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Was I at fault for this abrupt ending?


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Hi everyone, I am in need of objective opinions on a situation I am dealing with, as being in the middle of it isn't allowing me to see things clearly.

As a background: I have known this guy for many years. We are not young, if that matters. We dated over a decade ago, he wasn't committing. A few years later we reconnected, had a 2.5 years relationship, he cheated with a woman who has been in his life on and off for probably longer than I was (I saw the cheating so there is no doubt about it), I ended the relationship. It's important to note that in spite of all his faults, on a friendship level we were awesome. Lots in common, even personality traits, similar preferences and interests, I don't think I ever had anyone in my life to vibe with as well as I did with him. This is important to note, because this is the reason why I always gave him chance after chance. 

One year later, which brings us to last winter, he reached out to me to apologize and he sounded sincere. He said that the pandemic had made him reconsider his life and priorities, and that he had been miserable without me and had spiraled out of control with weight gain, massive drinking, and that the woman had been a mistake, she wasn't who he had really wanted, etc. He swore that if I considered having him as a friend, he would never lie to me again, he was going to do everything in his power to make it up to me.

Now to me, cheating is a deal breaker, one that nobody can bounce back from. And by the time he reached out last year, all my romantic attachment to him had dissolved, I was perfectly fine with the thought of him dating others, so I figured maybe a friendship would work. I made it clear it was going to be a platonic friendship and he was ok with it, he said he wasn't interested in being with anyone anyway. So we started a friendship, which went extremely well. Here and there I felt like he was lying to me, especially about seeing someone (probably the same woman), although I couldn't understand why he would hide this aspect of his life when we were just friends and I had made sure he knew that him dating wasn't bothering me at all. I was going to date around too.

For the past year he was always in touch, in the beginning he was calling me every single evening to chat about everything under the sun, then as months went by, he'd skip an evening here and there, but not more than 2 evenings went by without him calling. He called every single Friday and Saturday, so if he did have a woman, she couldn't have been anything serious. And he texted through the day, every day. We went out a few times, I went to his place for a drink and TV watching a few times, and he always was the perfect friend, never did anything disrespectful, so I was starting to think we had turned a page, that things were finally going well and that we were probably always supposed to be just friends and forcing a relationship was just a bad idea.

Last Saturday we had plans to go try out a restaurant, but a few hours before we were to meet, he texted that we should make it a phone get together because the wife of a coworker of his (they work outdoors) had tested positive for CV-19 and he wanted to be safe. I didn't see anything odd about it, we had the usual 2 hour conversation, all was good. Sundays he never called anyway, but then his Monday morning texts seemed off and he didn't call at night - I still didn't think much of it. Tuesday went by and there was no text or call. Wednesday he sent a brief text in the morning and it wasn't his usually cheery text, but I was busy at work and couldn't reply. I called him in the evening but there was no answer, which had never happened before. I started to worry something was off. Thursday morning he texted to say that he was sorry he'd missed my call, and gave me the silliest reason for it, one that a kid would not buy. This was typical of him in the past - every time he lied to me, his lies were so poorly thought out that I felt like he was insulting my intelligence. So this annoyed me - I would have been perfectly fine if he told me he had plans and had come home late - and I replied with "sure, I believe you lol". Then I reiterated that he could just be honest with me, if he had a date it was ok with me, we were friends so he should feel comfortable telling me the truth.

Well, this set off the nasty side of him from the past - he became rude, accused me of attacking him, said that as a friend I should just trust him, not accuse him of lying, he basically flew off the handle and made me the bad guy (just like in the past, when I'd call him out on blatant lies and he'd always turn it around on me). And, he said the friendship was over and wished me a nice life. He ended the friendship just like that, and I was like....what on earth happened? To say that he overreacted would be an understatement.

So my question is - was I at fault? Did what I said warrant him ending a friendship that he had told me thousands of times meant everything to him? He basically said, along the years, that I was the only person he ever opened up to, he could be himself around, I was like family to him. I believe this to be true. But do people drop close friends for a reason like the one I described? All I wanted was for him to be honest with me. Even if I was wrong in my assumption, he could have calmly explained this and moved on, especially since he is aware my trust in him is weak because of what he's done in the past. But end the friendship over this? 

I am sorry for the long post, and I hope you can make it through it all and offer your advice. 

