The "friend" category

I was doing so well with the break-up. I hadn’t been sad in weeks. Every few days we would talk for a few minutes on Gchat or send each other funny youtube videos to watch. We were slowly moving into the “friend” category.

Then last night I saw his away message which read, “Doing work with the lady.”

I felt like I was going to be sick. Like someone had punched me in the stomach. I felt my heart begin racing.

I know he’s dating someone. We talked about it the last time we saw each other. That wasn’t what upset me. It was the fact that he put up that away message knowing I would see it.

I immediately signed off, shut my laptop, and got ready for bed. I didn’t want to think about it.

This morning when I logged back into Gmail, he was still on and his away message was the same as last night, “Doing work with the lady.” I debated whether or not I should say anything to him.

Finally, as I was sitting in class this afternoon I sent him a message saying I didn’t like his away message. I explained that it made me feel sick and I didn’t particularly enjoy thinking about him being with another girl.

At first he was nice about it and apologized saying he would take it down and not put another message up that was in reference to her. I told him I appreciated it and kept talking (probably not a good idea) about how upset I was.

That’s when he became defensive saying I was “catting around with random guys” so it shouldn’t matter what he’s doing. He’s seeing her exclusively and I’m seeing a bunch of random guys… so he’s obviously the better person.

He really knows how to make me angry.

I was sitting in class on the verge of tears and fighting the urge to throw my laptop across the room… so I told him I had to go and signed off.

A few minutes later I calmed down and decided to write him an email.

“First of all, I hate that you say I’m “catting around” with random guys. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m dating, yes. I’m getting coffee and having dinner with people. That’s what you do when you are single. I’m not sleeping with them. I’m meeting new people and going out on dates. I’m trying to move on. There is nothing wrong with that. Please stop making this into something that it’s not. I want us to be friends, but I’m still not completely over you. I’m trying to get there the best way I can, but it’s taking time. That does not make me a horrible person.

Second, it really hurts to think that you are already exclusive with another girl. I feel like we just broke up (even though I know it was over 3 months ago) and the fact that you could move on so quickly really makes me sad. I’m not trying to compare myself to her, it just feels like I wasn’t that important.

I’m sorry I bothered you with all of this. I didn’t mean to start an argument, I just wanted to be honest and let you know how I was feeling. You don’t have to change you message if you don’t want to, but I would really appreciate it if you did. I hate that I feel sick to my stomach every time I sign into Gmail because I’m afraid of what I might see. It shouldn’t be like that.”

He replied with a really nice email saying that I’m not a horrible person, that he didn’t mean to hurt me, that he still wants to be friends, and that he’s sorry for any pain he caused me.

I don’t know why exactly, but as I was reading his email I started crying.

I wasn’t angry anymore, I was more sad.

I cried because I was grieving the end of our relationship. It’s like it’s just starting to become real. He’s dating someone else and we aren’t together anymore.

I know it will get easier with time. And I know we will stay friends.

So it’s fine if he doesn’t understand why I want to date several people before settling into an exclusive relationship again. And I can understand that he may really like this girl and want to be with her right now. That’s fine.

I just don’t want to have to read about it every time I check my email.

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29 responses to “The "friend" category

  1. Ouch. For old people like me, this is just a nightmare to imagine (I’m 42. That’s not the nightmare, at least not most days.) The idea that you have this constant stream of info on someone you’re no longer with just seems so painful…we just had to deal with dialing and hanging up, or dialing and listening to the outgoing message and hanging up…or not hanging up, and facing the consequences. Now–ick. I love my virtual world, but what it does to the broken hearted seems really hard. But you seem to be doing all the RIGHT things–meeting new people, dating, etc.–so whatever he’s leapt into, don’t let him make you feel insecure about your choices…

  2. awe, i’m sorry your sad..but God has the PERFECT person for YOU, eventually you will meet him and live happily everafter! Sounds good, huh?

    OK..so if that didn’t work..You have a REALLY PRETTY scarf coming your way!!:)

  3. Yeesh. This is a really tough one, sorry you’re going through it!

    It’s hard to balance friendship and wanting to stay close because you want to know what the other person is up to and it’s familiar. If you can use this as a chance to breathe deeply, get past it, and hope that he’s happy – good job! And if not, then maybe having a bit more of a break before you keep making those concerted friendship efforts might be good.

    Either way it’s tough stuff! Good luck!

