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To Respond or Not Respond?

12 Dec

Last weekend I was out and about, enjoying life at our local pub, when I ran into D’s roommates. As always, I was stoked to see them. I’ve known them for 10 years, and I have always had a sort of younger sister relationship with them. They are also the ones who introduced me to D 8 years ago.

When the guys saddled up at the bar, I asked them if they left D at home. Now, this wasn’t intended to be a loaded question. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve run into D’s roomies, sans D, because my little darling is a tad on the anti-social side and generally avoids the bars. So I was surprised that they got a little squirmy and awkward when I asked that question. One of them finally told me that D was on a trip and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that D wasn’t on a trip by himself…

So I asked, “um is he with a girl?” Which was received with more awkwardness. After much dodging of questions I deduced that D was in fact on a trip with a girl – most likely his on and off again, 20 year old ex.

I won’t lie, this information was pretty shocking to me considering we had sex 5 days prior. Funnily enough, he didn’t mention this trip, or this girl, when he called me up on that Sunday and invited me over. Nor did he mention it when he came over to my apartment the week before.

Some of you will say, well, that’s what you get for being in a friends with benefits relationship. And ya know, as a general rule of thumb, I’d agree with you. When you have no commitment from the other person, then you can’t get mad that they are out fucking other people.

But a year ago, when I let D back into my life, it was under one condition – he could never do what he had done to me, again. Although I have referenced his major fuck up in the past, I never shared the details as it was prior to the existence of this blog and, frankly, I felt like it was rock bottom in my dating life. But because it is relevant, I will share it now.

One night, back in July of 2010, I was still stinging from my break up with Mr. Not Quite Right and had just started hanging out with D again. We were having a lovely sleepover when I was awoken at 5 AM by his ringing phone. It rang once and we ignored it, and then it rang again. D got up and left the room and I went back to sleep. When he came back in the room he was frantic and told me I needed to leave because his girlfriend was outside.

Wait WHAT. Your WHAT?!

I was in shock, half asleep, butt-naked and pissed… but all I could come up with was, “Who comes over at 5 AM?? Where the hell has she been all night?” What a winner.

So I dressed in like 1 minute, he shoved me into a side room, told me to wait there, and then let his girlfriend into his room. My heart was beating out of my chest as I tried to quietly make it out the front door.

As I drove the 30 minutes back to my house, it set in what had just happened and I was mad. Actually I was furious. It was a different type of mad, something I have never felt before in all of the many times I’ve been annoyed with him. I just couldn’t help but think,How fucking dare he? How could he put me in that position? And after knowing me for so long… I actually thought he had a little respect for me, even if he wasn’t able to commit. Clearly, I was wrong.

Right then and there, I stopped talking to him, and would still be not talking to him, had it not been for the apology. A year ago, when he repeatedly asked for forgiveness, he seemed so sincere and I truly believed he would never put me in that situation again. Bummer, I was wrong.

Naturally, I reacted to the information from his roomies in the usual Cali way. Got drunk. Went back to D’s house with the guys. Made out with one of D’s hot friends (only because I needed the distraction and because it was slightly more fun since it was on D’s turf). And then I vowed to cut him out for forever – yet again. I even came up with a whole plan to switch my phone number to my work cell. That way, in a few months I wouldn’t get an apology call and get sucked back in.

Welp… D was a bit too quick for me. I received a text at 8:20 AM today, which I can only assume means he must have learned that I was at his house the weekend before and is trying to gauge just how pissed I am.

Suffice to say, my morning was ruined. I honestly didn’t know what to do. If I were to just not respond, it would definitely solicit more response from him – possibly an angry one. Plus (and I know this sounds ridiculous) but even as livid as I am at him, I know if I were to just ignore him, it would hurt him. And, fuck me, I just can’t bring myself to hurt him intentionally.

But if I respond… I am vulnerable. I absolutely can’t do this to myself again. I can’t handle anymore heart-wrenching sadness.

So, I consulted Sister Bradshaw, my 24 year old sis, who luckily was online at this early hour, and she told me to just respond, but in a manner that wouldn’t open the door to conversation. That way I am not stooping to his level, or giving him the satisfaction of knowing I am pissed. But I am also not opening the door for an apology. It made sense to me, so I responded to his question, “How’s it going?” with a text that just read, “It’s going great!’

He wrote back, “Well that’s good :)” and to that, I did not respond.

I felt great about my course of action. Does this response guarantee that he is out of my life for forever? Fuck no. But I think I was delusional if I thought any one thing would guarantee me that freedom. Even if I had switched my number, it’s not like I don’t have his number memorized. Chances are I’d get drunk one night (probably post my next big break up) and call him. And then all that work would be for not.

