Was breaking up with him the right thing to do?

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Dear Guys,

I recently broke up with this guy for many reasons, but I still have the urge to go back to him even though all my friends don’t like him. I’m 21 and he’s 25. We dated for almost a year and during that time he never introduced me to his friends, but always saying he eventually would. (And since I couldn’t be out later at night it was hard because they always met up so late.) He would also ignore me for days when he didn’t want to tell me something. He didn’t show up to my birthday party or wish me a ‘Happy Birthday.’ And when I tried to break it off he said he was scared to tell me he couldn’t make it to my party which I had told him about weeks in advance. And then he asked me for another chance and said he would never ignore me again; and he said he would change because I meant a lot to him.

Well things were good for the first two weeks but a month later he was ignoring me again for no reason and this time I texted him and ended things. He had always told me that I was different from any other girl he dated and he was learning from his mistakes. But how long do I keep giving him a chance?

Is it true, that if he really cared he would come back, or am I just holding on to false hope that he ever did care?


Dear Jessica,

Thanks for your question. We’re sorry about your situation. Break ups are difficult, especially if you’re questioning whether or not you did the right thing.

First of all it’s important to listen to your friends. If all of them are saying the same thing, that should tell you something. Remember, if they are truly good friends they want the best for you, which means they want you to be happy. If you meet some great guy in the future, it’s likely your friends will be excited for you, and do what they can to support you. Sure, they might get jealous initially because a new person in your life means they’ll have less time with you. But eventually they will come around when they realize how happy you are. But that’s not what’s going on here. They universally don’t like this guy, and that’s a big red flag. (You should watch our video on this topic. “Listen to your friends” See our Video Page)

Another red flag is the fact that he ignores you. How does it make you feel? Ignoring you puts him in a position of power and gives him control over you. And it’s no way to behave in a relationship. In fact we can’t think of anything more upsetting AND maddening than being ignored, and not being listened to. It’s one thing to not return a phone call because work is crazy, and your boss is on your case. It’s another thing to return calls or texts only when you feel like it. Maybe this guy is learning from his mistakes, but in our book, this is Common Sense 101. Communication is so important in any relationship, and your guy has a long way to go in this department.

We’ve gotten several questions over the past year involving a situation where one person in the relationship was not being introduced to family and friends of the other person. And what we’ve said is: Anyone who’s excited about their boyfriend or girlfriend should be shouting about the new relationship from the rooftops. Which means, we can’t think of any good reason for your guy NOT to be introducing you to his friends and family. Going out late is not an excuse. In fact, taking this a step further, we’d think he’d want to elicit his friends’ opinions about you if he was serious about the relationship. So Jessica, we hope this might give you some sense of his level of commitment to you and your relationship.

We can’t tell you what you should do, but we hope this gives you a clearer, more objective viewpoint of your situation.

Good luck,


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8 Comments on Was breaking up with him the right thing to do?

  1. Need advice about a guy who seems to be critical. He says he’s being direct and that I am too sensitive and he has made a comment that he prefers not to be with someone who is sensitive.

    After a successful and fun first date with a guy, he asked me out again. After I accepted, I rec’d the following email from him:

    1) Allow me to teach you how to give a great hug without tapping. That’s a hug I get from my friend’s mom. Don’t want to date her. 🙂 Maybe you’re just slow to warm up and that’s OK. No pressure. I can be a bit slow to warm up too. Nice hugs help. 🙂 Plus I should be a tad harder to resist. 🙂

    2) Say thanks when I buy you dinner…even if it is just pizza and a salad. Hopefully you’re one to reciprocate too. I’ve dated too many takers and I’m not saying you’re one of them but just want to be open because it did bother me a bit that it seemed expected and there was no thank you. We both work and as I mentioned I’m looking for a balanced relationship. I’m not one to date someone who ‘expects’ me to pay or to give much more than I receive. There’s too many woman that are takers and I guess I’ve dated too many of them. I’m just trying to weed out those takers because I know this would turn them off… So, hope you’re not turned off. If you are that’s OK. I’m trying to weed you out. 🙂 I’m just most interested in an independent woman without expectations who understands a relationship is a two way street. Have you seen her?

