Hello Dr NerdLove
I was dating a girl from another country. The first year we basically lived together and everything felt like a dream. At the start of 2018, she had to move back to Europe. She wasn’t sure about whether she wanted a long distance relationship, but we decided to give it a go.
We were able to see each other 4 times during the year, but as time went by I noticed she was starting to pull away. She would text me less, not bother setting up Facetime dates, etc. I decided to tell her about this, and she simply said she was busy and not on her phone all the time. Eventually time passed and during the last weeks of December, I would notice she wouldn’t even bother to text. I decided to address the elephant in the room and she said we needed to take a break. I agreed and made sure that we both knew how to act during the break (would we see other people, etc).
Halfway through the break, she asked if we could talk. I had honestly been having a hard time during the break, since I really missed her. I decided to reach out to mutual friends and ask for advice on how to make amends and fix things. When she called me, she told me that some of our friends had reached out to her. She didn’t seem to keen on continuing the relationship and I honestly wasn’t going to force her into it if she was ready to move on.
She however wanted to be friends. I still had very strong feelings for her and the next day decided to tell her that I would always cherish our relationship together but I couldn’t be friends with her right away because I needed the time to heal and settle how I felt for her. I removed her from social media which seemed to have upset her. She sent me a message saying she was upset and that I hurt her.
I know am starting to question if I did the right thing by going the nuclear option.
Second Chances, Second Thoughts
One of the biggest questions that a couple faces following a break-up is “What should we do now?” It’s an easy enough question to answer if the relationship ended badly: the hard feelings, the anger and other factors that triggered the break-up in the first place usually make it a no-brainer. Similarly, if things ended amicably and you still have that core of affection and respect for one another even if the relationship didn’t work, it’s easy enough to say “yeah, we should stay friends.”
Other times, it’s not so clear.
Of course, there’s a lot of cultural pressure to say that you want to stay friends after the break-up. It’s what you’re expected to do to prove that you’re both mature adults and that this is all just fine. But to be perfectly honest: not only are there folks who aren’t in a place where they can handle that, but not everybody wants that in the first place. Not everybody wants to stay in contact with their ex, even if the break-up wasn’t so bad. Sometimes you want a clean and complete break so you can heal and move forward. But it’s not always easy to say this, especially if it wasn’t an ugly break-up. There’s that expectation that of course you’re going to stay friends because why wouldn’t you?
Well, there’s always the fact that your ex treated you pretty shabbily over the course of your relationship. Sure, the end of your relationship was fairly low key and non-dramatic but the circumstances that lead you there were painful as hell. In your case, SCST, your ex was kind of an asshole to you. She treated you with some serious disrespect over the course of the time you were apart. It was clear that she saw the relationship as an increasingly low priority and treated you like an afterthought. If she was having thoughts about being in a long-distance relationship, she could have brought those up directly or she could have done the honorable thing and ended the relationship herself. Letting contact dry up and pretending that there weren’t any problems – especially when it’s causing you actual distress – is a pretty shitty thing to do to someone you care about.
To my mind, it’s somewhat rich that she’s giving you grief over the fact that you’ve cut ties when she was doing the same thing to you. The only difference is that she was performing the death of a thousand cuts, while you cut the head off in one go. So while your cutting her off and taking the Nuclear Option may have hurt her, that was hurt that she earned.
I think you did the right thing, SCST. The point of The Nuclear Option – removing them from your social media, blocking their number, filtering their emails and otherwise cutting contact – isn’t about “we broke up and now you’re dead to me”. It’s an acknowledgement that break-ups hurt and you need time to let those wounds heal. Those wounds can’t close if you’re continually picking at the scab by Facebook stalking them to see if they’re dating anyone or reminding yourself about how much you miss them by following their adventures on Instagram. Nor, for that matter, can you heal if they keep coming around and reopening the wounds, whether they intend to or not.
That’s why many times the best thing you can do is lock them away. It doesn’t need to be forever, but it does need to be long enough for you to do what you need to in order to heal. And while it may suck for the other party… they don’t get a say in things. Your healing process is for you, not them.
And while we’re at it, your emotions aren’t a democracy. Other people don’t get a vote in how you feel or what relationships you want to pursue. You’re not obligated to be friends with somebody after you break up with them, just because they want you to.
To be blunt: if your ex wanted to stay friends after the break-up, then she should’ve acted like one before you broke up.
I am a 27 year old male with very limited dating experience due to a combination of mild disability, career focus and self-limiting beliefs. I’ve put in a lot of work to improve things, and as a result, my confidence and energy are up. I’ve even been approached by gay men. Being straight, I wasn’t interested, but it certainly increased my confidence in being able to land a good woman.
Some members of my friend group, possibly having noticed my increased confidence and energy, and have recently made remarks of how me and a single friend of theirs should ‘totally get together’. I’m not sure if they’re joking or legit trying to set the two of us up. She and I are compatible (similar views on money, similar interests, trust each other, have never had drama, approach conflict in a similar way) and we like each other on a platonic level. This friend group even already contains couples, so it wouldn’t make anything awkward in that regard.
The problem here is I have never seen her in any romantic way, and as far as I can tell she has shown no signs of romantic interest in me.
I’m not sure what to do. Should I make a move? See if flirty behavior builds feelings for either of us? Ask one of our mutual friends if they’re just joking about the whole thing? Accept the relationship as platonic and find someone else entirely? Ask her how she feels about the situation and act accordingly? Something else?
To Ask or Not To Ask
Slow your roll, TAoNTA. You aren’t just putting the cart before the horse, you don’t even have a cart or a horse yet. The fact that your buds have been making comments about how you and their friend should get together may well just be that: stray comments. Observing that there’re two single people in the social circle isn’t quite the same as actively ‘shipping the couple or trying to set the two of you up as an item. Taking this as anything other than idle chatter is getting so far ahead of yourself that you’ve looped back around like a weird sociological mobius strip.
But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that your friends really do think that you two would make a good match and are actually, actively trying to pair the spares. Like I said to STSC, your relationships aren’t a democracy. Other people don’t get a vote in who you date or who you’re attracted to. The fact that they think that you and she might be a good couple in no way obligates you to actually give it a shot, especially if you aren’t interested in her. The last thing either of you need is to go through the motions of trying to date because other people want to see it happen. That’s a great way to cause all kinds of friction in the social group – the kind that causes hard feelings and tears friends apart.
And on top of that: this is all very one sided. Right now, you have no idea if they’re telling her this as well. She may well have no idea that they’re playing Cupid. And for that matter… she may well have perfectly good reasons for not wanting a relationship right now and would seriously resent her friends sticking their noses into things.
Now, if we had some data on any of those points, we could start to see whether it’s worth doing some exploratory flirting and see if anything develops. But we don’t. As it is: you’re not feeling it for her in the first place, which means that you don’t really have any reason to try to pursue things with her. Right now, that would come off far more like trying to fill a hole labeled “girlfriend” with an available warm body instead of starting a relationship based on mutual attraction and respect.
So with the facts on the ground being what they are, I think the best thing you can do is just laugh it off and ignore the whole thing as a joke. And if it bothers you, tell your friends to back off with the jokey-jokes.