  4. I know how you feel! I still have my Ex on Facebook and every time I see that he’s changed his status or something, my stomach drops. I guess I could just delete him from Facebook, but I can’t get myself to do it! I had a hard enough time removing some pictures of us.

  5. I’m sorry Ash. *Big virtual hug* Do you think you could delete him from your gmail or is that just too drastic?

  6. Goodness gracious, I know exactly how you feel. It’s supposed to get easier, but I don’t know if it ever really does. 😦

  7. Little Miss Obsessive

    aww sweetie.. that’s so understandable.. I’m sorry that you were upset and quite honestly I would be also. It’s just how it is.. keep doing what your doing – meeting new people, making the best out of your singleness and I promise you it will get easier. 🙂

  8. Ugh. The friends thing is so hard. It took me a really long time to be able to not have that sick friend when hearing about the new girl but now, we’re super good friends and I’m thankful that he’s still in my life in some form.

  9. ughh that can be really hard. I hate break ups! Its gonna hurt for a while and maybe its good that your sad it means your dealing w/ all the emotions and not just glossing over them. Thats the first step to moving on. You can’t move on and still have baggage from other relationships.

    I know its not easy though hang in there!

  10. Honestly, I’m baffled as to why you two keep such close contact so soon after breaking up.

    If seeing his away message or hearing about his new relationship is going to hurt/upset you – than you are CLEARLY not ready to be friends. As a friend, you should be able to cheer him on and feel comfortable talking about that sort of stuff. Just like with any other friend.

    Give yourself some time AWAY from him. Let yourself close the book on the relationship first, before opening a chapter on being friends. Otherwise, it sounds like you’ll be torturing yourself.

    You both need to move on. You no longer have the right to request things of each other regarding away messages, FB or MS posts, etc. That’s kinda outrageous, honestly.

    Give yourself some space, girl. You’ll breathe much better!

  11. Can I suggest something? Take his email out of your contact list. Voila! No more status messages!

    Trust me, it’s going to get harder. You can’t really ask him to censor his status. It’s not as if he’s flaunting it. If it makes you uncomfortable, remove him while you heal.

    That might help you not feel so tempted to email or message him. Give yourself time to switch gears and boundaries.

  12. Sending a big hug your way! I know this isnt easy. I also know that it takes time to move past this. I am so proud of you for getting out there and meeting new people. That is not easy. Right now you are feeling everything you need to feel. Hang in there!

  13. Oh man, girl.

    Sounds like my life.

    I know exactly how you feel. Everytime he changes his gchat status or goes on Facebook and someone writes on his wall, I feel like I have literally been punched. it causes the most severe reaction in me that I can actually go to the bathroom and throw up because I feel physically sick. I hate that he did that to me and I hate that your ex is doing it to you.

    I’ve only been single for 3 months, but already I’m doing way better..you are too! We all have our really bad days..and yours happened to be yesterday.

    Keep that pretty chin up! It’s GOOD that you are dating. You don’t need anything serious right now..it’s strange that he is exclusive with someone..that’s not what people who just got out of serious relationships do. They won’t work out..just know that.

  14. Being friends with an ex is just so so hard. Guys seem to be able to turn off those feelings from a relationship so much easier than girls can. I think you should give yourself space from him for a little while. I know that is hard too, but you need that space to really let go I think (at least I did). Good Luck!

  15. Being friends is incredibly difficult and the reason why my ex and I are constantly blurring the lines. It takes time. The most important thing is that YOU take care of YOU. 🙂

    I hope you’re feeling better!

  16. I want to say that I commend you for wanting to be friends with your ex – I’ve tried it before to no avail. It has always ended up in fighting, sleeping together again (the worst), saying things that dont’ need to be said, etc. I think it’s so hard to do, especially once other people are involved (ie, if you get a boyfriend). Good luck with this though – I hate the internet at times like that. I much preferred high school when someone would pass you a note saying that so and so was breaking up with you and that was that. 😉 Hang in there!

  17. well-intentioned heartbreaker

    awe, sugar. its okay. it takes a while to get over someone you love(d).
    just remember, everyone has different coping strategies. some people won’t date for a LONG time, others date nonstop. some sleep around after the break up, and some dive headfirst into another relationship. nothing he does means he has forgotten about you. chances are he thinks about you everyday as well.
    you’re doing FANTASTIC though. keep your head up, it gets easier with time.
    ox

  18. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My heart hurts for you just reading it. But know that you not moving on right away and taking time to figure out what you really want is the better – MATURE – decision. And someday he’ll come to regret the nonchalant way he treated your break up and realize just how awesome what he gave up really is.

