She wasn’t sure monogamy was natural to her anymore

Dear Meredith,

My girlfriend (21) and I (25) moved in together. Things were really good between us. We'd been together for three and a half years when she walked into the living room and asked if I thought we were going to be married someday. I said I didn't think that it would happen any time soon, but that's ultimately what I wanted for us.

We're both performers, and there are things we wanted to accomplish before we got married. She ended up telling me she doesn't know who she is without me because she's never been single. She said we've never truly lived alone. She said that I'm the only person she can see herself with, but that's because I'm all she's ever known. Her last "serious" boyfriend was abusive.

She said I was perfect, and that our relationship gave her joy and stability. She said she had what people dream of – but she wasn't sure if monogamy was natural to her anymore. She wants to see other people.

When we were breaking up, we kissed and cried together and she said she loved me. I told her I thought she was making a mistake and that I still believe in our love, and she said: "Good." She said there wasn't anyone else, but I'm not sure. Now it's been almost two months and we never talk. She moved out, taking a notebook we wrote notes to each other in and some pictures of me. She said she wanted space so I have not reached out to her at all. I just wonder what to do now.

Should I just live my life and work on myself and maybe one day she'll reach out? Or maybe she won't. For some reason, I still have hope for us. I just wonder what she's thinking. I know I'm not blameless in this and there are things I could have done better.

– Wondering

It doesn't sound like this breakup is about blame or anyone having to do better. It's about two people wanting very different things. Mostly, it's about timing.

Your ex wanted to be single and to experience a life without commitment or monogamy. Meanwhile, you were confident that marrying her was part of your plan. Those differences are what ended the relationship. There's no self-improvement you could have done to keep her around.

I understand why you're hoping for her return, but you need to understand you'll never go back to what you had. If you ever reunite (and please, for now, assume you won't), it'll be an entirely new relationship. You won't be able pick up where you left off because your experiences as single people will have changed you. It's possible that if you find each other again, you might not click at all.

You say you want to know what she's thinking, but I'm sure you can guess. Part of her misses you and the joy and stability you brought to her life. The rest of her is excited about being on her own and having new experiences. That's her priority.

And that's what you need to be thinking about, too. How can you build a single life that makes you happy? Instead of focusing on your ex, think about that.

– Meredith

Readers? Can you help the letter writer start moving on?