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.
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.