Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Do I Make Him Feel the Lack of Me?”

Today’s letters are in honor of all the young women 25 and under who are struggling in love, throwing themselves at guys who give them barely a hint of recognition, hanging the whole value of themselves on whether or not their feelings for some guy are reciprocated, imagining their lives as essentially over if their future does not include the guy who only calls at night when he’s a little drunk and kind of horny. Ladies, I see you, I hear you, I was you once. Consider me the ghost of Christmas Future here with a message for you: It gets better. Your feelings for the guy who only calls at night when he’s a little drunk and kind of horny are not reciprocated and your future does not include him, God willing (please use birth control). Love, you will learn, is not anxiety over unanswered texts or spending hours trying to decipher the meaning behind one-word responses. It is not an hour of physical intimacy in the shadow of late nights, banking weight behind tender forehead kisses that really don’t mean what you think they mean, followed by days of silence as you try to “stay strong” and not “act needy” by, like, reminding him you exist.

Love helps you look for your dog who ran out the door without his leash, and love brings you Prosecco when you get a raise at work, and love reminds you that you need to pick up toilet paper on your way home. It is romantic, but not always obviously so. It is caring, and tender, and sometimes messy, and you will find it one day, but not by begging and not by strategizing and not by waiting three days before you send a text. Today’s letters are dedicated to those of you still waiting and still hoping the guy who only calls when he’s a little drunk and kind of horny might be The One:
 

My boyfriend and I started dating at the end of high school and everything was wonderful. However, once he moved away for university, I only got to see him once or twice a month and he would often ignore me. I would tell him I was upset and he would try to fix it, but overall things would go back to the same pattern; we were losing our spark. I tried so many ways to keep it going with him — I’d share intimate photos, I became close with his family, I brought him gifts, and I always tried to be supportive and loving. Still, after seven months of dating, he told me that we should break up.

I was in bed next to him and was torn apart, but I tried not to cry. I stayed strong, but he went on about how long-distance was bad and that maybe if we were single in four years, we could try again. He said we could stay friends and that I should give Tinder a try, a joke which I was not pleased to hear. He said he should have broken up with me at the end of the summer. I told him we could have a clean slate next semester when I go to university and it’ll be a lot better since I won’t demand too much out of him emotionally or anything. I practically begged him for a second chance, and he reluctantly agreed. The rest of the night went well, and I kissed him goodbye the next morning.

After that, he didn’t talk to me for a whole week. I was trying to see that if I didn’t initiate a conversation, would he? He never did. I was hurt as hell and eventually sent him a voice recording (since he dodged my call) saying how hard I tried to be a good girlfriend, how he was the one who gave me expectations for the future (I met his mom at three months), and how I wanted a clean slate but I can’t force him. The next day he responded saying how he shouldn’t have placed those expectations, how it scares him that I’m attached to him, and how he doesn’t know what he’s doing and needs more time to think. I responded with a long message trying to work out his commitment issues and said he could take time for his decision. I was really lovey dovey and hopeful in the message. I sent that message three days ago, and he hasn’t talked to me since and did not reply to the message.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should wait until final exams are over for him (in 1.5 weeks) for his response or if I should just tell him right now that it’s over. But do I really want it to be over? No. I just want it to seem that I’m confident and that I have the upper hand. We clearly aren’t talking and I can’t convince him to stay with me. What should I do? How can I make him miss me or change his mind without talking to him? I’ll accept if he doesn’t want to date anymore, but I feel like I’m unable to start the moving on and start the recovery process if I’m not even sure we are dating.

Please please please help. I just want him to be the one missing me this time. How can I make him feel the lack of me? — Lacking Me

Yeah, you aren’t dating anymore and you need to accept that and move on and start the recovery process. He tried to break up with you and you begged him not to. What was he supposed to say? He already felt shitty dumping you. Now you want him to do it again? Please, stop. I know you’re hurting, I know you’re sad, I know you really, really wanted this to work out. But it’s done. It’s over. He has moved on. He lost interested weeks, if not months, ago when he started college. Your getting closer to his family and buying him gifts and being a good girlfriend doesn’t change that. If anything, it makes him feel smothered.

