The Vine: January 9, 2013
Guy and I are graduate students in the same program and have all the same friends. We'd been dating on-and-off for about a year and broke things off last week. If I'm honest, it was always pretty stormy — one of those relationships where we got along so well, as friends, that it was really difficult to break up or even fight, but in reality the sadness-to-happiness ratio was way out of proportion. I wanted commitment, he didn't. Except when he did. But didn't. But did. (Gaaaaah!) It just got to the point where I couldn't take the roller coaster anymore and told him he needed to decide — in or out. That I really hoped it was 'in,' but if not, we were done. He couldn't handle it, so…we're done.
With the start of the new semester, my housemates and I are throwing a party to welcome friends back from field work, welcome the new students, etc. It will be a general invite, department-wide. So Guy will definitely hear about the party.
I'm assuming that most people would not come to a party at their ex-girlfriend-of-two-weeks' house, but he's…not most people. Since breaking it off, he's continued to show up to things and tried to joke with me like everything was normal, to the point that I was forced into sending a text that said, "Please stop making this so hard for me. I meant what I said, we can't be friends. Please stop talking to me and pretending that everything is fine." He said okay, but was pissy about it, and I'm sure will have forgotten/decided to ignore it within a couple of days of getting back (he's out of town right now, thank god).
So…I don't know what to do. Given our on-and-off history, I need to go cold turkey to make this stick. But his absence would be obvious and commented on, and I really don't want to make things more awkward than they already are, especially because his housemates are some of my close friends. But, if he comes, I'm going to be completely stressed out the whole time and not have fun at a party that I'm hosting. I love the guy, damn him, and it's going to be a while before I have it together enough to not feel completely awful around him.
I know there probably isn't a good solution to this. But any ideas? How, in general, do you deal with breakups and mutual-friend circles? Am I overthinking the whole situation?
Sending an "uninvitation" just seems so over the top
Post-split awkwardness is kind of like having a cold. You can take a ton of DayQuil, suppress the symptoms, continue your normal routine with no extra sleep or days off work, and drag-ass around with a runny nose for a week; or you can accept that you have a cold, power down for a day or two with tons of hot tea and a 9 PM bedtime, and get through the worst of it in 72 hours. Either way, you have a cold and it sucks and it can't really be avoided, but denial is just going to drag it out.
I mention this because you say that you don't want to make things more awkward, and I understand that, but: it is awkward. It will be awkward for a while. Mutual friends and his housemates and whoever else will just have to deal with it for a short time, and if they don't understand why you don't want to see him right now, well, they don't have to understand it. You understand it, you plan to enforce it, and you're not really required to hear the comments either, honestly. "His absence would be obvious and commented on"? Well, yeah, it's obvious — you guys broke up. Anyone "commenting on" it further is sort of a shit-stirrer, really, so a flat "we broke up and it's still fresh, so thanks for understanding" is all you have to offer. (If that.)
It's also awkward to try to ensure that he doesn't just show up against your obvious wishes, but if you really don't want him there, you will have to say so, either to him or to a mutual friend whom you can trust to make it clear to Guy, gently but firmly, that he really needs to stay away this time and not give you agita. He may show up anyway, and you can jump off that bridge when you get to it (and at that point, you're in a province of Cluelesstan that's a different letter), but if you really think that he's still not hearing it after that text, give it to him sugar-free: "I can't with this. Do not attend the party, it will be too painful for me."
But whatever happens, accept that it's weird right now, and you can't control when that will stop; you can only trust that it will, but in my experience, if you pretend everything's fine, "fine" takes longer to arrive.
Tags: boys (and girls) etiquette