Savage Love Letter of the Day: Live In Nope

Comments

1
"Regarding PTSD, I am exaggerating a bit, but it seems reasonable to me that this whole event would change how I act in future relationships"

Good? When we are hurt, it is important to channel that into change, but to improve ourselves.

The issue here is not "trust", but that you didn't work out. Nobody accepts that with perfect grace, but you're going to not work out with a lot of people and coming to terms with that as best you can is the default state of things.
2
Not that you seem yet capable of that assessment, but with time hopefully you can just figure out what you can do better next time, with the right (or better) fit for you.
3
To expand a bit on what I wrote on the earlier thread, CLOSURE should consider talking to someone other than his friends about his feelings. There is only so long his friends are going to want to talk him through his feelings, and right now that is where he is putting his mental energy. CLOSURE should also get involved in things that he enjoys or new things that he has been interested in trying. Taking classes or participating in activities that put him in contact with new people are a great way to refocus his mind away from his ex-girlfriend. It is also a great way to meet someone new, in an environment that is removed from dating, and when CLOSURE does start dating he will have lots of interests and activities to discuss. People who are active and doing interesting things are more attractive to perspective partners. And CLOSURE should start dating. Just because his ex wasn't interested in continuing their relationship doesn't mean someone else won't find CLOSURE a good match. And when CLOSURE realizes that there are many other women interesting in meeting him, it will go a long way to easing his pain.
4
To CLOSURE's ex. Cut this guy off NOW. He will never, ever let this go and will do everything in his power to manipulate you back into the relationship. Because he can never be wrong, and if you dumped him that means he's somehow wrong and the only way to right is to get back with you. And if you don't want to, well that doesn't matter because he's always right.

Do it for the both of you.
5
I am concerned about the statement he has made saying that there is nothing wrong with wanting something and there is nothing wrong with asking for it.
Depends on how many times you plan to ask, my friend. One polite inquiry- can't be faulted. Multiple asks, and processing relationship issues purely so you can get a foot in the door and keep right on asking- not so good.
As I commented in the previous thread, this guy seems persistent and argumentative. I wonder if this ex is more concerned about her safety than anything else. If she can just let him down gently and slide him out, there is less risk for her physical and emotional well-being.
6
@4, @5
Yeah, it's a guy.
Therefore he's wrong.
7
I didn't bother reading the comments to CLOSURE's original letter, but in light of the new one, if there is exactly one thing CLOSURE takes from this, it should be:

"Next time around, you should make a greater effort to shut up and listen, rather than always trying to score your own extremely valid points. "
8
The more I read from him, the more I can understand just why 1) he thinks he's being totally reasonable and 2) she thinks he's confirming her decision.
9
It's definitely not a man-splaining thing, because here he is trying to tell Dan that Dan didn't provide a thorough enough answer for his liking.

Does this guy not realize how much of a pain in the ass he is? I'm tired of him already and I don't even know him!
10
@9: "No, no, no, if you would only just listen you would see..."

Over and over again.
11
"I accept her decision. That doesn't mean that she couldn't give me some peace of mind to know WHY the relationship is over. That also doesn't mean that we can't try rekindling it"

I don't think he knows that "acceptance" means.
12
@6 No he's wrong because he won't accept 'no' for answer and won't accept that this relationship is over. He's wrong because he keeps asking for something she can't give and is acting like he's being somehow wronged when his ex won't take him back.

This has nothing to do with him having a penis, if this letter came from a woman I'd have the same reaction. This person is a borderline stalker and needs to be stopped.
13
I LOLed: "Not disagreeing with you on your "no" statement. I was just hoping for more details there, like "only 1% of broken-up couples get back together" and/or "your desire to get back together will actually prevent it from happening." Something like that." Literally laughed out loud.
14
All of it is worth a read

No, it isn't.
15
Get used to SLLOTD from this point forward.
16
CLOSURE, I've been there, or nearby. Please take a three-month gap from talking with her, date around, and then consider asking again for a reason. Look at it this way, from there you would have a much better perspective on anything challenging to deal with.

The gap is really how you get closure. People who stay friends with their exes, 95% of them take a gap first to make that work. Wish they taught this in high school health class.

I know, you're hoping if you start around she'll want to be with you. First of all, she won't, it sounds pretty clear. Second, something you're doing now is making it even less likely, that sounds pretty clear too. Third, please just don't, you will look back with some regret at this time.

I'm curious, what's an example of what she theoretically could tell you that would give you your vision of closure? Closure, not "I can fix that."
17
"I accept her decision. That doesn't mean that she couldn't give me some peace of mind to know WHY the relationship is over."

Translation: "I totally accept her decision. I just feel she's obligated to come come up with an explanation that gives me peace of mind, by which I mean magically makes me feel better about being dumped and assures me that it wasn't my fault. And if she can't do that, get back together with me." Sorry, but that doesn't exist. She's already given you reasons - you just don't like them because they don't translate to getting back together or making you feel that you weren't dumped through any fault of your own. But, as she's said, as Dan's said, and as the commenters have said, THAT'S THE REASON! You need to stop dismissing other people's feelings every time they're inconvenient to you, and stop demanding that other people come up with elaborate lies and justifications to make you feel like you're always the good guy.

Also, there may not be harm in asking once, but there is harm in refusing to accept the answer, badgering, and nagging when the answer isn't what you want. And make no mistake, that is what you're doing. You say "The fact that my ex still talks to me should hopefully indicate [that I'm a decent person]." Well, keep up this behavior and that'll change soon enough. Also, you tout that as if it was evidence of you being a decent boyfriend, while then adding that she feels an obligation to be nice to all her exes (including the abusive asshole) - have you thought about that?