He is telling you as well as he can that he wants his freedom. And who wouldn’t at the start of college? It’s such a fun and exciting time! I’m excited for you to start college yourself! You’re going to love it. You’re going to meet so many people and have new and different opportunities and learn a lot about yourself. But I want you to remember something: Whether or not a guy you like likes you back and wants the same kind of relationship with you that you want says NOTHING about your value, your character, or who you are as a person. It really doesn’t. And if you feel like you’ve lost the “upper hand” in a relationship, it is not a relationship worth fighting for. Because while the balance of power may shift between individuals in a relationship over the course of time, the cumulative power always belongs to the couple as a whole, and if you’re feeling that your power is depleted by your partner — ESPECIALLY early on (and seven months definitely counts as “early on”) — that’s a sign you’re with or pursuing the wrong person.

You ask: “How can I make him feel the lack of me?” It’s such an interesting question, and a telling way of phrasing it. You want him to feel that something is missing — that YOU are missing. You want him to feel the hole that you feel in missing him. Rather than wait and hope and beg and look for someone else to feel the same hole inside himself that you feel, take all that energy and spend it filling yours up. Someone is going to be far more attracted to the whole of you one day than the lack of you, I promise.

I dated a guy for a few months when I was 19 and it was great. But for whatever reason, it ended after I went away for a few weeks. When I got back, we fell into bed together, but a lot of trust was gone. It’s been four years now of our building a friendship and it’s an awesome one. We have a strong connection that people around us notice, yet he doesn’t notice it, or doesn’t want to. We still sleep together now and then, but we know it’s not sustainable the way it’s going. Yesterday he told me he wants to be platonic to protect both of us. I agreed because I love him and want his happiness over mine.

I went away for ten months this year, wanting to leave it all behind, but again on my return we fell back into bed with one another. He’s been casually seeing a woman ten years his senior. I worry about their relationship because I don’t want to see him hurt. I met her the other night at a house party he was throwing and they went to bed together. It affected me; I had been in his bed that morning.

I want him to be happy, but I can’t shake the feeling that we could be amazing. My feelings for him have grown and I full well know we love each other and are attracted to one another, and I can’t shake that he acts the way his does in spite of what he really wants.

I’m completely confused as to how to go on. — Protective FWB

I assume this guy is about the same age as you — so early 20s, right? And you’re confused about why a guy 23 or so would not commit to sleeping with and dating only one girl when he could sleep with and date multiple girls? BECAUSE HE CAN SLEEP WITH AND DATE MULTIPLE GIRLS! Why commit to just one ice cream flavor when you can eat scoops in all the flavors? Guys in their early 20s like a lot of ice cream, if you get my drift. They are not yet worried about calories and cholesterol and grams of sugar and all that stuff older people might worry about when they eat ice cream. And there’s so much ice cream to be had when you’re 23. It’s everywhere! And there’s so much time to eat it! And it’s not very expensive — a few dollars a scoop if you go to a fancy place. Or you can go to the supermarket and get a whole gallon for the price of a pumpkin spice latte and it’s great.

You say this guy loves you, and I bet that’s true. He loves you like he loves one of his favorite kinds of ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food maybe. Mmm-mm, so good. Delicious! I could eat a pint of that right now, with it’s ribbon of caramels and the chocolate chunks and, oh man, it’s really good. But I’m not 23; I’m 41 and I gain three pounds just looking at that shit. That’s the crappy part about being 41. That and the jowls and what motherhood has done to my boobs, none of it’s great. BUT! But! I’ll tell you what: 41 is awesome in that I am not 23 anymore and sitting around crying over some guy who likes eating lots of ice cream. And you shouldn’t be either. You don’t have jowls, your boobs are probably perfect, and I bet your skin is flawless. Girl, pull yourself together and go enjoy yourself. And if you really feel like crying over this guy, do it over a pint of ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food pairs well with tears.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

35 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Artsygirl December 12, 2017, 11:36 am

    LW1- You knew your relationship was floundering and you did everything you could to keep it going. He was pulling away and you tried to compensate for it by giving more and more of yourself, but that is not the way relationships work. Take Wendy’s advice and focus on yourself – be kind to yourself – treat yourself. And when you start college, be accepting of new things.