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You both have some history but the regular weekly, often daily calls and texts don't leave either of you room to actually fully date or get to know other people or live a normal life like real friends. This doesn't sound like a friendship. It sounds like a relationship that broke off, morphed into a pseudo-friendship with implications still of a relationship or a friendship that has adopted and carried over all the toxic issues of a past relationship. It's smothering and clingy because of that past history and problems between the two of you. You anticipate and are hypervigilant of lies and breaks in his stories and he is probably needing his ego stroked, coming back to butter up an ex or "make it up to you". That's ridiculous as friends who truly are friends don't need to make up anything. You just are.

A friend might need a listening ear or be going through a rough patch (he may have been inbetween relationships) but it'd be much better if you learned to step back and don't expect him to keep telling you the whole truth of everything. He doesn't owe you that. You both are, at best, acquaintances only. It's also not recommended to keep an ex as a friend for all the reasons and issues you're experiencing now.

If you choose to continue, practice healthy boundaries. Be busy with your own life and don't keep scanning for inconsistencies with this man. Let go and live your life fully, wonderfully.

 

 

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I can so relate to your story. 

I met someone several years ago and in the early phase of dating he said he wasn't interested in dating anyone else. We crossed the line over to being intimate, just for him to meet someone while on vacation.  I knew something was off when he returned and I spoon fed him every excuse to just be transparent so I could make a decision for myself.  He lied over and over and I just walked way. 

One year later he calls.  We were never romantic again, but what blossomed in it's place was what I considered a good friendship for close to 14 yrs.  Over the years we bounced things off each other about our relationships with other people.  Hung out as friends during times we were single.  But what I ignored was the fact that he was often not entirely truthful to me.  There were times he'd stand me up or just be flakey abou things.  I would make excuses that he was reconciling with the then girlfriend. 

One time (towards the end) he asked me to meet him for dinner when his fiancé was out of town.  He came back to my house late at night for a glass of wine.  We chatted for hours and I asked him if his fiancé' knew where he was and he said no and smirked.  I thought to myself that I was glad he wasn't my boyfriend!  I was so disappointed.

For years I had to defend this friendship to men I dated.  It caused tension at times but I was determined to be loyal to this friendship in spite of my partners discomfort.

Anyway, my mother is dying and passes away. During this time he calls me repeatedly talking about himself and wasn't really empathetic or compassionate of what I was going through. I just sat and listened.   I think having lost my mom I went through this period where I cut people out of my life who weren't adding value.  Those who's values and character that weren't in alignment with mine.  It was this 'ah ha' moment.  I read somewhere that people in your life are honored guests.  Don't waste time with lopsided friendships and make excuses for bad behavior.  That's not the definition of a friendship.

Sorry to have overshared, but hoping my story helps in some small way.

Write down on a piece of paper what your definition of a friendship should look like.  Mine includes among other things, loyalty, trust and honesty.  See if this guy fits the role.  My guess is he won't.

Edited by reinventmyself
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Are you sure you weren't hoping this would turn into a relationship, despite cheating supposedly being a deal breaker for you?

Anyway, I would presume the woman he's involved with told him he had to make a choice, her or you.  He apparently decided he was going to choose her and he used your reply as an excuse so he could blame you instead of coming clean.

Don't let him in the next time he comes slithering back.

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3 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

he became rude, accused me of attacking him, said that as a friend I should just trust him, not accuse him of lying, he basically flew off the handle and made me the bad guy

He's not a good friend. Why are you setting up dates with him if you already know he lies about everything?  

Is this the same man:?

 

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3 hours ago, boltnrun said:

Are you sure you weren't hoping this would turn into a relationship, despite cheating supposedly being a deal breaker for you?

Anyway, I would presume the woman he's involved with told him he had to make a choice, her or you.  He apparently decided he was going to choose her and he used your reply as an excuse so he could blame you instead of coming clean.

Don't let him in the next time he comes slithering back.

Noooo, no way! The mere thought of kissing him, let alone being intimate with him, gives me shivers down my spine (and not the good type lol). When I decided to give friendship a chance, I knew with 100% certainty that the romantic side of things was dead. Seeing him in the midst of cheating accomplished that.

Given his overreaction, I think you may be right, he may have used my reply as a reason to start a fight, for purposes that we can only assume.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

He's not a good friend. Why are you setting up dates with him if you already know he lies about everything?  

Is this the same man:?

 

The very same man!

