On a wallowing wallower

He broke our engagement, then moved her in and gave her my ring. They’re very happy together. I moved cities, got a masters and a bangin job, but my romantic life has been in shambles ever since. How do I let the past go and tell my biological clock to shut the fuck up?


It wasn’t your fucking ring. Say it with me now, “It wasn’t my fucking ring.” Say it again, “IT WASN’T MY FUCKING RING.” Keep saying it over and over until you realize that she and that ring have nothing to do with you whatsoever.

You got your heart broken. Big fucking deal. It was years ago, and he was obviously a douchebag. Still, it’s not his fault that your romantic life is a shambles. It’s yours. You’re a wallowing wallower who likes to wallow. Get your shit together and quit being so pathetic.

This guy isn’t the one who got away. He’s just an ex who treated you like shit and dumped you for another woman. Fuck ’em both. While you’re at it, quit writing happy endings that don’t exist. They’re not all that blissful together. They’ve just got an Instagram account, and you can’t see past the filters.

Trust me, they’re just another boring couple who haven’t had sex in weeks and are tired of smelling each other’s farts, and I’d bet a thousand dollars right now that at least one of them (probably both) has cheated on the other.

Fuck letting go of the past. You need to let go of these two in the present. Delete, delete, delete. There is no reason you should have the slightest clue what’s going on in their lives. Unfriend, unfollow, and block. Make it so he won’t even know how to reach you when they get divorced. (That’ll happen in 2019, by the way.)

In the meantime, move the fuck on. Leave your biological clock out of it. You’re not that old. (I can tell.) You’ve just got a mother who likes to remind you that she was younger than you are now when she had you. (I can also tell.)

Enough with the bitterness already. No more wallowing. Fuck the past, and fuck your consistently shitty romantic choices. Get it together, woman. You can do better than this.


41 thoughts on “On a wallowing wallower

  1. Kelly says:


    There’s almost nothing more powerful than the realization that 99% of the shit that you think is about you actually has nothing to do with you at all.

    (And Coke, reading your advice for the past 7 years was a big part of me getting there. So thanks.)

  2. David says:

    Curious on why would you bet at least one has cheated?
    Because the guy is a douche or because you believe all couples cheat after a couple years?

  3. Brooke says:

    Good luck moving on, OP. I mean that sincerely. I also tend to be a bit of a wallower myself and can relate to this and whoever submitted that question a few Fun-Sized Advices ago about still checking their ex’s social media years later.

    My therapist says mindfulness/mindfulness meditation helps to move on and it has definitely helped me, personally. To combat the urge to check any ex’s social media while I’m at work, I put a Post-It note on my computer screen to help remind myself to be mindful which has helped me stop doing that as often – as an example of how to go about being mindful. (I still have some work to do on that, obviously.)

    I also try to catch myself when I have self deprecating thought about past failed relationships and instead try to re-frame those thoughts, in addition to practicing mindfulness.

    Hope this helps!

    • CynicalGrey says:

      What do you write on the post it notes? As a fellow wallower that had to unlearn bad habits, I did similar. I would meticulously fold each one and drop it in a jaw for reading later if I was going to choose to go down a rabbit hole of bullshit. Over time I’ve been able to retrain my brain to move towards being grateful and compassionate (while also skeptical and discerning) while accepting I’m gonna fuck it up anyway.

      The post-it note method is great for those as a desk job who want to get off the disordered thinking bandwagon.

      • Brooke says:

        I sit on an open floor where the people around you can see pretty much everything you’re doing on your computer so I just wrote “be mindful, be present, be in the moment” on my Post-It, otherwise I’d be more specific if I had my own cube.

        • CynicalGrey says:

          Agh, I’m sorry you don’t at least have a few feet high walls around you. I cherish mine. Simple messages can be the most effective, though.

          Retraining the brain is a full time job.

  4. Chi says:

    Nothing makes me rage more than some some :(usually hetro) claiming an engagement ring is hers after it gets called off. No, it is NOT. Unless it was a gift, legally and explicitly, it isn’t. Let it go. How does that even work? Cray cray.

    • Jen says:

      Isn’t that usually what an engagement ring is? A gift? I’m not following what you’re so enraged about, though I don’t think referencing the ring as hers is healthy after she returned it and the relationship ended.

      I thought the response was communicating that what happened when the relationship ended wasn’t really about her, not that the ring was literally not hers.

      Could be my hetero ignorance talking here.

