“How Can I Get My Ex Back?”

Three weeks ago, my 8-month relationship ended. I don’t know how much of the context is relevant, so I will just give you the whole background. “Jane” and I met for dinner three times before we were exclusive. After the second time we met, I learned from one of her friends, whom we ran into at dinner, that Jane was seeing somebody. I responded to this news by e-mailing Jane and telling her I was hurt. Then, I saw Jane the third time and I poured my heart out. I told her I really liked her. Five days later she had broken up with the guy she was casually seeing, and we started dating exclusively.

The first 6-7 weeks of the relationship we had no problems. On week 6 of the relationship, Jane had brunch with her ex-boyfriend from two relationships back. This made me nervous despite the fact that nothing intimate happened at the brunch. Then, a couple weeks later, she met a guy for drinks. There are two ways of looking at this: 1) this guy legitimately could become a professional contact and they have a lot of shared interests; or 2) she was interested in him and wanted to test the waters to see if he was an option. The next night she and ten other people went to the same guy’s apartment to plan a political fundraiser. For the next 2-3 months the two of them were in regular contact to plan the political fundraiser over e-mail, text, gchat, facebook, etc. I don’t know the content of their conversations because I never looked. Five months into our relationship, the fundraiser occurred, I was there, I met the guy, the fundraiser went well, etc. Then, a month later (six months into our relationship), this same guy invited Jane to a happy hour with his friends which my ex-girlfriend attended and at which she had fun.

During the seventh month of our relationship, Jane had drinks with another guy. Again, two ways of looking at it: 1) this guy legitimately could become a professional contact and they have a lot of shared interests; or 2) she was interested in him and wanted to test the waters to see if he was an option. When they met, according to Jane, she heard that this second guy lived close to her office and he had a sofa, so she asked if she could sleep on his sofa if she had to work late. Finally, after this all happened, I started to express to her that I felt like she was at the very least conflicted about me, like she liked me, but, at the time, she also wanted to see if there were other options. She said she wasn’t attracted to the first guy, and she said she had hooked up with the second guy in high school and did not want to do that again.

In addition, during the final four months of the relationship we had sex one time. I am 24 and she is 23. During the last 2-3 weeks of the relationship, we had a lot of conversation about the lack of sex and she could not explain it. One excuse was that her birth-control medication was preventing her from having sexual desire, but, generally, she just said she was not interested in having sex.

In addition, when Jane was stressed, she just shut down. She would isolate herself from everybody — me, her parents (she lived with her parents), and her friends and would just spend time with her cat. She would not talk to me sometimes for three or four days. In addition, she did not make the effort during the relationship to come and see me; I, most of the time, had to go to her and she would never do anything unexpected for me, there was no spontaneity. She also admitted that, at times during the relationship, she still had feelings for the ex she had brunch with in week 6 or 7 of the relationship.

At this point, you might be thinking well why would you want to be with this person? There are some intangible things that we do really well together. My faith is really important to me and I want to date someone of the same faith. Plus, we have a common interest (politics) AND there are not many people where I am that are of the same faith and civic-minded, too. She is also an ambitious, smart, type-A personality, which I like.

Since the break-up, I have tried to reach out to her to apologize and to take responsibility for my part in the breakdown of the relationship. (I was too intense, too quickly, I put a lot of pressure on her to advance the relationship quickly, I initiated a lot of the conversation and still do, and I did not give her the space to own her part of the relationship). But she is mostly stonewalling me. She told me once she was not interested but to revisit the issue in a couple of weeks; a couple of weeks went by and now she is just blowing me off. (She says, “I really can’t talk today” and then does not propose an alternative time).

With all of this in mind, how do I either detach myself from the relationship quickly or encourage a change in perspective from her where she is romantically interested in me? — Missing Her

The ship has sailed. It started leaving the port way back in week 6 or whatever when Jane had brunch with her ex-boyfriend whom she still had feelings for. And if you spent the last half of your 8-month relationship not having sex, the relationship was essentially over many months ago. It’s telling that you waited until the final 2-3 weeks of your relationship, after not having sex for like 3 1/2 months, to start discussing WHY you weren’t banging. I can tell you why: she wasn’t into you anymore. Maybe she never was. Maybe YOU were the option she was testing out and she only became exclusive with you because she felt pressured. She liked you well enough to keep testing you out and she felt like, if she didn’t say yes to being exclusive, she’d miss out on you and would wonder where things might have gone between you. And now you both know where things went. The ship sailed and you aren’t on it.

So, what do you do now? You MOA. I’m sure Jane is a lovely young woman and you like that you share the same faith and common interests, but I think it’s time for you to re-prioritize the traits you are looking for in a partner. You found someone who is the same faith and into politics and is ambitious, smart, and has a type-A personality, but she seemed conflicted about you, she shut down when she was stressed, you two didn’t have good communication, she still had feelings for an ex, she never made an effort to come see you or do anything spontaneous with/for you, and your sex life was pretty non-existent. If that’s what you consider a good match, YOU are the one who needs a change of perspective. If you absolutely cannot fathom dating someone of a different faith, you should at least widen your net a little to include women whose surface interests differ from yours. What’s really so much more important than common interests is the way someone treats you and how well you get along.

Open your mind a little and look at the world — and at potential girlfriends — through a wider scope. Your best match might not be someone who’s super ambitious and type-A. She might be quiet and sweet and might value spending time with family and friends over chasing down goals and organizing fundraisers with exes.


