Wednesday, January 09, 2008

He wrote vs. I read

The truth is, I'm not bothered by this anymore. I was for about two solid days, though. It took some thinking to figure out why it bugged me so much.

I received an email from my most serious ex-boyfriend. The one I was with for ages, and about whom I've written extensively.

Here's essentially what it said, paraphrased and greatly condensed:

"Hi group of blind-copied people! I'm sending New Year's wishes from vacation in an exotic location, resting up for a busy upcoming year. I'm selling my condo and most of my furniture. Here are the details, in case you know anyone who is on the market for a place or nice furniture. Also, I'm not moving very far, so I'll still be in the neighborhood. All the best to all of you."

Fairly innocuous and informational, right?

It bothered me so much. Truthfully, what bothered me most was that I was really bothered. Because I don't still want to be with him or harbor any hope of some future reconciliation or have some fantasy that we'd actually be happy if we'd gotten back together.

But still, it bugged. Why did I get this? More importantly, why did receiving it upset me?

Given the celerity with which I delete people - from phone and email - there's no way he'd ever randomly wind up on any missive I was sending out. Plus, I didn't understand why I was on the distribution list. He's too thorough for it to be accidental, and his work contacts are in far-flung locations, so he didn't just send to everyone in his address book.

So I spent some time chewing on the why why why of the upset of it. And then I realized!

Forget what he wrote. Here's what I read:

"Hi Lis. I'm at an amazing resort having a fabulous, relaxing vacation. The kind I never took with you because I worked all the time instead. You'd love it. I've met the most amazing woman and I love her 85 times more than I ever loved you. I'm moving in with her, which of course is why I'm selling my place and my furniture - especially the pieces you helped me choose.

We have soooo much fun! And even though I have an even more stressful job than when we were together (see email signature below) I don't work 20 hours a day anymore, and so we do fun things in the evening and on the weekends. Also? I'm not tired and easily annoyed all the time anymore, probably because I love her so much. We're spending the upcoming year planning the most lavish, exotic wedding you can imagine. Wow, are we busy with fun stuff. It's exhausting being this deliriously happy."

You see what I mean?


  1. Yes. I definitely, most assuredly, see what you mean.

    Not that we've ever related to each other before, or anything. :o)

    that is all.....

  3. Wow.

    [says one more little prayer of thanks for being born with a Y chromosome]

  4. Dude, I totally got exactly what you read from your little summary of his email. What? Are you saying that's not normal? ;)

  5. I see what you mean, you're sharp to recognize a difference between a message and internal translation. Email can be cruel - without tone or body language it's only natural to fill in the blanks.

  6. Dag - No, it's true, we rarely see eye to eye on dating-related things. Or anything else, really. :)

    suicide_blonde - Thanks!

    Matt - I know. And you know me.

    sweetescape - Wow! Thanks! I never use myself as a gauge for normal anymore, so I have no idea.

    HKW - Thank you. It took me a lot of processing to get to that point. And you are so right about email and interpretation.

  7. Ahhhh, Lisa.

    I could have written this post!

    You hit it head on.

  8. Look at it this way -- he added you to the email chain because he wanted you to know ... which means he's thinking about you. He probably also wants you to know how !FABULOUS! he's doing because he thinks you're probably doing quite fabulously yourself, and is all "FYI, I'm great, too." If he were really doing so great, he'd be too preoccupied to worry whether his ex-girlfriend knew as much.

  9. I have extremely similar reactions to emails that I get from M. Still.

  10. Ah, those tricks our minds play on us. I often hear things that no one will cop to saying.

    But I swear, the voices are NOT in my head.

  11. I am 167% over my ex boyfriend but I still think irrational things like this all the time when I hear news about him. Maybe I have a big ego? Who knows. Either way, I loved the hell out of this post.

  12. By the way, the message that you are reading into it may not be that far off the mark. See "How to Break Up: In 64 Easy Steps":

    "Call ex GF with a question that you don't really need to know the answer to, but phrase it in a way that will subtly indicate how much fun you are having."

  13. Dammit, I asked you to STOP making me look up WORDS. Celerity, indeed.

  14. 1. I so, so, so regret not possessing that certain "celerity in deleting."

    2. I, too, have recently been confronted with the innocuously-intended but painfully-received "I'm doing well, like, yeah!"... but in different form. Terrible.

    3. Will you teach me to cope as well as you seem to be doing in your own right?


Tell me about it.