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iLove's avatar

When your ex says, "You deserve better" is it BS or healthy communication?

Asked by iLove (2339 points ) April 10th, 2011

I recently had a loving, conscious, and communicative relationship with a man for a short 6 months. We rushed into a relationship too quickly on the outskirts of his failed engagement. He told me “I love you” almost too quickly, but we both felt it and both wanted to say it.

The very weekend the ex-fiance moved to another state and he reclaimed his place (he had been living with a friend to allow her time to move) he fell apart emotionally and visibly withdrew from me.

A couple of weeks later, we had a mutual breakup that I initiated, but it plagued me that his emotional turmoil so quickly ruined our “honeymoon phase”, which we were both reveling in.

I know sometimes saying, “YDB” is a means of running from intimacy. I am torn between missing him and being grateful that he has recognized his inability to be dedicated to a new relationship at this time.

So my question is for both the rejecter and the rejectee. Does “YDB” sometimes mean “I’m really just not that into you?”

give examples, tell your stories – please help me understand

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26 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It is a weak way of getting out of a relationship.
I have never told anyone that as I liked to let them know exactly why I was going to flee.

chyna's avatar

He is trying to ease out of the relationship without hurting you. I’ve never said this and no one has ever said this to me. Saying it out loud sounds false, I can’t imagine saying it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

YDB usually means “you deserve someone who loves you, which isn’t me.” The peril of being the rebound relationship is that they’re not over the old ex yet. Your role is to help them feel better; most often they’re not ready to move on yet. Getting his place back probably triggered “It’s really over, she’s not coming back.” He’s going to need to mourn that loss.

iLove's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille – can you tell me what you meant by your last sentence, I have never told anyone that as I liked to let them know exactly why I was going to flee

KateTheGreat's avatar

I really hate when someone says that. I mean, it can be true and sincere. But if it is your only excuse to get out of a relationship, then you’re just lame. The YDB line pisses me off.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@iLove -Anytime I’ve ended a relationship, I have always been straighforward with that person and never told them things like “It’s not you,it’s me” or “You deserve better”

nir17's avatar

It is a way to get out of a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t genuine. Often when a relationship reaches that point, one person is treating the other badly…. and in my case, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen the awful things that I’ve done, and I’ve known that I was not able to give him what he deserved or needed. That being said, he really did deserve better.

FluffyChicken's avatar

I really and truly feel that my boyfriend deserves better… so I try to be better. :)

ddude1116's avatar

if your ex says it, it’s bull shit, if your current lover says it, it’s genuine insecurity

aprilsimnel's avatar

When someone says something like that to you, believe them and let them go. It really is better in the long run. Whatever his issue is, you can’t fix it, it’d have to be on his timetable. If it’s meant to be, he’ll be back. If it isn’t, cherish what was and take the good stuff with you to your next relationship.

@lucillelucillelucille – The only guy I ever broke up with, it was me. He was the same guy, but whatever I liked about him before, I didn’t anymore and felt it was better to let him go before I felt obligated and bitter, which would’ve made things even worse. He did deserve better. He deserved a woman who liked him exactly as he was, and I wasn’t that woman.

zenvelo's avatar

If that’s said in the middle of a break up talk, or as the reason, it’s just bullshit to ease the person’s guilt. It’s like “it’s not you, it’s me”.

Qingu's avatar

Everyone deserves better than a romantic partner that doesn’t actually like them.

There are things about my exes’ personalities that I don’t like or respect, that annoy me, that I don’t think are compatible with my own personality. There are probably people who don’t have the same problems with my exes and who will like them for who they are and find compatibile. Those people would be better for my exes than I would be.

Disc2021's avatar

It’s a poor choice of words/not a very genuine thing to say to someone. The truth of the matter is, if the person who said it actually sees you with someone better, they know they’d be kicking themselves in the ass or running back sooner than you could say “bullshit”.

What it means is that they don’t want to shift the blame on you, nor express the actual reason why they want to break it off. Any fool would be happy as day/proud and appreciative to have someone they “didn’t actually deserve”, so to say, and if you ask me people just aren’t that genuine nowadays to give someone up just by principle. They want someone else or the relationship wasn’t what they thought it was; it turned out differently than they had expected.