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


  1. I wonder if there may be some other issues as well. LW, you mention on two occasions about her meeting for drinks with someone that there are two options: one as a work contact or one as her being interested. Other than the fact that there could be other possibilities as well. The way you write those possibilities (at least the way I read it), though, was that sure #1 was possible, but it was probably #2. If this is a pattern you see in thinking back about your previous relationships, you should reflect on that a bit. A good relationship shouldn’t put you in constant worry that your girlfriend meeting another human male would be a constant threat to your relationship’s stability.

    1. I was just thinking: what about she’s just friend with the guy and wants to have drinks with him? Or isn’t that allowed ?

      1. Hanging out with other guys is allowed, but there are ways to do it and still indicate that your BF is a priority. For example, invite him to hang with you. Bring him to events where the other guys are and introduce him as your boyfriend. It doesn’t sound like Jane did any of that. I think the LW is intense and insecure and he needs to look at that, but I don’t think he’s totally off-base. The lack of interest in sex is definitely a red flag and I personally would be a little suspicious if my boyfriend “slept on someone’s couch” whenever he worked late, especially if that someone was someone he had history with. Overall, though, the LW needs to accept that this relationship is over and move on.

      2. For this guy? Definitely not allowed. Because if drinks for a possible work connection mean she’s ready to pack up and leave, then if she *wants* to have drinks with a friend it probably means they’re hooking up in the bathroom. If they even go to a “bar” for these supposed “drinks.”

  2. It’s totally creepy how you talk about her doing work stuff and then turn it around with “but that’s a way to see it, the other way to see it is that she was about to DUMP ME FOR HIM”. Dude, she can be alone with guys. Work guys, high school guys, ex boyfriend guys, whoever. It’s not yours to police.

    Considering this and how you keep record of exactly when, where and how many times she saw who she probably stopped wanting and dating you because you started giving off a very creepy-controlling-abusive vibe and she wanted nothing to do with it. I would have ran for the hills too.

    1. Yeah the moment-by-moment breakdown was a bit creepy.

    2. I was definitely frowning while reading this. The way LW analyzed her interactions with other men with laser intensity screamed creepy to me. But even aside from all that, the second half of his last question is the most eyebrow raising of all: How do I either detach myself from the relationship quickly or encourage a change in perspective from her where she is romantically interested in me?
      You can ONLY do the former (walk away and leave her alone) as you can NEVER “encourage a change in perspective” with a person who has made it perfectly clear that not only does she not want to be with you, your persistence in contacting her is unwelcome and making her uncomfortable. LW, your desire to talk to Jane does NOT trump her right to cease contact with you. This is the calling card of creepy guys, “If I just keep pushing past all these super clear, but inconvenient boundaries then I can make her want me!” No. Just no. You are not entitled to contact with your ex. So move on from Jane, and in the future scale the intensity WAY WAY back.

      1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Yes! LW, you’re not entitled to ANYTHING and your ex doesn’t owe you ANYTHING – an explanation, another chance, etc. People are allowed to leave a relationship at any time for any reason – there’s nothing you can do about that. Especially since you seem to have kind of forced her into the relationship to begin with.

    3. And *another* way to look at it is she’s in the KGB and all these guys she’s meeting are contacts. “Ex-boyfriend” or “possible work contact” is just a cover to keep you crazy with jealousy so you don’t guess what she’s really up to!!!
      I mean, if we’re gonna go nuts, let’s just go nuts, ok?

      1. YES! <3 Let's.

  3. Dude, the relationship was not so great. You probably want to hang onto it because you don’t like change. You can’t change her into the right person to have a relationship with. Let her go and MOA.

  4. Your ex spent the majority of your short relationship “testing out” other guys and avoiding sex with you. Regardless, even if your relationship had been longer and healthier, over is over. Relationships end for a reason. Accepting when someone does not want to be with you is absolutely fundamental to not only having healthy relationships, but to having a happy life.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      To be fair, we have no clue if she was “testing out” other guys…she just was hanging out with other guys which, to this LW, I guess means something else than it does to normal people.

      1. Ha, I was 100% sure someone would make this comment. My response is, it doesn’t really matter does it? If he thinks she was, then either 1) she was, 2) she wasn’t and he felt insecure enough for whatever reason to think she may have been. Neither bodes well.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Whether it matters or not wasn’t my point though. You wrote to confirm his suspicions were true…that she was testing out other guys, so I was just pointing out that no one knows that, including him. I agree it makes no difference if she was.

      3. I wasn’t confirming them, hence the quotation marks. And I didn’t further address or clarify because as we both agree, it doesn’t matter.

  5. kerrycontrary says:

    MOA! You cannot change her perspective and make her become romantically interested in you again. I think if you want to get over her quickly you should cut off all contact and hide her on facebook. Ask around at your church if they know anyone who is single. I don’t think you need to look outside your faith, but you don’t *have* to have the same hobbies/interests as the person you are dating. Yes you should have stuff in common, but they don’t have to be a clone of you. Like Wendy said, just be a little more open minded about who you would consider dating.

  6. TheOtherOtherMe says:

    Dude, sorry to break it to you, but she’s JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU.

  7. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

    “After the second time we met, I learned from one of her friends, whom we ran into at dinner, that Jane was seeing somebody. I responded to this news by e-mailing Jane and telling her I was hurt. Then, I saw Jane the third time and I poured my heart out. I told her I really liked her. Five days later she had broken up with the guy she was casually seeing, and we started dating exclusively. ” LW, CALM THE FUCK DOWN. I agree with Rainbow – you give off a seriously creepy vibe. You admit that you were too intense too quickly and you question her motives every time she gets together with another guy. I think you need to do some soul searching and possibly therapy before you date again because this is NOT cool.

