T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 97828
posted 10-19-2012 09:10 PM
Hello everyone! I have a dilemma involving my ex-girlfriend, but I'll need to explain the backstory first.
Before my ex, I never dated before. We only dated for two or three months back in the spring, but it meant a lot as my first relationship. Unfortunately, there were a few things that went wrong early on when we first met. She wasn't very honest about her expectations for our relationship, which made things difficult. I tried being friends with her, but it just made me more emotionally distraught, since I've also been dealing with moving recently, possible depression, a heavy school-load, and deaths in the family. While avoiding her would normally be an option, she decided to live down the hall from me this semester, which makes it nearly impossible to do. I've blocked her phone number and from Tumblr, but Facebook is the last step. I don't know how to unfriend her without her and all of my other friends making a big deal out of it. I want to just talk to her about it, but I don't think it would work out very well. She's extremely charismatic to the point where if you leave her in a room full of strangers, she'll make at least 2 or 3 friends in the span of 5 minutes. I don't mean to be mean, but I have a feeling she doesn't get told "no" to much, since she's always fazed when there are people out there who don't like her or talk to her very much. She's also non-confrontational, but I am as well. When I broke up with her, I tried to explain why, but she took a hold of the conversation and never let me say my side of the story. Like I said, I've been ignoring her to the best of my abilities, but she's done things that make me feel extremely uncomfortable. She loves petting and hugging people, so she continues to pet my head when she sees me. After hurting me the way she did, it makes me feel violated to think she feels it's okay to continue the same level of intimacy from when we were dating. What do you think I should do?
moonlight bouncing off water
Member # 44338
posted 10-19-2012 09:37 PM
It sounds pretty clear that you want less contact with her, is that correct? It also sounds like you feel that facebook is a way of accomplishing that. If that's the case then I say that you should go ahead and unfriend her. Unless she or someone else is looking to see whether or not you two are friends, no one will know. It doesn't show up in anyone's timeline or anything like that.
As to her showing more affection to you than you would like: have you considered asking her to stop doing that?
Member # 97828
posted 10-19-2012 09:49 PM
I'm considering whether I should just talk to her and explain that I don't want to be friends in person. I don't like hurting anyone's feelings in general, though. She's friends with my friends in the same hall, so I don't know if they may not want to hang out anymore.
I haven't, actually. The next time she tries to hug me, I'll ask her to stop.
Member # 96773
posted 10-20-2012 04:30 AM
Welcome to Scarleteen! I'm sorry to hear about your ex problem- here is (bear with me) a bunch of thoughts & some things to consider with approaching this situation: FIRST, While I obviously do not know your ex and her physical affection behavior patterns, just one possibility here is that she has that pretty common (unless informed otherwise) point of view where it is assumed that the person who technically initiated the break-up is not feeling hurt/is already 'over it' somehow. If that possibility holds any water with you, let me just say that is is *possible* that she sees her physical/other active interaction with you as a way to "show" or "prove" that she is feeling like you aka isn't hurting (which may or may not reflect insight into how she actually feels). It does not sound like your break-up was ever fully explained to her, would you say that is right? Or was there any other break-up-themed conversation between the two of you, after the initial one where she took over the conversation? You say that you "tried being friends" but it did not work out. When you felt like this attempted friendship was not going to work out, did you have any kind of communication with your ex where you directly communicated this feeling? Also, I cannot tell from your wording- did she elect to live near you on purpose, after your break-up? If there has been no follow-up discussion, and you are ignoring her (as you mention you are trying to do) in the traditional sense, her attitude towards you could be an attention plea? While I hear you saying you feel the issue may be that she is not used to not being universally liked, part of the issue could also be that she does not feel she fully understands the reasons for your break-up, and/or your current attitude towards her. Without a straight-forward "closure"-focused experience with you, she may feel generally confused about how to act towards you, because it could be unclear what your status with each other now looks like. As in, if you still have/maintain mutual friends, it could be unclear that a certain amount of pain was involved in your relationship/break-up on your end, ESPECIALLY if you initially did act more friendly towards her at first after the break-up. She may possibly think you are struggling with certain issues now (eg might she have learned about your school stress and the recent deaths through mutual friends?), but eventually there is the chance for you two to become friends, and maybe that is something she thinks she could hurry up by making a point of including you in certain things. Does any of that seem plausible/applicable to this situation? Of course, your ex could be continuing the physical/general contact for a completely different reason(s)- but regardless, unless you have other information/backstory about an inclination towards viciousness or some form of manipulation that is again apparent to you here- I would not assume that she is in any way *trying* to hurt you. That does not invalidate your feeling of violation, but I think our ideas for addressing this issue should take her potential confusion and/or vulnerability into account as well. SO, to reiterate my main FIRST POINT more clearly: I think it would be a good idea to consider some form of straight-forward communication with your ex in which you explain certain things directly. [ 10-20-2012, 05:21 AM: Message edited by: Claire P. ]
Member # 96773
posted 10-20-2012 04:56 AM
SECONDLY, on MUTUAL FRIENDS:
