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Do I Owe Anything To My Ex?

do i owe anything to my ex

Breakups can be very tricky. Sometimes we part ways amicably, while other times there is a lot of pain, anger, and hatred. No matter what, most of the time there is a lack of closure, which can make you think about whether or not, do I owe anything your ex. Maybe you do, or maybe you don’t owe anything to anyone, especially to your ex.

In the post below Dr. Nerdlove comes to your rescue and answers some questions for you, about whether or not you owe your anything. So, let’s get down to know more about whether or not, you owe your ex anything or not.

Ask Dr. NerdLove: Do I Owe Anything To My Ex?

Question 1

Hi Doc,

I’m in a confusing, morally conflicted place and I could use an outside perspective.

For a long time, I was crushing on someone tangentially attached to my friend group. This didn’t stop me from dating other people, but I always paid attention to this woman in case my chance ever came up. Unfortunately, she was dating (in my biased opinion) a weapons-grade asshole who was, at a minimum, verbally and mentally abusive to her. There was gossip he was physically abusive, with no obvious proof. Eventually, they broke up.

I waited a respectful amount of time then asked her out. We went on a few dates, things went well, we went on a few more, became exclusive, and time marches on. She tells me over and over I am the best boyfriend she’d ever had, she’s never been happier, so I thought things were going ok.

Until the ex shows up again, swearing he has changed, and he wants her back. You can probably guess what happened next. At first, she wanted nothing to do with him. Then she agreed to contact because she wanted closure. Then she agreed to continue contact because she felt sorry for him. Then suddenly, she’s “unsure” how she feels about him. When it got to that point, I told her she had a choice; either him or me. She said was not prepared to make that choice. So, I broke up with her.

I didn’t scream or yell. The last time we spoke, I wished her well. I also told her that I seriously doubted the ex had changed, and I thought she was heading towards big trouble with him. I requested that when that trouble came, to leave me out of it. Given how betrayed I felt, I was not up for even pretending we could “still be friends” nor would I be willing to “get in touch” or “catch up” or anything like that after the you-know-what hit the fan. I unfollowed her on all social media, removed every physical reminder of her I could find, and went on with my life. I never brought her up or discussed her with any of our mutual friends and discouraged those friends from telling me about her. Nevertheless, I learned she moved in with the ex shortly after our break-up, which didn’t improve my mood.

Unfortunately, turns out the ex hadn’t changed. About a year after the break-up, I heard about things going badly for her; she had to flee their apartment, he got scared to the point the police got involved. Our friends started a collection to help her defray the costs of finding a new place and buying essentials. I was very happy to give money to that. But now, I’m hearing from our friends that she wants to “talk”.

I could not have been clearer when we broke up, and I have not changed my mind. I am not interested in that. Some have told me it would help her heal to talk with me. I don’t see her healing as my responsibility. I have been accused of being a bad ally. I have been told I am cruel for being willing to ignore what we once had. I would never say this to her, but I can’t help but notice that what we had didn’t count for much at the moment, so it isn’t clear why it should mean that much to me years later.

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Harris O’Malley

Harris O' Malley is a dating coach who provides geek dating advice at Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as on Kotaku  and elsewhere. He and his work has been featured on Nightline, Vice, The Guardian, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Wired, Sex Nerd Sandra, Daily Life, Slate, The Austin-American Statesman, Austin Monthly, Geek and Sundry, Boing Boing, Everyday Feminism, Buzzfeed, The Daily Dot, The Washington Post, Kotaku, Lifehacker,, The Good Man Project, MTV’s Guy Code, The Harvard Business Journal, and many others. Paging Dr. NerdLove has been featured as one of the top 10 dating blogs on DatingAdvice.comView Author posts