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Should I try again with a guy after he blocked me?
He said he felt the same way about me and we both said we had been envisioning ourselves building a life together. The whole thing felt horribly dramatic.
Here’s The Thing is an advice column/newsletter where I mostly beg people to either stop dating someone or to ask their crush out. Or I talk about weird things that came to my mind that no one is paying me to write about. I can never decide if I should capitalize the “the” in Here’s The Thing or not; apologies on lack of consistency.
A BIG CUTIE:
Okay, I know this is going to sound dramatic and immature, but please bear with me. I just dated a guy for 3 months and absolutely fell for him (and him for me--we are in our 30s, but I'm a few years older, if that matters). We are both on the left politically and followed each other on twitter (after beginning to date--we met on a dating app).
Around Christmas, I noticed he was tweeting more often and more angrily. Even though we share essentially the same ideology, it became clear we have different approaches. He replied to some progressive women politicians calling them "frauds" and retweeted other people calling the same politicians "bitches," etc. I felt bothered and asked over text if we could talk about it in person and he said yes and was very kind and sweet about it, but we never got around to discussing it.
Fast forward to the insurrection. I kept texting him because, c'mon, our capitol was being attacked. He wasn't replying and I wondered why because I knew he was at home, free. After two hours, I went to check if he'd tweeted and saw I was blocked. I felt stunned. I'd been tweeting as I watched the insurrection going down and in my moment of stress, I thought he'd become upset by the political nature of my tweets and decided to block and dump me on the spot. (I'd tweeted something like "do you still think hillary and trump would've been the exact same" and I know he is the type of leftist who has said that sort of thing.)
I texted him asking why he blocked me on twitter and if it meant he was dumping me. He didn't reply. I texted again an hour later. No reply. I am ashamed to admit it, but I basically freaked out and kept texting this man every hour, sometimes more than once, freaking out about how I can't believe he'd throw away our relationship so easily and I can't believe he'd rather be misogynistic and call women bitches on the internet than have a girlfriend, and how since he's not replying I'm forced to assume he ghosted me, etc. I was stressed and feeling insecure and acted like a stereotypical "crazy girlfriend."
He didn't reply until the next day and he was pretty angry and condescending. He pointed out that he personally hasn't called any women bitches online, he only retweeted other (women) doing so. He essentially accused me of faux feminism and said politicians should be criticized and women politicians shouldn't be treated with "kid gloves." The convo ended angrily.
I emailed him a week later, apologizing for the various things I did wrong. I waited that long because I felt so hurt and angry that he'd 1) blocked me on twitter, 2) not apologized or properly explained it or reassured me that it didn't mean we were breaking up, 3) condescended me about feminism and politics, and 4) gone silent. It took days of reflection and conversations with friends for me to fully recognize that I had also played a major role in creating the problem.
He asked to talk after he received the email. He called and apologized and said he cares about me and respects my point of view. He also said that he's emotionally exhausted by the situation and had spent the past week unable to sleep, unable to be productive, and feeling in a total funk, so he couldn't continue dating me. I told him I respect his decision, but felt sad because I had fallen in love with him (this was my first time saying so). He said he felt the same way about me and we both said we had been envisioning ourselves building a life together. The whole thing felt horribly dramatic and tragic--to say "I love you" for the first time, as you're breaking up? Why???
It turns out he had blocked me on twitter days before I noticed. Since I was feeling bothered by his tweets, he thought it'd be better for our relationship if I didn't see them. He'd never wanted to break up and was hurt/offended that my mind went there so quickly. He thought he was helping us by blocking me and didn't mean to hurt me.
I am devastated and also confused. I go back and forth between feeling awful for my day-long barrage of emotional, insecure texting and feeling defensive and indignant. I mean, he blocked me! What was I supposed to think? Also, this feels like a mind-fuck. Like, he didn't want to break up with me and everything was perfect, but because I mistakenly THOUGHT he wanted to dump me, he decided to do so? Sorry I'm not 100% secure 100% of the time, even after my boyfriend blocks me on twitter and ignores my texts about it, during the middle of an insurrection!
I don't even know what my question is. I feel like this was a big miscommunication and the stress of our national mess poured gasoline on a small fire that could've been put out fairly easily otherwise. I don't want to lose him, but I also don't want to beg or chase him. Yes, his tweets were bothering me, but I wanted to discuss them maturely like adults. I had no plans to leave him over it, (even though I probably implied I did while texting on that horrid day). Like I said, our ideologies are very similar.
I clearly think blocking someone on social media is much more aggressive and extreme than he does. He clearly thinks sending a bunch of emotional texts in the heat of an intense is more of a problem than I do.
He floated the idea of us staying friends and getting to know each other better "to determine if we're romantically compatible." I said I don't know about that and I need time. I don't want to feel like I'm being put on trial, hanging out with him so he can decide if I'm good enough. We've already spent three months together. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but in the beginning we literally hung out every day. I feel like we know each other relatively well and one freakout on my part shouldn't call everything into question. But I'm all over the place because I don't want to lose him.