    LW2- You are your ex are in an unhealthy pattern. It is apparent that you want more in the relationship and he is happy with an open, friends with benefits situation. He is dating someone else and no matter that she is older than you or that your friends have noticed your chemistry, he is still dating someone else and honestly being pretty shitty about it considering that he took her to bed the same day he slept with you. He is not going to change, the situation is not going to change, so the only one that can is you. Stop sleeping with him and I would take a BIG step back from the friendship. I would start casually dating since I imagine you are sitting around waiting for him to restart your relationship.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros December 12, 2017, 11:38 am

    LW1: You should never “beg” someone to be with you. Do you really want to be with someone who has to be coerced into it? Or guilted? When everyone you know talks about their relationships and how much they care for each other, do you really want to be the one who is like, “Oh, actually, my boyfriend told me that he wasn’t into me anymore, but I begged him to stay with me until he felt bad enough that he just gave in!” What kind of relationship do you think that would be like where only one person is interested in being together? Boyfriends aren’t trophies. You don’t win just because you keep someone around. You win by having a healthy relationship where both people want to be together.

    LW2: Despite what you may think, you do not know him better than he knows himself. You’re telling yourself that (and trying to get confirmation from others) because you really want him, and it’s your wishful thinking that maybe he truly wants you despite the fact that he could date you but chooses not to. You’re chasing after someone who doesn’t want you and then trying to justify to yourself why you should keep chasing.

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  • avatar

    000 December 12, 2017, 11:39 am

    Obviously the advice is right, but I think we should take the focus off age with this issue. There are plenty of women with jowls and concerns about their weight who are *also* wasting their time and effort on male deadbeats (of all ages). Ice cream remains cheap throughout the lifespan. My mom’s 60-something dating issues are pretty similar to the ones I had at 20-something, and she does not date younger men.

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  • avatar

    Ale December 12, 2017, 11:55 am

    “You should give Tinder a try” What a dick.

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    • avatar

      Artsygirl December 12, 2017, 12:17 pm

      That coupled with the fact they were in bed together must have been excruciating for the LW. He was trying to tell her that he doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship and instead of being straightforward he attempt to make it a “joke.” It is apparent he is a very immature teenage guy who probably has never had to end a relationship before.

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    • avatar

      Bittergaymark December 12, 2017, 12:37 pm

      Eh, honestly? He tried EVERYTHING else and they ONLY thing that seemingly got even vaguely trough to her was the Tinder crack. Desperate times, desperate measures. Some people make breaking up with them damn near impossible.

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      • avatar

        Ale December 12, 2017, 4:32 pm

        Dude is a dick. But I also kind of find it funny. This was his last resort. I mean, here she is wondering if they are still dating. And wanting to tell him that its over so she can have the upper hand. Man…

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  • avatar

    K December 12, 2017, 12:45 pm

    “Love, you will learn, is not anxiety over unanswered texts or spending hours trying to decipher the meaning behind one-word responses.” – how true – wish I had known that when I was 23!

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  • avatar

    MaggieB December 12, 2017, 12:59 pm

    Really takes me back Wendy, and well put.

    In retrospect, what really strikes me is the large part of myself that KNEW what I was doing was dumb and foolish, and subconsciously made the choice to go ahead with it anyway, since hell, I was young and attractive and it felt good to be wanted back (in a way) by someone else I had wanted so badly. Once I got in too deep with my little young-adult lark, though, I was too invested to sober up and get out of there.

