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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: You've Been Dumped, Dude

Posted by on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 6:27 PM

I come to you in a time of great heartache and need.

Last Friday, March 1, my girlfriend of 16 months broke up with me. It was sudden and very unexpected. Earlier that day, while at work, I could tell something was wrong, but she still said she loved me and would see me later that evening. When I arrived at her house and walked up the driveway, she was already coming down the walk in tears and saying the dreaded words: "We need to talk."

She had earlier complained about how we were in a rut and that she wanted to shake things up. For weeks I've been spitballing ideas with her about different activities we could do together (we did 1 session of yoga together, as she suggested, on Thursday February 28th). But trying to get her to make some decisions on things she wants to do as a couple was difficult. (She's terrible with decisions.) I've felt like somehow she's been off-kilter for a while now, but everytime I asked what was wrong, or prodded her to open up and let me know how she feels, she shut me out. (She also admitted in the break up conversation that she's not a great communicator.)

She said the primary reason for breaking up is our sex drives. I have a very high libido (true) and she said that I don't understand how much she does NOT want to have sex. To further complicate this issue, she was a virgin before we started dating. She said she felt guilty about making me feel guilty about wanting sex and not getting it. I accept some blame for pressuring her for sex. Weeks before she placed limits on the amount of time I spent with her, which was already limited due to our rediculous time commitments. I tried expressing to her that I don't mean to pressure her for sex, but since I was only seeing her once a week when I used to see her 3-5 times per week. She found sex fun and exciting at the start and we had it about twice a week. I honestly don't know what to make of all this.

I don't know if she still loves me, but I love her, and I can't stand how miserable I am, and how worried I am about her. To further complicate matters, we work together occasionally. I worry that she's going to break down in tears every time she sees me. And I know that she needs space right now, more than anything else, but all I want right now—more than anything in the world—is to hold her in my arms.

My siblings are both being very supportive and are telling me to give her space, but talk to her sometime in the future when I'm in a calm state of mind. I want to talk to her, to understand her, but I can't reconcile my needs with hers at this juncture.

Please Help

My response after the jump...

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

You got dumped, PH—and if you didn't see that dump coming, kiddo, you're blind.

Based on her prior-to-dumping actions, PH, I'd say your ex wanted out of this relationship for months. She was pulling away from you, limiting contact with you, and went from enjoying sex with you twice a week to avoiding sex on the one day a week she agreed to see you. She probably hoped you would grow so frustrated that you would end the relationship yourself. But you didn't end it. You just kept spitballing ideas about activities she wouldn't make time for and asking her for sex that she didn't want to have. That you didn't see what was coming—that you didn't know that "we need to talk" was imminent—leaves me wondering what else you might have missed over the sixteen months you were together.

It sounds like your girlfriend is young—it sounds like you're both young—and, like most young women, she was socialized to defer to men. That may be why she had a hard time communicating with you about what she wanted. I'm thinking she knew what she wanted, PH, but she also knew that what she wanted wasn't what you wanted. So she said nothing or she was vague or she was noncommittal and all of that made her look indecisive and like a not-so-great communicator. It's also possible that she was afraid to tell you—you in particular—what it was that she wanted. I'm not going to subject you a psych workup based on a single distraught email, PH, but you come across as a bit controlling. (And the way you rattle off dates is a little creepy.) If she was young and inexperienced and girlishly deferring, PH, and you were young and inexperienced and boyishly controlling, well, that's a combo that sets a guy up for a shock when his girlfriend finally works up the nerve to dump him. Controlling guys with deferential girlfriends typically don't see that "we need to talk" coming.

Well, she's made a decision now—this relationship is over—and she's communicated that decision to you. Your job now is to grieve the relationship, try to get over her, and do a little self-assessment before you start dating anyone else. Look back over the last sixteen months and ask yourself if you made any mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating them in subsequent relationships—that's pretty much all you can do.

Finally, PH, my inbox is full of email from men and women with high libidos complaining about how miserable they are with their low-libido partners. Mix-matched libidos is not a problem that gets better with time. From where I'm sitting—and I'm sitting at Ann Landers' desk—it looks like you two weren't sexually compatible and this relationship was doomed.

I know it hurts right now, PH, but I think your ex did you a favor.

 

Comments (98) RSS

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1
(we did 1 session of yoga together, as she suggested, on Thursday February 28th)
Oh, my.
Posted by gloomy gus on March 5, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
2
I don't get the importance of one session of yoga, either.
Posted by Gamebird on March 5, 2013 at 6:56 PM · Report this
3
The issue of high libido vs. low libido is HUGE. People on both sides of the issue underestimate its importance most of the time, or at least that's what it seems like. If you are faced with this issue in your relationship, don't bother writing to Dan. Accept that it's a total deal breaker.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on March 5, 2013 at 7:02 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 4
@ 2, I think that it was just the most recent example he had of doing things with her at her suggestion. The fact that it was yoga isn't significant at all. It could have been skeet shooting.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 5, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
Alanmt 5
Dude,

You don't need to talk to her. Stop that bullshit. You either want to talk her into dating again - which is controlling and disrespectful; she has made her decision and you need to live with it - or you want some fantasy catharsis or closure whereby she explains why she doesn't love you. Trust me, her telling you of your deficiencies will not do you or her any good and may lead to increased anger, defensiveness and bitterness, and possibly domestic violence.

Of course it hurts. You still love her. And it was unexpected. And you were trying. But you know what? None of that gives you any right to further contact, or makes such contact a good thing.

Man up, dude. If you can't handle it, get some counseling.

And try and learn a few lessons here. First is to have some self-respect. Second is to understand what differences are serious enough to prevent a relationship from ever progressing positively. You and her were not compatible sexually. Ergo, you had no future of happiness. It's an illusion, dude. She was doing you both a favor. And finally, not sure how you do this, but try being a little less controlling and smothering, and a little more empathetic. Of course she didn't tell you what was wrong. What was wrong was that she realized that she didn't want to be with you. How could you not see that?

It's okay to be sad. It's also okay to be mad. She was passive-aggressive and unfairly strung you along until she developed the courage to do what she had wanted months earlier. Immature. But it also sounds like her first sexual relationship, so cut her some slack.

And to go back to the beginning of my letter: You want to talk with her with a burning desire. But you don't need to. In fact, you specifically need not to talk to her. Not now and not later. Not ever. Except as work or social situations require.

Also, stop being "worried" about her. That is controlling, self-deluding behavior designed to rationalize why you "must" communicate with her, to make sure she's all right, blah blah blah. Of course she's all right. She's finally rid of you. Save your worry for yourself, because it sounds like this is a new emotional experience for you.

Good luck. Leave her alone. That is all.
More...
Posted by Alanmt on March 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Report this
6
@3 - I don't know if I totally agree. I have what would probably be considered a low libido, but that's why it's important for me to be with people who will initiate (NOT push for) sex often. I just don't often "think of" sex on my own, but if someone gives me the idea, then I can get into it. I rely on my partner to suggest sex, and I find that I'm happier and more relaxed when I'm having more of it. If I was in a relationship with someone who rarely initiated sex, I think my libido would shrink even more and I'd end up more or less celibate.
Posted by dreadedwheat on March 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
@ 4, I don't buy it. Not that mismatched libidos aren't a big deal, but that that is what this couple had. She went from willingly having sex twice a week to trying not to have any at all. It takes a lot longer than 16 months for someone's libido to change like that.

