I’m still thinking about our early breakup

People close to Providence: Join me at Books on the Square tomorrow. This visit is very important to me, as I'll be with my friend Jenn, and also ... I used to live in Providence and had a lot of relationship misery there, and one time while fighting with someone at a restaurant, I saw that the Goo Goo Dolls were eating at the next table and maybe listening. We can talk about that.

Also, this letter is a good reminder: Seeking podcast stories. You do not have to live in or around Boston to participate. Find Season 1 here.

Hi Meredith,

I recently fell through a rabbit hole listening to your podcast and am completely obsessed. I just finished the episode about getting together after breaking up, and it really hit home. About two years ago I started a head-over-heels relationship with my boyfriend. We were so happy and our relationship was very intense (we moved in together after two weeks). But around the six-month mark he started freaking out about how he was young and we were moving too fast, and we ended up breaking up for three days. I was miserable, crying all the time, couldn't leave bed, the works. We talked it out and decided to get back together, and have been together since (about a year and 3 months). Now we live together (in a much better apartment), have two cats, and are still deeply in love. I have never been so happy and comfortable with someone. However, sometimes when I'm self-loathing, or we get into an argument, I can’t help but feel the feelings I did when we broke up. It's as if I'm not over it. How do you move on from a breakup when you're still in the relationship?

– Still thinking about it


First, I wouldn't call it a breakup. It lasted three days, which is more of a pause. He needed a moment to take a breath because you were moving so quickly. It was a shock at the time – it deflated all of these perfect feelings you had about the relationship – but it was necessary. He was able to stop, look around, and return in a better state of mind.

If you find yourself panicking about that pause, please think about this: Many people in long relationships pretend that everything is OK when it's not. Some go through the motions, even when they have massive doubts. Your boyfriend told you how he was feeling, which made it possible to continue the relationship. You want this partnership to work, which means you have to be ready for unpleasant honesty. Better that than fake smiles that lead to a real breakup.

When you argue with your boyfriend (and then make up), be sure to listen. Learn from the conflicts and let them improve what you have. When you're in the mood for self-loathing, do something else – like play with your cats.

If you get trapped on a hamster wheel thinking about those three awful days, remember that the experience helped the two of you get to where you are now. That's what matters, right?

– Meredith

Readers? How can the LW stop stressing about those three awful days?