Mixing Messages and Maintaining Sanity

(NOW: You can read Dategirl every day on the Daily Weekly!) Dear Dategirl,When my boyfriend dumped me two months ago, I didn't get out of bed for a week. We'd been together for a little over a year, and "I loved him" doesn't begin to describe the depths of my feelings.I'm not certain I understand completely why he broke up with me, but I have come to accept it. Here's the sticky part—we work at the same university. Not the same department, but close enough. Now he's decided he wants us to be "friends," and I'm having a very hard time. The first time he asked me to lunch with him, I thought it was a sign he wanted to get back together. No, it was just an opportunity to "check in" and let me know he's dating someone else. It was as if he'd broken my heart all over again. I excused myself, went home, and cried for two days.A week later he asked me out for drinks. Once again, my hopes were dashed, only this time he saw how upset I was, thanks to three glasses of pinot noir. He kept drying my tears, pushing the hair out of my face, telling me how beautiful I am—all the while maintaining that he only wants friendship. Now he's calling me constantly, insisting that we're "too good together" not to stay friends! I don't want him to be my friend, I want him to be my husband! I tell him I need time and space, but he is always hovering. I am positive that he doesn't want to get back together, but I can't figure out why he won't leave me alone!—Heartbroken

I don't doubt that this clueless jackass misses having you around, but his motives are 100 percent selfish. A certain breed of human absolutely cannot stand knowing that someone out there thinks he's an asshole. He sounds like one of these.You have a responsibility to break up with someone as kindly, quickly, and efficiently as possible. By efficiently, I mean that you take cues from the dumpee. If they're cool with it and want to segue directly into friendship, have at it. But if you suspect they're still holding out hope for a reunion, it's your responsibility as the non-heartbroken party to put some distance between you. Similarly, if they tell you to drop dead, well, obviously you aren't going to kill yourself, but you should respect that they probably hate your guts and stay far away from them. Part of being a grown-up is realizing that not everybody is going to love, or even like, you.I once broke up with someone because I was falling for him and knew he was seeing about a dozen other women, which he was quite open about. I didn't yell or cry, I calmly explained that I was ending things because he was breaking my heart. He apologized for making me feel bad and agreed to go away. I was sad, but very proud of myself for being so sane about it. The next week was my birthday, and he sent a card. That phone call wasn't so sane, and I'm not proud of losing my shit, but I sure got my point across.I'm not saying you have to turn into a shrieking harridan as I did, but letting yourself get mad instead of sad would really speed your healing process. This guy is mindfucking you with mixed messages. Telling you you're beautiful?! I'm sure it's true, but that is so not allowed! Can't you see what a selfish prick he's being? He needs to go away and you need to quit wondering why he's behaving this way. Who cares?! His motivations aren't your problem; your sanity is.dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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