So, I hear you saying you have a bunch of mutual friends with this ex of yours, correct? Have you spoken with them about your relationship and/or break-up with her at all? In this kind of situation, it can be difficult, and sometimes- depending on the people involved- just not the best idea to confide certain things in mutual friends. However, it is completely natural and normal to feel hurt after a break-up- and people generally understand and respect that. It is true that sometimes there can be an assumption that the person who technically actively initiated the "breaking up" is not the one hurting. But I think it would be difficult to find a person (especially one you consider a friend) who would not understand and be sympathetic if you did not bad-mouth your ex, but rather just explained that the relationship had a number of problems that hurt you, and you still feel hurt by those things, so you are having trouble interacting with your ex because it brings back all those feelings in a fresh way.... which therefore is making it hard to feel better about the things that went wrong, and to move on with your life- at least, mood-wise. Sure, things could potentially be a little awkward if you're all in the hallway at the same time, but as long as you are civil to your ex, if these mutual friends are still your friends now, after your break-up, and despite your (what I assume are somewhat obvious) attempts to ignore your ex in person....why do you feel that de-friending her on Facebook would make a significant difference in that regard? So,SECOND point, re the mutual friends issue: Going on the info you presented here alone, I do not think you should worry so much about the loss of mutual friends as a result of your Facebook consideration alone. ________________________________________________ THIRDLY, concerning/incorporating the FB: I am not certain of your reasons for disconnecting from your ex on all social media- is it that you want to decrease the instances in which she is popping up (both on and offline) in your life, so you can work on moving on? Or, are you trying to use this total disconnection to communicate to your ex that you are NOT interested in pursuing ANY kind of relationship with her, including a platonic one. Is it some combination of both reasons? And/or a different one entirely? It IS true that de-friending on Facebook can be considered a pretty harsh and extreme move, and sometimes more in certain social groups. So, this is whether the importance of communication comes in again- if you are comfortable with this idea, I would suggest that you not only initiate at least a basic level of conversation with mutual friends who might otherwise misinterpret the de-friending move, but you also initiate some form of *real* explanatory communication with your ex that gives your honest and heartfelt (but not hurtful, if possible) perspective. ________________________________________________ LASTLY (I promise!), the COMMUNICATION: By itself, "don't hug/pat/touch me anymore" (even if very politely worded) could potentially cause the listener to feel a number of negative feelings- but if this instruction was given IN CONTEXT, I feel like it would probably be a lot less hurtful to hear. Plus, explaining your boundaries in a fuller context is the best way to address a kind of situation that most/all of us have to face, and so doing so would also definitely make sense to any mutual friend she might repeat the experience to. This straight-forward communication with your ex does not have to be long, and I'm using the word "communication" instead of "conversation," because if you are worried she may attempt to dominate the conversation again, you might want to consider writing her a note or email instead. The content of this communication would really depend on the specifics of the last REAL conversation you two have had either/both about your relationship/break-up, and/or whether you were going to try to be friendly with each other, to what extent, etc. It DOES sound like you definitely need to clearly articulate your boundaries with this girl. If you are unsure what is best/most appropriate to say- especially in this kind of more delicate situation- I think it would be fair to include some of these broad, but relatively non-aggressive details you shared with us here. Whether you conduct this communication in person or not, I think it is important to clearly say the things I am hearing that you feel are the major players here, for what could be the first *real* time she will heard them: - That your relationship was your first, and therefore had a big impact/effect on you - That there were certain things within your relationship (you can detail them or just keep it more vague) that you were uncomfortable with or felt hurt by, and if it had not been your first relationship, perhaps you would have felt better equipped to approach certain important discussions early on, or would be having a somewhat easier time dealing with the break-up... ... BUT things are as they are, and you do not feel you have had any/enough time to heal the major sources of hurt since your break-up, and interacting with her- both in person and online- are stressing you out because these interactions are reminders of the issues you're still feeling/holding onto...and in order to truly start feeling better and being able to move on emotionally and otherwise, you need some time apart from her. You can mention that obviously, she does live down the hall, and you do share friends, but you would really appreciate it if she respected your physical boundaries, and your need for as much space and time as needed (keep this indefinite)- and that means you would prefer that your interactions are limited to the inevitable only. If you want, you could add that your intent here is not to upset her or cause her harm, but something you have to do for self-preservation... plus, you could possibly add that feeling is shown in how you have no intention of sharing any of these/your feelings or other stories that could reflect badly on her- with your mutual friends. ******* If you got through all that, good job! I hope separating it into those different sections made it at least a little easier to read? Let me know if any of these ideas make any sense to you/your situation and whether or not you feel comfortable trying any of these ideas- or, whether you have any other related questions [ 10-20-2012, 05:05 AM: Message edited by: Claire P. ]
Member # 97828
posted 10-21-2012 05:34 PM
Thank you for your detailed reply. These are all great points to consider. I think the hardest part is actually going up to her and talking about all of this. I've been so stressed out lately about midterms that I've put important things like dealing with her and my depression on the back burner. To be honest, I'm afraid of actually going through that type of conversation. Whenever I've had issues with romantic entanglements, I'd normally ignore the other person, especially if I am tired of dealing with them.
Member # 96773
posted 10-23-2012 04:09 AM
Glad to help. While I think the best idea is to communicate your feelings and boundaries to your ex, I do not think it is necessary that you do that in a way that makes you even more uncomfortable. I do not think this needs to be a *conversation* exactly, just you making a clearly-stated, easy-to-read list and/or explanation of how you are feeling about the breakup, etc. etc. You could send this communication to her in a variety of ways, even just emailing it could work. If you think that might seem odd or not work, consider including in the email that seeing her and conducting this conversation in person is too much for the same reasons the way you find her initiating physical and general interactions with you too much... Do you think you might be comfortable with that? And if not, what are your reasons- maybe it's something we can tweak. I understand the urge- especially when your life is overwhelming you with other things- to just try to pretend something hurtful/harmful doesn't exist, so you do not have to deal with the pain of having to confront it. But it does not sound like it is even actually possible to ignore this girl, as she seems determined to interact with you when she sees you- and because we can't see inside her head to pinpoint her motivation in doing that, there is no way to know if and when, if ever, that behavior will change on its own. So, unless you move somewhere far away, I do not see anything but the communication of your boundaries being effective.