Dear Carolyn: I was recently broken up with by text, by someone I am very much in love with. This person had been leading me to believe he was in love with me as well, outright discussing a future with me. He says out of the blue that he thinks we should be friends and hopes I can understand.

I'm so sick over it that I haven't been able to respond yet at all. What do I do with this? And how could someone who cares about you disrespect you so much as to break up by text? Does he really think I could just be his friend?

Is there any chance there will be a relationship with him again? I feel like I was hit by a truck that just drove off.

— Textual Tension

Textual Tension: That’s awful.

He did you a favor, but it's still awful now.

The favor being: that he put on full and incontrovertible display that he is an immature person who is not ready to be anyone's anything.

Could he yet ripen in someone better? Maybe. Someday. Some not-in-the-near-future day, because he has a lot of work to do.

First reason, the text. This is not a person who has learned the respectful art of the difficult conversation. (See above.) We can stop right there if we want, because that alone is a relationship-breaker.

Second reason, the “leading me to believe.” Without details to say otherwise, I tend to see this also as a sin of immaturity, not cruelty. People who aren't sure what they feel about someone will go all in, because it's a fun way to find out. But it's without regard for the message the other person receives. So he tells you it's not working and breaks up, and to him it's a logical next step but to you it's, wha? A complete 180.

A more mature person would proceed more judiciously with an eye to each person's feelings.

Third, the “friends” thing is tone-deaf to the point of establishing its own art form.

So drop him from “What now?” consideration. Now's the time just to feel sad and angry until it passes, enough for you to start mentally picking apart what happened. One thing at a time. Keep in mind throughout, though — he wasn't the guy.

Carolyn: Thank you. He had told me he loved me, but clearly he wasn’t being honest. I guess the kind, caring person I fell in love with just didn’t exist. My feelings of humiliation right now are almost as strong as the heartbreak.

— Tension again

Tension again: It’s totally normal to feel humiliated, but that’s a misunderstanding in itself, I think. Loving people is brave. We have to make ourselves vulnerable to love, and being vulnerable is a sign of emotional strength because it shows you’re ready to accept the risk of getting hurt. Being brave that way is nothing to be ashamed of.

Re: Text breakup: It’s entirely possible he meant it when he said he loved you. People do break up with people they’re in love with sometimes. I hope removing the extra complication of “and he was lying” makes your grief a bit easier.

— Anonymous

Anonymous: Well said, thank you.