My Ex-Boyfriend Recently Contacted Me, But I Am In A Serious Relationship.

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Evan,

I have been with my boyfriend for a little over two years now. We live together, plan to have a house in the next year, and get married. But recently an ex-boyfriend got in contact with me that I haven’t seen in about three years.

What is very confusing for me is that I fell hard for my ex and everything was going fine and then he dumped me out of the blue. It was a pretty good, clean break, and I accepted it and moved on but there was one problem, I was pregnant.

Many people would say he was a typical guy, but he wasn’t. He lost his virginity to me, and that’s impressive seeing that he was well into his twenties! He told me he was afraid of what we would be and I believed him. He was obviously not ready to have a child, and apparently not ready to break a promise to himself that not many men make. I tried to talk with him until I lost the baby due to complications. Ever since then I try to never look back. I never talk about the daughter I once had and lost, even with my boyfriend now.

Basically, I have no idea what my ex wants. Why would he contact me out of the blue and ask for casual conversation? He hasn’t even brought up the fact that he basically left when I was going through all that horrifying stuff. It makes me hurt and I want to ask him why he did that. I’m also afraid that my current boyfriend will be hurt that I still care. Most importantly, does he really want to know what I am up to or does he want more? I’m afraid to ask.

-Definitely Confused

Dear DC,

Let me share with you that your feelings of confusion are normal.

Let me share with you also that your feelings of confusion are also highly destructive.

Read your letter again. It’s like you’re the poster child for bright, emotionally irrational women everywhere…

You live with your boyfriend, you’re buying a house, you have marriage on the horizon…and you’re seriously contemplating what to do with the guy who dumped you when you were pregnant?

Read your letter again. It’s like you’re the poster child for bright, emotionally irrational women everywhere — the ones who let their strong sentiments for a toxic man cloud their judgment so thoroughly that they seriously consider undermining a healthy relationship.

I could only imagine if my wife were the same way. After all, in late 2009, she got a call from her serious ex-boyfriend from nearly 15 years ago. (I think this one cheated on her; I’ve lost track). Anyway, he was just “checking in” to see how she was doing. This is not-so-thinly veiled code for “My life hasn’t gone according to plan, so please let me know if you’re still single, because if you are, I’d like to start sleeping with you as soon as possible”. And, in fact, as soon as my wife informed her ex that she was happily married, he didn’t see fit to continue the conversation much longer. So much for “getting back in touch.”

Your best revenge is your own happiness — not getting closure from some dick who couldn’t stick by you during your most trying hours.

Remember, guys are simple and guys are selfish. And if all it takes is a phone call out of the blue to make you second guess your entire healthy relationship, who’s to blame your ex for trying? Best case fictional scenario for you: the ex says that you’ve been weighing on his conscience and he wants to apologize for all the pain he caused you and wish you well in your new life. But that’s pure fantasy. A more realistic scenario would be the one in which he gets you to cheat on your boyfriend without actually leaving him (that way he won’t have to deal with those sticky commitment issues). And after a few rolls in the hay and after destroying your ability to trust yourself, he goes back to his old ways and disappears into the night.

Be smart, DC. Tell your ex that you wish him well but that you’re in a happy relationship and have no desire to see him again. Your best revenge is your own happiness — not getting closure from some dick who couldn’t stick by you during your most trying hours.

For your own sake, sweetie, let it rest.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    anette

    You hear the whole “women think irrationally” concept a lot and although I DO think our emotions can get the better of us, I don’t really think it’s fair to state that our responses are irrational.(necessarily)

    I think one of the reasons for the response females give to males, is that females don’t actually understand why the men are doing what they are doing, and make assumptions based on what the WOMAN would do in that situation. IE, if a woman contacts an old flame that she hurt, it’s probably more likely that she just wants to be friends again and perhaps say she’s sorry. So it’s natural that a woman might make the assumption that her ex is being geniune. It’s hard for us to understand how diffferent we really are sometimes(and even harder to accept).

    With more knowlege of how men think and behave, I’m pretty sure our responses to them will appear a lot more rational. I just don’t like hearing this alway’s “women behave irrationally” when they really aren’t, they are just drawing the wrong conclusions due to lack of knowlege and “appear” to thinking irrationally.