The only real way for me to cut him out is for me to actually decide, in my heart, that I am better than this. That I deserve to be with a guy who doesn’t crush my heart once a year. A guy who won’t lie to me, a guy who will commit to me, a guy who believes he’s good enough for me too. Then D can text me all the livelong day and I won’t spend a second stressing over how to respond.

So the real question isn’t whether I should respond or not respond to my ex’s text. Rather, it’s how do I get to a place where the response doesn’t mean a thing. When I figure that out, I’ll be sure to let you all know…

35 Responses to “To Respond or Not Respond?”

  1. Nick December 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    This blog should be named “How to Fail at Dating.” Didn’t you just tweet the “Why You’re Not Married?” I mean have some self respect. Who really cares if some fucktard gets mad at you for not texting back? Continue on with this and yet you pick apart a guy who doesn’t kiss you? You got some wires crossed when it comes to dating… Don’t untangle them though, I enjoy the entertainment/train wreck!

    • Cali Bradshaw December 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      My, you are a pleasant person. It must be nice to have figured the whole dating thing out… how does the world look from up on your perch? I can only hope that one day I too will be as enlightened as you.

    • Kira December 13, 2011 at 5:25 am #

      Hm…Who doesn’t at one point or another do things like this? I know I have and probably still will in the future. No one in this world is perfect. We often do things we know we shouldn’t… and it doesn’t turn out well. That’s a part of life. As long as you can accept the consequences, then I think that you will learn and grow from it even if it’s in some small way.
      I personally always text people back even if I don’t like them or even hate them. I consider it rude to ignore someone and yes, I don’t want to hurt their feelings. You can’t stoop to others’ levels. By texting back something positive, she’s showing that she’s above his shit.

      And Cali – love your blog! I’m so happy I’m not alone haha. <3


      • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 4:57 am #

        Aw thanks, Kira! Your comment totally made me smile :). Completely agree about texting back. I always do it. The reality is, these days everyone is tethered to their phones. So if you ignore someone’s text, they know they are being ignored. And as someone who never cares for feeling ignored, I just hate to make someone else feel that way. Thanks for the support and for reading!


  2. Charliegirl December 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    cali I would have done the exact same thing as you! Infact last wknd I did a similar thing. I was informed that a guy I like may have had or has a girlf when I got off with him. I really like him and we have met up a few times but if he did have a girlf initially then that means he lied. If he didn’t then thats fine. Also we were supposed to meet at this gig but neither of us got tickets so we haven’t seen eachother in a while and he msged me saying he would let me know when he was next in town (he doesnt live in town) but Im worried he is just blowing me off. Anyway last wknd I went to a party and on a whim decided to txt a guy I met about a year ago (drummer from a band I saw at a gig)and we met up and I slept with him. I don’t normally do that but I guess I did it to spite the other guy and try and prove to myself that I don’t need the other guy. Ugh men.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 5:22 am #

      Girl…. I feel you! I’ve been distracting myself from loser guys with other loser guys for years. Ya know, it isn’t really working for me… Maybe we should both pledge to quit :)

      You know what is ironic? After a little quality FB stalking, it appears the guy I made out with to forget about D, also has a gf. Soooo there you go. Trying to convince myself that all men aren’t shit….

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. CE Love Talk December 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Seriously, this guy has dicked you over way to many times. A sincere apology, ok we will give him the benefit of the doubt…ONCE. Men become academy award winners when it comes to girls and sex, they will act however they need to act to continue to get it. All jokes aside, you need to put yourself first in this situation. He will continue to treat you the way you allow him to treat you.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 5:19 am #

      You are totally right and I appreciate the support. It’s crazy to me that anyone could lie like this because I seriously have an adversity to lying. In fact, there are times where I am awkwardly honest… so it is always just really surprising me to find out that others can lie without the slightest hesitation. So sad.

      In any case, I agree. On to bigger and better things! XO, Cali

  4. LeonD December 13, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    I think the fact that you’re even having this dialogue is proof enough that you aren’t pissed off enough to block this dude from your life.
    This isn’t a strong conviction in your head to cut him off, you just want him to be sorry for what he did and to acknowledge how wrong he is. In a couple weeks you’ll be talking to him again…probably screwing him.

