I was dating my boyfriend for a few months when he left to go travelling for 4 months. While he was away it was hard to communicate, and he eventually asked me two months later to go on a "break." We talked a week after he said that and he agreed not to hook up with anyone else and said he wanted to be together once he got home. A couple weeks later he called me to say he regrets the whole thing and wishes he hadn't done it, but I don't feel like that's enough. Would I be stupid to go back to him?
He's controlled and dictated the relationship based on what he wanted (ie): "He left to go travelling for 4 months" "he asked for a 2 month break" "He agreed not to hook up with anyone else because wants to be together once he got home".
Why was it hard to communicate? He left to travel where? Any signs of him having someone on the side? Don't allow yourself to be anyone's "convenient back up".You deserve better and you should tell him so. Weeks later he calls to say he regrets the whole thing (really) not good enough.
I think you would be foolish to take him back an not see how you were manipulated-(learn from this).Maybe it's time for you to take a break to see what else it out there.
Thank you for your response!!
That does sound manipulative when you lay it out like that.
Basically I had something pretty tragic happen to me a couple weeks after he left, but even before that it would bother me when I would want/need to talk to him and couldn't because he wasn't in wifi (he's in asia so the time difference is 15 hours) and especially after the tragedy i would then send him messages about how upset I was, then he would get into wifi and receive them and spend all day with me asleep worrying. When we did talk on the phone the wifi would make it so that a 20 minute conversation would last about 3 hours because of the choppiness.
I don't think he has anyone on the side, as best as I can tell. We haven't spoken now for almost a month because after he called and said he regretted it, I sort of said well too bad you asked for it, and asked him to stop messaging me so I could focus on school which finishes in a couple weeks. then he comes home, so I am wanting to reflect and figure out what to do in that time, which is why your advice is very much appreciated!
I've been married for 25 years, and I agree whole-heartedly with @skinnygirl. He's manipulating you. My husband travels the world for work, and I travel extensively for fun and family. We NEVER have a hard time staying in touch, because we both make it our top priority. No relationship can or will survive with broken communication, regardless of the reason. Rural Asia can be tricky, but not impossible. Time differences suck, but only if you don't make set times to touch base and stick to them. It doesn't matter if he has anyone "on the side" or not. Keeping communication open and honesty flowing is not his priority, and you can't make him want something he doesn't, nor should you try. It shouldn't matter when he comes back, or what he wants. It should be about what you want, and what you believe you deserve. Once you answer those questions for yourself, THEN ask yourself what you want or need from him, if anything. If you're focusing on him, you'll lose yourself. True of any relationship, regardless of time and distance. If he's had some time without you at his beck and irregular call, and he misses you, and is longing for the comfort of someone that cares about him... that's not good enough either. You need to ask him WHY he wants to get back together. The truth. Missing someone is not a good enough reason to get back together. REAL LOVE is the only reason that will ever make any relationship work, on any level. Either he loves you, or he doesn't. It can be very easy to confuse friendship with love, especially if there's also physical attraction. Take good, long, honest looks at what you both want, and what you don't. If enough of those things align or can be negotiated, and there is indeed real love, then there will be no need for these games. Anyone that truly cares about you would not manipulate you, and certainly not from that kind of distance, over this amount of time. If his feelings change because of his geographic location; if his feelings are proportional to his proximity of you? Then that's another red flag. A big one. His traveling and/or homecoming should have absolutely nothing to do with your relationship status. Trust me. We've been living with this exact scenario for 12 years, and never been happier. And in love. I hope you have that too. Or, will.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
So do you think that if he asked for a break he doesn't genuinely want me and I shouldn't wish he does?
I know that a couple of paragraphs from me doesn't describe a whole relationship and only I can really know what has gone on, but the reason I wanted an outsiders perspective is because I want to know if thats a line that once crossed can never be forgotten? If that should be the end of things no matter the situation?
Not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying it doesn't sound like you two have talked in enough detail about what either of you wants from this relationship. If he's saying he "can't" keep in touch, I'd press him on it. If my husband can.... If it's simply that it's not worth the effort it can take to stay in contact, then I doubt he'll admit to that. So again, press him on that issue. The time difference can be difficult, but not at all impossible.
I understand your confusion over the request for a break. My husband and I are in the middle of our 3rd break in our 25 years together. No loss of love or commitment. Quite the opposite. We've learned it's a necessary part of life for us. Time apart, truly apart, with diminished communication, gives countless opportunities for personal learning and growth. All the better when (if) you come back together. You just need to talk to him. And not when he's "in a hurry" or unable to truly focus. Just don't let there be excuses, on either side. Excuses are simply the ways we ask others to take us off the hook without having to find some courage and own up to our truth. If the relationship is worth saving, it can be saved. Only you two have those answers though. Does that make sense?
