He doesn’t tell her when we meet up even though nothing inappropriate has ever happened. I know he still cares for me as he keeps in contact to see how I am and, if I want to meet up, he is always available. I know if I needed anything, he would be there. He sent me a “Happy Valentine’s” text even when he was with her, and, when he went on holiday, he texted me every day. I am confused. Is he over me? Is there a chance for us to get back together? We have both grown so much in the last two years.
I just don’t know what to do. I feel like he has moved on and I am stuck in the past still after him. Is he keeping me on the side burner while he dates her? Is he happy to have two girls chasing after him?
Did he ever ever care? Did I ever mean anything to him? — The ex on the Side Burner
I answered a similar question in the forums this morning and my answer there is applicable to you as well, but I chose to feature your letter here because the message is important enough to broadcast loudly (especially since I keep getting the same type of letter over and over). I’ll start by answering your questions:
Is he keeping me on the side burner while he dates her?
Is he happy to have two girls chasing after him?
Yeah, it’s probably great for his ego, and he likes knowing you’re still there for him, kind of waiting in the wings, like you’ve never gotten over him or moved on. It probably makes him feel really flattered thinking he must have this much influence on you.
Did he ever ever care?
Sure. But that obviously doesn’t mean he cares enough to be with you and only you. It doesn’t mean he cares more for you than for himself. It doesn’t even mean he cares a lot.
Did I ever mean anything to him?
Yes, if he was with you for thirteen years and engaged to you and continues to exert the minimum effort to stay in your mind and the periphery of your life, then, yes, you do mean something to him. But I doubt very much that he has any true desire or intention of ever committing to you. I think you feed his ego, provide some sense of security (if things don’t work out with his current girlfriend or the next one or the one after that, maybe, if he is really afraid of being alone, you will still be there to fall back on), and keep him feeling connected to a different time in his life (when he was younger, when life was maybe less complicated, when his dreams still seemed attainable). And maybe, if you’re honest with yourself, his meaning to you and in your life is similar. Maybe it’s a reciprocal relationship, after all. But that doesn’t mean it’s a romantic or loving one or that you’re meant to be together.
I think your “no contact” rule is a good one, for now. It’s important to get some real distance to move on. You can still mean something to each other in your absence from one another’s lives. Your history can still speak for itself. And maybe that, if you’re ever to find a healthy, happy, mutually-meaningful relationship, should be the final word.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.