old ex new girls

Reader T. C. writes:

A few weeks ago, the girl I was seeing broke up with me and went on a long trip. I jumped right into seeing other girls, and I haven’t told her this. She has been sending me emails about how much fun she’s having, but that she misses me and she wants to see me when she gets back. Seeing as she’s the one that ended it, it feels kinda’ weird. I haven’t blocked her on Facebook or restricted her access or anything, but I haven’t been direct about the other girls I’m seeing. If she doesn’t know now, she’s definitely going to find out when she gets back and sees me out with one of them. What should I do?

Dear T.C.:

Sounds like you’re getting your heart jerked around a little bit, which can suck, but it’s all a part of life. Take it in stride, but do what you can to stop the bleeding.

Keep a few things in mind when you’re considering what to do:


Don't let this happen to you. Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. She broke up with you. That means the ball has been in her court, whether you wanted it there or not. She took control of the relationship, and she’s going to continue to do so unless you put a stop to it.

2. Traveling makes us miss people we wouldn’t otherwise miss, or we would miss less. She’s out of her element, and she’s thinking of you. This could mean one of two things: either she’s not over the relationship, or she’s just lonely. Either way, her feelings here don’t matter too much, seeing as…

3. You’ve taken steps to move on. You’re already seeing other girls. This may have been a cover-up for the fact that you’re really hurt (which would be my guess), and you’re trying not to feel bad about the break up by having other girls to think about. I don’t necessarily approve of that approach, but I get it, and I think it’s pretty natural for a lot of people. Like I said, she took the control away from you, and your way of getting it back could be just dating as many other people as you possibly can until you’re over it. HOWEVER…

4. That means you’ve made your stand. You’ve decided you’re going to get over it, so that’s what she has to do, too. Basically you’ve drawn a line in the sand and said that you’re not going to get back together with her. If you try to get back together now, it’ll just feel shallow and empty, and she may never trust you, anyway. Your indirect communication was, “Screw you, I’m gonna’ go get some strange.” Whether that’s how you actually feel or not, that’s the message you’re conveying, and I think you should probably stick with it.

Since this is a blog about letting her know you’re seeing other people, and not one about trying to get her back, I’m not going to launch into that latter, dangerous subject.

I don’t think you have to tell her directly that you’re seeing other girls. Like you said, you’re not trying to hide it. If the new ladies post something on your wall on Facebook, she’ll see it. (As will all the other girls you’re dating, BTW. Maybe you should check out my post on dating in multiples, too.) And yeah, she’s going to find out when she comes back and you don’t have the time to hang out with her. Hell, she may even guess now if she’s trying to set up a Skype appointment with you and you’re not available. That’s a pretty tell-tale sign.

However, if her emails to you are getting overly mushy, you can’t pretend you’re not working to get over the relationship and get all mushy back. Don’t write back that you miss her, too, even if it’s true. (If it’s still true in six months, we could reconsider, but I wouldn’t.) My best advice to your claim that she’s saying she misses you is just not to respond. She’ll figure it out. Or she’ll ask you what’s up. In which case you can be honest (and uber courageous) and admit she hurt you pretty bad and you’re doing your best to get over it by sleeping around. Or you can continue not to respond.

Sometimes after a particularly hard break up, even if it wasn’t ugly, we just need time off from the person we fell for. It’s the worst feeling in the world, to be separated from the one person you feel could help you deal with the heartbreak, but you’ve got to go through it. You’re dealing with this by filling your time with other people to think about. It’s kind of a blessing that your ex went out of town, because you’ve automatically got some of the physical space you need. Although she’s apparently not taking the steps to get over you that she should be (c’mon, girls — go to Italy and just hook up with a strange Italian man, what could be better?).

It might be a good idea to tell her you’re seeing other people and you need more space. Doing so will mean the emails will probably stop, at least for a while.

But I think the fact that she’ll probably figure it out on her own is good enough. She’s not your girlfriend anymore; you don’t have to tell her every detail of your life. She doesn’t have a right to that information anymore, either, whether she still wants it or not.

While I’m here, I should probably point you to my blog about getting over it. That seems to be what you really need in this situation, anyway.


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