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May 20

Breakup by numbers

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:52 am

Counting the ways on July 6, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Just love your website!

I too have been recently inducted into the “jilted” club. My ex and I were together for over five years. I have a couple of questions for you.

1. What kind of guy asks you to relocate over 1,000 miles (to start a new life), does nothing with it when we get there (I did) and then three months into this new start decides he’s not happy and wants out and — here’s the kicker — has not been happy for over three years? Are his expectations too high? Is he looking for perfection? Is he chasing rainbows? Is he depressed?

2. So I left because I was not feeling loved, wanted, or needed. Did I leave in haste? How can I read the signs for the next relationship? To know when to quit?

3. He has corresponded a couple of times since I left him. He’s slightly off the mark with some of his comments/statements. Should I try to set him straight or just file the letters and forget I never knew him?

4. I recently asked him for money he owed me. He held back because of bills he said I left behind. The truth is, I had left some $$$ in our checking account. Should I try to recoup this money, or what?

5. He too will be moving back into the area soon. How do I handle this? Avoid him? or what?

6. Recently his parents emailed me. It wasn’t very pretty. They told me to get on with my life, that we are not family. I don’t know where they got off. It’s not like I was crying on their shoulders since I left. Should I email them back and tell them to have a nice life or just ignore them? They really hurt me.

I’m currently moving toward getting my life back together. I don’t cry so much any more, but I need closure on this relationship and the hurt he caused. Please help and thank you.

— The Sun Shines Brighter Every Day!

Dear Brighter,

Thanks! For the compliment, and for being so organized. Here we go:

1. See #6.

2. Hmmm, well, “not feeling loved, wanted, or needed” does sound like grounds for dismissal. Unless you have unreasonably lofty expectations in that department, which you know better than I. And about reading the signs: well, I can’t answer that in a vacuum. You give me a sign, we’ll talk about how to read it. But it sounds to me like you’re fairly literate on your own.

3. Do not bother. And either file, or forget. Not both.

4. If it’s not an astronomical sum, like what stands between you and food, then drop it. All too often, droppable sums of loaned money become pointless agony-prolongers.

5. Avoid him, but not to the point where sitcom shenanigans become required. If you see him, be (a) pleasant and civil, and then (b) on your merry way.

6. Do you promise that they emailed you out of the blue, that this missive was not prompted by any provocative communication on your part? If so, WHAT?!??!?! His parents emailed you???? I can see, after such a long relationship, a need to establish some sort of civil closure — at least, you know, formally acknowledge the end — with the folks. But unless you are hanging around the house, mooning over their son’s baby picture, asking them if you can still call them “Mom” and “Dad” as a gesture of good faith, etc. etc., — and unless I am missing something major — then his PARENTS have no business whatsoever emailing you. Good GRIEF. If I were their son, I would be mortified. Now, far be it from me to Blame the Parents (even though the Breakup Folks are in Europe and won’t be reading this for a while), but this little tidbit may shed some light on your first question. Now, I really don’t have quite enough data to know exactly “what kind of guy” would do what you describe, but I can extrapolate from this invasive, bounds-overstepping email incident (and admittedly, this is a big leap in the dark) that perhaps he has not been left on his own to make — and trust — his own decisions. Hence his restlessness and uncertainty. That’s the best I can do. Sounds like you’re doing your best, too.

Breakup Girl


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