Stop demanding that she be responsible for your hurt feelings about the breakup. Stop looking for excuses as to why the breakup wasn't valid and why you should get back together. Stop. She dumped you. Accept it and move on.
18
I have to say this for my past self, I never claimed being broken up with for "it's not working" reasons was, like, at all weird or extreme or exemplifying absolute immunity. Or unusually traumatic.

It's normal. It happens. It hurts like hell. It will happen to you again. If this gives you PTSD, seek therapy, I say with all sympathy.

(Have you not been broken up with before? Or they always have had clear reasons, that you saw in hindsight as sufficient reasons to break up with you?)
19
What would people nominate for Top Five Relationship Facts to teach in high school health class? I nominate:

"I really don't want to do this" is a sufficient reason to break up.

Breaking up does not require mutual consent.

Take a gap before you try to be friends, unless you are *both* in the small fraction of people who do fine without this.
20
Hon, you're not even accepting Dan's advice, and you don't know him or feel you have any claim on him. If this is how you "accept her decision", I'm surprised she doesn't run like the wind from the sight of you.

People can, yes, be friends with exes. But not right away. First they have to let them be exes for a while. If you actually want to keep her as a friend, go away and come back in a year. Yes, I said "a year", not "a week".
21
Oh, and about "compassion".

Compassion is great, but it can manifest in different ways. Compassion that allows and encourages wallowing is not really very useful, or very nice. Sometimes people need to be told "Stop flailing around with that hammer. It's hitting other people, and swinging around and hitting you - you are hurting everyone".

The sooner this guy realizes that everyone is tired of his hurt feelings he'll also realize that he too is tired of them, and will stop nursing and nurturing them and keeping them alive.
22
LW: You need to get some distance from this woman. Close it all down, go thru the grief of separation and look into your own behaviour.
It's a shitty way to end a relationship and an older woman should know that.
My 19 yr old son's first gf did the same to him. Just ended the relationship without any warning. They had been together over a year and had lived tog. She suggested he move back home so she could study, then just dumped him. He was heartbroken and confused.
He's still working thru it a year later.
LW, you're a grown man and these things happen. Some time alone with your own thoughts might help you see what happened and why she bailed the way she did.
23
@22: The LW's in his late 30's, though - not 19.
24
Yay! Dan quoted me! :D
@6: Dan's right; some commenters are assholes.
25
Traffic @23: Being dumped hurts no matter how old you are. Sad fact of life. (I agree -- sounds like CLOSURE hasn't been dumped before, or at least not without some catalyst like cheating or lying. Sometimes people just fall out of infatuation. It happens.)
26
Congratulations Fan..
@23. Yes, I implied that when I referred to him as a grown man. Too subtle?
Whatever age this guy is, he's spinning himself into knots and he needs to stop. Forget why and go thru letting her go and let his mind go to other things. Read books. Go learn to dance.
27
Mmmm. LW, you remind me of a lot of people in my family. My sister, my father, and my oldest child: intelligent, prone to debate, and relentless.

Going for what you want - grit - isn't a bad thing, but you in your late thirties still have not learned that people are not objects to be pursued. And what you call "asking for what you want" just wears the other person the eff out. Not what you want to do with your significant other.

There is a fair amount of "owing" in your letter. Your ex doesn't owe you an explanation to your satisfaction. Even if she was still dating you, she doesn't owe you full access to her rhymes and reasons. Now good communication is always important in a relationship but that is different than someone owing you an explanation. I know, fine line, but do you see the difference? The first respects the agency of your so; the second does not. Respect your ex's agency and the citadel of her mind. Appreciate it if she lets down the draw bridge, don't demand she do so.

Second: the relentlessness. Knock it off when it comes to people, because it's simply another assault on their walls. You might win the battle, but as you found you will lose the war. It also demonstrates (which I believe your letter confirms) you really are interested in what you want. I see little appreciation regarding her feelings or the impact you may be having on her life or the fresh pain you might be causing by forcing her to go over the same painful ground to get your explanation. Well sure you don't owe her anything either, but you know, that is the way to lose the war. I also don't buy your "I'm doing this because it's good to be friendly with my ex!" Please. Maybe a call or text every once in a while, but long heart to heart calls when you are clearly still hurting?? Nope.

Look that relentless attitude is corrosive. You need to accept the word no. And I bet every explanation you might hear for her no just becomes another challenge to be scaled. Each no - in salesman jargon - becomes another way to yes. Stop. It. My oldest does this in spades. It's been a remarkable learning experience for me. If she asks for something three times the answer becomes no, period. Why? Because nothing is ever closed, everything is up for debate, and I find myself having to explain over and over again why the answer is no. On the long term, it wears you out. Stop. The subject is closed. Don't make her hang up on you.

28
Congratulations BiFan on being quoted. I admit to being jealous. Now on to new material--

The problem with advising people on continuing friendships with ex-lovers is that there are so many different sorts of friendships. I'm friends with people I get a Christmas card from once a year. I'm also friends with people I would lay down my life for, give great sums of money to, and bring up their children. Also everything in between. There are friends I would do favors for but don't like talking to much, friends I adore chatting with but am careful not to do anything for because they take advantage. Friends I have good memories of but don't much like in the present. Friends who are only good for one thing. And facebook friendship- a whole new world.

What sort of friendship does CLOSURE want with Ex? He says they have plenty to talk about, aren't just rehashing the get back together possibility. He says it's not all about whhyyyy, but I don't believe him based on the tone of his letters to Dan. In fact, he might talk to Ex about how they see their friendship going in the future, maybe negotiate some terms along the lines of "we talk about our jobs, families and hobbies but not about who we're dating until it gets serious."

