Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I was introduced to you unintentionally by my boyfriend (let’s call him “P”) that loves watching videos on dating, flirting and how to pick up women, (despite being in a relationship with me for almost 3 years), but P also watches many others videos on how to keep himself looking good too (yay!), P is 56yr old. I enjoyed reading your articles so much that I now come and visit you almost every day to see what’s new and yes! He will read this.
Why am I here? Simple! I cannot accept my partner being friends with his ex, whom he claims was just a FWB for over 3 years and things ended nicely about a year or so before we met. I get the scenario of being friends, because I have witnessed it on someone else, when my sister’s ex-husband’s partner became a good friend of my sister (I’m sure because of my niece). But you know that saying “keep your friends close and you enemies closer”? Just saying.
Ok, let’s back up on things here for a minute…. I come from a wide range of abusive and toxic relationships, ranging from physical abuse like being kicked to the point of giving birth and having an emergency C-section, to being raped while my kids slept on the other room. Not to mention being mentally abuse, controlled and cheated on time and time again.
TRUST is hard to give base on my experiences. Yet, I gave it to this man. I had reached a point in my life when we met where I had said to myself being alone is quite ok for me at this age and then I fell in love with him. Go figure!!
For two years everything was great and amazing, then one day we finally crossed paths with his ex, which I had expected due to places we frequent when going out on dates. Mind you, we were actually on a double “date night” with his friend J and J’s new lady, S. We were at a small music venue where there are various seating arrangements. We were on table for four and the stage was to our left. There was an empty high table for two to our right. I was on the left side of our table and P was to the right.
In comes the ex — call her M. I noticed her right away, my heart started racing, but I kept calm. She walked around and came back to the empty table to our right. She wasn’t alone, maybe with a date. That’s when P saw her and said “Oh! Hey there M”
He quickly introduced us; “This is my girlfriend so and so, this is S and you already know J.” Ok, cool, right! NOT! He then decided to turn himself around (his back to me) and started a catch up conversation with her.
Hello! We are here with 2 other people; you’re here with me… Even his friend J noticed how rude P was being that he made a troubling remark — “Oh he’s digging himself into a hole” — that just made my blood started to boil.
I honestly do not recall what I said to P (shocking!), but I turned myself around to him and I whispered something in his ear about what he was doing. He then stopped and turns my way, music was great and he tried to touch me and caress me after that. Then at the end of the show he turned once again to her (his back to me again) and whispered something to her, because she smiled and nodded her head to him. Grrr! And guess what? We didn’t speak for days after that.
We then had the conversation and I expressed my feelings, the whys and how disrespected I felt. He, on the other hand, didn’t think he had done anything wrong. Still, he understood where I was coming from. We patched things on and all good. We encountered her again 2 weeks later, but it was minor and due to the amount of people around us neither of them got closed enough to talk. No big deal.
A few months, something else happened with a lady coworker where I got signals of attraction between him and the coworker, so I broke into a rage. My bad! I admit I know I can have a bad temper (Puerto Rican Bi*#^$! once someone said) when put on a defensive situation.
When we talked to solve this other issue the M topic came up again. He told me he believes he shouldn’t have to stop talking to his ex, because things ended nicely — to the point where they meet every year in January for a dinner to celebrate birthdays… hers, her daughter’s (adult) and his. I clearly expressed my boundaries once more, and how I found that disrespectful when you’re in a relationship especially after what had happened. Just so you know he invited me to that dinner next year, because my birthday is in January. Honestly, at that point, I opted for letting it go, why fight about something in the future.
OK! Fast Forward to today!!!
He got a phone called later in the day last night, not typical for him due to his work scheduled. He answered and the tone of voice went down and softer, not his normal louder voice. I was in another room the door was ajar, I could hear the voice but not closed enough to hear what he was saying and I told myself “just let it be”. BUT My gut felt tight (not good). Later at night, I broke my own promise and I (for the 1st time) checked his phone (UGH! I know). I saw that this number had called more than once, either dialed or received. I called it the next day.I was praying to hear a male voice, and M answered me. I didn’t speak, I just hung up. I felt so little, so betrayed!