  8. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but someone may look great on paper. Career oriented? Check! Same faith? Check! Same political affiliation? Check! Likes dogs but not cats? Check! Enjoys obscure podcasts? Check, check, check.
    But…. that gives no indication that person is right for you. Can you talk and open up? Do you have similar values? Do you actually like one another, not just all the items you can check off? Do you trust this person? Do you want to bang?
    Look inward, not outward and you’ll find a better fit.
    Also, she just wasn’t that into you and yes, you did pressure here. MAYBE, and that’s a BIG MAYBE, she would have decided she liked you in her own time, not some rushed timeline that made you want her to choose you at that exact moment. Anyway, as others have said. Ship has sailed. MOA.

    1. So, I do think all the stuff I listed in my first paragraph is important. But the LW made it sound like a checklist and that his future mrs MUST have all of these or else. I find that rarely works for long-term happiness with a partner.

  9. Did the whoel relationship timeline remind anyone else of that scene in The Jerk?

    *I know we’ve only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days. And the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day, and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in the evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half.*

    1. tbrucemom says:

      Absolutely love the indepth Jerk reference! One of the funniest movies ever…

  10. Q: “How do I get my ex-girlfriend who has shown exactly zero interest in reuniting back?”
    A: You don’t. Sorry, LW. This is a grown woman who has made it perfectly clear she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you, not a prize you can haggle into a relationship because she checks all of your boxes. You have to check all of her boxes, too, for a relationship to work. And, frankly, not many women are interested in having a boyfriend who seems like he keeps a log of how many times she meets with a male friend or collegue and gets “hurt” (coughjealousandinsecurecough) and questions whether something potentially romantic is going in every. single. time she so much as talks to another guy. That nonsense is annoying and exhausting and is a huge turn off. In the future, try trusting the woman you’re with and don’t be so insecure about her talking to other men. In today’s world, men and women do interact on a platonic level, literally all the time.

  11. lets_be_honest says:

    Yikes! If you overanalyzed every time I hung out with a guy over a 4 month period (were you keeping a log?!), I’d break up with you too!

    1. I’d be really scared that he has a shoebox of relationship diaries under his bed…

      1. Jan 12: Today she broke eye contact for a second to sneeze, and I could tell that while her eyes were closed she was picturing someone else. I’ll talk to her about it. For a couple of hours.

  12. lily in NYC says:

    You need to hear this: You are an irrationally jealous stage-five clinger and that’s enough to make anyone lose interest. Women you date are allowed to be friends with other men and they don’t need to justify their friendships to you. You need to do a lot of growing up and soul-searching before you will make someone a decent boyfriend. Sorry to be harsh but you really need some tough love.

  13. LW, This relationship wasn’t good. You felt needy, over analyzed and paranoid. You like some things about her and she would be perfect if she changed all the other ones. You are clinging to this because you are lonely. So, start getting busy. What I mean is, start joining things, see friends, work out, and only be home when you are sleeping. Since faith is important to you, start going to religious events to meet people or find groups on Meetup.com. You need to get out of your head and start living your life.

  14. This might sound kinda weird and out of nowhere, but I have the feeling the ex reads/comments here and that’s why he wrote in. LW’s ex, are you here?

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Ooooh, juicy! What made you think that? And who is the ex?!

      1. No one in particular (“ambitious, smart, type-A”? could be any of us =P), just the fact that this isn’t really a question. It’s mostly “so I’m going to tell you all the awful things she did, minute by minute, and defend myself, and then maybe sort of ask a very open-ended question I don’t really want an answer to”. It sounds to me like he’s mostly trying to get back at her for blowing him off by infiltrating into her turf, maybe just to make her listen, maybe even to “expose her” and force her to choose between acknowledging each one of his concerns and looking illogical (because you can totally logic someone into loving you, haven’t you heard?).

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Ohhhhhhhh. Lightbulbs went off reading that.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        This shows just how slow I am, haha. I had no clue who anyone was talking about til it was spelled out below.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I was actually thinking a different person than He Who Must Not Be Named!

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh who who who?

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        The person I was think about was married. so probs not them. whoops.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Answer Addie!

      8. Are you guys talking about the guy who wrote in on his gf’s forum post and said he could find out anything about anyone just from a person’s login info?

      9. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        right, that’s the guy Who Shall Remain Nameless – but GG was thinking of a different person. i love this theory.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        No, we’re talking about YOU!

      11. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        dun dun dun!!

      12. Wasn’t me, either way.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, well, Shaggy said that too and no one believed him…

      14. I must have missed this! Sounds juicy!

    2. What about…NSP??? Do you guys remember him?

      1. iseeshiny says:


      2. Bahahaha, He Who Must Not Be Named then.

      3. I think this LW was a lot calmer and more rational than he would have been.

      4. You have a good point bethany. 🙂

      5. I agree with Bethany. There weren’t enough accusations or threats. No accusations of the DW community not knowing his side of the story and tearing them apart with our BS advice… No threats of revenge towards the guys the ex was spending time with… No hacking and gloating about his supreme stalker-y internet powers… This is just not the MO of He Who Shall Not Be Named.


      7. Ahhh yes… I’m afraid to even mention his name! He’s like cyber-Voldemort.

    3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh I love this theory!!!!!!!!!! Nice catch, rainbow.

    4. Avatar photo Moneypenny says:

      The plot thickens!! (<< ok dorky, yes, but I had to say it.)

