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My boyfriend broke up with me recently. He gave me legitimate reasons and used the “we’re not working, but I don’t want to lose you completely” line, which I’ve received too many times before. But this time, this ex is actually going through with trying to be friends. We broke up on Saturday and saw each other one last time on Sunday when he helped me move my stuff into a storage unit. The strange part comes about 5 minutes after we said goodbye on Sunday. He texted me right after he drove off and continued texting me well into the night on Sunday, and he texted me every day since, multiple times a day. If I don’t text him back, he’ll text me a couple of hours later and we’ll talk for a few more hours.
My question is: Why did he break up with me to just turn around and try to be friends 5 minutes later? My friends think that he’s not done with our relationship and the that 8 hours of distance we’ve had to deal with this summer was too hard for him to manage, and that he’ll try to pick things back up when I get back to school in the fall. I’ve just never experienced a break-up that didn’t end bitterly and that involved a boy that still contacted me on a regular basis. I don’t know what to do. Help!
As Confused As Ever
Dear As Confused As Ever,
There are so many ways to break up with someone: Post It pummeling (aka the Burger blurb), the e-mail eradicator, over coffee (which you must then offer to buy!), or the good old fashioned talk. The question arises, what’s the best way to tell someone that it’s no longer working for you? “It’s not me, it’s you,” “I’m going through a time of transition,” “I’m complicated and knowing my history, we’ll last longer as friends,” “I want to preserve what we have as friends,” “This says you can’t come within 500 feet of me,” “Didn’t you get my message?” and the one I think is probably the wisest, “I need some space.”
Space after a break up is necessary. Now what’s screwy and unfair with your situation is that he isn’t giving you any. Being the breaking upper (albeit this is a small generalization), you tend to have more time to prepare for the break up. You’ve thought about it, you’ve been trying to mentally and emotionally prepare for the reality that the bond you have with that person is about to change (or end). The breaker upper knows what they need and it’s only responsible to give the other person the time to process. It’s bullsh*t of him to not give you the same courtesy of adjusting to this new reality.
The bitter break up is not inevitable or mandatory. There are some more civil endings to relationships. However, an immediate friendship within 24 hours is likely torture for one party and a crutch for the other. You’re being tortured because he’s using you as a crutch.
Tell him to give you your space. A friendship is possible once enough time and change has occurred. If you rush right into being best friends afterward, all signs point to leftover sexual and romantic inclinations being present. The blurrier the lines are after a break up, the likelier you’re heading to a head-on collision. You have to establish new boundaries with each other and stick to them or else a fight where you chew each other out is inevitable. Tell him this: if he really wants to be friends, you both need to find out who you are apart from each other. Whether or not he thinks he needs time apart isn’t the issue; you have to do what you need to do for you. You’re not subject to what he wants – be assertive and tell him what you need. You can be friends, but when both of you are ready.
Heartbreaking, dream making, love taking