the state or b. would have wanted to continue with an LDR.

    • ? Says:

      I totally totally get where you are coming from and am so so sorry you have to go through this. You are still grieving the end of your relationshig. You probably still have feelings for this guy. You have probably painted a narrative about your split that helped make you feel better….. and then this ! Your emotional consiciouness has to process all of this quickly and you can’t help but feel pure anger and yes, even hatred. You need to go othrough this hell for now. Your body, mind and soul need to go through this…but it will past. I promise you it will. It may take a while, but let the anger and hatred apill out and talk about this ad nauesm to a therapist or friend. Thie will part of the process of getting that hurt out of your system. But please please don’t confront your ex. It will only open up more questions for you. Your ex may slip up and say something to pique your disquiet even more and then you will get drawn further into that malestrom instead of fighting your way out of it. You want your ex to confirm your perspective of why the relationship failed. You really can’t win here. If he does, you will always keep that hope alive for a possible reunion. If he doesn’t, it will only keep you wondering and wondering and may even open up new avenues of agony and pain for you. He may even admit worse transgressions that you were not previously aware of. So yes, don’t contact or confront him. While you are healing, DO NOT have anything to do with him. If he does contact you down the line, respond only if you want to, and only if you are truly healed. God bless

    • BostonRobin Says:

      Nope, you didn’t blow your chances with this guy. It’s over, and in his mind, it was over way before he actually left. He probably sees himself as this “nice guy” who tried to let you down easy. Meanwhile, you were being the Cool Girl, telling that little voice in your head to stop nagging. I’m guessing it was the voice that told you that something seemed a bit off. Believe me, I’ve done the same thing. Learn to trust that voice and listen to it, because the more you ignore it, the quieter it gets.

      You’re fortunate that this guy moved far away. You won’t have to run into him around town now. Just follow the usual post-breakup healing protocol: block EVERYWHERE and do not cyber-stalk! Give yourself a mourning period–frankly I don’t think he’s worth more than one night of boozing it up, but maybe you need a weekend of ice cream and sad movies. Then get out and take care of yourself!

      And yeah, go no-contact on this guy, probably forever. IGNORE HIM, seriously. He’s a classic case of the selfish person who wants to be seen as a nice guy. “I don’t want you to think I’m an asshole” or “I never meant to hurt you!” Wait for it, some version of that will be his next text or email to you! But you won’t see it, because you will have BLOCKED HIM.

      • ? Says:

        Couldn’t agree more. My ex “wanted to remain friends” despite his gross betrayl over and over again. This was simply to reassure himself that what he did was no big deal and that it was someting I could look past. This was not him trying to let me down gently either – he truly truly wanted to be friends (ie calling me and dropping by my place every day – that sh1t)

        • BostonRobin Says:

          I’ve said it plenty of times here and elsewhere: they are not your friends. Now and then it works out that you can be friends with an ex, but it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth. Nearly always makes it difficult to move on too. Which a FRIEND would know and respect, so… see above.

    • KK Says:

      I dont know if this will help at all, but if your ex decided he wanted to be with you, would you re-enter the relationship, and if so, why?

      You helped this guy pack up and move and he was llanning a trip with someone else? You deserve to be treated better than that.
      You have every rigbt to be hurt. But also tbink about all the signs you may have missed and what was wrong with the relationship. And what you can do next time to avoid this same situation.

      Also. Maybe ask yourself tbis. Are you sure you wanted to marry THIS guy, or was it the social proof of marriage you wanted?

  2. Cooldude Says:

    “Wow, that person telling me off really changed my perspective and made me realize how horribly wrong I was.” -No one ever

  3. Fyodor Says:

    Bad people never think that they are at fault. If you confront you will be pulled into their bullshit justifications. It is the path to madness.

