‘Did I make a major mistake?’

Dear Meredith,

I recently broke up with my ex. I am in my late 20s and she is in her late 30s. We had a great relationship at first. We met through swiping about two years ago. She was still living with her cheating ex-husband at the time, and to this day is still not divorced. She moved out in with some friends some months into our relationship, and that's when it really took off. We would spend almost every night together, enjoyed each other's company, and did a lot of fun things.

But in recent months I began noticing that there was no compassion or empathy with her. We would hang out but she would constantly be on her phone. She saw the world through her phone more than her eyes. She then started going on five-hour happy hours (sometimes longer) with a friend, which did not bother me – but there was no communication. I would wonder for hours where she was. When I would see her, she wouldn't give me a hug or kiss – just a "whats up?" and that was that. I fell in love with her because she was free-spirited and fun. But she would talk about trying new dating sites and all the crazy sex she had in her past, and she would mention that when she flies home to where she's from, she wanted to go on Tinder to "check it out."

And not three days after breaking up, my friend saw her on a different dating app and it tore me to pieces. Because of these small things that built up, I decided to end it, but now I'm having deep regrets and can't understand why. We were compatible, but she no longer met any of my emotional needs. Yet I question my decision. What do I do? I know we won't get back together because she didn't care that I ended it. But ... did I make a major mistake by overreacting?

– Broken Up


I don't see any evidence of an overreaction here. You dated a woman who was still married. She brought joy to your life, but then that stopped. She wanted to experience the world without having to consider your feelings. That's when her investment in the relationship changed.

In response, you did the right thing. You broke up with her because you knew you wouldn't be able to make each other happy. You paid attention to your feelings, thought it all through, and made a decision. Good for you.

I know it doesn't feel great, but ... breakups are sad.  You can't get around that.

Second-guessing is also part of the breakup experience. It makes perfect sense that you're wondering whether you could have done more (or less) to save the relationship. What if you had waited until she got all of this out of her system? What if she finalized her divorce and was more interested in being present with a partner? These are good questions, but they work the other way, too. What if you had stayed with her and experienced even more misery? What if you'd waited for change and it never happened?

You made the best decision based on the evidence in front of you. Your what-if questions are really just wishes.

Your best bet now is to tell your friends that you'd rather not hear about her. Let them know you're setting boundaries so you can move on. You don't have to track her path.

– Meredith

Readers? Any need to second-guess?