Was it a quarter-life crisis breakup?

I met this wonderful guy last fall and we were dating for four months. He was sweet, smart, fun to be around, and we had amazing chemistry. We also had compatible values, and I really could see a future with him. But two months ago, he broke up with me out of the blue saying he "can't be in a relationship right now," "doesn't know where his career is going," that there was no one else, and it wasn't me, it's him. Of course, the last night I had spent with him, he was drunkenly telling me he was never going to let me go, and all texts and phone calls up until the breakup were very sweet.

I haven't initiated any contact, and I haven't heard from him either. This also really bothers me since in all previous relationships, they’ve gone downhill and then fizzled out, but this relationship was so positive and healthy, and I saw no red flags before I was blindsided. I'm not sure if this is a quarter-life crisis and is something that can blow over or if this is over permanently.

He wasn't happy with his job, but he had a plan to deal with that. However, he is living at home with his parents, and all of his friends are living independently in major cities. I'm also living on my own and in medical school. I can see how that might make him feel badly, but these problems are fixable. I don't know if he felt it was emasculating for him to be with a woman who will eventually be a physician. That wouldn't be a fixable problem.

I have no idea what the issue is or was. Is there anything I can do to make things work, and is there a limit for how long I should wait before reaching out? I was hoping that I just needed to give him space, and that he would come around if he felt ready. I really feel like he made a huge mistake. I'm trying to forget about him for my own peace of mind, but if he does try to contact me, how should I play this?

– Confused


It's been two months and he hasn't reached out. It sounds like the breakup is permanent. (Sorry.)

We get a lot of letters from people who are desperate to know why their relationships ended – because they were never given a reason. The believe the "why" will help them get closure. Sometimes they're right.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that some letter writers who claim they didn't get a "why" really did. In your case, your ex gave you three big pieces of information: he can't be in a relationship now, he doesn't know where his career is going, and you're not the problem. Those points might seem vague, but they say plenty. He wants to figure himself out before he's with a partner. Those sweet things he said to you were probably real, but his feelings don't change where he is in his life right now.

So ... you have some reasons. Your goal should be to accept them as legitimate, even though you don't see them as deal-breakers. You should also remind yourself that you were still getting to know him, too. He seemed great for you, but in the end, he wasn't the kind of communicator you need. You want to be with someone who'll talk about his concerns and work on them with you. Look for that person next.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW reach out?