  4. jaclyn Says:

    I’ve had exes who have moved on immediately after our relationship ended, and it is always a really painful and sad experience. But if you confront him about things that technically happened after you broke up (even if it was only a second after the breakup), all that will happen is that it will solidify in his mind that he did the right thing by breaking up with you and he will forever think of you as his crazy ex-girlfirend.

    You need to cut off all contact for awhile until you come to terms with the end of this relationship, and you need to move on with your life. Honestly, you are really young and if he is close to your age, it isn’t surprising that he isn’t ready to get married – and that has nothing to do with you and your worth as a person. And someday when he is ready for a commitment, he may come back to you (although this will only happen if you handle yourself with dignity after the end of your relationship).

    What helped me after a significant breakup was to take a break from dating, and analyze what red flags I missed early in the relationship that could have signified that this relationship wasn’t going to last. That helped me identify patterns of behavior in men to avoid in the future before I wasted too much time on a guy who wasn’t going to commit.

  5. Jenny Says:

    OP, you are very young and, I would venture to say, quite able to pick and choose the men you date. I know that’s little comfort now, but you’ve dodged a bullet, pure and simple. I used to think living together without marriage was desirable, but I’ve come to see that it really is not. It lulls a person into a false sense of security. The fact is, cheating is always a possibility, even if you’re married. If you’re not married, but living together, the choice not to cheat may become even more difficult. Keep your own place, even if it has to be a closet-sized room, somewhere, and make it your haven. Don’t join finances with anyone! Keep your freedom, and allow whatever man you’re dating to keep his. If you choose to commit to him, keep it to yourself and don’t try to pry commitment out of him. Hold on to lower expectations regarding love and lifetimes together. It may come; it may not. Live your life for yourself, and be very glad you did not have a child with this man! Right now, you are hurting and, trust me, pain is not a stranger to anyone here. You think you will never feel better, but you know you will. Get out and date or spend time with friends, even if you don’t feel like it. I also find that repeated playings of Florence and the Machine’s ‘Shake it Out’, accompanied by your beverage of choice, preferably singing along, helps a lot!

  6. coffeestop Says:

    Telling people “off” especially when you are doing it with a romantic partner who hurt you, why bother. People have this strange idea the other person is going to see this as a “revelation” about them and have some great moment of insight and be appropriately sorry. It never works out that way. People either do not care they hurt you or they do not want to be made aware of whatever behavior was hurtful and they get defensive. Everybody is a hero in their own mind so finding out you are’t make you angry not sorry.

  7. mxf Says:

    I think a lot of men need a “life raft” before they jump ship. Moxie called this guy’s new job an exit strategy, and I agree, but it seems like the hurtful part is whether or not he’s with this other woman and withheld that information from you.

    Maybe loads of women do this too, I don’t know, but I think men who are increasingly looking for an out when they see the fork in the road ahead is commitment or departure start seeking a shiny new flirtation with someone, even if they never do anything that would be considered cheating. They aren’t being honest with themselves, but the point is that they aren’t necessarily leaving you for someone else – they are using someone else to pad their initial desire to leave.

  8. Jake Says:

    Of course women have an exit strategy before dumping a brah/dude. Women are notorious for this and highly skilled. They have moved on even before the body is cold. So, no sympathy from me when a guy does this to a woman such as the OP. Also, this is why guys always try to have options.

    Yeah, when a woman gets all bent out of shape over what I did and sends me a message or text like the OP I just think, “wow, I got to her” and “she’s crazy.” I am sure the same would follow if the shoe was on the other foot. OP don’t do that again.

    Anyway, these days you shouldn’t expect courtesy etc in dating. As the saying goes, all’s fair in love and war. I would go further by saying that no prisonsers are taken in dating–they are just bayoneted.

    • Shadowcat Says:

      I upvoted this for the last two paragraphs, true as gospel!

      (I chose to ignore the slightly misogynistic tone of the first paragraph…)

    • coffeestop Says:

      Actually if a man gives me a speech about his crazy ex or crazy exes, I tend to see that as a red flag and it gives me pause.

