What to do when your ex keeps treating you badly for making a mistake

Lilly asks:

The man I made a mistake with months ago continues to treat me badly.  I am feeling too much disturbed feeling alone, the smile on my face has gone too far. He has not even seen my messages in 2 days (or he’s seen but is not reacting to any – maybe he is not paying attention).  I don’t understand why his behaviour would change so much?  Suddenly he’s ignoring me and doesn’t want to meet me or talk to me. Where should I go? He’s the only one I want to talk with, and he’s behaving like this. Maybe now he doesn’t want me in his life anymore. I want him and need him, I can’t give him up. Nothing feels right. I don’t know what to say to him. Help me!

Hi Lilly –

I am so sorry.  I am SO SO SO sorry!  What you’re going through is pure hell, no question.  You’ve made it clear before that you made a mistake, and frankly not that big a one, and told him you see it.  But he’s refusing any contact with you at all.

Sometimes I’ve done some things that made Handsome, my human, really upset, and he’s made me go into the back yard, and left me alone back there.  And since we dogs have no sense of time, I’ve felt just what you’re feeling – that he’s gone forever, that I’m trapped and helpless, that he hates me and always will. 

But I’ve always been wrong.  After some time (and frankly, it’s not all that long), he has always come out and called me to him and cuddled me and kissed me and said he hopes I learned what I needed to because he hated doing that to me and never wants to have to again. 

Okay, it’s like five minutes!  But still, I felt just as bad as you’re feeling now!  Yes our brains are that small!

The difference, of course, is that in your case this has gone on for weeks.  And this guy seems to be insisting that it will be this way forever.  So you’re devastated, as anyone would be.

But I want to suggest you step back.  Way way waaaaay back.  And look at this the way I do.

You made a mistake – you gave him space when he wanted you there (without telling you) – and he’s acting like you poisoned his aunt.  He’s not giving you any chance to talk, and basically is doing what a lot of people call “ghosting” – cutting you off completely.

So I have one question for you:  Is this really the guy you want?

Yes, he has all the qualities you’ve loved in him.  But if he treats you this badly today, what’s he going to do the next time you make a mistake?  Or what he calls a mistake?

A while back, Handsome was dating a lovely woman, who broke up with him because he gave her directions to a place to meet him but forgot to write the actual address on the page.  Yes, I’m saying he gave just the right instructions, but left a NUMERAL off.  Now did she have reason to get annoyed about that?  Sure.  But break up? Come on!

So when she did, he argued for a bit, but then let her go.  Because she was making ridiculous rules.  And he didn’t want to be in a relationship where that kind of power games were going on.

Let’s say this guy let you back in.  Will he do the same thing again?  Will he maybe not speak to you for a month?  Six months?  Is that the way you deserve to be treated?

And another question – has he been perfect?  Has he never made a mistake?  (Maybe he even forgot to write down an address of a place in the list of directions!!)

Lilly, you deserve to be loved and cared for.  Sure, the person you’re with has the right to get hurt and angry, and let you know about it.  But then, you deserve to feel safe in the relationship.  This guy’s actions are abandoning, insulting, and hurtful.

If Handsome had left me in the back yard overnight, that would have been awful (and wouldn’t have done a thing to teach me any lesson, as dogs’ short-term memories aren’t that good).  But if he’d left me there longer – if he’d cut me off, no food or water or attention, I’d have found a way to dig out of there.  I’d have left him and found some other way to live.  I’d have had to!  (In fact, this is just what my friend Aria had to go through, a few times; check out her book https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57588647-a-dog-of-many-names?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=HdaB5AQBkK&rank=1 )!

And I hate to say it, but that’s my suggestion to you.  Get out of the yard this guy has stuck you in.  Go out with friends, watch some favorite movies, eat the yummiest food you can – but get out.  Move on.  There are MUCH better guys out there.  Guys with good qualities as good as his, but without this cruelty and carelessness.

And of course, there are always dogs too – we’re even better!

But first, take care of yourself and move forward from this.  I know it hurts like blazes, but he’s actually giving you a gift – he’s showing you just how bad it is to be in a relationship with him.

If later he comes back and apologizes, and makes you believe that he won’t do it again, then I’ll be all for getting back with him.

But for now, it’s time to move on.  He doesn’t deserve you, and you deserve better.

With all my love,


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