Love Letters

A stab in the heart from her ex

He wants to keep in touch, but having to hear about his happy love life is painful.

Q. Meredith,

I got dumped hard six months ago. When he told me he was in love with someone else, I was shocked to my core. I told him I was happy he found happiness and that I still loved him and his child. I told him I would need time to heal but wished him all the best. After that, I took care of myself as best I could.

He said he wanted to be friends, and I am not doing so well with it. He texts me pictures of his child and I get sad. We met for drinks one night and he told me how much this new girl was “the one.” It was like a stab in the heart.

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He continues to text me, and some of it I find strange. He called me last Thursday night to say he missed me and missed talking to me. I had no real response to that, but then he mentioned he would love to see me but would not be able to stay faithful to his new girlfriend. A few days later, he’s texting me to tell me I’m so great and should get promoted to a new job, etc. I’m at a point where I think I need to tell him to stop. I am starting a new relationship with a sweet guy who brings me flowers and makes me smile. Then the ex sends messages and I’m sad again. I keep thinking, “Why not me?”

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What should I do? Part of me wants to have him stop and another secretly wonders why he’s texting me at all. 

— Texts

A. At least you’re self-aware about your intentions. You want your ex’s messages because you hope that keeping the connection will change his mind. I’m going to do you a favor, though, and tell you that he won’t. He’s made it clear that this new woman is “the one.” He might love your attention, but he has chosen her.

Some people reach out to exes because they don’t want to feel like the bad guy. Other people do it because they like the validation. I can’t speak to your ex’s motivations, but he doesn’t seem to want to get back together. His messages are about keeping you in the loop — and having an audience.

He’s also continued this because you’ve let him, and now it’s up to you to set a boundary. Tell him to stop. Let him know that you’ll reach out if and when you’re ready to talk. Focus on yourself and the man who brings flowers. If you have the urge to text, do it with the new guy. 

— Meredith

READERS RESPOND

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It was naive of you to think you could be friends. Put your energy into giving the new guy a real chance.

NOMORESCREENNAMES

I suggest you read about narcissists and how they behave in relationships. And you will see a description of your ex and of his actions. Run away from him as fast as you can and never look back!

CYNICAL23

He’s stroking his own ego. By stringing you on emotionally, he’s telling himself that he could have more than one woman. Block his text, forget he ever existed, and move on.

ATOMICWEDGIE

If you’re fantasizing about the ex getting back together with you, just remember: He picked someone else over you. You’re not the one.

LUCILLEVANPELT

Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters, comments, and questions to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.