Now on to the PTSD thing. Here's another place where I can relate. When I'm upset about something, really upset, I'm convinced that what I'm going through is the absolutely worst thing that ever happened to anyone. If I have a cold, I suffer silently and just know that I'm sick and no one has ever been sicker. It actually helps me feel better to exaggerate. Then I get over it and am embarrassed I made such a fuss. With that in mind, I understand how CLOSURE could be throwing around terms like PTSD when he thinks about getting dumped. I hope that in time he realizes that being broken up with is not comparable to spending months in a war zone witnessing unspeakable violence and living in fear for your life every goddamned minute of every day. At least, I hope he comes to that realization.

29
Of course none of us have any real facts.

But my take is very much different than vast majority here.

-She was in a relationship for two years.
-She has a moral obligation to speak & explain beyond teen-age platitudes.
-It's ok for him to ask.
-Has he asked too much, none of us know.
-End of story.

30
@29

-She has a moral obligation to speak & explain beyond teen-age platitudes.

NO. She doesn't. This is the rub and the heart of the problem. Traffic Spiral is right. This woman is not obligated to explain things to the LW in a way that doesn't hurt his feeling and makes the pain of the breakup disappear. She is not obligated to be his therapist or his mother and I think he would really benefit from not having his ego treated as the center of the universe.
31
@29: Fuck off, you creep.
32
I was the woman in a similar relationship. First of all, most of these responses are insightful and good, and I hope you are able to "hear" them. My perspective on a similar relationship I ended was that this basically good and fine man would. never. stop. talking. I can not bear compulsive talkers. One is not permitted to think in their presence. All thoughts must be the talker's thoughts. With infrequent time together, I thought I might be able to tolerate it with regular "um hmm's." More time together made me feel desperate to be away from him. I am older and was able to clearly end the relationship after he tried a few stratagems to have us be "friends."

She does not want to be with you. You can not change to make her want to be with you. Reducing the amount you talk will not work. Find someone who is comfortable with the authentic you.

This is also a chance to reconsider your approach to trying to control outcomes, i.e. other people. "It also doesn't mean that the person denying you the thing you want is allowed absolute immunity, especially if they know that it is something that would quiet your misery, and comes with relatively low risk for them." No. The other person is not responsible for you. You do not get to "allow" it. This crosses a line. It was a very revealing remark camouflaged in a smokescreen of words. Huge red flag.

33
@31
You are not an effective advocate for your persoectve.
34
@30
I guess we disagree.
35
@33: And your "moral obligations" show you to be an amoral person.
36
@33

Wrong again.
37
@29

I think your post illuminates the fine line I was addressing. In a good companion, we would want good communication skills. We would not want someone who simply calls up out of the blue and says "I'm done." But that does not translate into that person "owing us" an explanation. It's really about recognizing boundaries and other people's agency. We want someone to act x way. If they act x way, then great this is a person with whom you would want to build a relationship. But if a person does y (breaks up with us badly) then we decide whether that is bad enough to forestall any further relationship (I.e. Like a friendship), but we can't demand that the person go do x just because you want them too. Every person, including lw's ex girlfriend, gets to decide what she chooses to say or not say by way of explanation. She does not "owe" him to do it exactly how he desires it.

And frankly, based on his missives, he really is the kind of guy that will either debate it to death (those reasons aren't good reasons) or want to plunge into a detailed analysis of the relationship from top to bottom (so on Christmas 2014, you didn't like that teddy bear I bought you). It also appears to be a transparent effort for lw to keep his foot in the door.

And shock-o maybe SHE is hurting. Maybe she doesn't want to go through all that stuff over and over again. Maybe that wounds her. This is all about him (sure, he wrote) with little thought to her.

For me, having been dumped with little explanation and with much explanation (and having done the same) I personally find the less said the better, at least in the short term. The dumpee really doesnt want to know why and isn't in a position to intergrate it.

Lw. Shut up.

38
@fabwoman, your last paragraph says it all. That is absolutely what I was meant. One is about controlling oneself. One is about controlling the other person.
39
@37

Problem is that you (all of us in fact ) are hearing only one side of the story.

AS I WROTE, we don't know if he went over whatever boundary is appropriate. And in fact he may have. But it's only your reading that says it's so.

As to her duties -- yes she owes him some explanation.

We can disagree whether she did enough or not enough -- but it is only conjecture since we haven't heard from her and what she said.

40
@39: His side makes him look like an asshole. How he discusses things with Dan makes him look like an asshole. How you discuss entitlements makes you look an asshole.

There's no secret here that would change the advice in order to justify having to "accept" someone telling you a firm No.
40
Put it another way, we could say that at the extreme none of us have any moral obligation to anyone else (unless there is an explicit understanding) whether in word or deed.

Do you want to live in that kind of world? Where there are no customs and shared implicit understandings?

As I said, he may have gone over the edge. Then again she may not have said enough. We don't know what actually happened and for anyone to take a firm position one way or another, is in my humble opinion, a fool.

The best we can suggest to LW is that you run across assholes in life and best to avoid them and that there are plenty of decent women out there.

41
The issue here is that the LW is being the only asshole we can see.
42
@Red Herring, she doesn't owe this guy anything. She said it wasn't working, she said more talking is only making things clearer to her that she doesn't want to get back together, that is enough. I'm with Dark Horse, my daughter is also RELENTLESS negotiator and I can attest that it is exhausting!

