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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

464

On Second Chances

I have a question. When does a guy merit a second chance, and under what circumstances? 

For a bit of background — I was the ex-boyfriend who cheated. We were in a long-distance relationship, I was stressed out from school and she was stressed out from work. I had convinced myself that disposable one-night stands were different from kissing or flirting with girls I knew or liked, girls toward whom I put up giant flashing "unavailable" signs. I was wrong. I know that now, but had convinced myself then that it wasn't as bad. She was my first real girlfriend (of more than three months), so while I'd like to blame inexperience and immaturity, there is no valid excuse. 

I haven't seen her in almost a year, but thanks to an overseas internship we broke up only eight months ago. She found out I had cheated on her during our nearly five-year relationship before I'd left. Since she broke up with me I would give anything to go back to before I left for school and kick myself in the ass. My message would be simple: stop being an idiot, put a ring on her finger, and never leave her side (or without her at your side) ever again. 

We're both almost 30. I know I can make her laugh, take care of her, and protect her. I know I can be faithful — I haven't been with anyone since her a year ago. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I think about her every day — in subconsciously trying not to take up the whole bed, thinking of how she would react to a joke on the TV, her unique idiosyncrasies I thought were cute but made her insecure, and even remembering fights we'd had and wishing I could give anything to go back to that moment just to be in her presence again. What's worst is knowing that now I'd do all of the things I thought were dumb before not as a compromise, but because I want to make her happy. I didn't realize how important they were to her at the time and want to think of ways to surprise her, to check things off her bucket list, or just things she haphazardly mentions she might want to try. I didn't know how amazing, and more importantly, how rare, good relationships are until I'd lost one.

She's moving again to start grad school just as mine finishes, and I want nothing more than to follow her and prove that I'm worth consideration for the long-haul. I don't expect to jump back in her bed and continue things as they were — I feel I have to prove myself. I want to regain her trust, but I don't know how. The deck is stacked against me because she'll only talk under certain circumstances, and doesn't want to see me. I know that's because I hurt her badly. She's not alone — I am hurting too. 

I want to spend the rest of my life making her happy, but I need a chance to show that the reward far outweighs the risk. Under what circumstances would you give a guy a second chance, if he knew that there was no margin for error? I can't speak for any other guys out there, but I have seen the error of my ways. I just need a chance to prove it. 

Everyone deserves a second chance. Life and love (to start big here) are about taking risks and being brave — telling people how you really feel, making yourself vulnerable, asking for what you need. Giving. And second chances count as brave and worthwhile risks.

So to answer your question: yes. Yes, I would give a guy a second chance, but only if I wanted to, and only if I got the sense he wasn't basing his hopes and plans on fantasy. In your situation, however, I get the impression that she doesn't want to want to give you a second chance, and that your hopes and plans are based somewhat in fantasy. Because what seems clear in your head — that you will be faithful to her, forever — is difficult in execution, and you actually have no basis to believe you will, since you never were. So to promise it from the outset is to already mislay the foundation for renewed trust. And how can you know that the reward outweighs the risk for her? That's condescending, and if someone told me that, I'd feel ... unsettled. Annoyed. Who is this person to say they know what's best for me? More compelling would be "I don't know what lies in store, but I do know that I am still very much in love you and want to do everything I can to regain your trust. It'll be hard, and I know that I'm asking you to take a big risk, but I want to work on this. Please consider giving me a second chance." (And not being with anyone since you broke up isn't the same as fidelity.) Which is to say, for now, I think you should leave her alone.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh, because it's clear you're heartbroken and in pain, but a lot can change in a year. And the longer it's been since you've seen her, the more the version of her in your head drifts away from reality and becomes idealized, and the scenarios you're playing out — while I'm sure they're based in real shared memories — eventually become more yours than hers, and her character becomes less her than an echo of an echo you're creating daily.

Most important, though, is that following her to a new city when she doesn't even want to see you is not a good idea. Imagine if someone who betrayed you and shredded your heart followed you — for no reason other than to follow you — to a new city right when you were about to start an exciting new chapter of your life, meet lots of new people, and work really hard. Personally, I'd freak out. Maybe more than freak out. Panic. And to knowingly inflict that on her, right when she's about to put her best energy and focus elsewhere, seems selfish and a little cruel. Maybe more than a little cruel.

Others may disagree, but I do think there's something to be said for mistakes made in a first relationship. If they're not more forgivable, then they're at least more understandable than ones made down the road with eyes fully open. Because you never realize how important trust and honesty are until that first time they've been violated, and sometimes it takes being the one who violates that trust to learn that lesson. Almost like an inoculation. Which sounds like what's happened in your case, possibly. But I think that instead of focusing on her, you should move forward with your new understanding and meet other people. She deserves space to heal and meet other people right now, too. It's possible you can have a happy reconnection later on, maybe years from now (conveniently, years are also good opportunities to demonstrate lessons learned!), but for the time being she's got school and a new city to navigate. She doesn't need the person who broke her heart to drop in out of the blue with nothing to do but demand her attention.

Previously"Abonimable" Sisters.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by Kirk Peart Professional Imaging, via Shutterstock

464 Comments / Post A Comment

SarahP

Aw, A Lady, this was a gentle yet firm answer. Nicely done.

EpWs

@SarahP Seconded!

Dude, do NOT follow her to a new city. Seriously. That is crazy territory, don't go there.

PistolPackinMama

@SarahP exactly. Yes.

carolita

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher a guy I broke up six months previously with actually did come to see me and even propose to me in Paris back in 1988, and I literally ran off to London. Left him a note to leave the key with a friend. And that was that. It was too creepy. I'll never understand what he was thinking. He seemed to think the breakup had been an ultimatum or something. Sometimes one really shouldn't try to guess what's going on in a woman's head. Better to ask!

EpWs

@carolita ALWAYS BETTER TO ASK

PistolPackinMama

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher no no no. If they can't READ YOUR MIND then they totally don't love you. When they know FOR CERTAIN that you want what they want? Then it's TRUE LOVE FOREVER.

Jeez. How many times does someone have to mansplain this to you?

carolita

@PistolPackinMama scary, isn't it!

PistolPackinMama

@carolita Huh. And here was me thinking it was ROMANCE!

On a somewhat related note. Some people that I've had some connection with got into trouble with organization policy (rhymes with schmazing with schmalcohol). And, the thing is? Women? Do not need to be doing that shit. It is not bonding. It is not rites of passaging. It's not. It's teaching compliance. "For the good of your relationships you will accept pressure to do things you do not want to do..." Right. Great message to be sending. Nope nope nope.

No wonder it takes us a while to learn to put a foot down, show 'em the gate and slam it behind 'em and tell 'em to fuck right off. Or, say, NO THANKS to the cheating twit that thinks he deserves a second chance.

The Lady of Shalott

Dude, you are treading on some pretty dangerous ground, there. Seriously. And think about it--do you want this girl back BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY INCLUDING BLUNT EMOTIONAL FORCE? No, because that's kind of creepy. Or do you want her to come back to you of her own emotional free will, having judged for herself by your actions and your words that you are a trustworthy dude worth taking a second chance on?

Back off. Wait. Be patient. And for God's sake don't move to creep on her.

adela

@The Lady of Shalott Yes. It's less about second chances and more about respecting her agency and her choices. She doesn't want to see you or hear from you? Then she doesn't want to see you or hear from you. This isn't a romance movie.

The sort of cheating the LW did falls into the same category. He thought he could decide for the both of them what constituted cheating in their relationship without discussing it with her. It turned out she disagreed. Now he wants to rebuild and redefine their relationship, again without consulting her.

That being said, I think the letter writer could write her one short letter before deleting her from all of his contacts lists. It should say: 1) I know what I did was wrong 2)If you ever want to contact me you can 3) This is the last time I will contact you uninvited. And mean it.

Mariah Mantis@twitter

@The Lady of Shalott The thing that gets me about the cheating is the contrast of "our five-year relationship" and "I've been faithful for the last year." So...the math on that is...(and I'm a girl, so math is hard) FOUR FRICKIN FIFTHS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP INVOLVED YOU CHEATING?

Also, yes to everything everybody else has said, especially the Gavin de Becker _Gift of Fear_ shout-out. This guy needs to respect her choice to not have him in her life, and get the heck out of her life.

Joshie

@The Lady of Shalott "Emotional free will" is oxymoronic. Someone either responds to their emotions, or doesn't. Your emotions are not something that isn't you or make you see red as blue.

EternalFootwoman

@Mariah Mantis@twitter I took it to mean that they had a five-year relationship during which he cheated on her when they were living in different cities. His last sexual encounter was with her, before one of them moved overseas. They broke up four months after that move and he hasn't been with anyone since. So we don't know how long he'd been cheating, but he's 1) still a juicebox and 2) using the fact that he hasn't gotten laid in his year of being single as "proof" that he won't cheat when he's not single.

themmases

I have never, not once, thought better of an ex who contacted me out of the blue in the way this LW is suggesting. Every single one of those letters became appendices to Life Mistakes I Dated: Unabridged Edition.

aphrabean

@themmases I am reminded of the ex who called me up out of the blue, years later, to tell me his new girlfriend (whom he was living with, 5 blocks away from my place) thinks he should apologize to me. "Are you seeing anyone? No? Well you know, New Girlfriend is, like, fine to watch movies with but it's nothing serious. You want to grab a drink sometime?" Life Mistakes indeed.

iceberg

@aphrabean UGH!!!

fabel

@aphrabean ACK, what is with the whole "fine to watch movies with" thing?? that's not the first time I've heard a dude casually throw out that phrase like it's A Thing.

wharrgarbl

@aphrabean "I'm apologizing to you because someone else told me I should" is the best category of non-apology. Hands down. "Someone else told me that I should do this thing. Because I value their opinion/am trying to avoid a fight/am trying to suck up to them, I'm doing it. I value your opinion so little that I decided to be very blunt about this not coming from any realization, understanding, or feeling on my own part. Have a nice day/Would you be dtf in the near future?"

aphrabean

@fabel I do not KNOW! I know that I've said things like, "Oh, it's nothing serious - he's fun to hang out with/ go to shows with/ make out with" but I would never say that about anyone I was committed to. So disrespectful and gross.

aphrabean

@wharrgarbl Madame, have you considered a career in Asshole Interpretation? I see that you're fluent!

whateverlolawants

@fabel Watching movies is always code for sexual activity.

JadedStone

@whateverlolawants "Life Mistakes I Dated: Unabridged Edition." -Can we pretty please actually write this book? I feel it would be epic and amazing and dear god I could fill chapters...

WaityKatie

@wharrgarbl Ooh! Ooh! I have an even better one: "I'm apologizing to you because I have Found Religion (coincident with getting involved with/engaged to a religious girl, natch)." Mondo juicebox for the ages, who basically destroyed my social circle by hooking up with a close frenemy of mine repeatedly, behind my back, comes back, after I had ignored his every overture for...2 years? 3 years? with an out of the blue apology email, prompted by these circumstances. I'm a pretty hard line atheist, so this did not impress me much, except by making me chortle uncontrollably for a while and shout "What?? What??" at my email. But apparently he has "turned his life around" and is trying being a nice person for a chance now, so I have tried to be *slightly* openminded about it. No regrets on the absence of him from my life, at all!

Andrea K@twitter

@themmases "He's fun to hang out with/ go to shows with/ make out with" needs to be the chorus of some all-girl surf punk band's debut single right now, k thx.

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie That goes hand in hand with the "I'm apologizing to you because I'm in recovery" apology.

themmases

@thebestjasmine The "I'm apologizing to you because I've been going to therapy and am now emotionally self-sufficient" after 1 1/2 single-spaced page discussion of his feelings about your years-old breakup apology.

MissMushkila

@WaityKatie My favorite was when my rapist wrote me an apology facebook message four years later, saying "sorry for that night freshman year" and wanted to explain how he had joined the military and was a much better person now. I blocked him. Then next semester his wife was my assigned partner in my senior honors course. Fun times!!!

WaityKatie

@MissMushkila Oh my god, I think I read an article a while back on Salon or something about someone's rapist trying to friend her on facebook? Is this a thing, now?? So horrible.

laurel

@thebestjasmine Ugh, Step 9 is the worst.

Scandyhoovian

@Jade Can "Life Mistakes I've Dated" be a Hairpin Collaborative Work? I believe together we can come up with a definitive volume of What Not To Do In Relationships. For science!

bibliostitute

@laurel But to be fair, I don't think ANYBODY likes it.

cheeseandcrackers

@WaityKatie It was Emily on xojane.com. Intense story.

MagnificentMess

@aphrabean Ugh. I once got an email (through a dating site, mind you) from the girl a cheating ex cheated with and subsequently dated. She contacted me to apologize for the whole enchilada. I thanked her for giving me a reason to DTMFA.

supernintendochalmers

@themmases Ugh. So often it's about the juicebox trying to absolve himself of guilt and feel better regardless of whether you want to hear from him or not.

JadedStone

@Scandyhoovian SERIOUSLY. I feel we would help untold numbers of young women.

Which is a lie. They will read it and giggle and gasp in horror and say 'oh no, that would never happen to me!' because that's what WE ALL DID.

gtrachel

@Scandyhoovian Please yes! I could so contribute to this one.

Equestrienne

Since the beginning of humankind and the dawn of relationships, something like this has never, EVER worked out. Dude is a crazy.

JessicaLovejoy

"her unique idosyncrasies…"

~U dun kno ur beautiful~
~dats what makes u beautiful~

themmases

@JessicaLovejoy Where are my dozen extra thumbs-up buttons

LeafySeaDragon

@JessicaLovejoy the worst thing about that song is how catchy it is. i sing it for DAYS after i hear it. :/

Sydney C

@JessicaLovejoy
Reblob if u crey

JessicaLovejoy

@Sydney C EVRY TIEM

chirdia

@JessicaLovejoy aww come on give the guy a break!

chirdia

@chirdia although "unique idiosyncrasies" did make me think of that scene in Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams is talking about his dead wife...or am I making this up?

EpWs

@chirdia No, that's ringing a bell.

And I think we just can't resist an opportunity to summon up the spirt of pop songs past, present, and future, in any circumstances.

RK Fire

@JessicaLovejoy: have you been looking at livejournal again?!?

chirdia

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I'll admit, I didn't even know it was from a pop song, I'm really disconnected from music/tv/movies right now because my internet is so bad I can't stream or download anything. I thought she was just making fun of "unique idiosyncrasies"

Holden Cauliflower

@JessicaLovejoy
Worst (sexist) cliche, catchiest song.

lora.bee

@chirdia The part where he talks about waking herself up with a fart makes me cry a little.

chirdia

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher It won't load!!!! I use a USB modem to get internet here in the middle of nowhere in India, so I can read the internet and that is all. No youtube, no torrent, no nothing. But good to know it's from One Direction!!! I've read about them. On the internet. They called Christina Aguilera fat!