  15. “I was too intense, too quickly, I put a lot of pressure on her to advance the relationship quickly, I initiated a lot of the conversation and still do, and I did not give her the space to own her part of the relationship.” Yep, you got it. And you’re still being too intense by trying to reach out to her after the break up. You have to respect her decision not to be with you and stop contacting her. It’s likely that this is bothering her quite a bit and that she feels uncomfortable with your attempts at changing her mind.
    Seriously, a relationship is not just about what YOU want. It depends on the other person’s wishes, and she doesn’t want to be with you. As long as you can’t deal with rejection, don’t date.

    1. Liquid Luck says:

      Seriously, that part had me so confused. Like, here’s a list of all of the things I did wrong in the relationship. But I’m admitting to it, so it’s cool if I still do them! No, LW. You get zero credit (actually, you get negative credit) for apologizing for things you clearly aren’t going to stop doing.

  16. There is now two things you can do, LW: You can try to win her back by flooding her in unwanted text and gifts. You can show up to partys where she’s going to be, pretending “you didn’t know she would be there”. You can invent excuses to spend time with her, or just stalk her online if she doesn’t want to see you. And if you do all this, two things will happen: 1) you’ll spend way too much energy trying to save a doomed relationship with a girl that doesn’t really like you 2) you’ll always be ashamed of that time in your life where you tried to win back a girl and acted like a total creep.
    Just don’t do that.
    One day you’ll find a girl that you can actually communicate with, someone you can trust, someone you can actually have sex with, and you’ll realize “wow, I’m so happy with this person even though she is not 100% who I was looking for on paper”. And then you’ll feel so stupid that you wasted so much of your time on a previous relationship that really wasn’t that great.

    1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      A 3rd thing might also happen – she gets the police involved because her ex is stalking her.

      1. YEP! That’s exactly what I was thinking. Just reading that stuff creeps me out. Seriously.

  17. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Dude, she said no to a relationship with you. End of story.

  18. “At this point, you might be thinking well why would you want to be with this person?”

    — This made me choke on my coffee. Understatement of the week.

    Also, MOA! Go get a hobby! Meet some other people. Stop creeping on the people you’re trying to date. Maybe never talk to Jane again, because she sounds like she doesn’t want to talk to you. And stop being a pushover!

    1. How, exactly, was he a pushover?

    2. He’s not being a pushover. He’s someone who pushes other people over.

    3. I *think* I know why you are calling him a pushover. Maybe because he felt insecure about all the other dudes she was out with, but never said anything. He also waited too long to say something once the sex had dried up.
      Assuming those are the reasons, I have to disagree. He knew he was being unreasonable about policing her social life because CREEPY, and confronting the lack of sex would seal the nail in the coffin of the relationship. That’s not being a pushover, that’s being emotionally immature and willfully ignorant when things aren’t going the way you want them too.

      1. What an unpopular! I think I meant how you described it. He never said anything. She had meals with exes, wanted to sleep on some guy’s couch (not sure whether she did or not)? She said she had feelings for her ex, & he just went with it? I’m not sure. It seems pushover-ish to me. Maybe I”m using the word incorrectly? I feel like she was just saying anything to him & he was going with it. Sorry I’m so contrary 🙁

  19. LW, you asked how to detach yourself from the relationship, so here’s how. You stop communicating with her. You *know* she doesn’t want to be with you. So stop calling. Stop texting. Unfriend her, stop following her on Instagram or whatever else people are using these days. Unfriend her on facebook. The only way to detach yourself is to DETACH yourself. If you find yourself thinking about her, make yourself think of something else. She doesn’t want to be with you, and you need to accept that.

  20. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    You sound really insecure. You need to let this woman go- she said no, loud and clear- if you actually liked her and thought of her as a person and not an object for your enjoyment then you would respect her wishes. Not only that but you need to spend some time alone, get some hobbies and some enjoyment from your actual life so that you don’t smother your next girlfriend. I don’t think you are ready to fully be in a relationship, one where you respect your girlfriend enough to be okay with her hanging out with other men without you jumping to the conclusion that she wants to bang them. Get to know yourself, become more secure that way and it will help you not only in your future relationships but in your life in general.

  21. Yes, this is really creepy. Yes, the LW is sending off weird vibes. Yes, he’s being controlling and obsessive. Yet I wonder, maybe he has a mental illness? Maybe he is bipolar or has some form of schizophrenia? Not that it excuses his behavior, but it could definitely explain the intensity of his actions — the ridiculously accurate timeline, him proclaiming his feelings at 3 dates, etc. I’m sure it’s really difficult dating with a mental illness. One of my creepy first dates this past fall was with a guy who I’m 99% sure had schizophrenia and it was freaky and terrifying from my perspective. I got out of there as soon as I could because he was talking to people who weren’t there and he wasn’t making any sense whatsoever.

    1. I think there’s a big difference between entitlement and mental illness. I read a piece yesterday about Elliot Rodgers that posited that Rodgers felt so entitled to women’s love and bodies because, in ways big and small, that’s the message we, as a culture, send to boys (and girls) their entire lives. Believing those ideas and having a sense of entitlement is not actually crazy if it’s the kook-aid you’ve been drinking your entire life. What’s crazy is acting on those entitlements.
      So I think it’s a very strong assertion to say LW might be mentally ill based on this letter. But is he entitled as all get out? Absolutely.

      1. I’m definitely not diagnosing him, just thinking out loud and throwing out the possibility. I’m also playing devil’s advocate a bit. 🙂 I agree he’s pretty entitled, not to mention the fact that 8 months really isn’t that long of a relationship and he definitely should cut his losses and move on.

