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Experience/ advice about an ex who's gone to the dark side?

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Apologies for the length – this is much as a vent as it is a search for help.


My ex has always been the sweetest guy, not just to me but to everyone, even people who’ve done him seriously wrong - he’s never harboured a grudge. He’s never deliberately tried to hurt me, not even during arguments or when I deserved it. Of all his past breakups, he’s managed to remain on good terms with his exes even after they’ve been seriously awful to him. However, for some reason he seems to have literally become the antithesis of the person I’ve known for the last 2 years. If you’d honestly asked me the day after we broke up what things will he definitely not do after we broke up, he’s managed to tick off every one on the list.


I found out via a mutual friend (who now understands I don’t want to know things about my ex) that about 2 weeks after we broke up, he had a month long fling with a woman he admitted he had no feelings for (she ended it rather than him). He used to be absolutely disgusted that people had flings and one night stands, and maintained that it was pointless unless you had were in a monogamous relationship and had feelings for one another (a stance I don’t think he would have felt the need to lie about because my feelings were “sex is sex”, he just used to be so committed to the idea of commitment). He also took great pride in the fact that he had always dealt with break ups in a healthy, mature way and always waited until he was fully over a woman before even considering dating another. I’m surprisingly fine with the fact he’s been screwing someone else, I’m just shocked by the fact he admitted to my friend it was “purely a physical thing” that he jumped at it as soon as it was offered and that he had moved on so, so quickly – like he was over me long before he actually got around to dumping me or I meant that little that he didn’t need the time to heal.


In the 2 months since we’ve been broken up we’ve spoke on 2 occasions, once on my birthday (via text) and then an exchange of 2 texts a few weeks later – both times he responded fairly quickly. On two other occasions I reached out due to a genuine crisis, one when my aunt had died and then another time when my friend (who lives 2 minutes away from him, compared to my 40) was having a severe asthma attack (he works for the ambulance service). He claims both times he didn’t get my texts, however he also had his friend (who’d I’d gotten in contact with out of desperation) tell me he couldn’t be bothered to deal with my ill friend and I’d texted him earlier in the day about some firearms officers who’d chased a swan down a motorway which he conveniently replied to.


When we met up so I could move all my stuff out, he on multiple occasions made some really hurtful comments. For example, he admitted to thinking about dating my best friend and when I pointed out he hadn’t met her until a few months after we’d got together he seemed to take great delight in saying “well yeah, obviously”, like he wanted to dig the knife in a little more. But then for the most of it he was just as lovely, caring and funny as he ever was, we had a really nice catch up, talking each other through jobs we’d seen for each other and finding how the other had been. I’d written him a letter explaining that I thought we both needed more time before even considering being friends and that I wished him well (one of my friends helped me write it as the initial draft was a little bit more sweary and critical so it ended up being the most neutral thing ever written). In all honesty if it hadn’t been for the comment about my friend, I probably would have just binned it as he seemed to be back to his normal-ish self, and the other comments seemed to be more accidental slip ups (which I could totally understand as I’d accidentally made one or two comments without thinking that I realise could have come across harshly even though there was no malice there). But in the end I decided that for whatever reason there was still something off and it wasn’t worth putting myself through any more pain unless he had genuinely worked through whatever it is he’s going through, sorted himself out and was ready to apologise.


The major good thing that came out of that though, is it helped me realise I was a lot more over him than I had given myself credit for – those butterflies and desire to throw myself at him was completely gone and I was nothing short of lovely the entire time regardless of some of the crap (honestly I think I deserved an Oscar).


When we broke up, I left being hurt but being able to think “at least I was lucky to have been able to spend a year and a half of my life being loved by such a sweet, kind, caring and loyal man” and that helped me heal, as much as it hurt I had some lovely memories and knew I was doing right by the man who I thought for so long had done nothing but right by me. Now I am so confused – the way he’s acted and the things he’s said make me feel like the whole relationship was based on lies, like he wasn’t the person I thought he was and that he never truly loved me in the first place.


Which makes me even more confused about why he seems to be going out of his way to hurt me. He dumped me and I have done literally nothing that I could even somewhat construe as being hurtful. I’ve never made a scene about the break up, not ed about him to anyone (bar my two best friends), I’ve pretty much stopped being in contact with his mum entirely (despite the fact she’s desperate to keep me in her life and she was honestly the mum I never had), I have literally done every possible thing I can think of to make things easier. Of the 2 and a half months we’ve been broken up, I’ve contacted him on 3 of those days (bar about 2 times to sort a moving day out) so that he didn’t have to deal with me. I’ve not pressured him to do things that might be hard (like go through his FB album to send me photos) or pay me the £100 he owes me because I know he’s struggling financially at the moment. I’ve been nothing but nice despite the fact I feel I have every reason not to be, because ultimately I just want him to be happy.