    In retrospect, I am SO glad that he eventually found someone else more thrilling and new, and broke my heart. Even though he still wanted to keep me on the back burner, that managed to snap me out of it and realize that I needed to make a concrete irrevocable choice to remove myself from the situation (which meant a move out of state–which was the right choice even aside from all this).

    Even if he had had a change of heart and committed to me, he would have been a draining partner I couldn’t fully relax into, because we had a history where I knew his devotion was conditional and selfish.

    I got lucky, but the guy I married a few years later has almost all the qualities I found so extraordinarily special in the last guy, plenty more of his own, and none whatsoever of the shittiness.

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  • avatar

    Sarah December 12, 2017, 1:08 pm

    WWS. Trust me, girls, there are guys out there that will actually value having relationships with you!

    I suddenly have a craving for ice cream, I can’t imagine why…

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    • avatar

      Bondgirl December 12, 2017, 6:44 pm

      You’re not the only one…..I can’t quite figure it out either 😜

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  • avatar

    Elin December 12, 2017, 1:13 pm

    Sigh. A guy with commitment issues doesn’t want to commit to YOU, plain and simple. They make it SO CLEAR.

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  • avatar

    Elin December 12, 2017, 1:26 pm

    Also I can’t help but post this here because it’s so fitting in both cases; literally nothing you say or do can change someone’s feelings for you. Watch the clip.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu-QjTNtDz8

    This is like the most subtly wise break-up movie and both LWs should watch it. I lived my life and dealt with my relationships so differently after seeing this.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie December 12, 2017, 1:38 pm

    A man, who is interested in having sex with women, will often accept invitations to have sex with a woman. He may have things in common with her, he may like her as a person, he may have mutual friends, similar sense of humor, all things that on paper, would suggest a really good romantic match. They may have dated in the past.

    However he may not want to ever spend time with her other than sex. Or he may not want to commit to having sex only with her.

    So women – if you get the sex part but nothing else that you want – then you are not getting what you want out of this relationship. Having sex will not change that. Having sex with someone that does not want to date you anymore, will not make them want to date you.

    Move. On. Already.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeys mommy December 12, 2017, 3:09 pm

    All I have to add to this is that I loveeee the ice cream analogy. And that I am happy I am 35 now, and no longer cry over someone else eating my ice cream.

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  • avatar

    Ron December 12, 2017, 4:54 pm

    LW #1 —
    You don’t have to agonize over telling him it’s over. He’s already told you that — multiple times. If you don’t contact him at all, he’ll hardy notice, beyond a brief sigh of relief one morning, when he realizes it’s been weeks since he’s heard from you. You want a commitment from him. Why? You’re going off to college in the fall and it sounds like he’ll be starting his second year, at a different college. If you and he are ‘committed’ based upon a brief end of his senior year relationship, then either you’ll cheat on each other or you’ll both miss a big part of the living-away-from-home and exploring new people college experience. That really would be a waste. Neither of you are at an age, place in life, or length of relationship (or remotely sufficient quality of barely still existing — if not totally dead relationship quality, to even consider a commitment to each other. He is looking at this sanely. You aren’t. For some reason you are clutching onto the shreds of this relationship out of some intense sense of desperation.

    LW #2 — different circumstances, same conclusion. Therapy to consider why you are so desperate. And… no, you don’t worry about your sort-of guy dating decade older woman because you love him and want him to be happy and not hurt. Your are being clingy and jealous. He isn’t ready to settle down and you both are really a bit young for that anyway.

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  • avatar

    BakerBabe December 12, 2017, 5:41 pm

    Rule of thumb when it comes to anyone’s feelings about you: If you have to guess, put it to rest.

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  • avatar

    Lucy December 12, 2017, 5:45 pm

    “Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food pairs well with tears.” – actual LOL

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine December 12, 2017, 8:31 pm

    Goddamnit now I want ice cream 😂.