EpWs

@chirdia It's really okay, your life is better without it PROMISE

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@chirdia Ugh. I clicked it because I also had no idea about this (and I live in semi-urban U.S.A. with cable internet and no full-time job). You are NOT missing out.

themmases

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher The Jonas Brothers, their weird cousin, and... Draco Malfoy? Pretty sure I am too old for this beach party.

AnnaBarenina

@JessicaLovejoy I feel compelled to correct you, it was in fact 'The Wanted' that called Christina fat. The Wanted are a similar boyband of the same origin, but somehow different (I think One Direction are younger?). I know this because instead of studying last weekend I read about 40 pages of comments on ONTD about how sexist they (The Wanted) are for saying that.
One Direction (rivals!) apparently retaliated by saying Christina was 'lovely'.
...I wish I procrastinated in more productive ways.

LeafySeaDragon

@AnnaBarenina as an avid ontd reader i was going to hop on here for the same reason.

Holden Cauliflower

@JessicaLovejoy
As a fellow ONTD poster, I'll correct TW's "fat" to "bitch" (I don't think any boy band has recently called Christina fat). One Direction's scandals are limited to sexism toward non-famous women - rating fans 1-10 in front of them, convincing underage fans to kiss their bodyguards, hooking up with fans met on twitter and then blocking their accounts, etc

I think 1D and TW are about the same age but TW aims for an older crowd - their first American tour hit gay bars, while 1D debuted stateside via Nickelodeon.

dtowngirl

This is pretty heartbreaking, for both parties involved. But I agree with the advice. Let her know how you feel, and then leave her alone. It's up to her to decide if she wants to give you a second chance, and you should in no way try to force the issue. Don't move to her city--that won't prove your devotion, only your obsession.

treeskier170

@dtowngirl I don't really see it as heartbreaking for him. As I was reading the letter I got the sense that he wants to get back with her simply because it didn't work. Almost as if he wants to prove to her that he's not a douche, but a good guy. I also got the sense that he cheated on her more than once. Which in my mind is unforgivable. Then again, the only thing I would be able to forgive is a kiss. If you really love me, you won't put yourself in a position to have sex with, dry hump, go down on, etc. with anybody else. But yes, we both agree that he's a bit of a crazy crazy.

LeafySeaDragon

so during the ldr you sowed your oats (as much as i hate that phrase) and you broke this girls heart. now you want her back forever and ever, but forget her oats and her life that were on hold during your ldr. assuming that is, that she was faithful to you. which i think is a safe assumption being that she dumped you when she found out about the meaningless oat sowing.

leave the girl alone. start dating again, and try to be a better boyfriend. *and i mean date other people, not That Girl.

treeskier170

@LeafySeaDragon I will forever think of cheating as oat sowing now, forever. Thank you for this.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

This is a great answer, A Lady. Everything the Dude is saying, about how you want to love and protect her, is all based on what HE wants. Protecting her heart and loving her might mean giving her space to fix her shattered self. Here's the cliche: trust takes a lifetime to build but a second to lose. He can't just bypass that.

I'm a fan of second chances, but you can't just pick up where you left off. I think, as hard as it may be, you've got to start from scratch. Would you follow a woman you're courting to a new city? No. Give her that same courtesy.

timesnewroman

Regarding the "I need a chance to show that the reward far outweighs the risk" comment

Recently a man I know asked me out a few times and when I kept saying no he changed tack - when I'd reject him he'd sort of shrug, roll his eyes and say something like "Well I think we'd be really happy together" or "I'd be good for you". The most CREEPY CONDESCENDING PATRONISING BULLSHIT I've heard in a long time. VERY unsettling.

LeafySeaDragon

@timesnewroman ugh, gross. maybe it would work if you wanted a daddy?

some drunk guy was all pissed i was rejecting him at the grocery store (don't ask, i have no idea) i was just trying to shop. anyways, he was all. "WHY DON'T GIRLS LIKE BROKE GUYS WHO JUST WANT TO PARTY AND BE CHILL?!"

EpWs

@LeafySeaDragon WHY INDEED

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@LeafySeaDragon That is amazing. Seems like a catch if you're fishing for honesty.

rougemarie

@timesnewroman yeah I agree. Also, the reward / risk dichotomy he's working off is weird. I don't look at guys and do some corporate finance calculations about risks and profits to work out whether we've got a shot. You cheated on me, my trust is gone, let's never speak again kthanxbai.

PistolPackinMama

@timesnewroman NO REALLY, WHY WOULD I NOT WANT TO MEET SOMEONE FOR COFFEE, WHEN I KNOW VIRTUALLY NOTHING ABOUT YOU, AND THE ONLY THING I DO KNOW IS THAT YOU DON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. LET ME THINK ABOUT IT.

OH YEAH. BECAUSE YOU ARE SHOWING YOU CAN'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER.

Jesus tapdancing Christ.

And me, personally? I do not want to be with a guy who only wants to make me happy. Because I am not always happy, and sometimes I won't be happy with a parnter. And in those instances, he'd better have other plans, yo.

JessicaLovejoy

@LeafySeaDragon I am stealing this line for my pilot script and by reading this sentence you have agreed to share it with me in perpetuity, etc.

PotatoPotato

@timesnewroman: I got the, "I think we could make each other happy." FROM MY CREEPY COWORKER. Excuse me, dude? What makes you think I'm unhappy? Or that if I was unhappy, you would be the answer I was looking for? Or that I have any interest in being responsible for making you happy? BACK OFF, CREEPSTER.

LeafySeaDragon

@JessicaLovejoy it's drunk guy's life, steal away! and it's really too bad and i was too busy hiding behind cereal/slinking away when he was telling his friend the story that end in "...and then i shit my pants right in front of her!! DDDUUUDDEEE!"

redheaded&crazy

@LeafySeaDragon and that didn't win you over?

see fellas, the problem with ladies today is, they have "standards"

leonstj

@timesnewroman - Oh dag, I was all "Why do I not really like the guy who wrote this? He seems earnest enough."

But that's exactly what it was. It's okay dude. I used to say things like that too. It goes away, eventually-ish. If you make it. Also, not necessarily this dude, but similar dudes, here is another piece of advice:

You seem like a dude who probably is a nice and well meaning dude, and at some point you'll have a crush on a female friend who you're pretty sure doesn't reciprocate the feelings at all. You jokingly admit it, but then wonder if her laugh was because she thought you were just kidding. She knew you meant it. She probably knew before you even told her.

So here's the next step: Don't actually tell her. Or act on it. Force yourself to not be jealous if she dates other dudes, saying to yourself, "Wait, she's my friend, she deserves to be happy. They're a fit for her, I'm not. There have been women I wasn't romantically interested in, why should every woman be romantically interested in me?"

It will be freeing. Sometimes, wanting to be with someone and having them not want you back is the best education at all that the universe is a big, absurd, capricious place. Don't hide when it hurts, and over time it will hurt less. You'll be fine. And dinner will still be hot when you finally go downstairs.

dj pomegranate

@PistolPackinMama Aaaaaaagghh so few people understand this! Even some women don't understand this.

I am also so tired of the, "Well I was brave/drunk/persistent enough to ask you out, so you OWE ME. What's one coffee/beer/night?" No. I don't owe you a huge chunk of my time in exchange for the 5 seconds it took you to ask me out. In fact, I don't owe you anything at all! Sheesh.

WaityKatie

@timesnewroman Yeah, I've had internet dudes do this. You're like, "I'm not interested," and then they start trying to CONVINCE you. "But we're so compatible!" I had one guy on a date demand that I tell him the reasons why when I gave him a very generic polite blather about wanting to just be friends. He was all, "but we have so much in common! I like this, and you also like this! We live in the same area! We like music! Blah blah blah!" This was on a first date. It was like he didn't believe I had the right to choose who to date, because he had already "decided" who I was going to date - him.

themmases

@dj pomegranate And if you really believe we owe you and it's outrageous that we would say no, then you're really not being all that brave, are you?

WaityKatie

@leon.saintjean Oh my god, I wish I could have you sit one particular male friend of mine down and tell him all this. He has been conspiciously pining after me for YEARS, despite numerous expressions of total non-romantic interest on my part, and it has led to so much conflict. It has even led to stupid attacks directed at me from girls he is dating. He seems to believe that if he just waits around long enough I will eventually run out of other options and then have no choice but to fall in love with him. I find it really very insulting and the opposite of flattering, actually. It actually feels very controlling at times that he says he accepts that we are purely platonic friends, forever, but he still has this hidden agenda that periodically pops out. It makes me not want to hang out with him sometimes. Fortunately he moved across the country so we don't hang out much any more anyway, but I really wish guys could understand this about women.

sugar cubism

@leon.saintjean YES.
You know that one part of Adaptation (and also Jenny Lewis song) that's like, "You are what you love and not what loves you back"? That scene from that movie is the BEST. and, you know, relates.

sox
sox

@LeafySeaDragon I'm gonna go out on a limb here and blame that drunk dude's delusion on LMFAO.

sugar cubism

@sugar cubism Just to be clear -- that part of the MOVIE relates.
The Jenny Lewis song pleads-on-your-doorstep bit relates to the LW's [terrible] technique.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@all So, I was unaware that dudes acted like this. Dating/being single is not something I know about. But apparently guys in the dating world are now basing their plays off of the (especially pushy/sleazy) used car salesman model?

@rougemarie OMG. It would make so much sense if this guy was in finance.

laurel

@LeafySeaDragon I DO like them. I like them to bag my groceries.

TheUnchosenOne

@WaityKatie A dude friend of mine basically did this to a mutual gal friend of mine for about a year and a half. They've been dating for five months or so now and they seem really happy, but part of me was like "Nooooooo, Gal Friend, you have just taught him that this works."

Miss Maszkerádi

@PistolPackinMama oh my god yes. When I read "all I want to do in life is make her happy forever and ever" my skin started to crawl. It is NOT HEALTHY to have the sole, or even main, focus of one's life be the emotional state of another person. It shows a distinct lack of personality/other life goals on the part of the obsesser, and a lot of emotional obligation on the part of the obsessee.

Honestly this guy sounds a bit like my ex--simultaneously putting the girl on a giant worshipful pedestal and declaring her the center of the galaxy, and creepily-condescendingly deciding what's best for her and what she wants out of life (which, of course, is him.) Please tell me there are men out there who AREN'T like this toward women.

editrickster

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me

*It would make so much cents if this guy was in finance. I'll show myself out.

PistolPackinMama

@editrickster I can't believe you think we'd dollerate that kind of punning around here. Although LW might deserve to be cashtrated* for some of his shenanigans.

*Sudden and traumatic removal of all money from his major bank accounts.

EpWs

@PistolPackinMama Hi, I'm in love with you. Carry on.

PistolPackinMama

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher the feeling is entirely mutual, I assure you.

EternalFootwoman

@WaityKatie http://xkcd.com/513/

Made me think of this comic. Like either of you will be happy if you give up on dating and settle for the pining friend.

rougemarie

@editrickster you is good people.

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama @The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Ditto. Three-way?

PistolPackinMama

@Xanthophyllippa start warming up the hot chocolate vat!?

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama @editrickster, you busy? And like hot chocolate.

EternalFootwoman

@Xanthophyllippa Ooooh, if you guys are getting out the vat, can I come? I'll bring my water wings. And I promise not to quote "Titanic" this time.

PistolPackinMama

@EternalFootwoman All are welcome in the chocolate vat. ALL- your hearts will go on.

EpWs

@PistolPackinMama HALLO, find chocolate!

editrickster

@Xanthophyllippa @pistolpackinmama I'm down.

EternalFootwoman

@PistolPackinMama Out hearts WILL go on! That's right, I said it. Too late, I'm already in the vat!

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama @editrickster @everyone: I'm in here already. C'mon in; the water...er, the hot chocolate's fine. Good remedy for a shit day and a pulled hamstring.

@EternalFootwoman Don't make me go all lifeguard and order you to take a Time Out.

EpWs

@Xanthophyllippa As long as there's no facebook in the vat. Are we allowed to bring Kahlua? I'm bringing Kahlua.

Xanthophyllippa

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Kahlua is more than welcome! And definitely no Facebook. No phones or Blackberrys allowed, either; this is a distraction-free vat.

themegnapkin

@WaityKatie dunno if anyone is still reading this thread. . . I have a problem where I go on one or two dates with a guy (unless he's TERRIBLE, I try to give guys two dates to make up for nerves on the first), and then because we have enough in common/enough to talk about, and he's a nice person, and he hasn't done anything "wrong" except bore me, which he can't help (people, if you're the one doing 85% of the talking, and you're talking exclusively about yourself, it is boring the pants of your date, please stop), I feel bad about. . . not dumping him, because it's so early that I wouldn't even say we're dating, but I feel bad about not wanting to date him. This is a stupid problem in my head, born of being a people-pleasing woman who hates to disappoint/hurt others. I have to "dump" this nice guy who I've been out with a few times, and he is going to be surprised and disappointed. Can someone suggest a neutral, unequivocal thing to say that minimizes hurt feelings?

WaityKatie

@themegnapkin I don't know, but this situation is why I usually preemptively panic-dump anyone I'm not attracted to after the first date/meeting. A bunch of times I have tried to "give them a chaaaance" and gone on a second date, and then it just gets all the mor awkward. I guess you could just mumble something generic about wanting to be friends or not having romantic chemistry, that is what I have generally done. And then flee.

themegnapkin

@WaityKatie the preemptive panic-dump is my typical m.o., only, it hasn't worked out so well for me. But not preemptively panic-dumping has also landed me in relationships that I *knew* weren't going to work out, and it only gets harder to end it as time goes on. How does anybody ever get together? Because I've only had one really happy relationship (a.k.a., one relationship where I was unconflictedly excited about and attracted to the guy, until he dumped me), and it seems like since then I just date guys I'm attracted to but who kind of suck, or they're awesome, but I'm not attracted. Either way, it's not fun.

WaityKatie

@themegnapkin Are you me? Because you just described my "relationship" history quite succinctly. Although I wouldn't necessarily describe the ones I'm not attracted to as having been awesome. I think that might be the guilt talking. Yeah, the ones I like don't like me enough to really date me, and the ones who like me I find revolting. I don't know how anyone gets together? Alcohol?

themegnapkin

@WaityKatie I'm mainly being generous to the ones I'm not attracted to. There was one, though, who objectively is the best guy I've dated - nice, funny, smart & intellectually curious, I would write a glowing dating letter of recommendation for him - only, I was not attracted to him!!! I tried so hard to be, but it just wasn't happening.
Alcohol has not worked for me, and it's not for lack of trying.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@themegnapkin Maybe your dates' genius plans have been to bore the pants off of you all along?

themegnapkin

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me if he had been one of the I'm-attracted-to-you-but-you-suck guys, it might have worked. . .

