DEAR KELLY: I recently went to a dance with a guy I really liked and thought liked me back. I was excited about the dance and honestly thought we might become “official” that night. He was pretty quiet the night of the dance and “didn’t feel like dancing” most of the time, so we just kind of hung out. After the dance we went with a lot of people to get food and I started to get a weird vibe from him that something was up. My dad had to come pick me up because my date couldn’t drive me home. He just gave me a hug in the restaurant and didn’t even walk me out to the car.
The next morning I saw a pic on Instagram of him and another girl I thought was a friend of mine. She was sitting on his lap at the restaurant after I left. She hashed it with #thestartofsomethinggood. I was so mad and wanted to know what was going on, so I texted another girl who is a mutual friends of ours. She said that supposedly they were texting all night and he didn’t want to dance with me because he didn’t want to make her jealous, but that they’ve liked each other and everyone else knew but me. I guess they’ve been talking for a while and didn’t want to do anything about it until after the dance because we were already going together and he didn’t want it to be awkward for me. And for the record, he asked me to the dance.
I was so mad at him and someone must have told him because he sent me a text that just said, “Sorry if I upset you. I never meant to hurt you and I hope you can forgive me someday and we can be friends again.” I don’t want to talk to him or even be around him at school. He texted and asked if his mom could have some of the copies of the pictures, but I don’t want to give him anything.
What should I do? I’m sure you’ll say he’s a jerk and just move on, but that seems so hard because I’m so mad and thought we were more than friends. Plus, he made me look so stupid to everyone that night. Are all guys idiots, or was I just unlucky?
DEAR REJECTED: The art of dating can be wonderful and romantic. Or it can be heartbreaking. Unfortunately, you had the latter.
Let’s start with this: No, not all guys are jerks. It may seem like that at times, but there are good guys out there. Your date honestly doesn’t sound like a bad guy, just a teenager who didn’t know how to handle a situation respectfully. He showed some flashing moments of goodness, but he didn’t handle things the best way.
Why do you feel that you looked stupid? This was not a reflection of you, more a reflection of both of them for being a little shady about the whole situation.
If he was beginning something with the other girl, he should have just shared that with you. I respect that he wanted to honor the fact he asked you to the dance (possibly before things heated up between the two of them), but texting her all night and not dancing with you was uncool. There is a chance he did not share the same feelings for you that you had for him, and a miscommunication about dance expectations happened.
Unless he had specifically told you that he planned to ask you to be his girlfriend that night, it seems like you might have misinterpreted what the night was. You saw it as romantic and hopeful, and he simply wanted to go as friends. This is a frequent dilemma for a lot of teenagers on big nights such as dances, and hurt feelings are common.
He gets some props for apologizing, but he should have done it face to face. Perhaps he tried to do so and you weren’t talking to him, so he had no choice but to do it through texting. If you won’t talk with him, how is he supposed to apologize or explain his choices? It’s hard to move on when you are left with hurt feelings and unanswered questions as to why things happened the way they did. Be careful not to put all your anger on him; his new girlfriend was an equal part. Together, they should have been more honest and up front with you.
Why not ask him to meet you before school and let him apologize in person? Hear him out. Tell him how hurt you were and let him know why you feel burned by both of them. Hopefully, you’ll feel better after talking with him and giving him a chance to apologize for how things shook down.
Don’t give a lot of anger and energy to a situation that you no longer have any control over. Moving forward without all the anger will make life better, happier and easier for you.
Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.