So this past summer I was away for study abroad. My boyfriend of a few months broke up with me about a month before I left. However, he said he still wanted to be friends. I tried not talking to him for a while, but it didn’t last. He started initiating conversation and other things he had not done during the relationship. Since then, a day has not gone by without him texting me.
We live 12 hours apart even in the U.S. so this texting did not really bother me much. However, when we both returned to school he started hanging out with me again. A day hasn’t gone by without us spending at least an hour together. We don’t even do overly exciting things, we run errands together, watch Netflix, and work out together like a couple. It’s like torture to me because he play-wrestles with me and annoys me all the time like he did when we were together. The break-up was not mutual; it was his choice. I understood his reasoning for breaking up, but I thought we could work through those issues.
Anyway, I care way too much about him to cut him off and not talk to him. I want to hang out with him all the time because I hope that we could get back together. But I don’t want to get my hopes up for no reason. I’m really confused by his behavior. I don’t know if he’s flirting with me again, or not. I don’t want to misread things and make it awkward. What do you think?
Dazed and Confused
Dear Dazed and Confused,
Play-wrestles? If an ex is treating you like he wants to get back together, and the break up was his doing, and he’s not hooking up with someone else, then YES HE’S INTERESTED.
This is a big ol’ mindf*ck that he’s sticking to you like a virgin on prom night. Track this sequence with me: he dumps you, he goes away, he comes back and starts treating you like you’re still together, and he knows (he has to) that you’ve got some unresolved feelings for him. You’re not misreading the fact that he’s interested. You are however letting him off easy.
Just to reiterate: PLAY-WRESTLING? Look, there are a lot of myths about signals men give to let you know they’re into you but the whole, “if he gets physical” one is true. Super true. Like “the Earth is round” true. No guy gets THAT playful without a little hope and insinuation that it can go further. So, no misreading, he may not want to get back together ALL the way but he definitely is interested in going all the way for a few times. You won’t know if it’s a flat our rekindling the relationship until you make the leap. Which is completely up to you. I mean, that’s the beauty of this whole arrangement: he’s playing your heart strings but the final note’s your big solo. You choose the way the song ends, either with a major or a minor chord. What constitutes a happy ending will also depend on your definition. The question I want to ask you is: is he worth giving a second chance to?
I can’t advise you’d jump back in with both feet. There’s too much emotional manipulation, be it a bit malicious or just oblivious. Again, the order of events doesn’t necessarily make this sound like the healthiest of possible re-relationships. You never moved on. You didn’t have enough to get back to being a “me” after being part of a “we.” Because of that lack of opportunity to figure out who you are without him being in your life, you’re still stuck in the old relationship. Which is not a place you can actually go back to.
Too much has happened. Too much hurt. Too much power taken from one side. The partnership became unbalanced and remains so. If you try to get back to where you were you’ll be making a fool’s journey. That relationship is over. What you two were is past. A new relationship means new boundaries. You have to enter it from a new place with a fresh perspective. Do you have that or are you still hurting from the old loss and see a chance to regain it? If the latter, be VERY careful.
I’m all for happy endings. I absolutely believe that relationships can have a second life. However, it can only be a long and healthy one if both people are ready to start fresh, not try to recapture what’s gone. He dumped you. Now he’s flirting with you. You couldn’t get distance from him and now you’re allowing him to make it impossible to. You need to make sure you take care of yourself because having your heart broken a second time is four times as bad as the first (heartbreak is exponential, didn’t you take calculus?).
Keep the faith,
[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]