My boyfriend found my blog and broke up with me. What should I do?
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Dear Miss Info,
About a week ago, my (now ex) boyfriend discovered my blog. I have some not-so-nice pictures posted, mostly just anonymous shots of me in my underwear. I'm pretty open when it comes to these things, and even sex in general, but he clearly wasn't. He freaked out and broke up with me, and we had this big dramatic moment ending with crying, lots of hugging, saying "I miss you," and confusion. He wants to be friends, but I told him that I couldn't do it.
I understand what I did. My ex is conservative when it comes to stuff like that, and I didn't respect that. I didn't see it as hurting him because, well, he'd tease me about my blog (which is deleted now) every now and then, but he never really looked at it. I assumed that if he found out, he would just brush it off or something. But I really, really hurt him. I love him and he's the greatest guy I've ever known and I just can't imagine being without him. Things were going fine. And then he just up and dumps me on a whim.
I have nobody to talk to, and he knew this. Before I cut off all communication with him, I did the typical crying and pleading bit, and I even went to see him. It ended with us cuddling and kissing on his couch for hours. He said he needs time. He gave me his cousin's phone number, with whom he is really close. She was more than happy to talk to me, and she's been a big help. When I talk to her, she says that she thinks he'll get over it and that his ego is just bruised. I don't know what to believe. She told me that he said that it's just too soon and the pain is just too fresh for him.
His cousin told me to just let him cool off, and to check in on him every few days with a text like "Hi, just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you… I hope everything is okay," and to give it a week, but I don't know. Should I listen to her? Is there anything else I can do to make my ex understand that I'm sorry and that I regret what I've done, and that if he takes me back that it won't happen again? I'm so confused. This is my first adult-type relationship. Is it inappropriate to be talking to one of his family members about it? Should I just cut off communication with her too?
— Family Ties
Dear Family Ties,
This is a tough situation because everybody involved seems to be behaving honestly and openly, which is tough to argue with. And though the Venn-diagram circles of "emotion" and "reason" only barely overlap, you can't fault anyone for being honest about their feelings and communicating that clearly, which both of you seem to be doing. As much as I'd love to crow some new Miss Info catchphrase ("Nudity, not prude-ity!" Print up the tote bags, Marketing Department!), I don't see anybody at fault here.
I give you a lot of credit for recognizing what happened without beating yourself up. At its root, this is a difference in values: you didn't see a problem with publicising your scantily-clad body, and he did. Neither is wrong. And you demonstrate a lot of maturity and tenderness in your letter. My only question is, why don't you have anybody to talk to? Breakups are terrible, but a breakup plus isolation is a volatile combination. Is there literally nobody else you can reach out to? If you have no support network outside of your boyfriend, that is a bigger and arguably more important problem. Everyone should have confidantes and cheerleaders outside of their partner. Don't let a significant-other be the only important relationship in your life.
That said, I see no particular reason for you to cut communication with his cousin. It sounds like your boyfriend referred you to her because of genuine concern, and as long as you trust her — meaning that you feel comfortable talking to her candidly, and believe that there is no behind-the-scenes weirdness — then I think you're okay. Find support where you can.
Her advice to remind him you love him but give him space seems sound. Now just make sure you're using that space to your benefit, too. Try to fortify yourself during this time; put down some roots outside of your relationship. If a break has to happen, make it useful for you as well as him.
Dear Miss Information,
I was hoping you could shed some light on an issue which has become very confusing. My girlfriend and I have been together for about a year. We've had some good times together, but lately she's become so distant and is constantly unavailable in every sense. She seems to want me around, and gets upset if I say I have things to do, but the next minute she's having a go at me for being in the way.
I have never felt like we are part of a pair who support each other. She hasn't really supported me in anything I've done in the last six months, even though I try my hardest to accommodate her and make sure she's happy. Every time we have an issue, she refuses to talk about it — she only ever says "If you don't like it, don't go out with me." I used to put up with this, as I think the attitude is partly a symptom of her having a very stressful job. (Which, by the way, has become another issue: she is very vocal about the fact that she thinks my life is a joke.) Anyway, I suppose my question is, do I stay with her until she is less stressed and back to normal, or do I call it quits? I love her and underneath all this she is a good person. I don't know what to do.
It's amazing how much crappy behavior one will put up with when one is getting laid: "She threw rocks at my car, but it's cool. She's just really passionate about green transportation." Or "Sure, he got 'Victoria' tattooed on his chest, but my middle name is Elizabeth, and they're both English queens, so…" But there's a limit to the mistreatment you can handle or the excuses you can make. Your letter sounds like you're hitting that limit.
"She hasn't really supported me in anything," "she thinks my life is a joke," "I used to put up with…" — these are not little things like "we can't agree on curtains!" or "She doesn't like my dog." These are big, systemic, patterned behaviors that speak to a tremendous lack of respect. Your insistence that "underneath it all, she is a good person" doesn't do much to reverse it. That line is a classic excuse for mistreatment. You're basically saying, "I know she knows better, but she's just choosing to treat me badly," which is not much of an endorsement.
You said nothing positive about her or your dynamic as a couple. It is possible that she's just dealing with some personal things and will come around eventually, but it's not your job to be her punching bag in the meantime. From my perspective as a third party, the decision seems really obvious — but this is your call, not mine. Being able to tell the difference between "disagreement/ rough patch" and "abuse" is an invaluable skill, and one I recommend you put some effort into cultivating. From the language you use, it looks like you're well on your way: just trust yourself on this. You deserve someone who treats you well "deep down" as well as on the surface.