Despite all of our problems, I want her back

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Dear Meredith,

I recently went through a breakup with my girlfriend of two years during the pandemic. We have a complicated history, but we both love (or I guess loved) each other very much. I have gone through painful breakups before, but am struggling with this one as I feel like it is very unfinished. From the moment I met her, I knew I liked her a lot and that I wanted more than something casual. Unfortunately, I wasn't over my previous ex-girlfriend. I explained all of this to her and was completely honest to begin with. Unfortunately, she felt like I was hiding her and only told me this later in our relationship.

We were off and on for a long time, in my opinion, because of how the relationship started. We eventually began fighting more often, which I also felt stemmed from our beginning. Once I knew how she felt about the beginning of the relationship, I felt extremely guilty. I take responsibility for how I acted and made her feel. By no means am I saying I did not make mistakes. I just felt like I worked hard to try to remedy these mistakes, and that our relationship was more than just fighting.

Throughout the last two years, our "official" status was uncertain even though we never went on dates with anyone else or saw anyone else. Essentially, we were together and committed. For me, it was always worth being with her no matter what we faced.

At the start of the pandemic, we had decided to try again, even though we were long-distance. I knew this would be difficult, but I did not want to lose her. Even away, we fought, and at one point she told me she was unhappy and did not want to continue. She ended up breaking up with me and wanting to get back together once more before she finally decided that she did not want to be with me. She attributed the breakup to being young and not knowing what she wanted, as she is only 20 (I am 23). Later, I found out that she was talking to friend of hers romantically after we had broken up – within a week. This really hurt, but I want her to be happy because I love her. I just can’t help but feel like she will come back. And even more, I still want her to come back. I'm not sure why. Why do I keep hoping?

I can't get over the feeling that this was entirely my fault. That I have lost something so great because of how idiotic I was at the start. Her attitude toward me has completely changed since talking to this other woman. I have to stop contacting her because reaching out is selfish, but when I think of my future and how she won’t be in it, I freak out. I know that all of this is a result of my dramatic nature, but I thought it can’t hurt to write in. I have lost confidence that I am even a decent person. I also just hate the idea that people aren't "meant to be together."

- Lost

"I can't get over the feeling that this was entirely my fault."

It's not. Please believe that. If you need reminders, print out out those two words and put them on mirrors and refrigerators. You were not great to her in the beginning of the relationship, but you explained why. Then you spent your energy trying to make amends by being a better partner. In the end, she needed freedom and other experiences. She was very clear about her reasons for leaving you, and it had nothing to do with your mistakes. She's far away – and with someone else.

You say you believe she might come back, and I think you might be right. There's a history here of short-term breakups and staying in touch. It is very possible that you'll hear from her again. But please spend this time thinking about whether her return would give you what you need. The drama of it all makes this love seem epic, but don't confuse the feelings around conflict and reconciliation with happiness. Having big ups and downs with someone doesn't mean they're a soul mate.

Step out of this relationship cycle and start a very new pandemic routine. Maybe check in in with people who don't even know her. It makes sense that you're hoping and longing for her return, but those feelings might have more to do with the discomfort that comes with being newly single. That will take some time to get used to, but you'll get there.

– Meredith

Readers? Odds that this ex will return?