About a year and a half ago, I met a guy online and we started dating (I'm a man and it was my first gay relationship). At the time I was really just testing the waters and wasn't looking for much, but he was very funny and enthusiastic and we began talking incessantly over text and meeting up in person. About two weeks in, he went away for work, but he would message me every day to talk. By the time he got home, we knew each other very well and he asked me if we could be exclusive. What followed was a period of complete bliss. His work schedule meant that he was here for a few weeks and then away for a few weeks, but we always kept contact while he was away. About six months in, he told me he loved me.
A few months back, he began to act differently. He would call or text less and he was always tied up with family obligations. It felt like I was solely responsible for initiating contact and making plans, but I chalked it up to him just going through a tough phase with family and work issues. I mentioned this a few times and he told me that the issue was that he was beginning to feel claustrophobic in the relationship. According to him, it was tough making time for me and also making time for his friends and family during his limited time home, which I understood.
Finally, he decided to end it. He told me that he felt like things had leveled out and the only way to keep the relationship going would be to move forward (i.e. move in, plan a life together, etc), but he couldn't do that now because it would mean coming out to his remaining family to whom he is still closeted. He said he just wasn't ready for it. I was devastated. We had been so happy together and both acknowledged that we were so great for each other. He told me that I had a profound effect on him and that he hoped we always stay in touch as friends.
This past weekend, while out with mutual friends, I found out that he began seeing someone days after we broke up. He is now in a relationship with this person. I was devastated. I immediately deleted every picture I had on my phone, removed him from all social media, and sent him an email stating that I was hurt he had lied to me and that I needed to remove him to move on. The email wasn't insulting or hurtful but it was short and definitely frank.
At first I felt great but now I'm having my doubts. The person he is dating just turned 20. My ex is in his late 20s. My ex, during the breakup, mentioned how he felt our small age gap could be a potential problem. It's clear to me that this is a rebound and that he found someone with whom there is no risk of ever becoming serious. My ex now despises me for the email. He said he never wants to hear my name, how I'm doing, or anything about me ever again. Did I do the right thing? Should I have just let things be and let him think about his issues or did I just destroy every chance of potential friendship (or a relationship at some point)?
– Did I do the right thing?
A: You did the thing you needed to do. You were hurt and confused and you told him so. He should understand that it must have been devastating for you to find out that he was already with someone else. If he can't handle an emotional letter, he can't handle a friendship.
You're probably right about this being a rebound, but it doesn't matter. His love life isn't your business, and you should be focusing all of your energy on what you want to do next. You don't have to jump back into dating, but you must start thinking about your own needs instead of analyzing his motivation and checking up on him through mutual friends.
There's no point in having a friendship with someone if you spend all of your time together longing for more. The letter got you where you need to be, which is without him.
Readers? Should he have sent the letter? Will they get back together? What about the ex's reaction to the letter?