    Ladies, really truly try to take Wendy’s words to heart. A guy who is into you will not leave you wondering about it. He will tell you, he will *show you*. It’s so hard dating when you’re young and still figuring things out. If I knew then what I know now I would have saved years of gut wrenching heartbreak. Be safe, respect yourself and your partners, have fun, and most importantly: learn to trust your gut and act on what it’s telling you. Deep down you know these guys aren’t that into you. You wouldn’t be twisting yourself into knots if they were.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy December 13, 2017, 7:04 am

    From LW1:
    “I read your column and agreed with everything. You actually also taught me a lot of very important lessons about being with someone who is young and immature. I was so inspired and so overwhelmed that I broke up with him this morning. It was really difficult and we both cried, but turns out he was going to break up with me tonight and said he couldn’t handle long distance. You gave me some tough love, and I guess that’s what I really needed. I’m really sad but I guess that’s just life. ”

    From LW2:
    “Honestly thank you so much. Your letter made my heart a little lighter.
    What you do is so noble, really. Sometimes all we need is a little third-party advice to settle our struggles.

    You hit on some incredibly good points. Things Iv known for a long time. I do need to date more, I’m not the most confident in any sense of the word.
    Its funny you mentioned ice cream as after my FWB and I chatted we went to dinner and our shared friend tried to convince us to buy fish food ice cream.
    I’m not kidding.
    Both his best friend and my mother think that when I date someone new, he may realise he does want me, but I won’t focus on that.

    Thank you so much again. I’ll keep you posted in future on updates. :)”

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  • avatar

    Rava December 13, 2017, 7:21 am

    “If you’re under him, you ain’t gettin’ over him.”

    Don’t know if she’s known in the States, but here in Europe singer Dua Lipa is on the radio constantly with her song ‘New Rules’, in which she sings that line. Thought it applied well here 🙂

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom December 13, 2017, 8:32 am

    LW1 You aren’t dating. He has tried to let you know that in every way possible, including the Tinder joke. You keep refusing to accept that he broke up with you and keep trying to force him to stay in a relationship where you say you haven’t been happy.

    You had a few good months and then you haven’t been happy. That is the sign for you to break up with him not try to force him to be someone he isn’t and not to try to force him to stay with you.

    Wanting the upper hand shows that you need to be out of this relationship. There is no thought of the two of you as partners in you needing the upper hand. You want dominance but that won’t change the fact that this is a failed relationship.

    Just because you meet someone’s mom doesn’t mean you are going to have a long relationship or spend your lives together. It means you met their mom. There is no long term commitment in meeting someone’s family. Especially if you all live in the same area. Of course you will meet their family. That doesn’t in any way indicate that you will end up married.

    He doesn’t have commitment issues. He sees that this relationship doesn’t work and just wants to break up. Most relationships don’t work. Your next relationship will probably also end. He realizes that you will never be happy with him and he needs to find a partner who is happy with him. That is what you do when you are dating.

    Don’t try to be friends until and unless you no longer want him as a boyfriend. Friends are people who don’t want to date.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph December 13, 2017, 11:07 am

      There’s a cultural narrative around meeting someone’s parents being a big step in a relationship and in general I think it is, but NOT when you’re in high school. When you’re in high school, meeting someone’s mom is the equivalent of meeting someone’s roommate. Because they, you know, live together?

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph December 13, 2017, 11:04 am

    Dude, if only I could print this, stick it in a tiny time machine, and mail it back to 23 year old me, because it was 8 years ago next week that my first very serious boyfriend dumped 23 year old me by text message (actually, blackberry messenger, because I’m old). And of course I thought I loved him, because I thought love was big dramatic gestures and shouty breakups and fiery makeups. But real love is mundane. And I’m so glad, because 31 year old mom of an infant me is too tired for all that drama.