Sooo... Would you go for the friendship? Walk away and never turn back? Give yourself time to heal and decide later?
Oh boy oh boy! There is a whole lot going on here (I feel like I start a lot of responses this way, but humans are unmatched at muddling affairs). We are messy and prone to bungling things! It happens!
Now, in your case, as for what went down, I’m going to take the incredibly firm stance that you DO NOT BLOCK YOUR PARTNER ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT TELLING THEM!!!! WTF!!!! Look, this guy is in his 30s not his 80s and is apparently online a lot, which means he likely has a very functioning understanding of online etiquette. You do not block people you know and like without explanation, certainly you don’t do it to your partner and double certainly you don’t do it “for their own good.” Vomit.
Before we get into the thorny breakup situation, I just want to be clear that this initial “event” from him—blocking you—is such a huge red flag that he does not know how to communicate. There are a thousand healthy, productive ways that you can talk to your partner about your online presences and he chose none of the above. I’m frankly bewildered. It would have been as easy as saying, “Hey, I feel like you and I use social media very differently, and I think it might not be great for us to be following one another, what do you think about unfollowing for a while and keeping political or more ‘charged’ discussions in person?” EASY! SIMPLE! EFFECTIVE! NOT FUCKING WEIRD! Instead, his ass chose a bizarre time and way to communicate to you, one that ONLY involved him and his wishes and his priorities. That’s the red flag part. I know tons and tons of people who do not follow their partner on social media or who have partners who do not have social media and therefore don’t know/care about what they post. I have a friend who straight up tells partners, “You cannot follow me on Twitter. That’s my thing.” That’s great! That works for them! What this guy did was not that. It was unilateral decision making with NO communication, which is double trash.
So, I do think you were 100% correct in assuming that meant that he wanted to break up. I also think that someone not answering your texts for hours/days after blocking you is… not great. Very un-ideal. Are there circumstances in which not answering texts for hours is normal/fine/good? YES! Of course! Even if he was at home doing nothing, maybe he just wasn’t looking at his phone. Whatever. Benefit of the doubt: not checking texts for hours is fine. I do think that during the insurrection, if he had nothing else he was doing, it would have been nice for you two to be able to text because it was a pretty stressful event for a lot of people. Look, I’m not saying that everyone needs to be chained to their phone, but I do think it’s… unfortunate… that when you texted asking if he was dumping you he didn’t respond for an hour (actually longer, but I’m following your timeline above). If someone didn’t respond to me for an hour after blocking me and I was asking “Are you dumping me?” an hour would feel like a VERY long time. I have a lot of empathy for you.
Now we have to get to the next part of the day: your actions. Again. I get it. Waiting around for an hour—particularly an hour where you were incredibly anxious and stressed because of outside events—and wondering if your partner had dumped you without a word sounds AWFUL. I don’t think what you did next was great, and I don’t think you think it was either. You seem to be aware of what was going on, what triggered your outsized reaction and what you don’t like about what you did. That’s wonderful. I do think it’s also worth taking some time—either by yourself or with a therapist/counselor—and sitting down to work on ways of dealing with anxiety and fear. This world is often scary and bad and it seems to be getting generally worse. I think it’s good to learn how to help yourself function in the ways that you’d like to function when fear/anxiety happens. How would you like to communicate with loved ones in the future when you’re really stressed? How would you like to alleviate pressure and fear? I think it’s very worth it to think about because this kind of massive miscommunication doesn’t have to happen again.
And I do think it was an issue of communication top to bottom. I think that your points about him and his misogynistic moments are likely very sound, but that the way you went about them ultimately sabotaged the messaging. I think your concerns about his social media usage and his condescension are fair. I think him going silent is immature, even if the inclination is understandable. I think both of you, frankly, did a terrible terrible job at communication. From top to bottom. And that’s why I think the idea of you trying to remain anything—friends/partners/casual fuck partners—is ridiculous.
You do not need this person around; you can do better in so many ways. You, in fact, must do better when it comes to your communication and the communication you require in a relationship. This mess above is a pretty extreme example of poor communication and I don’t think you want to repeat it. You seem incredibly bright and kind and introspective and I think all of that is going to serve you so, so well when it comes to communicating with your next partner. But I do think you need to take some time to really think about what got you here—why are you with a partner that is saying stuff you find abhorrent online? Why did your guys’ communication break down so much? Was it always that bad? What kind of reassurance do you need from a partner and are they capable of giving that to you? What kind of political difference do you want/can you accept in a partner? Do you expect a partner to be there for you and check in on you during stressful events? Have you communicated that? Etc. There is a lot to think about regarding your needs/wants/expectations for the future. Sit with yourself (and perhaps a therapist) to really work out what works for you and what doesn’t. Your answers don’t need to be permanent or inflexible—they will likely change as you do—but it’s good to have a starting point for yourself.
You’re going to have a lovely lovely future with a person who will not block you on social media without telling you. I promise. You do not need anything else from this guy.
You can submit your own question—or yell at me about how I’m wrong—by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org