Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Seeking an EXplanation” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Seeking an EXplanation” who’s ex-boyfriend had suddenly started contacting her all the time despite having a new girlfriend. Keep reading for an update … and a new question.

I am going to be honest and say that while I, at first, told him we need to not talk so much, working together and being around all the time took its toll, and we began to text and call each other constantly about the possibility of getting back together. This carried on for a good month until his girlfriend finally went through his phone and shit basically hit the fan. After a few emotional days, it was clear that we were not right for each other and we blocked each other’s numbers, we took each other off all social media, and he quit the job. It was almost like a race to see who could get the other person out of his/her life faster. We have not spoken since, and this was back in the fall.

Afterwards, the next few months were really hard to work through. I know I had made some terrible choices and saw things through rose-colored glasses. So I started to see a therapist and worked through a lot of personal issues, including things I went through in that particular relationship. I learned a lot about myself and the choices I’ve made. But now I have a new dilemma: I have been casually seeing someone for a few months. In the beginning things were great. He was calling and texting me constantly and always wanted to spend time together, but, once things started to get more serious, he backed off. This new man has gone through a similar situation of an on-again/off-again relationship like I had, and his girlfriend blindsided him with a breakup and a new relationship two days later. While we still get together every few weeks, I feel like I am the one doing most of the work as far as getting in touch, etc. When we do spend time together, it will be wonderful, but then I just won’t hear from him until I reach out.

I am in my 20s, and everything else as far as my career, school, and family is awesome. The only problem I have is trying to break this pattern of dragging things out longer than they should. Can you offer any advice on what to do with the new guy? (I should add that the new man was abused by his father as a child, and has been open with me about it. Do you think this has something to do with his behavior?). — Slowly Getting Better

 
Eh, maybe the abuse has something to do with his behavior and maybe it doesn’t. It really doesn’t matter though. It’s been a few months and the guy just isn’t showing enthusiasm about you or your relationship. If he isn’t ACTING like his wants to be your boyfriend, then he probably doesn’t WANT to be your boyfriend. I say MOA. You’ve given it a few months. If he’s still not calling you and setting up dates and showing that he’s invested, then he’s not.

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

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

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

16 comments… add one
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Sounds like you’ve identified the problem. There’s a super easy solution then. Just STOP letting it drag out.

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    • theattack

      theattack March 19, 2013, 1:17 pm

      For real. I don’t really understand when someone says “I need helping making myself do X.” Umm… then do X. Not everything requires some big therapeutic strategy. Sometimes you just need to straighten up and teach yourself some self-discipline.

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      • beelzebarb

        beelzebarb March 19, 2013, 1:29 pm

        You just reminded me of my cross country coach in high school. For some reason my neck/back was sore in a particular spot and I said to her “Coach, it hurts when I turn my head to the left to look over my shoulder. What should I do?” She said “Stop turning your head to the left.” Oh. Good call.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery March 20, 2013, 12:45 pm

        Yes, exactly! My back hurts in the mornings when I wake up. I think I am going to stop sleeping.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC March 20, 2013, 2:42 pm

        I’m not sure that’s very fair. It can be very difficult to stop a pattern of repeated behavior, and the person wouldn’t write in if it were that easy for them. In my mind it’s sort of like telling a person with depression to just snap out of it because you can’t relate to it yourself. Just because something isn’t difficult for you doesn’t mean it easy for someone else.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay March 19, 2013, 1:28 pm

    So true, Wendy: If a guy doesn’t act like he wants to be your boyfriend, then he doesn’t. Just because he sometimes might act like it doesn’t mean anything. He’s just trying to keep you around without having to commit.

    I’m also not a fan of giving someone the benefit of the doubt because they had a rough childhood or were treated badly by past girlfriends. A lot of times that person is just a jerk. Or just isnt into you. Or they want to sleep around. Something I learned the hard way — just because a person has been through a lot doesn’t mean they have learned not to treat others badly or that everything in their life has some deeper meaning. And even if some sort of past experiences influenced how they feel about relationships, you don’t want to get involved with them until THEY’VE figured it out and gotten over their issues.

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    • cmary

      cmary March 19, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Well said, Lindsay! I’m not discounting the fact that things that happen in childhood have lasting effects on people as adults. But doesn’t there come a time when you have to learn how to function as an adult, and a member of society, despite those things? I had an ex break up with me, seemingly out of the blue, because his dad had left when he was 10 and he had “a fear of abandonment.” Which, yes, is bullshit, but to even give it as a reason makes him sound like in the 30 years since then he hadn’t grown at all…which isn’t much better than any other bullshit reason, if you ask me.

      And I can’t agree more with Wendy’s point: if he isn’t acting like he wants to be your boyfriend, he probably doesn’t want to be your boyfriend.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 19, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I feel everyone is a lot nicer than me when it comes to this issue. If something bad happened in your childhood and you can identify it as a problem for you – then go fix it. It doesn’t get to be your ‘get out of jail card’ for all of eternity because your dad beat you or left you or whatever else happened. If you are an adult then you are responsible for your choices – take your excuses and do unspeakable things with them.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny March 19, 2013, 3:06 pm

        +1000000000

        If shitty things were done to you when you were a kid, I’m really sorry that happened, it was not your fault and you didn’t deserve it. If you are doing shitty things to me now, that is 100 percent your fault and you need to knock that shit off or we can’t be friends anymore.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 3:07 pm

        SOOOO many people buy into that though. Its annoying.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson March 19, 2013, 3:10 pm

        YES.

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      • avatar

        bethany March 19, 2013, 3:21 pm

        ITA. I’ve always said that if you’re self aware enough to identify the problem (ex: abandonment issues because of your parent’s divorce), you should be able to start working on those issues.

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  • avatar

    Leah March 19, 2013, 3:52 pm

    It seems like a lot of women right into DW with some variation of this question: how can I MOA from someone who is treating me badly? Don’t beat yourself up, either! Most of the updates after those sorts of letters involve things getting exponentially worse before the LW finally ends it, just like you. Identifying the fact that this is a pattern of yours that’s not serving you well is a fantastic start to changing things.

    My advice is to make sure you’re judging the man you’re with on his behavior, not his potential behavior. This last guy made you do all the work to maintain the relationship and by not staying in touch and by doing so sent the message that you weren’t important to him. Sure, the dates were great, and I have a feeling you said something along the lines of “if only he were like this all the time, our relationship would be great!” It had the potential to be great, sure, but if he blew you off for two weeks straight and then you have one fantastic day together, that means he’s still treated you badly for over 90% of that period of time. If a guy’s behavior is mostly crappy to you, or great most of the time punctuated by short periods of being a complete asshole, then it’s not worth it. I think women hold on longer than they should because they think he’ll change and that crappy part will just go away, but it usually doesn’t. Great men treat you well from the beginning or, if they do something hurtful, take immediate steps to fix things and make amends. Sticking around another six months usually won’t change anything.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet March 19, 2013, 4:40 pm

    Heyyy, the initial entry was on my birthday last year! Whoa have I come a long way since then.

    LW, don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t care enough about you to even TEXT. If he’s not even texting you, I can guarantee that he’s not thinking about you.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 1:25 am

    He’s just not THAT into, LW. Stop wasting your time on this one. You can and will do better.

    Bad childhoods should make more people simply strive to have a better life. Hey, I had a great childhood. Only it’s been downhill ever since. Trust me, I’d much rather have had a great adulthood than childhood. The great childhood can really set you up for failure as you have unrealistic expectations.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery March 20, 2013, 12:48 pm

      Aw man. Your 2nd pararaph just made me depressed.

      Reply Link

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