    If you were REALLY pissed, you wouldn’t have cared how he felt or about making him feel bad. You’d just be pissed.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 5:03 am #

      Spoken like a true guy… I respectfully disagree. I think when most men are pissed, the above is true. But when many woman are pissed, there is always a part of us that is still worried about not hurting the other person or not being perceived as a bitch. It’s shitty because just being mad would be so much easier… In any case, what I am looking for is a little support and faith from my readers, which so many have so graciously provided. Unfortunately, you do not fall into this category, but no matter, I intend to prove you wrong. Please note, my feelings may not be 100 percent firm, but my conviction is.

      • Memory Revenge December 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

        So true. I feel like women are always the ones worried that someone will get hurt from our actions. I’ve spent the past few months worried if a guy who broke my heart is happy when everyone around will that I shouldn’t care anymore. It’s a lot harder not to care.

        • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 3:06 am #

          It certainly is! Glad to hear I am not alone in feeling this way. Thanks for the comment. – Cali

  5. Tired December 13, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Wow… this D guy sounds like someone I know and have known for about 10 years as well. You really do need to commit to pushing him out of your life. He’s toxic, and sincere apologies or no, he’s proven that he won’t change. My own “D” got the get the hell out of my life talk a few months ago… and I have been missing him like crazy. But you know, this post just helped me realize; they don’t change. I did the right thing by getting rid of him, and seriously, you do deserve better. He’s just a weakness, but one that you can overcome.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 5:00 am #

      You definitely did the right thing! And hearing your honest but firm comment just further strengthened my commitment to a D free life. I know I will miss him, that is natural, but you are damn right – he is toxic. Thanks for the support and the comment.


      • Singlegal January 5, 2012 at 7:00 am #

        Make space for the guy you actually want in your life, so when they arrive you are ready for them. Naturally this includes eliminating all fucktards.

        • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 3:09 am #

          Hahhaha thanks, friend. That’s the goal. So far, so good. He’s texted and texted and called and I haven’t cracked at all. Go me! XO – Cali

  6. Jenn December 13, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    As harsh as the first person is, his point is the same as the rest. There seems to be that underlying question of “Why are you putting up with this?” You are not going to be successful in dating until you learn that you shouldn’t put up with people like that. It does come down to respect. You cannot expect someone to respect you if you can’t respect yourself. I personally can’t say i haven’t made similar mistakes, but I can say I am in a healthy marriage because I learned to take care of myself and not let some “D”bag take advantage of me. I also agree with the whole letting some dumbass have you while you pick apart a guy that is respecting you… Maybe it’s time to look at yourself and the patterns and find the solution to your problem. I wish you good luck on your journey because it can be a hard one.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 4:54 am #

      Hi Jenn – Trust me, I’ve asked myself that for 8 years. I totally know I shouldn’t put up with people like that BUT I have feelings for this guy that surpass anything I have felt for anyone. ever. That being said, I now appreciate the severity of the situation and am ready to say goodbye.

      In any case, great to hear the perspective of someone in a happy marriage and I appreciate your comment. I also like your “D” bag pun! That is pretty awesome.

      For the record tho, it’s a leap to assume that this new guy wasn’t kissing me out of respect. (Especially if you’ve read the entry in which he asked me if I’ve ever taken it up the ass… ) The truth is, I can probably do better than both.

  7. Candy December 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Start respecting yourself. Get your head straight. Don’t be afraid to be alone. When you respect yourself and demand that of men, the right guy will come along. Sure you may be alone a while, but you’ll save yourself all these headaches. Also, when you become that confident, comfortable, self-respecting person, you’ll attract the right kind of men. If you insist on being with anyone, you will continue getting this. Just some good advice. Best of Luck.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 4:42 am #

      Hi Dear,

      I am not the least bit afraid to be alone. I have been most of my life. And I do very much respect myself. D is a strange exception in my otherwise strong sense of self-worth. But I do agree with what you said about being confident and comfortable and I appreciate the advice.


  8. Jimmy Jacob December 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Hey Cali,

    Cut him loose. It’s what both of you deserve. I know you read what I have been going through recently and I can’t lie….I’ve done the same things to Sabrina….(well I would never ask a girl to hide in a closet..that’s disgusting.)

    I know this may sound harsh, but this guy will never be the one. He is your muse–nothing more and nothing less.

    He reaches out to you because you are familiar. He’s guaranteed great sex and guaranteed a huge ego boost because he knows how you feel about him. He treats you like this because he can…and I’m telling you this now, because you need to learn to let go before he moves on to marriage and children. You know that is a possibility.

    I’m only saying this because I’ve been that guy. I know what he is thinking with and what is worse he knows what you’re thinking with…your heart.

