Today, I am so excited to announce a special treat we’ve got for you: a new monthly series, “Dear Mr. Nice Guy…” from Inside The Nice Guy himself. In a way, it’s like Dear Abby (RIP), only better, because we talk real, and the questions are legit. Besides, we really wanted to see if Nice Guy knew his shit. You be the judge, and if you’ve got a question for him, email it: firstname.lastname@example.org …ENJOY!
Dear Mr. Nice Guy,
My boyfriend and I broke up (he dumped me) two years ago. While he said we were breaking up because he was too busy, I think he was seeing someone else. Anyway, today, years after, he still sends me text messages. Immediately after we broke up, he said he wanted to remain friends, and I said no. Although I don’t reply to his messages, he sends me texts on my birthday, holidays, or when he’s “thinking of me.” Why is he doing this?
Miss Bothered Baggage
Wanting to add some validity to the response that follows I find it important to say I’ve gone through a very similar situation. This particular Ex initiated the break up and it was very civil; where the possibility of friendship was discussed. This was very short lived as she began showing me very little respect and essentially treated me like dirt for most of the time we had to remain in contact (story not important). Four months later she sent a text saying she had been thinking about me, etc. I too had to ask, Why?
Three words come to mind based on the actions of your ex boyfriend.
Attention, control, and regret; though attention and control can often be paired together as they have similar motivators. Which is it? Pin-pointing precisely the case for your Ex would require a better understanding of his personality and the type of guy he was/is. Ultimately you’ll have to fill in that blank, but obviously I’ll help where I can.
Let’s address the easier one first, regret. As you stated, he’s the one who dumped you. He let you get away. He may be sending you these messages because he now feels like you’re the one that got away. Ah, nostalgia can be a fickle little temptress. This is his easy way to get his foot back in the door. Say you were to eventually respond to a text. This would open up the dialogue and send the impression to him that you’re game for a conversation. At this point, his chances of getting you back increase. That may not be fact, but that’s how it’s going to look to him, which means the number of texts will not only increase but the means the communication may begin to change; phone calls, e-mails, Facebook, you name it.
Attention is fairly straight-forward. When together you gave him attention others would not. You probably tolerated things others wouldn’t put up with. He’s not getting that now. Even if he is, then it’s a matter that he’s not getting it from you. Think of it as a not-so-wholesome way of missing you.
Control as his motive? Well, this is where things become a little more bothersome.
He ended things. He called things off for whatever reason. By him ending the relationship he maintained control.
Or so he thought.
But the power immediately began to shift when he said he wanted to remain friends, and you said, “No.” To that, you should be applauded. It’s difficult to say “No” to someone whom you may still have feelings for. But you saw beyond the cloudy veil of heart-broken, love-struck, eyes and made a decision many others have trouble doing.
In his mind, when he broke things off you would end up being devastated and continue carrying a torch for him. In his mind you’ve been spending countless hours crying to your girlfriends while drowning your sorrows with a giant bowl of Cocoa Puffs, mixed with peanut butter, chocolate milk, and M&M’s. This attempt to regain control requires some bait, sending you a text saying “Thinking of you,” or sending well wishes on a holiday. This ideally would prompt a similar response from you. Again, responding is the enemy as it puts the ball back in his court. Now, he can decide when/if to even text you back.
Miss B.B., stop asking yourself why he’s doing this. Sure, it is probably getting frustrating when his name appears on your ID with a new message but use that as a reminder each time he contacts you. It’s your reminder that you have been able to move on with your life, while he is still apparently trying to hold on to some thread of the past.