“Hi! Your account says DM for advice 👀 so I thought it couldn’t hurt to try! I’ve been following your account and it’s been really helpful as I have been going through a breakup with a guy I had been with for 3 years and thought I would marry. We even talked about it and everything and then one day he decided there was something “missing” but he didn’t know what and he ended it.
I was reading a blog post you wrote where you mentioned when you were 27 you got dumped by your boyfriend who wanted to take you out on dates after the break up and you let him. I unfortunately have been doing the same 😞 For the past 3 months we’ve been broken up but I still see him or talk to him occasionally and I think it gives me comfort? But I know that’s not sustainable. I was wondering if you had any advice for how to deal with that and move forward?
I know you probably get a million DM’s but I would take any and all advice at this point if you have the time. Thank you!!!”
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
The easy thing for me to tell you would be to quit your ex cold turkey. The easy thing for you to do would be to continue seeing him ad hoc as a salve to your breakup, and the thing that lands somewhere in middle of what’s easy for me and what’s easy for you will maybe lead you closer to the way forward.
I dated a guy for nine months in my twenties. That guy dumped me, but he packaged it in a way where it didn’t really feel like he was dumping me, or at least that’s what I told myself. The intermittent “non-dates”, the innocuous texts and emails about ASMR, llamas, or any other mundane subject you might message a boyfriend, and his reassurance that I could call him whenever I needed made me feel like, in some small way, that I didn’t get dumped. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I held a candle for him – I mean, I would’ve burned down my proverbial house with that candle if it would’ve brought him back to me. But, in the same breath, I also knew that one part of me needed to move on, even if the other part still held onto that flame.
And so, I let my ex take me out at the same time I jumped back into the dating game. Maybe that’s the middle ground for you, as well – to date new people while still acknowledging the very real feelings you have for your ex. As much as there was a part of me that wanted to get back together with him, a larger part of me knew I deserved more than a man who couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be in or out of my house, and if I was going to burn down the house for anyone, it was going to be for a man who would be standing next to me even when everything else had turned to ash. You, my biddie, deserve a man who not only doesn’t feel like something is “missing” with you, but realizes that you are the missing piece in his life.
I wish I could tell you that I had the courage to break things off with my ex-boyfriend when I realized that it wasn’t healthy to be, essentially, dating my ex, but I’ve never really had the courage to be truly alone. Maybe that’s where my courage to relentlessly date came from – the fear of being alone and that fear being greater than any fear of rejection. Then again, courage and fear are two sides of the same coin. I often tell people that the bad-bitch-lipstick-dropping version of me you see online only exists not because I have no fear, but because I’m afraid of everything, and in being afraid of everything, I’ve had to dig up a lot of courage to do just about anything.
Maybe what you fear is not so much letting go as you do of what you might find if you do let go. Maybe you’re afraid, but maybe that’s what makes you brave. You’re brave because you know that, as heartbroken as you are right now, what’s scarier than letting go of your ex is not letting go and staying in this constant state of limbo. Start by letting one finger go, and then another, and then one day, you may just realize both of your hands and your heart have been set free.
Your internet hype woman
This really hit home for me – my boyfriend of 3.5 years just broke up with me last weekend and we are currently no contact. I’ve been tossing up whether we should be friends or not once no contact ends (we ended kinda amicably – he had an identity crisis that he felt he could not work through while in a relationship). But I have lately been unsure about whether or not I’m just trying to band-aid the break-up by hoping can still have parts of him as a friend… The love is there between both of us, and we were bestfriends, but I don’t know if its worth going through the hurt again. Definitely a hard situation and feels so much better knowing that I’m not the first person to feel this sort of devastation and indecision!
Anna Kai says
I’ve often felt that the relationship that ends in a fiery crash is sometimes easier to overcome than the relationship that ends “well”. It’s more difficult to fall out of love with someone who still gives you a glimmer of hope. But, I hope you know you’re worth more than a glimmer, and one day someone will show you that. In the meantime, do your best, it’s all you can ask for.
Just… Thank you 🙁 I feel the same and finally ended contact after 8 months
Ditto!! I know it doesn’t necessarily help, but I’m also in the same boat. I was the one that broke up with him because he wasn’t fulfilling my needs, but he still wants to casually date and catch up. It’s so hard to know whether holding onto that glimmer of hope is worth it or just putting you through more pain
I’m in the same boat. There’s so much turmoil here between wanting to move on and hold on to what used to be. And even now, 2.5 months into our break up I keep wanting to rekindle the flame, if even for a moment, and it’s been terrifying even getting the urge to date again, or see someone as attractive. Recently, I was asked out on a date and for once, I actually said yes. But almost immediately, the guilt and shame settled in and it now feels like I’m cheating on my ex (ugh). Can I ask if your ex knew that you were seeing other people at the same time? And if so, how did that play out? How did you ultimately end that arrangement?
Anna Kai says
You can’t cheat on someone if you’re not dating them. I didn’t tell my ex I was dating other people because he’s not entitled to that information just as I wasn’t entitled to information about who he was dating. I ended the arrangement over one of our “non-date” dinners one night because I started seeing someone else and I wanted to give that relationship a fair shot without the cloud of my past hanging over me.