Hi Dude Whisperer!
I think your blog is awesome. I’m not sure how you can follow some of those confusing emails! I hope this will not be one of them.
I started the school year in a lukewarm relationship, but instantly noticed this guy, S, in Orientation. S noticed me as well, but we both are shy people so nothing came of it until when, at our first out-of-class gathering, he approached me and spoke to me often. Then my BF-at-the-time called and I answered, “Hey, babe.” S tipsily said, “I didn’t know she had a-” right before someone shushed him as I stepped away to placate the BF. After that with S it was very limited interaction at parties, almost no interaction in class… well, you get the idea.
Fast forward to summer and I broke up with the BF. I didn’t see S much at first, but one night we were both out with school friends and we danced and talked all night and he asked me out for dinner sometime. I accepted, of course. We go, have a great date, kiss a little, go out again. S is a great date, attentive and shyly flirty. After a few more dates, he asked to stay over and I began to decline, afraid that things would go too far too fast (kicking self for inviting him in), but he promised he’d sleep on the couch. He did.
I’m already worried this may be moving a bit fast, and that I should be careful with both his feelings and mine. Then his sisters come to visit.
I tell him to go ahead and hang out with them, fully aware that it’s too soon to be meeting family and he’d want some space to be with them. Nope, he insists I meet them. They like me, and we hang out a few times. Then they leave. Then S and I go out a couple more times, he acts very boyfriend-y, and then invites me over to his for dinner and a movie. I accept, but I guess it was apparent I was a little concerned, because I got a message from him asking if he was pushing too fast, and I said no… I was just concerned for him. He said he was fine.
And so I went over, and we cooked together. Then we slept together (after I was assured we were exclusive), and it was so awesome. He thought so as well, judging from the way he was acting after, and how many times it happened. He seems really into me and not wanting me to leave… until…
Next weekend, he asks to see me at a party, rather than go there with me. He hardly talks to me the entire night, but seems okay when we’re alone again. We spend the entire next day together again, but at the end he seems really distant. Even during sex he wasn’t all there. Then classes begin and he ignores me, even though he called me after to apologize. The next day, I get another message from him saying how, although he “really really really liked me” he thinks he moved too fast and thought we should just be friends until he’s ready, to please wait for him, and that we’d talk it all through.
So we talked. I told him he should have answered my question and said we were going too fast BEFORE sleeping with me. He asked if I could forget his “just be friends” email, and I said not unless we started over, so we tried to do that, but it stopped and started and then we just broke up. It really hurt. And then there is all this weird stuff where at the end of the semester he starts approaching me again to make small talk. I had to delete him from Facebook for a while because through the whole ordeal he was all poke, poke poke. I hate FB pokes now. He’s back on my FB, although I’m aware I need to be careful about clicking to see his profile too often.
I guess my question is… what in the blue f*ck? S has said a lot of “maybe someday” things lately, but he’s probably just saying them to be nice. Is he approaching me out of guilt? But I don’t look miserable! Why feel guilty and approach me? The bad thing is I’ve gotten it in my head that I should be his friend… but that “maybe someday” horse shit is echoing in there. What is the real deal here? What can I do to not go more bonkers than I already am?
Thank you for your patience and help!
Actually, yours wasn’t a confusing letter at all. Long, sure. But confusing? The DW kept reading and reading going, “Uh- huh. Uh-huh. Standard. Yup. Uh-huh.” And then it was over.
See, sometimes with a breakup the hard part isn’t figuring out what’s going on, it’s realizing that there’s nothing to figure out. You met a dude, hit it off, went out for a while, and it ultimately didn’t work out. Sadly, there is nothing odd about this at all. The DW went through this, the Wifey went through this, everybody who ever dated went through this. Early Man had days on the savannah when he lamented that life seemed to be nothing but hunting, gathering, and getting his prehistoric ass unceremoniously dumped.
Sometimes even the dumper doesn’t have any answers. The DW really broke a gal’s heart one time and feels kinda shitty about it to this day, but as much as he knew he had to break up, he couldn’t tell you one good reason for it. The gal was cute, nice, smart, all that stuff people always talk about. It just didn’t feel quite right. How do you explain that? Turns out that if you’re a pre-genius era 20-year-old version of the DW you explain it very poorly and a woman who did nothing wrong cries A Lot. Maybe S feels the same about you. Maybe you feel the same about the “lukewarm” bf you broke up with.
What it sounds like S did better than the 20-year-old DW is come up with some plausible reason to hang his breakup decision on. In your letter, it’s really clear that a fear you had was going too fast. So S appropriated your fear, claimed it was his own, too, and now there’s a “problem” you share that you don’t really have to talk about much and that sounds better than rejecting you just, uh, you know, because. Really, all a dude wants is to get to the “let’s just be friends” moment with as little drama as possible. Mission accomplished.
The truth of it is, if you’re the right people for each other all these little mechanical things that long, long letters like yours go looking for like who said exactly what and when and who looked at who and when you met his sister and when you boned and, and, and…well, maybe if you royally fuck them up you can make things difficult, but if you ask any couple that’s been married for 40 years they’ll tell you that none of that shit means shit.
The DW and the Wifey are nowhere near 40 years, but he can assure you that by any Set Of Rules they did all kinds of things wrong. Meeting family, saying “I love you”, traveling abroad together, moving in together, merging finances, talking about old relationships, etc. – all of it too soon or too late or too much or too little. But if you’re a match you steamroll all the details. If you’re not, you go looking for details to blame and the next thing you know you’re convinced you broke up because of where someone hangs the fucking dishtowels. Over the faucet? Animal!
What to do now? Move on and develop a life that doesn’t rely on this dude for anything for a while. Be his friend if you want, but remember that you don’t owe him anything. He chose to end this thing, so you take care of yourself first. Put getting back together out of your head in the short term. The DW, as regular readers know, is rather biased against getting back with exes in general, but if you can move on with the rest of your life and develop routines, days, weeks, months without this dude, the DW bets the question of whether or not to get back with him will seem less and less pressing all the time.
Here’s to not sweatin’ the details.