The government shutdown shut us down

We have to skip chat today for event prep. We will return next week for live discussion.

In the meantime, send letters.

Toward the end of November, I met a guy. I had gone to see some local bands play and one of the guys in the band started to talk to me. We had a few mutual acquaintances and instant chemistry. He invited me to a gig the following week and I went. Again, great chemistry and he was really attentive. We hung out and talked all night and traded numbers. We went out on a date the following week. He picked me up, nice restaurant, great conversation – probably the best first date I've ever had. We began seeing each other throughout December. Then the government shut down. Yes. He was a government contractor who had to work throughout the shutdown. So, for the longest shutdown in history, I was super patient and supportive. He even acknowledged this himself.

We saw each other when we could in December and January. Then February came and crickets began. Texts and calls were few and far between. Then I ran into him on a Friday night. I was happy to see him out since his work had been so demanding. The reception from him was not as warm as it had been, and then he left without saying goodbye to me. I followed him outside and asked what was going on. He explained he was super stressed and he'd call me tomorrow and we'd go to dinner. Of course, that call never came. I'd call but his voicemail would be full. Texts were answered but only a couple days later. I ran into him again a week later (it's a small scene and we do have some people in common). He acted surprised to see me. He gave me more lip service about how he'd call me the next day. That week the government reopened but I never heard from him again. Oddly, he began liking all my Facebook posts and it became clear he started seeing someone else. Yes, I deleted the social media connection and his phone number. I was so supportive only for him to drop me out of what felt like nowhere. Obviously, I got played.

What I'm struggling with is how burned and grossed out I feel about it. In the past I'd just shrug it off and remind myself that I probably dodged a bullet. Is this a feeling that comes with dating as I get older? I'm looking at 40 and I'm finding it harder to get over when someone is inconsiderate or treats me with disregard. I'm usually optimistic about love but now I'm having trouble hanging in there. How does one cope?

- Shutdown and Out


I wouldn't say you got played. That implies someone used and manipulated you. This man didn't really do that, right? It sounds like he got busy and lost interest, but that he didn't have the courage to tell you in a grownup way. This breakup was going to happen no matter what, but the big disappoint was the lack of communication.

It's no surprise that he started liking your Facebook posts. Thanks to social media, people have new, weird, passive ways to send their well wishes. It's possible that every Facebook like means, "Hey, yes, I'm clearly gone and with someone else, but I hope you're thriving." It might be his way of saying that he wants to be on good terms. I'm not defending the behavior, but I do think that's the message. (For the record, I'm glad you blocked him.)

You're bummed out about all of this, which is understandable. But what I get from this letter is that you met someone and had a really great time with him. Then the relationship fizzled. It happens.

You'd think that as people get older, they'd get better at breaking up and moving on. But that's not always the case. Maybe that's what you’re feeling – that realization that some things just don't change. It's disappointing, but again, the takeaway from your situation is that you met someone. Which means you can do it again. I know it's easier said than done, but please focus on that – and what's next.

– Meredith

Readers? The Facebook likes? How can the LW move on from this disappointment?