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ex sending mixed signals, playing with emotions; not sure what to do


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I am sorry this is so long:


I used to work in a restaurant part time where I met my ex boyfriend. When he first started, I always thought he was an attractive guy but he was 6 years younger than me (at the time he was 21 and I was 27) so I never really had any intentions of starting anything up with him. We had always casually talked to each other at work, but the conversations were pretty meaningless; not to mention that for a good 6 month period we were each casually seeing other people. Well, over the summer both of our casual relationships ended, and he began spending more time upfront where I worked. He would flirt a lot, was playful and touchy; I didn't think too much of it because working in a restaurant, flirting with your co-workers can make the shifts go by quicker. But his flirting got more and more intense, and he began to compliment little things about me. He joked about taking me out for a steak dinner and how he would spoil a girl like me. I told him he was too young for me, and he told me that he would be 22 in a few weeks. In the spirit of our flirting, I jokingly made a deal with him saying the period between his 22nd birthday (mid september) and up until my 28th birthday (November), he had a shot with me.


I had to go out of town in early September for a family emergency and was gone for 2 weeks, when I returned my my now Ex was asking how everything was and if I was ok. My first day back at work, he suggested that we all go out for drinks at a local bar. He and I spent the majority of the night at the bar talking with one another; he even told me that I was the kind of girl that deserved a guy that would buy her flowers. I jokingly asked him if that was his way of saying he was going to buy me flowers, to which he proceeded to tell me that on my next shift there would be a vase of flowers waiting for me. I of course thought he was joking so I brushed it off. That night he also told one of our co-workers that he was really into me and wanted to ask me out. When I got to work on my next shift, there really were flowers waiting for me. He had asked around what kind of flowers I liked and what my favorite color was; I mean he really put a lot of thought into it! I was so flattered, and when I texted him that night to thank him, he told me I was the first girl he had ever bought flowers for (besides prom) and I was definitely a keeper.


After that, we began texting each other daily. He would bring me my favorite candy on shifts we worked together, or buy me a coffee whenever I had to work a double shift. They were small things, but he went out of his way to think about me. We began talking/seeing each other by the end of September/beginning of October. Things were really good with us; whenever we would work the same shifts, he would just stay the night at my house afterwards. We usually spent the weekends together as well. He began telling everyone that we worked with how much he liked me and people were really surprised. You see, my Ex lives the whole rock-and-roll lifestyle; he is a musician, parties hard, has long hair, just your stereotypical rocker. He casually dated this one girl from work, but made it clear to everyone that they were not "together". In fact, when we started talking, I figured it would be casual as well; I didn't expect him to catch any sort of feelings. So when he told people he had feelings for me, they and I were all surprised.


My Ex began to suggest that we spend more time together, would joke that we should move in together over the summer, wanted to spend the weekend away together. Right before Christmas, he told me he was so close to asking me to be his girlfriend; he asked me what I would say and I told him I would say yes. He also told me that I would be his first serious relationship in seven years, since high school. I went out of town for Christmas, and all I heard from my friends was how he kept telling them how much he missed me and couldn't wait to see me, and how me being gone this long was killing him. The night I got back, he came over; he referenced me as his girlfriend. In fact, when he would go out he would tell people he had a girlfriend.


But soon after I got back from Christmas, things began to fall apart. We didn't spend NYE together- I had a sinus infection and he was freaking out about getting sick. It kind of hurt my feelings, and he got a little annoyed when I told him how I felt. We then began to see each other about once a week. We would make plans, but then he would bail or adjust them because something more fun came along. He always wanted to hang with the "bros" or go play guitar and it really became insulting. We had several discussions about it; we both agreed that we needed to compromise with each others lifestyles. But, it felt like everything I said fell on deaf ears because the next day he would just do it again. I even asked him if he wanted to end things; I asked him if he felt like this was too much. He told me I was being crazy and completely shut down the idea of splitting up. A few weeks ago we had some ice and snow; most of the roads shut down, as well as businesses and schools. However, before the roads got bad I told him to come over and we could spend the snow day together. He told me I was crazy for suggesting that he drive his little car on the bad roads, and even if he called an Uber he would be risking the drivers life. We got into a fight. But that night, he had no problem letting me know that he Waitr-ed food (driver could risk his life) and some friends came over to play guitar and smoke. I was so angry I just stopped replying.