    Hope you appreciate my honesty. I did have a great time with you and think you’re pretty hot

    1) I agree I should have thanked him for dinner. I normally do right away and remember thinking I forgot to thank him for dinner as I drove off. BTW it was 1 slice of pizza! Still, I sent a nice note to thank him, then a funny joke about the hugging which he thought was funny but at the advice of a good guy friend, he told me to write the following:

    “Yes I do appreciate you being honest with me, and I feel that it’s always best to express how you feel, but in turn I have to admit that I am somewhat offended by your comments which appear to be a little judgmental toward me. You express hope that your remarks do not put me off, since that would imply that I am a “taker”, but I would ask you to consider that perhaps even a lady who isn’t a “taker” might be a little offended too. I had a great day with you out mountain biking and would love to spend my time with a guy like that, who shares so much in common with me, but it looks as though you now have one less weed to spoil your garden.”

    My guy pal said: If this guy had a moment of insanity, driven perhaps by a most unfortunate experience in his past, then hopefully this email (above) will serve to jolt him back to reality and cause him to apologize for his insults; otherwise you would be better off steering clear of this guy.

    I gave the guy a 2nd chance and we had successful 5-6 dates. Then the following happened:

    1) in the middle of intimacy, he said “What the hell?” to me when he found out that I was not on the pill yet. We had discussed before and I told him I’d made an appt but in the meantime he could use condoms. He told me later that he has difficulty performing with them “no feeling” which I can understand however I did not appreciate the way he said “What the hell” to me. I let it go

    2) On his birthday, I changed my schedule to take him out. He told me it was his birthday that morning. I told him I’d meet him at his house at 7:45 to change and shower after a special coached swim session that I had arranged in advance. We had an 8:30 dinner reservation. I got stuck in a meeting at work and decided not to cancel my swim which meant a lot to me (I’m training for a big event in 6 weeks). I thought I’d use that time to find a card and bday present instead. I tested him that I will be at his house closer to 8 pm since I did not need to get changed at his house. Then at 8:04 I texted that I would be closer to 8:10 pm. I was hitting some local traffic and at a store still learning how to get to his house. I finally walked in his door at 8:20. He scolded me. We sat down at the restaurant at 8:35. Then when he was telling a story, he asked if I was listening and complained that I should have shown some emotion or saw “aw” or something. I totally heard him and was looking at him. It didn’t mean I wasn’t engaged in what he was saying.

    3) I sent him an email the next day saying that I felt hurt; that it felt like he scolded me like a child. He went on to explain in detail how he was frustrated that I was late 3x in 1 night and he kept saying that over and over again. Then he brought up that here might be a pattern. I was late on another occasion coming from a swim workout and hit unusual traffic. My GF who swam with me hit the same traffic. He complained that I would have been late anyway which is not true.

    He tried to apologize but his apology was not as I had hoped nor showed me any understanding. He then sends me a link on wiki on “how to apologize”. In my opening line to him, before I expressed how I felt about his criticism, I did say “I apologize” for being late. He didn’t like that I included explanations of how I went to get him a card, and changed my entire schedule for him to take him out on his birthday.

    Is he too critical? I feel like he is. He did try to apologize to me; it took a few emails back and forth but he finally did. I really don’t feel like I’m a drama queen or over sensitive. In fact, I think he’s being dramatic. I don’t feel comfortable that he “accepts” me. I feel like we could have had such a lovely time except for hearing such harsh criticism from him. I am worried that it will only get worse. They say a man will never treat you better than when he’s dating you.

    Do I stay with him? Am I being to harsh on him? I have read books by Gottman who talks about criticism versus complaints; and how the “masters” are GENTLE with their complains whereas the “disasters” use words of contempt. For example, my guy said things like “you can do better than that”. My gut tells me that he has had this issue with past relationships. I’ve only known him for 2 months but that is my instinct. I do like him otherwise. He does have other good, gentleman like qualities; and maybe this is just his way of talking to everyone. Is it me? Do I run? Do I try? He asked to speak and tried to call him twice and he said he felt sad that I didn’t think he and I could talk; that we should be able to get through this; but he says he’s too busy to talk to me until next week. Granted the times he asked to speak, I’m not available. But he could find a time sooner than next week. How should I handle? Should I just throw in the towel? He really should be knocking at my door I feel, trying to repair things with me. I am worried that when I speak to him, he will just continue to criticize me further.