    It may seem like a minor thing and small distinction but there’s already a lot of bias against women for their supposed irrational minds, we don’t need more of it.

    Other than that, great advice as usual Evan 🙂

  2. 22
    Evan Marc Katz

    Your point is well-taken, Annette. However, I have to ask you, objectively:

    Going back to the man who left her when she was pregnant doesn’t make all that much rational sense, does it? Eventually, it doesn’t really matter whether a woman understands WHY a guy does what he does, don’t you think? Isn’t there some point where the woman has to take responsibility for choices that can be described, at best, as foolish?

    Like taking back a selfish jackass, for example.

    1. 22.1
      llg

      OMG I am so afraid of this happening to me, deep inside I am waiting for bad ex bf to contact me, its like a drug I am waiting to use again, I want that feeling of being wanted by him as it was in the beginning.   I had managed for 50 + years not to be in such a relationship and then it happened, for 7 years I excused and took his bad behaviour until HE finally ended it.   Call me whipping girl…

      1. 22.1.1
        T.

        Hello everyone. First I’d like to thank Evan and everyone here who are the life of this blog. I have received so many advice from reading your posts.

        DC. I hope this is long behind you and you have no regrets. I am sorry that you went through what you did and I can relate first hand.

        My ex. Manipulated me into having an abortion… for the second time. After the procedure he never looked back until 8 years later he called. I wasn’t sure what to do but I decided to hear him out. After the first conversation I reminded him of how he abandoned me and asked him to stop contacting me. He broke down and begged for forgiveness and told me he loved me still. We ended up meeting each other and this opened up that old wound beyond what I could imagine. We cried together and I told him I forgave him. He kept contacting me afterwards and wanted to see me again but not too long afterwards I woke up one morning and stopped responding. That was it! I have no regrets. That wounded soul I reawakened I took to my therapist and we healed her.

        My ex also embellished his life and I later found out that he told half truths and whole lies. Basically, he was living a pathetic existence and felt like what he did to me was haunting him.

        I had no idea how much I needed healing and once that took place I grew exponentially, emotionally and mentally. If he ever contacts me again I will kindly shun him. Not because I hate him but because I’ve closed my wounds and any communication would be fruitless.

        Again, I have no regrets. I’m thankful he called because I took the healing I needed from the situation then moved on a better, happier me. You have to decide what is best for you. You are a stronger more mature woman than you were when he left you so let your intuition lead you.

  3. 23
    anette

    You said “Eventually, it doesn’t really matter whether a woman understands WHY a guy does what he does, don’t you think?”.

    No, it matters more than anything else. Understanding the why makes all the difference. What he is actually thinking, why he is actually calling is what we need to know, to make a rational decision. Not , how he is treating us.

    Women will put up with all sorts of nonsense, even to their own detriment. Men get confused by this and think we are silly. But that’s only because they are men and don’t understand our motivations.

    Our capcity to love and care probably comes from our biological drive to take care of a child and nurture the child. The child can throw up, hit us, and yell at us…we don’t care what the child is doing(because our bond and desire to love is so great), we want to know WHY the child is hitting us and we want to understand WHAT the child is thinking, so we can fix it and help our child to grow and be healthy. And..of course, to love us back.

    We do the same thing with grown men. It is our nature.

    Unfortunately, to our determiment we often misunderstand a mans “real” intentions and our empathetic selves kick in, and almost PUSH us, to care for him. And the more damaged he is, the more empathy we feel(which feels strangely good to us) and the more addictive he becomes.

    Yes, the why makes all the difference Evan. It stops us in our tracks. And when we trust a good man, to give us honest advice we will listen, no matter how much it hurts. We aren’t the suckers for punishment that you may think. It’s our nature, to care..regardless of how we are treated, because kids..can be bloody aweful!!.

    Hope that makes sense. We need help in understanding a mans motivation, otherwise we just get it wrong and care, when the man does not deserive it.

  4. 24
    Selena

    Re:#22
    “Like taking back a selfish jackass, for example.”
    Good one Evan.

    Unfortunately, some of us have had to learn the responsiblity for that choice that hard, painful way. Sigh.

  5. 25
    anette

    Okay 2nd post. I thought of a better analogy.

