“I wasn’t really interested in meeting Ben at first, but he was rather persistent….
Not creepy. Just persistent. I still wanted to delete the app because I was rather burned out and about to travel a lot for work. However, I decided to send him my number anyways and just see what happened. I also deleted my dating app as planned. Against my better judgement I decided to date this man. My guy the entire time was making me apprehensive.
What made me apprehensive? Not his consistent pursuit and attention.
He called and texted every day, met my parents, and before we slept together on the 5th date we both bet open about what physical intimacy meant.
For me, I said it was meaningful and not something I took lightly or casually. For him, he admitted I would be the first since his wife and that’d it’d be rather emotional, but we were on the same page. What made me apprehensive is he was recently divorced. I’m talking he sent me the first message on the dating 6 weeks post-divorce and his wife left him after she met someone else.
We only dated about 2 months, but I fell hard. Then it ended.
I got back from a trip, we made plans for lunch the next day and he blocked me. Literally blocked my number.
We were talking on the phone and texting as if all was fine up until then. He had a valuable piece of jewelry of mine. I was so upset that my mom had to call him to make sure I’d get the jewelry. Only then did he reach out and tell me “I was a wonderful woman, but he wasn’t ready. And he was sorry and he put the jewelry in the mail.”
I learned a lesson. A lot of lessons. I don’t want to write a novel to you though and I fear I already have. My question is, is it wrong to feel compassion for him? I mean blocking me after all that is a dick move, but I can’t help but want to just be his friend.”
Sorry to hear your story, Jess. It’s an all-too-common-one (getting involved with a guy fresh out of a divorce), but your angle on it was unique, which is why I’m sharing it here today.
“Is it wrong to feel compassion for the guy who hurt me?”
No, it’s not wrong. In fact, it’s very, very right.
In saying this, let me be clear that:
I am not excusing his behavior.
I am not encouraging you to see him.
I am not recommending that you remain friends with him, like you asked.
All I am doing is something that seems to be rarely done these days – something you did naturally yourself – taking a moment to understand where someone else is coming from without condemning him or assuming the worst in him.
The reason your situation is a cliché is because it happens all the time – to both men AND women. You get out of a marriage that was dying for years, you’re yearning for attention, respect, affection, validation. You get on a dating site and you’re like a kid in a candy store.
Next thing you know, you dive into a relationship without knowing if you’re ready for it. Unfortunately, by the time you find out, it’s already too late.
You’re gonna end up hurting the person who took the plunge with you.
But that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you’re human.
It means you wanted to be ready but weren’t really ready. It means you were sensitive enough to call attention to it after two months instead of letting it go on for two years before pulling the plug.
The way he handled this situation was abominable.
There’s no spin on that. Kind people deserve to have breakup conversations in person and the opportunity for understanding, if not closure. He didn’t grant you any of that – which may say something about how he handles difficulties and what kind of husband he’d be.
But that’s a separate issue. You’re not asking if you should marry him. You’re asking if you should have compassion for him. And the answer is yes.
Because every person you date is a human being, with flaws and blind spots and insecurities and strengths, just like you.
And if you want men to be compassionate when you make mistakes, you’re best served by being similarly compassionate when he’s the one who screwed up.
Again, doesn’t mean you should stay friends with him (I wouldn’t recommend it). But it does mean forgiving him for his mistakes in your heart and wishing him well as he figures out what his life is going to look like after his divorce. That’s the kind thing to do.
Evan Marc Katz is a dating coach who specializes in helping smart, strong, successful women understand and connect with men. He has over 24 million blog readers, over 150,000 newsletter subscribers, and thousands of satisfied clients who find his take on relationships to be enlightening, entertaining and empowering. It wasn’t until Katz took his own wisdom that he met his future wife – and became a much better dating coach in the process. By opening up to a new kind of partner, Katz proved that to get different results in love, you have to make different choices. Please check out “Why He Disappeared” for tips, advice and strategies for finding and keeping the right guy. “I had to make fifteen years of dating mistakes before I finally figured out how to have a happy relationship. I believe firmly that the road to success is paved with failure, and since I’d failed so prolifically and ultimately found my own way, I feel uniquely qualified to help others have success in love.”