Myrtle

@PistolPackinMama _All of this comment, but especially your last paragraph, thrills me. It is now saved to a Sticky on my desktop for times I need inspiration. Brilliantly observed, thank you!

rocknrollunicorn

@LeafySeaDragon Wait... we're Facebook friends, aren't we? I have definitely read this "Why don't girls like broke guys who just want to party and be chill" story before!

anachronistique

The only thing I can see about the actual woman here:

"The deck is stacked against me because she'll only talk under certain circumstances, and doesn't want to see me."

DOESN'T WANT TO SEE ME. Dude, you have your answer right there. This isn't a romantic comedy. She doesn't want to see you.

iceberg

@anachronistique ALL THE THUMBS I HAVE TO GIVE, I GIVE THEM TO YOU (CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE, ALL THE TIME)

rougemarie

@anachronistique word. I understand that good people sometimes do stupid hurtful things. But by the end of the letter, my juicebox spidey sense was tingling.

He doesn't seem to be thinking at all about what her wants and needs are - only what ways there are for him to achieve what he wants, to get back with her.

Roxanne Rholes

@anachronistique Also: what's with "the deck is stacked against me" when he dealt the cards himself?

PistolPackinMama

@Roxanne Rholes yeah. And he loaded it with jokers before starting.

themmases

@rougemarie This. I thought I had more to say, but it was just more "this".

lil_bobbytables

@anachronistique As much as I enjoy 'Say Anything', it is not actually a good model for how to life one's life. Put down the boombox, lw! It won't help! Leave the lady alone. As much as it can suck, sometimes you're left sadder but wiser, and this is one of those times.

PrudenceHarlan

@rougemarie this does seem to be mostly about him and not her. I was in a similar place as LW many years ago (being the one who screwed up-not the stalking part) and looking back I can honestly say that I was not thinking of his needs at all - I assumed if I believed I'd be better off if we were able to work things out, that he did too. It wasn't malicious or anything, just self-centered.

Roxanne Rholes

@PistolPackinMama and I almost puked a little in my mouth when I read "I don't expect to jump back in her bed and continue things as they were — I feel I have to prove myself." News flash, dickbag: no one gives a fuck how YOU feel.

rougemarie

@PrudenceHarlan I can understand that, maybe I'm being a bit too harsh. It can be easy to just *assume* that the best thing for both parties to a relationship is the outcome that we ourselves want. At the same time, we have to be self-reflexive. Especially when so much hurt has been caused already.

dj pomegranate

@PrudenceHarlan Yeah...in my first relationship, I was the screwer upper and now, lo these ten years later, I can look back and see that I had actually no idea what he wanted. I was imagining what he wanted based on what I wanted. It wasn't malicious or juiceboxy or even manipulative. It was naive and self-centered. (Thankfully that experience taught me a lot about how to not be self-centered.)

lisma

@lil_bobbytables I wish my ex would read this entire thing.
He spent the better part of a year trying to get back together with me. Lurking around and "hanging in there" like that kitten on the motivational poster. Except when you're not a kitten, but a man, it is creepy to keep hanging in there.

CharethCutestory

@ginalouise
I think that Dudes Who Think They're a John Cusack Character (like it's a good thing!) are one of the malaises of our society.

niq
niq

@anachronistique Also, these details remind me of something generally true: breakups are usually about more than one thing. If everything else was so amazeballs before, she would have forgiven the cheating then, or at least been open to it. She wasn't. And she probably isn't now. And even without the cheating, she might be ready to move on. Sorry, LW. You should move on too.

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

@anachronistique My like button isn't working, but if I could like it a thousand times I would.

EpWs

Hey, I just moved here [to follow you]
And I am crazy
But here's my number, contact information, and schedule for the next three weeks including all my whereabouts which are mostly just outside your window
So call me maybe?

Gracefully and Grandly

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

PS Text me possibly

lora.bee

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher STUCK IN MY HEAD FOREVERRRRR

EpWs

@lora.bee I willingly reinfected myself for the sake of humor. That's how much I love you guys.

redheaded&crazy

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher ohhhhh god i love you

PotatoPotato

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher: Uh-ma-ZING!

ReginaSavage

My dealbreakers are few but cheating is #1 on the list. If a dude were to ever cheat on me that's it we are DONE. Do not pass GO to not collect $200. And if a dude who cheated on me were to contact me a year later with all this drivel I would say to him "Good, I'm glad you're hurting very much and that you're having a hard time getting over it. You deserve that and so much more, so please continue to hurt and stop wasting my time!"

redheaded&crazy

@ReginaSavage mmm yeah me too. I'd be like "congratulations, how wonderful. you learned your lesson so maybe you don't treat another girl that way. but that's a big maybe and i'm not willing to find out"

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@ReginaSavage When I got to the "I'm hurting too" part I was like "OH BOO HOO."

redheaded&crazy

@quickdrawkiddo UGH I KNOW like when my brother lost my copy of return of the king and was like "well I'm upset too I wasn't done reading it!"

guys i ask you, is that not the perfect analogy?

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@redheaded&crazie You win the internet today.

TheUnchosenOne

@redheaded&crazie It is the finest of all analogies.

parallel-lines

Oh, now you wanna be good to her and marry her and giant hearts forever and ever. (In my Church Lady from SNL voice) "How con-VEEN-ient!."

lora.bee

@parallel-lines You know when people say "lol", but they did not actually laugh out loud? Well, I just did. So thank you.

It probably isn't even that funny to anyone else, but Church Lady is just so dear to my heart.

Xanthophyllippa

@lora.bee Pfft. Isn't that SPECIAL?

iceberg

"you should move forward with your new understanding and meet other people"

THIS. It hurts now but let her be The One Who Taught You The Importance of Fidelity. The next girl will be able to trust you because you have learned the hard way, but she won't because she took the brunt of your learning.

Also "first real girlfriend" seems like a bit of a red flag that maybe you could do with some more real experiences before puttin' a rang on it.

iceberg

@iceberg but to perhaps be a little less harsh: It could well be a good idea to let her know how you feel, perhaps in a real letter. Tell her you're sorry that you hurt her, that now it's done you'd give anything to take it back, and you know you'd never do it again.

Then NEVER CONTACT HER AGAIN unless she contacts you. I didn't want to hear this from my (non-cheating but giant asshole and slightly creepy stalker) ex, but she might want to hear it from you, who knows.

lalaland

@iceberg If you go that route, which I DO NOT RECOMMEND but it is better than the moving to her city route, do not under any circumstance tell her that you're sorry but the reward of her getting back with you outweighs the risk. Say you're sorry, you suck and she deserves better.

datalass

@iceberg So, so true. And, frankly, it's his insistence that he needs to get back together with this particular woman that makes me suspect that he hasn't really learned the lesson here.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg If you do (which I also do not recommend), I would advise you to say in the letter that you don't expect to hear from her. If she does want to contact you she will, but if she doesn't (which is most likely the case), that way she won't feel like she's expected to respond. It would be a very uncomfortable situation for her.

jule_b_sorry

@datalass Yeah, I think he might just want redemption? Justification being, If she takes him back, he couldn't have really been a bad guy, right? But once she washes him clean of his sins by taking him back, she'll stop being a fantasy and will be a reality...and if the reality doesn't match his fantasy, this could end badly for both of them.

Tiktaalik

@iceberg TRUTH about The One Who Taught You The Importance of Fidelity. I dated a guy for 5 years (2 years of which were a LDR), and he cheated on me with some random lady at a bar when I was out of town for a week. He tried REALLY hard to get me back, but I wanted none of it. He had cheated on me once before, and I just knew that if I forgave him and we got back together, he would never learn the fucking lesson. He's dating a very nice girl now (and has been for several years) and we see each other at social gatherings sometimes. It sucked, I really wanted things to work out between us, but it was clear that I could either keep dating him and he would keep being the same douchebag or I could give his shitty behavior real consequences, but I couldn't have it both ways.

datalass

@jule_b_sorry Yes! Exactly what I was trying to get at.

Gracefully and Grandly

I loved what The Lady said. I also think it's worth mentioning that the dude writer can look on that relationship as a learning experience. I think the past one might be beyond salvaging and for good reason. It doesn't sound like the ex will wants him around/to move to her city at all (that's some crazy talk). But that shouldn't stop him from not making the same mistake with the next lady he meets. So basically, don't cheat on your girlfriend. Girlfriends usually don't like that.

fondue with cheddar

@Gracefully and Grandly Absolutely. A bad relationship (whether or not you are the one who made it so) are always a good learning experience.

Chesty LaRue

@Gracefully and Grandly I Love your user name.

Gracefully and Grandly

@Chesty LaRue Aww, thank you! :)

Mingus_Thurber

May I point out, too, that the conversations you have in your head and the reactions you imagine That Girl having to things are probably NOT those that the Actual Girl would have? You, dear LR, are idealizing TG. That never ends well. The whole emotional-bludgeoning thing is already a little creepy; don't make it worse by trying to get the real Girl to conform to the imaginary Girl you've created.

Ryan Gosling, you are not. Sorry.

themmases

@Mingus_Thurber Yeah, the idealizing in this really rubbed me the wrong way. And I see stuff like this from guys all the time: "her unique idiosyncrasies I thought were cute but made her insecure" like they're the special ones for liking her or something, or noticing that she isn't perfect means they know her really really well which means they're meant to be together.

After ending and trying to get over a long-term relationship and a huge betrayal, an overseas internship (I'm assuming it was hers since she was the one working), moving, starting grad school, and a year's separation from the LW, most people have changed quite a bit. Pretty sure this guy does not know her as well anymore as he thinks he does, and it creeps me out so much when people act like they do know you so well just because they used to. Nope, no one you know ever moved on or did anything new with their lives until you decided to shoot them an email!

TheDragon

@Mingus_Thurber
Exactly. The problem with putting someone on a pedestal is that they eventually fall off it. The higher the pedestal, the harder the fall (for both of you).
Yes. I just went there. You have all now had your daily does of cliche metaphor.

EternalFootwoman

@themmases Yeah, the idiosyncrasies part is where I gagged. Because I'm sure what he means is "she leaves the lid off the toothpaste" and "she puts the peanut butter jar away with two molecules of peanut butter in it". And I'm sure he thinks he's noble for adoring those things, but what it says to me is that he's incapable of recognizing that adult relationships don't involve hearts and stars and google-eyed love of every single aspect of your partner.

redheaded&crazy

hahaha disposable one-night stands. disposable human beings! that's great. that's ... that's great.

Megasus

@redheaded&crazie OMG do not read The Windup Girl it is about what happens to a literal disposable person. And it is horrible.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@redheaded&crazie Exactly. Creep town.

lil_bobbytables

@Megano! But now my first reaction is to google The Windup Girl!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@redheaded&crazie Clearly this dude has done a lot of evolving and growing up since his cheatin' days. Now he understands the difference between those disposable floozies he was cheating with and his perfect angelic ex! My faith in him is renewed.

redheaded&crazy

@tortietabbie wherever you are, i believe you have been designated today's hairpin ghost! your comments are all disappearing!

PistolPackinMama

@redheaded&crazie Oh my gosh. You are so right. I may have hurt the feelings of some women who maybe were invested in having more than I wanted, because they were disposable relationships. Like, maybe this wasn't clear to her, but it was to me, so who cares hah hah hah. And that just shows how speshul That Girl is! Because she is 100% vintage heirloom made in the days before disposable relationships, like a 1969 Mustang or something. And so her feelings and needs are... still not evident in my priorities as expressed in this letter?

Oh great. Sign me up.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@redheaded&crazie Disposable Humans: made from cardboard so you can mulch 'em when you're done with 'em!

skyslang

@redheaded&crazie Yeah. THIS. It's almost like he's using his madonna-whore complex as a positive thing? Like...look, I stayed away from the nice girls I had things in common with and maybe could have fallen in love with and just stuck to the slutty girls who were only good for sex! Isn't that worth something? Aren't I a good guy?
Juicebox indeed.

redheaded&crazy

@werewolfbarmitzvah you know, that DOES sound like a pretty good deal come to think of it.

frigwiggin

@Megano! Ugh, I have hated few books recently more than I hated that one. People talk about how great Shipbreaker is and I'm like NOPE NUH-UH I GAVE YOU A CHANCE PAOLO BACIGALUPI AND YOU GAVE ME RAPE WITH A WINE BOTTLE

EpWs

@werewolfbarmitzvah They're biodegradable! Earth-friendly and such. You know, for eco-conscious juiceboxes.

SarcasticFringehead

@frigwiggin I'm so glad that book bothered other people as much as it bothered me. There's a way to talk about how we treat relationships and people as disposable sometimes without actually MAKING them disposable robots in your book (and/or real life), and Windup Girl completely missed that point.

thebestjasmine

@frigwiggin Thank you for saying this, because Ship Breaker has been on my to read list forever, and I do not want to read a book that I'm going to hate.

WaityKatie

@PistolPackinMama Every time someone says That Girl I start singing the song from the 70's Marlo Thomas show, That Girl. Anyone??

Megasus

@werewolfbarmitzvah THEY DO MULCH THEM
@frigwiggin I liked it, but it was profoundly upsetting. Especially that part. And yeah, he never did really resolve that issue, did he? Well, maybe in the most superficial way ever.

WaityKatie

@PistolPackinMama Yeah, that reminded me of this one friend-with-benefits I had, who broke up with me once because he "was tired of having meaningless sex." That was pretty hurtful, because, I mean, yeah, we weren't In a Relationship, but I don't consider anything I do to be MEANINGLESS, except in the sense that all of it is meaningless. I wouldn't be doing it if it meant absolutely nothing to me. It was just like, "yeah, you don't matter and you are a total waste of my time."

frigwiggin

@thebestjasmine You might like it! A lot of people have liked it. All I know is I hated Wind-Up Girl and there are too many other authors I want to read to bother giving him another chance. Plus, I just reallllly wasn't into the female characters in that book, which is becoming more and more of a sore point for me.

damselfish

@frigwiggin Thank God I can always rely on 'pinners to be awesome. Windup Girl gets talked up in a lot of other places I hang out on the internet and my basic response is "you are all dudes who clearly know jack-all about women and what it feels like to be a woman or how a woman would respond to this trash. So go on praising of this novel as a work of genius, but it is creepy as fuck and not for the reasons the author intended."

The weirdest part was that I called him creepy and super sexist on a friend's blog. AND THEN HE SHOWED UP TO ARGUE WITH HER. Because she also found him super creepy and sexist. The writer community is too tiny.

Bitterblue

@redheaded&crazie SO GLAD I'M NOT THE ONLY PERSON THIS BOTHERED. His whole attitude towards women in particular gave me the heebies.

THESE OTHER WOMEN, I ONLY USED THEM FOR THEIR BODY SO IT DOESN'T "COUNT". BUT YOU, YOU I LOVE FOR YOUR ~IDIOSYNCRASIES~ WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT.

annev6

Teach it like you preach it, Lady!

Megasus

Just because it was the best relationship you've ever been in guy, doesn't mean it was for her. Leave her alone.