He mentioned he wasn't always the best in the relationship, she has a history of an abusive ex (with no details about what that means), AND that she is still friends with that particular ex. She seems to think she needs to be nice to all of her exes, and he's talking PTSD! This guy sounds hugely dramatic and like a very poor listener. Like other commenters have said, I think she has been telling you, you just don't like the answer.

43
@42 Yes Red Herring telling someone that no means no is *exactly the same* as living in a crazed dystopia. Yes this guy not getting the explanation he wanted [whether said explanation was true or accurate] is a sign of The End of Days.

God damn is entitlement exhausting.
44
At 43 yeah I that's exactly how I feel too.

I've got explain things to people, especially assholes on slog.

I try to explain with small words and short sentences. Yet they still don't get it. Oh well.

It's tough but as a progressive, somebody's got to do it
45
I'm right there with you Red Herring.
46
@44: Without consent, you're nowhere near "Progressive", you're Trump in tie-dye.

@45: We'll that makes two shitty people who don't "accept" consent. Whoop di-fucking doo.
47
@41, I am fairly sure that few, if any, in this thread feel you need to keep explaining things.

OTOH, the LW would probably love this trait. You wouldn't be the one who asked for his email, would you?
48
* I meant @44
49
"Do you want to live in that kind of world? Where there are no customs and shared implicit understandings? "

When your customs are amoral, they should be jettisoned and set ablaze.

When your values are inherently regressive, you can't call yourself any sort of progressive.

You're not taking care of an individual or a community, you're far too self-centered.
50
@48: That said I don't need to state anything else here as well ;)
51
@50
Go away, pal
52
I don't accept or respect your request.
53
Wow undead. What's with all the heat.
This woman doesn't owe the LW anything. That's true. It's still a shit way to end a relationship. No warning at all as far as he could read and he's half of the story.
LW. I do agree with some posters above, your incessant talking would drive me crazy as. You just got to sort it on your own and pick women in future you've got a good read of.
54
"No warning at all as far as he could read"

He told us they had problems, of which he stated he was at fault for.

He conveniently left the exacts out (beyond him refusing to take no for an answer even before the dumping), the exacts of which would answer for her choice to not continue on in the relationship.

He needs to answer himself.
55
What is a good reason to break-up?
56
As someone just quoted in the original thread:

"I am human, though, and I admit that some stuff may have slipped through the cracks, and I didn’t always have perfect responses to things she said."

If he's ever going to be a grown-up in his relationships he needs to take responsibility for his actions and behavior at some point.

"Perfect" responses my ass. The idea that she expected nothing less than perfection and that he got anywhere near it needs to die along the naïf act. Nobody is perfect but decent is attainable.
57
No warnings of imminent breakup. Doesn't make him an ass undead.
58
What are you on about? Decent would have been her sitting him down and explaining what the hell happened for her and giving him a chance to unhook from this mess.
59
Asking for something after repeatedly being told no is either something a child who wants candy does, or something a harassing asshole does.
60
I think there's plenty of evidence in CLOSURE's several letters to conclude that he is, at best, immature and holding on to a doomed relationship like a dog with his favorite chew toy. His GF broke it off. She doesn't need a reason, she doesn't need to explain (although it's always nice if you do and I have the distinct feeling she probably has, most likely more than once.) Pursuing this to the point of obsessiveness is counter-productive and most likely at the top of the list of LW's prime relationship-killing character flaws. I'd be out the door without explaining myself twenty times too.

I also think there's plenty of evidence in Red Herring's several posts to conclude that he/she is an annoying, self-righteous, beat-a-dead-horse bird-of-a-feather with LW, but to each their own. In America and on the Web, the brain-dead get to have opinions too. At least until Trump & his fellow Nazi's pass a law against it. Maybe while they're taking away your citizenship for burning a flag.
61
Eupatorium@55 What is a good reason to break-up?
How about, "I don't want to see this person anymore"?
62
@58 I'm really not sure what he would have accepted though, he wrote:

Since the break-up, I have tried to get more info from her about what went wrong. We met up a couple of times, talked on the phone, had loads of email correspondence, took several weeks apart, followed by more correspondence, and another meet-up. [...] However, any talk about the break-up just frustrates me. The specific reasons she gives are totally solvable, e.g., “You live far away” can be solved with “I’m open to move closer,” or “We didn’t spend enough time together” can be solved with “Let’s spend more fucking time together.” Other than that, I just get vague statements like “We should be closer than we are by now in our relationship” or “I just don’t see it lasting in the long-haul” or “the more we talk, the more of my suspicions are confirmed,” all without giving actual details. [...] I’ve told her that I am frustrated by her lack of clarity, and her response is “I’m sorry that I can’t give you the information you need.”


It really sounds like she broke up with him because she was no longer feeling this relationship, and now has repeatedly sat down with him and tried to explain her feelings pretty kindly and gently.

Usually at this point you tell someone to stop pushing for an explanation of why the other person broke up with them because since they don't have a non-feelings based reason and he keeps pushing for something clear, she might resort to taking something he says or does or is that was a very slight irritation and declaring that to have been the last straw. Not because she's trying to lie or because that's genuinely the reason, just because the list of reasons is long and vague and that's the only one specific and clear and unarguable to be accepted.

She's already told him gently that this just wasn't working for her and that it's not anything he did, just that she felt the relationship should be other than it was. it's hard to see how that could be more clear.
63
This was not a shitty way to end a relationship. It was routine, morally neutral, and perhaps even designed to protect his feelings. The only thing she did wrong was not cut it off completely, rather than let him have continued contact which has given him false hope and a perceived license to hound her.