I'll raise the possibility that she's clinically depressed or anxious or both, because that's something I've seen have this effect on couples before. But I think Dan called this one correctly.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 5, 2013 at 7:17 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 8
Whoops, make that @ 3. I wasn't addressing myself.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 5, 2013 at 7:18 PM · Report this
9
You know what you call someone who only wants to see you once a week and refuses to have sex with you? I'm not sure, but it definitely isn't "girlfriend." Maybe "therapist" or "probation officer," but definitely not "girlfriend."
Posted by Marooner on March 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM · Report this
10
I think that maybe she just didn't want to have sex with HIM any more, rather than having a low libido. She just didn't know how to dump him. The lack of desire was just a symptom.

Dude needs to move on and forget about her.
Posted by Mike in Olympia on March 5, 2013 at 7:32 PM · Report this
11
Oh, dude. She wasn't happy in this relationship. I would bet those earlier conversations were attempts to break up that he argued her out of, like having to break up beyond a reasonable doubt, ala Seinfeld.

Low libido, maybe. She's young (and perhaps conflicted about having sex?). The only thing we really know is she didn't want to have sex with *him.*
Posted by CLDG on March 5, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Report this
12
What @5 said, PH. Do all of that.
Posted by CLDG on March 5, 2013 at 7:51 PM · Report this
13
Poor Danny.

So much to learn.....

"Mix-matched libidos is not a problem that gets better with time...."

High Libido/Low Libido 99% of the time isn't.

High Libido= selfish clueless asshole
and
Low Libido= not that into you anymore.

Miss Low Libido doesn't have a problem with sex.

She has a problem with the asshole she is trying to dump.
Posted by Fell Free to use this in a PodCast on March 5, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
14
What @2 said. What's the significance of yoga? What's so bad about remembering dates?
Posted by DRF on March 5, 2013 at 8:44 PM · Report this
15
Re yoga, my bet is that she thought some yoga might do him some good, for his future life, without her.
Posted by EricaP on March 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
16
The only nice thing I can find to say about the LW is that he did her a favour, however unintentionally. Perhaps nine ninnies out of ten would have dumped her, and then she would have gone on following the same script for months, years, perhaps decades. By forcing her hand, he's shown her that she can actually assert herself - and to a man, no less - without the world ending.

He, of course, has learned nothing. Really, he needs his dating license revoked and not to be permitted to take the written examination for at least two years, preferably three. But he can spend the interim making a bit of money by writing those ghastly best-selling romances. He has that sort of turn of phrase.

Posted by vennominon on March 5, 2013 at 9:09 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 17
Maybe this'll be a lesson to LW--Stay away from virgins.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on March 5, 2013 at 9:55 PM · Report this
18
At the risk of creeping out Dan, let's unravel your tangled narrative and put it into approximate chronological order, based on your mostly highly qualitative date descriptions:

"16 months": Relationship starts. Visits 3-5 times a week, sex twice a week
"For a while now": He feels she's been off-kilter. He prods for reasons, she shuts down. (Translation: she is feeling overwhelmed because all you want to do is fuck, but doesn't know how to tell you.)
"Earlier": Complaints of being in a rut and wanting to shake things up. (Translation: Her saying "Can't you think of something else to do than fuck?" Am I right?)
"For weeks": Spitballing ideas of what to do together (with no enthusiasm from her about doing ANY of them as a couple. It's already too late, dude; by now, all she wants is a clean escape.)
"Weeks before": Visitation forcibly cut down to once a week, and she starts avoiding sex on that one day. (Translation: she is so desperate to get away from your libido, she is using the calendar to do it.)
"Thurs Feb 28": Yoga date
"Fri Mar 1": Dumpage

Is it clear yet? For the last sixteen months you and your high libido have been pressuring her into sex to the point where she eventually loathed being within arm's reach of you.

Stop worrying about how she is doing. She doesn't need anything from you but room to breathe.

And if what she is saying about her own libido being miniscule is true, and not just cover for how much you in particular have turned her off, then Dan is right, you should thank your lucky stars you two are not together. Go find someone who actually wants as much sex as you do. But for god's sake don't pressure the next one!
More...
Posted by avast2006 on March 5, 2013 at 10:00 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 19
The significance of doing one session of yoga on February 28 is many-fold:

It was the day before she broke up with him, so, when he takes Dan's advice to analyze what he did wrong, he will fixate on this one event (rather than 16 months of an ever-fizzling relationship) and he will NEVER go to yoga with a GF again, thereby protecting himself from the terrible pain of the last 4 days. Okay, I'm being tongue in cheek, but only somewhat. People's brains work like this. If a bowler doesn't wash his shirt and then has a good game, he never washes "his lucky shirt" again.

The more significant thing about one yoga class is that HE thinks it is significant. I did this thing! this thing that she wanted! I proved I'm a good boyfriend! And she dumped me right after I invested a whole hour being grumpy and letting her know I was grumpy! She (and Life) are so unfair!

Imagine, going to a yoga class - something she wanted - and then not getting sex! The nerve (of her)!

Is he controlling? Likely. Probably. Self-centered? Certainly.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on March 5, 2013 at 10:41 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 20
Sarah@3: Yes, mismatched libidos are a HUGE issue (if you have a high libido).

Dread@6: Yes, mismatched libidos aren't a big deal TO YOU (if sex isn't so important to you). And, as you point out, you get all the strokes of being pursued, whereas your partner (presumably with higher libido) would "end up more or less celibate" in the relationship if he/she didn't risk rejection again and again to try to engage, sexually, with you.

In summary, sex is great if you're getting enough. It's a problem if you're not.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on March 5, 2013 at 10:48 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 21
These are two teenagers right? Early EARLY 20's at the latest.

Because this letter screams firsttimenovicebeginner.

Give the guy a break, it's his first "girlfriend." He'll figure his shit out over time, like most people do.

If they're older than 28 or so?.... fuuuuuuuuuuuck. Something's broken.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on March 5, 2013 at 10:50 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 22
2, there's a big difference between, 'we tried yoga once' and 'we did 1 session of yoga together, as she suggested, on Thursday February 28th'.

I can just imagine how his sexy-talk goes: 'Hey Baby, I will be home at 5:45pm. At 5:55pm we will be half-naked and you will begin to fellate me, but not to climax. At 6:04 I will commence manual stimulation to your vaginal area, then after five minutes of this proceed to include oral stimulation as well. I will use my sexy voice to get you excited. I will do this for at least ten minutes, which will give you plenty of time for an orgasm. If that doesn't take place, I will then...."

and so on. Sounds like a real fun guy. What crazy woman would ever dump his ass?
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on March 5, 2013 at 11:15 PM · Report this
23
P.H., because the politically correct Stranger and its readers won't fill you in, it falls on me to tell you two things you absolutely need to know.

1. Roughly one in four otherwise heterosexual women are, for all practical purposes, asexual. Some of them are better at faking interest in sex than others. The one you met faked it in the beginning, but couldn't sustain the act. So, like her asexual sisters, she played an elaborate ruse, and not just on you.

See, like many such women, she doesn't even know she's asexual, at least not explicitly, so she comes up with myriad diversions and dodges. Not just from you, and not even mainly from you, but from herself and the basic truth that she just isn't into sex and never will be. It's not that she's a dyke. It's that she doesn't like sex.