The next day, the roads and interstate were still shut down because there was still a lot of ice on the road. But, my Ex and his friends had tickets to a concert an hour and a half away. It was okay for him to "risk his life" for a concert, but not for him to come see his girlfriend who lived 10 minutes down the road. I couldn't take it anymore; I sent him this long text saying how I tried hard to make things work, but we are just 2 different people who want different things and we should end things. He responded back the next day saying that he was drunk that night and didn't want to say anything dumb while drunk, but would love to talk about things later. I told him I would be home all day thinking he would come over and we could talk face to face.


He ended up just texting me later that night saying that instead of breaking up, we should just take a break for a few days and see how we feel. And that if we do decide to end things, he hoped we did it on good terms, where we are still friends and continue to talk. He then went on to tell me how much he cares about me and has loved our time together. For the next couple of days, we talked like normal which was confusing, but we didn't see each other. I went out one night and he found out about it. He texted me all night acting jealous: asking where I was, who I was with, what I was doing. He wanted to come over later, but his roommates car was blocking him in and he couldn't get out- I didn't press the matter. After about 4 days went by, I texted him saying I didn't want to take a break anymore and that I wanted to work on things and I hoped he did too. He texted me back saying that he thought we should just be friends for now. He said he was going through a lot of stuff, trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life and he was confused. That he wasn't able to give me 100%, and I deserved someone who was on their feet 24/7. He said he didn't want to drag me down, but wanted to be friends FOR NOW and still talk DAILY. I asked him what the point of a break was then if he felt this way. He told me he thought he might come running back, and that who knows he might still, but if we could please just be friends for now while he figures things out and still continue to talk. I dumbly agreed. A few days after, i returned his stuff to him. He told me that the last couple of days had been rough on him and he didn't really know what to do with himself. We didn't talk for a day, and he pointed out that it was the first time we hadn't talked in months but he was trying to give me my space to process things. He also told me he was sad I brought his stuff to him, and it made him feel like he was never going to come back. I just looked at him, to which he replied "Im coming back. just give me time. Im gonna come sleep in your bed again and see your dog". I had never been more confused.


For a few days, we talked like normal, like we did when we were dating. It was confusing, but I was also the one doing all the reaching out. Two saturdays ago me and some friends decided to go out to a local bar after they got off work. My ex and I were texting about our plans that night; he was going to an upscale hipster bar and to a party afterwards and I told him our plans. My friends and I got to the bar and we were all just sitting outside drinking and having a good time. All of the sudden I feel someone's hands on my head, and it's my Ex; I was so confused because he wasn't supposed to be there. We spent the night in close quarters with one another, but he and I didn't really talk much. But, he kept his eyes on me the WHOLE entire time, to the point where it was uncomfortable. My friends were asking what was going on; I ended up getting really drunk because I couldn't handle it. I invited him to come over afterwards, to which he enthusiastically agreed. But once I got home, he ended up bailing saying all these people needed a ride home.


Ever since that night, he and I havent really spoken much, which is has been ok with me. I deleted his number from my phone the day after the bar incident. Ive used these last two weeks to just really try and move on; I am sad about the fact that things didn't work out, but I also understand why it didn't. We (or I) tried to make things work, and sometimes things just don't work out and I am okay with that. I do miss his company and the familiarity of having someone to talk to, but I really don't want to get back together with him; I just know how different we are, and especially where we are in life. He still wants to go out and be wild and be non-committal, which is fine. However, lately I am hearing that my Ex is talking to literally anyone that will listen about us. I know longer work at the restaurant, I stopped working there before Christmas, but still remain close with a lot of the employees. My Ex asks my close friends about me every single day: how am I doing, am I okay, what have I been up to. He wants to talk about what happened, but he's also been diminishing our relationship. He is telling people that we weren't really dating, to which they tell him they know that's not true and he needs to stop lying about it. He also implied that I gave up on the relationship and was quick to add, "well she was the one that wanted to end it anyways". My friends have repeatedly asked him if he doesn't care, and if we weren't dating, then why does he continue to ask about me? They also told him he was sending me all these mixed signals about wanting to come back and not bringing his stuff back; he told them that was taken out of context and he meant come back to like hang out. Again, my friends called him on his BS. They also told him that he was the one to pursue me, that he was the one that wanted a serious relationship- his reply was that he wished I would "just someone else already". My friends asked him if that is what he really wanted, to which he replied that he wished we could just be friends and move on. But he keeps talking about it to EVERYONE.