Lava, I am sorry your son was hurt. But when people make up their mind, no amount of advance notice is going to make it better. In fact, it will just make it worse. And let's face it, what your son wanted wasn't to know it was coming, but to find out the reasons so he could have prevented it from happening. However, neither this guy nor your son had the right to know what was wrong so they could try and fix it. Because by the time the dumper made the decision, it was unfixable. She didn't want to be with them. An emotionally exhausting immediate post-mortem doesn't fix anything. And it is not in the dumpee's power to resurrect a dead relationship.

Respect for autonomy is all.

Of course, there are plenty of shitty ways to break up with people. I am reminded of the guy who brought his new girlfriend to a weekly social event of friends and introduced her as such to us all, including his (previous) girlfriend who wasn't aware in that in the previous week he had decided not to date her anymore and had gotten a new girlfriend. That is shitty. An unexpected but clean breakup, as long as it is politely expressed, is not.

Frankly, people would be better off if they just broke up with people by text.
64
Undead @31 (and thereafter), I don't agree with what Red Herring said @29 at all, but unless Red Herring has some history of assholery I'm not aware of, where is all your hate coming from?

How you're discussing this with other commenters who, as far as I can tell are expressing honest opinions not motivated by hatred, is kind of making you look a bit like an asshole to me.

And the LW did offer some detail in his second letter about the suspicious statement in his first letter that you quote @56. I found that the explanation somewhat addressed my concerns that he was glossing over something abusive.
65
@LavaGirl: I get what you're saying, but at the same time, I imagine myself in her shoes and I would've done the same thing she did: told him that it wasn't working out kind of out of the blue. I would have maybe talked to him once or twice after that, but if it became clear that all he wanted was an explanation so he could argue me back into the relationship, I would tell him "Listen, I don't think our conversations are helping either of us; let's stop having them for a while." But I sure as heck wouldn't give him anything more solid as a reason than "I don't see us working out long term," because frankly, anything more concrete than that gives him an opportunity to argue with her. And there's nothing wrong with not giving someone your honest reasons for breaking up with them.
66
Dude has some entitlement issues. Take a step back man and try adulting for one second. This is not an aggression or crime being committed on you that entitled you to demand a justification strong enough to shut you down. Because that's what you are really asking for. For her to lash out violentally enough at you to eliminate your questions and culpability and allow you to freely blame her and talk shit. You keep pushing and whining and clinging but really you are trying to get her to donor say something that lets your selfish monster emerge with justification.
67
I was recently in the exact same position as the woman who dumped this guy. I simply came to the realization that my feelings did not match those of the woman I was with and were never going to. I cared about her and loved her company, but I just didn't feel as deeply for her as she claimed she did about me. Once I knew that wasn't going to change, it was over.

The point, if this guy is reading, is that there weren't any concrete reasons for it. It's just a version of he/she just isn't into you...enough. If you keep digging for specifics, you're going to be more miserable than you are now, and your life will be on hold while you're being more miserable. There are no specifics. Do yourself a favor and move on. If my ex wanted to get together for a chit-chat, I would do it because I just plain like her. But she's wise enough to know that's not in her emotional best interests, so we don't see each other. I recommend you follow her example, stop seeing this woman, and get on with your life!
68
@63: Agreed completely.

Plus, if you know you're going to break up with someone, what kind of "warning" are you supposed to give them? "Hey, I'm going to dump you in a week. No, I don't want to talk about it." Seems weird. She did give him a chance to "unhook from this mess"--it's called ending the relationship.

As far as explanation goes...look, there are three kinds of reasons you break up with someone:

1) Situational and/or mostly about you: you have to move to Milwaukee, you want to date around more, you're joining a convent. If the reason you're being dumped is one of these things, you'll know it--most people aren't going to be subtle or evasive about these.
2) Stuff you honestly can't put your finger on in any specific way. You're just not feeling the chemistry-romantic, sexual, whatever-any more. Being around this person doesn't do it for you. There's nothing to explain.
3) Specific flaws in the relationship that you don't want to talk about and the other person really doesn't want to hear. Maybe they're only flaws for you, so bringing them to the person's attention would be hurtful for no reason. Maybe you don't think they can or are willing to change, and you're not interested in wasting more time on a likely-futile attempt to fix things. Either way, yes, there are reasons, but a conversation about them is going to be brutal and ugly and just way more trouble than it's worth.

LW, do you really want this girl to sit you down and tell you that you breathe like an open sewer line, your music sounds like cats in a garbage truck, every "insight" you ever had was the dumbest thing she'd ever heard, and she was thinking about her hot co-worker every time she fucked? Because if you keep pushing, some variant of that is what you'll probably get and definitely deserve.
69
@39.

I suppose where you and I disagree is over whether to believe what the LW told us. While the ex might have broken up with CLOSURE unexpectedly (clearly), she also has agreed to communicate with CLOSURE often since their break up about a multitude of things, including the reasons they broke up. However, her explanations have been insufficient for him. And he is trying to maintain contact because he wants her back.

Yet still she "owes" him something more? What more? And who gets to define the correct amount of more? The guy who clearly wants to stay enmeshed? When you start looking at it analytically, you will realize that you have always lived in the wild west and the social contract of "appropriate behavior" that you cite is the stuff of dreams.

Interestingly enough, I've found that the less stock I've put into the "social contract" - which is simply about making assumptions regarding how others "ought" to act in very grey areas - the less unhappy I've become. And my life has not turned into the wild west. The reason is that it has forced me to communicate more effectively with others because I realize they do not see the situation the same way I do. So, yes, really, my husband and I discussed the parameters of faithfulness in our marriage (we are monogamous), whether it was respectful to let someone know when you are coming home late (why yes I thought so, be he didn't), and a multitude of other issues.

