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. 81
    Selena

    Yeah Sam P. I understood your point as well and think you did a good job explaning it.

  2. 82
    Ruby

    #78, 79

    I get Sam’s point, but what about men who are still behaving this way well into their 40’s? I don’t think youth has anything to do with it. I’m a bit tired of guys getting a pass because of their gender.

  3. 83
    Selena

    #82

    But who’s giving these guys a pass because of their gender? Uh, wouldn’t that be women? If women refuse to be with men who treat them shabbily, wouldn’t those men soon get the message such treatment doesn’t work if they want a romantic/sexual relationship?

    As long as women choose jerks, and stay with jerks, (until said jerk dumps her), where is the incentive for the jerk to behave any differently? If the behavior works for him, gets him what he wants…

    We may not be able to change any particular individual or group, but we can certainly not engage with someone who treats us in a way we find demeaning. At any age.

  4. 84
    A Reader

    @Ruby #82 — Amen, sister. I’m with you. It gets really old to hear that men do what they want, men don’t change, and you just have to put up with it until you hit the jackpot and manage to push all the right buttons with a man and he becomes so besotted with you that he actually puts forth minimal effort toward maintaining his responsibility in a relationship. Gee, where do I sign up for this wonderful prize package? (Insert sarcasm here.)

  5. 85
    Joe

    Simone says
    @75: Can a woman deliberately get pregnant without a guy deliberately putting his penis inside of her? What are you suggesting here?

    I’m suggesting that it’s not unheard of for a woman to be on The Pill, and then to be deliberately off The Pill without telling her partner.

  6. 86
    Simone

    @82: Let’s explain it to them in another way. Let’s say that a white guy in his teens and 20s treated lots of black people badly. He yelled comments at them from his car as he drove by; he enjoyed films that objectified them and misrepresented their personhood; he socialized with them and partook of the good things that black person offered under the guise of “being friends,” let’s say, but then dumped that person without reason or warning; he made fun of their bodies or their intelligence or their interests behind their backs; he took advantage of the black person’s desire for acceptance and relationship to get things that he wanted without reciprocating; or worse, he outright lied and misrepresented to get what he wanted. But then, in his 30s, he decided that he really would like to have a life with a black person and partake of all the good things that such a person might offer. Is that black person supposed to be grateful that now he’s had a change of heart? Is that person supposed to accept that “white people will be white people” and that we’re just “wired” this way? Is the black person just going to swallow the “explanation” that black people seek out this kind of treatment, that there are plenty of good white people out there and if those black people were just “smarter” that their experiences would have been different? Is the black person going to forget about all of those mistreated black people in the white person’s past?

    But the kicker is this: Why would a black person believe that the white person has changed when that white person frames his current comments with the rationale, “I’m just trying to help black people by telling them how it is…”

    Food for thought.

  7. 87
    Karl R

    Ruby said: (#82)
    “what about men who are still behaving this way well into their 40’s? I don’t think youth has anything to do with it. I’m a bit tired of guys getting a pass because of their gender.”

    I don’t think youth has anything to do with it. Gender doesn’t have anything to do with it either. I’ve encountered similar behavior (to what Sam discusses) in women who were in their 40s as well.

    He/she just isn’t that into you. It would be nice if the men & women who weren’t into us were sufficiently self aware to recognize the situation and had the integrity to inform us as soon as they realized it. But it’s to my benefit to recognize when the woman isn’t into me … and leave.

  8. 88
    Ruby

    Karl R #87 & Selena #83

    Sure, women can behave badly, and yes, if a man treats you badly, then you have to get out. But certainly it’s considered more expected and acceptable behavior from men than it is from women. It’s messages like “boys will be boys”, and the whole “he’s just not that into you” phenomenon. And most dating advice for men is geared towards being a player, not how to make a relationship work – that’s still the province of women.

    Of course, not all men are that way, but it’s the idea that it’s expected and typical behavior that bugs me. I know, too, men want the sex first, and the relationship later, and it’s “wiring” and all, but there is a certain amount of bias and cultural conditioning at work here.

    Simone #83, I think you’ve hit on a good analogy.

  9. 89
    Evan Marc Katz

    @Simone

    So apparently, I’m the white teenager. To reiterate:

    No one has said that women should accept being mistreated by men. The only messageto come out of here is to understand that some men – no matter what you say or do – will mistreat women. And it’s YOUR job, as a woman, to walk away from that behavior when you see it. Trying to compare this to racial injustice is like comparing apples and oranges and is a very dangerous notion.

    When I say, “I’m just trying to help women by telling them how it is”, I AM actually just trying to help women by telling them how it is. Here’s how it is: Some men behave badly. I can’t change those men. You can’t change those men. I don’t excuse those men; I observe that they exist. You should, too. Cause they ain’t going anywhere.

    Thus, your ONLY solution to being mistreated by men is to stay away from them – not to complain that the treatment of women is tantamount to a pre-civil rights world. Seriously. In the 50’s, blacks had no options for fair and equal treatment. You do. Dump the jerk and he can’t mistreat you. It’s really quite simple.

  10. 90
    A Reader

    If I read Evan right (and maybe I don’t), along with the majority of comments by men on this blog, although not all men are jerks, the vast majority of men WILL jerk a woman around if she lets him. It’s the woman’s job to keep putting herself out there until she finds someone who doesn’t do that, maybe because he’s whipped. It’s the man’s job to be available if he’s not a jerk (or if he’s whipped) and to show his true colors if he is a jerk. Do I have this right?

