Ex's: Protocol for Social Engagement

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 29, 2009 7:40 PM GMT
    I dated a very kind, sweet man 5 months ago, for 5 months. We had terrible communication... TERRIBLE. We fell in love with the content of each others character in spite of our cultural differences. (He was born and raised in Germany, I'm Mexican-American).

    The last few weeks of our relationship were riddled with conflict that was only exacerbated by our terrible communication. I suggested we examine where we were going and decide where we wanted to end up, and he dumped me like a bad habit. I literally and unsuccessfully begged him not to.... I was humiliated and heart broken. He didn't do it to be punitive or mean, he's a good man, a kind man, he's also a very pragmatic German who saw that as the most reasonable course of action... which in hindsight was because we were both really frustrated and didn't know how to work together.

    He has emailed me once a month to check in on me. I ignored the first few emails and replied to the subsequent ones with requests for space and time. He mentioned in one his desire to try again at a later point and time, I didn't respond.

    I ran into him two days ago at the gym. We talked hugged, smiled, nodded, caught up, talked about my dogs, his family, blah, blah, blah. I faked an ease that was contrary to everything I felt, but I did it because that's what adults do. Unfortunately, I think I faked it too well.

    He emailed me last night to follow-up on our run in and wants to reconnect. I know for certain there is no "trying again". I also know that he didn't mean to hurt me, but the part of me that he hurt doesn't care and doesn't even want to be friends. I know if I tell him he will be terribly, terribly hurt... and I feel terribly, terribly guilty for that.

    I don't know how to proceed... any feedback or thoughts would be very appreciated.
  • kietkat

    Posts: 352

    Oct 29, 2009 7:59 PM GMT
    I think honesty is still the best policy. You're still hurt from his breaking up with you. Why put yourself through all that misery again? Just tell the guy how hurt you were and that you don't think you can be around him anymore. He may get hurt but at least you'll be honest with him and yourself.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13999

    Oct 29, 2009 8:14 PM GMT
    Be honest. Part of you would like to be his friend, but you're not ready for that yet.
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    Oct 29, 2009 9:29 PM GMT
    Sounds like you need a clean split from this dude. In my experience, a clean split from an ex allows me to move forward and not look at what was. I typically don't speak to my ex, will change my email address and cell phone #, and find new places to hang out. I also stay away from mutual friends who always seem to want to tell me how my ex is doing. If we happen to run into each other, i limit the conversation to "good to see you" plus a handshake and dismiss myself. I never agree to meet them for lunch/dinner and never respond to random calls/emails-just delete and try not to think about it. Works for me- but i agree that this approach is not for everyone.
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    Oct 29, 2009 9:35 PM GMT
    I've been in your situation more than once when reconnecting with an ex -- playing it too cool, so much that you don't honestly communicate your true feelings. Like you, communication issues killed my relationships, so no surprise that it wasn't solved when I ran into them again. I would put it down in a carefully constructed email that is open and honest about where you're at...and then let it go. (It worked for me.)
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    Oct 29, 2009 10:17 PM GMT
    I could move on happily if I never heard from him again. I have a handful of ex's and I am on very good, if not great terms with almost all of them. He sees how I've worked through things with others and he wants the same for he and I.
    I'm not unaccustomed to the sting of a recent break-up, but I've never had an ex who aggressively pursued a... whatever the hell it is he wants. Usually, it plays out over years, not months.
    When we were together I allowed myself to be totally vulnerable with him because he is such a stand up kinda guy, which is why it hurt so much when he dumped me. I feel like admitting the degree to which I'm hurt keeps me in that vulnerable place and gives him control.
    The horrid discomfort of seeing him on a limited basis would be less painful than giving him access to my hurt feelings. I don't want him to have that control over me, even if it is just his perceived control... since I want nothing from him (even social engagement) I feel like I just need to "fake it till I make it".
    I'm trying to be a mature adult about the break-up, while still protecting myself but am afraid it may be too soon to do without disclosing the depth of my hurt feelings.
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    Oct 29, 2009 11:01 PM GMT
    I agree with some of the above - you need a clean split. It's nice he is getting in contact with you, but he seems to have gotten over your split quite easily, so he wouldn't be getting all the feelings you are experiencing.

    Personally, I think you should stop replying to his emails. Cut the cord and work on getting over it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 29, 2009 11:38 PM GMT
    I learned a long time ago (from a brilliant friend) to leave the past in the past.

    This seems like a good plan for you too - based upon what you said about not caring if you ever heard from him again. Good luck - whatever you do.