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NC from the perspective of the dumper

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Let me start by saying that in most cases, I agree with the NC strategy. Not to get someone back, but to move on from the relationship. When I ended it with my boyfriend, I wanted to do that but he didn't agree. Eventually, however, he did say that he needed sometime and I supported that. Recently, like within the past month, he told me that he was OK for me to contact him again. We dated for a year and a half and broke up in April.


Now on my end, I don't want to do anything whatsoever that would lead him on or even give him the slightest idea that we could get back together. Because of this and because I'm not sure that he's totally over it, I'm really hesitant to initiate any contact with him. Plus I see on these forums, and I know he's the type of guy to do this, that people agonize over what ex's say to them. They want to know why they used this certain word or why they decided to say hi to them. I don't want him to go down that road. But I also don't want him to think I don't care at all.


So I'm looking for advice on how to go about this. He's given me the clear to contact him, but it's not like I want to be great friends with him either. He just IMed me today and the last time was probably a few weeks ago and I kinda got roped into hanging out with him when he comes back into town. It's such a fine line and I don't want to make a wrong move.

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What I did was, I made sure that while I didn't discuss others I was dating or looking to date (because that's just plain mean in most cases) I also kept our conversations very "buddy-like" and if our "past" came up I kept it very lighthearted. While I don't regret keeping in touch with my ex (for over 2 years after we finally broke up) the relationship had very strict boundaries which we both observed, which made it "work" but kept things more on the casual/distant side. I stepped aside when he met his future wife (because I know how it feels to be dating someone seriously and see that he IMs with an ex or that an ex contacts him regularly), and he reacted by slowly fading out of my life, which is what I wanted.


There were a few times of awkwardness - but since we kept it mainly to IM and email (over 95% of our contact) it was ok. Also I didn't get back in contact with him right away - I think it was 4-5 months after our break up, when I was 100% over him.

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See I am 100% over time, but I'm not sure if he's over me yet. There was maybe a month in between when he said it was too hard to talk to me and when he said he was ready to talk. In my mind, that's just not a lot of time. And during that conversation, I mentioned that he left some things here and he asked if I could hold onto it until he comes back in August and maybe we could hang out and he could come pick it up. So it's not really being kept to just IM and email, which is really what I'd prefer. I mean the second we broke up, he wanted to just go back to being friends immediately. Kept asking me to hang out.


I'm OK with casual contact and probably wouldn't be so worried about IMing him if that was it, but he seems to want to have an active friendship. I don't know if I'm comfortable with that until I know for sure that he's moved on...like if he had a new girlfriend. Plus I just don't want to give him any mixed signals.

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I fell out of love with him. I have threads about it and how hard it was to come to that realization. But he just wasn't the right one for me. I didn't really feel like he understood me or accepted the little quirks I have that make me who I am. He actually made me feel weird for having them. And I think we had different views of what we wanted our futures to be like.

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I think you gotta man up and cut the line, especially if you're his first love. Given your age I would imagine this is the case. It's gonna be a long, hard road for him and he's gonna have to walk it without your help. Rather, the only way you can help is to go away. That's my opinion. Maybe reach out down the line, if you're interested.

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I'm not his first love. I think he had at least three serious relationships before me...but they were short. I think his longest was 6-8 months. So being together for about a year and a half was really big to him. Plus he was planning on marrying me. When it was getting near the end of the relationship, he told me that he keeps telling himself that this is all ridiculous, that I'm going to be his wife.


I've definitely kept my distance, but I have a feeling he thinks I don't even care about him as a friend since I haven't been putting in any effort. I mean he told me that I can contact him...and then I don't. I'm worried about the message that sends, but I'm also worried about the message it sends if I do contact him.

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No offense, but this level of worry is a right you lost when you decided to break up with him. Sure, he'll say, 'How could she be so heartless?!' but, again, that really isn't your problem anymore. For instance, if he knows you at all he'll realize when you've started seeing someone new and are trying to keep things light. Kind of like what Batya's talking about. While she doesn't regret it, seems like such things are ultimately a waste of time, right? That's just my opinion. It worked out fine for Batya.


He'll go the full circle and realize you did the right thing.

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I disagree-- deciding not to stay friendly with someone after a break up doesn't make the break up cold or harsh. I think it is very caring to sever ties and let the person move on completely (especially when that is the motive, as seems to be the OP's -- and can be highly presumptuous to think that the person you ended things with "needs you" as opposed to other friends, a therapist, family, whoever, to help.


It might feel comforting to be with the ex, until you kept getting hit over the head with the fact that while it feels comforting, that person decided to end things with you - which impedes the healing process and often leads to confusion.


She didn't break up with him in a cold harsh way - they discussed it, separated, and he was the one who wanted NC for a month or so, so obviously he didn't find it cold or harsh to sever ties at that time.


Obviously, if there is an emergency situation she can be one of the people he calls for help given their long history, but it doesn't mean that they should be friends or in touch on any consistent basis.

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When I said I didn't want to be "great friends" with him, I meant like best friends. I wouldn't mind being casual friends with him, since he is a good person. But one of the reasons I ended it is that I didn't have an emotional connection to him anymore and you need that connection for a strong friendship.


I haven't contacted him at all since maybe a month after we broke up. It's all been from him. So I don't think I'm being cruel or heartless in this situation. But he is the one who takes steps towards being friends, so what am I supposed to do? Be a horrible person all over again and tell him that not only do I not want to be in a relationship with him, but I don't even want a friendship with him? To me, that's just pouring salt in the wound, especially since it's only partially true. I don't want to be close friends, but casual friends would be fine. Do I just avoid hanging out with him when he comes back into town?