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  • Copa

    Copa December 13, 2017, 2:39 pm

    Aww. Both of these letters could’ve been written by Teen Copa back in the day. It seems, based on Wendy’s update, that both took the advice to heart, which is great to hear. It’s the kind of stuff that’s hard to hear and even harder to believe when you’re figuring out what it is to love and be loved.

    The only thing I really have to add is, LW2, I don’t really believe that you want his happiness over your own. And I truly hope you don’t. Always, always, always look after yourself and your own happiness.

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  • avatar

    Zee December 13, 2017, 10:59 pm

    Hi guys,

    I’m the LW1 in this column. I’m reading all of your comments and I feel pretty humiliated. If you guys didn’t see the update, I broke up with him. I just wish things didn’t change from when they used to be fun and carefree and amazing. I’m pretty heartbroken but I’ll get over it someday. I didn’t mention this before, but this was my first relationship, my first love, my first kiss, and a lot other firsts, which is probably why I was so attached to him and ‘desperate’ to make things last longer. I feel pretty stupid reading the comments but I guess this is objective, anonymous feedback. If any of you have advice on getting over your first heartbreak, that would be cool. Currently feels like I’ll never find anyone I’ll love that much ever again, but I’m trying to convince myself that’s not true. Thanks.

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    • avatar

      Ale December 14, 2017, 8:48 am

      Zee, you sound pretty young so I hope you learn the lesson here that when someone tells you that they don’t want to be with you you need to BELIEVE them. Trust me. I am 32 and just recently learned this. You just can’t force things, you can’t force someone to be with you.
      To get over a heartbreak you need to distract yourself, take up a hobbie, go out with friends, family. Try to be as busy as you can. Take yout time to be sad, to cry, to devour a gallon of ice cream while watching chick flicks. You can do all that. Just try to cut all contact with your ex and I guarantee you’ll be fine in no time.

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    • avatar

      Amy December 14, 2017, 8:49 am

      I’m sorry that you feel humiliated. I think a lot of readers are a bit older than you are and there is a strong consensus that life in your 30s and 40s is so so so much better than in your 20s because you’ve learned these lessons in your 20s. You will find someone, and if you are patient and true to yourself, you’ll find someone who is just right for you.

      The other day, a friend and I were talking about our husbands and how lucky we are. Each of our husbands have even more awesome qualities than we could have imagined when we were younger. AND it feels so good to know that they think we are really awesome too. Hang in there and wait until you find someone who has the really great qualities you want in a partner AND who is open to a relationship AND who thinks you have the really great qualities they are looking for. He’s out there, but you both probably need to grow up a bit first.

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    • avatar

      MissDre December 14, 2017, 10:14 am

      Hey LW – Check out this article. Maybe it will be somewhat helpful. I really liked it. http://rolereboot.org/sex-and-relationships/details/2017-09-dear-dana-break-someone-move/

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    • Copa

      Copa December 14, 2017, 10:26 am

      Don’t feel humiliated! Most people here were just like you once. I know I was. I did some pretty embarrassing things as my first relationship was ending that now make me cringe. But I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes and dating guys who weren’t the best match, and you probably will, too. You’re really young so I wouldn’t worry about finding someone new or never loving anyone again. Just live life for you and have fun. 🙂

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom December 14, 2017, 10:27 am

      Please, don’t feel humiliated. We are trying to save you a lot of heartache by giving you the truth. We’ve all learned this the hard way by living it in our own lives. It took me about a year to get over my first love. Each of us is different so you don’t need to be over it in a set amount of time. You should definitely not try to remain friends because you don’t want him as a friend. You want him as a boyfriend and trying to be friends will be too painful. Cut all contact and try to fill the time that you used to spend on him doing something else so that you are distracted. One thing that helped me was I wrote out what I was feeling. I felt a lot of different feelings and writing each one out helped me to get over it. I was personally feeling betrayed and lied to and not valued and other things. If you begin to obsess on a feeling you need to find a way to release that feeling and move on. You may need to try various things until you find whatever it is that works for you.

