I get that I probably lumped other hurts and let this blow up and that I could have handled it better, but it hurt my feelings and, before thinking, I let him know all that. I’m very grateful that he wanted to buy me anything at all, and it could have been $1 for all I cared if it had meaning. I just let the thought of his not caring enough to listen to me and the thought of knowing the gift would go to waste get the better of me. Am I wrong for feeling this way? I’ll own that I am wrong in how I could have handled it, but am I wrong to feel he could meet me halfway and see how it could hurt me too? — I Hate Massages
You’re entitled to your feelings, so you aren’t “wrong” for feeling hurt about a gift that you think reflects poorly on how your boyfriend regards you. The problem is that you see this gift as a metaphor for your relationship – or, as you call it, “validation” for your boyfriend’s feelings for you. You’ve been in a “rough place” with him lately, likely feeling unloved and uncared for, and in that case, it sounds like this gift that you find thoughtless DOES validate some feelings, doesn’t it? It validates and confirms YOUR feelings of not being important to your boyfriend (not important enough for him to listen to you and make note of your personal preferences). Whether it confirms your boyfriend’s feelings is almost beside the point. What matters the most is that you aren’t feeling heard in this relationship and the gift you received is a perfect metaphor for that.
Here’s the thing though: Even if your boyfriend had given you the “perfect” gift full of meaning, would that have erased all the other stuff in your relationship that is giving you pause? No, it wouldn’t. Those issues would still be there regardless what kind of Christmas gift you might have received from your boyfriend. Frankly, it’s lazy to rely on a gift to do the work that needs to be done in a fractured or broken relationship. Gifts aren’t glue.
I think it’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself – and with your boyfriend – about the state of this relationship and assess whether it’s worth trying to save and what you can do to save it if you decide you both want to. That means expressing your needs to each other and doing your best to either meet them or be honest about your limitations or lack of desire to do so. If your needs are not met in a timely fashion or if you don’t at least see some improvement in the coming weeks, it’s time to move on. In the meantime, if you’re in the NYC area and want to unload that spa certificate, I’ll take it off your hands!
We got together just once about a year ago when I drove up to see her. We never talk on the phone at all. Whenever I’ve called her, she hasn’t picked up. I’ve come up with my family to her town for two holiday breaks, and each time I suggested we get together she’s always has some excuse. If I didn’t know her through our childhood history or the one meeting we had, I’d swear I’m in some sort of catfish situation since she never wants to talk by phone or meet in real life. I am now feeling like I’m being used as some sort of online diary. I don’t feel like we have a real friendship where I can count on her, even though she knows some of my deepest feelings and intimate secrets.
After this last time where she cancelled on our plans to meet, I blocked her on social media. My question to you is – did I cut her off too soon? I know I will miss writing with her, but I also don’t like feeling like I’m someone’s online journal when what I want is a real friendship. Was I right to break up with her? — Not and Online Diary
If you aren’t getting what you want from the friendship, it makes sense to quit investing in it. I’m not sure, though, how smart it is to block her on social media — sort of a digital “fuck you” — when this person knows intimate details of your marriage, your kids, your family, your business, and your finances — all written in your own words that she could potentially share with others if she were the type of person to say “fuck you” back and try to hurt you. Why not just quit replying to her, or put her on whatever mode of “silent” or “hide” is available on the various social platforms you have used to stay connected with her, without blocking her?
There are lots of ways you can disengage from someone without being passive-aggressive or offensive about it. You could even pull up your big-girl panties and shoot her a message that says, “I was hurt after your most recent canceling of our plans. Because we’ve shared so much with each other these last couple years and I’ve really enjoyed our digital friendship, I was hoping we could transition it to an offline friendship, but it seems that isn’t going to happen. At this point in my life, I want to invest more in offline relationships, so I wish you all the best, and should you ever make it to my area and want to meet up in person, you know how to get ahold of me! Take care for now and I wish you all the best.”
I understand that your feelings are hurt, but this just doesn’t seem like a case of burning a bridge when it’s easy enough to be kind while still respecting your own boundaries.