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. 121
    Jennifer

    @Kenley #120- Good point. It’s easy to get a bid jaded here. But no matter what someone comes to the blog looking for, it always surprises me when their posts are consistently negative, sarcastic and defensive and then they are absolutely shocked when people respond in kind. You get what you give.
    And Sayanta’s sports analogy and breakdown on ‘not caring’ was excellent.

  2. 122
    sayanta

    Kenley-

    Ok, I understand that- I’m just going to make one last point and then I promise I’ll drop this. True- there are women who might have come here for the reason you stated: to find inspiration. But once they find that it’s not there (that’s not directed at you Evan- like Kenley said, it’s the nature of most post-ers), I think it’s odd that they would keep coming back to read more “anti-male” stuff. It almost seems masochistic.

    Or perhaps, they want other women to validate the opinion that men suck. I’ve done that too. But the thing is- it’s masochistic and it ends up accomplishing nothing.

  3. 123
    Simone

    @115: To A Reader. I agree with you, and I urge you to go back and read earlier posts of other letters where people expressed the POV that this is an open blog for free discourse. It is not. It’s for women who are looking for a LTR, which, ideally, would be indicated by a wedding band, and the men (seemingly all attached) who would be full of advice about how these women might get there. This desire for the LTR is assumed to be the staring point of every blogger and letter writer. If you express any reservations about this kind of conventional setup, or any POV that suggests that the men in this conventional scenario might be socialized (and not “wired) to behave in entitled ways that are ignorant of women, you will be soundly corrected and your presence on this board questioned.

    I can sum up the usual advice on this board in a paragraph: “The guy you are dating is a jerk and you are stupid to put up with his hard-wired, jerky male behaviors. You must have low self-esteem. Some guy out there will love you someday, but you have to wade through all of the jerks and not expect much; you have to understand that men are primarly interested in you for sex and maybe, if you’re nice and deliver all the “right” girlfriend behavior (don’t ever be angry or confrontational, and always defend his place as a man in this world), he will finally notice that you are also a person, after much ambivalence. But he doesn’t have to be anything much: Just keep compromising downward, and eventually you too will get that ring/cohabitating situation/sperm donor. And then you’ll live happily ever after. (Until the sex stops a little ways down the road, at which time you are supposed to start “dating” each other again, preferably once a week.)

    Most people who hold your POV leave this board. As I am about to, too. 🙂

  4. 124
    Evan Marc Katz

    To Simone, and anyone else who actually feels that Simone wrote is true:

    Nobody here censors you, nobody shouts you down, nobody calls you evil, nobody tells you that you’re wrong for not wanting a long-term relationship. In fact, I’d have to guess that this is about as civil and intelligent a blog as you could possibly get.

    What nobody here understands is why you’re reading a dating/relationship advice blog if you place no priority on dating and don’t want a long-term relationship? Or, similarly, why you’d read a blog that gives such horrid, misguided advice?

    No one’s begging you to stay, but if you want to see the results of some of the other women who “compromised downward”, go to the coaching tab above and click through all the photos and success stories of my one-on-one clients who took all of my condescending claptrap to heart. Good luck to you on whatever blog you decide speaks to you.

  5. 125
    Ruby

    I have to agree with Simone that men are not just “wired” to behave in certain ways, they are also “socialized”. As are women. The only way to change it, though, is to not put up with any b.s. As I’ve read, men respond better to actions than words.

    But can we flip this a bit? Maybe my question speaks to some of the anger/confusion I’m hearing expressed. I hear things like “having mild reservations is normal and okay”, but I’m also hearing that mixed messages mean that someone is not that into you. What’s the difference? Are they both two sides of the same coin? How do you distinguish between mild reservations and mixed signals?

  6. 126
    Karl R

    Ruby asked: (#125)
    “How do you distinguish between mild reservations and mixed signals?”

    Usually “mixed signals” don’t sound all that mixed to a guy.

    Don’t think of it as one set of signals; think of it as three sets of signals:
    1. Is he sexually attracted to you?
    2. Does he treat you like a friend?
    3. Does he treat you like a girlfriend?

    If he’s giving you signals for 1 and/or 2, but no signals for 3 … that’s not mixed signals.

    A long-term relationship is a process, not a yes/no type situation. It evolves over time. So you should take stock periodically to see if there has been some sort of progress. A few relationship experts have talked about doing that every 3 months.