2. Painful as this all is, you are so much better off to find this out about her sooner rather than later.

3. The lesson is to be on the alert for the next asexual woman you meet. With one-fourth of the women being in this category, your changes of meeting them are quite high. The most reliable way to detect asexuality is quickly waning interest.

The above advice is going to be met with hostility from the usual man-hating ball busters of The Stranger, most of whom are also asexual. This is exactly why it's so valuable.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 6, 2013 at 12:52 AM · Report this
24

Christ. It's always frustrating and disappointing when Dan and readers don't ask the question that is screaming to asked about these cliche 'gee, my wife/gf has a low labido' letters. Ie ... well, dude, are you being a lousy in bed? Selfish? Inconsiderate? Only wanting PIV/quickies, which is rarely a way women actually come? Are you communicating with her ie asking her about and actively interested and supportive of her wants, needs and desires? Are you making it exciting for HER, AND MAKING SURE SHE GETS OFF each time? Actively involved in and genuinely into getting her off and actively helping her do so, and not treating it like you don't give all that much of a shit either way, that it's a chore that has to be gotten through? Think about it, guys: if you rarely came from sex (imagine it!), how many of you would be turned off to it? Reduce it to once a week or a month?

Posted by Velvetbabe on March 6, 2013 at 2:57 AM · Report this
25
Unbrainwashed,
Oh, you poor thing. It's time someone told you that the ladies just don't want to have sex WITH YOU. We're perfectly thrilled about sex with men we actually like.

And if you think this is hostility, you haven't seen hostile.
Posted by PinkMotorcyle on March 6, 2013 at 2:59 AM · Report this
26


Ie being "GGG"??

Posted by Velvetbabe on March 6, 2013 at 3:03 AM · Report this
27
@23 lol okay. I'm not saying there aren't women with low libidos out there but trust me, there are lots of men with the same.

Quickly waning interest is not a sign of asexuality. It is, to borrow a phrase from popular culture in the last decade, a sign that she's just not that into you.

Don't take it personally, I'm sure you are /just/ delightful.
Posted by Helenzor on March 6, 2013 at 3:32 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 28
Wow, y'all are harsh on this LW.

He is in love with his GF. He tries to communicate with her. She says they are in a rut,but she won't give suggestions. He tries to find out what is bothering her, and she won't say. So he tries some things he assumes she wants (yoga), because he has to be both a planner and a mind reader. He made his sexual wants and needs known and there is no indication in this letter she told him what she needs other than "less." And for this he gets the "controlling" label.

I say all this as someone who is the polar opposite of this LW. In my early 20s, I would have done the fade-out months ago. I assumed that made me a bigger jerk than this LW who at least tried to communicate and work on things.

Also, what @3 said.
Posted by Tim Horton on March 6, 2013 at 4:25 AM · Report this
29
This sounds awfully similar to the ending of my college relationship. It seemed like my attraction to and general fondness for my boyfriend of 18 months just faded away, and quickly enough that it felt confusing to me, too. So I spent 6 weeks trying to make it work, despite feeling absolutely no attraction to him anymore, and despite the fact that trying to make myself feel the same way I used to about him just meant that being around him was completely unenjoyable for me. He wondered if something had happened to my libido, and I said things like, "Sorry, I just haven't been in the mood all week," because it seemed awfully harsh to say, "I suddenly find you completely unattractive for some reason." Finally, I broke up with him. Sound familiar?

The reason I mention this is that my college boyfriend did nothing wrong. He was and is a really good guy, smart, sweet... I just fell out of love. From this letter it sounds like the LW might have been pressuring her for sex too much (and to be fair, my boyfriend did see it coming), but it's also possible that it's really not his fault—perhaps she, like me, just realized he wasn't the one for her.
Posted by tataner on March 6, 2013 at 4:32 AM · Report this
30
@11: I think you're right, the early conversations were attempts to break up that he argued her out of. You can't break up with me unless your reasons hold up under cross.

And I'm with 10: it's not at all clear that she has a low libido, or even believes she does. She just stopped wanting to have sex with him.
Posted by IPJ on March 6, 2013 at 5:24 AM · Report this
31
I'm getting a little tired of your looking for ways to criticize men in hetero relationships.

It's not his fault that she didn't speak up for herself sooner. It's also highly unethical to attempt to make someone break up with you. You treat someone like dirt, waste their time, all so you don't have to be the one to say "let's break up"? That's total chicken-shit bullshit and I hope she's apologizing for time she wasted.

I'm tired of people who HAVE a voice looking for someone else to speak up for them.
Posted by fetish on March 6, 2013 at 5:49 AM · Report this
32
I'm really struck by the idea that *he's* afraid that *she* will break down when they have to work together.

I just don't see her as that heartbroken here. He's the one who sounds distraught and whiny. I'd be more afraid that he won't be able to handle seeing her.
Posted by daphne24 http://www.ohiosmart.org on March 6, 2013 at 6:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 33
Rarely has a recent letter provoked so many people projecting so much of their own biographies, biases, and issues onto it. Despite the length of the letter, we don't know very much, which I think is indicative of how little PH himself knows about why things went wrong.

I would guess, based on the letter, that the gf stopped being attracted or feeling in love with PH, not that she's necessarily asexual, but I have no idea if it was because he was controlling, or self-centered, or lousy and selfish in bed, or constantly pestering her for sex, or never wanted to do anything but have sex. We really have no idea what was in his ex-gf's head--just like PH himself--and it is kind of ridiculous to theorize because to what end? Maybe she will break down when she sees him at work, maybe not. Maybe he will.

The bottom line is she isn't into him any more. He doesn't need to understand why; he may never find out, and depending on what it is, there may be nothing he could do about it or take from it. Sometimes love or attraction just dies.

IMnot@allHO, sex 2-3 times a week at the start of a relationship sounds on the low end of normal, considering they saw each other 3-5 times a week. Personally, if I was attracted to the guy and we we had the opportunity, I would be having (or wanting to have) sex all those 3-5 times per week, and multiply per visit.
Posted by nocutename on March 6, 2013 at 6:27 AM · Report this
34
I'm with Dan and the majority opinion here. LW could use some empathy for his girl, and some self-reflection (ie., Alanmt @5). Also, not enough people have pointed out the other side, the girl needs to do a better job speaking up. She finally did, good for her. But do it sooner.

I'm mostly with tataner @29, this happened with my first high school/ college boyfriend too. I'd also like to add that one of the reasons I broke up with him was indeed over sex, (the other reason was because I did not want the already-completely-planned future with that boyfriend, as rosy as it was). We were each others firsts, frankly I now know that we were lousy at it. He also encouraged / pressured me to oral sex, even though I didn't really care for it. He may not have realized that.

The sex wasn't that great (for me). I didn't get what the big deal was. I was sure that there would be sparks out there, all my romance novels said so, so I cut us loose.

The only thing I think Dan missed was by implying LW's gf had a low libido. I think she only appeared to have a low libido, because she didn't like having sex with HIM.
Basically, re-read Velvetbabe @24.

Although, like everyone, I am projecting my own history on to this letter, as nocutename says above me.



