DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I recently reconnected with my ex on Facebook. My friend told me that he was having a hard time since his divorce. As soon as I heard this I immediately contacted him on Facebook messenger to see if he was ok .
Well, we ended up talking all night and then we started texting all day long exchanged phone numbers. I guess that I should mention that I am married, and yes we are having problems. My ex-boyfriend and I dated back in high school. When we re-connected, he told me that I was the one that got away back then. Now I’ve been so comfortable talking with him about everything. He is the only person who ever got me to open up that way . No one has ever done that. I never loved anyone as much as I loved him. I felt like all those feelings that I had for him many years ago came pouring back. I loved him so much.
So anyway this went on for eight months of texts and phone calls, and I fell back in love with him. We had made plans for him to spend the weekend up by me since we no longer live in the same state. I was so excited that I was finally going to see him again after all these years.
My husband and I had a fight two nights before he was supposed to come visit. Then, the morning before he was supposed to come up to see me, he calls me at 6:30 am. Since it was so early in the morning I quickly hung up the phone. I texted him back two hours later and asked “what’s up”. So he sends back to me . “I’m sorry, I can’t do this. I need someone who will always be able to be there and you can not. I wish you all the best . We really could have been amazing together . It kills me to say this but lose my number.” and then he immediately blocked me from his phone, Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp. I feel so hurt. We had this incredible connection that we both said was the reason why we fell for each other.
But I’m feeling like if he really truly loved me the way that he said that he did, then he would not have hurt me like this. I’m so hurt; I miss my best friend so much. I’m hoping that he will come back to me. My question is do you think that he will be back? He told me that he would wait forever for me . Why do you think that he did this? I’m crying every day over this. This happened 6 weeks ago .
Hopelessly in Love
DEAR HOPELESSLY IN LOVE: The short version, HIL, is that at some point before he was supposed to see you, he realized that you two weren’t going to work and he pulled the plug. Cutting ties like he did, pulling the trigger on the Nuclear Option, is both to protect his heart… but also to underline the fact that this was his decision and he’s not interested in talking about it with you.
Now just why he decided to up and block you is something of an open question. It’s theoretically possible that, since you didn’t answer his call at oh-Christ-hundred, he decided that was the Sin That Couldn’t be Forgiven. If his idea of your “always being there for him” is that you literally always answer the phone when he calls, no matter what, then he’s not in good working order and you’re well rid of him. You can chalk that one up to a bullet dodged.
(I mean, if someone calls me at 6:30 in the morning, somebody better be on fire… or they will be.)
It’s also possible that you were a little more intense than he was ready for and he decided to use your hanging up on him as an excuse. Or he was calling with an actual emergency and you just hung up on him without bothering to listen.
But the more likely scenario is the fact that you’re, y’know. Still married. That’s going to put a limit on the relationship you and he can have. Maybe he doesn’t want to wait for you to go through the process of getting divorced. Maybe he didn’t want to be responsible for breaking up somebody else’s marriage. Hell, maybe your husband twigged to the fact that you were getting ready to bang this dude and gave him the wave-off. But regardless, I suspect that the fact that you’re still married and not giving any signs that this was about to change was the biggest reason for him to peace out, girl scout.
What about all those promises? What about saying he was going to wait forever for you? Well… setting hyperbole aside, there’s the fact that there comes a point where folks recognize that sometimes a relationship — or a relationship in potentia — isn’t right or healthy for them. Or they may realize that they can’t put their life on hold while they wait for someone else to get ready. There comes a point where someone has to say “I may love you, yeah, but I love me more,“; that is, they have to love themselves enough to know that something isn’t going to work and do the hard thing. And sometimes that hard thing means cutting all ties.
Yeah, his dumping you like that hurt. But honestly, the short, quick break heals the cleanest.
Will he come back? Um… no. Telling you to lose his number and then blocking you on his social media is almost certainly his final word on the matter. Waiting for him to come back is going to be a fruitless endeavor, and there’s not going to be any benefit to seeing if there’s some way of reaching out to him.
I think your time is going to be better spent deciding on what you’re going to do about your marriage which, honestly, sounds like it’s on the rocks as well. Whether it’s going in for counseling or starting the process of ending it, I think you need to devote your time and energy a little closer to home than hoping that Prince Charming is going to come around a third time.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I cannot help shake the feelings of hurt about how my birthday was handled during COVID vs how a friend’s birthday was handled/is being handled during Covid.
In the end of March my state implemented a “Stay at Home” order that of course meant to stay at home if you are not getting groceries, medicine, etc. One exception was people to take car rides to relieve cabin fever. In order to comply with the rules, I told friends they could drive by my apartment and I can wave to them to get some semblance of a birthday. Not a single one of my friends drove by.
Flash forward to the past holiday weekend. One of the friends who I asked has a birthday that weekend and had asked my wife and I to join in the festivities out of state. While the state we are traveling to does not have an order, their DHS has announced people should stay home. When I voiced my concern about it and covid I felt my concerns were brushed aside being told that “it’s okay”, “we won’t go to bars” and other things.
I’m I right to feel a little hurt? It makes me feel my friends and my wife are being contradicting when it comes to these sort of similar cases.
A Very Unmerry Birthday
DEAR A VERY UNMERRY BIRTHDAY: I feel you, AVUB. A lot of folks — myself included — had birthday, travel and holiday plans squashed by the lockdown, especially in the early days. Even though folks started having regular social get togethers via Skype or Zoom or other services, it’s not quite the same as having your friends there with you to celebrate. Seeing your friends getting people together in person for their shindig when they couldn’t or didn’t come to yours? Yeah, that’s gonna sting, and understandably so.
However, one thing to keep in mind is the difference between where we are now vs. where we were back in March. Back in March, the vast majority of the population were taking the lockdown very seriously. We all agreed that we were going to work together, flatten the curve so that hospitals didn’t get overwhelmed and hopefully we’d break the back of the pandemic.
Fast forward to May and states were starting to relax their standards. Several states — including Texas and Florida — decided to start reopening, even as cases were still surging. The message that we started getting, from the President, from certain loud voices in right wing media, even from governors of different states was that it was time to start getting back to normal. Bars, restaurants and movie theaters started reopening. Suddenly people were starting to act as though we were through the worst of it and getting back to socializing in person… even though we were staring down the barrel of a massive upsurge in cases.
That mixed messaging, combined with the frustration of being isolated and the understandable desire to connect with people in person, has lead to people treating things far more casually than they did before. And while there are some ways to socialize safely — forming a quarantine pod of people who ONLY see each other in person and follow strict protocols otherwise — a lot of people are starting to act like the pandemic is over.
Folks like, say, your friends wanting to host a birthday party during a holiday.
So yes, you are right to feel hurt. Much like the folks who’ve been masking up, avoiding large crowds, staying home and doing their part to try to stay safe and flatten the curve, it’s incredibly frustrating and hurtful to see folks running around like nothing’s wrong. As several people have said: this the pandemic equivalent of being the person who got stuck doing all the work in a group project in school. But in the case of your friends skipping your birthday? I don’t think you should take that personally, even though it feels personal. It has far less to do with you and your relationship with your friends and far more to do with where we’re at as a country. They’re getting together in person, not because they don’t care about you enough to celebrate your birthday, but because of quarantine fatigue, failures of leadership and messaging and mismanagement of a national crisis by leaders on the federal and state level.
It still stings, to be sure, and they’re making what I would judge to be a poor decision. But like I said: it’s not because they didn’t care about you, it’s that everyone was taking the pandemic restrictions far more seriously when we started than they are now.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org