Q. Dear Meredith,
A few months ago I started hooking up with a friend. I was hoping it could become something more serious, but he was hot and cold. We never had the conversation about what was happening.
A month ago, when I saw him last, he was distant and pulled away whenever I would touch him. When I asked how he was feeling, he said he didn’t know. I told him I was backing off until he knew.
Fast forward a month and on his Instagram story there were images of him with another woman. When I confronted him, he told me point blank it was never his intention to take anything further. Immediately, I started to compare myself to her.
My question, Meredith, is: How do you not blame yourself when someone you were interested in chooses someone else?
— Critical Thinker
A. Some things to consider:
1) You have no idea how he feels about this other woman. Instagram stories are a moment in time. Whatever you saw was temporary.
2) Let’s say he’s smitten with her. Does that really say anything about you? You can compare yourself to her all you want, but you’ll never know what inexplicable thing has drawn him to her. I’m sure you can come up with a list of people who are, on paper, better for you than this man. Yet . . . you want him. You won’t be able to figure out why he wants her, so stop trying.
3) You built this relationship on hope, but that wasn’t enough. His moments of hot turned cold pretty quickly. The lesson here is that actions and words are both important, but so is consistency. He wasn’t able to offer that.
Mute his accounts — and hers, if you’re following them. Force yourself to start hoping for someone new.
Hooking up with him was your mistake. He was hot and cold because he likes sex but never was feeling much for you personally beyond friendship. You wanted more, he knew it. Neither of you communicated your feelings. You were never “girlfriend” material in his view. You’ll never know why. FREEADVICEFORYOU
If you actually found out why he liked the other girl, what would you do? Would you change your looks, pretend to be someone you’re not? It doesn’t mean she is better than you. Just look for someone who likes you. LEGALLYLIZ2017
*Gets on soapbox* Be clear with your intentions upfront, millennials! If you want a hookup, just say it. If, after a hookup, you want to date, just say it! Don’t leave things vague — this “don’t define, don’t judge” mentality is leading you guys to confusion, misery, and social impotence. *Climbs down* BLISTERED-TOE
Ha! If only this was just millennials. ALLUSERNAMESARETAKEN
A few years ago, the guy who broke my heart instead chose this really homely looking British girl with bad teeth and glasses. I could not figure out what was wrong with him. Five years later, they’re still together and look happy. I moved on and found someone else much more suited to me. This is just how these things go. No one is “better” or “worse.” People are matches or they’re not. STILETTOSONCOBBLESTONE
Catch Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to email@example.com.