I’m fine after the breakup, but he’s not

Hi Meredith,

So I just ended a two-year relationship. We started dating in high school, and then went long-distance for college. We were best friends and mature about our relationship, and it actually worked. But in the last six months, I really began to feel more confident and optimistic about my future. Feelings of being tied down, and scared that I was so settled at the age of 20, eventually boiled up, and I ended things in a five-minute phone call (I know it's not great, but you could hear the crickets so I didn't think there was much else to say).

We've talked twice since then; he called me a few days later, and I thought we had gotten closure, but then he started angrily texting me at 2 a.m. and then throughout the day. He was really upset and essentially tried to get back together, but ended up saying some pretty offensive things instead. I feel heartless since I'm not even close to heartbroken or upset, and I don't know if I should be feeling differently. Should I reach out and see how he's doing? He was my best friend and he's a great person, but I have no urge to contact him.

– It's Over


Do not reach out to see how he's doing. That's not your job, and he needs to learn to rely on other people in his life right now. If he continues to make contact, wrap it up with one conversation that sets clear boundaries.

My guess is that your ex was so shocked during that five-minute breakup call that he didn't know how to process or respond to the news. The "closure" conversation was the real breakup ... and then you saw him go through some other stages of grief (bargaining, anger, etc.).

You're not feeling the heartbreak – even though you lost a best friend – because you've had so much time to process this loss. You mourned the relationship along the way, as you made the decision. You might feel some sadness later, too. There will be a moment when you want to call your ex, maybe to talk about something mundane, and that's when it'll feel real.

It's not easy to be the breaker-upper. It's difficult to know how to help the person you're trying to leave – because you still care about them. But your best bet is to stay away. That's what feels right anyway.

– Meredith

Readers? Is more conversation necessary here? How does breakup grief work when you're the breaker-upper?