EpWs

@Megano! THIS THIS THIS

fuck fuck fuck

@Megano! seriously. an ldr in which i got cheated on repeatedly? OH YEAH SIGN ME BACK UP.

rougemarie

@lighter fluid I've been in one of those! I just can't wait to do it, um, NEVER AGAIN.

Hot Doom

@Megano! Yes! This letter totally reminded me of that older Mad Men episode when Roger Sterling's old flame comes back and they go out and have a gay old time and he's married to Jane, and she says "You were the one!" and he says to her "You weren't".

LW's ex sounds like she knows what she's doing. Why undermine her (apparently) very clear message that she does not want to see him, especially when she's making a big life change for the better?

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Megano! Also, his best relationship only because it has been his only relationship

liznieve

In my opinion, long distance relationships really don't work. I feel like relationships are all about the everyday intimacy... knowing how someone brushes their teeth or their morning routine... and it's something that needs to be maintained. I was in a long distance relationship during grad school with someone I had been dating for eh, three years IRL, and it was really jarring when he would come visit and would have no idea what my life was like. Not really, anyway. And seeing him was Special, not everyday, and therefore there weren't piddly fights over where to eat dinner, or who didn't take out the trash; he was an idealized version of himself. Basically, he didn't exist in my reality. All appropriate YMMV caveats, etc....

fabel

@liznieve I agree; that is all.

fuck fuck fuck

@liznieve while i do agree that LDRs can be super difficult, i would hesitate to make any further blanket statements.

Megasus

@liznieve I am kind of the opposite, in that familiarity breeds contempt.

realtalk

@liznieve this is something I'm really struggling with, since I'm on month ... 10? of my current LDR. We were together for a year before we graduated from college and started living in different places, and we see each other for a weekend once a month ish, skype 2-3x a week for a couple of hours at a time, text constantly. I think it's way harder, but I think because of that it's made me a much better communicator, and it's made us work through some crutches/issues in our relationship that I don't think we would have dealt with had we not been far apart. It also helps that it's not indefinite LDR (I'm moving there in September).

Bittersweet

@liznieve: They can work, but I've found they only work when the long-distance part is temporary and has a definite end date. And even then, it's hard work and you may want to kill each other before you reunite.

OK, done extrapolating my personal experience into generalizations for everyone else now...

PotatoPotato

@liznieve: This was my experience as well. The boyfriend would come see me for a weekend. Friday I would be really annoyed that he was underfoot, that he cut half my week's bread supply to eat as a side for one night's dinner, stop hanging all over me, etc. Saturday I'd start to get used to him and have fun hanging out. And then Sunday I'd be sad that he left and miss him for a few days. Then I would get back into my normal routine and he would go back to being the guy I spoke to on the phone or IM, but not part of my normal day.

After 2.5 years he moved to my town and wanted to live WITH me, but I insisted that we try just living in the same town first. He'd get super pissed off that while he was over in the evening I would do things like wash my dishes -- because time together should be (as you said) Special and not for humdrum everyday tasks -- while I just wanted to see him and thought that just hanging around on a normal Tuesday night was a good idea. We broke up in less than 4 months.

liznieve

@Bittersweet
@everyone:
oh, totally, hence the end YMMV, all of the "in my opinion" etc. I guess in my experience, people just... change. People's needs change. And even if you talk a blue moon about it, it can be really difficult to pick back up where you started / it's really hard to accept that it probably won't be the same as when you were last in the same place together. I mean, sure, a good friend of mine in grad school managed an LDR with his Japanese girlfriend, but that seems more the exception rather than the rule.

liznieve

@liznieve and again! If you can make it work, all the more power to you.

Dorothea

@liznieve my long-distance relationship worked great! this guy's mistakes are his own, and not merely a product of distance. i don't really think it's fair to use "YMMV" to cancel out a huge generalization. why isn't it enough to say that you had a hard time in your LDR, and leave it at that?

timesnewroman

@all Also (no offence meant to realtalk at all; I don't know your life) the constant texting thing is really beyond irritating to your friends that are trying to have a conversation with you. I've never had a friend with a ld boyfriend who didn't do this and it is BEYOND rude.

redheaded&crazy

@timesnewroman constant texting: not just for ldrs neither!

the worst part is i often can't pick between being irritated by the rudeness and jealousy that i don't have a relationship like that.

sigh.

liznieve

@blahstudent I don't think I was addressing this dude in particular, just the idea and my experience with it. And jeez, am I not allowed to have an opinion, just an experience? No extrapolation of personal lessons learned? Alright, suit yourself.

realtalk

@timesnewroman yeah, no, that's about rudeness, not about long distance relationships.

themmases

@Bittersweet In my experience the end date planning really helped prepare for day-to-day stuff. Conversations like "This is my financial reality, these are my job prospects, we should look for a place that costs X on Y timeline" and "I can/cannot stay in your current apartment because I need my home to be A" make for good romance roommates later.

MissMushkila

@blahstudent I studied/had internships abroad 3 times during college. I saw long distance kill literally over a hundred relationships among my classmates. Some do make it and stay great! And that might be you! But the odds seem undeniably against it for most people.

Is this okay, as I'm not extrapolating from my personal experience in an LDR as much as from the observation of all of my peers in LDRs?? This is science right? Anecdotes = data, I'm pretty sure.

redheaded&crazy

@MissMushkila as a PhD toting graduate from the discipline of Anecdotal Sciences, I hereby anoint you into our ranks and deem you fit to extrapolate wildly from any and all observations in the future.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie sidenote: extrapolate - such a good word, or the best word?

liznieve

@redheaded&crazie
THE BEST WORD.

Chesty LaRue

@redheaded&crazie I think shock is my best word. I guess extrapolate is pretty great too....

Dorothea

@MissMushkila but don't most short-distance relationships among college students end too? here's some competing anecdata: of my close friends in law school, 6 of us started law school in serious long distance relationships, and 4 of us ended law school in (the same!) serious long distance relationships. two out of three isn't bad!!

variables: age, whether the separation is indefinite or not, chance

Dorothea

@blahstudent also, there's an equivalent but opposite phenomenon: people who should break up, but stay together because they are in the same place and it's convenient.

Tiktaalik

@liznieve In my opinion (if I may also use my personal experience to extrapolate for others), LDRs can work just fine if you're both willing to do the "work." I've been in several, and only one ended because of distance-related issues (cheating, growing apart, etc.). You hit the nail on the head, though - for me, the secret ingredient is to try and stay involved in each others' daily lives as much as possible. Talk on the phone (not just chat or texting) every day. Video chat whenever possible. Tell each other the mundane shit like what you had for lunch. Just because there is distance doesn't mean they're not still your go-to person. When you stop treating them like Your Person, that is when breakups happen. (But don't talk on the phone or text while you are actively out with friends. That shit is beyond annoying.)

For anyone looking for inspiration, I would like to tell you about a former coworker of mine. She is in her 60's, she just retired last summer. She lives here in Florida, and has for her entire life. She's been married for 15 years to a dude that she does not live with. He lives/works in New England. They visit about once a month, and neither has any plans to relocate (even though she totally could now that she's retired). They go on big European vacations every summer. They are very happy together! They just both also really like their current homes and their personal space.

E
E

@liznieve The LDRs that I saw working well were when they had some serious weight behind them. For instance if you have been together 4 or 5 years and are married and now you are going away for a little while, maybe less than a year. Like deployment. I think then you have a foundation to work with. I'm thinking particularly of two friends who went abroad to live and in both cases they were deeply on the marriage track before they left, several years in.

Versus yours truly who after 8 months together did a 1 year VERY LDR, which ended in a huge inferno of sadness, and cost a lot of money. But I'm also pretty dumb about that stuff so a lot of that could have been avoided by being smaerter than I was.

Bittersweet

@themmases: Heartily agree, although in my case with my husband (then boyfriend), it was more like "I cannot stay in your current apartment because you live in a rectory and Father Tom won't let us live there together while we're unmarried."

Dude, you sound like a selfish, creepy, entitled asshat. Move on and leave this woman alone. Ugh. The lady is far more level-headed than I am (kudos, lady). But yeah, basically dude, stop it. You are not entitled to second chances. Grow up and realize that nobody's obligated to give you anything after you behave like a selfish child.

Xanthophyllippa

@S. Elizabeth THIS. I would have been so much more sympathetic to this guy if it had been the ex-girlfriend writing and asking about second chances and saying that she knew he just wanted her to be happy, etc. Instead, I was just really creeped out.

lalaland

A Lady, that was beautifully written. Dude, do NOT move to her city. In much harsher words than A Lady, it's been almost a year since you've seen her - you've clearly started idealizing her. You said yourself you haven't really had a serious relationship besides her - how would you even know what a "good" relationship is, since you haven't dated anyone before or after her?

I think your intentions are good, but you are acting selfishly - you've put her on this pedestal and you think if she'd just take you back, everything will be perfect. It's one thing to THINK you'll do "things you thought were dumb before not as a compromise, but because it'd make her happy," it's another to actually do it. If this is your first serious relationship, it's hard to get over, I know. I can't tell you how long I (pathetically) pined over my first boyfriend. But give it time...you'll move on and so will she.

Please, just leave her alone.

fabel

Okayyy LW, I'm a former cheater so I know where you're coming from with this excess guilt & putting the person you cheated on on a pedastal thing. Feelings like that are really intense, so it makes sense that you want to direct them somewhere. So, please, direct them somewhere-- but not at the girl whose heart you broke. I can see how following her to a new city & trying to convince her "I DID WRONG I KNOW I DID, BUT I'LL BE BETTER" is a compelling idea, but that idea needs to die. She hasn't even processed this yet, and you haven't either (even though you think you have) Give her, and yourself, time. Lots of time.

tko
tko

Lady nailed it.

atipofthehat

I'm on my third chance now, and it seems to be working.

EpWs

@atipofthehat See below--it can work! It can work great! But only under mutually agreed-upon terms.

jule_b_sorry

@atipofthehat I've given a second chance - in fact, I married him after we resolved the issues that led to the demise of the first chance. And I'm so, so glad I gave him a second chance. So, it can happen! But obvs YMMV.

eiffeldesigns

And this: "We were in a long-distance relationship, I was stressed out from school and she was stressed out from work."

How is her stress level contributing to your cheatin' ways when you are in a long distance relationship!? Victim blaming much?

Christ. I just have no tolerance for cheaters.

tessamae

@Kirs THIS. Can I also add that those stressors are pretty much child's play compared to what the rest of life tends to bring? Marriage, kids, jobs, money, aging parents, mortages, tuitions and so on and so on. How are you going to deal with that??? Life is stressful and wonderful and hard work and amazing. I believe we all make mistakes (especially in our precocious youth) but it's how we learn from them and move on from them is what defines us. This guy is still casting blame on the "outside forces"(including her to an extent, as you noted) that drove him to cheat versus just owning it, learning from it, and moving on and becoming a better partner. Sad.

redheaded&crazy

I feel kinda bad making snarky comments because I feel as though we as a commentariat are a bit harsher on dudes than ladies (which, I dunno, blah blah blah patriarchy harsher on ladies than dudes, I DON'T KNOW)

I know one couple who is on their maybe fourth or fifth time around of the on-and-off cycle, a cycle which began with cheating (and there's been no cheating to my knowledge since). They finally seem to be managing functionally. I think the answer is definitely yes extra chances! But I think harassing the person to give you another chance, as A Lady says, is a big no-no.

thebestjasmine

@redheaded&crazie Yes, I know a number of couples who did the break up/get back together thing, and got married in the end and have good relationships. But they both decided to make that choice.

fuck fuck fuck

@redheaded&crazie right. it seems like the ball should pretty much be in the cheatee's court at this point. if she feels like you deserve a second chance, she will do something about it.

wharrgarbl

@redheaded&crazie I refer you to The Ballad of Bob and Eli for all the harshing on ladies you could ever want or need.

redheaded&crazy

@lighter fluid YES! I agree, the ball should always be in the cheatee's court. Some people are able to recover from cheating and trust again and whatever else needs to happen. I'm pretty hugely skeptical that I would be able to. But I definitely agree with what other's are saying, this dude's gotta deal with his cheater's guilt without making her deal with it. It's just another way of wanting closure and this girl can't give you closure and she shouldn't have to be reminded of all that stuff in order to.

redheaded&crazy

@wharrgarbl TRUE. Ah sometimes people need to hear it.

EpWs

@thebestjasmine Ooh, I'm an example of a couple who has broken it off and gotten back together several times, and we're much better off because of it. And we're good and stable and happy now, with no more off-agains in the foreseeable future. So yes, it can work! But only when both people want it to.

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yup! "I cheated, we broke up, I'd like to get back together, is this destined to fail?" gets a very different response than "I cheated, we broke up, I'd like to get back together, she refuses to see me and doesn't want to talk about anything that isn't my painful death in a unicycling accident, is this destined to fail?" I think if Cheated-On Girl weren't telling Cheater Dude to stay the hell away from her with a side-order of Cheater Dude musing that maybe he could move to her new city, the responses would be a mite different.

iceberg

@wharrgarbl EXACTLY.

thebestjasmine

The thing is, it doesn't matter that you cheated. I mean, it matters to you, because it makes you feel so guilty, and that guilt is what has created this picture of yourself and her and your relationship in the what could have been world, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that she doesn't want to see you or talk to you, and she doesn't want to be with you. You need to respect that. If she ever changes her mind, then you can see if you can work on a relationship with her. But when she doesn't want to see you or talk to you, you trying to see her and talk to her to plead your case (and following her to another city, what what what) is incredibly disrespectful of her, and all it will show her is that you still do not respect her and that you will not respect a new relationship with her. Leave her alone. She may come back to you, but live your life as if she won't.

iceberg

@thebestjasmine YES THIS how are you so wise teach me your ways!

helpmecalifornia

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@thebestjasmine EXACTLY! It's not like there's some objective measuring stick by which you can judge whether someone gets another chance or not. I've never cheated on a dude and I have several exes who I wouldn't mind rekindling stuff with, but does that obligate them to give me a second chance? HELL NO. There's no real dilemma here. You want her, she doesn't want you. Yes, it sucks, but your only option is to tell her how you feel (if you must) and then let it go.

nocomment

@thebestjasmine you rule.

Gordon Bombay

I'm working on a Masters Thesis (MA in 20 something'ism) on what I like to call the boomerang theory. Based on two principles (the intimacies were more than a one night thing and events did not end in a truly terribly fashion)one party (usually the dude) will "boomerang" at some point in the future.

Usually this just provides closure to both parties ("what was I THINKING?" is the most common response) but every so often, some sort of romantic phoenix emerges from the ashes.

My data in support of this is staggering. I expect to be published by the end of the year.

EpWs

@Gordon Bombay PREORDERED

Scandyhoovian

@Gordon Bombay Keep us updated, 'cause I want a copy!

eiffeldesigns

@Gordon Bombay ooooh. Now that I'm back in the dating scene full swing I'm going to be interested in testing this theory. How many of my lovers will come back to me!?

