Dear Auntie SparkNotes,
Did you know that it typically takes half the duration of a relationship to get over someone? Unfortunately, it's taking me longer than that when it comes to my ex-boyfriend.
My ex-boyfriend and I dated for a year and a half and we have currently been broken up for ten months. These past ten months have been incredibly difficult, mostly because my ex and I have been going through a very sticky cycle. There have been three incidents when my ex told me, "I love you and I want to be with you. But we can't do this because of ____." Usually he says we can't be together because of the distance, or because "it's not for us right now." The third, most recent time this has happened, my ex decided that we could continue to talk regularly (occasional "I love you's" included) even though we couldn't officially be together. Sadly, I messed up; I got upset because he never initiated conversations or seemed interested in what I was doing, so I asked him about it. And he got angry with me, ignored me for a while (which he often does when he's angry), and concluded that we can only talk "from time to time." After seeing this from my parents' point of view, I know now that I have to leave this nasty cycle and move on. But moving on has been so hard, especially since he was my best friend and I truly value having him in my life.
Auntie, I have mentally displaced myself from this cycle (for the most part), but I still feel completely and utterly bad about myself. What if I hadn't gotten upset at him for never initiating conversations? Am I too needy or sad or emotional? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?! How on EARTH do I move on and forgive myself for everything that's happened? I have never, EVER felt this bad about myself before.
And you never will again, darling! At least, I sincerely hope not! Because with any luck, you'll be smart enough to recognize any future guys like this one for the monstrous, manipulative, abusive asshats that they are, and if one approaches you, to respond by running in the other direction like your underpants are on fire.
Because, just in case you haven't realized it yet, this guy is an abusive, controlling, terrible person with whom you should cease all contact. And if you don't believe me, please ask yourself if a good person—let alone a "best friend"—would set up a system in which it's your job to adhere to his every demand, utterly fail to respect or consider your feelings, and trade on the threat of ending the relationship to keep you scared and submissive, because that is exactly what he did. Read back over your letter, and look at the language you're using: HE says. HE decides. HE concludes. HE makes the rules, HE sets the impossible standards, HE decides when and where and how you get to be in contact—and then HE demands that you follow every last guideline to the letter, while simultaneously exempting himself from having to do the same.
And what do you do? You "mess up"... by having the audacity to notice that you're being treated unfairly and questioning him about it.
And if that last sentence made you scream out loud in rage and frustration at how expertly you've been manipulated by the world's biggest douchebag, then GOOD, because that means we're getting somewhere. And if it didn't, please ask yourself where you got the idea that wanting the respect, attention, and support of your friends is some kind of shameful weakness… preferably with the assistance of a good therapist.
Because that's the only mistake you made, here: not being too needy and emotional, and not failing to fall in line with this guy's every demand, but believing that this was the behavior of a good or worthwhile or caring person. It isn't. He isn't. And when he pops up again—and he will, because if there's anything that's apparent from your history together, it's that seeing you unhappy and pining for his attention is how this guy gets his kicks—I hope you'll have the courage to realize that not only is this guy not your friend, but that the only thing of value he can offer to your life is his continued absence in it.
A sentiment which you will preferably convey by cutting him off, blocking him everywhere, and not giving him the satisfaction of so much as a peep out of you.
Have you ever had a controlling ex? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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