I got an unexpected (LONG) facebook message from an ex today. This is someone I haven't heard from in years. The message gave me almost every detail of his life, including the reason he was writing: he's getting divorced - for the 4th time. He's 39.
Apparently this 4th divorce has been a kind of wake-up call. He's decided to ask every woman who ever broke up with him what he could have done differently in the relationship. He asked me to "be brutally honest."
The thing is, I never thought of him as a long-term prospect. I liked him, but he was never the one. I knew that. When I broke up with him I told him that I didn't think we should see each other anymore because it would never be what I wanted and I didn't think it would be what he wanted. At the time, he agreed.
Today, he told me that he was head over heels in love with me and was devastated when I broke up with him. I had no idea. I guess because I knew I'd never love him, I couldn't believe he could be in love with me.
But you can't write that - "You were never the one." It's mean, right? Especially since he confessed his ardent love for me. It's also pointless - at least for his purposes. The thing is, I never lived with him and we dated for less than a year. I don't have any constructive criticism for him that will help him with his present quest for self-transformation.
My inclination was not to answer at all. After all the time he took to (unnecessarily) outline his entire life since last we met, though, I felt like some kind of response was in order.
This is what I wrote:
Dear Ex-Boyfriend (not his real name),
Sorry to hear you're in the middle of another divorce. I knew you'd gotten divorced from First Wife (not her real name), but didn't know you'd married again (and again and again).
I don't think I can (or want to) offer you any help with your request. There was no issue in our relationship that caused our breakup, it just wasn't what I wanted (and I was never that into you).
Dorothy (not her real name)
A perfunctory reply, yes, but I have to confess, I was more than a little annoyed at the whole thing. I wasn't flattered or inclined to help him. The fact that he's on his 4th divorce only confirms that I was dead right in not wanting to be with him. I mean seriously? FOUR divorces? After 2 maybe you pump the breaks and reflect. After three, maybe you really take your time before marrying wife #4.
I don't remember him as the kind of guy who averages a new wife every two years, but maybe that's one of the things that I knew and never processed. Maybe I just didn't care since I thought of it as a mostly casual thing. I'm not sure.
What I wanted to write was:
What's past is past. Let it go. I never loved you and never wanted more than regular sex and an occasional dinner companion from you. If you're in the middle of your 4th divorce in 9 years, you're probably an irredeemable dick. While this isn't how I remember you, I have to admit, I don't remember you well.
Please, please (pretty please) never contact me again.
Sometimes people are so dumb.