      2. Not to mention this: “The first 6-7 weeks of the relationship we had no problems.” Well yeah, that’s pretty normal. I would be worried if someone stayed with a person they were having issues with in the intense honeymoon stage…

      3. At 8 months then it should still be the honeymoon stage.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Literally. 8 months is normally when the actual honeymoon occurs, right?

      5. Not only that, they need to talk about how many babies they are going to pop out. Everyone knows 6 kids are better than 4.

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        what?! using sarcasm to make a point? shut the front door!!

      7. You’re right AP. I think calling you out for bringing up rom-coms was unnecessary of me. I’m sorry. 🙂

  22. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    It’s hard to hear but you really need to move one; you can’t talk someone into loving you and wanting the same things as you. Trust me, I’ve tried so much! Plus, in movies, the way rom coms play out is that you have to let the girl go – then she’ll go on and date creepy dudes or something and realize what she’s lost and then she’ll come back to you! If you’re holding out hope, at least go that route – really, completely let her go and then just keep your fingers crossed she comes back? Or really do move on. Maybe that’s better.

    1. Rom-coms are not intended to be advice and in no way resemble real life. I think bringing this up is unhelpful to the LW.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        ruh roh!

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i hear what you’re saying, and you’re probably right, unless – now, here me out – unless he can discern sarcasm! if so my non-advice advice may be saved!

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        * hear, for the love of god.

  23. Women are always looking for clues and meaning from guys who give mixed messages…why couldn’t a guy fall into that same trap?
    LW, you thought her being present physically for a few months meant something but it didn’t. Jane was seeing someone else when she started going out with you – see a pattern? She auditioned some other guys during your eight months “together” and now you are old guy and Jane has moved on.
    This is a good thing.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      What are the mixed messages he’s receiving though? There don’t seem to be any.

      1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        I agree. And I see “auditioning” as “casual dating”, which isn’t a bad thing. I think it’s really weird that the LW flipped out on Jane when he found out she was dating another guy when they weren’t even exclusive.

      2. That freaked me out a bit, too. Jane didn’t owe him anything then and doesn’t owe him anything now.

    2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      Women are ALWAYS looking for clues? Really?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        In the kitchen, holding a candlestick, is where you will find out if I truly love you lemon.

  24. LW, getting your heart broken really stinks. I am sorry you’ve been through it!

    I just wanted to add that when we are attached to someone in that early lust/crush based way, it’s so hard to see the big picture. Right now, you have tunnel vision and its hard to see that anyone else would make you happy. Your heart wants what it lost so it’s shutting out all the negatives (Wendy did a good job of cataloging them). In a short period of time, you will look back on this and slap yourself for giving her so much power and importance. Because you will soon come back to reality and see that this was nowhere near good enough. There is MUCH MUCH better out there.

    We all do this. Even in my early 30s, having already experienced really genuine and long-term connections in my life, I’d fall into the chemical trap of pining over someone who was holding me at arm’s length. In the moment, it seemed that nothing else could replace them. Usually after a month or so, I was kicking myself and grateful that ship had sailed!

    When you DO find the right person (who may or may not match your checklist), you will thank the moon and stars that you didn’t stay with someone who could only give you a fraction of the experience that love can be. Keep hope alive and hold out for that because its so worth the wait.

    1. Avatar photo Moneypenny says:

      This is such a good, compassionate response. And I can totally take it to heart.

  25. LW, you really don’t answer your own question very convincingly. Why do you want to be with her? She’s interested in politics? Isn’t everyone, to some extent? That’s a bit like saying you both like soup. I get the faith issue, but even the smallest faith must offer other possibilities than this woman who has not shown any interest in you in months. The idea that she is the only option and therefore you must pursue her is just so wrong-headed. And pouring your heart out and demanding exclusivity on the third date is way too fast and intense. Traditionally, third date is where you investigate the possibility of second base or something like that, not plan the honeymoon. Next time you think you have a shot at couplehood, maybe dial it back a few dozen clicks, and find out if she actually likes you before you shoot your entire emotional wad, as it were. As well, you don’t seem broken up much, but just seem to want to “make” her want you, and why bother? What do you think, that you are going to coerce someone to spend their life with you? Do you think either of you would be happy with that in two, five, ten years? You can’t treat people like objectives.

    1. Diablo, I always think your advice is insightful and spot-on. Keep on being a good advice giver!

      1. I feel I’ve learned from my mistakes, and would be able to repeat them exactly.

    2. Re: faith differences, the guy I’m dating and I are different religions, but both Christian and it works for us. I went to an Easter service with him, he’s been to a couple with me. I understand why some people really want the exact same religion, but as others have said if you get along that’s what matters most. There are many denominations of Christianity but there are so many similarities. They’re basically like second cousins once removed — kinda sorta related, but each denomination has their differences.

      1. So, I see what you are saying but it is different if one is Catholic and one is Lutheran versus one is Quaker and one is Muslim. I mean if you both have a strong belief of the same God and stories and traditions versus totally different theologies completely.

  26. Admittedly, I skimmed the 2nd half of the letter, because it was almost painful to read. So analytical and intense.

    LW, relaaaaaaaaaaax. You are young, and there are so many great girls out there. Let this one go.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Lrya, this commenter is married to your boyfriend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dun dun dun!

      1. This is just too trippy. I mean, you think you know people, ya know?

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      did you know your husband has been passionately kissing Lyra??? I think you and Lyra need to fight. Ready go!

      1. Catfight!!

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i tried but no one seems to want to fight today!

