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No Freaking Contact, Fer Pete's Sake

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How do g-mail contacts work? If I delete someone, what happens on their end? Am I still their contact? Will they be able to know when I'm online?


I have been broken up with the ex for over seven months. I have NEVER sought him out. This did not prevent him from contacting me about once a month with random e-mails and one self-flagellating admission of guilt. If you care to look the whole sordid saga of my never-ending journey towards getting over my breakup, be my guest, but it's not necessary.


The last contact I had with him was over an extravagant Christmas present he mailed to my house. I sent him a cold thank-you over e-mail, and he replied, telling me he had bought me ADDITIONAL Christmas presents. These never materialized (shock!). I never responded to the response he sent, figuring he'd get the hint.


Well, maybe he did. I haven't heard a peep out of him since before the New Year. I have been hoping and praying that he has just forgotten about me so that he could better focus on the bland woman he started dating a week after we broke up or, better still, that he realized he's a giant, um, jerk, and should slink back to wherever he came from.


So get this crap - my friend organizes an annual music exchange. Last year, me and the ex participated together. The ex's address was still on my friend's e-mail list. I had no idea (why would I?). So I sent a group reply.


The ex's name once again appears on my g-mail contact list, and I quickly figured out what happened. I deleted him, but I am VEXED that he got an e-mail from me, however unintentionally.


My blood is up. Please tell me I am making a big deal out of nothing! Knowing him, though, he'll contact me in some way, shape or form and it's upsetting!


No contact! No contact! No contact! I don't want any freaking contact!!!!!!

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If he does contact you, what will you say?


I don't know about g-mail, sorry. Most I can advise is a contact management approach:


(a) Assume he will get in contact, and make that an expectation. Make a bet with yourself - or me, how about I bet he doesn't contact you within the next week or two, and you bet he does. Stakes are some virtual flowers or something.


(b) Develop what you will say back. Start drafting now. When he contacts you, you have your response down pat - you send it automatically. No beating up of self, just an acceptance that this was gonna happen, now is your chance to take control. To say what you always wanted to, and this time you get to take your time and you get to get your thoughts out before you get something dumb from him to react to.


If he never contacts, fine. You get your closure. You get to write it all out and hold on to it for another time, and maybe you never send it.


It depends how you manage anxiety - if you are better at repression then I take back all the above, say "don't worry he won't contact". You'll be fine.


If it's about control and once you start worrying you can't stop, then try the above, or something like it. Get the control back as far as you can. And I think this kind of thing was always going to happen - these things just do. At least it's happening now, when you are in a much stronger place. You'll be fine.

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Caro, I owe you a boquet of virtual flowers anyway.


For me, it's all about control, so I guess I have to think of something to say. Thing is, I have nothing to say! Perhaps I will say, "I have nothing to say to you." Ugh, that sounds mean.


OK, here's my plan. If he doesn't contact me, fantastic! If he does, I assume he'll do it soon. It's his pattern to send me an e-mail at the end of every month. If I hear from him, I'll return to this thread and post the e-mail and figure out a response then. I just can't fathom what I'd say to him, especially because I've already raked him over the coals. I guess I could express the hurt I feel, but I doubt I'd feel too good about that. He doesn't need to know.


I am so glad he's moving out of state!!!!!

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There's truly nothing you have to say? Nothing that sums up how you feel and what you want? I'm not saying it has to be word perfect right now, but is there nothing even along the lines of "don't contact me again" that might give you closure? I'm talking raw stuff here.


Yes, when they move away it takes away so much stress about random bumpings-into!

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OK, if I were to be honest with him, I would say something like this,




I know you miss me. I miss you too. There, I said it.


Thing is, I still can't be friends with you. As I've said exactly nine million times before, you hurt me very, very badly. I know you think you didn't mean to, but I still harbor mucho resentment towards you. It would take nothing short of a miracle for that resentment to abate, for me to think anything other than by giving you one iota of what you want (i.e., my friendship), the hurt I'd feel would be infinitely greater than the joy you or I would experience.


We're in totally different places right now. I hurt tremendously for the first few months after we broke up. As you said yourself, you're just getting around to feeling badly now. My pain is almost over, and I can't keep getting better with you in the picture. I CANNOT worry about what you think of me, if you suffer as I did. I can't relate to you anymore.


And here's the screwy part: if you're still in the picture, I still want you to hurt. Call me petty, but you put me through hell and I think you deserve all the remorse and loneliness you've told me you're feeling. When you treated me as you did, you cheated yourself out of a potential friendship with me. When you started dating your new girlfriend one week after we broke up, you reaffirmed my suspicion that you were (are?) an unfeeling creep.


We dated for three and a half YEARS, Ex. You treated me like a stranger. Say what you will about "trying to spare my feelings" and "being slow," but I don't buy any of it. I think that when it came down to brass tacks, you showed that my place in your heart was quite small.


I hold my friends so close, so close. You know how close. I held you just as close, if not closer. I do not take friendship lightly. My friends are lucky to have me, just as I am lucky to have them. They have won their place in my heart through years of mutual support.


I appreciate all you did for me in the early period of our relationship. I appreciate how you stood by me through my father's illness. I appreciate how you supported me when I got laid off. I appreciate how you coached my for the GREs and job interviews. I appreciate the thoughtful gifts throughout the years and the elaborate Valentine's Day dinners. I appreciate you called me every single day for over one thousand days.