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Can you explain why you got that impression? Just out of curiosity.


Honestly, I'm over the breakup. I just don't feel comfortable around him yet because my last experiences with him in person were full of bad conversations and my recent experiences with him online are full of awkward things said on his part. I'm fully secure in my reasoning for breaking up with him and don't regret it for a second.

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I would tell him that right now you don't think a friendship is advisable for either of you because the break up is too new but you will reconsider it in 6 months (without assuming he will still want to be friends then). Perhaps by then he will have found someone else.

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Well, for one thing, if you are basing all your decisions at this time on the final set of interactions between you, then you are not thinking too far back into the past.


That said, I read some of your posts from an earlier thread. And I guess I can only say the following things to show you how it feels from the other side.


My ex and I went through the exact same motions. In fact, I am rather surprised to see how much the situation was similar to the one faced by your ex. My ex and I went into a long distance gig for a bit. And we would argue over the phone, she gradually lost interest in me (after about 4.5 years of being with me), dumped me and started dating another man. Although, she and I both know that she was getting interested in other men, well before she broke up with me. The guy she is with right now, is somebody she met while she was with me and also used to hang out with at the time. Also, he was probably not the only one she saw as an alternative to me during the dying phases of our relationship, which lasted about a year. She may or may not have cheated on me. I do not know and possibly never will for sure.


But yes, the same agonizing conversations over commitment, the sarcasm over a marriage proposal, the "let us just work on being together right now" charade.


Again, in mentioning all this, I am by no means trying to say anything negative about your experiences. You may have sufficient grounds to not want to be with this person.


However, let me tell you my experiences while being on the other side of the equation (i.e. from the side of your ex boyfriend). This might help you to empathize more and probably recognize that not contacting him might be the best solution.


I too used to get bored with my ex. There were many times when I felt how the hell am I ever going to live with this person for the rest of my life. There would be times when I would find her conversation really dull, and find her to be clingy and needy. There were times when I felt very unattracted to her and did not want to sleep with her. There were times when I would feel she is very selfish, and totally undeserving of any sympathy or affection.


But these were moments in between. And when I would reach such a frame of mind, I would remind myself that this was also a person that I loved intensely once upon a time. And love is something that needs work and commitment.


And so, you must imagine how shocked I was to find out that my ex was dumping me to be with another man.


To this day, I feel betrayed. I feel I put in so much effort, so much energy, in spite of the moments when I felt the relationship was not right -- and at the first given opportunity, when she felt she was getting bored, she bailed out.


And now, she is in pain, depression etc. etc.


The point I am trying to make is, you decided to end things with your ex. You need to spend less time thinking about how to not annoy him or hurt him now, and much more time thinking over how you will not get bored by the new person you are going to be with. It is important to understand that everybody has a shelf life as a love interest. And even you are not exempt. If you have the courage and the imagination to recognize this about yourself, then you will have the answer over what it is that you must do to minimize the pain of your ex.


Basically, what I am saying is, the question over what way to respond to him is not just a simple figuring out of the right words to say. It is more about you, and how you will process your own future. As you think carefully about it, the right things to say will automatically come.


I hope this helps. I may not have a complete grasp of your situation. But wanted to give you my two cents worth on another side to the story.



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My ex, by the way, was married when I met her. She chased me like there is no tomorrow as a married woman, saying, in effect, that she is bored by her marriage and that she and her husband are like brothers and sisters now.


Post divorce, post relationship and post breakup with me, she is probably telling the new person she is with the same thing.


We all get bored, but the trick lies in knowing how to learn a few things about ourselves when we bail out.


Sorry if this detracts from the questions you raise in your thread. You seem to be well past the hurt and the pain. So I may be raking it up without reason.

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I think it's a different situation. I was not necessarily "bored" with my ex. I did not feel like he understood or accept me as a person, which made me feel emotionally disconnected with him. For me, that connection is everything and without it, I cannot enjoy a person. Also, I did not move on immediately after we broke up. Sure, I found other guys attractive, especially at the end of things. But I've been on one date since we ended it and it was because my friend set me up. So I think the reasons behind your break up and mine are actually extremely different.


As far as contact..he's only going to be here for two months before going somewhere else for an internship. Batya, I hear what you're saying about telling him that in six months we should try it...but he won't be here. Do I still say I don't even want to see him for the two months that he's here? I think maybe, if he initiates it since I won't, if we hang out maybe twice at the most it would be OK. If he starts asking me to hang out all the time, I'd have to put a stop to it. I know what everyone is saying by just leave him alone...but I am and he's the one contacting me and I feel like a cold person by just ignoring it or telling him to stop. And I'm also afraid that if I tell him that it's too soon after the breakup, he's going to take that as I still have feelings left.

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Perhaps you are right. Although, no matter what you do, you are going to come accross as cruel and selfish. Best to leave things unsaid with your ex. That way, were you to ever change your mind, or wish to initiate contact when you need a friend, you will only have to deal with the fact that you had been silent -- words can be far more destructive -- it is far harder to undo the damage done with words. As you yourself mention -- the last few things have only served to distance you from him -- same logic applies to what you say. Best not to say anything at all.


Full NC recommended for you


good luck

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So if he asks me to hang out...I just say no? And when he IMs me, I've been chatting politely but still keeping a distance. Because it's not like I'm mad at him or anything, and he can't be mad at me if he's contacting me. I figured polite conversation is the best way to go.

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