Posted by dccc on March 6, 2013 at 7:01 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 35
@ 33, your comment is generally good, but your last paragraph completely contradicts your opening observation about projection.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 6, 2013 at 7:18 AM · Report this
Fortunate 36
I'm going to be another to stick up for the letter writer.

Although I ultimately agree with Dan that this girl breaking up with him is for the best, I don't agree with him or the other commentators putting all the blame on him. He must have been clueless and missing some action that he was doing that caused her to not want to be with him? He must be a lousy lay (as another commentator suggested)?

Yes, women are conditioned to defer to men, blah blah blah. That doesn't make him the bad guy. It explains how she handled it, but it doesn't excuse it.

She basically led him on for weeks if not months, letting him waste his time running around in circles trying to find a way to fix what was wrong when clearly she had not desire or intention on working on it. She had every opportunity to communicate what she really was thinking but chose not to. At some point a person has to be held responsible for their actions, and cultural conditioning ceases to be an excuse.

I'm sure he made some mistakes, as did she. They are both clearly young and inexperienced. But at least he was trying. He was making an effort to try to fix things because she led him to believe that things could be fixed when clearly she really had not intention on fixing things.

Yes, she did him a favor by breaking up with him. But she handled it in a shitty way, leading him on, wasting his time, and shifting all the blame to him.

She's the one who really needs to do some serious introspection before getting into another relationship, not him. He needs to not contact her, but not because she needs her space or other similar crap, but because he should be pissed off as hell at her for treating him the way she did. He should be angry, and sad, and he should focus on himself to deal with that, and then move on and find a girl who actually appreciates a guy who, even if he makes mistakes along the way, is willing to do things to try to make a relationship work.

This guys only sin is apparently that he can't read minds.
More...
Posted by Fortunate on March 6, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
nocutename 37
@35. Probably. I was trying to respond to those who were talking about how all this couple did was to have sex and how he was pushing and pestering when she clearly wanted to do more nonsexual things. And I tried to say that if this was me, and I was attracted to a man and the relationship was still only 16 months old, I would be wanting to jump him every time we saw each other, not just 2 out of every 5 times (taking the low and high numbers of sex/meetings in the earlier part of the relationship). But you're right.
Posted by nocutename on March 6, 2013 at 8:02 AM · Report this
nocutename 38
@36 (and others):
You don't know what was going on in her mind. You don't know that she was leading him on. You don't know whether she tried to break up and he wouldn't take "no" for an answer. You don't even know if she knew her own mind.

Sometimes people don't know what they want, or what would make them happy. Sometimes they're scared of change or they try to talk themselves into continuing to love someone because they think it is the right thing to do, or because they realize that the other person isn't a bad person and has done nothing *wrong.*

Not every situation has a bad guy and a good guy. This couple had problems. It's likely she broke up with him as soon as she knew for sure (maybe after trying her last idea/last-ditch hope: a joint yoga class) that for her, this wasn't working.
Posted by nocutename on March 6, 2013 at 8:08 AM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 39
@23 hmmm, not sure if you really know what the word 'asexual' means...

Oh sad letter! Oh to be young and out of love again...
Posted by ArtBasketSara on March 6, 2013 at 8:09 AM · Report this
BostonFontSnob 40
@19: NAILED IT
Posted by BostonFontSnob on March 6, 2013 at 8:26 AM · Report this
41
Times like these, I adore Dan Savage
Posted by ghassan on March 6, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
Fortunate 42
@38 "You don't know what was going on in her mind."

And no one really knows what was going on in his other than what he has told us, which was that he was taking her comments at face value and trying to do what he could to make the relationship work, yet that hasn't stopped the majority of people here from putting the blame on him, saying he was pressuring her for sex and generally acting clueless. He really didn't recount anything in his letter that indicates that, and certainly nothing that justifies all the other BS folks here are laying on him.

But if we take his comments at face value and accept what he says were their actions then her actions were pretty clear. She was pulling away. He tried to communicate with her about it. She didn't communicate back. He tried to work with her to come up with things that would improve the relationship. She changed the parameters of the relationship after they were already dating.

At some point it doesn't matter any longer what was going through her mind. It doesn't matter what her cultural conditioning was. It matters what she did. Just looking at her actions I think she acted wrong. She may have had the best intentions, or just been confused, or what ever. But it was the actions that caused the hurt and the least she (and everyone else) can do is acknowledge that.

Maybe neither did anything wrong, or at least maybe neither was more in the wrong than the other.

But we only have what has been told to us to go on, and based on that information this guy made one mistake and that was when she suddenly changed the parameters of the relationship in a way that a more experienced person would have recognized meant an irreconcilable difference he should have dumped her. He didn't, his mistake.

Her mistake was not actually communicating with him, changing the parameters, pulling away while he was trying to find ways to fix things, and not dumping him when her actions clearly indicated she wasn't going to actually participate in fixing anything.

Intentions, what was going through their heads, all that is just speculation. What happened, if we accept his account and since that is the only thing we have to go on we either accept it or admit that it is all moot because we don't actually know anything at all about happened, is all we need to see that he would be perfectly justified to be angry about how things went down.
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Posted by Fortunate on March 6, 2013 at 8:43 AM · Report this
43
I too feel kind of bad for LW. it seems like he's about to learn a common lesson that young, often high-achieving people learn about relationships, which is that they aren't something you succeed at just through work, persistence, and going through the motions. If the other person doesn't want to be with you, then the relationship is over. You can't logic someone into wanting to spend time with you or have sex.

This may just be more projection, but I also have to point out that treating a relationship like a job is one of the least sexy things ever. The GF may have come to resent feeling obligated to do couple-y activities or have sex. She absolutely could've handled things better, but it's often a youthful mistake to think that "I'm not feeling it" is not a good enough reason to break up, and hang around too long.

Well... wanting to break up is a good reason to break up. You can't talk her out of it, LW. She will probably be fine and so will you, just respect her boundaries at work and leave her be. There's no reason to make this more protracted and awkward than it already is.
Posted by planned barrenhood on March 6, 2013 at 8:47 AM · Report this
Big Sven 44
@43 FTW. There's no white hat or black hat in this, just a girl who's no longer in love. Better luck next time, LW.
Posted by Big Sven http://onedatapoint.blogspot.com/ on March 6, 2013 at 8:51 AM · Report this
mtnlion 45
This is all par for the course in the world of dating, no? The miscommunication, the sexual issues, the dragging out the relationship way further than it needs to go, the explaining-away, the lack of closure and lack of clarity on What Happened, the unrequited love, the tears, the agony, the creating bullshit reasons to come into contact with him/her again, all that shit. I feel like that's all fairly normal, unless you're one of those "just wanna get married" types who glosses over the Person to get to the American Dream.

I mean, I've been through all that nonsense. Came out of it in a kickass relationship.

PH, it didn't work out. It just didn't. You will learn to love again and the pain will subside. I suggest keeping yourself busy with activities you really enjoy and talking to friends.
Posted by mtnlion http://radicalish.wordpress.com on March 6, 2013 at 8:52 AM · Report this
46
@36 "This guys only sin is apparently that he can't read minds." He's not so good at reading social cues, either.

@42 "She changed the parameters of the relationship after they were already dating....Her mistake was not actually communicating with him, changing the parameters..."
Just so I'm clear, in your mind changing the parameters of a relationship after it starts is some kind of bait and switch?

