I left my fiancee after finding out he had an affair with a subordinate of his at work. I still haven’t gotten the whole story out of him (to this day, he still sticks by his story that they only “made out a little bit” even though there were nights where he wouldn’t come back home). Through a lot of emotional roller coasters these past 4 months, I feel like I really achieved “Meh.”
Then, last weekend, I get a text from him out of nowhere saying how much he misses me and how he regrets hurting me. When I didn’t respond, he sent me another text saying how I was all he could think about while he was at the hospital. When I didn’t respond to that, he sent another text saying how he’s all alone with no friends and no family in his life.
I caved. I started texting him, cautiously at first, keeping it short — asking why he was in the hospital. Eventually, the conversations turned friendly and nostalgic — back to the days when we we first met. I stupidly got my hopes up for the possibility of a friendship, then a couple hours without a response later, he butt-dials me from the OW’s apartment.
“All alone” my butt! Before I realized what was going on, I heard laughter and giggling, and what sounded like her saying “I love you.” Even though I don’t want him back, it was a harsh reality check that he is still the pathological liar I remember. I sent him one more text of “F*ck you” and he sent a flurry of texts back trying to do damage control.
He said they were “just friends” and that he doesn’t love her, he loves me. He said he was “all alone” because even when they were hanging out, he FELT alone. Yadda Yadda Yadda. I don’t know what happened, but about an hour later, he texted me saying the OW kicked him out of her apartment — that sounds like something a “girlfriend” does — not a “friend.”
Which led me to this thought: I felt like the OW. The girl he texts while he’s with his girlfriend, setting up a lunch date or dinner date. The girl he says “but I really love YOU” as he says “I love you” to his current girlfriend. The girl who causes the fights that end in him being thrown out.
Ugh… Please help me, CL. I need your sassy insight about what I should do. Is friendship really impossible?
Shocked and Confused
Well that depends on exactly how desperate you are for friends. Is it possible? Sure. And I could walk up 6th Street in Austin with $100 bills stuffed in my pockets buying hipsters tequila shots and have a lot of “friends” too. Alternatively, I could get a cardboard cutout figure of Stephen Fry and we could watch Downton Abbey together. More trifle, Stephen? Oh, don’t mind if I do, Tracy. Or I could tell all my deepest secrets to the green scum in my fish aquarium.
It really just boils down to your definition of friend.
Personally, I prefer not to befriend people who promise marriage to me and then fuck their co-workers. But I’m peculiar that way.
If you’d like a quality friendship with someone who cares for you and reciprocates your affections — aim higher. MUCH higher. You’re just a kibble dispenser to this idiot. He has shown you many times over exactly who he is, you’re just refusing to see it. You think there is something there to work with. I don’t know… is there? The philandering. The mindfuckery. The self pity. What exactly is there to miss? The way he looks in a starched shirt?
Have some deal breakers, Shocked. Raise the price on your friendship. Don’t be so easily bought, that all he has to do is pester you with some texts and you’re mush. Standards, woman! STANDARDS!
How’s this for a deal breaker — he CHEATED and he LIED. He abused your trust. If you reward this behavior with your friendship, you’re sending him the clear message that what he did to you Wasn’t That Bad. Which is exactly what he wants — a chump who will take him back and dispense kibbles again and again regardless of his behavior. When things get dicey, he’ll do his little sparkle schtick, and you’re right back in place.
What’s in it for YOU? Feeling like the OW, because unwittingly you ARE the OW? Do you feel special? He’ll fit you in between whatever other piece of tail he’s chasing that day. He’ll reward you with more drama and chaos and he’ll bust your heart into little pieces — because you’ll be expecting a pay off for your loyalty and friendship — and there won’t be one.
You’d get better results with the aquarium scum. So stop being confused and dump this loser for once and for all. When you feel weak, listen to this song by Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Don’t Take Everybody to Be Your Friend.” Repeat as necessary.
This column ran previously. Traveling for the holidays.