There really is no "right" way to break up with someone. If one is married to an abusive man (which I do not believe is CLOSURE), disappearing one day and changing one's name might be indicated.

For myself, I wouldn't want to submit (or receive) agonizing details over exactly why someone broke up with me. Does that make me wrong? Or simply different than you? A women like the ex who is conflict adverse might default to that position.

The problem with the word "owed" is that it implies that there is some independent way to handle it and that way is exactly what CLOSURE decides it is. See the problem there? Even if CLOSURE is right, there is no way to force his EX to see it the same way or come up with the answers he desires. If he took the "owed" chip off the table, it might take away some of the pain he is experiencing. He would stop feeling wronged because someone violated the social contract. Rules can't be broken if they aren't rules to begin with. I know it sounds new agey, but its true and freeing. Because it also means you (or CLOSURE) gets to decide what is acceptable for his life.

In addition, if she is being callous, simply tossing him out like yesterday's scraps because she doesn't really want him, shouldn't he see that, clearly, for what it is rather than try to force her to be something different? And seeing it clearly, perhaps he will get over more quickly and move on to someone else?

70
@68. That is exactly why I don't want/like/or give long explanations for break ups, exactly. The other person is rarely ever ready to hear it and it does not improve the situation. Better just to go.
71
Interesting that this particular SLLOTD, which is in fact a followup/rehash of a much-commented SLLOTD from last week, hit the magic "69" before the weekly column. Interesting also that #40 is doubled up, so Fun @68 and DarkHorse @69 get to be co-winners of this honor!

Along with BDF @24, I am thrilled to have been quoted in Dan's commentary! Fichu @28, you deserved to be - I enjoyed your original commentary last week, as well as this thoughtful and insightful post today.

Red Herring and Undead starting @29 and sniping intermittently thereafter, Peace! You both have valid points of view, but like CLOSURE, you are both so emotionally involved with your own interpretation of this letter and what you think it tells you about the character of the writer, you both come across as being completely deaf to alternative interpretations. (Red Herring used more civil language, but managed to sneer and belittle just as effectively.) Best to just agree to disagree, and move on.

72
Heartless mob. Warning is something
like" this relationship is not working for me" a few weeks before she walks that she's thinking of walking.
73
@72: Really? So she's obligated to stay in a relationship she knows she doesn't want--fucking someone, presumably, that she doesn't want to be fucking--for, what, a minimum of two weeks so that an adult* can get used to the idea that relationships end? That sounds...dubious.

Or is she obligated to put up with attempts at negotiation and "I'll get better!" when she already knows she doesn't want to try? Exactly who is that helping?

*Lord, the modern young man is a fragile goddamn flower at times.
74
@73: Im not sure if fragile is the right word. Maybe clueless?
If a relationship has been going for a couple of years than yes, I'd expect a little warning things are going wrong.
75
i have much more to comment but the OP writer has already abused length. so i will say this. while i hear and understand all of his concerns and arguements...HE WANTS VALIDATION AND AFFIRMATION NOT ADVICE. so im. ot wasting breath or time or energy or any more effort.
76
@74 but wouldn't you expect your "warning" to somebody to come as a side effect of bringing up problems, as you see and try to work on them?

I do expect an adult in a committed relationship to try to be aware of what's getting to be a problem for them, and to bring it up if it isn't obvious. We don't know if the woman did that. We know that CLOSURE didn't pick up on anything... but it's possible he missed something. It's conceivable he was talking more than listening.

Anyway, sometimes people do have an epiphany and realize: I don't want to be in this and I don't want to work on it. Maybe they could have had better self-awareness beforehand. Or maybe it was a difficult situation to be self-aware in. Whatever the reason, at that point I don't think anybody owes their (ex-)partner two weeks' notice of doom, two weeks of living painfully together if they don't have to, or two weeks of goodbye fucks they don't want to fuck.
77
I don't mean give notice that the relationship is gonna end in two weeks. How literal everybody is. I mean some indication in a two year relationship that all is not going well.
78
@55 How about "I don't want to do this anymore"?

ANY reasons is a good reason to break up, if the person breaking up thinks it is. And the person being broken up with doesn't get a say.

Yeah, that sucks when it happens to you. But the alternative is people staying in relationships they don't want, and that sucks worse.
79
@LavaGirl: I just see this from the dumper's perspective and can't help but think that you have too much sympathy for people who are oblivious. Let's just say we take this guy's ex at her word, that "We aren't as close as we should be by now." I just don't see what kind of warning she could have given that would have been helpful. If she had said "Hey, shouldn't we be closer by now?" while they were still dating, and they'd had a whole discussion about it and he tried to do a whole bunch of make-us-closer activities to try to fix it, it's not like it would've worked. She still would probably have the feeling- it would've just given him anxiety before the end of the relationship and then pretty much the same grief afterward. If she was genuinely failing to communicate actual problems to him, sure, she should've done that. But this sounds like a case where there was nothing he could possibly have done to change her mind about it. By that time, it's better to just dump and move on. Any warning she could've given for that kind of reason would just have given him false hope that he could fix it.
80
My bet: she brought up issues before, but explained to her why they weren't like she said, he'd fix them, they weren't logical.

She maybe convinced herself he was right enough to go with. Or she didn't want to have that conversation another time, so she tried to see if she could carry on with the issues still present. Anyway, she tried to change the relationship, probably more than once, and this was how it was gonna stay. And finally she realized she didn't want another two years in the same place.