  27. Stonegypsy says:

    Actually, at no point while I was reading this letter did I wonder why you’d want to be with this person.
    I did, several times, wonder why she put up with you for 8 months. Maybe she thought the creepy guy who was policing all of her interactions with other guys would get violent if she broke things off too suddenly.
    I have no sympathy for you, LW. You seem controlling and insecure and have an extraordinary lack of self awareness. Move on, stop bothering this girl, get therapy, and don’t date anyone until you grow up

  28. I know you miss her, but dude:

    “But she is mostly stonewalling me. She told me once she was not interested but to revisit the issue in a couple of weeks; a couple of weeks went by and now she is just blowing me off. (She says, “I really can’t talk today” and then does not propose an alternative time).”

    Leave her alone and stop contacting her. It’s possible you aren’t creepy in real life, but the act of emailing her after she has made it very clear that she isn’t going to reciprocate is creepy. There’s nothing to discuss; it’s over so you need to leave her alone and move on.

  29. Painted_lady says:

    There are two ways of looking at this: 1) You are inexperienced at dating and do not understand the signs that someone is not interested and want to believe that all these moments where she’s hurt your feelings are simple misunderstandings, or 2) You believe that wanting to be with this girl entitles you to her, and you’re not really interested in her feelings so long as you get what you want.
    Either way, she has made it clear that she isn’t interested. This isn’t up for debate, and it’s not in your power to change her mind. Attraction isn’t a matter of a skewed perspective that needs to be changed, and implying that your way of thinking is the “correct” one by suggesting that her perspective is all that prevents you two from happily ever after is pretty creepy. Good for you that you know what you want in a partner and for seeking out women of the same faith (seriously, knowing that’s a priority is a good thing). Now trust that she knows the same thing, and you aren’t it.
    I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re just upset about your lack of a solid answer. When I was younger, I felt the same way – if someone wasn’t interested, they should at least have the courtesy of telling me so! Except, for a number of reasons, people often don’t say, “Hey, I don’t want to date you anymore.” But you still get an answer – people who want to date you seek to see you. They make time for you; they actively attempt to hang out. She isn’t. A lot of women don’t directly reject men, partly because we’re taught not to be unkind, and partly because many of us experienced how uncomfortable, scary, and often ineffective saying the words, “I do not want to date you” can be. She’s learned that last thing firsthand: when she broke it off the first time, you badgered her into taking it back. Why the hell would she try that again? She ended up still dating you!
    LW, there’s a lot of literature out there, especially right now, about what it means when women reject men and men don’t like it. Please read some. Please listen to the women out there saying that the mentality that men deserve the women they want is such a frightening one. Instead of trying to sway the opinions of the women who tell you – with words or actions – that they don’t want the same thing as you, you need to listen and accept that as valid.

    1. Thank you for this.

    2. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      Yes, thank you. I’ve been too wound up to post anything coherent like this but I’m so very tired of men thinking they’re entitled to attention from women. SO VERY TIRED.

    3. kerrycontrary says:

      WPLS. Great coherant response. I also gave him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not a dangerous entitled stalker, but he could be. Many men feel that if they like a woman and treats her well, then she must return the affection.

      1. You know, part of this is that the cultural discourse of the mushy middle needs to catch up with the changing times. Power dynamics in our culture are still weirdly skewed in ways that don’t match the current reality. Many (not all) men are brought up in the belief that it is their job to pursue women they like, and that they must be persistent in order to show their sincerity, or they will not “earn” love. Many (not all) women are still brought up believing that they are to be pursued. When this plays out in a world in which men (in a broad generalization) unfortunately still wield physical, economic, and social power over women, some guys will end up being dangerous stalkers, yes, but many, many more are merely irritating, not taking no for an answer, and persisting beyond the hope of success because society tells them they should. Our view becomes unbalanced and distorted because you never hear anything about guys who are asked to get lost and do so. Prior to dating M, I went with a girl for about 5 months, was too intense for her, and was dumped. So I literally didn’t call her again, at all. Six or seven months later, she began pursuing me, and her attitude was “why didn’t you try harder?” In a sense, she felt entitled to be pursued by me (even though she was an extreme radical feminist). Although I was young and dumb enough to get semi-re-involved for a short time (read: get laid), I ended it for good after not very long. She expressed incredulity that i wasn’t just prepared to say “game back on” now that she had had her time to think about what she wanted. My point is this stuff cuts every which way, but we tend to hear only about the dickheads, and I think we get a little too focused on the stalker stereotype. Most guys are just clueless goofs who hope in their hearts to be good enough to earn someone’s love. Don’t always mistake our basic cluelessness for monsters waiting to be born. Yeah, yeah, The Gift of Fear, I know, but I’m just advocating a balanced, open-minded view. Guys: you don’t really understand us, because there is so much LESS to understand than you think there is. Sorry to have to tell you this.

      2. iseeshiny says:

        The thing with trying to give people with boundary issues the benefit of the doubt is that I am literally risking my life every time I do it. Now, granted, I risk my life every day when I get in my car to drive to work, but there is no gold star trophy or medal awarded for “Nicest To Dudes Who Don’t Respect My Boundaries,” nor are there any other benefits to balance the risk like there are to driving instead of walking. So I just cut them out and find one of the dudes who actually respect my wishes to to date instead, you know? Come back when you’ve learned to treat me like a person. Or, like, don’t. But at least you won’t screw up the same way with the next one.

      3. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Yeah, but the problem is that the harmless “clueless goofs” look exactly like the “monsters waiting to be born”. There’s no way to tell them apart so of course I’m not going to take chances (I’m not going to speak for all women but I’m sure there are a lot of us who feel this way).

      4. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        My thought process is literally “do I want to take a chance on this and possibly get raped and murdered, or would I like to play it safe and maybe miss out on an opportunity to ___?” I’m always going to opt for not getting raped and murdered.