I dont think it’s a malicious lie meant to do any harm. Rather, it’s a filler break up line that’s used when there isn’t any other thoughtful sounding lines to pull out of the hat.

AllAboutWaiting's avatar

He isn’t ready to concentrate on you, you deserve someones full attention. He isn’t ready to perform the analysis of why and how, because his previous well laid plans have gone to shit. He went home, probably found a long letter from her that blew his mind, and has just given up. The good news is, he will probably reconsider. Once he sees he had a really good start with you, he’ll be calling and asking around about you. Don’t think you didn’t make a positive impression on him, you softened 6 months of emotional crap that usually ruins people. So don’t blow it by getting mean or mad, just be nice and consider the trauma he is still living. Its really not at all about you, he’s just stunned and hopes you will be with a winner rather than some loser the next time he sees you.

iLove's avatar

@AllAboutWaiting – wow, very well said. thank you.

ragingloli's avatar

The better thing to say is “I deserve better”.

Jellie's avatar

A lot of the times people will use the YDB line as a way of not having to come up with a better or more honest reason for breaking off a relationshi. But I think sometimes it is an honest reason and undermined in its truthfulness because of those that use it as an escape strategy. Considering you initiated the break-up and he sounds like he really is going through some emotional turmoil I think he was being honest.

I can imagine it must kill to go through this but I think it’s better that he goes through this phase without any romantic distraction. He needs to come to terms with this before he can move on into another relationship.

robmandu's avatar

There are two reasons people want to break up:
1. They’re just not into you (anymore).
2. They feel they’ve been wronged by you.

I think your ex’s situation is more about #1, like for most people most of the time. However, that’s not a nice thing to say to someone… it feels mean and hurtful (both the saying and hearing). So your ex, like most people, tries to come up with some other “plausible” reason.

Problem is, this rarely works. The “plausible” reason is usually flimsy and easily disproven in some way. So, like your ex has done, other explanations are brought to the table, too… saying YDB; it’s me, not you; etc.

Now the person on the receiving end of all this is in #2 mode. They feel they’re being lied to. That the other person has a hidden agenda. Something. And if, like your ex, the other person is dragging their feet through the motions of #1, then it gives you the opportunity to jump in with #2. Hence where you explain it was a “mutual breakup” that you initiated.

My point is, when dating, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHY SOMEONE WANTS TO BREAK UP WITH YOU. They just do. They’ll try to be “nice” and offer some sort of easy-way-out explanation… but we all know that doesn’t work.

If you’ve ever had to let someone down that you just weren’t into (anymore), then you know where they’re coming from. It’s an awkward situation that you wish would just go away. So try to think of it from that side, be glad you have an opportunity here to move on to something better, and just let it go.

iLove's avatar

@robmandu – wish that I could give more than one GA! what an amazing, well-thought out and informative response. Thank you for your perspective.

iLove's avatar

@sarahhhhh – Thank you as well for your insight. This part was very spot-on:
I can imagine it must kill to go through this but I think it’s better that he goes through this phase without any romantic distraction. He needs to come to terms with this before he can move on into another relationship.

blueiiznh's avatar

From what I read, he simply was and may not be over her. Sorry you were in the path of this train before he got his head back on track.
This being the case, the breakup was rightly initiated and anything he said can be either right as rain or BS. It is an emotional time and some things are said from that very point of view and not very well thought out.
I suspect if he gave you a YDB, it was because he is/was in a depressed state over it all. It also would be a way for him to accept the breakup initiated by you in his head as opposed to getting all pissy about it. Or it could be his way to dump it all back on you.

You certainly do deserve better in this regard if it was a rebound situation.
If his head was on right and past her, he would have had the strength and conviction to see things clearly and not state something like that (one would hope).
He was not able to let it go and he carried it into something with you. BAD FORM!
I hope that you move through and past this swiftly. From all appearances are on the right track and getting there. Asking these questions are good for you. You can place them in a context that helps you grieve it and move on.