I asked him later that day who had called him the night before, he right away said M. I expressed my irritation and how we had talked about her. He keeps insisting that is nothing that I shouldn’t worry about her, that he would’ve not asked me to move in with him if he wanted to do something with her or any other women. He insists on how he’s not interested on her, or M in him, and that this is all innocent. M only had called him days before to ask him on how to get to a restaurant they had been before. Moreover, that he had called her a day before that night, because it was her birthday. And lastly, that M’s called to him that night was by mistake, yet they spoke for a good 10 minutes hhmm!
I was raised with strong values like respect and honesty among many others, and I feel this is breaking my boundaries and what my values on a relationship are. Yes! My personal hurts have a lot to do with it, but my parents taught me better.
I believe they are both, P and her breaking my boundaries. She clearly knows he is in a relationship and by now (I am sure) knows that I moved in with him a few months back. He is clearly choosing (fairly knowing my take on this) to continue the relationship with her despite my feelings. Listen, I’m not saying to be rude, if we encounter her. I’m not saying wishing a happy birthday is bad, but when I see the many continues contacts between them two – MY “I’m gonna get hurt” WALL comes up with a vengeance. Is a defense mechanism, right?!
I am a 48 year old at a lost and tired of fight childish crap, but do I want to accept her presence like nothing or do I take a risk on this relationship and stand up for myself and for what I believe is right for me. I give my 100% respect, honesty and more; and I sure want the same.
Hell No! I’m not perfect, then again nobody is. Please, please, please give me your insight!
Thank you for your time Sir.
Wanting My Respect
I apologize in advance for the length of this letter. I’m just so baffled. I’m in one of those situations where you break up with someone, but they don’t take it seriously.
This dude. Just. Cannot take responsibility for his own emotions. I would appreciate any kind of advice or confirmation that I’m not completely insane (or if I am insane, let me know).
I met this guy in Feb 2019. We had some things in common and were basically a couple of weirdos in a very conservative town, so we got along swimmingly. We dated for TWO WHOLE MONTHS and had a FWB thing going on for about seven months. I quickly discovered that he can’t function independently, is a giant man-child, and is completely unable to feel emotions in a healthy way.
Well. We officially broke up at the beginning of September. He actually initiated it. We both agreed we would be better off as friends, as we were completely incompatible in a relationship (something we discussed later as well). I told him I was ok with a FWB arrangement moving forward, but nothing more. He agreed. Well… despite all of this, he didn’t take the breakup seriously. He continued to treat me like we were dating and expected me to “come around” and take him back.
This made me uncomfortable because what he was saying and what he was doing were two very different things. It culminated in a discussion last week where I had to actually sit him down, look him in the eye, and give him T-Swizzle’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Ever)”. I had to say “I do NOT want to date you again” multiple times before it really sunk in. He left, obviously feeling not great. But that’s what happens when you break up with someone.
Once he left, he messaged me and asked “when did you suspect I still had feelings for you?” and I was like… since we broke up, it was pretty freakin’ obvious, my dude (I was nicer about it when I told him). That did not go over well. He immediately blew up and directly blamed me for leading him on. Here are some direct quotes for your context and entertainment:
-“I am upset that you knew I had feelings for you and never directly addressed them before looking elsewhere.” (WE BROKE UP MY DUDE)
-“It sounds like you figured out how I really felt and you still allowed me to hold on to you like that while you were looking at other people.” (WE BROKE UP ALMOST TWO MONTHS AGO)
-“I would’ve rather you went no contact before you talked to other boys.” (IT’S NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR YOU)
-“You don’t seem to care that I’m struggling with this particular aspect.” (WE BROKE UP, YOUR EMOTIONS ARE NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY)
-“What you did was wrong, and I’m not engaging in any form of friendship with you until you’ve apologized.” (WAT)
-“You’ve been such a good friend, and I’m having a hard time… I basically can’t believe I called you my friend while you were doing that.” (MANAGE YOUR OWN EMOTIONS)
-“If I was aware of something I was doing that could hurt a friend, a romantic partner, or a family member, I would either 1. Not to do it or 2. Talk to them about it until we were on the same page and come up with the best solution to make sure no one got hurt.” (WE BROKE UP DUDE IT’S GOING TO SUCK. THERE IS NO SOLUTION WHERE NO ONE GETS HURT.)”
