Q. A year ago, my boyfriend of over 10 years broke up with me. He gave a bunch of different half-hearted reasons, but the main one seemed to be that our relationship got stagnant and he wasn’t sure if he saw a future with me. There was the added complication of his friends and a female co-worker really coercing him out of the relationship.
We never got into fights or had any bad arguments or issues. I thought we could be friends. Or friendly. When he moved out, he never changed his address, so his mail continued to come to me and he would come get it once a month. I know I should have told him to stop and I know it’s stupid, but it was an excuse to see him.
Recently, a picture of him and a group of friends and his new girlfriend (that female co-worker) was posted online. It hit me really hard. I realized I couldn’t do this anymore and the next time he came over, I told him so. I had to cut him out of everything. The conversation got really emotional. He admitted to dating her non-exclusively, and then told me he loves me and only sees me in his future. He said she’s nothing to him, but understands I need to cut him out completely. His words and his actions are completely opposite and have made me even more confused. How can he say all that but still mess around with this woman?
A. He said she’s nothing to him? That’s so disrespectful.
I mean, I’m not worried about this other woman at the moment (she didn’t write me a letter, but this story makes me wonder what he’s saying about you to her — and others. He might not be serious about her, but he could be kinder about who she is in his life. It sounds like he’s telling people what he thinks they want to hear, no matter how cruel it is to someone else.
Your gut told you to cut him off. Good thing he understands! If he loves you, he’ll go away, because you have no idea what “future” he’s talking about, and frankly, if his actions don’t match his words, his promises are pretty useless.
Also, it’s annoying that he never changed his address. You’ve had to set boundaries for both of you, despite this breakup being his choice. He’s not thinking of what’s easiest and best for you.
Block him and consider a future without him, one you dream up on your own, with better things. Know that most people aren’t coerced into leaving a partner, especially if they don’t want to. He made this decision on his own. Believe that he’s gone and that you can do better.
The post office can forward his mail. You can move on.
He broke up with you, he left your home, and he’s dating someone else. Why he says what he says is anyone’s guess. Maybe keeping you on the back burner appeals to him? I dunno. It’s time to put a stop on his mail and let the post office know he no longer lives there so his mail gets returned to sender. While the idea of staying friends/friendly seems nice ... it’s not easy, IMO was never worth it. I have enough friends and I bet you do too.
I think Meredith is right when she says he’s telling people what they want to hear. Bottom line, if she really was “nothing to him” then that’s what she’d be. But he’s with her, not you. Continue to cut him out; he’s a waste of time and a bundle of drama.
Whatever reasons for breaking up he gave you are valid. Believing his reasons were “half-hearted” is allowing you to believe he didn’t mean what he said. He did. You’re broken up. Act like it.
Your ex is your ex. If you want a new friend, get a dog.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.