  9. Mostboringgirl Says:

    You’re 25. You’ll meet someone else next weekend.

  10. Shadowcat Says:

    25 is about the time you are still making an ass out of yourself like this.

    With both men and women, when someone breaks up with you in reality, they have usually broken up with you months (years?) beforehand mentally. They have already mourned the relationship, gone through a couple of stages of grief and are all excited about moving on to greener pastures. You, the “dumpee” feel blindsided (even if there were problems, red flags, even more if YOU were feeling dissatisfaction- “I can’t believe HE/SHE broke up with me! How DARE they, look at all of their issues that I overlooked!” even if you had your own reservations, you’re insulted. You were a step behind, and they beat you to the punch. They are at acceptance, you moved from denial to anger, and that’s why you lashed out.

    I’ve been on both sides of this scenario, I’m just glad that when I scrolled down to see your age, it was 25, not 45…

    Meet people, have fun, you’re beautiful and at your best!

  11. Shadowcat Says:

    Oh, one more thing, this has helped me behave myself…

    Listen to a couple of male friends talk about their “crazy ex-girlfriends”. Remember when a boyfriend (how about this one for example?) Talk about “crazy” exes from the past. Hear the laughter and derision. Now picture it with YOUR name. Picture him showing his present girl your texts and laughing at you, talking about you, listen to the sympathy she gives him (“OMG, what a nut!” she says to him, not really thinking about the fact that there is probably someone out there saying the same thing about there about her…)

    Keep that in your head whenever you want to make a fuss, and please, if you have to, install one of those drunk-dialing apps on your phone. At 25, you are still out partying, and believe me, after an alcohol fueled night with your girlfriends, you might come home to an empty apartment and lose all reason…

    • KK Says:

      How is that advice helpful? Whenever i hear my male friends speak about crazy exes, i wonder what the hell he did to make her that way.

      The reason why she shouldn’t text or email him is because it wont do a thing. If he ever realizes what a crappy thing he did, it wont be for a long time.

  12. Nicole Says:

    I’m sorry that you have to go through this, but with time you will forget about him (especially since he lives far away) and you will meet someone new to love.

  13. Dave Says:

    I can relate to this from the receiving end. Recently I decided to break things off with a lady I had been dating exclusively for several months, and it was the right thing to do since things were not working out for us due to some personal issues in her life. At first she agreed with me that it would best for us to stop seeing each other, but when the break up finally happened she didn’t hesitate to give me both barrels via text and email.

    My initial reaction was to think…who is this person and what purpose did unleashing all of this venom really serve? We had some great times together but the way she acted after we parted ways just about ruined all of those good memories for me. And now, I have no wish to ever have any contact with her again…even though one of her final emails apologized for all of the previous ones…it just further reinforced for me that I had made the right decision.

  14. RedNeckGeekGurl Says:

    Pay heed all women to what the guys are saying here…. Never react to whatever a guy decides to do with anger or hurt …. Especially if you have been in a long term whatever with that person. Because if you do – all those wonderful memories will be tainted with crazy!

    OK – somewhat tongue in cheek there – BUT …. You have to be alert and aware of the other person and those subtle clues that they may not be as comfortable with your view of things. It is difficult to be open with reservations and it is admittedly easier to ease out ….. I have done it and had it done … And learned.

    Oh – and for those guys out there that want to tell ME all about their crazy exes? Yeah … guess what I am thinking? Of the guy who when we were breaking up – the man who still talked about his crazy ex (after over a year with me) — used THAT derisive tone of voice he used when telling what she had said – to twist something I had said …. Cold chills … Will never hear a crazy ex story without that in my head …. And change it to ask what did YOU learn from that? Don’t want to hear the rest ….

  15. D. Says:

    So, here’s the thing. When your ex told you “I’m taking a job across the country, and I don’t want to do long distance,” the relationship was effectively over. You may have remained together, but in that moment, he was telling you “We’re done.”

