Today we have two letters covering similar themes: what do you do when the person you’re seeing – or broke up with – is, well… kinda unhinged? To make it interesting, these letters cover both ends of the spectrum. To start, we have this letter from Miss ConFused:
As a nerdy female, I don’t consider myself too socially awkward, but there are times when I get very confused about how to handle particular social situations. This is one of those times. In short: how do you deal with crazy?
Here’s the story. About a year ago, I met the ex-boyfriend of a friend at a sci-fi con. I was instantly attracted to him, but he did not seem into me (he flirted with my friend in front of me, for example.) I did the smart thing, and moved on to casually dating other people. Imagine my surprise, when after hanging out four or five times over the span of a month, the guy (we’ll call him Will) suddenly asks me out.
I initially agreed to go out with him, as I was still attracted to him, but I was wary. He ran very hot and cold. I was also seeing someone else, with whom the relationship was getting more serious. After about two months of casual dating (we had discussed exclusivity, and I said no) I sat Will down and told him I couldn’t date him. We agreed to be friends. A month later, I and the other guy became serious. Will and I continued to hang out. He once asked if I had a boyfriend, and I said yes, and that was as far as we discussed it. Everything seemed normal.
Several months ago, Will started canceling our plans. He’d text me to hang out, I’d say yes, and on the day he’d suddenly have other plans. This happened about once a month; I didn’t take it personally, as I know how busy he is. The last time he texted me (and then canceled again) was 3 weeks ago. This week, I decided to call him, the first time I’ve initiated contact in 6 months.
A woman answered. When she figured out who I was, she went into full-tilt, fast-talking Valleygirl about how I broke his heart, and how she was SO lucky because he was sexy and amazing and sweet and an awesome f*ck. She ended by saying I should never call him again, and hung up.
I was… stunned, to say the least. I sent Will an email asking if everything was okay, and that if he didn’t want to be friends, I just wanted to hear it from him. I got no response, and I did not try contacting him again.
Today, our mutual friend suggested we stop by his work, as we were already there shopping. (He works at a mall.) He greeted her with a hug, and me with a very aggressive handshake. I pulled him aside and asked if we could talk; he agreed to meet up in the evening.
Instead, he sent an email. He accused me of cheating on him, leading him on, standing him up, and that my email and stopping by to see him had been “rude and uncalled for.” He told me he was ecstatic with his current gf and child (where did the child come from?!) and that if I ever contacted him again, he would file a restraining order!!
Dr. NL, there are too many words to describe what I feel right now. Flabbergasted, angry, betrayed, depressed. I thought he was my friend. I never got ANY indication from him that we were not. I never did any of those things he accused me of! We weren’t exclusive, and we barely dated for 2 months, nearly a year ago! Why did he text me to hang out? Why didn’t he just send a simple response when I first emailed him? Why all of this drama and insanity?
The worst of it is, I will have to see him in a month, as we are attending the same sci-fi con. I have been looking forward to this Con all year, but I’m terrified he’ll see me being there as harassment and go through with his threat!
Can you make any sense out of this situation? Should I still go to the Con? (My $100 ticket being non-refundable.) How do I avoid this insanity in the future?
Everybody loves being the hero of their own story, and amongst nerds there’s no story more common or more beloved than “my woman done me wrong”. Not only can most nerds relate to it – part of the appeal of the cult of The Nice Guys is that it’s hardly exclusive – but it makes him the poor tragic hero, trod upon by the cold unjust universe because he’s pure of heart and nobody can truly appreciate him for the unique and special snowflake that he is. From your end of things, you had a brief relationship, it didn’t work, you tried to salvage a friendship out of it and the two of you just drifted apart.
From his end of things it’s opera. He, the spurned lover, taunted by his cruel mistress. You, the heartless Jezebel, implying through your wicked, sexy ways that he might have a chance to get back into your heart (and dirtybits) only to yank them away and mock his pain. It’s a tale worthy of Lord Byron; all it’s missing is the quasi-incest and addiction to opium. I can all but guarantee you that this is the bill of goods he sold his current squeeze and it sounds like he’s so invested in this fantasy that it’s become realer than real for him. As far as he’s concerned, your “friendship” was all a lie – it was supposed to be his way of getting back together with you and you had to ruin it by “cheating” on him with your new boyfriend.
I’m not terribly surprised that you didn’t realize how he felt about it; a lot of Nice Guys do everything they can to keep their feelings and agendas hidden. After all, if the object of their affection realized what was going on, she might reject him after all! Quelle horreur!
So now here he is, months later with a new girlfriend and a kid (and I’m willing to bet you even money that he’s not the father) and making threats because you had the temerity to waltz back into his life after all the horrible, horrible things you did to him… what to do?
