Dudefile #85 – I Dumped Him, But Now I Want Him Back


I started dating Charlie when I was 18. We broke up shortly before our four year anniversary. It was my idea. I didn’t feel the same anymore when I was with him. I started dating a new guy named Nick a month later. Charlie and I stopped talking. Three months into the relationship with Nick, Charlie contacts me. I realized that I missed Charlie and regret what I did.  Charlie tells me he won’t talk to me unless I was single, and the next day, I broke it off with Nick.

Charlie and I go on dates. Charlie and I fuck. Last week, I told Charlie that I was falling for him again, and he said it back, but wants to take it slow. I said that was fine. Now, Charlie tells me he doesn’t know what he wants.  His friends don’t like me, and they never have.  Charlie tells me he can’t tell his friends about how we are “seeing” each other because his friends will talk him out of it.

I tell Charlie it’s sad that he has his friends run his life and chooses for him. He tells me that they aren’t. He tells me he wants to be with me in the end and always has, but still doesn’t know. He tells me he doesn’t know if he can trust me for what i did previously (how I started dating Nick shortly after). He doesn’t know how well it will work out with me and his friends. He admitted to me today that the odds are against us. But still tells me he wants to be with me and to be patient.

Now, I’m confused. I don’t know what to think. Should I wait it out for him or move on? Why does he care so much what his friends think? He’s 23 years old. He’s old enough to make his own decisions.

-Waiting impatiently


Hi Wi,

The reason Charlie cares so much about what his friends think is that they’ve been his friends in an uninterrupted fashion for a very long time. You, on the other hand, broke his heart and started boning some other dude 30 days after terminating a four year relationship. All things considered, the friends probably seem to Charlie like a considerably surer bet in categories such as Who’s Really Got My Back and Who Won’t Take A Poop On My Heart. The fact that they didn’t even like you pre-dump just makes them look all the more sage and prescient.

Look, the DW is sympathetic to the fact that you would like to find a way to undo a little bit of the past and have Charlie back. A lot of us have effed up a good thing at some point and would love to have a do-over. But frankly, if the DW was in Charlie’s shoes, he would have nothing to do with you. He would think that even if things work perfectly for the next four years, maybe one day you’ll come home and drop the hammer again. He would think life is too short to have your friends loathe your girlfriend and think you’re a chump for taking her Nick-boning ass back for two hot minutes. He would simply not be a strong enough person to look in the mirror every morning and manage to erase the self-doubt and you-doubt and weird anger jealous heartbreak muck from his heart that’s left over from your first go-round. Some lines can’t be erased. You might have drawn one of them.

And you may be waiting impatiently, Wi, but the DW isn’t sure you’ve earned the right to be impatient. Imagine if Charlie had shitcanned you after four years and turned up last week to demand that you figure out you want him again right now, no dithering, I mean now, and btw fuck what your nosy friends all think. Could the words, “Go fuck yourself,” leap out of your mouth quickly enough? And imagine the scorching letter you’d write the DW!

Look, at the very least give the kid some time. You want what you want, but so does everyone else, including, believe it or not, Charlie. He deserves a lot of time, a lot of space, and a whole lot less poking and prodding and provocation. Honestly, the DW doesn’t think this re-connection sounds like such a hot idea, but if it’s going to have any chance at all you have to let Charlie work up the steam to at least accept or reject it feeling like he’s doing it for his own reasons and with his own balls instead of just because of your badgering and ultimatums and arms-folded foot tapping.

Really, though, the DW thinks the best thing for both of you is for you to move on. For Charlie, this seems self-evident. But it’s also good for you, Wi. You strike the DW as someone who hasn’t had a lot of experience with not getting what you want so far in life. It can be a real gift to get denied a few times. You learn the value of things. Which means, next time you have a Charlie you’ll know it the first time.

Here’s to a dude with more fresh romance and less weird history.


the DW

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10 Responses to Dudefile #85 – I Dumped Him, But Now I Want Him Back

  1. The DW is right (again!). I was in this same situation, minus the friends hating me part (to my knowledge, anyway). I knew I had fucked up in the past, so went super far out on a limb, emotionally. Waaaaay further than I usually let myself go. The guy said the same kind of “maybe in the future, but I’m not so sure about now” stuff. Then he got back together with his (not me) ex. Who he had originally dumped. As an aside, thanks DW for inadvertently explaining why my guy may have done what he did. Wi, definitely consider moving on. Sounds like this guy’s keeping you in his back pocket. As a therapist told me, post-this fiasco, “sometimes hope for the future is not a good thing.” Hope kept me from moving on–I wasn’t able to til I decided for myself that there is no way this guy and I would ever get back together, even if he was the one pushing it.

  2. theHumanScone says:

    How do you keep track of all these names, DW? Or all this whinging? On the money with your snap back. No doubt. Werd.

  3. Kee says:

    Could the DW be a bit more specific about Charlie here? I get that Wi is behaving kind of spoiled, but she went out with Nick for 3 months and seemed to be moving on, if not with Nick ultimately, just to see what else is out there after seeing Charlie so long.

