‘He became someone I no longer recognized’

Looking for updates from former letter writers. Put "update" in the subject line of your email (to Meredith.Goldstein@Globe.com), and tell us how it all worked out.

About eight months ago, I went through what feels like one of the hardest moments of my life. My six-year relationship – which I swore would last a lifetime – came to an abrupt end. And I say "abrupt" because I thought we'd had a fight like any other, and that we would make up and everything would be OK.

This fight was the end of an era. We had been having a really hard time keeping it together for awhile and things just didn’t seem like they were going to work out anymore. I really wanted to keep fighting for our relationship but he didn't want to try to patch things up anymore. He became someone I no longer recognized – and I failed to see that he was actually cheating on me (or so I am told by others).

For many months, I've tried to make myself understand why I get to feel so broken and sad and he doesn't. Why is it that he so easily found happiness elsewhere, and I'm expected to do the same? Does he even think about the past six years? Was I the only one living that relationship? How is it so simple for one to put that all behind and start again like six years meant nothing?

– Unhappy


Breakups are a lot like falling in love when it comes to timelines. When you fall for someone, you're working on your own schedule. The moments that bond you to a partner might not be the same ones that bond them to you. I would imagine that if we asked a bunch of couples to tell us how they decided to commit to their significant others – which shared seconds contributed to keeping them on a path – they'd all mention different experiences.

That’s how breakups work, too. You can probably come up with a list of fights that led to this breakup, but your ex has his own. That's of little comfort, but it's the reason you're feeling so shocked by all of this.

Please know that these mismatching timelines do not mean that you're the only one who's sad. It's likely that he's been miserable, confused, nostalgic, doubtful, grateful, and guilty when you weren't there to see it. Perhaps he hasn't experienced shock – this was his decision, after all – but do not assume that any of this has been easy.

You should not feel pressure to be happy on a deadline. Just remember that happy is the goal, at some point.

– Meredith

Readers? Is the LW the only one having these feelings?