    Hang in there… and KEEP DATING!! Hot men make everything better 🙂

  19. I’m so sorry about this situation. I completely understand what you’re going through. I’ve been there – feeling sick by seeing ANYTHING to do with him on facebook or gmail, or whatever. It sucks.
    Might I suggest just taking some time away from him right now. I know that seems difficult, but it might be best for the healing process.
    My ex and I dated for over a year. I moved across the country for him, chatted about marriage, then he broke up with me. The best thing I could have done for myself was have some emotional distance. Yea, there were some texts back and forth for birthdays and such, but I gave myself that time to heal.

    We’re meeting up this weekend for the very first time since the breakup to catch up. It’s been about 14 months since we broke up. I think only NOW is the first time I’ve been willing (and able) to be friends with him.

    It gets easier, I promise. Even if it takes longer than everyone says it will. You’ll get there. Just hang in there!

  20. *BIG HUGE FLUFFY WARM HUG*

  21. Ashley, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You deserve a lot of credit for handling what he’s done the way you have.

    His comment about “catting around” was uncalled for, and I think it just shows that he’s not entirely happy with the fact that you’ve done your best to move on.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’ve absolutely done the right thing by moving forward slowly and not rushing into another serious relationship. Don’t let him ruin that for you!

  22. One more thing: the whole “being friends” thing so soon after the end of the relationship seems like a really hard thing to do. I have a few friends who have done it, but only after having a pretty decent amount of time away from the person. Perhaps it might to not rush into the friend thing so soon after breaking up?

    Either way, I’m thinking about you and hoping that you’ll feel better soon!

  23. *might be better to not

  24. Wickedly Scarlett

    I never could do the friends with exes thing–it hurt way too much. I hope you’re feeling better today, and remember to take care of yourself first and THEN deal with his feelings. HUGS!

  25. *BIG HUG* I think all of us woman can relate to this some time or other in our lives. It will get easier and you already know that. Just hang in there and if it’s too much on you to be friends with him, rethink it. You need to do what is best for you 🙂

  26. You’ve outlined exactly why you need to cut contact with him. Move on. You are only dragging things out by trying to remain friends. It isn’t like you were in the same group of people, you had a relationship. It ended. Cut the ties. You’ll have a harder time moving on to someone else if the old ex is still in the picture, even with trying to do the friends thing. If you are going to be friends, you both need to have moved on with your lives and discover the capability within yourself to stand seeing the other with someone else, and you can’t while your heart is being pulled jsut by seeing a status on Facebook or Gmail.

  27. I have been there too, lady. It is such a shitty place to be in, but luckily you have power over your future and you can cut off all communication with him until you have healed. If that means stop signing online where you can see his messages, or blocking him, do it. You deserve time to heal. And believe me, you will heal. xo

  28. I don’t want to repeat what everyone else has said (because they all had really good advice) but it really would help to cut off contact for awhile. You guys can always try the friend thing a little bit later, maybe when the break up isn’t still so raw. It will definitely help you move on, trust me.

    And, seriously, in this virtual world of ours (where updates on Facebook and Twitter and away messages on Gtalk), you are constantly bombarded with information you really don’t wanna see. That’s why it’s good to get a clean break from it all for awhile.

    Hang in there. As cliched as it sounds, time really is the healer for this.

  29. First I have say wow you’re really open and honest on your blog and I appreciate that. Secondly that’s a lot to deal with. I had an experience where this girl I was really into (we dated for about six months) and I was in love. Although I knew that she was still in love with her ex and I was the placeholder, I really thought that we were going to make it. Well turned out it didn’t and I wasn’t to thrilled about being friends as much as she was. I was rude and mean to her because I was hurt (especially when I found out after only a month of being broken up she was back with her ex the very problem in the first place). So I had to cut back on emailing her, calling her, and trying to be friends until I got over her. She was really hurt by it, but that’s what I had to do. After being able to heal we were able to become the good friends we are now. So I think (despite what others may think) that it is possible to be friends with your ex, but you have to heal first and it sounds like that is what you are doing. Thanks for sharing.

    -jwriter

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