The Darker Reason We Facebook Stalk An Ex

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Name: beatrix

Question: Hi Moxie I am one of your long-time readers and commenters Today I have a question, and forgive me if this is off topic, because this question is not about dating, it really is about heartbreak and the foolishness of infatuation.

So almost 2 years ago to this date, I met someone and we had an incredible instant chemistry and connection. We had three dates and as it turned out he was “separated”. I found this out through facebook where he had pictures of his 3 children displayed, then confronted him. (yes he had lied about having kids and/or having been married). Yes that was horrible and yes that did not say great things about him. But I never forgot him.

He did not get divorced and as it turned out he is still not divorced. Now here’s the shocker. I keep tabs of his facebook. He has just…
HAD A BABY. A FREAKING BABY with some woman. I was not aware that he was even dating…I was still … dreaming that we could get together once his divorce was finalized.

Me? well I got my life together now, changed careers and lost a lot of weight and I am on the right track. I know this was all a fantasy on my part but…WOW. It’s like being hit in the head with a baseball bat.

I am so shocked I am not even sad. I am just trying to make sense of this, the wasted time and the romantic fantasy that was just that, a fantasy. I guess I am trying to see if your readers might have some tips on how to forgive yourself for falling for someone and realizing you are a complete idiot and how to trust people and feelings again after that.
Age: 36

 

So, you’re catching em at a very shitty moment (more family drama) s0 buckle up.

Can we please stop with the “How will I ever learn to trust again??” bullshit? You knew the guy was a liar and you didn’t care.  In fact, that only seemed to make you want him more. You have always known this guy was sketchy and you still wasted three years of your life pining away for him. Fuck all this self-care talk about forgiving yourself. Stop with the dramatics. You knowingly crushed on a guy that you knew was dishonest.

The question you need to be asking yourself is, “Why did I get so invested in a guy who showed such a startling lack of character?” Here’s the bottom line: he lied about being married and having children because you were never going to be more than sex to him.

You never forgot him because you wouldn’t let yourself forget him. This is one of the deeper pitfalls of social media: it makes it difficult to make a clean break. Knowing that you can still see pictures of them or keep up with their lives is too tempting. Listen, I’ve been there. I’m not going to shame you for the Facebook thing because I’ve done it.  But the reason why I did it had literally NOTHING to do with the guy and EVERYTHING to do with me. Why was it so hard for me to let that situation go? Because he mad me feel wanted. As pathetic and sad as that sounds, his attention made me feel special, and I haven’t had a lot of that in my life. We hold on to certain relationships like this because they’ve picked at a scab. That’s why we keep these people in our thoughts. They represent something within us that has never quite healed. We return to that person or place in time because we haven’t figured out why we were drawn to them in the first place.

You’re clinging to this guy for a reason and I’m telling you it has very little to do with him. Maybe, like me, you don’t get a lot of attention. Maybe he made you feel special for a brief moment in time. Maybe he’s a distraction to what is really going on beneath the surface. I don’t know. And neither will you if you keep thinking about this guy. So fuck feeling sorry for yourself because you knew the guy was apiece of shit from the get. Just like I did. Sack up and do some digging to figure out why have such a hard time letting go of this guy. Losing the weight is great and all, but if the internal doesn’t match the external, then it’s all for naught.

 

Thoughts?

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27 Responses to “The Darker Reason We Facebook Stalk An Ex”

  1. fuzzilla Says:

    I guess it’s one of those “feels safer to crush on someone unavailable because you won’t get hurt if you’re not actually participating” things. But yeah, agree with Moxie.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Since she mentioned losing a lot of weight, I wonder if this guy was part of her “things will be different once I’m thin” vision..? Even though she knew he was a lying liar who lies no matter what her scale said..? Yeah, she didn’t/doesn’t have enough going on in her life if she’s that fixated on some dude from two years ago.

      I suppose every once in a while I’ll look up some old OKCupid date out of boredom. I guess I’d be shocked and horrified if one of them turned out to be, like, a serial killer. But they don’t take up so much space in my head I’d think, “I’ll never love or trust again…”

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  2. Parenting Says:

    Nailed it.

    This has happened to a lot of us over a guy who couldnt give two shits about us.

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    • Brad Says:

      And this is one of the reasons that some men theorize that being an asshole is a solid strategy.

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      • UWSGal Says:

        Those men are confused. Women don’t like assholes because they’re assholes. Women like them because these men are exciting, and they put up with their assholeness. A boring loser asshole is just that – an asshole.

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        • Eliza Says:

          And by the way–nothing exciting about an “asshole” to me. The guy can be a world traveler and know so much about any topic, and be successful in his chosen field…but once he display he is a nasty asshole, towards me and/or others–it’s good bye and good luck…no tolerance for nastiness. That absurd theory of being a “bad boy” or that being a jerk pays off only works with confused immature little girls.

