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Auntie SparkNotes: Why Did He Really Break Up with Me?

Auntie SparkNotes: Why Did He Really Break Up with Me?

Kat Rosenfield

Hi Auntie,

My boyfriend of about eight months and I recently broke up when he revealed to me that he wouldn't mind having sex with a guy and wasn't completely sure of his sexuality. He also said that he wasn't completely sure if he still wanted to date me because he didn't know if he was fulfilling his "boyfriend" duties emotionally as he had started to become pretty physical. I accepted this.

However, two weeks after our breakup during which he said that he had to figure out how to be a proper boyfriend, he has ANOTHER GIRLFRIEND! Now I was the first girl that he had ever dated and we're juniors. So now I'm wondering, was it really that you didn't know how to date, or that you didn't want to date me? And this may sound petty but the girl isn't very pretty. Not that I'm some knock-out either, but I just feel like I had more to offer him. I don't want to get back together with him but I want his honesty. Was it really me that he didn't like anymore? Should I confront him?

That's a good question, Sparkler, and we'll answer it, I promise… just as soon as Auntie recovers from the whiplash of that segue into the second paragraph, because man, did I ever think this letter was going in a different direction based on your opening lines. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a perfectly ordinary breakup problem with a big, gay red herring on top!

But that's okay—and it's certainly an interesting if inconsequential wrinkle to the usual it's-not-you-it's-me scenario. It's just that like you said, the real issue here is something much more banal: that your ex-boyfriend apparently wasn't entirely honest with you about his reasons for ending your relationship. Did he really call it quits with you in order to spend some quality time alone and honing his dating skills? Obviously not, right? You don't need me to tell you that; heck, you don't even need him to tell you that. His relationship with someone new a mere two weeks after your breakup tells you everything.

So when you ask if you should confront him, the answer is another question entirely: what would you gain by doing so? Is there really anything he could tell you at this point that you haven't figured out yourself? Would it actually make you feel better to hear him say, outright, that he feels something for his new girlfriend which he didn't for you? Or is this primarily about a desire to throw something uncomfortable in his face and watch him squirm?

Don't get me wrong; if the answer to that last question is "yes," that doesn't mean you can't confront the guy. But I can tell you, based on both personal experience plus basically every letter on this subject that I've ever gotten, that it's almost definitely not going to be as satisfying as you imagine. And even if it were, making someone feel lousy about the way he handled your breakup may not be necessarily fair. It's possible that your ex told you a half-truth in order to spare your feelings; it's also possible that he didn't understand his own feelings well enough to anticipate dating somebody else so soon. And it's not just possible, but probable, that you'll one day find yourself making a similarly imperfect end to a relationship, and that you'd rather not be raked over the coals for it—which is probably your strongest argument for not doing that to someone else.

Instead, I'd like to gently suggest that you stop playing detective with your ex's motives and start moving forward. Holding a grudge, comparing yourself to the new girl, dwelling on the idea of "honesty" as though there's something to be gained from knowing every last brutal detail about how this guy felt or didn't feel; none of that serves you, or changes anything about where you are right now. What will change things is allowing yourself to accept the truth you already know, which is also all the reason you need to move on.

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Topics: Life
Tags: auntie sparknotes, breakups, advice, being dumped, red herrings

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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