Gordon Bombay

@Scandyhoovian @Scandyhoovian Due to funding constraints (we lost most of our funding this year to boxes of Franzia and cheap cigarettes), publication may occur entirely on twitter and through a series of passive aggressive facebook statuses

tessamae

@Gordon Bombay I love everything about you. You name/pic, your thesis, your love of Franzia. That is all.

whizz_dumb

@Gordon Bombay I would like to respond to those statuses with humorous anecdotal half-truths.

melis

@Gordon Bombay !!!!!!!

melis recently boomeranged

right into a wall

send your thesis & also help!!!!

Gordon Bombay

@tessamae shucks, I hope it's the type of love that will boomerang eternally.

mysterygirl

@Gordon Bombay : Ooh, I can't wait to read it. I have boomeranged once before and been boomeranged by every other dude I've ever dated (save the one who's too recent to rule out). Not that my personal anecdote = evidence.

tessamae

@Gordon Bombay Absolutely it will. Question regarding your theory: if and when said romantic phoenix emerges from the ashes, is/can the first copulation of the renewed relationship be called 'bangaranging"? Merely curious.

Gordon Bombay

@tessamae by jove, I think you've just come up with the title!

Xanthophyllippa

@Gordon Bombay Will it improve your funding situation if we promise to provide the Franzia for you?

applestoapples

Sorry, LW, but you betrayed her trust repeatedly; therefore, the decision to re-enter her life isn't yours. Maybe she'll forgive you, and maybe she won't. Instead of obsessing over coulda woulda shoulda, take this time to focus on making yourself a better person, either for a rekindled relationship or a new one.

It also helps to remember the applicable Analogy When Trying to Win Someone Back (Acts of reckless abandon to show your undying devotion : romance movies :: Selfish and borderline stalkery behavior : real life). Don't follow her. Just don't.

chirdia

If she doesn't want to see you but is willing to talk under certain circumstances, meet those demands whatever they are and talk to her. And you can tell her that the ball is in her court in terms of the future of the relationship/friendship/whatever. Then step back and wait and see. It's up to her if she wants to let you prove yourself to her.

@chirdia And I'm going to place my bets on her never wanting to get back together with him. Jesus Christ, this guy sounds like a loser.

fabel

Oh also, dude, if you do talk to her long enough to give her this same spiel, don't let her rejection soothe your guilt. If that makes sense? "I said I was cured! I said I'd make her happy! She still said she wanted nothing to do with me! HOW COULD SHE DO THAT." She's perfectly in the right to want to forget you exist. (And again, I've stood in your shoes before, so this isn't coming from a "burn the cheater!" standpoint)

Thuja

I was once "The Girl" in a similar situation to this. Cheating Ex knew I read Ask Amy everyday in the paper and wrote, essentially, this letter to the column because he knew I would see it. Creepiest thing ever. Amy told him to leave me alone, but he wasn't really writing in for advice.

EpWs

@Thuja I was expecting something like this the entire way through the letter--"I know she reads The Hairpin, and I couldn't think of a better way to get her to listen to me because she refuses to acknowledge my texts, calls, smoke signals, pajamagrams, troubadors, and skywriting." Also GUH, Cheating Ex sounds like a douche canoe of the highest caliber.

LeafySeaDragon

@Thuja i wondered about this.

Thuja

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher We used to say he was the lifeguard of douche bag lake. Keeper of all the bags

redheaded&crazy

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher eesh yeah i could definitely picture this being the case

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie kinda sucks for him though if so

automaticdoor

@Thuja Oh my god, I thought the same thing.

EpWs

@redheaded&crazie Dude, you don't just cheat on a 'Pinner and win her back with an Ask A Lady column. Because then he's setting himself up to be eviscerated by the commentariat. (Also you don't just cheat on a 'Pinner, period.)

@Thuja KEEPER OF THE BAGS. Brilliant.

datalass

@redheaded&crazie Yeah, if this was his masterplan, I'm betting he's rethinking it now. (Incidentally, I'm picturing him like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" cleverly inserting the BB gun ad into his mom's magazine.)

lora.bee

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Who can resist skywriting? "SURRENDER EX GIRLFRIEND"

beanie

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher yes, you cannot win her back that easily. It's going to be especially hard because usually in these cases we set him on fire... (shockingly, I haven't seen that mentioned yet).

Lola P.

@Thuja cripes! that's called "third party contact" and is a classic Stalker Move. i'm sorry you had to go through that!

Xanthophyllippa

@The Ever Present Wordsnatcher I'd like it if someone sent me a pajamagram. But only if it involved someone actually bringing me a lot of pajamas, and the sender wasn't this guy.

@Thuja Dig the username!

Scandyhoovian

LW, dude, the thing is, cheating's the #1 dealbreaker in many ladies' books (mine included). Sometimes it's not a dealbreaker, and people get back together and work through it, but that tends only to happen when both sides of it want it to happen and you've said it yourself that she doesn't want to speak to you except under certain circumstances, and that she doesn't want to see you. She is done with you. It's not going to happen. Let her live her life, let her move on and do her own thing. What you have left of her now is the memories that you made with her and the lessons you have learned from the way this relationship ended. You're idealizing her and that is unfair to her in All The Ways. It's not her you want, it's this magical "perfect creature" version of her that you've concocted in your head. She's a human being with her own impulses and wants and needs and you are not considering ANY of them. Insisting you're the right thing, promising you'll do whatever it takes, etc.? That's all well and good, but if she doesn't want it (and to me it reads like SHE DOESN'T WANT IT), then tough noogies, kid, it's over.

And for fuck's sake, do NOT follow her to the new town in which she is going to start a new program and a new life! DO NOT DO IT. A Lady was far nicer about it than I am going to be: that's fucking creepy, and if I were in your ex's I'd be terrified of you for doing it. TERRIFIED. You do not want to do that to her. Not ever, not at all, do not do it, just stop that train of thought right now and hop off of it and never ever get back on. That is BAD FORM.

rougemarie

@Scandyhoovian Agreed, especially about the moving (read 'stalking') thing. If I learned an ex had followed me around the country, I'd be telling him to NEVER contact me again or I'd start reporting him to the police. Or maybe I'd just contact the police straight away. Either way, following someone around the country who never wants to see you again = poor form.

Scandyhoovian

@rougemarie I'd probably just straight up call the cops, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I've been stalked before, there is not a whole lot in the world more terrifying than someone who just will. not. fuck. off. when you tell them to.

iceberg

@Scandyhoovian Yup, stalkalicious.

I got freaked out when an ex turned up outside my house unexpectedly (called me from outside my front gate, and wouldn't tell me where he was, "just nearby" and could we meet up so I looked out the peephole and AAAAAUUUUGGHHHHH GO AWAY. (this all happened AFTER I had repeatedly asked him to leave me alone AFTER he dumped me and then decided he wanted me back too late sucka)

Cannot even imagine the level of terror inspired by MOVING CITIES.

rougemarie

@Scandyhoovian I would too, except the cops in my area are made of fail (got chased home once and they thought it was no big deal, got shouted at by a guy on the street that I should have died in the Holocaust and they thought it was no big deal). Idk if you are actually in Scandinavia, but I lived in Denmark for seven months, and if it had happened in that environment I definitely would have gone to the police.

themmases

@Scandyhoovian Yes. If someone did this to me, I would be email to friends and family about how if I'm murdered it was this guy, baseball bat by the bed, trying to get out of my lease, terrified.

Scandyhoovian

@rougemarie Ah, no, I'm just a displaced Scandinavian in Atlanta. Where the cops aren't terribly wonderful, honestly. I was once followed home from MARTA and my fiance' got to me 15 minutes before the cops did (he lived 30 minutes away). Super helpful.

rougemarie

@Scandyhoovian Well, that must be quite the cultural contrast! And, I am sorry that happened to you, that is really terrible. It's so scary when you're confronted with the limitations of the systems that are meant to be there to protect you.

Scandyhoovian

@rougemarie Hahaha well I grew up in the states, pretty much. I'm first generation US-born to immigrant parents so I've got this pretty neat "I'm Finnish and raised by Finns but I'm also American GO TEAM USA!" blend going on.

But yeah, I had some words with the APD after that situation. I was lucky to be in good shape and living on the third floor at the time -- I outran the guy and managed to get a flight and a half of stairs between me and him, so I was able to get inside and lock the door in time. But it was horrifying, and the APD's slow response was just not even a tiny bit OK.

rougemarie

@Scandyhoovian ah I see! I'm also first generation (Australian, Italian background) and like you I think the blend thing is cool :)

That is truly, truly horrifying and should never have happened to you. I don't know what else to say.

Scandyhoovian

@rougemarie We're cool blendy folks! And thank you. It was scary, but I feel like I'm stronger for having been through it. And thankfully I was able to get away without physical harm.

Vera Knoop

@Scandyhoovian I just needed to say that no one has said "tough noogies" in my presence in at least 15 years, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy to read it just now.

Reginal T. Squirge

Son, you gotta stop. You're embarrassing yourself.

I say this from experience.

Except for the cheating part. Never did that. What am I, a monster?

YoungMrGrace

For all the women who are accused of buying into romcom fantasies (I'm looking at you, Chuck Klosterman, and your "All Women Want Lloyd Dobler" thing), I actually know way more men who bought into the idea of the romantic comedy man behavior, only to find out that as usual, The Onion speaks the truth: http://www.theonion.com/articles/romanticcomedy-behavior-gets-reallife-man-arrested,757/. Don't be that guy, Letter Writer.

And on that note, LW, others here (including A Lady herself) have said this, but this whole tortured repentant man act is about you, not her (no matter how much you claim to looooove and miss her) - it's about you feeling guilty, and probably lonely, and wanting to prove to yourself and your idealized vision of her that you're not a bad guy and you can change and you've grown up and yadda yadda yadda. If you actually love her as much as you claim, you'll respect her wishes enough to leave her alone and come to her own decisions about how she wants to proceed - and that may mean letting her proceed without you in her life. Sometimes it be's like that.

Scandyhoovian

@YoungMrGrace Yeah, that "it works like in the movies" mentality is never good. Though this letter totally made me think of 500 Days of Summer, where he idealized Zooey Deschanel to the point of ridiculousness and when she ended up being Not What He Expected everything imploded on him. This LW is idealizing the crap out of his ex. Never good.

datalass

@YoungMrGrace I've had this thought as well. I've met a handful of men who have presented rom com plots to me as "evidence" that their romantic lives should follow a certain course. (Though I can't really recall ever having another woman make a similar argument.) One example: a guy I dated (briefly) in high school explained to me that he obviously would get together with his female "best friend" because that's how it played out in "When Harry Met Sally." That his best friend was truly not interested in him romantically was not part of his calculations at all.

frigwiggin

@YoungMrGrace This is what I hate the most about so many movies and J- and K-dramas and romantic anything basically: so many of the plots revolve around this sort of thing, with the lesson being that women don't know their own minds! We'll give in if you JUST TRY HARD ENOUGH, teehee! And it's such a cheap way to keep the tension up. So gross, so awful.

anachronistique

@Scandyhoovian I was about to bust out the Expectations/Reality sequence reference upthread - I mean, I HATE that movie, but that part was gold.

annejumps@twitter

@Scandyhoovian I was waiting for someone to mention (500) Days of Summer.

Scandyhoovian

@anachronistique The Expectations/Reality sequence and the Hall & Oates Dance Sequence are literally the only parts of that movie I liked, honestly.

Xanthophyllippa

@Scandyhoovian Zooey Deschanel will never be what anyone expects -- that is, unless they're expecting someone who's too old to be emulating the coltish 12-year-old look.

BosomBuddy

If it were me, I'd never want to hear from him again and would be pissed at the emotional manipulation of a "please take me back" letter. You aren't married, have no kids, haven't spoken much in months, she doesn't want to talk to you and is moving to a new city for a new program. Case closed, STFU.

Feel guilty? That's a good sign, but it's best to take that guilt, get over it, and move on.

BosomBuddy

@BosomBuddy I loved A Lady's response, though.

PotatoPotato

You know what I am going, LW Dude? I am running. I am running away from you. And when you show up in my new town, I am terrified and calling the cops on you, because you're a fucking stalker.

automaticdoor

Did anyone else's head jerk at "we're both almost 30"? This guy doesn't sound like he's older than 25. Doesn't think one night stands are "real cheating"? Also, "Disposable one-night stands"? Christ. I hope the lady runs because dude does not sound like he's learned a thing.

EpWs

@automaticdoor YEP me. I was shocked there, I figured 22 at the outside.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@automaticdoor I DID TOO! I thought for sure Dude was like 23. He does say they were together for five years so that makes him like 24 when they got together? But you're exactly right - he doesn't sound like he's made any progress since then.

rougemarie

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I'm with you on that one.

TheDragon

@automaticdoor
THANK GOD you all are agreeing on this. I'm 22 and dating twenty-somethings and as I read that line, I kind of freaked. I was sure that it got better someday, as some more of them matured, and this letter made me think that maybe it didn't!
I don't know, consider me old fashioned, but I consider even hanging out with someone that you wouldn't tell your gf/bf about a BIG FREAKING DEAL. So I'd go postal if a string of one-night stands was dismissed as "not real cheating."
"Oh. So you lied to me, disrespected me, chose someone else over me, and endangered my health, but it's all good, because you never cared about them."
...right.

Emma Peel

@automaticdoor Yeah, and I wonder if she's younger? The overseas internship/starting grad school makes me think she's not long out of college, which, even worse in this case?

WaityKatie

@automaticdoor His letter reeks of the almost-30 "time to get married!" panic, though. He missed his chance to get married and now it's time to get married and how can he fix it and get married ARRGHGHGHGHGHGH???!!!

automaticdoor

@WaityKatie That is so true! And he can't start over because then it'll take FOREVER and everyone's getting married right now!!!!

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@automaticdoor Yes, because basically I assumed he was Felicity.

Side: I never watched that show, and I don't know if any 'pinners did (some must have), but I cannot believe I'm the first to mention it!

Inkling

@automaticdoor
Thing that made me shudder at the ages is he calls her a girl. I mean, obviously he loves the idea of an insecure sexy baby housewife whose finger will passively house his ring, but the woman is a third of the way through her life.
LW, what is WRONG with you.

leastimportantperson

@Inkcrafter But maybe she IS a sexy baby.

EpWs

@WaityKatie YES with the "I should've put a ring on it!" BECAUSE THAT WILL MAKE IT ALL BETTER

PistolPackinMama

Oh, ugh. This is kind of tangental. But. I am bummed by the number of women who are all "I WOULD BE SO AFRAID IF YOU FOLLOWED ME TO NEW TOWN." And that the LW doesn't seem to have had the thought that lots of women would be SO AFRAID IF HE FOLLOWED THEM TO NEWTOWN.

