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I frequently receive reader emails about dating or romance. Occasionally, I will receive a message from someone who feels lonely or is just out of a relationship and needs advice. I have never, however, received an email from a reader who’s hurt vibrated so clearly through the screen. When I read H’s email, I immediately felt her pain. Her grief-stricken panic is so fresh, it is palpable.
So – this is an SOS. I am only one girl with one perspective – but together we are a community. We are a collective of people who know what it is like to feel heartbreak in one way or another. Every day we come together and, regardless of how different we may be, find common ground in this fickle game of life.
Right now one of our own needs us, and I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for your help on her behalf. Here’s an email I got last night from H. I’ll add my input, but I implore you to comment if you have additional advice.
I’ve enjoyed your columns on PGP. Always real and relatable.
Last Thursday, I was delivered a shocking break up over the phone by my boyfriend of a month. Absolutely blindsided by it. The day before, he had brought lunch to me at work, we are together, joked, talked normally. He had even jokingly asked me to run away with him. We also planned out the weekend. We texted normally that afternoon. Nothing to suggest what would come the next morning. Prior to all of this, we’d casually/jokingly discuss our future children and home.
I’m at work, thinking he’d be texting me in the morning like usual. It was getting late for him, so I checked his Facebook. He had deleted the pictures where we explicitly looked like a couple from his page (they had been on there for weeks).
I immediately called to ask if everything was ok, if we were ok. He told me he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. I was stunned. I thought he was joking. He also said that he was still sad about his ex. They had broken up in October–he had told me it was amicable.
Drama followed to say the least. I was sad, shocked, and angry. And betrayed. I had finally felt comfortable telling friends and family and coworkers that I had a boyfriend.
At first I was listening to angry country songs. I just wanted to cover his car in eggs, etc. Nothing worse than a Halloween prank.
Fast forward to later that night. The silence and sadness was hitting me hard when I got home that day. The valentine’s balloon he gave me was still floating. Just having to confront the fact that my near constant companion for the last month wanted nothing to do with me.
I figured I would express myself. I was tired with letting guys treat me terribly. I sent several messages saying how hurt I was and how he didn’t respect me. That he was a heartless monster.
Of course, he didn’t respond to those. Still trying to comprehend everything and get some closure, I reached out to his ex. Added her on Facebook, explained what happened, asked her if he’s actually just a sociopath.
She eventually responded, and she was very kind. But she also contacted him. They fought badly. He blocked my phone number, Facebook, and Snapchat. He sent one last message to me, calling me immature and that I was “real mature” for texting his ex. And then gave me a list of “real” reasons why he broke up with me. One so cruel I don’t want to type it out. They borderline haunt me. The message ended saying he didn’t want to talk to my anymore.
Despite all of this, I’d like to apologize to him. While I just wanted answers when I texted his ex and had no intention of causing him more pain, I did cause him a great deal more pain than I ever intended. It’s why he lashed out at me like he did.
Of course, he’s blocked all my ways of electronic communication, so I would have to a) mail a letter b) show up at his house. Those are terrible options in my opinion. My other idea was to leave a note apologizing and a case of beer by his car.
I don’t expect us to get back together. I just hate that a good month ended so terribly.
I don’t want to appear crazier than I already may seem after this message. Just someone who wants to fix part of the mess she made and apologize to someone I care about.
Any thoughts you have are appreciated.
H, first off – I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but that pit in your stomach, the knot that won’t let you eat or sleep, that will fade – I promise. In fact, one day it will go away entirely and you will look back on this experience and sigh, or laugh, and use it as an example of lessons learned.
In the interim, I will say is this: You need some time.
Give yourself a break. Your emotions are worn so thin you can barely think a rational thought, which is entirely normal when these things happen. You need to take a moment to regroup and find your footing, to remind yourself of your agency and your resilience. Don’t reach out to him now. Take care of yourself first.
Now, I have to be honest. Not too long ago, I broke up with a boyfriend seemingly out of the blue. We were in a relationship that, to him, seemed to be going fantastic. And look, it was great for me in a lot of ways too. Those are the hardest relationships to end, the ones where things are great but not quite right. When we are young we jump into relationships sometimes too quickly. We’re not yet trained to take things slow or measure our decisions cautiously. I imagine this is what happened with your boyfriend.
He was in a relationship with you for a reason, don’t forget that. The messy breakup does not invalidate your experience, it does not erase all of the time you spent together.
I’m sorry he handled you reaching out to his ex the way he did. He should have had more compassion than that. In finding out you talked to her, I’m sure he immediately felt both vulnerable and embarrassed, so he hurt you how he knew best. The hurtful things he said were cowardly, but please remember that love and heartbreak make us into unrecognizable versions of ourselves. When you recognize that the things he said were just a reflection of his own insecurities, you take away the power his words have in hurting you.
H, I think you need to let go of him. Forgive yourself for the lapse in judgment that was reaching out to his ex – find comfort in knowing that people have done far crazier things in the wake of heartbreak (I know a girl that once released a live animal into her ex’s house). Take a deep breath and move on, no matter how hard it hurts, because he’s not in a place where he wants a relationship with you and that is okay.
I don’t think you should apologize. Sometimes it is best to just let things go, to release the resentment and to focus on the future. Moving on without adding any additional fuel to the fire may be the best apology you can offer. .