      • Chi says:

        Legally and depending on the jurisdiction where you live, the rules differ. A lot of people assume it is a gift. Anyone well versed in legalese and the IRC knows that’s not absolute.

        On a personal level, I won’t feel comfortable with someone buying me a 3,000$ ring. I’m practical enough and shameless enough to ask said someone to put the cash equivalent into a savings account/my 401k account. Your behaviour and actions should prove how much you love me, not some targeted marketing by the diamond cartels/ the marriage industry.

      • minuteye says:

        I was interpreting “my ring” as “the ring I (or we) chose”. Not legally hers, but emotionally hers in terms of it being specifically chosen with their relationship in mind. The source of pain being the realization that the ring (and by extension the relationship it represented) meant way more to her than it ever did to him.

    • Anna says:

      Honestly I find the whole concept of an engagement ridiculous. You want to go ahead and create a legally binding contract to your significant other? Just do it, no waiting time required. The engagement ring has the same feel to it as a rental deposit when you think about the formalities involved in breaking the contract of engagement.
      I really think that altogether the marriage thing is an archaic notion and a garbage institution though.

      • Q.T.Getomov says:

        The engagement ring is a fairly modern invention that connotes “not married but also not available.”
        The diamond was a marketing move by DeBeers who had a large number of small diamonds they wanted to get rid of but didn’t want to flood the diamond reserve so they invented this ‘heirloom piece’. Because it represents eternity it ideally never gets sold on, therefore making DeBeers money without diluting the market.
        Your engagement dream is a cynical marketing ploy. Congratulations!

        • Chi says:

          I’ve always had issue with that reasoning though: if it’s a sign that you’re not available,so to speak, why don’t men(hetero men) wear any? I focus on opposite sex relationships because same sex couples both wear the rings.
          I’ve always wondered about that.

          • Ashalok says:

            Because the practice is rooted in a misogynistic value system that treats women like the property of men. Historically marriage has been a business arrangement between men in which women are chattel, and if you strip away all the romance, an engagement ring has an uncomfortable amount in common with a cattle brand or a dog collar.

          • J Lynn says:

            The first among my college friends to marry (woman marrying a man) made it clear before they got to that point that she didn’t want an engagement ring, wedding bands would be plenty. Her main reason was similar to Ashalok’s & Anna’s comments, I remember the words like yesterday, “I don’t want to be a marked woman,” a resistance to that archaic convention of being “claimed” before being actually married. As a bonus, that left more money for the honeymoon.

    • unicornsrpeople2 says:

      I think the common etiquette is that whoever cancels the wedding cedes all rights to the ring. I guess that way the hurt party can sell the ring for some cash, or hurl into a river all dramatic-like.

      Unless the ring was a family heirloom (and even if so, kind of) it just seems tacky to recycle rings like that. Either way though, it does sound like OP is hung up on the symbolism of the ring (my ring=my man). Coquette’s right, not your ring, not your man, not your problem. He secretly did you a massive favor by displaying his shitty character before you were legally bound to him. You deserve so much better than this dirtbag and now you are free to do it!

      • Chi says:

        You ssid what I was going for: my ring= my man. None of those things are set in stone. That’s what irks me: that notion that despite the relationship not working out, you(general) still lay claim to the man.
        That’s unhealthy in the long run and stops one from moving on because they’re hung up on a man/woman that has long moved on.

    • Anneline says:

      “Unless it was a gift, legally and explicitly, it isn’t.”

      This is kind of strange phrasing. It implies that a legally binding contract is formed by default when the ring is given. And that the only way around this is to negotiate your way out of having a contract, such as whoever is giving the ring saying “this ring is an unconditional gift and it is yours whether you marry me or not”.

      Because if you want to get really technical with the legal aspects, a gift can be considered either conditional and unconditional. If the OP is in the US, an engagement ring is usually considered a gift no matter what, but what type of gift it is varies by state. Some states consider it a conditional gift, meaning that it has to be given back if the wedding doesn’t actually take place. Some consider it an unconditional one, which means it can’t be demanded back under any circumstance. And in some, it depends on who broke the engagement.

      But then again, most people don’t know or care about the legal technicalities. I think most people consider this a matter between the formerly engaged couple, and are going to take social norms and interpersonal factors into account rather than approaching it from the perspective of a judge. This is just my personal opinion, but I think the vast majority of the time, the best way to handle the issue really is based on the specific situation and the feelings of the couple in question, not an absolute rule.

