Hi, I’m writing to you because I have a unique situation. In March of this year I started dating a guy who is a neighbor. I thought it was a bad idea at first and told him so but after spending a year getting over my ex who was long-term I thought what the heck and gave him a shot.
I had to move back in with my mom for a while to take care of her and during this time he basically ghosted me. He would say he was interested but he would take him a day and a half to get back to me when I would text him. I know that he’s busy taking care of his own mother but I kind of felt like why couldn’t he pick up his phone for 5 seconds and let me know what was going on with him.
Anyway, our break-up wasn’t pretty. We didn’t text for about 3 months and it was very awkward for me because I live in the same building as him and I have to walk right past him sometimes when I leave my apartment. The last time this happened I didn’t even acknowledge him. Then I finally texted him and said, Look I don’t want us to be enemies I’m sorry for the way things happened and I just don’t want this to be awkward anymore. He said okay fine talk to you soon, but since then has not spoken to me.
I’m seriously considering breaking my lease and moving out just to get over this terrible situation. I know that I’ll never get over this if I keep seeing him everyday. I don’t understand why he said we could be on speaking terms again and then just completely ignores me. Do you think I should just move out? do you think he’s playing mind games with me? I just know that I can’t go through this anymore. What do you think I should do? Thank you.
I am sorry this guy disappointed you, but I am more concerned about your extremely negative view of the situation. This same situation happens to many people in college, where people hook up with dormmates all the time, and rarely do people leave college because of it. Your situation is not unique, although it is certainly not pleasant.
The key word here is awkward, and the key feeling I get from many Millennial clients is that they are terrified of awkwardness and are willing to do fairly dramatic, unproductive things (like paying to break a lease) to avoid it and other negative feelings. You are frightened of the awkwardness of seeing him, and he is frightened of the awkwardness of talking to you again. Nobody here is intending to hurt anyone else. He wasn’t into you anymore, which is super common, and now doesn’t know how to handle it maturely, and you don’t know how to handle his ignoring of you. This knowledge of how to navigate difficult interpersonal situations will come in time.
Don’t break your lease. Use this experience as exposure therapy to treat your fear of awkwardness and of rejection. Every day, you can say out loud, “My ex didn’t like me, and he won’t talk to me if he sees me, but other guys will most certainly like me and want to talk to me. Hundreds if not thousands of them would be happy to be with me.” When you see your ex in the hall or lobby, smile and keep doing whatever you were doing.
Note: he is not “playing mind games” unless is he a true sociopath, which is statistically unlikely. He is just an awkward guy who doesn’t know how to talk to you if he doesn’t want to be friends or to hook up anymore. Mind games would be if he texted you first, begging to be friends, and set up a time to hang out, and then wasn’t there when you came over and subsequently ignored you. Since you texted him, he didn’t know what to do, so he answered “okay fine” and then he can’t bring himself to talk, since, like you, he fears The Awkward.
Best of luck, and get back out there on some online dating sites. Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, Awkward Is Just Part Of Life.
Learn about Dr. Rodman’s private practice, including therapy, coaching, and consultation, here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.