She still says ‘I love you’ (and it’s confusing)

Hi Meredith,

I was in a great relationship with a fantastic woman for about a year and a half. We're both teachers. Things got rocky at the end, once we realized the relationship was causing us both to live unhealthy lives, so we decided to break it off. However, we kept coming back to each other with regular hookups and biweekly date nights. At the end of the school year, I decided to move back to my hometown, partly to give us some distance. We went a few months not speaking to each other, but I decided to reach out, and now we talk about twice a month.

I've tried to keep everything as platonic as possible, but somehow we tend to have really deep conversations, and she always ends our conversations with an "I love you," which I say right back to her out of politeness. I'm struggling now because I don't know what I want to do. Sometimes I'm scared I'll never connect with anyone like I do with her. Other times I feel I owe it to myself to try something new and move on. So I have two questions: 1) What is she doing? Can women say "I love you" with no romantic intentions? 2) What should I do?

Is it possible to move on while maintaining regular communication with an ex? I really would appreciate any advice you have.

– Confused

Can women say "I love you" with no romantic intentions? Sure. But probably not in your case. It sounds like you're both leaving the door open for something romantic, and that the declarations of love are just one of the ways you make that clear.

(I'll disclose that I still tell my high school boyfriend I love him at the end of every phone call. But it's our tradition, and we broke up two decades ago. And we only talk a few times a year.)

If you want to find out whether you can connect with someone other than this woman, you should take a break from the bimonthly communication. Feel free to let her know you need this space. Maybe she does, too.

Some exes can move on while keeping in touch, but you two aren't there yet. You need space in your brain to get used to life on your own – and for someone new.

– Meredith

Readers? Should they be saying they love each other? Or talking at all?