I have to say, it was interesting re-reading that post. I wish I could remember what exactly had led to it, but it sounds like more of the same (minus the fight).

I have to say, ever since that post he exceeded my expectations, things went smoothly all these months and we had no other argument. He truly acted like a good, normal friend. He didn't hit on me, he was always respectful, he was tons better than he had ever been as a boyfriend. Up until now, when that side of him resurfaced and it took me aback because I wasn't expecting it.

 

 

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Just now, OverTheMoon21 said:

The very same man!

I have to say, it was interesting re-reading that post. I wish I could remember what exactly had led to it, but it sounds like more of the same (minus the fight).

Up until now, when that side of him resurfaced and it took me aback because I wasn't expecting it.

Ok just step back and realize he's sort of a werewolf. 🧛‍♂️

However not as predictable as the full moon. Just randomly turns weird and ugly.

All you can do is calculate his flakiness into his personality as a given rather than in the past.

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4 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

I can so relate to your story. 

I met someone several years ago and in the early phase of dating he said he wasn't interested in dating anyone else. We crossed the line over to being intimate, just for him to meet someone while on vacation.  I knew something was off when he returned and I spoon fed him every excuse to just be transparent so I could make a decision for myself.  He lied over and over and I just walked way. 

One year later he calls.  We were never romantic again, but what blossomed in it's place was what I considered a good friendship for close to 14 yrs.  Over the years we bounced things off each other about our relationships with other people.  Hung out as friends during times we were single.  But what I ignored was the fact that he was often not entirely truthful to me.  There were times he'd stand me up or just be flakey abou things.  I would make excuses that he was reconciling with the then girlfriend. 

One time (towards the end) he asked me to meet him for dinner when his fiancé was out of town.  He came back to my house late at night for a glass of wine.  We chatted for hours and I asked him if his fiancé' knew where he was and he said no and smirked.  I thought to myself that I was glad he wasn't my boyfriend!  I was so disappointed.

For years I had to defend this friendship to men I dated.  It caused tension at times but I was determined to be loyal to this friendship in spite of my partners discomfort.

Anyway, my mother is dying and passes away. During this time he calls me repeatedly talking about himself and wasn't really empathetic or compassionate of what I was going through. I just sat and listened.   I think having lost my mom I went through this period where I cut people out of my life who weren't adding value.  Those who's values and character that weren't in alignment with mine.  It was this 'ah ha' moment.  I read somewhere that people in your life are honored guests.  Don't waste time with lopsided friendships and make excuses for bad behavior.  That's not the definition of a friendship.

Sorry to have overshared, but hoping my story helps in some small way.

Write down on a piece of paper what your definition of a friendship should look like.  Mine includes among other things, loyalty, trust and honesty.  See if this guy fits the role.  My guess is he won't.

Thank you for sharing your story, it does help!

His friendship did add value to my life, in the sense that he is one of 2 people that I know who share my beliefs on a few topics the world is confronting with these days. So I have been comfortable discussing stuff that I can't discuss with most others. But it is a lopsided friendship, indeed. For example, not long ago I realized he had no idea when my birthday was! Like, he didn't even remember the month! Which wouldn't be as unforgiveable as a new-ish friend, but given that he spent 3 of them with me when we were in a relationship, I expected more. Sure we didn't talk for one year, but I still remembered his!

My definition of a friendship is similar to yours. I don't have proof that he lied to me, of course, but it's a strong hunch. And it bothers me because I can't understand why he'd hide such an important aspect from his life from me, when I would have no issues talking to him about my own dates!

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Well to be really honest it sounds to me like you might be better off without this "friendship". First of all, I feel like the friendship wasn't really healthy. I'm not sure what he was thinking from his side, I know you wanted it to be just a friendship. But from everything you described it kind of sounded like this pseudo relationship, just without the sex.

I think it's not really healthy to invest in only one "friend" so heavily. You texted every day and called so many weekends and hung out a lot. You spent most of your time on each other. Of course it's fine to have friends but it's not good to put all your eggs in one basket, as they say. I think having such a high amount of contact sets a very high expectation of how often that person has to contact you and see you. And then when they're not living up to that expectation anymore, you got upset.

Technically he doesn't have to text you every day or call you every Friday and Saturday. If he's just a friend and not a boyfriend then it's acceptable for him to call you only once a week. So I don't think you can really blame him that his contact dropped because the amount of contact was too high to begin with. 