I was doing fine up until these last few days; I still don't want to get back together, but these last couple of days I have just been sad. I asked my friends to stop telling me if he asks about me. I understand his need to vent and talk about it, but I wish he would do it with his own close friends. It's only natural for my friends to report it back to me. Last night my head got so filled with all of this, I asked one of my friends if she would ever go out with him. I immediately regretted it. Luckily for me, my friend is a great person and knew I didn't mean it, so she didn't get upset. But she assured me that she valued our friendship more than any guy.


I just don't understand what's going on. I mean obviously he cared, or still cares, for me and had feelings. I know because we both voiced them to each other. And I know he's probably feeling things because he hadn't been in a relationship for awhile. But I don't know why he keeps talking to my friends, and why he's doing it every single day. And when he is talking to them, he's down playing things- I don't know if this is his tactic to make himself seem "cooler" or something. Whatever is going on, it's slowing down my progress at moving on. Im not sure what to do at this point. Like I said, I have deleted his number from my phone, so we don't text or talk on the phone, I don't reach out to him via social media. I don't want to enter that phase where I drive myself crazy wondering what he's doing, or who he is with. We just aren't right for each other, but the way he is acting is really messing with my head.

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Hey IHateMondaze,


All I can really offer are words of support and encouragement; from your post you seem to be aware of the issues you had in the relationship and doing you best to move forward now that it has ended. Unfortunately, we can't control how our exes act after we break up, and so often if we try it only makes it harder. He is clearly going through his own stuff regarding the break up and his own self-image, and from your description he sounds a bit self-absorbed so he probably doesn't give much thought to how it effects you.


I think the no contact you have already initiated is the best idea, and asking your mutual friends to not bring him up was a good. The more you minimise your contact, the easier it will become. If you don't feel comfortable completely deleting and blocking him on social media, even temporarily removing him can help (for example, unfollowing and muting on FB) so he doesn't pop up in your feed can help. Keep moving forward, doing things you enjoy, hanging out with friends. If you find yourself with a bit too much down time thinking about the past, I recommend learning a language with a phone app - it's pretty absorbing lol.


Just keep going and good luck,



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My heart is going out to you. When I was 26 I fell for a 21 year old. I thought we we're awesomely compatible and that we could make a life together. Two years later he'd lost interest and squeezed me right out of his life by taking on ever more music/work commitments. When I flagged it he said he thought the relationship had run its natural course. On top of a work slump and no friends this absolutely shattered me, it took me a really long time to even accept it was reality. A year later wed become friendly again and we tried dating again. TERRIBLE IDEA NOTHING HAD CHANGED HE COULDNT EVEN FIND ONE DAY A WEEK FOR ME. Fast forward another year and he is living with the girl he was sending picks to 2 months after the first time he dumped me (while i was deep in grief, he was not). He kicked me out of his life to make more space and then ing moved in with someone. Anyway, my point is, 21 year olds, I don't think they are in it for the long haul. If yours is anything like mine run run run away, too young and dumb to not selfishly seek us out when they feel lonely but thy don't want us, if they did, they'd be here! (and now use that grief to fuel the fire of your life)

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You were right - he is too young for you.