    When a woman is raising a child, she will care for the child no matter WHAT he does, it is her nature(if she is healthy mentally of course). Hit, kicked, yelled at, vomit, poop, abuse, tantrums.She keeps going and keeps caring. She will put up with anything and will die trying to care for her child.

    But what happens, when the woman realizes..the tears on her beloved childs face…..

    …… are crocodile tears?

    Her empathy, disappears. She is being manipulated and she realizes it. She takes control and will not allow her loving caring self, to be abused by a manipulative child, no matter how much she loves the child. She becomes strong , assertive and absolutely determined. She pulls the child into line.

    This is what I mean, when I say the WHY stops us in our tracks. It’s the grown up version of recognizing, crocodile tears.

    Sigh…that probably didn’t help either did it?

  6. 26
    A-L

    A couple of things.

    All people are self-interested, and do things that they think will work out best for them. Just part of human nature. It’s not something that’s unique to males or females.

    And the ex-boyfriend was a real jackass because he bailed when his girlfriend got pregnant and ignored her efforts at communicating with him. Being self-interested and being a jackass are not (always) the same thing.

    Also, I’m not sure that the OP should be thrown into the pack of women who are ready and willing to run back into the arms of jerks who treated them poorly. It seems as though she just wants some clarification about why he was such a jerk when she thought they had a great emotional connection. By expressing her fear that he may want more than just casual conversation, she’s clearly indicating that she’s not interested in getting romantically involved with him again.

  7. 27
    Joe

    I can’t find anywhere in the letter where the writer says, a) that she’s going back to the ex, and b) that the ex wants to get back together with her…

  8. 28
    Jennifer

    When I read this letter, I didn’t get the impression that DC was considering taking her ex back. I got the impression that she was unsure of whether or not to have a ‘wtf, why’d you do that to me’ conversation with him.
    If my interpretation is correct then I don’t think DC is being irrational at all- just trying to determine whether or not talking to him will make her feel better or worse.
    My advice to DC is: talking to him will probably make you feel worse, especially if you go in expecting answers and apologies. It’d probably be best if you left it alone.

  9. 29
    Honey

    I don’t understand why people get so worked up over the idea that you have to cut a lot of men out of your life before you can find one good one. It goes both ways – how many women did Evan date before he found a good one? Obviously he’s willing to live by his own advice and it led him to happiness.

    Yes, the vast, vast majority of men you meet won’t be worth your attention. But if you don’t cut every single one of them out of your life, you won’t find the one who is different. And that’s everyone’s goal, right? (At least on this website, there are others with different goals but they’re not his audience.)

    DC, this man is obviously not worth your time, and I agree that the only way for him to learn is if there are permanent consequences (like no longer having you in his life). Here’s the thing: do people change? Yes. Do they change for you? Generally not. That is, if you do not ever speak to him again there is a possibility he will learn from that and be an awesome partner for someone else down the road. But if you let him back into your life the old and incredibly powerful patterns that you established with him previously will inevitably reassert themselves. Wouldn’t you rather give the gift of a mature man who has learned his lesson to some other woman (even if you never know about it) than take him back only to have yourself devastated once again?

    And Iagree with others that if your lost child is still affecting you this deeply and yet you cannot confide in your partner, perhaps professional counseling is in order? It was a tremendous help to me when I lost my mother.

  10. 30
    A Reader

    @Melissa #17 — Maybe you’re right. After all, if you keep beating your head against the wall often enough, you’re sure to give yourself a headache eventually. No sarcasm directed toward you, honestly. If you’re willing to keep putting yourself out there and picking yourself up over and over again, you’re a better woman than I am. Good on you.

    Me, I just don’t feel like the potential prize (a relationship with a man) is worth that kind of effort, especially when it seems that men aren’t expected to do anything but show up. I mean, a decent guy is great, but he shouldn’t be crowned King for a Day (or for your lifetime) just because he DOESN’T jerk women around. Where I come from, treating people decently used to be called basic human consideration. Not FEMALE consideration, but applying to men, too. Just sayin’.

  11. 31
    hunter

    That selfish jackass, maybe filthy rich, or, very good looking………

  12. 32
    Karl R

    Ava asked: (#4)
    “is the ex really a bad guy, or just an average one? Should we expect this kind of jerky behavior from all men,”

    For the people I hang around with, the men aren’t jerks … at least not to the extreme several people seem to be implying. They may be a little clueless sometimes, but not self-centered.