I'm sorry to say something so negative but I actually don't think that this guy is your real friend and he was using you. I don't think he really cares about you as a person but he just sees you in terms of what HE can get out of it.

I think he was in a very bad place during the pandemic, as you said he gained weight, was drinking a lot and depressed. He probably reached out because he really needed companionship and a listening ear. I think he was calling and messaging you so much because it made HIM feel better.

Now he's either met a new woman or seeing that previous woman. And/or he's starting to feel better, so he doesn't need you anymore. If he was a real friend he wouldn't just cut the friendship off over something so minor. I just think that he didn't need you anymore because you were filling this "fake girlfriend" space which is now taken up by a new girlfriend.

This guy sounds very selfish and like a total flake. Personally I think it's good he ended your friendship because he's not a real friend anyway and he's a user. If I was you I would never take him back ever again in any capacity.

Edited by Tinydance
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You're not the first, nor the last who decides to change the title to "friends' after a failed relationship.

When a relationship ends because you were not being treating as you should, then hell no, you can't be friends.  A true friend wouldn't mistreat another friend. The longer you choose to go the "friends" route, the more they'll lose all respect for you.  Don't sell yourself short...

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11 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

we should make it a phone get together because the wife of a coworker of his (they work outdoors) had tested positive for CV-19 and he wanted to be safe. I didn't see anything odd about it, we had the usual 2 hour conversation, all was good. Sundays he never called anyway, but then his Monday morning texts seemed off and he didn't call at night - I still didn't think much of it. Tuesday went by and there was no text or call. Wednesday he sent a brief text in the morning and it wasn't his usually cheery text, but I was busy at work and couldn't reply. I called him in the evening but there was no answer, which had never happened before. I started to worry something was off.

Okay.. first off.. friends never really call/text this much, so that is odd.

Second.. you two are ONLY friends. So, what HE is doing is none of your concern..right?

You leave him be now to tend to his own.  NO expectations.

If you can't handle this, is best to put a LOT more respectful distance between you two now. ( I don't feel you are totally over this guy- hence why is always best to take time to 'recover & be okay again as 'friends', or not at all).

11 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

Thursday morning he texted to say that he was sorry he'd missed my call, and gave me the silliest reason for it, one that a kid would not buy. This was typical of him in the past - every time he lied to me, his lies were so poorly thought out that I felt like he was insulting my intelligence. So this annoyed me - I would have been perfectly fine if he told me he had plans and had come home late - and I replied with "sure, I believe you lol". Then I reiterated that he could just be honest with me, if he had a date it was ok with me, we were friends so he should feel comfortable telling me the truth.

This unsettled momentum is due to your past.. But, you are not involved anymore.

Is why it is best to remain at a distance.  He owes you nothing.  Is not like a 'couple of gal pals' had a real fight over something.  You two are ex's.

 

11 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

Did what I said warrant him ending a friendship that he had told me thousands of times meant everything to him? He basically said, along the years, that I was the only person he ever opened up to, he could be himself around,

Sadly, this has all changed now.  You two crossed the lines of 'just friends' when you started dating.

Yeah, maybe at one point, he felt he could open up to you about anything.. but that has all changed now.

For him, a real 'buddy' is one who doesn't care what he's been doing for the past 4 days.. They can just chat and go on about their lives. ( Not a negative reaction).

It could have been some curiousity from his and/or your end.. which had the other come around again.  But was wrong to do this, as you see now.

Time to let it go now.  Let him go.. accept this is not possible.

And please realize a friendship does not require friends to talk daily, as specific times, etc.  Is fine to go days, weeks, even months and all still should be fine.

 

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I don't think what you described was really friendship.

Even the weird vibes you were getting. What is that all about? Why does it matter who he dates if you're just friends?  Why did he owe you all these calls and texts? Do you examine your other friendships so closely?

As for his reaction at the end, I think he was looking for a way to end the friendship.

He is a user. The pandemic showed him how lonely he was. So he reviewed his past friends/relationships and figured who can he latch on to for comfort.

Block him and recognize that friendships just like other happy, healthy relationships, they flow... there's nothing here for you to work on.  This guy is who he is.

The only mistake you made was allowing him back in your life. He's a grown man. The chances of any further changes or growth are low. You spent a lot of time invested with this guy. Stop that. 

Quantity of time does equal quality of time. You've known him a long time because you've put up with a lot of crap. 