In this case, no, I don't think she was changing the parameters, I think she was trying to ease out of the relationship in the awkward way that people do when they are new to dating, don't want to hurt the other person, and don't want to be the bad guy (thereby, generally, hurting the other person more, in the end). I do agree with you that she should do some serious work on how to figure out and communicate what she wants before getting into another relationship. I just don't think it's productive to fight about which person is to blame when two incompatible people break up.
Posted by EricaP on March 6, 2013 at 9:07 AM · Report this
47
Just wanted to reinforce what someone else said: DO NO THINK THAT TALKING TO HER WILL HELP. I made that mistake after my high school girlfriend starting dating someone else (I broke it off when I went to college because I didn't want to make promises I couldn't keep). You'll end up chasing an imaginary catharsis that will never come. From the way she dragged out the relationship, she'll probably indulge your desire to talk (as mine did), which will just make it worse.

Also, @tataner 29: Either you're my college girlfriend or it's just a massive coincidence, because that's how my college relationship ended (timetables and everything).
Posted by ChIP_off_the_old_block on March 6, 2013 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Fortunate 48
@46: "Just so I'm clear, in your mind changing the parameters of a relationship after it starts is some kind of bait and switch? "

Is it always? No. But sometimes it is if it is intentional. I don't know if she did it intentionally or not.

However, it is justification for the person to be at the very least annoyed if that change is drastic such as going from sex twice a week to sex every two weeks.

Regardless of her premeditation such a change being imposed on you after the fact is justification for being annoyed. She changed the parameters, either innocently or deviously, I can't say which. But she definitely changed them in a way that made the letter writer unhappy.

I'm not suggesting she should be strung up by her ankles in the town square, or that he is blameless.

What I am pointing out is that everyone is pointing at him as if he IS the one in the wrong. I am pointing out that she was in the wrong at least as much if not more. I'm just sticking up for him because only a few others were even though many people were projecting a lot of BS on to him and his actions that was not warranted.

If it's not productive to fight about who was to blame then why are you only commenting on my pointing out what she did wrong and not on all the other posts basically projecting all sorts of douchey or clueless behavior on to him that has not actually be indicated by anything he wrote?
Posted by Fortunate on March 6, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
49
Mr Fortunate - Well spotted on the explanation not being an excuse; it's Mrs Mercado in reverse (Murder in Mesopotamia), whose not being a lady excused her staring at Nurse Leatheran all evening but didn't explain it.

You say he should be angry and sad; does the penultimate paragraph not seem to you to be anger twisted? This isn't my hill of death, but it seems as if he's taking this in a direction that could go bad a couple of turns down the path if he doesn't change course. A little anger about his time being wasted would have felt much better. Given his poor capacity for reading people and the hints in the earlier part of the letter that he has a methodical turn of mind to which Doing the Right Things means Getting the Right Results, a couple of years off from dating would seem to be for his own good.

Ms Cute, does this LW remind you of Mr Romantic Spreadsheet from a couple of months back or so?
Posted by vennominon on March 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this
50
Letters like this are such a vivid reminder of how very very much breakups suck.
Posted by lulubelle on March 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this
mr. herriman 51
thank you for that, @9

:D
Posted by mr. herriman on March 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Fortunate 52
" a couple of years off from dating would seem to be for his own good."

Maybe, but I don't know about that.

I don't think you improve at dating through contemplation and analysis. In fact if anything I think that is this guy's main problem. He over thinks. He seems to try to rationalize everything and what he seems, at least on the surface, to lack is emotional intelligence.

You learn about dating and how to pick up on cue and all that by doing. You make a mistake enough and see the results often enough and you learn that it is, indeed, a mistake. If he is really as clueless as many seem to think then his refraining from dating to sit around contemplating that which he lacks the ability to see in the first place isn't going to be a productive road to self improvement.

Some things have to be learned through hands on experience and, yes, sometimes pain.
Posted by Fortunate on March 6, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 53
@33: Yeah, bottom line is that she got to a point where she wasn't into him. Maybe she once was, maybe not, we'll never know. He'll probably never know.

But in the realm of things he could change:

Did he not get the memo? Seems likely. He could work on that in the future.

Was she good at communicating? No. That could be a must-have for him in the future.

Was he self-centered and perhaps that diminished her attraction for him - seems very likely.

Do some infatuations flame out, for whatever reason? Duh. He could take his lumps, learn that lesson, and move on.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on March 6, 2013 at 10:36 AM · Report this
54
WORK ON YOURSELF, DUDE. You sound really critical and finger-pointy (e.g. "She's terrible with decisions;" "off-kilter;" "not a great communicator"). You also come off as boring, officious, and patronizing. You choose someone who's never tried sex and then are shocked that you're not compatible? Next time, find someone knows what she likes, who can speak up for herself when you're being a boring jerk ("in a rut?" Really?!), and who isn't afraid to say, "Please don't ever use the term 'spitballing' again, because it's fucking GROSS.'"
Posted by Okay, I'll bite on March 6, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
55
He sounds like he might have asperger's or a mild form of autism. That's how the date listing and the specific descriptions hit me.
Posted by lilt on March 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
aureolaborealis 56
@49: Wasn't it Ms. Spreadsheet? Or am I misremembering?

Time-wasting weaselly breakups? I went away to grad school as part of a grand plan to move the household and start a new life in a new city. The time-wasting weasel was to tie up loose ends and follow in a couple of months. Cue foot-dragging, other-people-fucking, pathetic marriage counseling. And 18 months later, sweet, merciful divorce.
And it was the best thing that could have happened to me, even if it didn't happen in the best way. My own little It Gets Better moment.

So, LW, I think she probably did you a favor, even if she didn't do you the favor very well. And, like I did, you contributed to the mess by ignoring the neon writing on the wall.
Posted by aureolaborealis on March 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
57
I like what Dan said, though I think libido mismatch is just one of several possible underlying issues that this young couple were facing.

As to those asserting that the ex-GF is asexual--project much? While asexuality is one possibility, far more likely in my opinion is that she just wasn't into him all that much.

Perhaps due to his youth and inexperience, possibly due to his controlling personality, perhaps due to some combination of those factors or something else, like a simple lack of sexual chemistry, or like the libido mismatch that Dan seized upon..