22 isn't a child, but he is nowhere near ready for a committed relationship. Casual, sure. Boyfriend-girlfriend? No. He is all about what makes him feel good and doing what he wants, which is fine, but it isn't conducive to the type of relationship you are looking for. The chase was fun for him, the "conquest" was fun, but that's essentially where it ends for him. In other words, he likes the idea of the hunt more than he likes actually having a girlfriend.


Your friends also need to do a much better job implementing boundaries, here. They should not even be discussing you with him anymore, nor should they continue to report back to you. It's not helping so you were wise to tell them to please stop. This is his ego talking; he might like knowing you're still there when and if he chooses to come back. Don't fall for it, though. He's showing his immaturity and that's not likely to go away any time soon.


One thing that struck me was you asking your friend if she would go out with him. Has he been talking a lot to her in particular? Something must've seemed a little off there for you to question it. What's the deal about that?

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Before my Ex and I got together, my friend and my Ex kissed at a party and tried to set up a time to hang out. It never worked out because they both kept bailing on each other. I of course did not know about this until my Ex and I were already together. Im really not too worried about it; she's an incredibly loyal person and has given me countless hours of advice and kind words through the break up. I just don't see it happening.

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Thanks for your kind words.. I've taken up yoga and running in order to minimize my down time lol. I had a set back last night though. Yesterday I was running late to work and grabbed my wrong set of car keys, the ones without my house key on them. Once I got back home after a long day of work, I realized that none of my roommates were home, so my only option was to go up to the restaurant where they work. I really prayed that my Ex wasn't working, just because I knew I would get caught up in conversation with him. When I got there, one of my friends was going through a personal crisis, so she pulled me aside and wanted me to sit at one of her tables for a little bit. Sure enough, my Ex comes over, gives me a hug, and begins to playfully flirt with me. He sits down at the table and we talked for about 10 minutes; he was being so strange- he didn't break eye contact with me once. He asked me why I was there and I told him I forgot my house key and needed to grab one from a roommate. He then asked me to repeat the story because he wasn't listening because he said he was just staring at me, but he was being genuine. He is going out of town this weekend for an event, and I asked him when he was leaving. He told me he was leaving Friday and then immediately asked me what I was doing this weekend. It kind of caught me off guard because I thought he was about to ask me to come with him, but luckily he didn't. When I left to say goodbye to some people, he came over and just stood next to me and stared at me the whole time; when I was walking out the door, he even stood in a position to watch me leave.


I got home and cried. I honestly don't know how to feel right now. Again, still don't want a relationship. But I hate how he got into my head last night and now I'm questioning everything. I have even been contemplating texting him saying it was good seeing him last night; I haven't, but I've thought heavily about it.

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Don't be afraid to assert your boundaries with him, OP.


He shouldn't be hanging around and flirting. A polite hello, sure. Anything more than that, and you need to put the breaks on it so you don't get sucked in to false hope. He is laying the groundwork for a more casual arrangement and you're starting to buy into that.


Don't text him telling him it was good to see him. This is a guy who repeatedly distanced himself and finally let you go. He stood in a position to watch you leave - and didn't make any move to come after you. He doesn't value you enough to warrant such niceties from you.

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Don't text him telling him it was good to see him. This is a guy who repeatedly distanced himself and finally let you go. He stood in a position to watch you leave - and didn't make any move to come after you. He doesn't value you enough to warrant such niceties from you.


Thanks, you are definitely right. I didn't text him, thankfully. It's just so confusing because I know feelings don't just go away. I have been texting one of my friends for advice, and I found out last night that my Ex has also been texting the same friend about the same thing. It just sucks knowing that we both still care, and we both want to know about each other. But we also both know we aren't right for one another to be in a relationship. I have never had a break up like this before; either my exes and I couldn't stand one another, or there was always a clear distinction of why it ended. This feeling truly sucks

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Again, I'm going to maintain that he's too immature for a serious relationship.


It makes no sense that he'd contact your friend for advice when he is the one who ended it, and could easily contact you. It's not like he doesn't know what to do. But for whatever reason, he isn't bothered to actually talk to you directly.


I would ask your friend to please not discuss you with him, and if she does anyway, to not report back to you. It's not serving any purpose.

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