So. About 10 years ago, I dated a guy we’ll call “Dave” for about 8 months. It was mostly long distance, mostly a rebound, and ended when Dave stopped calling me and I realized that I didn’t mind that Dave had stopped calling me.

In the years since, we’ve had the following communications:

  • A year after we broke up he emailed me about a rumor that I had started dating a mutual acquaintance. I confirmed the rumor.
  • He never emailed back.
  • A few years later he sent a LinkedIn message noting that I moved back to the area where we had met. I replied briefly that DoomPartner (the mutual acquaintance mentioned above, and by this time my husband) had gotten a good job offer in the area and asked how Dave was doing.
  • He never replied.
  • Last Valentine’s Day, 4+ years after the last message, Dave emailed that he had been reminded of me and that I hoped I wasn’t angry that he still had a piece of my jewelry. I replied politely that I hoped he was well and that the jewelry wasn’t a big deal - I hadn’t missed it, and it had no intrinsic value. He was welcome to keep it or throw it out as he saw fit.
  • Dave never responded.

Yesterday (nearly a year later, for those of you keeping track) Dave replies to my email to say, “oh don’t worry, I wouldn’t throw it out. I see from LinkedIn you’re living in City, I just moved back there.”

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He doesn’t say anything about how it’s been a year since his last email and a decade since we talked with any regularity. He doesn’t even say that he’s back in town and would love to get a coffee some time. He just acts as though it is totally normal to send reply emails a year later, and leaves the ball in my court.

I started to write a polite non-committal email (Hey, welcome back, hope all is well and you’re enjoying being back in town), because that’s what society says you should do. You should be nice to people, even when they are being total weirdos and even when you know that they’re angling for an invite to hang out but are being ridiculously passive aggressive about it. Since he’s an ex I don’t care about, I shouldn’t be rude or angry, because that’s letting myself get too worked up about someone who doesn’t matter, and sending the wrong message.

Well FUCK that. I thought about it for a minute and then replied to his two sentence email with two sentences of my own:

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“...Do you realize that you just replied to a year-old email as though no time had passed? And do you realize that that is really fucking weird?”

He hasn’t emailed back.