Love Letters

Sorry buddy, I don’t want to be friends after breaking up

What’s the point, after a short relationship with a bitter breakup, of trying to be friends?

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Q. Meredith,

I dated a guy I met online for about three months. I really liked his humor and easygoing nature. I assumed he was just as into me when he asked me to be exclusive. Long story short, after several weekends of not hearing from him, I got frustrated and sent him an e-mail kindly breaking things off. It was difficult because I liked him so much, but I wasn’t feeling valued.

I would have given it another shot if he was willing, but he was hostile, dumping me back over text and then calling a few days later to “officially” break up. Before he hung up, he said, “I know you’re not usually friends with your exes, but after a little time, reach out, I think we could be friends.” It felt like a slap in the face.

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About three weeks later, he texted, asking how I was. I politely responded and wished him well. Two weeks after that, another casual text. I ignored it. He’s back on dating sites, so I know his contact is not an attempt to rekindle anything. My questions are for perspective: Why does an ex continue to text when he knows friendship isn’t on the table? Is it to pacify guilt? Selfishness? Boredom? Loneliness? Do people really stay casual friends with their exes? Feels like a recipe for disaster.

—  Parted Ways

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A. “Is it to pacify guilt? Selfishness? Boredom? Loneliness?”

All of the above!

In my experience, people also text exes because: They have been rejected by someone new and need validation; they are going through a why-am-I-single crisis, like in High Fidelity, and want to talk to people from their past; they have had two glasses of riesling.

In your case, his texts might be regret or legitimate concern for your well-being, but you were right to start ignoring them. You don’t want to be his friend. You also don’t want to get back together with someone who fell out of your life, then felt the need to break up with you twice.

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People can have casual friendships with exes; some former significant (and insignificant) others are great when it comes to holiday texts and the occasional social media post. But you don’t have enough history with this guy to make that kind of thing worth your while. There’s no need to try.

 —  Meredith

READERS RESPOND

“His contact is not an attempt to rekindle anything.” Not necessarily. BKLYNMOM

The beauty of breaking up is you are no longer required to invest energy trying to understand the other person. COMMENTOR2

You are currently trailing 2-1 in the break-up score. You are never going to make a comeback and win if you keep ignoring him. Tom Brady and the Patriots didn’t give up when they were down 28-3 in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl and neither should you. Press him to get back together and then dump him as soon as he agrees. CRUCIFIEDZEOFF

Block his number. It’s very simple. Unless you like the drama. JROYSBOY

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