As an FYI, when I have been told YDB before, I simply have asked, “You know, you may be right. So what DO I deserve then? How they answer (or not) is very telling of what is really meant by the YDB.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that @blueiiznh is right when he says your lover was probably in a depressed state. He may have many issues to resolve with his ex. He may even have used you to help him get away from his ex. Maybe it gave him something to go towards in order to get away from the ex. More motivation.

If he is depressed, he will feel like he doesn’t deserve a relationship. He may be trying to punish himself for how he treated his ex. He may be remorseful about what he did to his ex and doesn’t want to do it to someone else. I hate to say it, but he sounds a bit weak using other women to help him get from here to there.

If he believes this about himself, then he will be hating himself. That’s where the YDB comes from. It’s as if he’s giving you a gift when he breaks up with you. Of course, he is not taking the time to find out what you really want. That’s typical of the depressed. You’ve already taken the time to reassure him about what you feel.

In my experience, when you’re depressed, you don’t believe what people say about you. You’re really down on yourself. At the same time, sex is very important. It’s the only thing that makes you feel at all connected to anyone. If he is doing that, I would expect him to be showing up at your door from time to time to get a sex fix.

But depression is difficult to deal with, especially if you don’t agree that you are depressed. I would urge him to see a mental health professional. Maybe he needs meds. Maybe he just needs therapy. In any case, whether he’s depressed or not, therapy should help him move through the stuff he’s dealing with. Is there any chance he would go?

I think it’s almost impossible to know, at this point, how much he is into you. I bet he has no clue. If he’s keeping a lot of contact with you, I think that means he’s definitely interested, but if that contact is very surfacy, it can’t be very satisfying for you. You want a real person, and he’s a caricature of that right now.

Will he be able to come back and be present with you again? Should you wait for him? Well, if he’s really sick, then I would lean towards waiting. If he shows a real interest in healing by going to therapy, then I would risk waiting. But if he does not seem to be taking any conscious steps towards getting clear with his shit, I think I would seriously think about cutting all ties with him.

Of course, if you can’t cut all ties, and you must run into him often, that makes it really all that much worse. In a way, you’re screwed. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’ll be very painful for you. You might try to do things that would hurt him, like dating, but I have no idea how that would work.

It may be that, for the time being, you don’t have any choice but to continue to work with him. Urge him to get therapy. Support him through his situation. Assume that when he gets straight, he will love you again, and not be so “confused.” Assume it, but don’t expect it. Just recognize that you are making the best of a complicated situation.

Meanwhile, take care of yourself. In all meaning of that sentence. Yoga. Therapy. Meditation. Exercise. Hang out with friends. Pursue some interest—educate yourself, or throw yourself into work. Spend more time with your kid.

It’s a very tough time. Lot’s of pain and anxiety. Deep breathing. I’m sure you know how to do this. Make sure you practice. Often.

I wish you the best of luck.

Kardamom's avatar

He is saying that he can’t be with you. He probably liked you a lot, and had some very intense feelings for you, but you were clearly a re-bound relationship for him and he is not over his ex yet. But people tend to jump into things with new people before they have healed. It happens every day. He does think that you deserve better, which means not him. He means somebody who actually wants to be with you and isn’t still involved emotionally with someone else. It also means that he can’t/won’t do better for you, so you have to find somebody else who is better for you. It’s a polite way to tell someone to move on.

Try to find someone else who hasn’t recently ended a relationship. Good luck.

FluffyChicken's avatar

There was a short period of time where was considering breaking up with my current boyfriend because I was going through a really rough patch of depression. I really really thought he deserved better. He didn’t deserve to be having to go through all that bullshit with me. I’m really really glad I decided to stay with him though.

There is an exception to every “rule“and nothing in psychology is a case of “always.”

wundayatta's avatar

Like @FluffyChicken, when I was depressed, I told my wife she didn’t need me around her as if some heavy weight on her shoulders. I told her she would be better off without me. Kind of similar to YDB. Fortunately, she believed I was sick and she wanted to help me, even though what I said really hurt her, too.

blueiiznh's avatar

@iLove I also forgot another obvious one. Some people say things like that to gauge the reaction. People sometimes will say things or do things with the intent of seeing how you react. Seeking feedback or some reaction. Making a statement that they hope you react in a way to try to dispute what they are saying. Kind of a test in a way.
I soooo dislike that tactic!

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