    My advice is to avoid contact with him and to be quite honest…avoid contacting his roomies too.

    It doesn’t matter how cool they are. It doesn’t matter that you’ve known them for over 10 years. You’re never going to escape the ghost until you exorcised him completely from your heart. If people in your life cause you to ruin your day by knowing some info on your ex…then you’ve got to cut them out–until you’re ready to let go of your feelings. If they are your friends, they will understand.

    Trust me…your feelings will go away. It will hurt a little bit and you might feel lost because those feelings have made you who you are today…but they will fade and it will get so much easier.

    However, if it makes you feel better…that thing with his 20 year old ex won’t last. I did the same thing…attached the link if you’re interested.

    Please don’t text him back…that’s all I can say.


    • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 4:22 am #

      You are totally right about his friends. At the time when I wrote this, I wasn’t ready to cut them out too, but I am now. And when I switched my phone number, I didn’t give them the new number.

      In any case, I am taking it a day at a time, but as of right now, I have not responded to two texts and one call. And I have to admit, I feel pretty great about it.

      Thanks for the comment and the perspective.

  9. ... December 17, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    Agree. Cut him loose. This is a bromide phrase but I’ve been that guy, and suffice to say-it does get better.

  10. ... December 17, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    or…just fuck him again and see where that goes. What have you got to lose really? A little bit of pride and self respect? After everything maybe it’s you who has to grow up and face facts. Is this the kind of person you could be happy with? I say take the risk. Then if it doesn’t work out, least you know. What happened to NO BULLSHIT?

  11. itsxsasha December 23, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I had a “D” once.. and he would never commit to me (but could seem to with everyone else) and do the other things that you have listed. Then I meet someone who just trumped “D” above and beyond and that was the tipping point to me cutting him from my life forever (as I was in one of the on-again-off-again phases with ).
    It’s been 2 years since and I have stayed strong and never contacted him or responded to any of his pleas to “win” me back. The one who trumped “D” was someone who had to leave me for reasons premature to the relationship ending properly but in saying that I would like to point out that a boyfriend didn’t solve it – i’ve been single the whole 2 years since.
    When you’re ready to cut him you will know it takes something profound to make a huge change like that in your life. For the time being go with the flow, take as much as you can emotionally and perhaps just enjoy the relationship as it stands with “D” until a time comes when you’re ready to let that go.

    • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 4:02 am #

      Ya know, the whole “enjoy it for what it is” theory was what I was doing for the past few years, and overall, it worked most of the time. But, I actually really do think that I am ready to be done. Perhaps in some ways, writing this blog post is the biggest indicator of how done I am. Before I never wanted to talk about the bad with D. But I am so glad I did, because everyone’s comments (harsh as some were)really made an impact on me. Across the board, hearing so many people ALL agree that I need to drop him, I knew what I had to do. So, now it has been almost two months of him contacting me and me not responding. SO, perhaps this blog post was my profound change! Who knows… In any case, thanks for the comment. -Cali

  12. Trish December 24, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    This site reminds me of the slutty years of my twenties. :)

    • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 3:37 am #

      Haha ummmm I don’t know if slutty is the word I would go with, but I think I see where you are going.

  13. I love you!!! December 30, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    I love your blog. It makes me realize that other people go through the same shit as I do.

    • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 3:26 am #

      Haha that’s the goal! Glad you like the blog and thanks for the comment :) – cali

  14. Treazon January 2, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    I sort of had a D in my life. I dont know if you can call him that..he was a really good friend that I had feelings for but he didnt feel the same way about me (that’s what I think at least — because I never asked him if he liked me straight up..but it was obvious he didnt with the way he talked).

    One day..I just had had enough of him( he also preyed on my insecurities)..and I told him I’m done talking with you..goodbye. He kept emailing and calling..I didnt pick up or anything, I changed my number. He still emails like once a year.

    I know that I can get rid of people because its a matter of pride and ego..two things that took a beating with him..and two things that I value the most. But I did something unusual today..after 3 years of not having him in my life..I emailed him..wishing him happy new year. I regret it and I dont regret it at the same time. Life is too short I guess

    • Cali Bradshaw January 13, 2012 at 3:14 am #

      You are right on with your point about ego and pride… that’s what has kept me from picking up the phone as he keeps reaching out to me. I think you reaching out to him after 3 years is fine, because timing is everything. Who knows, perhaps things have changed! You’ll never know unless you check. But be sure to remove yourself from the situation if you discover that things have not in fact changed. Good luck and keep me posted!

  15. meredith January 9, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    you write well and you’re open – keep it up!

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