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LOVE LETTERS

He reaches out when he’s bored and lonely

My first instinct when he texts me is to reply right away, even though I know he is just looking for someone to talk to

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Q. I have known this guy for almost two years. We met online and actually dated for the first few months we knew each other. It was so nice and he was actually the first person I dated seriously. We would go on dates a few times a month and talk on the phone for hours, multiple times a week.

But then he suddenly stopped texting me. At first I thought he probably just needed space, so I didn’t reach out to him because I thought he would text me after two days. However, a week went by and he still hadn’t texted me, so I reached out to him. He then responded after three days to tell me he wasn’t feeling it anymore. He told me that he enjoyed the time we had together and wished me the best.

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I was devastated. Although I had been sensing that he would break up with me, it was still a shock. Our relationship may have moved too quickly. However, he could have communicated that he was feeling that way instead of just avoiding me for a week. I cried for four days straight. After a few months, I was able to heal, and just as I was starting to move on from him, he sent me a text.

We started talking again and I started having the same romantic feelings for him. Fast forward a few months and we were talking a lot and hanging out more often again. I secretly kept hoping that he would regain those feelings. I even told him at one point that I still had feelings for him, but he friend-zoned me.

Accepting this, I was still able to be friends with him, and we supported each other through a lot of things. Now I feel that he only talks to me when he is bored and lonely, and I feel used. My first instinct when he texts me is to reply right away, even though I know he is just looking for someone to talk to. Should I just tell him that I don’t want to be someone he can have a short conversation with? Or should I just cut off communication with him completely?

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TWO YEARS


A. He doesn’t deserve so much real estate in your mind.

He belongs in the brain box labeled “almost, but not enough.” Or the one called “acquaintances that might require too much attention.”

Stop talking to him. There’s no need to respond to meaningless messages. If he asks what’s up, tell him you’ve realized the friendship isn’t healthy for you because you never moved past the breakup, and that it’s unfair to both of you to pretend that this works.

In most cases, I’d tell someone to reach out with this explanation before taking space. It’s courteous and emotionally mature to give someone a heads up about how you feel and how your relationship with them will change. But I get the sense that this man doesn’t check in with you that much. He’s not a huge part of your life anymore, and the deep connection has mostly disappeared. He might not notice. Again, if he asks where you’ve been, be clear with him about your needs. But I think you can just ignore the bored texts for now.

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Remind yourself, when you need to, that you never embraced this friendship. The platonic Part 2 of this relationship never came easy to you because you always wanted more. You can stop trying now, and call this a second breakup. Lean on real friends and use that hopeful, romantic energy to seek out real romance.

MEREDITH


READERS RESPOND:

Letter writer, you are being treated exactly with the level of interest that you will tolerate. Why on earth would you do it? Maybe he isn’t the only one bored and lonely.

BZZNLIKE-CRAZYMAN


^THIS. Meredith’s advice is somewhat correct. When the guy texts again, the letter writer should tell him point blank that the relationship is unhealthy and she is not going to communicate with him. And then she should block his number (and, of course, remove and block him from any other way they might be connected, like social media, if she has not already). If the letter writer were a stronger person I’d say just ghost him back; never reply, and see how quickly he disappears.

URKIDDINME


You owe him zero explanation, and you are better off just not responding and leaving for good. You do have to cut ties to move on. When you feel like you should explain yourself, remember that you were actually dating and he ghosted. So it’s perfectly fine just to not be there for him.

HOLLYIVY


The part of you that cares about him actually just cares about what you had hoped he might be. That person doesn’t exist. Instead, you have a time-consuming attachment with someone who talks to you on occasion when he is bored. Cut all ties to this emotional dead weight and find someone who actually cares.

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PRINCEHANS


Do you feel “used” by a friend who wants to hang out with you occasionally? Of course not. He wants to be friends. You don’t. It’s your responsibility to walk away. Don’t demonize him for not being what you want.

SEENITTOO


^Great insight.

EACB


^Why, thank you.

SEENITTOO

Meredith wants to read your relationship question! Send your own letters to loveletters@globe.com.