-I just feel really bad that I was seeing you the way I did while you were sending whatever my imagination can come up with to other people.” (COOL STORY BRO)
I keep replaying these messages in my head and I’m just… so confused. This does not fit my understanding of an adult relationship (and I’ve been reading your blog for y e a r s). Am I nuts? Am I wrong for expecting him to manage his own emotions and, if he had an issue, cut things off himself?
I super appreciate you and your time,
What Planet Is This
Dear Dr. NerdLove,
First of all, I would like to thank you for your great dating advice. I’ve been visiting your blog regularly for about six years now; even though dating is pretty much an American phenomenon, your blogposts, podcasts and videos have been useful to the Western European guy that I am.
The question I would like to ask is should I break up with my girlfriend in order to (maybe) have the slightest chance to get with another girl I know?
Let me give you some context and details. My current girlfriend is the only girl I have dated so far. We’ve been together for four years. She’s kind and considerate and she really loves me, up to the point that she would like to start a family with me in a few years. It hasn’t always been that easy. She used to be extremely jealous. We wouldn’t even get out of our apartment together since she would think I would stare at any pretty girl passing by and, consequently, go apeshit.
We also used to have a difficult long distance relationship. After graduating from University, I moved back to my parents’ house in a foreign country to look for work from there. We oftentimes had difficult arguments over the phone and, of course, her jealousy did not fade.
I eventually found a job in my girlfriend’s town and moved back to that area. Something weird happened after that. My girlfriend said she wanted to break up, which we did. But we kind of stayed together anyway. I regularly stayed at her place, which is something that she and I both wanted. It is as if we were addicted to each other’s presence.
After living a few months in this odd but comfortable situation, my girlfriend told me she wanted us to get back together. We talked some things out and resumed our relationship indeed.
Our sex-life has been non-existent for the most part until recently. The good news is we started to have better sex since we officially got back together. Also, my girlfriend is not jealous anymore. We spend good moments together.
That being said, I fell in love with a colleague of mine. In retrospect, I think I fell in love with this young woman just before my girlfriend and I reunited. I don’t know if there’s a thing going on between this colleague and me. She’s genuinely friendly to everyone in general, but I feel like she’s slightly flirty with me. We’ve had great conversations and really opened up to each other until now. She’s utterly smart, eloquent and elegant.
I don’t know what to make of it, but whether she is into me or not is not the most important question. My falling in love with this girl makes me wonder if I should stay with my current girlfriend or just call it quits. Should I break up with my girlfriend in order to have the slightest chance to get with this colleague? Or, more realistically, should I just break up (since our relationship has been too rocky) and be single again for a while even though I don’t want to be alone? Or should i just stay with her ?
Roll The Dice
I’m writing you on my 31st birthday, which I’ll be spending mostly alone. In 31 years on this good green earth, I have dated -maybe- three people in brief stints. For most of my life I’ve been a fat, shy, anxious nerd with weird interests and a lot of stress between my home, school, and work lives. As a result, there’s never been room for a love life.
I have a lot of issues with self esteem and confidence. It kinda hangs on you after a decade of being a failure at life, but in the last five or six I’ve managed to hold on to good jobs, finish my Bachelors, and start to resemble an adult.
This hasn’t changed much about my outlook on myself. I’m still fat. I’m balding. I’m an awkward weirdo. I’m in a long distance relationship with a woman my age who has been an absolute gem to me, and we’ve been keeping it going for about two years now.
The feeling I can’t shake, that keeps lingering like a fart cloud over every bit of progress in my life, is “You’re not worth it.” This feeling of being worthless to anyone in any romantic capacity. I’m unattractive. I’m awkward. I live at home. I have a low on totem pole job. I bring nothing to the table in a relationship besides a desire to see my partner happy.
What I guess I want to ask, is what can I do to work past this feeling? I hate hating myself and want to feel moderately normal in my own skin. What am I missing that will make me feel like someone worth being around?
Bad Company in Boston