    It’s possible that the ex-boyfriend now regrets his behavior and wishes to apologize. But it’s highly likely that he wishes to rekindle the romance. (The two aren’t mutually exclusive.)

    anette said: (#21)
    “I think one of the reasons for the response females give to males, is that females don’t actually understand why the men are doing what they are doing, and make assumptions based on what the WOMAN would do in that situation.”

    I think that’s a reasonable assessment. And in most cases, the men I know will behave in a manner they consider to be ethical. But a woman’s expectation of what is ethical behavior may be very different.

    For example, over a year ago I mentioned in one post that I was simultaneously dating a few women. I had explicitly let the women know that we weren’t exclusive (unless they were already dating multiple men, which I considered to be an implicit understanding).

    In my mind, I was acting ethically. I was honest with each woman, and told them what they needed to know in order to make an informed decision. I then let them decide whether they wanted that kind of relationship.

    Several women on the blog went ballistic. They accused me of manipulating the emotions of the women and using the women’s desire for a more serious relationship with me to get them to agree to an unhealthy, unequal relationship.

    In my opinion, the women I was dating were my equals, and were fully capable of making wise decisions. I was not about to patronize them by asuming otherwise. The women on the blog believed the women I was dating were making poor decisions. Therefore, they believed it was my responsibility to protect my dates from their own poor choices.

    If a woman is convinced that I acted like a manipulative jerk in that situation, then she needs to keep searching for a man who would act differently. Similarly, if a woman believes that it’s her responsibility to make decisions for me (because I “might get hurt” by the consequences of my decisions), then I will keep searching for a different woman.

    When Evan talks about the importance of “shared values” when seeking a spouse, this is what he’s talking about. And despite the vagueness of Definitely Confused’s original letter, it seems clear that she and her ex don’t share the same values.

    Even if DC’s ex-boyfriend wants to rekindle a romance, she should send him on his way. And that’s not to protect him from his poor choice, but to protect herself.

  13. 33
    Evan Marc Katz

    Anette – stay tuned for my new eBook, “Why He Disappeared”, which answers the most common question women ask in 130 pages or so. But I’ll give away something that’s in the book right here, which may seem a little cryptic: don’t worry about the why; worry about the what. Have a great weekend.

  14. 34
    MsQuoted

    I completely agree with Evan – at a certain point the “why’s” no longer matter and you need to move on.

  15. 35
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    Wow – what a juicy conversation!
    Perhaps DC is looking for closure…What I tell my dating coaching clients is this: There’s no such thing as closure. Women often want closure to “understand” what happened. Truth is – you don’t want to know what he was thinking. Whatever it was made him leave you. Knowing more detail won’t make you happy. It won’t settle or clear up anything. And it could be very hurtful. Forget closure – its not real. DC has already moved on so why look back?
    Evan – you give excellent advice!

  16. 36
    anette

    Exactly Karl!! ( I don’t seem to be able to quote on this blog, not sure how you are doing it)

    We women make the assumption that he is doing what he is doing, for the same reasons we are. Sex is a big example of this. A woman will most likely sleep with a man, because she likes him(there are other reasons as well). So, we presume that the reason the man slept with us, is because he likes us.

    It’s not true though is it?

    Knowing that his reasons can be completely different(IE you are the closest and most available warm body) might hurt our feelings, and if we are foolish we will pretend that it’s not true, but knowing WHY he might be sleeping with us, changes everything. It allow me to make a much more rational decision about what I’m doing.

    Of course if a guy hit me, I wouldn’t really care why, I’d be out the door in a minute. There is just a lot of grey area inbetween.

  17. 37
    Shay

    “Why” is not relevant. Figuring out a man who is not committed is just a waste of time and emotions.

  18. 38
    Selena

    Agree with everything Ronnie wrote in #35. You never get closure by re-hashing the actions and the why’s of a breakup. Genuine closure comes from time and it comes from within.

  19. 39
    Steve

    @Selena #38

    I agree, but I think it is one of those things in life that you have to experience for yourself, at least once. Catching up with that person from the past and seeing first hand that nothing will come of it.

  20. 40
    sayanta

    yeah, Karl, how are you quoting? I can’t do it either.

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