Dear B. Scott,
About three months ago, I started to casually seeing this guy. Things quickly progressed from hanging out and getting to know each other to being physical. When we first exchanged numbers, he told me that he recently broke things off with his girlfriend because she was moving out of the country.
Things were fine and then he suddenly started avoiding me. After about two weeks of not being able to get a hold of him, he responded saying he’d been busy. He came out and said that his ex-girlfriend's plans to move changed and she would be staying local. I cut him right there and said I had fun, I wished him well and told him I'd see him around. He wished me the same and offered to take me to lunch to "explain."
He confirmed everything I thought: he was happier with her than alone, he never meant to hurt me, I'm a good person, we should be friends. I was very upset. But what really hurt me was the fact that he told me that he used the sex we had to help him to suppress the feelings he had for her. He didn't say any of this in a mean-spirited fashion nor did he treat me poorly during the lunch (he picked me up and he paid for everything). I liked this guy because of how he treated me and I loved being around him. It was my first ‘adult’ relationship. How do I rebuild my self-esteem and trust men? Please help me, B.
Dear Love Muffin,
The situation at hand is an unfortunate one, and I empathize with your heartbreak.
As painful as this situation may be, it’s all a part of the ‘dating game’. From what you’ve told me, he doesn’t seem like a bad guy it just sounds like he might have tried to move on from his previous relationship a little too soon. He was also more honest than the average man or woman who will love you and leave you—which provided the 'answers' about his exit that we often find ourselves racking our brains to get.
Don’t let this be a determining factor in how you view men or future potential relationships. I’m sure he could have handled whatever you two had going on a little more delicately, but he inadvertently you the ‘rebound’ girl. Looking back on it now, surely that isn’t what you wanted, right?
The odds are this won’t be the first guy you develop feelings for and for whatever reason the relationship won’t work out...and that’s something you’ll understand more as time goes on and you start interacting with and dating more people.
It’s okay to be hurt, but let’s look at the silver lining: he explained the situation had nothing to do with you as a person, he’s obviously still in love with his girlfriend, you met a great guy, made some great memories, and to top it all off -- you got a free lunch!
Take what you’ve learned from this experience and keep it handy for when the next guy comes along and sweeps you off your feet. He may be the one, he may not...that’s the beauty of life. You never know what could happen.
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