I expect men would also be afraid if followed by a woman in that way. But dude, LW. Seriously. THINK ABOUT HOW THAT SOUNDS.

redheaded&crazy

@PistolPackinMama seriously, the definition of male privilege

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama
Males like this are what make being a Pistol Packin' Mama a really good idea...

PistolPackinMama

@The Kendragon Yeah, every lady needs a WWII-era bomber with an all woman crew!

(I am actually scared of handguns, making my username kind of wrong for me, but not really.)

I suppose, you could deal pretty effectively with this guy if you had a WWII-era bomber, though, provided it was in good condition.

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama
Handguns actually really scare me too. I grew up around rifles and shotguns, but never held a handgun until I was seventeen or so.

If I had a WWII- era bomber in good condition, I would have to give it to my dad. I took him the the Smithsonian Air and Space museum and the TOUR GUIDES stopped talking to listen to him. It was really neat, we had a little crowd following us by the end of it.
Though, I'm sure if my dad had a WWII-era bomber, he would have no issue helping take care of this guy.

@The Kendragon
Or females! Stalking isn't a one gender thing!

Hot Doom

@PistolPackinMama Hee hee, this makes me think of the first line from 'You Can't get a Man with a Gun' from Annie get your Gun (and from whence I'm assuming you got your name?):

'Ohhh my mother was frightened by a shotgun they say/That's why I'm such a wonderful shot!'

Love your screen name! (can we call them 'handles', like truckers do? pls?)

PistolPackinMama

ROGER THAT TO TRUCKER HANDLES

@LolaLaBalc actually, no, it's not. I've never seen Annie Get Your Gun! (I know, I know...) It' from this:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/08/12/wasps/

And my dad will bond over military paraphanalia information, too! It's very sweet. I mean, as sweet as a history of the M16 can be. My parents were fully anti-gun when I was young. Well, they are now, too.

My dad, having done his time in combat zones, knows very well what can happen when guns are in the hands of people and being used. I think he was plenty over it by the time we were born. pater et mater PPM didn't even allow water pistols or finger pointing.

So anyway. Yeah. It's the women test pilots looking like badasses that I am working with here. Not the musical or munitions.

I don't particularly mind other people having guns. If I thought there was still a conversation to be had about gun control in America, I might. But, you know. I live in a conceal and carry state, and people around here hunt. I'd just like people to be as safe as they possibly can with their ballistic weapons.

OVER

PistolPackinMama

@LolaLaBalc "I went to Northwest Airlines and showed them my credentials. I had sea plane, I had a commercial rating, and I had 1,000 hours of flying time. They were very impressed. They surely would like me in their front office. I told 'em what they could do with their front office."

TheDragon

@PistolPackinMama
I hunt, and occasionally drive out shoot milk bottles, but my guns are always locked up and have locks that go thorough the chambers.
I like to shoot, and my parent's have taught me gun safety since I was little, and guns still make me a little nervous!
So many people don't know basic gun safety.

Hot Doom

@PistolPackinMama What a fantastic article! It's pretty sickening thinking about how those women were treated for their services, but then again, what's new? The only Pistol Packin' Mama I had gotten behind was Annie, but those ladies are great!

Miss Maszkerádi

@PistolPackinMama You just gave me a mental image of a wronged Everywoman hopping into a classic WW2 fighter plane, either delightedly independent or alongside a dashing, handsome gentleman pilot (whichever she prefers) and flying off into the sunset and getting plane exhaust in her ex's face. Thank you for that. :-)

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama "Just remember two things: she's nineteen years old, and the 82nd Airborne works for me."

julia

I just need to express my deep admiration for this Lady. So very well-done.

dj pomegranate

I just came down to say:

"And the longer it's been since you've seen her, the more the version of her in your head drifts away from reality and becomes idealized, and the scenarios you're playing out — while I'm sure they're based in real shared memories — eventually become more yours than hers, and her character becomes less her than an echo of an echo you're creating daily."

This. Yes. Truth.

Ok, back to finish the article.

seresarah

This sounds like it could have been written (years ago) by the guy who's now online stalking one of my closest friends. They broke up like four, five years ago. Last year he flew out to her grad school campus and tracked her down. Uninvited. He continues to attempt to message her online any way he can, she had to change her phone number to avoid him, and he even finds and IMs random friends-of-friends-of-friends, telling them a one-sided view of events to sucker people who don't even know either of them into feeling sorry for his sob story. He's just so convinced they need to talk again, he totally disregards HER feelings on the matter. I say this guy should only ask for a second chance if he can accept if her answer is no, and respect that.

EpWs

@seresarah SET.HIM.ON.FIRE.

TheDragon

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher
The Power of Pinesol's got nothing on fire.

Thuja

@seresarah waugh! Restraining order!

seresarah

@Thuja He hasn't made any actual threats against her, so there is no legal action she can take...

frigwiggin

Five words: she doesn't owe you anything. Please remember that. (Okay, five words plus three more.)

lalaland

What's really sad is that if LW is reading this, he's probably thinking, "they don't understand me, they don't get that I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVE HER." In all likelihood, he is not going to take any of the advice and do what he wants, because he is and continues to be selfish.

So here, LW: Go! Move to her city*. She will be horrified and appalled and if she was still heartbroken over the relationship and having difficulties getting over you, going to court to slap a restraining order on a stalker ex-bf is a really good way to get over it.

*I'm really not advocating this, but LW, do you see how ugly your little scenario gets when you move to her city and you're not hailed as her white knight? Just don't do it, whether for the right or selfish reasons.

datalass

@lalaland It is actually very sad. I once had a friend who sounded very much like the letter writer. (There was no cheating involved, but the ex-girlfriend had made it clear that they were done as a couple.) And like you said, he was entirely, completely convinced that the thing that made him different from a creepy stalker was the intensity and sincerity of his love. It was both frightening and very sad.

LeafySeaDragon

@datalass 'crazy for you' by jennifer crusie is really great because it shows the evolution from bf to stalker-crazie.

yes, once again i have worked jennifer crusie into the conversation!

iceberg

OMG YOU GUYS I just remembered a conversation I had with the above mentioned slightly stalkery ex when I was trying to politrely explain that I did not want to get back together - he said (paraphrasing) "How come only the person who doesn't want to be in the relationship gets to say whether people get back together or not?"

Brain: broken.

dj pomegranate

@iceberg whut.

beanie

@iceberg my eyes went o_O to that. Yikes.

jule_b_sorry

@iceberg WHOA RED FLAG. He sounds like a real Pete Campbell.

Jinxie

@iceberg Seriously? I just...I can't even...I mean WHY on EARTH would you even WANT to be with someone WHO DOESN'T WANT TO DATE YOU?? How is that a good thing, knowing the person sleeping next to you in bed doesn't love you, or even like you? That they're only there because they are, essentiall, your prisoner? How horrible.

TheDragon

@iceberg
Brain: broken, indeed.

redheaded&crazy

@Jinxie how horrible? or how ... delightful? *taps fingers together*

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie nope no nooo just horrible

roadtrips

@iceberg My ex told me it was unfair, when I broke up with him, that I got to make the decision for both of us. "this is a really big deal for me too, shouldn't I get a say in it?"

W
T
F

iceberg

@roadtrips OH GOD THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THIS???!!!

Scandyhoovian

@iceberg I have NEVER UNDERSTOOD people who argue in breakups. The breaker-upper person DOES NOT WANT TO BE WITH YOU ANYMORE. It hurts, yes, but why the hell would you want to stay with someone who doesn't want to be with you!? WHAT!!!

roadtrips

@iceberg He also told me that I could have been more "realistic" about when I chose to broke up with him (we were living together at the time and he was about to quit his job). Um, no. OH WELL. We're better for having gone through it, right?

dj pomegranate

@roadtrips You guys! I also just remembered this...my ex-bf, a professional diva who specialized in casual dating. A week after we met, he decided that I was the Only Woman Who Could Ever Be His Soulmate Ever Ever Please Marry Me This Afternoon If Not Sooner. It was a terrible relationship, and I finally decided to break up. When I told him I wanted to break up he said, "I don't see why you get to decide my future. After all, we can always just get divorced later if you really decide you don't want to be with me."

...

God, I'm so glad I didn't marry him.

pilcrow

@iceberg I had a friend say that about pregnancy! So I asked him if he really thought a woman should be forced to bear and then birth his baby if she didn't want to. You could just see the gears grinding in his head.

redheaded&crazy

@pilcrow ignorance is bliss eh

WaityKatie

@jule_b_sorry Hahaha, "how come THEY get to decide what happens?"

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@iceberg This reminds me of Wayne's World! "Just because we broke up doesn't mean we can't keep seeing each other!" "Actually it does, that's what a breakup is."

fabel

@iceberg Yeah, there are actually many, many people who think this way. I've heard this from more than a couple people (not all people I've broken up with, some were dudes my friends have broken up with or women who've just gotten broken up with)

I think it may be some fleeting grief stage that most don't vocalize. "W-WHY DO ONLY YOU GET TO SAY. IT'S NOT FAIR."

stonefruit

@Scandyhoovian it may or may not have taken me an embarrassingly long time to figure this out. In my defense, it only happened once, and then I got into therapy, and now I know better?

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@beanie yes, my eyes did this, and my jaw dropped. @iceberg, this comment literally made my eyes pop out and my jaw drop!

jule_b_sorry

@WaityKatie EXACTLY! Yay I was worried that reference would go unloved :D Like my favorite line in the whole episode - summed up his character so well, imo.

EpWs

@dj pomegranate ...whoa

dj pomegranate

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher right? I told my mom that and she spit out her coffee. (<3 u mommie!)

Xanthophyllippa

@dj pomegranate "Or I could just kill you in your sleep tonight and save myself the trouble of planning a wedding."

FoxyRoxy

My goodness. You ladies are gangsta to the MAX.

Steph

When people send in these letters I always wonder if they expect A Lady or a Dude to be super sympathetic and are TOTALLY SHOCKED when everyone things they are the worst?

redheaded&crazy

@Steph I'm also curious. This is also one of those letters where I'm like ... did dude proofread this? You know sometimes you have all these emotions pouring out of you and you just have to get them on paper and and and HIT SEND! (I am very familiar with this)

because you want to hope that if he read this over, some glimmer of self-awareness would say to him: Dude. NO.

dj pomegranate

@redheaded&crazie I think that this might be a case where the self-awareness comes afterwards. Like, I certainly did not have any self-awareness whatsoever in my first relationship. Zero. Then I was a (naive) jerk and truly did not understand why he did not want to give it another shot. I truly did not! I could have written this letter at that time. But it was not til I did exactly what A Lady is saying (move on, meet new people, DON'T CALL HIM) that I gained enough self-awareness to see my previous mistakes with real clarity.

Scandyhoovian

@Steph I often wonder how many people would go "oh my god what am I doing" if they would just write the letter, hoard it for a week, and then read it over.

Seriously, how does "I want nothing more than to follow her and prove that I'm worth consideration for the long-haul" sound like anything but creepy!?

boyofdestiny

@Steph I think if the LW is a regular reader of the Hairpin, s/he knows exactly what to expect.

Steph

@boyofdestiny So do you think it's some sort of masochistic thing? I tend to think the people are so unself-aware they actually think they make a good case. That or they don't actually read the Hairpin.

The other letter I put in this category was Bob and Eli from a while back. That lady was definitely too into herself to realize she was being a total crazy bitch.

whizz_dumb

@dj pomegranate yeah this definitely seems like an immature case of spewing out emotional words. I'm guilty of emotional rants sometimes, but some of these feelings are so typical and cliche sounding that it's hard to believe he's almost 30. Is that harsh? Oh well, I don't really feel bad for Dude. He's gotta learn somehow. I mean what's the alternative? What if he doesn't learn from his oddly self-justified cheating and turns his non-second-chance into repressed resentment taken out unfairly on future girlfriends? I'm assuming he'll read these comments and not do that.

dj pomegranate

@whizz_dumb Oh, yeah. I empathize with his lack of self-awareness, is all, since I know that after my first similar experience I was also totally un-self-aware, so I want to cut him some slack for all his Feelings. I don't think there is another (good) alternative besides learning from this mistake, moving on, and not making the same mistake again.

LeafySeaDragon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

seriously, listen to the words.

Maria

@LeafySeaDragon This one was going through my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EwViQxSJJQ&ob=av2n

TheDragon

This letter is making me almost grateful that when my ex contacts me, he no longer tries to get me back. He just tells me what a shitty person I am, everything that's wrong with me, and then tells me HOW DAMN PREEETTTTTTTTTYYYYYY he is.

I think it's supposed to make me feel bad, but it just reminds me why I dumped him. :)

Flies in my eyes

@The Kendragon wow! Unless these emails/texts/etc. are providing serious entertainment for you and your friends, I would suggest having zero contact with this loser. I'm glad it just reminds you of why you dumped him, but no one needs to hear someone say they are shitty. So the only way I see this benefitting you is if you actually call your friend to laugh, as you read her the latest installment form Mr Pretty. In which case carry on.

TheDragon

@Mel
I try to avoid him. I have blocked him on fb, and things have been pretty quiet for the past few weeks, so I'm hopeful.
I'm not going to lie, sometimes I let myself think that he's right, so I cut off contact, and have stuck to it for two weeks now. (This is HUGE for me.)
That being said, all my friends have been forwarded his "I'm so pretty, pretty pretty meeeeeeee" texts.
Seriously. Dude compared himself to Finnick. (Hunger Games)

Flies in my eyes

@The Kendragon Well glad you blocked him and cut off contact. AND glad you sent around the douchey texts to your friends! He deserves to get laughed at, if he's putting you down and lifting himself up.
Dude should not be sending round negative vibes to you. We all have moments of thinking the worst about ourselves, especially post break-up, no one should ever pour salt on a wound. Kudos to you for not putting up with it anymore! I don't know you, but I can still confidently say you deserve better than "pretty boy"-Finnick-wanna-be :)

Kitty

@The Kendragon Every single one of my ex's who have done beyond shitty things to me say this. And it's always followed up by "I love you! We were so great together." I don't get it. And sometimes I buy into but then my lovely bff says, "if you are so horrible why do they all want you back?". Men!, amiright?!

Flies in my eyes

@The Kendragon You are right! Been there as well, my friend. Such a manipulation! "You suck, let me explain all the things you are already insecure about...now doesn't it feel soooo nice when I say I love you?". So easy to see through it when it's someone else or in retrospect. So hard to see it while it is happening. It makes me so angry, cause it worked so well with me in the past and I have seen many of my friends get put through this game before too. Sheesh. They don't all suck, or at least I hope they don't. Fingers crossed!