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            If an “exciting asshole” is successful, it’s because he/she is charming, probably good in bed, maybe know how to find partners who craves drama. If they’re assholes to date, it’s generally because they’re too self-centered to notice or care that they’re hurting someone else.

            Which is, y’know, shitty, but not the same as an angry, bitter woman hater who actively *wants* to hurt others. If that’s your deal, people can smell that on you and stay the hell away.

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          • UWSGal Says:

            But we’re not talking about a nasty jerk. Those are most likely the frustrated confused guys who think that’s what women want.

            The real “exciting asshole” we’re talking about is a guy a 6′ tall guy in great shape who who speaks 5 languages, sails across the Atlantic, takes you to romantic dinners, is able to talk about arts and culture, rides a bike or a sports car, and is this generally amazing person who we all crave and want him to want us and to care about us, except that he never does. He doesn’t care about anybody, he only cares about himself and our feelings mean nothing to him, and this is why he also does things that ultimately hurt us and leave us brokenhearted and stalking him on FB.

            There’s an equivalent of that for men too. Men love bitches! I.e. they love those exciting, attractive, popular women and put up with their bitchiness because they think these women will truly care and love them, except, of course, see above – they never do.

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          • BTownGirl Says:

            Eliza, if I could upvote this 23829748397429 times, I would. No stable adult without issues is like, “Ohmygod, he/she’s mean/rude/doesn’t care about me….I need to lock that down right now.”

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            • Laura Says:

              Absolutely. Stable, secure people don’t fall for it. But it’s amazing how your entire perspective changes once you get even a bit thrown off in your life, if you feel vulnerable, lonely, don’t have too much going for yourself or have too much going on and need a break. In such case “converting” the other person becomes such a powerful lure and you start thinking that if only you could get them to care about you, that would be the way to validate yourself and to prove that you’re worthy of love. And while you’re initially aware on some level that it’s just a fantasy, soon the line between the fantasy and reality gets just too blurred.

              If someone had told me when I was like 22 that I’d spend an entire year pining for a guy who clearly didn’t give a crap about me, I would have laughed. I thought I was wayyyyy above that. And yet, it’s exactly what I found myself in some time later. After everything blew up in my face I was able to confess to myself that I knew exactly what I was setting myself up for and how it all was going to go down, and yet I kept going for it as it somehow did make sense in my head.
              I’d like to think I’m smarter now and that I know better. But then again, I also thought it was impossible for me to be in that situation in the first place.

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              • BTownGirl Says:

                Oh yeah, we all have to learn our lessons in some way in our early-20s, am I right? Couldn’t agree more that if someone’s chasing these types, something else is going on that has nothing to do with the idiot they think they’re crazy about. When people talking about being an asshole as a strategy, how do they expect this to work in the long term? Either become a wretched human being for real or pretend to be one to get laid/dates? Neither sounds like an actual plan for finding a long-term partner in life. It’s just like the “men love bitches” fallacy. They don’t actually, but I have seen for myself men who get duped/browbeaten into marrying women who aren’t very nice to them. What happens every single time? Either they get fed up and leave, cheat then get fed up and leave, or stay for the kids and be miserable. Sounds fun.

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      • Parenting Says:

        Interesting point. It is a false assumption of course. Women arent attracted to men who treat them badly. The broken women just dont stop being attracted to men who treat them badly.

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  3. Yvonne Says:

    Perhaps due to her weight, the OP wasn’t confident about being in a relationship, so she fixated on an unavailable guy. That’s a good way to stay single. Plus, you can change yourself on the outside, and still feel, at least in part, like you don’t deserve a good relationship with a man.

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  4. bbdawg Says:

    Hi guys well more details: as it turns out I have had this pattern of liking unavailable men, even in actual relationships, being with people with whom it was obvious there would not be a future (i.e. much older man when I was in my 20s; married art history professor in graduate school; now this guy). I was not always heavier but gained weight in my 30s.

    After I sent this message to Moxie all of this became clear.

    Coincidentally, I was diagnosed with ADHD one year ago and lost weight since. I had lots of dates with online dating and was popular met lots of people but had not liked anyone instantly before, ever. There were men interested in me in the real world but I’d only like people who were unavailable and I avoided relationships and focused on career interests.

    As I found out more about this guy after the first date via facebook it was clear that he was lying. But at the same time the impossibility of it only made it more appealing. Also, we did NOT have sex, but had an instant chemistry that felt like a connection and it was kind of amazing. This was the perfect scenario for developing a platonic obsession that would prevent me from dealing with real relationships.

