Wedding Woes

Stop responding to his texts.

Dear Prudence,

I (24F) dated “Lou” (26M) when we were in high school. It was a very brief (a few months) but intense relationship, and we broke up before he went to college and I had one more year left of high school. He was my first kiss and we were really close friends, but I wasn’t super attracted to him or ever really in love, which I felt bad about. I think he may have felt more for me than I did for him, and it seemed like he saw us dating long-term. Nevertheless, we had a very amicable break-up and wished each other well.

Fast forward eight years, and Lou is married and I am happily in a long-term relationship of my own. We have only communicated once in these eight years, which was when I congratulated Lou on his engagement (we have some mutual friends so I heard through them), and we had a bit of a friendly back and forth (“what are you up to these days?” etc.) and I haven’t thought of him much since. So imagine my surprise when I move across the country to go to orientation for my graduate school and see that Lou is in the same program!?

I was caught off-guard to see him, but overall thought of it as a funny coincidence. Lou, however, seemed to have different feelings! His opening line was “well, this is awkward, isn’t it?” followed up by, “I heard you might be here and others told me that that was unlikely, and I must have jinxed it because here you are.” His body language was uncomfortable and cold. We talked for a few minutes between orientation sessions, in which I asked how he and his wife were and what they had been up to recently, and shared that I had been living in a different city with my partner. He did not smile or laugh at anything I said. We went back to the sessions and Lou deliberately sat separately from me despite there being many open seats. When it was time for lunch, we bumped into each other again. I checked in and said, “hey, we don’t have to talk if it makes you uncomfortable! I don’t want to make you feel weird or anything and am happy to do whatever feels best to you.” Lou said that he didn’t feel weird and insisted on us eating lunch together. I kind of panicked and grabbed another person to eat with us.

I’ll spare you all of the details, but for the rest of orientation, Lou continued to say and do things that were very awkward, such as saying “of course you would think that/do that” and smirking after everything I said, deliberately sitting one seat away from me when a group of us went to sit in an orientation session, and then slightly interrogating me about my partner as I was trying to leave. I thought this would be the end of our interactions because the grad program is so large and I don’t live near campus. But then the texts began.

Lou began texting me multiple times a week and double- or triple-texting me sometimes, acting like we were best buds, things like “how’s your week going?” “how’s grad school treating you?” and “What are you up to for a break?” I tried to let a few weeks pass by before answering, but then when I did, he would answer immediately with more questions. I tried to tell him “I’m not a big texter” and even offered to meet up with him and his wife for coffee sometime instead. But now we’re in a class together and the texts are more intense. Lou’s a nice person and he’s not saying anything creepy, but the assumed intimacy after being strangers for so long is weirding me out! We have not become friends again yet! My partner is aware of these texts and doesn’t care, but has told me that the texts are weird to them too. Should I make a more explicit invite to him and his wife so we can get out of this weird gray zone? Should I keep answering the texts when I feel like it? Should I tell him to stop? Am I reading too much into this and this is completely normal? What do I do?

—Texts from the Ex

Re: Stop responding to his texts.

  • Lou sounds hot and cold.  Suddenly texting LW? But it sounds like they both moved on and just want friendship. Does LW want a friendship? It seems normal to me being a HS relationship and you were both so young.  But it all depends on the vibes LW gets.

  • Lou sounds hot and cold.  Suddenly texting LW? But it sounds like they both moved on and just want friendship. Does LW want a friendship? It seems normal to me being a HS relationship and you were both so young.  But it all depends on the vibes LW gets.
    I get the impression that the LW was open to a casual friendship in the beginning.  But probably not now, though they didn't quite specifically say that.

    The LW should totally nix the idea of a double date for coffee.  That would say to Lou that they do want to become closer friends, which is the opposite of what they want.

    It's great they gave the groundwork that they aren't big into texting.  I'd just leave things the status quo and only text when I feel like.  Keep any social comments short and superficial.  Mainly only focus on things related to their program and class they have together.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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