  11. 91
    Karl R

    Simone said: (#86)
    “Let’s explain it to them in another way. […] Is the black person going to forget about all of those mistreated black people in the white person’s past?”

    I would say that’s a decision they can make as individuals.

    In my teens I was homophobic. I outgrew that mindset in my twenties. Now I have numerous gay friends. I’ve told them that I used to be homophobic. None of them seem inclined to avenge any of the derogatory statements I made about gays in the past.

    One of these friends was my best friend in high school (who was deeply in the closet at that time). He heard me when I made those comments. He still felt comfortable about coming out of the closet (to me) years later.

    If you want to shun every man who offended a woman when he was younger, that’s your choice. But I think you’ll end up ostracizing yourself far more effectively than you ostracize them.

    Ruby said: (#88)
    “It’s messages like […] the whole ‘he’s just not that into you’ phenomenon.”

    Are you saying that it’s somehow unjust to a woman if a man decides that he’s not sufficiently interested in her to put an effort into pursuing a relationship with her? That’s what Sam (#78) is describing.

    Sam regrets having gone out with women when he had reservations about them. At 40 I would still make a point of dating some women that I had mild reservations about. I’d want to see if I might change my mind.

    If you andA Readerwant to avenge every wrong ever endured by any woman by cutting men out of your social lives, be my guest. If men don’t measure up to the ethical standards you think they should, don’t date them.

    And if that course of action makes you happier in the long run, I’ll be quite surprised.

  12. 92
    Selena

    I’ve gone out with guys I wasn’t gung ho about at the start. Sometimes after a couple weeks/months I simply knew they weren’t the guy for me and broke it off. Longgg before the infamous HJNTIY book came out I described these situations to my friends as “There’s just not enough there.” Does breaking it off with someone I wasn’t that into make me a jerk? Hey, I gave it a chance. I call that dating.

    And…there have been a few other times I went out with guys I wasn’t gung ho about at the start and ended up falling in love. I call that dating too. You never know until you try.

  13. 93
    Ruby

    Karl R #91
    What I’m saying is there’s a difference between exploring a relationship, and one’s feelings for someone (that’s what dating is), and jerking someone around when you know the relationship isn’t going to go anywhere, for selfish reasons (sex). I don’t see women doing this the way I do men. Of course, women have to walk away when this happens. But men in these situations usually give mixed signals in order to keep the woman from doing just that.

  14. 94
    sayanta

    “If you want to shun every man who’s offended a woman…”

    True- on the flip side, plenty of women have offended men in their lives (sad to say, I’ve been in that group), but I don’t think those men necessarily have the same arguments for cutting women out of their lives.

    omg, Karl- I’ve been agreeing with your posts lately- someone must have spiked my drink. ;-P

  15. 95
    Diana

    Sam, thank you for being honest. I think a lot of readers on here could say the same.

    Life is a huge learning experience that continues until the moment we die. There is positive in every negative, and every step you take leads you onward. No experience is valueless. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes, and to hopefully learn and become a better person because of them.

  16. 96
    Karl R

    Ruby, (#93)
    Mixed signals don’t keep someone from walking away. I’ve gotten mixed signals from women before. After enough mixed signals, I left the relationship.

    When you get mixed signals but stay in the relationship anyway, you’ve made a choice. You have the ability to make a different choice next time.

  17. 97
    A Reader

    @Karl #91 — I would never date a man about whom I had reservations. Hang out with him platonically if he seemed like a nice guy, sure, why not? But jerk him around by dating him when I wasn’t sure if I even LIKED him? Um, no. And if I thought a man had “mild reservations” about dating me, I would NOT go out with him under any circumstances. Let him work out his issues on his own time. There’s a name for someone (male or female) who goes out with someone knowing that the other person doesn’t share his or her romantic inclinations — actually there are several, none of them very nice. “Masochist,” for example. “Doormat,” for another. Thanks, but no. I pass.

  18. 98
    Selena

    Re: #93
    Ruby, sending mixed signals is THE big indicator that someone JITIY. Someone who really is into you makes their intentions clear. If someone is sending you mixed signals it’s your job to decide whether or not you want to continue to date that person.

    And as far as “jerking someone around for selfish reasons (sex)”, a good way to determine if that is the case is to evaluate how much time do they want to spend with you not having sex? If sex seems to be the only time/reason they want to be with you…ding! ding! ding! That’s your warning bell going off. Don’t ignore it.

  19. 99
    Evan Marc Katz

    @ A Reader: I had “mild reservations” about my wife the entire time we were dating. Why? Because I’m human. Because I’m a critical thinker. Because she wasn’t what I was used to dating. Because marriage is a very, very, very serious commitment. I think if you DON’T have mild reservations about the person you’re seeing, you haven’t really thought it through all that much. And if you run from every guy who doesn’t do cartwheels in your presence, you will likely play yourself out of a good relationship. I’m glad my wife did not see the world as black and white as you do or we’d both be single right now…

  20. 100
    Selena

    How can you not have mild reservations about someone when you first start dating? You don’t know that person, what they’re really like, if you are even compatible. All of that takes some time to determine.

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