    The reality is that the more I think about this pattern the more I realize that I have some kind of serious attachment issue. I am an “avoidant” actually, liking only men who are not available for a real-life relationship. Not that different from men who don’t *really* want to have actual relationships with women. This is related to growing up with an absent father who left when I was an infant; who was a malignant narcissist and very critical, and a mother who was also somewhat self-absorbed. This led me to have these imaginary relationships with unavailable people as a means to avoid reality and relationships since I did not have a positive male figure growing up.

    Coincidentally the whole adhd thing is connected to where i was in my life where I had to change careers but could not focus; I would get distracted constantly and now that I look back I see that my whole life was a consequence of this internal chaos. The fixation on this guy also had something to do with the fact that he works in a field I wanted to move into, which is technology. He is more on the business side and I am on the engineering/design side, which I got into after meeting him. (I worked with design/art before but not on the “digital” side). So I kept him as an internal guide almost.

    The more I realize all of this the more I think I must have some kind of functioning autism as well, since I am very intelligent but I am socially awkward, and have a very active internal life. I don’t look like a nerd at all so this is a bit strange and maybe jarring when people first meet me, but it has become clearer and clearer as I got older.

    Thanks for the feedback Moxie and everyone!

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    • UWSGal Says:

      Isn’t medicine great, they now have a label for any romantically disfuntional behavior. And I am sure a pill too. Slap yourself sister. Seriously.

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Someone who’s had two failed marriages before age 35 shouldn’t be throwing shade at anyone’s well-thought introspection. Maybe this is something you should look into?

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  5. mxf Says:

    Hmm. My take on this is maybe different, but it reads as though the OP is actually confronting regret over taking the high road in the first place. Like, it is implied that finding out about his separated status and three secret kids motivated her to break things off, and she assumed she would be rewarded for her principled approach by him reaching out as soon as he cleaned up his life and was properly available.

    How does she know he hasn’t gotten divorced yet? It’s not really the kind of thing you can determine through facebook. But either way, it sounds like he continued to date while separated (whether he deserved to or not) and has committed enough to someone else to have a kid with them, or at least to become a facebook-official-baby-daddy with them.

    That’s one of the shittier lessons in life: you have to do the right thing for you without any guarantee of a reward. If you’re only doing the right thing because it’s The Right Thing, and the universe doesn’t get back to you with something that makes it worthwhile, it’s going to sting like hell. As someone who also used to put so much effort into being worthy of being rewarded, I can so empathize with how seductive and powerful the fantasy of him must have been. So just focus on what you could be having right now: you could be committed – and co-parenting is forever – to a man who won’t leave his wife for you, and who might one day be denying the existence of your child to some nice lady in a bar. And now get yourself a better fantasy.

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    • bbdawg Says:

      Thanks for this perspective. Yes when I found out initially I confronted him and said “divorces can take years”. I was not pleased at all and really got a wall up. After our last date he said he was not ready for a full-on relationship because he was still processing his marriage. Re: divorce – ok I’m a bad stalker – I found his divorce records online and I followed it (it’s public on the state he lived in). The divorce is still not finalized as of today. And the first wife is a serious alcoholic (this he told me). I confirmed it by looking up her name – I get several different newspaper articles about a few DUI arrests.

      What hurt I think is that I believed that once the divorce was final we could maybe meet again. And that his problems and liabilities made him “lesser” and therefore other women would not want him. And this kept the fantasy going. Once I found out that since I last saw him (June 2015) he’s had A BABY, I was devastated. I actually texted him and he wrote back “It was a surprise for me too, as you know life is full of surprises” which made me sick. My friends got tired of hearing about my obsession and were always alarmed by my bizarre crushes on men who, from their perspective were not good people or attractive in any way.

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      • mxf Says:

        I see where your friends are coming from – he sounds sort of hapless and not nearly as committed to a vision of responsibility as you were/are.

        When my ex and I split after ten years (at his instigation), I was wrecked. He had been struggling for awhile with personal stuff and I genuinely thought he was having a nervous breakdown of sorts. But weathering those hard times is what decade-long relationships are supposed to do, and we hadn’t, so I struggled but figured it was for the best. When I found out my ex had simply transitioned into a relationship with someone he’d met before we split (classic!), it set me up for some serious upgrade fantasies. I mean, I’d worked hard at getting over it: I’d settled into a nice new place, I was doing well at work, I’d toned myself within an inch of my life, I seemed happy and outgoing: any second, the fantasy boyfriend I was “owed” would show up and dazzle everyone and validate all my previous heartbreak. It’s embarrassing but I think I wanted to be rescued by basically a character from a romance novel – the brooding investment banker who secretly takes amazing care of his little sister ever since their parents died in The Accident, that kind of thing/cringe.

        I did that for a bit, but it made dating impossible, and it made me impossible to date. And I really did want a real relationship, so I went back to the drawing board on getting over it/myself. Therapy is great for that – you can go over and over patterns and feelings that your friends might be tired of parsing.

