Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Last summer, when the pandemic had worn on for several months already, I reconnected with my ex. At first it was just texts, which grew more flirtatious, and one night, he came over. From that point on we were hanging out and hooking up again.
We never said we were back together. We never went on any dates. In fact, we never did much of anything except he’d come over and spend the night. But we had long talks and we went through COVID together and I definitely felt like we were rekindling our romance and getting a second chance.
With the world more normal now, I recently suggested we go out for dinner or get drinks. He acted super weird and evasive and suggested we just DoorDash. I was really direct and said the point was, we would be going out together on a date. He said, “But we aren’t together.” And I just felt so stupid and awful.
I told my friends who all say I should walk away now — again. But I really care about him. I think our breakup was a mistake. I think he cares about me and needs me more than he realizes. I’m willing to wait and keep doing what we’re doing because I think he’ll come around. Am I crazy?
I don’t think you’re crazy, but I do think you’re wasting your time if you think this casual relationship that’s pretty much based on sex is going to magically bloom into a meaningful long-term commitment.
Let’s start with the fact that you two already had a breakup. So something was missing from the relationship in the first place. Maybe the chemistry was off, or your lifestyles didn’t mesh, or he likes Triscuits and you’re a Wheat Thins gal. Whatever the case, you recognized the mismatch and parted ways. Literally only a world-altering pandemic could bring you together again. That reunion can’t be chalked up to fate; it was more a matter of you feeling completely lonely, probably bored, and like the rest of us, looking for COVID comfort.
As hard as it was to hear your ex reiterate that you aren’t together, at least he gave it to you straight: you aren’t together. That was a perfect opportunity for him to propose otherwise, if he was interested, and he didn’t. And he won’t.
He sounds like a nice enough guy and you can always be grateful you had each other for some human nearness during the last crazy year, but you’re clearly too invested now to continue pretending this is just a casual thing for you. I’m siding with your friends: it’s time to move on.
I won’t say you’re crazy, but you did construct and hunker yourself as deeply as possible into a Fantasy World of isolation, sex and shared meals … with your ex. Some would say that’s a questionable choice at best while others would say it’s smart, safe and perfectly sane considering our world was as close to a zombie apocalypse as it’s ever been. And, well, life in Fantasy World was convenient and a heck of a lot better than being alone. But again, it was an illusion.
As reality returns to our world, it’s dropped a cold shower of clarity on Fantasy World and your COVID coupling. I commend you both for honestly stating your expectations moving forward: you expecting a real date; him expecting, um, that “we aren’t dating.” I just wish that you had expressed your expectations much earlier, agreed to some Fantasy World ground rules with him, or, you know, never engaged in texting an ex in the first place.
I understand the lure of residing in Fantasy World, where the best of times are relived while tough conversations and past pratfalls are avoided. I also appreciate falling hard and reinvesting in someone you’ve fallen hard for and invested a lot into once before. But the reality is, this is the beginning of the second breakup, which was destined to happen no matter how much you two enjoyed your time together in Fantasy World or how much you truly you love him and want him back in your life full-time. Sorry, but back to life, back to reality.