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Some may call me heartless

October 16th, 2012 at 09:34 am

There's a guy from my distant past who periodically calls me on birthdays and holidays. We dated for a few years when I was in my 20s (30+ years ago) and living on Cape Cod. I haven't seen him since but somehow he got my phone number maybe 6 years ago and has kept calling ever since, despite my telling him I was engaged, married, had no interest, etc.

Each time he's called, I've told him I don't wish to maintain contact with him. Some here have called him a stalker.

He called today, randomly, and told me again that he has terminal emphysema, that the doctor said he has a year or so to live. I don't think he's making it up. His voice sounds different, and he was a smoker way back then, which we were both in our 20s. He said he's using inhalers.

If you've told someone you don't want them to call you and he continues to do so anyway, does it make a difference that he has a terminal illness? I feel sad for him, that there is apparently no one in his life right now that he can turn to, that he has to call an old girlfriend who repeatedly rebuffs him. But does that make him my responsibility?

I told him again anyway that I'd asked him not to call me, and kept the conversaton brief. Of course now I have a huge guilt trip for doing that to a lonely guy who might have emphysema and just wants someone to talk to.

I said Mike, I'm really sorry to hear about your illness, but I've asked you not to call here. He's like, I know, but I was just remembering all the good times we had... and I cut him off. He said, I thought it would be nice to keep in touch. I said but Mike, that's only if the other person wants to keep in touch too. He's like oh, that's too bad. I told him I'd moved on. Anyway, that's pretty much how the whole conversation went.

Am I heartless? I'd rather think not, but I don't like people trying to push a relationship on you when you'd really rather not. We had a violent breakup and it's all ancient history.

10 Responses to “Some may call me heartless”

  1. North Georgia Gal Says:

    I don't think you are heartless. I think you need to be firm with him. If it really becomes a problem consider getting a restraining order.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    You aren't heartless. You've been firm and polite. Mike chooses not to hear. That's on him.

    It is unfortunate he has emphysema.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    I let my ansering maachine pick up all my calls. That way I don't have to talk to anybody I don't want to talk to. No, I don't think you are heartless.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Well, if he would get a clue, he would not experience being re-buffed like this.

    Emphysema develops over a lifetime and in my experience people who have it are often in denial until the point they go on oxygen, or even until their death. It is not news you get suddenly one day. Your old BF may have the habit of being in long term denial of all kinds of things. Brace yourself for other calls; perhaps be ready to suggest he talk to clergy or counselor.

  5. librarylady Says:

    I don't think you're heartless either. I agree with Julie. Let your answering machine take your calls, or if you have caller ID just don't answer the phone.
    Who knows, he may have a lot of people rebuffing him.

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Pardon and please consider parenthetic my weirdness for dwelling on spelling, but I should not have a hyphen in "rebuffed". Buffed again?

  7. Looking Forward Says:

    Not heartless at all.
    If you have CallerId stop answering or left the machine get it from here on out. Maybe, if you feel like you must answer, you should tell him that your memories of him are not so fond because he was violent/scary.

  8. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I agree with everyone else. If he has no one else, it is of his own doing. Stay firm in your decision. Sounds stalker-ish to me.

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    Can you have the phone company block his number? We used to be able to do that many years ago. My mom had a specific number blocked of someone who was harrassing my sister. The calls simply don't ring through. They must still have that technology.

  10. PatientSaver Says:

    I don't want to let my machine pick up calls becus it could be a call related to my freelance work, and it's a little awkward to always allow the machine to pick up. I don't want to pay for caller ID. He gave me his number once a long time ago but stupidly, i never wrote it down becus i knew i would never call him, and i've been distracted enough when he calls that i haven't asked for it again. I really need to try to get it from him and maybe i can ask phone company to block his calls. I have actually reminded him of how things ended and up course he denied that it was that big a deal (despite the fact the police were called, he fled the scene and was later arrested, yada yada yada).

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