      5. There is a huge difference between being pursued and being clingy / a stalker.
        Yes, I want to be pursued. I want to feel like I’m wanted. At the same time, I’m sure the guy who is doing the pursuing wants to know I’m generally interested.
        Any person who does not know how to take things slow, if that is someone’s wish, or doesn’t not take no for an answer, is a creep (what girls call guys) or crazy (what guys call girls). This goes for both sexes. Does that mean he or she will always be a creep/crazy? No. But those people have a lot of learning to do if they want to be happy and find someone that makes them happy.

      6. Let me explain it to you this way. I dabbled in on-line dating. I met one guy. We had a good time. We kissed good night. As soon as I started getting texts talking about how we belong together and marriage and shit – when there wasn’t even a second date – i kindly told him that it was too much and I was not interested. He was mad, because that kiss clearly meant I was totally into him. UMM. NO. It was one kiss.
        On the same dating site, he messaged a friend. He didn’t know she was my friend. But she looked at the profile, which he changed to “I’m was a nice guy and why do girls lead him on and then are a holes.” Not in those exact words, of course. BUT REALLY? It’s scary out there. It really is.

      7. I had a guy on an online dating site that I exchanged messages a few times. After sussing out that it wasn’t what I wanted (fairly quickly) I sent a polite “thanks, but no” message. He replied back that he still wanted to meet me. I ignored it. He kept sending them. I reported it because it creeped me out. He got kicked off, then created another user name. Again, “I wanna meet you.” This went on long enough that it scared the crap out of me and I canceled my account and haven’t been back on. It’s terrifying out there.

      8. I totally agree. If someone makes you uncomfortable, then we shouldn’t feel obligated to figure out if the person is a “clueless goof” or a “monster” before checking out. Years ago, I made out with a guy at party and he decided that we were soulmates. It took me almost a year and a half to get him to leave me alone and was terrifying.

      9. Pursuing a gal would be like giving her a call and asking her out to lunch or dinner. Okay, sure, no problem. But when a woman is saying ‘No’ (whether with actions or words), and the guy is still pressing boundaries and actively trying to change that ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’ instead of respecting that woman’s right to tell him no… yeah, that goes too far. And sure, a woman could give said guy the benefit of the doubt, but why would she when there’s potential harm and when there are other non-creepy guys out there? It’s also her prerogative to not have to give a ‘benefit of the doubt’ in a situation that makes her feel uncomfortable. If the guy in this situation is mistaken and harmless, well, then he will learn and modify his behavior so he doesn’t come across as creepy if he indeed wants to date someone. But it’s mistaken to think that it’s up to women to “give him a chance, he’s harmless”.

        I think this was a Friday link a while back: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2014/03/socially-awkward-isnt-an-excuse/

      10. (As ktfran said above, this goes for both sexes. ‘Not interested’ means ‘not interested’ and should be respected. I was just responding to what Diablo said in reference to men.)

      11. You said this way, way better than I did.

      12. I hadn’t seen the Socially Awkward Isn’t an Excuse post before, but it’s a great one. And, this whole conversation got me thinking about the difference between being “socially awkward” and a “creeper” and how many men and women do pick up on that difference, even if they’re not consciously doing. Take the LW. He’s not socially awkward; he’s a creeper. Why? Because his “social awkwardness” is not a general unawareness of life, but it is aimed specifically at controlling his relationship with his ex-GF. As evidenced by:
        (1) he keeps track of the number of times his ex-GF met with different guys.;
        (2) he apparently demanded an explanation of her feelings for and her relationship to them;
        (3) he questioned her intentions in meeting (more than one of) them;
        (4) he used words like “hurt” to manipulate her into exclusivity on their third date;
        (5) he won’t Go Away when asked to do so;
        (6) his entire letter is one long testament to what a Great Guy he is and extolling what he sees as her flaws;
        (7) he honestly believes that the Interwebs would be wondering why a Great Guy like him wants to be with an Unreasonable Woman like her; and
        (8) his question isn’t really “how do I move on” it’s “how do I make her want to be with me even though I obviously know that’s not what she wants because if she did, I wouldn’t be asking how to ‘change her perspective.'”
        Bottom Line: What this woman wants, whether she’s comfortable, her thoughts, feelings and opinion on the matter are not important to the LW. She’s not a person to him; she’s a Thing To Be Had Because He Wants It. The Socially Awkward article is right – really socially awkward people don’t act like that. This LW doesn’t get a pass from me.

      13. YES! I like to think I’m an intelligent enough person to know the difference between a genuinely awkward person and someone who gives me the willies.
        Ooh, I went on another date with an on-line dude. We had on ok time and I kind of liked him at first, but upon further reflection after said date, I decided no, some of the language he used was offensive. Around the same time I had met someone else and decided that I actually did like him. In fact, we ended up dating for several months. Anyway, when I told the on-line dude it wasn’t going to work, he basically called me a bitch for leading him on. So, he wasn’t socially awkward. Just a dick. Which I picked up on. See, girls don’t always go for the “bad” boys either. The whole I’m a nice guy thing is complete crap.