    At that point, you had a choice to continue seeing him in spite of knowing that this had a expiration date, or you could have walked away then and there. You chose to stick with him.

    Now, there is no question that he could’ve walked away, too, and could have chosen to cut things off. Likewise, IF he and this other girl are hooking up (and you honestly don’t know, no matter how much you can reasonably suspect) on this trip, then yeah, it was shitty of him to plan the trip while you’re helping him pack and such.

    But recognize and own your choices in all of this. At any point between the day he said “I’m moving, no LDR,” and the day he physically left, you could have stopped seeing him. Continuing to see him was your choice. That doesn’t absolve him of whatever bad behavior he engaged in, but neither does his bad behavior absolve you of your choice.

    Once he said he was moving, it seems to me like he began to emotional check out of the relationship. Sure, he’s there physically, and you guys still do relationship-y stuff, but emotionally he already had one foot out the door. So, even if he packed up the moving truck, hopped in, waved goodbye, and then drove to go pick up this other girl, the truth is that, emotionally speaking, he was probably gone long before that.

    Shitty behavior? Yeah. You can argue how “technically, it’s not cheating” but if you’re arguing technicalities, your argument’s probably pretty weak. But again, you could have walked away at any point.

    So, what to do with this understanding? Why do I bring it up? Particularly in hurtful breakups, it’s easy to demonize the other person, while absolving yourself of all responsibility. It’s really tempting to just call the other person the bad guy, blame them, and tell yourself there was nothing you could have done.

    The problem with that line of thinking, though, is that it ultimately makes you a victim. It treats you as powerless to have altered the course of events. The more often you go down that path, the more likely you are to believe it, and the more likely you’ll be to not recognize your own power in the situation. Accepting your own responsibility for the part you played in this is, ultimately, about reclaiming some sense of control of the situation. Because you were in control of your choices. You didn’t have to keep seeing him after he’d made it clear that he was basically done, but before he physically left. And the next time this happens (if it happens, and I hope it doesn’t), you’ll have that same choice to make again. And hopefully, if it does happen again, you’ll know better how to react or at least you’ll be better able to accept the risks involved in choosing to keep seeing someone after they’re emotionally checking out.

    • Mad As Hell (OP) Says:

      D., you and BostonRobin (along with most other commenters) are correct. I knew the relationship was effectively over when he told me he was applying out of state. And to be honest, I knew something was amiss weeks prior when I brought up the future and he just nodded periodically, not contributing to the conversation in any meaningful way. Despite that, I chose to stay around.

      My first reaction to the news was actually to pack up my things and break it off. Then I started to second guess myself and decided I was “overreacting”. I wanted to be “supportive” etc when the reality was I was just unwilling to let go of what I thought was a great guy/relationship. I’m suspicious by nature and have a tendency to react intuitively, and because I wanted to believe things were salvageable I tucked that away and hung onto his words. This has actually been a valuable lesson to me. The entire month I felt like I was trying to hold on when I should have let go months prior. Now I know what that feels like so the next time it happens I can cut my losses sooner.

      Looking back there were definitely signs of what was to come. Its okay though, all of this has made the healing process move 1000X faster. I’ve just accepted that this was something I needed to go through in order to learn this lesson.

  16. mark Says:

    Mad as Hell

    It stings.

    No, it hurts. Like a punch to the gut.

    No two was about it.

    The long distance relationship thing, etc, etc.

    The only thing you can really do is take a time out. Let things settle. How long? Who knows? Only you can answer that question.

    Then chalk this up and move on. Easy to say, tough to do.

    If you don’t, then there is a real possibility that the lessons learned from this will jade future men you meet.

    Best of luck and hope things get better.

  17. Sarah Says:

    By your own admission, OP, you are a rookie, so it’s understandable that you would make rookie mistakes, like helping this guy move or acting “crazy.” Don’t beat yourself up over these things. Just learn from them.

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