He can’t get over his ex – and he tells me about it

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Dear Meredith,

I am in a long-distance relationship with a guy, and a few months ago we decided to finally take the step and move together. Because I always wanted to live in another country and he really likes his hometown, we agreed on me moving to him, and we were both pretty excited about our future together. Although I'm really happy, I am also very afraid of this step. It's a big thing to leave everything behind and just start all over, and to be honest, I would wish for a bit more security from him. At the moment he is finishing his PhD and is really stressed by it, so he basically spends 24/7 at the university writing his thesis. Because I am in my home country trying to organize everything, our daily contact is basically reduced to texts that say “hey" and a stressed 10-minute phone call, which doesn't leave much room for quality time.

On top of that, he started to be haunted by the memory of his ex-girlfriend. To provide some background: She broke up with him a year before we met, but it wasn't until last December that I realized that he still wasn't over her. He started being absent and told me he was thinking about her, and although I think it's nice that he felt secure enough to talk about it with me, his behavior really hurt me. In the end, he said he loved me.

Since then, it got better, but a few weeks ago he started talking about her again. He recently told me that he reached out to her two weeks ago because he thinks it could help him to get over her if he could talk to her about their breakup. She declined his offer to meet and I can feel how much it hurts him. He just can’t get over her, and this is affecting our relationship. I know that he is under a lot of pressure right now. I get that he is stressed and hurt, and I really wish I could help him, but at the same time feel that his behavior is unfair. I'm about to leave my country for him and he is not giving me the feeling of being loved. Of course I already tried to talk about it with him, but he always shuts it down because it "stresses him even more." Am I asking for too much? I just feel so insecure right now and I don't know what to do. The situation is hard for both of us, and I'm afraid that I will move there and he will continue being that absent. Should I just wait and hope that he will get over her eventually? Or is this the point where I should break up?

– Moving or moving on?


" ... although I think it's nice that he felt secure enough to talk about it with me, his behavior really hurt me."

I suppose it's nice that he's been honest, but I'm not sure he should tell you everything. He could confide in other friends about his up-and-down feelings for his ex. It's not fair to ask you to support him through this. Perhaps you could set some boundaries with him about what you want to know, and what you'd like him to take elsewhere.

The timing of these more recent problems could be about the move or his academic obligations. Maybe he's trained himself to think about his ex whenever everything else in his life seems out of his control. It's difficult to interpret these feelings when you're not looking at your boyfriend in person. You might get more clarity if you're both in the same room.

If you were only moving for him – if you were leaving a life you loved for an experience you weren’t even sure you wanted – I might tell you to cancel the whole thing, because this relationship doesn't sound very solid. But your first few sentences suggest that you might want to relocate anyway, and that going to his country could be the kind of experience and change you've been looking for.

It's possible you'll go to this new place and wind up single. Would that work for you? That's what you have to decide.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW move and then make decisions?