      14. Painted_lady says:

        Did you seriously just “Not all men” us? Look, I won’t presume that you haven’t read all the #yesallwomen stuff flying around because I don’t know if you’re on social media at all and you probably don’t read the same news sources that I do…but EVERYONE KNOWS IT’S NOT ALL MEN. Literally everyone. No one says it’s all men, but what SO MANY men don’t realize is how common encountering a dangerous man is. I know that there are non-dangerous men in my life. I live it. I’ve been there. But there seems to be a problem, even among decent, feminist, egalitarian men in acknowledging that this happens. It’s common. It’s understandable that the desire to distance yourself from that kind of shittiness is immediate and strong, but it’s not about whether or not all men do it. It’s about acknowledging that this happens. That maybe every single man would do this, but that every single woman has experienced something along these lines. Yes, all women. And I’m not sure why it is so important to confirm NOT ALL MEN before and sometimes in lieu of acknowledging that sometimes it’s really fucking scary to be a woman.
        My favorite analogy on the subject is this: I hold out a plate to you, with ten cookies that all look the same. And I say, “Before you take one, you should know, a few of them have extra strength laxatives in them, and one has cyanide.” Would you be so enthusiastic about taking a cookie then? But it’s not every cookie. And I doubt you care. I’m not going to wait and see if the guy who’s keeping tabs on my hanging out with other men and browbeating me into coming back to him and refusing to leave me alone is a stalker. That cookie looks the same as the one with cyanide. It’s a risk to date someone at all, sure, but you can be damn sure that even if the guy is harmless, once he starts looking like someone who won’t respect my “no,” I’m fucking out of there.

      15. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Exactly. I’m in love with you today, PL. Also, it’s so exhausting having to have this discussion every freaking time. If you’re an ally to women, stop making us freaking explain ourselves and justify our feelings and just freaking trust what we’re living every freaking day.

      16. I am duly chastened. I personally have not had this discussion a million times, and no one is obligated to have it with me. I don’t have to trust your experiences because we don’t know each other. I never once advocated anyone accept anything they don’t want to accept, but I stand by my comment that guys are led to believe they need to prove their earnestness, and that is a factor in these situations. My argument is as simple as risk mitigation vs. opportunity cost, though I am not saying any of you should change anything about what you do in your lives. I am an ally to individual people, but never to ideologies or broad categories. I’m sorry you think you need to hammer anything home with me. As a guy, i am too dumb too learn it anyway.

      17. I’m truly baffled. Do you really believe that repeatedly brushing someone off is code for try harder? Or show me you really want to date me? Because I’m 34 and I have not once encountered a woman who acted this way towards a man. Maybe sometimes we don’t outright say no. I used to have a problem actually saying no to people. Not anymore, thank goodness. But there are actions that mean no thank you, as well as other words.

      18. Painted_lady says:


        The last time I ignored my instincts about a guy being creepy was in grad school – I made out with this guy at a party once, and for two years he attempted to re-create the moment everytime we ran into each other at a party after that one time. I shrugged it off as harmless because he was otherwise nice, if a little clueless, and I'd dance with him or chat and be nice. And then one night at a party he followed me into the bathroom, blocked the exit and tried to assault me. So yeah, giving the wrong person the benefit of the doubt? Really scary.

    4. This was far more compassionate than I was capable of being, PL! But I think your last paragraph deserves a bump.
      LW, there is SO MUCH information on the internet lately about what happens when women reject men. For a good place to start, I’d recommend reading some of Dr. NerdLove’s posts. Recently there was one called “Cutoff Culture” and the Myth of Closure. I think you’d find it enlightening.

  30. Sue Jones says:

    Aside from the fact that this was mostly an asexual relationship (already at 4 months? usually you still want to eat each other’s faces at that stage…) that you insisted on exclusivity so early on when you had only dated once or twice, and that you are so jealous and insecure when she has friendships of the opposite sex tells me that you need to be less possessive and insecure in your relationships. Date a while before you insist on exclusivity. And does exclusivity mean that a girlfriend doesn’t have male friends at all? That would be a dealbreaker for many girls.

  31. I haven’t read all the comments, so I’m sure someone else has mentioned this. But LW, you really come off as insecure and creepy, almost stalkerish, in this letter. The day by day breakdown, of where she went and who she was with, made my skin crawl. Women can have drinks, dinner, etc. with men for no reason other than that they’re friends and they’re socializing. If you see every male friend or social contact as a potential threat, you are the problem.

    You also seem to view her (and maybe women in general) more like a checklist of features you’re looking for instead of a human being. Dating is not like shopping for a big screen TV.

    Other than that, it seems pretty obvious that this girl just wasn’t feeling it after a few months. You’re both young, so maybe she doesn’t have the experience yet to know she should have just pulled the trigger right away instead of waiting. Either way, Elvis has left the building. Work on yourself instead of trying to get her back.

  32. Have you noticed how someone methodically down-thumbed EVERY COMMENT on this thread?
    Someone is maaaaaaad.

  33. You can’t change someone’s perspective so that they suddenly like you. She has every right to like or not like you as you do to have various feelings for other people.

    Honestly, the way you seem to log every time she interacts with another man and then analyze possible reasons is really creepy. You might want to get a hold of your jealous and controlling tendencies before embarking on another relationship. And please wait until you both have time to know each other and decide how you feel before becoming exclusive. That would have saved you all of this trouble. There’s no need to lock it down that fast. If you are good options for each other, I’m sure you can both handle more than a few dates before committing.

  34. bittergaymark says:

    Hmmm. Strange… I thought Wendy’s advice was actually skewed too much to the girl in question behaving exactly like the LW said she was. I simply don’t think that the ex did anything suspicious by (GASP!) being alone with other guys….

    LW, stop rushing into the feeble arms of monogamy. Demanding to be “exclusive” after one fucking date is not only creepy it’s full on crazytown….

    There’s this amazing thing called DATING. Notice, it’s not called BOYFRIENDING or GIRLFRIENDING. It’s called DATING. Look into it.

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