    If the relationship looks the same at 6 and 9 months, then it’s stalled somewhere. Reservations might slow the process or even push it back temporarily. That’s why it makes sense to take stock every 3 months. It evens out any temporary effects of mild reservations.

    And if you observe something that might be a mixed signal or a reservation, you can bring it up in a non-threatening conversation. Communication brings clarity.

    1. 126.1
      XO

      If it is not a yes/no type situation, then that IS exactly by definition mixed signals and confusing.

      I am not sexually attracted to my friends. I do not kiss my friends. I do not have sex with my friends. You are either an acquaintance, a friend, someone I am dating (non exclusive by choice), or a boyfriend (exclusive by choice).   If only we could use the same definitions, that would be just peachy, thank you very much.

      1. 126.1.1
        XO

        I mean if it is a yes/no situation…

  7. 127
    Selena

    For me the difference between mild reservations and mixed signals is in the actions. I always have mild reservations when I start dating someone simply because I don’t know him. I don’t know where dating him might lead, or even where I might want it to lead since I don’t know him. I continue spending time with that person to find out.

    Mixed signals on the other hand, is when someone comes on exuberantly, making it clear he finds me attractive, interesting, funny…and then… inexblicably pulls back. He wanted to see me as often as possible at first, now… he’s not calling everyday, he’s “really busy” (sometimes with excuses that seem, um, a little lame). A couple days go by and I think, ” What happened? Okay, he’s not really interested” and then…Oh! he can’t wait to see me again. I’m great and all that, all over again.

    I’d get tired of the “push forward-pull back”. It’s only with experience I’ve learned that men who do this aren’t “confused about their feelings” or whatever, per se – it’s more that they weren’t really attatched to me, but hey, they liked me enough to still want to see me instead of staying home by themselves.
    (Or whoever else they had their eye on didn’t work out – shrug.)

    This worked fine if I was only interested in them casually, not so fine if I wanted something more substantial in the way of a relationship. Again, it was only with experience I learned the difference: someone who really is into you doesn’t send mixed signals – though they still may have reservations about having a future with you – that’s natural in dating.

    1. 127.1
      XO

      Exactly. If you are bored and just want to amuse yourself with another human being because you have nothing better to do – use Tinder to find someone looking for the same, not me.

  8. 129
    Selena

    Well thank you Evan. 🙂

  9. 130
    Diana

    Perfect, Selena. 🙂

  10. 131
    Selena

    Thanks Diana.

  11. 132
    sayanta

    yet another for miscommunication between the sexes. :-p

  12. 133
    Karl R

    sayanta, (#132)
    How does “between the sexes” factor into this article?

  13. 134
    Selena

    Yeah sayanta, I think you may have cut and pasted an incorrect link.

  14. 135
    sayanta

    it was a joke- you’ll get it- think about it

  15. 136
    Lisa

    Dumping someone while pregnant is horrible.   You are bonded to this person because of your sexual bonding you had – that’s a natural and a given.   You are feeling “what if” which is natural.   I would say you can contact this person after much soul searching, answering them in a letter or phone call – that you are in a new relationship and have no intent on screwing that up.   I’d be blunt, honest, but kind.   You can do all those.   If you still have feelings for this person, get counseling – be honest with yourself – but keep your distance until you feel totally committed that what you are doing is right – including most importantly your current relationship.   He may be trying to atone for his behavior by reconnecting – and still have feelings for you – in any event – don’t “get back” at him by making him “pay” as some suggest.   Reconcile your emotions for him before you answer.   You deserve to do things right and to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are moving forward with your current boyfriend unencumbered by the past without malice towards your ex.   Life is short, people make mistakes and sometimes you have to forgive.   You don’t have to forget.   Forgiveness is for you not just them.   Good luck.