Bottom-line: the LW got dumped and needs to deal with it in a non-controlling and non-desperate and non-pitiful manner.
Posted by Functional Atheist on March 6, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Alanmt 58
I agree with 52. Dating habits and knowledge are improved through experience, in the absence of serious brokenness.
As my post 5 above indicates, I think who is at fault/more at fault for the breakup isn't the advice this guy needs, although he ought to take a look at everyone's points, contradictory as they are, and sift through those which might apply to him and his situation. To me, his letter screamed "I have been dumped against my will, I am devastated, and I don't know how to handle it but I am about to engage in a course of conduct which is the exact opposite of what I should be doing." Dan covers it in his third paragraph really well, but guys like this need to be beaten over the head with it. Being dumped means you're done. Period. Like it or not. No trying to convince her to change her mind. No calling to make sure she's doing okay. No demand that she explain what you did wrong or why she feels the way she does.
I kinda feel like romantic comedies are partly to blame here, with their formulaic, obligatory pre-climax breakup and climactic get back together and live happily ever after endings. In real life, climactic "can't we get back together" scenes result in bad feelings and restraining orders.
Of course, a person cannot just automatically switch their feelings from love to indifference when they have been dumped. But as Dan said, the dumpee's job is to grieve the relationship, get over the other person, and engage in a little introspection. One has to accept that it is truly over and that means letting go of the desire for further discussion.
Posted by Alanmt on March 6, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
59
@48 "why are you only commenting on my pointing out what she did wrong"
Maybe because it's a free country? His writing style annoyed me and I identified with her wanting to dump him. I agree that she has work to do, but I'd much rather go to yoga class with her than go on a date with him.
Posted by EricaP on March 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
60
@55: We can't diagnose on the internet.
Posted by clashfan on March 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
61
Oh, and (also @48), no one needs justification to feel annoyed. It's a feeling, and people are entitled to experience their feelings. I sympathize with his pain, but I empathize with her situation more.
Posted by EricaP on March 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
62
Erica, possibly you don't want to go on a date with him because he sounds terribly young.
Posted by clashfan on March 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
63
It sounds to me like this girl is communicating pretty readily. She limited the time they spend together-- which could be a purposeful slow suffocation of the relationship, or a good-faith effort to fix what she honestly thought was a problem, depending how you look at it. Then she gave a list of pretty specific Problems With This Relationship. The LW takes it as a list of "suggestions." Finally, all of her "admissions" are reversals where she takes responsibility for problems that are clearly his, probably as a way of softening the blow of telling him, "these are your problems." Such as "I feel guilty for making you feel guilty for always pressuring me into having sex," which means, "stop pressuring me into having sex already." "I'm not a great communicator" probably meaning, "you're not understanding anything coming out of my mouth" (which, let's face it, he isn't).

I'm not saying she's communicating in an ideal way-- very few people do when they're young-- but she is communicating nonetheless. LW sounds like he wants everything to be communicated on exactly his terms which, admittedly, most people do, but that just isn't going to work because his terms seem to include not wanting to hear the truth. For example, she already gave him the list of reasons they broke up, but he took them as suggestions and now wants to know why they broke up. And it sounds like she wanted him to surprise her ("shake things up"), and then he handed all the decision-making over to her so she had to unilaterally decide exactly how and when they would "shake things up." And then he noted that she wasn't thrilled to be making those decisions, but didn't put two & two together.

You can't negotiate your way out of a breakup, LW. Lots of phrases in your letter sound like a court of law: "we did 1 session of yoga together, as she suggested, on Thursday February 28th," "Weeks before she placed limits on the amount of time I spent with her," "I can't reconcile my needs with hers at this juncture." I'm guessing that arguing with you, or telling you something you don't want to hear, is a lot like arguing with a lawyer, which is notoriously difficult, and could be the reason she (and future girlfriends) don't want to express their frustrations. The simplest way to fix that problem is to BE A GOOD LISTENER. That means letting the other person say what they need to say, asking questions to help them explain, and expressing that you appreciate that they told you what's on their mind. Then sit with it for a while on your own, and THEN try to work on the problem. It sounds like you weren't very good at hearing what your GF was saying and not what you wanted her to be saying, but it does sound like you're able to hear your siblings, and it sounds like they're giving you pretty good advice already.
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Posted by KittyWrangler on March 6, 2013 at 12:53 PM · Report this
64
As Fortunate astutely points out (along with a lot of other welcome observations in a thread larded with a lot of defensive judgement and projection), the LW's main mistake was not recognizing the GF's effective withdrawal from the relationship and dumping her. She was trying to get him to do her dirty work (as fetish calls out @31) and he failed to take her up on it.

It's very easy and fashionable to talk about how young women are socialized to defer to men, while overlooking the fact that young men are socialized to be persistent and attentive (I blame the entire shit genre of stalker propaganda known as romantic comedy). No one teaches young men to walk away from things that aren't working or aren't good for them, because no one wants to be "afraid of commitment" or "a quitter". Maybe this guy is a little controlling or a little obsessive - or maybe he was just trying really hard to do "the right thing" without having the tools to figure out what that actually is. Unfortunately, dating is about the furthest thing from a flow experience most of the time - there's no linear relationship whatsoever between effort and results. It's a miserable relic of mating strategies and hormonal wiring that evolved long before birth control and the ERA. If you're lucky enough to stumble into a stable configuration, try not to enjoy it too much - it's just an arbitrary equilibrium caused by chemistry and early childhood imprinting, not some reward for your worth as a person.

Yes, I too was put off by the LW's very first line. He's inexperienced and overwrought. Who here wasn't, at some point in their life? I don't see why he's expected to have it all figured out on his first time in the trenches (probably) while she gets a pass. Should he work on being better at reading "social cues"? If he wants to survive the process of dating, that would be a wise thing to do. But his responsibility to read her behavior is at least matched by her responsibility to learn to speak up and be explicit about what she wants. Expecting your partner to figure that out for you is passive-aggressive, cowardly bullshit. I don't buy the libido mismatch any more than I buy the pressure-for-sex explanation - if they were seeing each other 3-5 times a week but only having sex twice, they clearly weren't just fucking. Sounds like victim blaming to me. We don't know what went wrong or what stopped working, we just know that it did, as it almost always does.

Beating up on him doesn't accomplish anything. They both made mistakes. It sucks, but that's the way it works - good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. Hopefully they'll both do better next time, and if they're lucky they'll get passably good at it before they die. He doesn't need to take a break from dating, he needs to get out there and develop some callouses and learn some better dating practices, starting with some detachment and discernment. Developing a life of your own so that you don't mind - or better yet, enjoy - being single is about the smartest thing you can do.
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Posted by Chase on March 6, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
65
I think I overstated my case about sexually pressuring her. It's not that the amount of sex you were looking for was astronomical (twice a week sounds pretty reasonable to me) or that you must have been being an asshole about it, let alone bad in bed, et cetera. I didn't mean to imply any of the above. Simply that somewhere along the way she lost desire for you (hey, it happens) at which point your continued sexual interest in her seemed overwhelming to her. The more you wanted her (a perfectly understandable thing), the more she felt trapped (also understandable, if she had lost desire for you).

The relationship was pretty much spoiled at that point, and it was nobody's fault -- though it was her fault for communicating so poorly for so long. By trying to spare your feelings with a simple "I'm sorry, this isn't working," she led you to believe it could be fixed, and made you jump through hoops trying to fix what couldn't be fixed. ( A yoga date, seriously? Smacks of desperation.) No wonder you came away completely confused.

The main thing now is unpacking the following: I can't stand how miserable I am, and how worried I am about her. To further complicate matters, we work together occasionally. I worry that she's going to break down in tears every time she sees me."

No, it's pretty clear to me that she is over you, in fact has been over you for quite some time, and the real problem was that she didn't know how to tell you that. You want to avoid tears on her part? Show that you are capable of moving on without rancor. You are more likely to make her miserable by showing her how miserable you are yourself. It was guilt about making you miserable that caused her to drag this on as long as she did. Sometimes ripping the bandage off is the better option.

Do not conflate your own misery -- which is totally understandable, given the way things played out; she did not level with you, so it's no wonder you are hurt and bewildered -- with some version of whatever misery she _must_ be feeling, and then spinning that into a trumped up reason to contact her again. Accept that it's over, and has been for some time now.
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Posted by avast2006 on March 6, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Fortunate 66
@59: "Maybe because it's a free country?"

