Letter from a lurker.
Try not to picture Evan Lysacek as you read. Or do, if that makes it more interesting.
Q: Hi Meredith,
I am a daily reader of your column, and I've even been to a Love Letters event in the past. I am also a major lurker (non-commenter). I think you and your readers have some wonderful advice, and now I have a problem of my own.
To give you some context, I am 28 years old, have a great job and great friends, have dated a lot, and had a handful of serious boyfriends in my day. Back in January, I broke up with my boyfriend of over a year (let's call him Evan). Evan was the most intense relationship of my life. I was almost instantly a part of his family and was invited to holidays and went on vacations with them after only a few months. Evan did have some baggage, however. More than a year before meeting me, he ended a bad relationship with someone he had lived with after dating her for only a few months. Although he had her move out shortly after she moved in, he ended up dating her for another 2 years (she was going through some family stuff and Evan felt like he couldn't leave her until she had some stability in her life, which I actually respected and thought made him a better person).
Anyway, despite how welcoming and open he was with me in some ways, he kept certain things very close to the vest. He liked to reserve nights apart from me so that he could sleep better (he also preferred to be intimate only once or twice a month, which I made clear wasn't enough for me). We lived an hour apart, but he refused to give me a key to his apartment, even if it meant that I repeatedly needed to sit in my car and wait for him in his driveway if he was running late for work. He also mainly preferred that we only spend time with his friends and family, and the times when he would agree to leave his hometown and visit my friends and family became few and far between. Eventually it became clear to me that even though he might love me, he didn't love me enough and I deserved a lot better. Despite all that, I was terrified to be the one to end it, and when he finally initiated the break-up conversation, I was devastated but also somewhat relieved/grateful. We agreed that we loved each other, but that things had probably started out too quickly and that in the end, we didn't have enough in common (both in lifestyle and personality) to stay together. We kept in touch to a small degree through emails; his mother and brother-in-law both also called and emailed to check in on me as the weeks went by. As for me, I started seeing a therapist just to make sure I was being mentally healthy about everything (my therapist thought I was doing great!), and about a month after breaking up I joined an online dating service and even had a "rebound" relationship that lasted about a month and a half. All my friends and family were extremely proud of the way I was handling things and how realistic I seemed to be about dealing with my pain but also trying to move on.
Cut to this weekend when it became clear through a sudden flurry of not-so-subtle Facebook posts that not only was Evan seeing someone new (who looks a lot like me, but that's neither here nor there!), his friends were referring to her as his girlfriend. One of his best female friends, with whom I'd been extremely close throughout the relationship, suddenly removed me from her book club and "de-friended" me on Facebook (and apparently in life). I guess most readers would say that this is to be expected after a relationship ends, but I'm thrown by the suddenness of it. While I was taking it slow and being very sensitive to Evan's feelings in my own dating escapades, keeping them private, etc., he had a new, official girlfriend and he doesn't seem to care at all about my feelings on the subject. It appears from Facebook that that they started dating only a month and a half after we broke up.
I guess there are two things really bothering me about it: 1. He apparently didn't learn a lesson from dating me or his ex, and still becomes very serious very quickly with girls he's dating, which implies that maybe this is his MO. And if that's the case, I keep thinking that never really loved me. And 2. If this was a year from now, I'd say he owed me nothing, but I feel like the fact that he started dating somebody only a month after breaking up with me (and since we've been in touch), he might have given me a heads up that she existed so that I didn't need to find out about her this way. In the meantime, I'm definitely mirroring Sally in "When Harry Met Sally" -- totally fine when she breaks up with her boyfriend until she finds out months later that he's marrying somebody else, and suddenly she's a complete mess and bawling to Harry on the phone.
Anyway that's the long, drawn-out story, but my question to you and your readers is this: Do I have the right to be hurt by Evan's lack of sensitivity to me? Is it possible that he never really loved me at all? Why does it bother me so much that his friend kicked me out of her life? Don't worry, I am not going to do anything rash and call him out on it. I'm writing to you instead. :) Please note that I never harbored any ideas that we were going to get back together; there were obviously a lot of broken things in our relationship. A little piece of my heart might always love him and cherish the memories I had with him, but I look forward to meeting Mr. Right someday, and I know he's not Evan. In the meantime, any suggestions for how to best move on, be strong and get over this type of pothole in the road to recovery from a breakup would be appreciated.
– Trying to Move On, Boston
1. Yes, getting serious too fast is Evan's routine. But that doesn't mean he didn't care for you. It just means his routine got in the way of loving you right. It means that at the end of the day, Evan is still Evan. There's only so much love he can give, at least for now.
2. You asked if you have the right to feel miserable about his Facebook behavior and his quick commitment to this new person. My answer is that you have the right to feel however you feel. The quicker you admit that feeling and experience it, the quicker you can move on.
3. His female friend was trying to do you a favor. She probably thought that by de-friending you in life and on Facebook, she'd be sparing you exposure to Evan's recent choices. She's Evan's person, not yours. She could have been more diplomatic about her disappearance, but she's doing the right thing. It doesn't mean that she doesn't like you.
4. If we're going to invoke "When Harry Met Sally," let's go all the way with it, shall we? Sally doesn't wind up with Joe, her ex who gets married. She winds up with a sillier guy who treats her like a best friend and wants to spend all of his time with her. So there. Joe is just a step along the way. Joe is a learning experience. Evan is your Joe. It's your job to go out there and look for a Harry.
5. You'll get over Evan by removing all evidence of him on Facebook, surrounding yourself with some new faces, hanging out with your good friends, and by repeating this sentence, which you wrote yourself: "A little piece of my heart might always love him and cherish the memories I had with him, but I look forward to meeting Mr. Right someday, and I know he's not Evan."
I'm with your therapist. You're doing great. This part is supposed to be hard.
Readers? Thoughts? Did Evan really love her? Is it weird that his female friend disappeared? Is the letter writer allowed to feel this miserable if she knows better? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.