Edited by Lambert
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21 hours ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

Well, this set off the nasty side of him from the past - he became rude, accused me of attacking him, said that as a friend I should just trust him, not accuse him of lying, he basically flew off the handle and made me the bad guy (just like in the past, when I'd call him out on blatant lies and he'd always turn it around on me). And, he said the friendship was over and wished me a nice life. He ended the friendship just like that, and I was like....what on earth happened? To say that he overreacted would be an understatement.

This is called gaslighting

Quote

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. People experiencing gaslighting often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves.

Often found tactic in cheaters is to divert attention and turn it on you. Its not them who are the problem, its you for not giving them attention, its not that they are cheating, you are just imagining stuff, how can you accuse them of cheating that means you dont trust them etc.

Anyway, no offense, I think you kept him around in hopes of getting back together. Hence why your overreaction when it came to him blowing you off for meeting and catching him in a lie. Friends are somebody who we should care, yes. But to examine that closely, how much times he called and everything, you were getting too attached there. 

But again. this whole situation is on him. Once a cheater(or in this case a lier) always a cheater. That wont change, ever. Especially because you two already had dynamic that you both get used too. That rarely change. Even if you are in a relationship with that guy, he would always lie and cheat. And turn it on you after. So, count your blessings that its over(if it trully is over, I wouldnt put it past tht he wont call again) and maybe even you block him everywhere. Relationships like that hinder us from pursuing something that would maybe be more positive. So again, block him everywhere and dont look back.

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To SooSad33, Lambert and all others who said that it shouldn't matter what he does in his spare time and with whom: you are right. I started the friendship with the knowledge that he will date others, and I was fine with it. The only exception is if he dated that woman again. First of all, because obviously he cheated on me with her. But even more importantly, because him saying that she was the biggest mistake of his life, that he got caught up in a fantasy that turned out to be a stupid mistake, was the reason I even spoke with him again. But if he is now again with her, it completely negates what he said when he asked for my forgiveness! It means he didn't think of her as a mistake, something else must have happened between them that they broke up and then he used me as a pass-time because she wasn't available. It puts a completely different spin on things, and it also means the friendship I thought we had for the past year was as fake as the previous relationship!

I meant it when I said I was going to be just fine with him dating, I have gone on dates too. But I am never going to be ok with him dating HER! 

As for the contact, it was all him. I never asked him to contact me at all, let alone so often. I was set in my ways and it often even bothered me that he kept calling, I was running out of topics to discuss. I never expected him to be in touch so often, it wasn't my idea. I only contacted him 3 times the whole year. But this is why it was so obvious when things changed last week, I couldn't NOT notice. 

To Kwothe28 - you're spot on about the gaslighting, he used to do plenty of that before, and I suppose that's what pissed me off now again - I recognize the same pattern and I thought (hoped) I'd never see it again. I sincerely never wanted to get back together with him in that way, but I guess I did get used to having him around all the time so I couldn't not notice when he wasn't. Also, the silly lie he told me annoyed me to no end, because it insulted my intelligence. It was the kind of excuse that makes you feel stupid for even pretending to believe it.

You are all right, he is not the type of friend I (or anyone) should keep in their life. Plus if someone is willing to throw away years' worth of friendship at the slightest argument, how good of a friend could they have been?

I have always been the one to run after him in the past, apologizing for things I hadn't done but he had accused me of doing. Whenever he wanted time away from me (which now I know was so he could be with that woman), he'd use something I said to start a fight, then he'd ignore me for a few days, then he'd "forgive" me - lather rinse repeat. I have a feeling he wanted to get back to that sick routine again, even in friendship. I guess some things never change. But nope, not this time. I gave him a chance thinking he has changed and grown up, but clearly this is not the case. I am done.

 

Edited by OverTheMoon21
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25 minutes ago, OverTheMoon21 said:

But I am never going to be ok with him dating HER! 

And while I agree with this statement. it's also the reason you should not have agreed to be friends with the guy.

There's too much between you.  The feelings of the past from the romantic relationship remain. You say they're not romantic and you don't want him back at all, but there is a lot of emotionally charged feelings, feelings you have about yourself, about how you can trust him, about controlling a "friend".

This is not a normal friendship and you're right to stay the hell away from him.  No matter what. 

Ask yourself why you even want him as a friend. I think you need to live yourself more. Be a better friend to yourself. ❤

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