Janestreet

OK, so I get that THIS dude is a wee bit delusional and he seems to have already told Lady that he's in big boy love now (but not when he was, what, in his late 20s... HMM!) and she said KTHXBYE, but I can't help think about every girl who has ever moaned over a glass of wine that she wishes Important Ex That She Misses would just do something/show up with a boombox outside her window/call her up/etc? The initial question was what "when does a guy merit a second chance?" and I think there should have been something in here that said hey, if you're not this juice box, tell her how you feel! You might not be alone, dudes! And if you are, and you did it politely and respectfully, you might give the situation some closure for both of you. I was once the caller-upper. Nothing came of it, but I felt shit tons better and I can't imagine it bothered him much. He was very nice. I was nice. It was nice.

roadtrips

@Janestreet Yeah, I think the major difference is that, and I quote "she'll only talk under certain circumstances and she doesn't want to see me." I'd like to propose a creepiness matrix for contacting exes. X axis would be "clearly stated boundaries" and Y axis would be "nature of breakup" So, on the X axis our poles are, say, "restraining order" on the no end and "flirty e-mails" on the yes end. On the Y axis we have "horrible betrayal of trust or personal safety" on one end and "rich parents who don't understand our love" on the other end.

So, now I know what I'm up to for the rest of the day. This guy is at the intersection of "Medium-large trust betrayal slightly tempered by distance/feeling bad" and "I don't want to see you". I think it's safe to say we're out of boom box territory and the recommended course of action here is to JUST DROP IT.

If anyone has any other potential scenarios they'd like to put through the matrix, let me know.

PistolPackinMama

@Janestreet I think there is a difference between I Went Through The Boomerang Ritual (did you see above with the person studying that), and this dude, who is on thin ice.

I also wonder how we would ACTUALLY act if that happened to us? Probably not as awesome as we think we would, is my guess.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama I mean, enough of us to make that idea seem less fabulous in practice than it does in fantasy. I do understand sometimes things work out.

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@roadtrips I LOVE THIS, please actually do it.

(Also, opinions may vary, but I personally feel violating the trust that your girlfriend gave you to not sleep with several other people whilst one of you was on the opposite side of the ocean and then AND THEN apparently only feeling remorse after she "found out about it" presumably not from you a firmly Large (not Medium) betrayal.)

roadtrips

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Yes, I think I could take a harder stance on the betrayal level - I've been watching a lot of Law and Order SVU lately so my view of humanity is a bit... dim at the moment.

If I make the matrix I will for sure post it!

PistolPackinMama

@roadtrips jeez this is brilliant. Please post if you finish it. I can file it away with my Bikini Line Threat Level Coding for the future.

EpWs

@roadtrips Yessssss, this is fantastic. Please do post it! Let us know if you need help!

Xanthophyllippa

@PistolPackinMama I believe that system also needs to be shared.

Holden Cauliflower

DON'T FOLLOW HER TO A NEW TOWN OH MY FUCKING GOD

Also, NO MEANS NO. It's so obvious here that LW's feelings are the only real, valid, meaningful feelings as far as he is concerned, and until he realizes that ~it takes 2 to make a relationship~ means more than just a "we were both stressed" way of assuaging his well-earned, fully-deserved guilt he shouldn't be dating ANYONE, let alone this never-speak-to-me-again-in-fact-I'm-leaving-town ex of his.

tessamae

I feel fairly certain that at some point during his heartfelt pitch to her to give him a second chance, he will utter "I can love you enough for the both of us."

I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie on Lifetime, that it probably starred Brian Austin Green, and that it didn't end well for any party involved. Including me, the viewer.

mlle.gateau

Ugh, poor LW! Yes, he is being creepy, but he doesn't know that because he's wound up in his emotions, but A Lady is totally right.

LW, you are not in love with this lady. You are in love with what you had before you screwed up, and you will never, ever, get that back. It's like how sometimes I miss my first boyfriend- I don't really miss him, I miss that relationship, the newness and excitingness of it, I miss how open I was to new things and how amazing things felt. That boyfriend was a total asshole, but I miss the first-ness of everything before he went into asshole mode. LW, I think that's what you miss. You don't miss this lady, you miss what life was like when you were with her, and now that you're "almost 30" you realize that all of sudden shit is real and life is hard, and it would be so much nicer if you still had this sweet lady with you.

Don't go after her. Let her go, because she's not what you want, and she can't give you what you want. No one can. Get a hobby, find new things to fill the void, grow up. And when you meet the next lady, remember what you learned, and try not to fuck it up. Rinse, repeat.

purefog

Is anyone else intensely curious as to what "under certain circumstances" means? I think there's a little volume of clues there that LW intentionally is hiding, and I doubt that they help his case.

bibliobotic

@purefog I assumed it was stuff like "If we're both at a social event thrown by mutual friends," but now you've piqued my curiosity.

No, wait! She doesn't want to see him at all, I mis-read. What could it be?!

dj pomegranate

@purefog "Under certain circumstances, as follows: after involuntarily participating in a government project that irreversibly wipes my memory, or if we find ourselves trying to survive in the same tribe in a post-apocalyptic landscape."

thebestjasmine

@librasaurus I assumed that it meant he's allowed to email her, or something like that.

Inkling

@purefog
"I am technically able to transcribe love notes on the fog in her car windows because I'm allowing her to wipe them off every morning. I treasure the way her eyes well up with insecurity and fear as she imperfectly scrubs away with her coat sleeve. Just one of her charming idiosyncrasies!"

Rosebudddd

@purefog Probably the circumstance is "when hell freezes over."

purefog

@Rosebudddd +1

I was thinking it was AT LEAST in a public place where she could trust that he wouldn't spiral out of control, but then wondered what truths actually lay behind his coyness.

bibliobotic

I sort of take issue with the phrase "everyone deserves a second chance." Everyone does not deserve a second chance. Anyone who has come to recognize their past shitty behavior, who has taken steps to make amends and to make sure they don't repeat said shitty behavior deserves a second chance, assuming the wronged party feels like it. Which they may not!

Jinxie

@librasaurus Excellent point! The idea of everyone "deserving" a second chance doesn't sit well with me. Honestly, sometimes people DON'T deserve one, but get one anyway, and sometimes people DO deserve one but don't get it. I'd say it's pure luck just as often as it's whether or not you deserve it. And just because you get a second chance doesn't mean you get it on your ideal terms - maybe the "second chance" is with this dude's next girlfriend.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@librasaurus Yeah, I kinda feel like, he can DESERVE it till the cows come home, but that obligates her not at all to give him one. If SHE was the one writing in and agonizing about whether to give some dude who cheated on her a second chance, yes, that's where that adage might come into play. But telling this dude that theoretically he might deserve a second chance -- it's true (maybe), it just doesn't make any difference.

Kitty

@librasaurus Agreed. Sometimes things just suck. And there are no second chances. Only sucky situations that suck.

bibliobotic

@quickdrawkiddo Yeah, I think second chances are things that you earn, and it's not up to you to decide whether you earned it. I, personally, am inclined to give out second chances all the live-long day! But I am not this LW's ex.

bibliobotic

@Jinxie maybe the "second chance" is with this dude's next girlfriend.

Haha, yes! We are giving you a second chance... AT LIFE!

entangled

Reading this, I really do ache for the LW. Clearly he misses her, and even though a lot of that may be idealization and self-centeredly feeling like he loves her enough to deserve her, there's real pain there. I get it.

But as others have mentioned, cheating is a deal-breaker for a lot of women. It sounds like you cheated multiple times, which I think for a lot of people is a very different offense than a one-time drunken mistake. I think there are certain offenses a person can suffer and know they are never again going to trust the person who committed them. If you have had multiple one-night stands, you have probably committed one of those and need to accept that.

What can you do? Examine yourself, and examine why you thought that the time that "disposable one-night stands" weren't as bad. Examine why you think the reward of dating you is worth the risk. After all, that's never your decision to make. Why you have spent a year feeling that you deserve a woman who can no longer talk to you without feeling her own pain. You caused that pain, and I know you feel guilty about it, but the more you refuse to let go, the more you hold back her healing. You're holding her back and you're holding yourself back. Your relationship with her was not perfect. You fucked up pretty bad, but you didn't ruin the One Most Perfect Love ever because there is no such thing. Take what you can, make this a clean break going forward, realize that the world is not about you and what you deserve, and eventually you will find yourself wiser and happier in serious relationship #2.

E Wren

@arrr starr That was a very compassionate and spot on response.

carolita

@arrr starr I think he may be longing to be in love with himself, really. He wants to not be the guy he unfortunately was, and thinks being back with the GF on a second chance will give him the chance to be the guy he wants to be and love, if you get my drift? That's not to say I don't empathize -- it's very human to be in this pickle. It happens to us all. But that's all it is, and he needs to let go and get over it. If she wants him, she'll find him.

Not to mention, we don't actually know enough about their relationship to know if he's really good for her, or just thinks so. I broke up with a person who really negged me for four years, and he begged me to come back to him. My friends were all astonished when I declined. It seemed like the most romantic redemption story ever to them. But to me? I was like, nope. Been there, done that, don't need to try it again.

LotaLota

LW: if you got back together, look at what both of you would get as a result of that decision. You, the dishonest guy, win by getting back (with) a wonderful person. She, the honest girl, doesn't get the kind of guy she deserves. Instead, she ends up back with a cheater, the guy who has treated her badly. For you to win (her), she has to lose (take you back).

There's no win in this scenario for her. You showed her what you are. That's why she doesn't want to have anything to do with you ever again.

You got the outcome you deserved. Nothing more, nothing less.

stonefruit

Dude. DUDE.

This is some Gavin de Becker Gift of Fear shit right here.

Nate Jones@facebook

I have nothing to add here, I just wanted to say I think it's fun how Edith/Jane know which questions will be pageview-bait and make them their own post.

PistolPackinMama

@Nate Jones@facebook Do you think it's fun in a "no, I actually don't, I am being sarcastic" way? Or in a "no, it's actually interesting" way?

And if the first option, is that really true? I don't think the A Lady posts log as theirs in particular? And theirs typically aren't really the only highly trafficked posts? And they also tend to post the least-trafficked as well, such as The Hood Internet mix one from today? I've had some one on one dealings with one of the Ask A ...s and that person was quite sure they really did not want to be associated with the columns they were writing for professional reasons.

And lastly, I am unclear on why this is important anyway.

Or, did you write this post and now you're mad it's being attributed to an editor? If that's the case, next time someone offers you an anonymous column gig, I would say "no."

I am confused, is what I am saying.

frigwiggin

@PistolPackinMama I thiiiiink he's saying that Edith/Jane can tell what Ask A... topics are going to make people super-chatty and give those topics the spotlight as a solo Ask A... column, instead of sticking them together with LWs 2, 3, 4, etc. More mileage that way! I think you're misreading the "make them their own post" as "take credit for the post" rather than "post them as a solo question."

iceberg

@PistolPackinMama me too, I don't understand this comment. The A Lady posts are by A Lady, not by E or J. And in my opinion page views just mean a lot of people wanted to read this post and participate in the discussion, and like, isn't that the whole point of the Hairpin anyway? Like, are you mad that someone might have a successful website by giving their audience what they want?

PistolPackinMama

@frigwiggin Oh my lord. I am so glad that is what that means because I am having a case of the READY TO MISREAD EVERYTHING this week. Seriously. I need to ground myself from snippiness at least till finals are done. Sorry, dude on the internet, for leaping to the stupid conclusion.

Nate Jones@facebook

@frigwiggin Yes, that's exactly what I meant, sorry if I was unclear. When you see and Ask A... with only one question, you know you have to keep that tab open for the rest of the day because the comments are going to be GOOD.

Statham

This is unrelated but related?

I used to work in a Taco Bell when I was like, 17. And there was this one guy who used to always hit on me in the most obvious and awkward way imaginable. He was "in a band" or something, and he thought he was insanely hot business.

So, he used to try to convince me to date him by telling me how he was so awesome, and we'd be a perfect match. He'd be so good for me, and blah blah blah. I hated it. It made me feel super uncomfortable and awkward.

The worst was when one time, he reminded me that he was "in a band" and he said, "You know, chicks fight to give me blow jobs."

He had me like, cornered in the tiny break room, and I had to leave it was so ...freaking weird.

Jinxie

@Statham "You know, chicks fight to give me blow jobs." "Ok, then one of those chicks can give you a blow job, and I'll just go back to work."

Jizzcliner

@Statham I'm having trouble imagining this happening to Jason Statham.

Xanthophyllippa

@Statham LInes like that make me glad I can hit someone with a stony look and say, "I'm gay" and not have to lie.

(Last time I did that, the guy gave me the standard, "You just haven't met the right guy yet." I snapped back, "Neither have you.")

Passion Fruit

@Xanthophyllippa That is the perfect retort!

needsmoresalt

I know some people have mentioned this above, but it really feels like this letter (to the Hairpin) is in itself part of the stalker-ish behavior. Why would he choose to write to the Hairpin advice columnists in particular, unless it's because he knows/thinks that she'll read it? I just have to wonder about the ethics of publishing a letter like this.

PistolPackinMama

@needsmoresalt I don't know how I feel about that. It's something to consider, but unless the editors/publishers know that for sure, how can they make that call? It'd be one thing if he was doing something as blatant as proposing to her on a jumbotron, but he isn't that blatant, if that was what he intended at all.

Also, if homeboy reads this site, or knows his ex does, he cannot have expected any other kind of response from the commentariat than what he's getting here. And if he did expect something different... well. Hello there LW! Hope you have enough reading to head to a corner and think on.

To be honest, I am more concerned about the posts HP ran that were sponsored by E-Harmony. I'd say without a doubt those are a problem, but this... eh. I think it's ok.

The Lady of Shalott

@needsmoresalt I was wondering if it was maybe a refugee from the Awl or another site, who knows that the Hairpin does advice columns and such but is maybe not super familiar with the commentariat?

iceberg

I'd like to know if any male 'Pinners have been this guy and come through the other side, and if so what made you wise up to your behaviour?

redheaded&crazy

@iceberg I just want to know if any male Pinners (i.e. the ones who comment frequently) ARE this guy?! FESS UP Y'ALL

(just kidding just kidding i don't want to know and i'm sure it's not and also i would feel kinda bad if it were despite it all)

redheaded&crazy

as my boss would say: how can you be sure?!

me: well, pretty sure.

my boss: you can't say that!

EpWs

@redheaded&crazie No way it's one of our boys. They are upstanding gents.

purefog

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher [deep masculine bow]

Tweedle Dumb

I can't STAND guys like this. I hate to make sweeping generalizations but UGH. So many of them fuck up, then lose a great woman, then think they can press the "APOLOGY" button, grow their tiny balls back, and POOF she's back in their arms.

He sounds like a textbook case of *in a whiny broken voice* "I'm a GOOD GUY!" and "how big is my penis today?" Give her a break, LW. Go have a few more one night stands, they sure helped you forget her before.

FickleMoon

When I read this, I see that you had your cake and ate it at the same time - the loving secure relationship and the exciting one night stands. Now you're missing the former (and also lacking the latter) so of course you long after how things used to be and want to go back to her.
From the letter, it doesn't sound like you've matured and changed. How did you ever rationalise the one night stands to yourself? You might be hurting and say you understand that she is - but imagine the pain of finding out your long-term boyfriend had (repeatedly) cheated on you, without caring, or telling you, over five years. Accept that she's feeling pain right now because you inflicted it. You are not the person who's going to make her happy again. I echo A Lady - give it some time, some time for her to heal and for you to make better choices and mature. Then see if she wants to speak to you again. Be prepared that she might not.