Well, frankly, you ignore the freakazoid. He’s feeling threatened because your presence ruins the fantasy that he built up of being the Wronged Man Who Is Pure of Heart. You’re a reminder that no, this wasn’t some grand romance that was torn apart by your cruelty, it was just another relationship that didn’t work out and he’s still unable to get over it. If you see him at the con, then ignore him. If he makes a scene, get con security involved ASAP. I’d take his threats of filing a restraining order with all the concern of dudes on web forums threatening to sic their Internet Lawyers on you; it’s all impotent bluster and posturing in the hopes of wresting the “power” away from you.
Fuck the dude. Go to the con, have fun and forget all about him.
And on the other side of things:
I need some advice on a situation I’m in. I met this girl in game a few months ago and we seemed to be hitting it off with flirting, talk of meeting up and so on. There are some things that I personal feel are red flags:
1) she had an abusive childhood
2)she told me directly with guys she “always wins”
3) Most of her friends are guys which she meets in the same scenario as me but when i asked about it she told me most of them are gay
4)she is a self diagnosed “psychopath” and believes she knows everything including men behavior and by disagreeing with her it makes me egotistical and narcissistic.
With all that I truly enjoy hanging out with her but worse problems have risen. Recently I was busy for a week or two finishing exams so I did not have time to talk to her. So finally when I have the time she has completely flipped on me telling me that she will not message me if I do not answer her and that she needs a lot of attention. I tried to apologize but it ended up being my fault and im a terrible person. Since then everything has calmed down chit chat and have fun playing games and tells me she “enjoys talking to me” somethings have drastically changed:
1)She use to tell me she loved me but now all she says is she doesn’t
2)Every request I ask of her is always “no.” even in regards to when i’m joking around thats always her answer.
3)She boast about other guys in front of me as if It was suppose to make me jealous, the other day she randomly mentioned some guy “who just met her and is saying they love her”
My gut is telling me that this is a waste of time and she is playing me for a sucker and that I should have known better for thinking this could lead to something real but I really like this girl and I don’t think I will be able to find another girl that I can be myself around. any advice?
Well, there are a lot of details missing here, so I contacted Steam Boy for some clarification.
Dr. NerdLove: How old are you two? You mention you met her in a game – an MMO, I’m assuming or something else? Are the two of you in a long-distance relationship, or are you in the same town?
Steam Boy: Im 25, she is 19. it wasnt an mmo it was a random steam game. She lives 8 hours away but we’ve done a lot of webcams and stuff.
Dr. NerdLove: How often have you met in person? Have you had sex, or has the physical side of things been restrained?
Steam Boy: I haven’t met her yet, the plan was to go see her this summer but she has sent me pics and stuff.
My advice, SB? Cut all ties and be grateful you’re not actually meeting in person. You’re right, this has more red flags than a Chinese military parade through Tiananmen Square. Having had an abusive childhood isn’t necessarily a red flag, but everything else about should have been setting off all sorts of alarm bells in your noggin. First of all, I have to question why you’d want to date anyone who is a self-diagnosed anything; 9-times-out-of-10, all this means is that they went through a quiz on Facebook and that remaining 1 time means they looked up symptoms in Google and decided to stick a label on themselves to absolve themselves for the responsibility of their actions. And why would you want to date somebody who’s (self-diagnosed) personality disorder is defined by shallowness of emotion, lying, manipulation and an inability to perceive the consequences of their actions?
She’s fucking with your head for her own amusement and you’re getting bent out of shape over someone who doesn’t see you as a real person. Straight talk: I’d call this an abusive relationship if I thought you were actually in a relationship with her instead of having a (one-sided) crush on someone you met online where it’s “safe”. Your most telling line in your letter is: “I don’t think I will be able to find another girl that I can be myself around.” You, my friend, need to work on your self-esteem and your sense of self worth. There literally millions of single women out there. More importantly, there are ones who aren’t assholes and don’t get off on hurting a guy emotionally.
I’d say “dump her and run” but, fortunately for you, you weren’t actually in a relationship with her. I shudder to think about how difficult it would be to extract her from your life if you were actually in the same city. As it is, delete her from your friends list on Steam, block her on Facebook, Skype and your phone, trash her emails and texts scrape out any videos or pictures she sent and spend some time working on building up your confidence; you can do much better than a teenaged psycho.
But while I’m at it:
19 is pretty damn young for a 25 year old. Sure, she’s of legal age, but the differences in maturity levels and lifestyle between the average 19 year old and a 25 year old is profound. A good rule of thumb for dating age differences is half your age plus seven. In your case, I would strongly recommending that you stick to women who are legally able to drink.