Ask a Dude: Mixed Signals from the Ex

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of getting the pity-eyes as you sift through the Self-Help section at your campus bookstore? Over wondering what those boys are thinking?  We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question (Does have have to know I’ve never been kissed?) over to 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, ladies.]

Hi Dude,
I recently hung out with my ex – we were together for 2 years and been broken up for about 2 1/2 years. After the break-up I had a hard time and came off a bit needy. Time went by and we met up to catch up. I told him I still had feelings for him but he was dating someone and said he wanted to see where it went and that he “didn’t love me anymore.”

Well they broke up a month ago and when we hung out this last time he was completely different. We totally clicked and the whole time he kept bringing up old memories he has of me and talked about times we had sex and was a bit flirty. He also made a comment that we were “good together” but that we were just at “differnt points in our life.” Every time we’d hung out after our break up it was very awkward and this time it wasn’t at all. He even invited me out to an event and I went. He’s also helping me find a job and he always talks to me on Facebook. I still love him and care for him and I’m not sure what to think about him talking about sex and saying he hasn’t forgotten how good I was in bed and bringing up a lot of memories. It really threw me off. What does this mean?

— Broken Up and Breaking Down

Dear Broken Up and Breaking Down,

You know that movie where the guy and girl spend their formative/experimental years together in that perfect first love? What was it called? You know the one, where they’re together but they eventually grow apart, life taking them down different paths. The guy goes off and finds somebody else for a while, the girl does the same. They had written off their love as teenage frolicking fancy. Then fate winds them around into a head on collision. But oh no, he’s still with someone but then they break up and the rumblings of rekindling the past passion becomes unbearable. And the whole time you were watching them and really hoping they got back together, and they did, and they lived happily ever after!

Remember that movie? What was it called? Damn…oh wait…it was called, something like-NOT REALITY.

I’m not knocking the idea that some people will find each other ten years down the road and fall back in love. However, it generally happens after both of them have moved on and reestablished who they are on their own terms (can anyone guess the movie I paraphrased that last part of the line from? Because that makes you cool…to me…).  Which, to be honest (brutally so, I admit) it doesn’t sound like you were ever able to do.

Your boy’s on the rebound and he’s going to Old-Reliable to get his fix. Now, he may not think of it that way himself. Plenty of guys will convince themselves they’re reinvigorating past feelings when what they’re trying to do is escape into something safe, comfortable, familiar, and with an expiration date. He’s getting over someone and you’re convenient. That’s a harsh pill to swallow and from the tone of your message, I’ll bet you’re going to be resistant to my diagnosis. Let’s make a deal: If you can admit the plausibility of my theory, examine the situation you’re in with some objectivity – disqualifying your feelings of longing – then I will be happy to entertain the possibility that maybe this is the 1 time out of a 100,000 where there’s a happy ending brewing.

I want to ask you some questions: Did you ever get over him in the last 2 and a half years you’ve been apart? Have you attempted to actually be vulnerable and cultivate a connection with someone else in that time? What wasn’t working with your relationship before? What, if anything has changed in him to make you think it wouldn’t end differently? If you were to say no right now, while he’s still getting over this other girl, would he still be interested in you?

Take a sober look at the answers you can dig out of yourself. It doesn’t take an Intersect to see the story behind the story behind the question. I need you to realize the danger of the situation you’re putting yourself into. If you go back down that road and let yourself become vulnerable again, then he breaks your heart (again), how much more devastated might you be? This about your self-preservation. Remember the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. He’s searching for some comfort and he thinks you’ll make a fine hump pillow. He may not want to hurt you but it doesn’t sound like he understands how much you’re still invested in what you had 3 years ago. Worse, he might recognize that and is taking advantage of it. Tread carefully, or your won’t just be broken but battered to a bloody pulp (emotionally speaking of course).

Showing you the forest from the trees,
The Dude

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