I’m his longest relationship by far, and the most serious – we were talking through marriage and kids in the months before the break up (something he repeatedly initiated). I’m also the only one of his exes to be a decent person following the break up (all the others either dumped him, had cheated on him and/ or were just awful about the whole situation). I can’t understand how he could be so nice to them but not to me. If he never loved me, surely he could just walk away and leave with grace? If he at any point during our time together loved me, then surely like me he’d just want the best, to see me live my life and be happy with someone who can love me? And if, as my friends think (however I doubt), that he still loves me and is coping really badly with the whole thing, why would he change so much and want to hurt me – he knows I love him and would be happy to work through our problems to make things work with time, what logic is there behind that?


I have no idea where any of this has come from or why. It’s literally like the day he dumped me he just decided to do a complete 180 on his personality and values. And a few people who didn't know him suggested that it might be because that was who he always was, but I've been speaking in passing to some mutual friends of ours and all of them seem in agreement that this really isn't the same guy they knew. I also found out from them and him that at work he has been actively throwing himself into potentially fatal situations without much to any thought (he's always had the hero complex but it's been magnified to the point where people think he's on a death wish).


I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with something similar and might know why the hell he’s doing all of this? I only ask because before a few days ago I’d nearly closed the door, it was being left unlocked but I was happy to move on at complete peace with the breakup, ready to try and date other guys and also to be a good friend to him with genuinely no intention or expectation of a reconciliation. It feels like he’s not only reopened an old wound, but created a new one just so he could pour salt on it. I’m still fine with being apart but I find myself questioning every memory I have, everything he ever said and wondering whether I meant anything at all?


And also I’d appreciate it if anyone has any advice on how to move on in a situation like this. Don’t worry, I’m already back into NC and have made a promise with myself to not deal with him for at least 2 months (because I imagine if he started putting the work in today, that’s literally the quickest he might be in a place where we could be friends). It might sound ridiculous that I’d only say 2 months but I’m far more likely to last that long than if I set myself NC forever. The plan is wait 2 months, re-evaluate then probably carry on for another 2 months (rinse and repeat)

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Excellent you moved out. It sounds like he wasn't on the same page with marriage, kids, future, etc and that made him back out. Good you went no contact.


No stay no contact and continue to delete and block him and all his people from social media. He can't hurt you unless you continue to "leave the door open" and keep chasing him every 2 mos.


Moving out is a huge step away from a relationship and signifies that things are definitely over. It sounds like he wasn't committed and perhaps started talking to others and reconsidering things before he broke up for good.

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That's the thing, I thought we were. He was very insistent that he wanted marriage, kids and to immigrate to New Zealand eventually, among other things and I wanted nothing but the same. I think he convinced himself that I was lying to keep him in the relationship (as when we first got together I didn't hide the fact I genuinely didn't think I wanted marriage/ kids, however is now something I know I really want). Although from what I gathered the other day, he really seems to have lost the plot a bit on what he wants to do with his life entirely, so I assume it's one of the many, many things he seems to be questioning about his life at the moment or he became scared at having to face all of that at his age (mid-20s). Not that it matters anymore.


Yeah, we've blocked each other off FB (the only social media either of us have) and I finally got around to unfriending the couple of friends he has that were purely his. I know, that's the dream - just accept that at the end of the day it's his loss and move forward but it's hard to just entirely walk away from him given by how indebted I feel, the only reason I'm a happy functioning, living adult is because of how he helped me sort my life out. I don't intend to chase him every 2 months, it's more like a self-set goal for NC that just keeps getting refreshed once I hit the target (although I hope by the time I get there it will come naturally so I won't even have to think of it as NC, just another day). If I can help it, I really don't intend to get back in contact in any form unless he contacts me to apologise.


That makes sense. It's a really weird thing but he'd told me continuously for the past 2 months of it that his best mate thought we should break up (the same mate who's been chatting me up since we broke up despite the fact he's got a live-in girlfriend), so whilst the timing was completely out of the blue I have no doubt he'd thought it over and was somewhat expecting it - although even now I'm still a tad confused by the reasoning. But again, talking to other women was something he abhorred so I can't understand why he'd do that rather than just bin me straight away. I mean part of me assumes he must have met his not so friendly FWB beforehand, but one of the things my friend mentioned was that it was completely out of the blue and I don't see why he'd lie to her.

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