  2. @P……Thank you for your donation. We do appreciate it. What comes to mind? One word: Wow! So how old is this guy? You? ……..First of all, you got some good advice from your guy friend. Be sure to keep him around for the next time. Because this guy is not the guy for you, and there will be a next time with someone else. Your “boyfriend” is not ready for a relationship, at least not the kind with actual human beings. It’s not that he doesn’t make a few good points, it’s just the way he makes them is only going to continue and yes, get worse. Maybe he’s been burned, maybe he has a lot of experience, but it really doesn’t matter why he acts the way he does. What matters is that, this is who he is. He’s overly critical and arrogant. Yes, we agree with him, that it would have been nice if you thanked him for the pizza, but the non-judgemental guy might make a mental note, and see how it went the next time, and then decide. And you know, if he’s really that fed up and guarded about women then you don’t need that sort of negativity in your life. And understand that most people who feel the need to lecture everyone else, typically are insecure and worried about how they’re viewed. To sum up: We’re sure he has some nice qualities, but honestly, if it were us, we’d cut our losses and move on. This is just the beginning. Thoughts?

  3. He is 51 and I am 46. He did make a comment to me that he had some bad experience with women who were ‘takers’ in the past.

    What do you think about his other criticism of me being late? I thought it was over the top He eventually apologized for all of it and happy to hear he can admit he could do better. I also apologized for being late (though it still bothers me how adamant he was about how ‘wrong’ I was and how I didn’t take accountability). Do you think I should NOT have been so defensive? He did like that I followed up my apology with an explanation saying it was an excuse. Here is what I wrote:

    “I’m glad I was able to celebrate your birthday with you. Sorry I was late. I had skipped the swim because I was late getting out of work due to an important meeting with a couple partners. The partners are equally strapped for time as they are overbooked on their client engagements and responsibilities to their engagement teams. One of the partners commented that they had pulled an all nighter. While I could have shown up late to the pool, I decided to skip swimming and use that time to find you a small gift. I couldn’t find anything appropriate along the way except for a card. That additional time made me a little later but I felt we’d still be on time for our dinner.

    I understand how you felt about the lateness and respect your time. However … there are ways to express those things or ask for something of another person in a way that is more supportive and understanding in return. It felt like I was being scolded like a child.”

    Do you find what I wrote offensive? He found it unacceptable; not a REAL apology and he said he did not scold me like child.

  4. Correction my last post … He did NOT like that I provided an explanation following my apology. He said I made an excuse and therefore it was not a proper apology

  5. p.s. I’m tempted to show him this site and your reply. I’ve asked “guys” for their opinion I honestly want feedback if I am the one who is over-sensitive and what I can do better. I’m not afraid of learning what i can do better and open to the fact that I might behave better.

    If I talk to him, how should i approach it? I’m afraid he will be too critical but I thought I handled his initial note to me about the hugging and being a taker well. I made a joke about and did what you suggested … that is to “make mental note of it” and then show him that I can be accepting and have an open mind; not get upset at his initial harsh note; then continue to learn who he is.

  6. @P…..We prefer not to get in the middle of it, especially since we only have your side of things. However, we stand by our original advice. We’re not sure why you’re still trying to work on this. It doesn’t seem like the two of you are compatible. But it’s your call.

  7. He would like to try to work things out. He has since apologized saying he’s not perfect and that he has things he could work on. I am worried we are not compatible. He seems to think this is minor and he is just the type to speak his mind. Says he was not trying to criticize just express a ‘qualm’ . Sees his email to me to be ‘minor’. I showed u exactly what he wrote. Have not agreed to speak with him yet.

  8. @P…..This is your call. You know him better than we do. Clearly he must have a lot of things you do like. But he sounds ultra-critical, which usually stems from a mix of insecurity and arrogance. That isn’t going to go away, unless he truly thinks it’s something he wants to change, and is committed to changing it. (It doesn’t sound like he thinks that.) But once again, we’re only going by what you say. Good luck.

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