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      • KK Says:

        You need to stop looking him up online. You had 3 dates with this vuy. You dont know how he is as a partner. Secondly in regards to you being avoidant, so what? Does labeling yourself help the problem? And as for being autistic, go to a psycbiatrist and find out. It is a psychiatric disorder and ifyou are autistic it wpuld explain things. But a diagnosis does not fix things

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  6. KK Says:

    I was in a similar situation, except I still do not know if the guy was married. We were in a relationship for quite some time – well, at the time it felt like a long time, but it lasted a bit over a year. Anyway. I do not know if he was married or not, but I think he was. For myself, the way I got over it as much as O could was by reminding myself that I only fucked up by continuing the relationship after he acted super shady. Before that point, I acted in good faith, and I wasn’t stupid. After that point, it was all on me because I knew something was up but I really liked him and so i chose to ignore the signs. And the way I got over that was by reminding myself that he was better than any guy before him and I never could have imagined liking someone like that. And that is why I didn’t end it when I should have. And now? It just gives me hope, as, if I could feel that way once, I could feel that way again.

    Here is the thing. None of what the guy did was about you. He only wanted sex. He was married. It is not whether you were good enoug for him or not – he only wanted an escape from his wife and children. And, really, ask yourself why you still thought about a guy after you knew he lied to you. The fact is, most likely you knew something was off but you felt so good around him that you ignored it. That was what I did. So, really, all you need to know for next time is that you need to look at the facts. That is how you trust again.

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  7. Nia Says:

    You can trust…but verify.
    I actually got involved in something very similar. An ex from high school got in touch and even though he was married with 4 of his own and a step daughter, I started flirting, then we progressed to sexting and Snapchatting–and then I found out (from him) that he had another child he’d had with a “friend” who he had been “unofficially” seeing. She supposedly asked him to “give” her a baby as a favor before he got snipped. Btw, this child is younger than his youngest by his current wife. So…yeah.

    My reaction was “WHAT?” I didn’t say anything and kept the relationship going—for many of the same reasons people have listed here. Fantasy, not wanting to really get involved with someone real (recovering from a broken heart) and wanting to “win” the man. Embarrassing but true.

    About a month after I went to see him and we spent a weekend together, with all the “I love you’s” and “I’ll never leave you’s”, and me walking on air, thinking about being with him, I came to the crashing revelation that if he would cheat on his wife, the mother of his children, either they meant nothing to him, or I meant nothing to him. Neither one sat well with me. I came to my senses and broke it off completely.

    As Moxie has recommended many times, use critical thinking. Divorces can take time, maybe even years, that’s true. But is he keeping you in the loop and making your relationship a priority while he waits for the paperwork to clear?

    A man who has three children already is pretty clear on where kids come from; baby four couldn’t have been *that* much of a surprise!

    This makes me think of the guy I got involved with who had a baby with a woman “as a favor”–this is not someone you want to be with.

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  8. Bostonette Says:

    Excellent response, Moxie. Thanks for always being introspective with no bullshit

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  9. Jambes Marks Says:

    Moxie, do you wrestle main events? You sure look like you do.

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  10. Kim Says:

    Here is my advice. Let people reveal themselves to you over time instead of building a fantasy of who a person is. I think we all tend to do this. Become infatuated with someone we just met and then are hurt to find out that they “weren’t who we thought they were”.

    The reality is that you barely knew this guy.

    This doesn’t mean that you have to be guarded. Or put “walls” up. It just means that you should only fill in your picture of a person with things you learn about them, not things you fantasize about them.

    And sometimes, we learn that the person is not a good guy. And sometimes we don’t learn that on the first, second, or even third date.

    The reason this is so important, in my opinion, is that it helps us avoid “confirmation bias”–which is, if you don’t know, the tendency we all have to accept information we get about a person or situation that is consistent with what we already believe and to reject info that is inconsistent with what we already believe. If we don’t build fantasies about people, we don’t fall prey to that problem so easily.

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    • JMan Says:

      Well said Kim.

      I made this mistake a few months ago with a girl who I had a lot in common with and was very cute. So of course that got me attached.

      The problem was she just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and didn’t tell me until after our first date. Then throughout the time we dated, she acted hot and cold, had big gaps between our dates, and then I found out the hard way that she was playing me as she invited me over to her place the last time we saw each other and had an empty condom wrapper in her bed from another dude just laying there that I saw right before we had sex.

      She ended up canceling future plans and blocking me from social media like it was my fault. I mean that part was unforseeable on my end, but the bottom line is no matter how much we have in common with someone and no matter how cute they are, you always look at the big picture and never ignore red flags. Ignoring red flags will cost you in the end if you’re not careful.

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