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    • avatar

      ktfran December 14, 2017, 10:29 am

      LW, please don’t feel humiliated. I promise, nearly all of us have been in your shoes. I remember my first boyfriend. He broke up with me right after my birthday. I cried and cried and cried and tried to get him to change his mind. A few days later, we were back together… only to break up again a month later. I’ve been though a couple situations similar to this.

      Your take-a-way from this is that when someone is telling you something, listen. Also, it’s usually nothing totally against you as a person (unless you or he is an asshole). A lot of the times, breakups happen due to timing and life stages and incompatibilities/goals and what have you.

      Every time I had to get over a heartbreak, I would do anything I could to get my mind off someone until I know longer thought of that person. For me, it was immersing myself in mystery novels, hanging out with friends and family, and giving myself a little ego boost via a new haircut or outfit. As I grew older, yoga, running and travel also became part of the mix. Finally, I would block that person anyway I could. Social media wasn’t a thing when I was in high school and college, but now, I would delete them, or at a minimum, hide them.

      Good luck!

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      • Copa

        Copa December 14, 2017, 12:42 pm

        *raises hand* I, too, am someone who, when my first boyfriend broke up with me, I told him the next morning that he’d majorly messed up and we got back together literally two days later. We dated for two more months before we broke up for good. That second time, I was even more devastated than the first 36-hour break-up. So I wrote him an e-mail — it was the e-mail everyone tells you to write to get the words out and get closure, but NEVER to send — and I proceeded to send it. And I may or may not have drank a lot one night and called him. And left a voicemail. I was absolutely and painfully pitiful and desperate, but I got through it.

        I do remember well what it feels like to think you’ll never love anyone like that again. It’s been many, many years since that first big break-up and I have since had stupid/fun crushes, and liked other men, and dated other men, some longer-term and some shorter-term, and loved other men. I’ve never felt for anyone else what I felt for my first boyfriend, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing even a little bit because I’ve felt feelings that were warmer and stronger and, well, better. Different love, but better love.

        Heartbreak still sucks, and it’s still hard, and I haven’t handled every gut-wrenching break-up I’ve had since perfectly. But I’ve learned a lot, and would rather walk away with my head held high nowadays. (Thank goodness, right!? Like, I’d rather ugly-cry in the shower for weeks and be ultra pitiful in private than decide that incoherent 3 a.m. voicemail is a good idea.) I know I’ll get through it. I’m better at managing my emotions and filling my newly-empty time.

        I’m still single but a few years ago, in my later 20s, I became very comfortable in who I am and what I have to offer. I don’t like games. I won’t play them or be played now. It’s a great place to be, but I don’t know that there’s anyone who doesn’t have to take the scenic route.

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      Vathena December 14, 2017, 10:40 am

      Don’t feel humiliated! What you’ve been going through is such a normal – almost universal – experience. I’ve had to remind myself to have some pride when a relationship is ending, and a hard time accepting that someone didn’t feel the same way about me that I did about them. I definitely behaved in a cringe-worthy way at the end of a couple of relationships. Shudder! It’s tough, but keep thinking about the You of the future. Future Zee will thank Present Zee for hopefully kinda sorta keeping her shit together, and moving on gracefully from a relationship that has run its course. (This means no contact! Rip off the bandaid. It’s MUCH easier to move on if you’re not constantly circling back to rehash the same conversations, stalk him on social media, or hook up.)

      I’m 37 now and happily married. It took a number of years of mismatches, and unrequited crushes, and FWB situations that left me wanting more, before I met my husband. And there were no games, or scheming, or drama. We were a good match and it was easy to be together.

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      SpaceySteph December 14, 2017, 12:06 pm

      The consensus here isn’t that you’re stupid and we want to humiliate you, LW… it’s that we all went through this and we came out the other side eventually learning the same hard lesson that we don’t have to let a guy treat us like dirt for the privilege of being loved. There is love out there and you’ll find it and you won’t have to wonder if he feels the lack of you.

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