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He's giving me mixed signals

Nichole wrote:

My ex-boyfriend and I broke up a few months ago before I left for school. I had to move away from town - only an couple hours away from where we both live. He had decided that this was a long-distance relationship and that we should break up. It has been about three months and I'm not over him yet! We had gone out for only two months or so, but I thought we had shared a deep connection. He knew I was moving away when we started the relationship and seemed determined to make it work despite the two hours that seperated us.

Two days before I moved out, we had a long discussion and he said that it would be too hard to continue the relationship. I reluctantly agreed. Since then, we have been in communication and speak on either e-mail, MSN or the phone. We both seem to be friendly and okay with our situation, but it still hurts me when I see him flirt with other girls. Once he came to visit me and we lost our virginities to each other (we're both 21). I thought this would have been a big deal because he has always guarded that protectively and so have I. Since THAT time, we've been fooling around on and off whenever we see each other and are in private quarters. When we ARE alone he's really romantic and treats me just as we were when we were dating. Yet when we're in public, he flirts and doens't seem to realize that it hurts me. He seems to believe that we're friends with benefits and I'm not sure what to do.

He's giving me mixed signals that I can't understand because he initiated the friends with benefits situation and treats me like a girlfriend when we were dating. Yet when we go out, he's a bit distant and goes off to hit on other girls. Am I just somebody that he's going to just for kicks because he knows he can get "something"? Or am I just blowing this out of proportion? I've tried to talk to him but something always seems to come up before we can talk about it. Is it bad that three months after the fact, I'm still mooning over him? I really do care about him Anon, but sometimes I feel like he doesn't care about me.

Dear Nichole

You say he's giving you mixed signals, but I don't see that. Looks to me like he understands friends with benefits - and you don't.

The relationship was over.

Maybe you didn't like that - but you accepted it; and you accepted his subsequent behaviour - including sex - without any change to the understanding that you were 'just friends'.

Maybe you didn't like that - but you didn't send him any signals saying so, so how is he to know?

It is not at all clear whether he likes you or respects you or neither. And it won't be clear until you decide what you want - and tell him. But as he's enjoyed the benefits for a while, with no responsibility, I don't think he'll be happy. And I suspect you know that.

But it's time to think about your self respect, as well as the future. Start being honest with yourself about your feelings (do you really want him, or are you just frightened of being alone? Do you respect him, or feel you've been used for too long?).

Then be honest with him. You need to start living again, and you won't until you stand on your two feet. Good Luck.

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