Dealing with a long-distance breakup

New podcast episode up today about a couple that "just knows" ... and then knows something else.

Here I am in Finland, and I have just been dumped (or not) via FaceTime after an eight-year relationship and 10 years of knowing him. He's in the US. I just started a nine-month research program abroad. We had a fight prior to my leaving in this summer. It was silly. We had planned to spend a day together – mind you, we were long-distance for seven of the eight years, but we clicked on all levels – so when he called to see if he could use some of the evening to play soccer, I said no, and that triggered a cascade of emotions and we broke up (temporarily) by text.

The back story is that the stress had been piling up with school, work, loss of a parent, etc. That and doing long-distance. Flying to visit every few months for holidays ... it was a lot. After that breakup, he ghosted me for two weeks. I did not think I'd ever hear from him again, but then he reached out and we worked through it. I met him in person twice before leaving for Finland. These meetings were fantastic. We were on the same page and the romantic times we had were stellar. The only thing: his friends and family did not know we were talking again. They thought he had cut me off and moved on.

I left for Finland. We had planned to really try again when I was back from my nine months abroad. This time was meant to work on ourselves. We kept in contact via email, FaceTime, and messaging. Still, no one in his life knew this. Regardless, things seemed to be going OK. He enjoyed my emails and I enjoyed the time I could talk to him. Then, two months into being abroad, he ghosted me for a week. Then he messaged saying we needed to talk. I called and he opened by saying he did not see a future with me. I was taken aback. What changed? We spoke for hours. I was upset. I had been focusing on myself and making changes for the relationship. He acknowledged that. I asked if it was family, and he said partly. Then I told him that if we were moving on, I needed to disconnect. He said it was possible he was making a mistake. We both said I love you and I told him to sleep – it was nearly 5 a.m. back home – and he said we'd speak Tuesday. Tuesday came and I realize I was ghosted again.

Does space work? Does he deserve it? Is he ghosting me thinking that it will help me move on? I love him. We clicked on a level that I hadn't with others, but the silent treatment is really unhealthy and does not help communication.

– Single in Finland?


"We clicked on a level that I hadn't with others ..."

Yes, but the relationship was rooted in distance. You never knew what it was like to be with him all the time, for years. The commitment was leading to something, but it's hard to say what. In the end, the miles were too much. That became very clear.

I do think your maybe-ex-boyfriend is avoiding you because it's the easiest path right now. He might think it's better to fizzle out than have one big "it's over" phone call. (Because really, he's the one who'd have to initiate that.)

It's also possible that he's not 100 percent confident about what he wants. If he tells you he's gone for good, he has to be accountable for that decision. He'll have to second-guess and wonder, especially when you return from Finland.

The good news is, this can be up to you, too. You don't like the status quo, and he's not offering more at the moment. That means you can tell him that the connection needs to be cut, and that you don't want any more promises about phone calls that never come. If he's not in, he's out, and it's time to move on.

To be honest, I'm not sure you ever really got back together after that first breakup, at least not in the way that counts. I think he's just been processing all the sadness/confusion with you, and it's time he found a different audience.

– Meredith

Readers? Time for the letter writer to end it for real?