CarAlarm

As a woman scorned who's tried again with the guy who broke her heart. I can tell you that no matter how hard either party tries, a woman does not forget. It will always be in the back of her mind that you could cheat again. And it is bound to come up during fights. You will always be trying to prove yourself and she will always have the upper hand which will leave you consistently off balance in the relationship. You both deserve the chance to start fresh with new people. The baggage is not undo-able.

carolita

@CarAlarm I don't know. I was royally betrayed 8 or 9 years ago by the guy I'm with, and I don't really feel that way. I figure we're all human. That said, I wouldn't LIKE it if he betrayed me again, naturally. And I do kid him about it now and then, but who wouldn't? He ran off with the most heinous awful fetid woman -- everyone who knew him (and even some who knew her) was appalled. Temporary insanity. Still, it's not like everyone can do move past stuff like that. I'm in my 40's and he's in his 60's, and we've both been around the block a few times. I've survived all sorts of heartaches, and feel up to surviving more, if and when necessary. I can't live in fear or regret.

cynicalsunshine

I didn't read all 342 comments, so maybe someone said this upthread, but: I've felt the way LW feels. Not the cheating part, never done that, but the regret part, and the idealizing of an ex part. And the fact that it's happened, oh, a million times, has led me to the following conclusion: it's a bullshit feeling and I no longer trust it.

Also, at the risk of sounding like a hippie yoga freak, maybe what the LW needs to move on from this is to forgive himself? Cheating sucks, for sure, but many, many people do it, and for many, many reasons. It's one of the most human actions in the world. Don't make a habit of it, obviously, but maybe just acknowledge to yourself that you did it and you were a juicebox in that relationship, and that the relationship is now over. Because it is: it's over. You gotta move on. If nothing else, you will get the opportunity to not be "that guy" with your next lady friend. Everyone needs a clean slate, a do-over, and sometimes the best way to get that is to get it with someone new. (But: no more cheating. No more juiceboxing.)

carolita

@cynicalsunshine that's kind of what I figured -- he wants a second chance for himself, to be that better guy, more than for the actual relationship. Move on, leave the poor girl alone, she's probably traumatized. Maybe a sincere apology is in order, but no begging to get back together. I had that kind of apology from a bad boyfriend once, and I told the guy I was happy he'd come around and understood himself, and that I truly wished him well and was grateful for the apology and explanations, but didn't want to get back together under any circumstances. It's funny, he tried again about twenty years later. I think he really regretted his behavior, and it haunted him all these years, (maybe all his regrets come back to him when he's alone), and still needed redemption. Some people won't take anything but renewed love as proof of redemption, sadly enough. I had to say the same thing all over again. I think he'll get over it again till the next time he's lonely and feeling sorry for himself.

purefog

@carolita Wow. 20-40-60-80!

anachronistique

@purefog Yeah, I'm definitely picturing this little old dude showing up on the stoop of Carolita's fabulous pensioner's flat in 2052 all "YOU WERE MY TRUEST LOVE" and Carolita paying a neighbor child to tell him to go the hell away.

carolita

@anachronistique with my little elderly poodle growling out the window at him as I mix my metamucil into my cereal in exasperation, with a very old Brian Lehrer on the radio chirping happily about his new hip Those will be the good new days... :)

LotaLota

@carolita I bet we dated the same guy. Twenty years after he broke my heart, he literally showed up on my doorstep again. I got back with him for awhile just to give myself the pleasure of dumping him as payback. He kept trying, but I ignored him. I noticed he recently discovered Facebook (he's retired now) and tried reconnecting with other women from his past, some of whom took the opportunity to call him out on his assholish behavior.

See, guys? What goes around comes around. Also, women have very long memories.

Mr. Kitty

My most recent ex treated me pretty badly. I really liked him and he was great most of the time, so I put up with it for awhile. We got to the point in our relationship where we were exclusive, spending entire weekends together and talking on the phone every night, yet he had no intention of calling me his girlfriend or getting remotely serious with me. I broke up with him. He didn't seem to mind. It sucks breaking up with someone you're in love with.

TWO MONTHS AFTER I ended it, he broke out of his apathy shell and suddenly couldn't get enough of me. He was sorry for being a jerk. He couldn't stop thinking about me. He didn't realize we had such a good thing going. Apparently I was a real gem. It was so FRUSTRATING because I wanted more than anything for him to say those things to me... before I broke with him. (What... did he play the field for a month and suddenly miss the awesome chick who was fun to spend time with AND have great sex with? How bizarre!) Needless to say, we never got back together.

LW: Give it time, otherwise you're just going to hurt her even more than you already have.

carolita

@Mr. Kitty this same exact thing happened to me. Four years of it! Exactly the same ending. I just figured I'd spoiled the guy, letting him have his way all those years, and he just missed THAT, wanted more. So, obviously, I didn't go back. Lesson learned.

redheaded&crazy

@Mr. Kitty OH MY GOD THIS HAPPENED TO MEEEEEE TOOOOOOO

If you treat someone as though you don't care about them, don't be surprised when they think you don't care about them. And break up with you accordingly.

But no, AFTER the breakup it's all: I would have been crazily in love with you.

oh MAN I think it will be hard for my future dudes to top that as the worst bullshit I EVER heard. (I hope) (ugh)

LaLoba

@redheaded&crazie and @Mr. Kitty and @carolita

Aaaah I'm sorry you all had these situations but I'm kind of glad to hear this is a common thing, I think. I just left a boyfriend of three years because he did not act like he loved me. He was often quite mean, left me starved for all physical and emotional attention, and never thought about doing anything nice for me in addition to being completely unwilling and unable to discuss feelings and needs like an adult.

After I told him I was done with this and tired of being unhappy, he rather freaked out and went to all these extremes (for him,) like calling me and telling me he loved me and if he wanted anything in his life to work out it was his relationship with me, and writing me e-mails and a letter doing the same thing, and telling me how everything was his fault and he didn't know how he turned into such a difficult, moody and not-fun person and he wants nothing more than to keep trying and do better.

I felt for a bit like a total dick for having him FiNALLY be upfront about how he feels about me, but it's like.. DUDE why did you treat me like shit for a year? And even if you WANT to be better, you'll probably slip up along the way, and do I want to risk that kind of pain and heartache again and again.

And, quite suddenly, a new fellow has been courting me in incredibly nice ways. So I'm going to stick with my guns and go with the new fellow, even if he will be in Montana every other week all summer. He took me to two movies in one week. And lent me his father's staple gun.

carolita

@LaLoba Hey, it happens to the best of us. It happened to me a LOT. Lord only knows why. Oh, there are reasons, of course. I used to blame my autistic dad -- seeking love from distant and emotionally inert and not very empathetic men might have become a bad habit, I might even have enabled such behavior myself, whatever, etc. Main thing is I got past it, and I'm glad you're doing so, too! Go with the Montana guy, have fun. If he's not The One, just have fun getting used to being treated better, and having a man that's more available in every sense of the word. You can do it! :)

BoozinSusan

@carolita Oh man. This is one of those times when a thread on the Hairpin is OH-so uncannily well-timed to my own life and struggles. Wondering if someone who has an autistic-type personality (brilliant, but not emotionally giving) is worth staying with. But yeah, as @redheaded&crazie said, don't be surprised when, if you treat someone like you don't care about them, they'll *think* you don't care about them.
Now to sort out how I feel... Good to know I'm not alone in experiencing this!

carolita

@BoozinSusan well, I think it all depends. If the guy is really autistic, and knows it, there might be hope. But there's no saying that it's not possible to be autistic AND a jerk, know what I mean? Autistic guys are humans just like everyone else, and some are bound to be the kind of guy that's not for you. I personally think I only encouraged autistic-like behavior, due to my expectations (as per my experience with my genuinely, clinically diagnosed autistic dad). Perhaps if I were a different person, I'd have addressed the problems head-on, instead of just suffering them till I'd had enough. Whether or not that would have done any good depends on a lot of things. All I know is that relationships didn't start getting better for me until I learned to state my needs and draw my lines in a very matter of fact and sporty way. I became like, "no hard feelings, but that's my deal."

redheaded&crazy

@carolita @all what's hard too is how long it takes to recover from people acting this way because you are forever doubting yourself and your value and like, whether people really mean it when they say they care or if they're just being manipulative in some way that you haven't managed to figure out yet.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie cheery

carolita

@redheaded&crazie I decided to stop thinking about what makes people do what they do, and only watch what they do and decide if I like it or not. I think very few people in this world are consciously manipulative. It's a waste of time to worry about how manipulative people are, you know what I mean? They hardly ever know they're doing it. They're using some survival mechanism that works for them, that doesn't work for you as their partner. Sooner or later someone will call them on it in the right way, maybe it'll be you, maybe it'll be someone else in ten years... I say just decide if you like the way someone is with you or not, and if you don't, just say "sayonara, nice knowing you, nothing personal, good luck with your life." Guys do this all the time, I noticed in my long life. They often have no problem saying, "hey, I don't like this, I'm out of here." I decided it was not a bad way to be. I mean, I'm nicer about it -- I do give fair warning that I'm not liking something. ;) That I learned from my own suffering. How many times did I get dumped like that without warning? Too many times.

Anyway, don't doubt yourself, just use your eyes and ears and the very simple formula of: it's not the thought that counts, it's the actions. I spent too many years telling myself that it's the thought that counts, and doing all the thinking (Oh he loves me, he's just afraid to tell me, etc). No. "It's the thought that counts" is for when a kid gives you a macaroni necklace for your birthday, not for when your boyfriend refuses to call you his girlfriend in front of his friends. If you see what I mean?

BoozinSusan

@carolita Ahhh, you guys, you're the best. It's funny, I was just listening to this week's Dan Savage and a caller asked about being with an autistic person. Dan had an autism expert weigh in, who said that expressing your needs CLEARLY is so important, because autistic people just need to be told directly what you want. Dan said that this should, of course, be necessary advice for ALL couples. But, like @carolita, I'm going to start just stating my needs and if the other person can't satisfy them, no hard feelings, but it won't work. I can be "too" empathetic, and I get the feeling maybe you guys can, too, but yes, it's the actions that count, not the intentions necessarily.

carolita

@BoozinSusan Yes, I should have said that: very important to draw a picture when it comes to autistic people, and certainly not unhelpful with non-autistic people! :) I started out with a simple phrase, which was "this bothers me." I was a little timid about expressing needs and laying down rules, so my baby step was simply speaking up when something bothered me, and being able to explain why. If you find you're as reluctant as I was, start there. It really does help, and eventually emboldens! :) I tell ya, it took me a few years, so don't get discouraged if you don't manage right away. Start small, and let yourself build momentum for yourself. My current BF loves to joke about all my "rules", but he also realizes they're what makes me sane. He's older and set in his ways, so I have to say, "this yes, this no" a lot, because so many things just seem totally normal to him. Like letting me adapt my schedule to his, or getting me to handle our social schedule quite often. Sometimes I just have to say things like, "I'm not your secretary. You take care of it this time." (I proposed and succeeded in us sharing the fee on a cleaning person twice a month, because we'd fight over how much messier he is than me, if not. I'd spent six months seething over his apparent "lack of consideration" before I came up with that solution, and he just didn't get it. Seething was a bad habit I'd kept from my past with autistic boyfriends! Haha.) But I do realize that if I weren't proactive in these little things, I'd end up having turned a perfectly nice man into another avatar of the same autistic-seeming boyfriends I dated for the previous decade! But once you get your good relationship going, beware of the "saccharine" feeling, as refered to in a previous "ask a dude," I think it was. It will feel too sweet, too nice, not intense enough after a while -- get used to it! Above all, get used to it, for your sanity's sake! :) It's so totally worth it. Don't ever go back to the bad relationship days just for lack of a sense of mystery, adventure, solution-seeking, self-sacrifice... do you kind of see what I mean? I forced myself to get used to a good relationship, and believe me, it weren't easy. But a few years later, I feel so blessed.

redheaded&crazy

@carolita I love this: "loves to joke about all my "rules", but he also realizes they're what makes me sane" because I am sooo similar.

i would like to be in a relationship where any agreements we have made are written down. basically a relationship contract. yep. that would work well for my brain. that would make me happy.

Flies in my eyes

A Lady told this guy the truth like a lady.
Hairpinners f***ing schooled this dude in the comment section.
I <3 you the hairpin!

Kitty

LW do not be this guy that I am about to describe. After summer/fall of crazy drama, I decided to cut the ties and move on with my life. He lost his job and decided to MOVE OUT to where I am, even after I told him not to/I am dating somebody. After feeling guilty and trying to "help him" (I mean, he moved! to be with me! he has no job!) I realized that was his plan all along and now I basically hate him because he used guilt to get his way, with no regard for what I wanted. If you move LW, you will be him. And eventually she will wise up and not like you.

Myrtle

@Kitty And now my favorite Martha Stout quote,"The combination of consistently bad or inadequate behavior and frequent plays for your pity is the closest thing to a warning you'll ever get, that you are being manipulated by a sociopath."
WORD.

Kitty

@Myrtle word. I am sucker for the guilt. And the crazy ones know that.

supernintendochalmers

This was such a great response, good job A Lady. I love "not being with anyone since you broke up isn't the same as fidelity." To me the fact that this guy hasn't been with anyone else since their split is a big red flag. Maybe he wouldn't be envisioning his ex as his magical OMG one-and-only if he'd gotten out there and met other ladies. I mean, c'mon dude. The last time you talked to her was months ago, and she's clearly trying to move on with her life. You need to make an effort to move on, too.

forensicRN

Well done, so noted. It was a lengthy read but certainly well worth the time. Will remember this information.

yermom

Fabulous advice, eloquent, succinct. *applause

Myrtle

Side note: Props for this great photo of our A Lady. I love how the cropping makes her elbow look as if she's coming out of the frame! Neat photo trick, noted!
I wish I had a friend like this gorgeous and smart A Lady.

Creta_Kano

i don't know why everybody was so terrible to this poor man in the comments. i understand cheating is terrible, and that writing in to an internet forum opens you up to being the recipient of public opinion and backlash, but come on. i have been cheated on in, it was horrible, but people make do make mistakes, and change from them. i agree that this man should not follow his ex to a new city, and should probably keep his mouth shut, at least until he has some life experience that would attest to this fact that he can indeed be faithful. but he doesn't deserve to be called a stalker psycho, he'll probably read through all these comments and want to jump off a bridge. everyone deserves some kind of sympathy, as long as they're not like, a serial killer. i don't know, i just felt like all the rage was a little unnecessary. LW, i hope things work out for you, and your ex-lady, together or otherwise.

josep

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linkaccu

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1963248500@twitter

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