    Then Charlie called HER, and Charlie got her to re-think a relationship with him, and he made an ultimatum to her, that she broke up with Nick for, and now he’s changing it again. Was he just drunk at the time and now he has to find a way out, or did he do it for revenge or what? It’s not as if she gave up the world; if Nick was so great, why would she break up with him the next day? But he’s snapping his fingers and she’s going, we’re just trying to figure out dudes here.

    I agree he has good reason not to commit to her, but it just seems like he needed to see her again to see if she was just as good as he remembered or see her for what she is, a flaky Nick-fucker. But she’s acting needy on the transactions initiated by Nick and thinks she deserves a little positive reinforcement for that decision. However, I will observe that if Charlie broke up with her after 4 years, she could call 4 months later and he would have answered the phone, “Who is this?”

    • Hi Kee,

      Interesting that you see Charlie as the one driving this situation. The DW admits he did not see it like that at all since he was the dumped, rather than the dumper. But, Charlie is the one who re-initiated contact, so, I suppose, there’s that.

      Here’s the thing. When a dude gets dumped after four years there are two likely reactions. One is what the DW would probably choose, irrationally, which is to shout, “Fuck That Fuckity Fuck Fuckwad Fuck and the Fuck She Fucks Next….FUCK!” and then go on a four month bender during which he would cut as wide a swath through the wilderness of rebound sex as he could possibly muster. The other is to try, irrationally, to get the gal back.

      Charlie obviously chose the latter. Or sorta did. Or maybe he wants to. He’s kinda confused, basically. His dingdong and his heart both kinda want Wi back, but she just romantically piledrived him so hard his brain is, in the DW’s opinion rightly, resisting. So, you get a little, “Hell yeah, holding hands and going to a movie and getting blown by Wi again feels awesome,” followed by, “OMG, I can’t let my feelings go again or she will eat my soul with a side of yellow gravy.” And even though he wants to get her back, or thinks he does, he may well give that up at any point.

      So yeah. It’s not logical. It’s a situation that’s almost impossible to be logical in. Which is another reason the DW thinks Wi should slowly back away and both of them should get on with other peeps.

      Did that kinda answer a few things?


      • Kee says:

        Thanks for the clarity, DW! I definitely think she is rushing things if she thinks she has a long-term chance with Charlie. He was curious, and he seems to be being honest, you have to give him that. He’s pretty much waving the red flag of doom on this happening, Wi should cut the rope on it, I kind of think she knows this too, that’s kind of why people give ultimatums. She is being impatient or tries to assume we all pretend that 4 months apart never happened, so Wi and Charlie are going on 4.5-5 years and what next? If it’s not happening, say so. If it is happening, just shut up and let’s go here. And Charlie kind of wants to pretend too, but he can’t.

        Is that right? Even if you dumped someone, you should think, why did I break up with someone like Nick? How long would you keep going out with a guy you liked well enough to dump as soon as your ex calls, what if Charlie never called? I wouldn’t want to see her again if she kept going out with Nick, but I’d have to say, that might look significant to Charlie even if he resents Nick. She’ll break up with anyone at any time, just because! He’s not supposed to listen to his friends, but I think he should listen to his friends. Wi being in a position of having asked for advice here, well, this is hard. She has to drop the hammer again? She should not be expected to put up with Charlie’s hesitance any longer than that, especially since it spells ‘the end,’ but Charlie probably doesn’t want to get dumped again either, not in another 4 years, and not tomorrow. It would be nice to give Charlie the opportunity to come to his senses and get off the pot. Given the dramatic tale of it all, I might say he is not the kind of person to do that, ever. He does need his friends to make decisions for him. Wi, will eventually get tired of him anyway. 4 months isn’t any time at all to change.

  4. God point, Kee! My dude did this too (the initiation of anything more than friendly). I now chalk this up to him being lonely at the time, but I would love it, DW, if you could shed some light on the situation. Why do guys do that? “I imagine us married. PSYCH!”

    • Was this an ex-dude that reappeared a la Charlie? Because, as in the response to Kee, the DW would suggest that if you dumped him and then he came back weird, the pertinent question is less, “Why is he being weird?” and more, “Why did you dump him?” because that’s really the point at which things careened of the tracks and headed for Crazytown.

      • I just dumped him because I moved across the country (which I did, in part, because he was content with things not progressing in our relationship). And then twice (I know!) after periods of not talking at all for more than 6 months, I contacted him to be friends again because he really was my best friend. Then, both of those times, after agreeing to friendship, he came on stronger. The first time, I bailed (why does he love me so much more this time????), the second time, he tore my heart to shreds. Lesson learned though: we aren’t great at being just friends and each of us has hurt the other enough that neither of us can trust the other. And so ends the saga…

  5. Yipes, Tammy Pajamas! Sounds like a whole heap of Not Fun. At least the saga is over, though. You and the next dude, whenever you feel ready to make that happen, won’t have any history to overcome.

  6. Guys like coming for some “get back.” I could give you a long drawn out tale of my past, but breakups happen for a reason. I don’t have a whole lot of faith in reuniting with exes due to past experiences. That being said, she dumped Charlie, got with Nick, then dumped Nick at Charlie’s say-so? That’s not going to instill a lot of faith in the future. People rarely look upon flightiness favorably, particularly someone who has already fallen victim to it.

    Take it as one to grow on and keep it moving.

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