  16. 137
    chris60

    To put a canary among the pigeons. I’m wondering whether this injured lady fell pregnant when she sensed the man was pulling away or having second thoughts about remaining in a relationship with her. If so, her behaviour was manipulative and the man had every right to leave and she should not have considered falling pregnant to someone who did not share her level of commitment. My brother’s partner mysteriously fell pregnant when he was reconsidering remaining with her. I realise that it is up to two people to practice contraception, but some women do use pregnancy as a hook to keep their man or force him to a level of commitment he does not want. Having said that, if this man has found himself single and lonely and has pulled out his list of exes’ numbers and decided to call on the off chance of finding a sexual release then the women can simply tell him she is now in a serious relationship and no longer wants to see him. Sometimes women will a level of commitment and intimacy that is not reciprocated. It was foolish to fall pregnant to a man without discussing his intentions, and men need to be aware that sex can lead to pregnancy and they should be sensible about where they spread their semen if they do not want to take responsibility for the child they may create. It’s hard to find a partner with the same level of commitment and interest, but honest decent people do not remain with someone knowing that their intentions and mutual levels of interest do not match. That’s when people get hurt and feel betrayed and used. Commitmentphobes or casual daters should stick to their own kind and be open about their intentions to avoid confusion. Likewise, sometimes people change or grow apart and neither can be blamed if the relationship ceases or fails to grow to the next level. Relationships are organic not static. No contact works in abusive situations, but I prefer people who can resolve issues with their ex partners. the man nay have no idea about the pregnancy, and the man may have left due to abusive, manipulative, exploitative or demanding behaviour by the woman in question. As a wpman, I have seen other women fall pregnant as a career move, and seen men trapped into a situation of having to be the prime or sole provider for a woman who does not want to work. as a woman, I have also seen men behave in dishonest and self-serving ways as their supposed partner waits and hopes for intimacy or commitment to develop in an immature, unethical and self-serving or disconnected man. Love can serve as a blinder. If this lady is in a happy relationship she should thank her lucky stars that the other man bolted. Unfortunately many women value communion while men value independence. Whether due to genes or socialisation it’s a sad fact that creates problems finding a healthy balance or developing healthy mutual dependence. Good relationships require skills and levels of maturity and awareness that many people lack. Nobody likes feeling pressured to be with someone out of obligation and guilt rather than true desire. Likewise it’s frustrating if you crave closeness and the partner pulls away or appears detached and emotionally indifferent. You can’t force love – just saying the word doesn’t mean the feeling is returned. Love is an action – nothing is more confusing that someone who drops the love word and yet behaves in an unloving manner. Instead of totally blaming the man who ran away, was the woman actually treating him well and not pressuring or coercing him into what she wanted? How long had they been together and had there been discussion and mutual agreement about the issue of having a child? A bit more background detail is needed here. Maybe both of them were too immature and her level of dependence on him and poor choice to remain with a ‘selfish, irresponsible’ man was equally unhealthy. Did she have no idea about his character before falling pregnant? If she did, then she took a foolish risk and needs to question the level of denial or wishful thinking that operated to maintain their relationship.            

    1. 137.1
      Severina

      Exactly Chris60…very well put!

  17. 138
    Maia

    I have to admit I laughed through out this thread because Evan has exposed the truth and a few women still push back and questioned what he said, almost as if she’s looking for an explanation to keep him around.

    Pretty desperate IMO when she’s afraid of cutting men out of her life. I’d cut and cut and cut every guy out until I meet a great guy, no problem, least not for me.

    Are we women naturally in denial? Naturally naive? Naturally dumb? Or all of the above.

    This clown dumps her during her pregnancy and has the audacity show up like nothing happened and she’s contemplating communicating with him again? SMH

  18. 139
    Emily

    Wanting closure from abusers is unhealthy and it gives the abuser all the power and sets yourself up to be abused again. We can’t control other people and we can’t control their reactions. We want them to explain and say they were sorry but if the person truly was sorry, they’d say it in the message with no strings attached. If they are contacting you and they want to see you and become involved with you again and chances are they haven’t changed but they’ve probably burned a lot of bridges and want good old “Debbie” back for a beer and a sympathetic ear. Somethings not right in their life and misery loves company. Is it possible that they are on the right track and they miss the love they lost and want to win her back? It is possible but not very probable. Normally scummy people contact people they’ve hurt in the past because the ‘victim’ has a track record of taking their crap and nobody else is putting up with their crap. They don’t contact the old flame out of love; it was because the victim is kind hearted and sympathetic and easy to hurt and when his ego feels crushed, he’s seeks me out the old flame to feel better and he knows he can dump her again and be forgiven; there are no consequences for good old “Debbie”.

    *Debbie is just the name I chose for old flame.

  19. 140
    Emily

    Correction:

    There are no consequences and that is why he loves to contact good old understanding Debbie. Debbie has to grow some fangs.

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