Great, but I never questioned your right to. I was questioning your rational for doing it.

"His writing style annoyed me and I identified with her wanting to dump him."

So basically it was just bias. Well, thanks for answering honestly. That's what I was getting at. If he is reading this he can at least know that your attitude and response is just bias against him and not a rational argument.

"no one needs justification to feel annoyed."

Again, I never questioned anyone's justification for being annoyed. Being annoyed, however, is not justification for selective criticizing and shifting the blame to someone just because you don't like / empathize with them.
Posted by Fortunate on March 6, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
67
There is a vicious cycle that happens when one partner stops wanting sex, where, paradoxically, the less sex that actually happens, the more the undesired partner feels constantly pressured. The one who doesn't want it feels like "Every single time you see me, all you ever do is ask me for sex. Sex, sex, sex! Can't you change the fucking subject?" while the one who does wants it feels like, 'Well of course I'm asking again! It's been a month since it actually happened!"
Posted by avast2006 on March 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM · Report this
68
@65: Well put.

@67: True, which is why it's important to say "I don't want you" and not just "I don't want sex". Though one key lesson here is that everyone should interpret the latter as the former after, say, three tries. Because they are effectively the same at that point.
Posted by Chase on March 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
ShifterCat 69
It seems to me that more people should follow Cliff Pervocracy's advice: in the early stages of a relationship, have regular "relationship talks". That way "we need to talk" isn't automatically a sign of trouble.
Posted by ShifterCat on March 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
70
@23... so, only 1 in 4 women you meet are asexual? Seems like it would be higher.
Posted by portland scribe on March 6, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
71
On the topic of to whom people direct their advice, including that framed as "here's what you're doing wrong": of course it's at the letter writer. That's the person who wrote in and might see it. If the girlfriend had written in people might have had advice about breaking up better in future and how much of a role sex actually played here (I'm guessing it was a symptom of the underlying problems), but she didn't. So people are giving advice to the guy who, as Alanmt notes, doesn't seem ready to accept that he has been broken up with.

In every letter we only have one point of view, so advising the partner seems particularly fraught when important details might be missing. When your best-possible-light version makes people sympathize with your partner nonetheless, then you get advice based on what you're doing wrong. Even though by the standard of "assume this letter was written by a completely unbiased third party" LWs often look more reasonable. (My interpretation of their last few months is pretty close to David in Kenai's up there. And I'm reminded of the unemployed lawyer from Alaska who didn't feel his girlfriend had broken up with him because her reasons weren't very good.)

Posted by IPJ on March 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 72
@58: Good comment, but as someone who's been through this with women who refused to be dumped, I think you can broaden your statement a bit. (Heheh. broaden. Get it?)

@59: Hell yeah. I wanted to call him up and dump him Wednesday, 6 March 20:05:00 GMT.

I think she either forgot the third "I break with thee!", or she left out the dog poop, fearing he would have a nervous breakdown if his oxfords were sullied.
Posted by aureolaborealis on March 6, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
73
@71: Sure, but:

"She broke up with you, she doesn't want to see you, you need to move on and it's okay to be a little angry at her for wasting your time (especially if it helps you move on) as long as you don't do anything destructive with that and try to keep in mind that she's never done this before and is going to make amateur mistakes, just like you. It might be your fault, it might not, and you might never know which it was. Next time try to read the signs better - it's a good survival technique - and don't be afraid to ask yourself if the relationship is working for you."

is a lot more constructive than:

"She dumped you, loser. Man up, because it was probably your fault for being controlling or boring or obsessed with sex or bad in bed or clueless or self-absorbed or whatever it was you obviously did wrong. You're unfit to date, so spend some time pondering the error of your ways until you can be trusted with a girl again."

Which is what some of these responses read like. Given his writing style, there's a good chance he's already flagellating himself with that kind of analysis already.
Posted by Chase on March 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
74
Messrs Fortunate/Alan - There are dating-based deficiencies and general human being-based deficiencies. I agree that there are aspects of dating in which he'll improve only through practice, but maintain that he has a bit too much preliminary work in general human interactions for dating to do him much good at the moment. But, as I mentioned, this isn't my hill of death; I shan't defend it fiercely.

I was offhand at the time, but suspect now that a couple of years seriously writing romantic novels might be of benefit. Such a period would at least get that penultimate paragraph out of his system; it's not exactly like Pride and Prejudice in which an early admirer of Jane Bennet wrote her some pretty verses and in doing so consumed all his affection for her, but similar enough. And working on improving his writing would probably help shore up his weak areas in general dealings with humanity.
Posted by vennominon on March 6, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
75
@66 "I never questioned anyone's justification for being annoyed." Oh, that wasn't about me. That was about your statement @48, justifying the LW's annoyance at her actions: "changing the parameters of a relationship after it start... is justification for the person to be at the very least annoyed if that change is drastic."
Posted by EricaP on March 6, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
76
This sounds like a fake story
Posted by solstarz on March 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
77
Chase@64: "If you're lucky enough to stumble into a stable configuration, try not to enjoy it too much - it's just an arbitrary equilibrium caused by chemistry and early childhood imprinting, not some reward for your worth as a person."
LOL
Posted by EricaP on March 6, 2013 at 6:16 PM · Report this
Fortunate 78
"Oh, that wasn't about me. That was about your statement @48, justifying the LW's annoyance at her actions"

Ah, that wasn't clear.

Well, sure, justification isn't needed to be annoyed at something. That doesn't mean that there aren't sometimes justifications for being annoyed at something just the same. It may not be needed, but there it is.
Posted by Fortunate on March 6, 2013 at 7:35 PM · Report this
79
PH, the condescending and insulting replies to my post #23 were exactly what I expected. After all, this is the Stranger, where heterosexual men are always in the wrong. So, in the end, it's not about me or about the Stranger or the commenters. At this point, it's really about you.

Allowing for the likelihood that everyone puts the best possible spin on it from their viewpoint, it seems like you gave it you best shot, and that her sexual interest was temporary. Regardless of what anyone here says, I've told you something that is pretty common knowledge: There's a significant minority of women (25%? 18%? 31%?) who, at the end of the day, regard sex as a chore and a burden.

There are also a lot of men who stink at sex, and who don't know a clitoris from their left toenail. Maybe that's you. Hell, I don't know. Only you do. So tell yourself the truth, and don't for a millisecond buy into the oh-so-helpful New Age guilt trips being laid on you by every ballbuster in Seattle.

The bad news is that 25% of 18% or 31% of women are uninterested in sex, but the good news is that 75% or 82% or 69% of women are out there just waiting to get it from a stiff, horny dude who knows what he's doing, brushes his teeth, picks up the check, does at least a good impression of giving a shit about what she thinks, and who'll use his tongue the way God and Satan intended it to be used.