This makes it all the harder for me to write you off forever. I don't know that I can, but I know that's the only solution for now. As I've told you exactly nine million times before, you treated me like garbage for over nine months. You quite literally threw me away. You may as well have spit in my face.


So no, I can't see being friends with you now, if not forever. So please give me the respect you haven't for the last couple years and leave me well enough alone.






Caro, I actually cried when I wrote that. Geez, I'm such a softie. At any rate, I could never be honest with him because I was SO VULNERABLE for so long and he was so impervious and impassive. He treated me and my feelings like an annoyance. When I broke up with him, I vowed that I would never be vulnerable to him again. I would never show him that part of me or give him the satisfaction that he had any bearing on my life.


Fortunately, it's been really easy. I hold all the cards. I wish I could wish him well, but I just CAN'T. I can't seem to bid him goodbye, either. I mean, I don't see him and I don't talk to him, but I don't want to come out and tell him goodbye. Why? I dunno. It seems like to do that, I would have to come clean, and that's something I don't want to do because of the aforementioned vulnerability issue.


So here's hoping he just leaves me alone to heal all by myself.

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Okay, you know best what works for you, that's fine.


I think your letter was terrific, I think it shows someone who is vulnerable but also very strong and self-aware. It also reads like it's fair. But if you're not ready to say that stuff in reality fair enough. You can't force this stuff and it's not been that long for you really.


I'm sorry if my questions caused you upset. I do hope that writing it down helped at least a tiny bit though - maybe you have something to come back to at least, to cannabalise for the bits you feel less worried about expressing?


I know it's different when you're in it, but from where I'm sitting your vulnerability is nothing to be ashamed of. I know I've said this before, and your letter above only confirms it - I think you are acting with strength and honour. Never be ashamed of trusting someone and being vulnerable, it says wonderful things about you. And I think it shows strength and bravery to be honest in this way, not weakness.


(By the way, I don't see why we should necessarily wish those who hurt us well in this world. I think ambivalence is as good as it gets sometimes, and if you get there, that's pretty good. Don't set yourself unreasonable tasks finewhine, you'll think you're failing when you're actually doing a great job.)

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I wanted to add that I reckon the value is sometimes not even in sending these types of letters, but having them ready - taking that control - and then when the time comes, deciding not to engage anyway. So I want to take back any implication above from me that you would need to send this at any stage.


I actually have a letter like yours sitting on my home computer somewhere, unprinted and unsent. I guess I found the process more helpful than any actual sending of feelings. I got it 'out' without making myself any more vulnerable to his judgement than I wanted to be. I read and re-read my letter at the time until I was sick to death of even thinking about it anymore.

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Thanks, Caro. You didn't make me cry - 'twas hormones. I have major PMS right now. Blegh. And it DOES help to think all this out. I do try to supress it much of the time, but it catches up to me every few weeks. In fact, I am going to vent even more.


Your perspective is really unique. If my best friend found out I was thinking those things, she'd be mad at me. So would my mother! They hate my ex a whole lot more than I do and would wonder why I have any vulnerability left at all. Thank you for making me vulnerable old me feel normal.


I do worry about seeming weak to him. He doesn't have normal people feelings. The laws of physics don't apply to his emotions. My nickname for him was "Sangfroid." He turned into a reptile. He's got a lot of friends, but he keeps everyone at a distance. In his last stupid e-mail to me, he told me he still felt closer to me than to any of his other friends. This, after not having spoken with him in six months.


In any case, I imagine him living his life, feeling important and self-satisfied, traipsing along with the new girlfriend, never ever thinking of me except in the thirty seconds per month he has between work, working out, new girlfriend, social functions, showing off, being materialistic, etc. In these thirty seconds per month, he experiences discomfort. Is it pain? Is it embarrassment? Guilt? He doesn't know. He buys another high-end item off the internet and shoots off another quick, thoughtless e-mail to me.


Meanwhile, I get by. I get stronger. I think of him nearly every day in varying capacities. I remember things he said. I remember our rituals. I wonder when I'll meet a man I enjoyed talking to as much as I enjoyed talking to him. I remember how much I once enjoyed his company. I contemplate the greater significance of betrayal.


And so I move forward in life, pretending I exist in a differerent universe than he. Sometimes, my feelings of confusion get the better of me, usually when he contacts me, defying the system I've set up for myself.


Am I vulnerable? I don't know. Have I achieved "closure?" Again, I don't know. All I know is that I'd like the pain to stop, once and for all. I'd like the feelings of competition to stop as well. I am not ready to be in a relationship; he is. I'm still looking for a job after finishing grad school/internships in December; he's getting an annual bonus in the six figures. In his personal schema, he's winning. He's winning because he didn't have any feelings for me. The only way I can fight back is through absense. For all intents and purposes, I dissappeared into the ether, and that's the way I like it.

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No worries, you're welcome.


I think it's also normal for friends/parents freak out about this stuff because to them they feel your pain and they just want it to be over already. They might be a little afraid you will go back to him, and think that any more thinking you do about him might reflect that. I know that my best friends were ready to ex-communicate me whenever I wanted to discuss the ex I had problems with. It got to the stage I couldn't even mention my remaining issues about him without one of my friends getting teary and upset with frustration and wanting me to shut up.


Karma will get Mr Sangfroid, c'mon, how can it not?


Have a great night, or whatever it is in your part of the world!

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