(And as somebody commented, they'd been in an LDR and recently spent a chunk of vacation time together, that probably kicked some realization loose.)
81
"And, you're right. You can't always get what you want, but that doesn't mean that you can't still want it and ask for it. It also doesn't mean that the person denying you the thing you want is allowed absolute immunity, especially if they know that it is something that would quiet your misery, and comes with relatively low risk for them."

This raises all sorts of red flags for me. This sounds LW is someone who CAN'T take no for an answer, his ex isn't allowed to not give him what he wants, really?

If LW's ex is reading, RUN, RUN, RUN! Block his number, change your locks, get a restraining order, NEVER TALK TO HIM AGAIN!
82
@lava.

I am actually very empathetic to your son and to CLOSURE. I don't think CLOSURE is a stalker or anything else. I have been dumped with little warning - no warning and also humilitated myself chasing someone who dumped me (gah! If I could shake younger myself!) I also made the major error of trying to work on a relationship that was going bust - and the end result is that it hobbled on for way too long and blew up in the end.

But being empathetic to the real pain of being broad sided that a relationship does not mean that the way the relationship ended was wrong and should have ended differently. I don't know if it's an American thing, but I think there is a knee jerk reaction that if something hurts, it was done wrong and should have been handled differently.

I've played this out. I've struggled with the concept of ultimatums and deal breakers and when you try to work things out and when you don't.

What we are talking about is softening the blow. I donno. Sometimes it's easier to rip the bandaid off. Twisting over it just extends the pain. If it isn't fixable, it isn't. As soon as one person is done. It's done.
83
I think you missed the boat on this one because you don't speak woman. She was waiting for a marriage proposal and didn't get one.
84
Look LW, you're not looking for WHY she left, you're looking for a way to get her to stay. It's hard to conceive that after all that TALKING, she hasn't given you some reasons, you just don't believe they're good enough; and now, since you're getting along better, you think a reconciliation can happen. You're getting along better BECAUSE the relationship is over on her part - and she is less miserable and stressed - NOT because either of you have changed, or understand each other better, or she has seen her error and want to get back together with you.

It's over, if you truly love her, let her go. Move on.
85
@83 You must have come here from the early 19th C. Tell us where your time machine is so we can go back to before the Brexit and Trumpocalypse votes.
86
@81, you are exactly right. I was in a similar situation. In fact, so much so that I think LW may be the person it was. The arguments (and argumentiveness) and language are similar. He would have left out a few things and made some changes and embellishments to his story. (I wouldn’t put it past him to do that). This person told me that I was unjustified in ending the relationship, and therefore had to work with him to restore it. Since then he has been contacting me via email and mail for almost 2 years now. I filed a restraining order after 7 months. Then he begged me to withdraw it and said he wouldn’t contact me anymore. At the time, I didn’t want to have to face him and argue with him in court, so I agreed to withdraw the restraining order. Then he broke his promise a month later and the emails and mail started all over again and have not stopped.
87
@80: "My bet: she brought up issues before, but explained to her why they weren't like she said, he'd fix them, they weren't logical"

Exactly. He told her her "problems weren't actually problems because" and mansplained their relationship to her. She couldn't get in a word edgewise and moved on after their last obligation together.
88
The long, long boring drone sounds like a man who can't imagine not being listened to ad infinitum until ad nauseum. Good on her for bailing, but I'd make a point of getting away and staying the hell away from this fellow. His tedium went all the way to creepy. Was anybody else creeped out by him?
89
All of this? Most of this? Some of this? I hope LW is satisfied by this comprehensive adjudication.
90
@88 arguing why she didn't actually have the right not to do what he wanted, that was a creep flag for me.

What about his emphasis on how deeply he had been wounded, and how shocked he was at this totally common experience? It's not inherently questionable, I think we've all been there at one point. (Maybe it really had never happened him in his life?) It doesn't imply a dangerous guy. But dangerous guys commonly have it, and use it as rage fuel. So yeah, he's putting multiple warning lights on the board.

Hopefully he's just a harmless bore with some risk factors that never come together.
91
Honestly, Dan, I love you, but you can be a bit of a clueless douchebag sometimes. And frankly, a majority of the responses to this entire letter have kind of disgusted me. I'm not normally this arrogant, but I believe that most of you are just completely, 100% wrong.

The one thing we know is that this woman seems to sincerely like this guy, based on the fact that she continually visits with him and talks to him -- and gives him answers to the best of her ability (to the extent that it doesn't hurt his feelings). Given the basic facts are true (which Dan and Co. assume with every letter), all of the evidence suggests that this guy is totally nice and didn't do anything unreasonably wrong.

And yet she isn't attracted to him anymore, which in zero way relates to how nice someone is, or whether or not his use of the barely-now-a-cuss-word-word "fuck" might reveal a flash of anger, or any of the other idiotic speculations that have often crept up in this forum in relation to this letter.

Here is what's going on:

1) Unintentional masochism on the part of the LW.
2) Unintentional sadism on the part of the ex-GF.

He needs to stand up for himself and put an end to things. It's fucking over. The fact that I used the "f" word makes me approximately as abusive as Dan Savage. He should call her up and say, "Listen. I'll be honest. I thought things were going well, and so did everyone else in our lives that I talked to, and when you ended things, it totally took me off guard. I had hoped that I could figure out what went wrong -- I know I'm not perfect -- if for no other reason than to work on myself as a person. But it's clear I'll never know. I enjoyed being with you, but you were my girlfriend, and that's the way I see you. So we can't continue to be friends. No hard feelings, and I wish you the best."