Also: even during a break - as long as a break is truly what's on the table, and agreed to by BOTH of you - there should still be communication. Just keep it at the level of best friends to minimize confusion. That's what's worked for us anyway. And 25 years later, even during a break, we're crazier than ever for each other. We're just tending our own gardens before we start planting the next field together.
Yes, it does make sense. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.
I definitely want to have an open conversation the next time we can in person about it, and I do expect answers from him. I've just been worried because all my friends basically have said if he asked for a break, kick him to the curb and don't look back no matter what happens. I want to have an open talk and really figure out whether it could work or not, but that other advice I've been given makes me doubt whether or not I should be giving him any opportunity to even see me when he's back. I'd rather hear him out and then decide, so I'm glad others have different views on it.
Of course. That's what we're all here for.
It sounds like your friends are, as they should be, more worried about you than your relationship. I don't blame them for only looking out for you. But I'm guessing you (and they) are a little younger (keep in mind I'm super old, nearly 50). It's easy to tell people they deserve better and to cut and run, when their only concern is you, and not him or how you feel about him. Don't fault them for loving you. It's not necessarily bad advice. It's just not necessarily the advice that would be best given the situation. Generally speaking, most couples don't survive breaks, because they aren't accepted nor negotiated by both people. MUTUAL breaks can be hugely beneficial. Clear boundaries have to be set, and adhered to, by both people. But if you can get through a break, I promise your relationship will only be stronger for it. It's hard. Anything worth it that sticks, is. Even the best relationships benefit from breaks. It doesn't have to be a kiss of death. In fact, it can be what saves you.
Best thing you can do is prepare yourself for a difficult conversation, face to face. Walk yourself through possible outcomes, especially the outcomes you're not hoping for. Notice how you feel as you take each step mentally. Write down any major points you don't want to forget. Know what you want and what you don't. That way, once you have a chance to really talk to him, you'll both tend to be solution centered, checking egos at the door. And whatever happens, know that real love means wanting the other person to be happy, whether that's together, or apart.
So, plot twist. Messaged him last night because I finally finished my school exams and he told me a week ago he made out and "fooled around" with someone else. Thoughts?
Any feelings involved? Or just a passing physical attraction??
No feelings, a one time thing. From what I got out of our phone call, I guess when I decided to block his number he felt really hurt and as though I was pushing him away and unsure about whether I wanted to be with him. So he spent over a month with no contact with me stewing in anger and being hurt. Said he knew it was destructive but he felt hurt and alone. They didn't have sex but "fooled around" whatever that means. I had no idea what I did had hurt him, and he said he didn't want to say anything for the sake of my focus. He says his feelings have faded and mine have too. We are meeting up to talk once he's home at the end of the month. I'm not sure if he wants to be with me, but I need to decide what I want as well.
As hard as it is, try to remember that whatever he did, it has nothing to do with you, or his feelings for you. It was his way of doing a "gut check", whether he realizes it or not. He was lonely, had a meaningless experience, and regrets it. That's actually a good sign. And, it sounds like you're taking some time and thinking it through, which is always a good thing.
I agree that you both need to figure out what you want, and what you don't. My best advice is to have a thoroughly honest talk with him once he's back. It may be best if you agree to start over. Completely over. Act like you're just meeting, and don't know each other at all. Because really, you've both changed so much in recent months, you likely don't know each other anymore. Not really. So ask if he's willing to date you. Court you. Ask you out. Spend time getting reacquainted, without hanging on to the past or focusing on the future. It will either evolve into something great, or you'll know for sure it's time to move on. I know that's not a quick fix, but it could be an invaluable opportunity for learning and growth. Individually, and together. I hope this makes sense....
I can't believe you said that. I actually had the exact same thought as one way we could fix things if he ended up wanting to... That made me feel so reassured, so thank you. I have finally moved home after my school finished and I just kept thinking to myself as I drove back how amazing it would be for both of us to live in the same city. We have never lived in the same place while dating because I was away for school (not far away, but still), and the four months we were together before he left were still some of the happiest I've ever had. So I just kept thinking what if we could start over, put what happened behind us and move forward living in the same place and having a fresh start. I really hope he feels the same way. I think we have something real between us so I would definitely like to try that.
I don't know if you are interested, but we'll be talking within the next couple of weeks if you'd like to hear how it goes! Thank you for all of your helpful advice!
Congrats on putting a year of school to rest, and I hope you enjoy your time at home! I'm so happy to hear you're giving yourself, and him, another chance. The only thing worse than heartbreak, is regretting not taking the chance and wondering "what if" for the rest of your life. I believe you're choosing your path of least regret, and that's something we should all strive for.
I would love to hear how it goes!! I hope he's open to starting fresh, especially since you have the chance to live near each other for a change. Fewer obstacles and more opportunities for connection. So I'll keep this bookmarked, and check it often. I'll be rooting for you! Best of luck! <3