    • Strangely Rational says:

      ” . . . gave her my ring . . . ”

      This doesn’t necessarily constitute claiming it was rightfully hers after the breakup. She could easily have meant “the ring he picked out for me” (which, unless it was originally for another jilted fiancée, it was). Or “the ring that up until the point of the breakup was mine to wear.” You have to admit that it’s easier to say “my” than to throw in all those extra words.

      Maybe she did fight to keep it, but it’s also possible that she didn’t and is only mentioning it out of bitterness about the symbolism. Either way, she needs to find a way to get over the bitterness and let it go.

    • Strangely Rational says:

      I don’t get that hetero comment. It seems rather obvious to me that most of them would be hetero simply for the fact that most couples are hetero.

      That, and the greater likelihood of a gay couple to have engagement rings for both partners, thus avoiding the issue entirely.

      I seriously doubt that human nature differs based on sexual orientation, but it seems to be your implication; i.e., it’s more likely for heteros to be materialistic and possessive. Please correct me if I’ve misinterpreted that.

      • Chi says:

        I said hetero because same sex couples usually pick out and possibly chip in to buy a set for the two of them. (in which case I’d feel entitled to the ring because I paid for it as well). Since everyone but me is seeing this as symbolic of some bigger picture, then that point is moot. I tend to go for the literal meaning of things.

        Before marriage equality came along, SS couples were more likely to own stuff together because they’ve been together for probably decades(property and businesses for example) and stressed over losing their house/business in a breakup.

        It wasn’t about hetero couples being the majority. I’m LGBT+ and I spend a lot of time around the queer community, I sometimes forget there is a heterosexual majority out there.
        (also, i suck at explaining things on ‘paper’).

    • Rainbowpony says:

      The ring symbolic. She’s referring to the dream of them having a life together, which she thought they co-wrote and co-owned.

    • Nina says:

      It’s shitty and ignorant to call someone crazy. The OP is angry, and she’s feeling that way because something that was very important to her isn’t going to happen. The ring is just a symbol for it.

  5. Mango says:

    It’s not the ownership of the ring. I’d be pretty fucking salty over the ring he promised me being given to someone else. It’s tacky and has bad vibes all over it. It’s the symbolism of it. Fortunately, the tackiness of it is so bad, I’d have a much easier time getting over him.

    Also, if I were his new fiancée and found out the ring belonged to an ex, I’d probably shove it up his ass and walk away. When you’re with someone new, you create something new, you don’t use a ring that has someone else’s heartbreak and relationship with you all over it. Just. Ugh. Tacky.

    • J Lynn says:

      Yes, Margo expresses my take best. To me the legality question is interesting, and perhaps symbolic, but not the ultimate, core issue. Regifting the same ring (and in my experience most engaged couples who get one choose it together) is so tacky, I think the LW included that detail as if to say, “he was THIS awful, but for some stupid irrational reason I’m still stuck on him.” And the ring detail makes it that much easier for us all to say, “you dodged a bullet, better a painful breakup than a divorce later.”

      Another advice writer, Dr Nerdlove, named this type of stuckness “One-itis,” meaning an irrational notion that an ex was “the One” or that there is even such a thing as “the One.” There’s sometimes an overlap with the equally unrealistic Prince Charming Syndrome.

      Additionally, I’m reading in the letter that her pride was hurt in the breakup as much as her heart, and that may be a sticking point. That’s understandable, almost anyone would feel humiliated by the circumstances of this breakup, but part of acquiring life experience is learning through painful experience how to recover and keep your equanimity and sense of self, and that other people’s actions (shitty though they may be) are outside our control and driven usually by their own internal motivations.

      Ultimately, Coke’s advice is great, there’s no magic formula, the only way to get over a past lover is to fully, boldly embrace the present.

  6. Soooooooooooo..... says:

    I wouldn’t care if he took back the t shirt I used to wear to bed and gave it to his new women. In my mind, I might’ve still referred to it as “my shirt.” At one point, I would’ve only worn the old raggedy ass shirt because I loved you, so to give it to someone else would be a stinger.

    However, I don’t love these hoes so…can’t relate.

  7. I can understand her having an emotional attachment to her engagement ring. She loved it, she was happy to wear it, with all the connotations & promise of marital bliss she attached to it, the ring simply was meaningful for her. That he broke it off, took back the ring & recycled it for the woman who wrecked the engagement… I would’ve been offended if I was given a recycled ring. Or maybe she sees it as a trophy she won.

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