There is a chance she'll try to sleep with him again when he does this -- if he's sane, he'll end it permanently then: tell her never to contact him again, etc.
92
@91: "The one thing we know is that this woman seems to sincerely like this guy, based on the fact that she continually visits with him and talks to him"

He contacts her, he visits friends when she's around. He scrounges through her social media.

She's polite to him in public, but she wants her own life.
93
"There is a chance she'll try to sleep with him again when he does this -- if he's sane, he'll end it permanently then: tell her never to contact him again, etc."

You have this the exact opposite of how most of us view the scenario. She dumped him. She has no interest in pursuing a relationship with him, she is keepin mum about her dating and social life beyond those times when he engineers to be around her.
94
I once broke up with a guy because he had a penis I just couldn't work with and he mispronounced some words intentionally, thinking it was cute. He asked me why I ended it: should I have told him? I think not. Of course there was a general "not that into it" background feeling on my part, as well, but that's also not a satisfactory thing to say to someone; at least, the sort of person who asks often isn't satisfied by that.

That said, we weren't too far into our relationship, no more than two months--two years seems different, after two years I'd probably expect more information. Although they were long distance, and that often means that in terms of actual time spent, the relationship is much newer than it appears.
95
Oh, where to start.

1. There is a difference between being FRIENDLY with an ex and being FRIENDS with an ex. You can be kind, decent, and respectful of someone you used to date without wanting any further interaction with them.

2. "That doesn't mean that she couldn't give me some peace of mind to know WHY the relationship is over."

LW, what on earth do you want to hear?

"That also doesn't mean that we can't try rekindling it, both sides willing of course. You've said in one of your posts something like "the world is full of couples that got back together.""

AH. There it is. You're hoping that through a combination of pleading, guilt, and corrosive togetherness that you can wear down your ex into starting to date you again, because that's really what you want. You're couching it in the idea of being friendly with your ex, except you don't want friendly, you don't even want friends, you want more than friends and more than friends with benefits.

That's kind of shitty, now that I think of it...you're trying to use the notion of being friendly and kind to a person she was once close to as a hammer to bludgeon her with because she's not being More Than Friends with you.

Do you want to hear her say, you're terrible in bed, you're holding back my career, you smell like cheese? Do you want to hear her say, you don't listen when I tell you things and I'm done with it? Do you want her to tell you that her chakras opened and she saw a future as a spiritual mystic that involves ritual sex with people who are not you?

No. You want her to come crawling back to you with a heavy dose of well-eaten crow in her belly and there will be love and bunnies and you got what you wanted.

Leave her be. Let her go. Ask a counsellor to help you get through this, because you are stuck on this too.
96
@yup
97
@77: It's quote possible she did give him some indication that things weren't going well, and he was simply in denial about this being a relationship-ending issue.

There are many stories from the flip side of this scenario: "I told significant other I had a problem, they brushed it off as not a problem, and then acted completely blindsided and bewildered when I left over it."

This letter could easily have been written by my ex.

I told him I had issues with things: his outbursts of shouting and breaking inanimate objects, his mooching off me and his mother in his 40's and not getting a job, his hoarder pigsty apartment, his serious substance abuse issues, his indoor smoking, etc, etc, etc. I told him, repeatedly, for three years that I wanted him to fix these issues, that I couldn't live with someone who was such a mess.

To him, none of these were reasons to break up. To him, this way of living was normal and not a problem. Whenever I raised any of these issues, he made a point of reminding me that he neither beat me nor cheated on me. Apparently, in his mind, those were the only reasons to dump someone.

And I can see why he would think that--he would never dump someone over any of this, because he didn't see any of it as a problem, and he couldn't do any better being a mess himself, so he thought of these things as trivial, not grounds for breakup.

When I left, he insisted that he deserved to know why. I had already told him why. I had told him why for three years. I told him again. He refused to believe I would leave him over what were, in his mind, trivial issues.

He said he deserved another chance after three years. As far as I was concerned, he'd had three years worth of chances and had consistently shown me he didn't care about what mattered to me.

He couldn't make sense of the reasons I gave him--refused to believe that any of them were "the real reason." Accepting that I left him for the reasons I told him would have required some painful introspection and self-awareness. It was too painful for him to admit his own flaws, so he had to deny that they were the reason--or call me petty and immature for "giving up so easily on a relationship of three years."
98
@97: "Whenever I raised any of these issues, he made a point of reminding me that he neither beat me nor cheated on me"

God, "I would never beat you", offered out of any sane context is so incredibly creepy :/
99
@68:
LW, do you really want this girl to sit you down and tell you that you breathe like an open sewer line, your music sounds like cats in a garbage truck, every "insight" you ever had was the dumbest thing she'd ever heard, and she was thinking about her hot co-worker every time she fucked? Because if you keep pushing, some variant of that is what you'll probably get and definitely deserve.

As someone who asks for explanations, this is EXACTLY what I want to hear, assuming they're the real reasons. That would all help me properly contextualize what happened in the relationship when I thought it was going fine: it turned out that she had never really been that attracted to me, I had irritating personal habits, our tastes diverged, and our conversation wasn't interesting to her. Assuming that she had not raised any of the issues before, that would tell me that I hadn't misread the situation so much as she had been hiding a bunch of incompatibilities but eventually decided they were too much. Of course, I also accept "I don't want to" as a good enough reason and don't press further, but it's always a confusing reason when the person did apparently want to the night before. I find knowing that they really didn't want to the night before but took until the morning to make the decision to leave to be palliative.