Don't worry about that walking Fridigaire. Go find yourself the opposite. They're still the majority. Don't give up, but above all don't listen to the p.c. crap from the denizens of the Stranger who, not so far under the surface, are deathly afraid of that inquisitive snake of yours.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 6, 2013 at 11:40 PM · Report this
80
p.s., PH, it's not about the yoga or shared interests. She don't like the bone. Someone else will.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 6, 2013 at 11:41 PM · Report this
Sandiai 81
@70, Oh God: THANK you.
I can't remember when I felt such revulsion upon simply reading someone's comments.
Posted by Sandiai on March 7, 2013 at 5:11 AM · Report this
82
My my, just think of what David Foster Wallace could have done with this letter. Classic example of folks using psychobabble and faux concern for someone else to conceal their motives from themselves. This in on par with my favorite short story of his: "The Depressed Person."
Posted by maddy811 on March 7, 2013 at 7:34 AM · Report this
83
@23 I think your presence artificially inflates your numbers.
Posted by maddy811 on March 7, 2013 at 7:40 AM · Report this
84
#81, maybe it's because you can't remember the last time you had sex with a man? Wait, let me put that differently: the last time you had sex with a man because you really wanted to.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
85
p.s.: Maybe it would be easier if you realized that a woman never looks quite as fat when she's got a dick in her mouth. The added benefit, of course, is that for at least a little while she won't need to talk about how she's feeling today.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 7, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
86
@Unbrainwashed. Dude--I appreciate the chutzpah and that you're coming out swinging. Nice to have someone cheering for us het guys. But seriously--don't do me any favors, kay? Aside from your offensive and creepy tone and your strange views, your personal attacks are distasteful and reinforce all the shitty things people associate with het males. Stop it.
Posted by LateBloomer on March 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM · Report this
87
You know, after reading some of these comments - particularly Dan's and @3's - I'm willing to wager a hefty amount of money that the exact same thing happened to a lot of these people, but they won't acknowledge it because they think getting dumped the way this guy did damages their cred as a mature well adjusted adult, because mature well adjusted adults don't make the kind of mistakes this guy did.

Ever.

Which explains the judgmental tone of voice.

With all of that said, I think Dan is largely right (though I don't think there's anything creepy about remembering dates). The two of you both sound very young, and this sounds like the first serious relationship you've both had. But the thing you'll need to keep in mind is that some people never learn how to do this, whether they're young or self proclaimed mature well adjusted adults (in fact, if they are the latter, and speak in the tones of Dan and #3, five'll get you ten that the last thing they are is a true blue mature well adjusted adult).

Therefore the kind of things you went through - her painfully indirect way of communicating (whether she was socialized to defer to men or not...nice nod to feminists and male feminists there, Dan. Way to keep up your mature well adusted adult cred), and your inability to see the forest for the trees is typical of young people in their first relationships.

In fact its normal. VERY normal. As I'm sure some of the commenters here would agree.

So #1, the best thing for you to do is to let her go. Letting her go means not talking to her or trying to contact her in any way. I've walked a mile in your moccasins, and trust me, the first few days or weeks are incredibly hard because the last thing you want to do is believe that it's really over. But it really is over. You aren't going to change her mind, and it sounds like that's what you want to do, but you won't. And if you do, you do risk becoming "that guy," which is at best pathetic, or at worst, a stalker, and you don't want to be either. Really, you don't. Trust me, you will heal faster and learn more from this experience the sooner you wash her out of your hair.

#2, Once you've done this - in a few weeks, you'll be able to objectively look at what happened and learn from your mistakes. In the meantime, take it easy. Date casually, have some fun, focus on your career - don't be so quick to get seriously involved with someone again, because it sounds like you kind of put the cart before the horse with this young woman. Some people may have told you that you were "in love with the idea of love," which I think is patronizing, but you may find that you were trying to shoehorn this woman into a pre-conceived notion of what a relationship is supposed to be, rather than just accepting her and whatever situation you had for what it is.

So in a nutshell - tell the mature well adjusted adults to go fuck themselves, forget this woman, lick your wounds, dust yourself off, stand up again, and move on with your life. I know that may sound astronomically difficult, but you can do it, and you'll be much better off once you do.

Good luck! :)
Good luck, mate
More...
Posted by Jack Gates on March 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
88
@Unbrainwashed - You sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener. A couple of my oldest friends are died in the wool ditto heads and they sound a lot like you. They're my friends, and I don't mean to slag on them, but they often say some of the shit that you do, and it makes me cringe.
Posted by Jack Gates on March 7, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 89
@86: NALT
@85: ALT
@87: NALT
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on March 7, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 90
Opps, in 89, I meant to self-referencing, but two more posts slipped in.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on March 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this
91
Actually, I meant to address my comments in #86 to Dan and #5 (Alanmt), not #3 (Sarah in Olympia).

Sorry about that.
Posted by Jack Gates on March 7, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Report this
92
#88, you sound like a typical Seattle male who has put his testicles into a blind trust. Good luck with that.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 7, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
93
@77: ;-)

@87: I wouldn't take that wager. I had a similar thought.
Posted by Chase on March 7, 2013 at 4:38 PM · Report this
AFinch 94
@73 - couldn't agree more.

Like @50 says: breakups just suck. Generally someone isn't expecting it and of course it's revealed that the other has been planning for it for a while.

This guy is just in a lot of pain, and that sucks, and he's kind of still in denial and disbelief. That doesn't mean everyone should pile on and blame the dumpee. It sounds like she checked out and he didn't take the hint - she could have done better "communicating" (taking ownership and action for her feelings sooner) but even then - geez, people are human and not perfect.

Even more than not blaming him for caring too much, what the hell is this dumping on about how he's somehow defective or broken and should remove himself from the dating pool?

Dude, jump back in...after a while you'll meet other cool and wonderful chicks and that will help you to see this one wasn't really all that.
Posted by AFinch on March 8, 2013 at 7:32 AM · Report this
95
@94 - Bravo! And I would say the reason for piling on the dumpee is those doing the piling are "guilty" of the same mistakes. And if they aren't methinks they soon will be.

@Unbrainwashed - you are correct that many Seattle men have willingly surrendered their testicles, but you are a reactionary jerk.
Posted by Jack Gates on March 8, 2013 at 7:54 AM · Report this
AFinch 96
@95 - I just wanted to lend my voice to what @31 and @64 were saying. I had one of these GFs once and it wasn't until a long while after - a long, anguished miserable period - that I started to see she'd been running hot and cold (and goodness knows, bad and/or infrequent sex is one of the first signs!!!) and generally being flaky because she was checking out and was hoping I'd be the one to pull the trigger so it would be a guilt-free release for her.

Given even more time and perspective, it occurred to me that she' d actually kind of warned me: I know I wasn't the first and I know the exact pattern was repeated. She was kind of cryptic about it, but it was all there in hindsight. Was she being a bitchy flake on purpose? Or just not really able to break out of some patterns she'd learned as a child?

I don't know...and like I said, people are human! and we all do crappy things. After I started feeling better about me, the pain of her rejection and my need to put her down just kind of went away.

I guarantee: if he gets out there, he'll meet someone who is really into him and is therefore worth investing all of his time and emotional energy into.
Posted by AFinch on March 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM · Report this
97
#95, a reactionary jerk with a stiff dick and a woman who loves it as often as I want to give it to her, which is often. Half the time I read threads like this, I feel sorry for the guys. Half the time, I laugh at the guys.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
98
I think #42 and #43 nailed it. I recall lyrics to a song that said 'sometimes we're the victims sometimes we're the crooks' and sometimes we're both.

Someone doesn't have to be the villain for a relationship to end. She should've opened her mouth, he should've listened, but these aren't unforgivable sins. They'll work through it in time.
Posted by msanonymous on March 8, 2013 at 11:42 PM · Report this

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