Should I see him over Thanksgiving?

Hi Meredith,

I started to have feelings for a friend about a year ago, and we started spending time together romantically this past summer. We had a relationship with no label because he was moving to France in the fall to study abroad for a few years. Even though this seems like a valid reason to keep things casual, I also felt that he had never really been one to commit. We spent four months together doing what every exclusive couple would do. I suspected he was developing real feelings for me.

A couple of weeks before he was supposed to leave, he started ignoring me. He would take days and eventually a whole week to answer my texts. My friends told me it was probably because he was trying to make the goodbye easier. We hung out the day before he left, and it went nothing like I was expecting. Conversation had always flowed very easily, but this time it didn't. It was extremely awkward and it felt like we both had things to say but didn't want to. We ended up kissing and hugging, and when I pulled back to look at him, he had tears in his eyes and said he had to leave. He told me that we would see each other when he comes back in eight months. We still keep in touch because we were close friends before all of this happened. It's been two months since he left and I can't get over him. I think about him all the time and I'm starting to think that I love him. He's mostly distant, but my friends say it's because he's trying to get over me. I think it's because he's moved on completely. The hardest part about getting over him is that our goodbye didn't feel like the end because we kissed.

He told me a few days ago that he's coming back for Thanksgiving and I don't know what to do. He expressed that he would want to hang out with me but I guess I'm just afraid that it will make my heart hurt all over again. A part of me wants to tell him that I still have feelings for him and maybe rekindle what we had this summer, but I know that we could never be together so what's the point? I also suspect he's been with other women, which is completely fine, but I don't want to be the girl he has waiting for him back home. So I guess I have three questions: 1. How do I get over a breakup that wasn't even a breakup because we weren't dating? 2. How do I get over a goodbye that wasn't definite? 3. Should I see him when he comes home? If so, do I tell him that I still have feelings for him?

– Stuck

"How do I get over a breakup that wasn’t even a breakup because we weren't dating?"

Well, it sounds like you were dating. You didn't use a label, but you did have a romantic relationship. That's why you had to break up.

"How do I get over a goodbye that wasn't definite?"

I mean, it was definite, right? I know the kiss was confusing, but a lot of people make out when they say goodbye. Sometimes there's a lot of tenderness involved in a breakup, especially when an ending is caused by practical issues like distance.

"Should I see him when he comes home?"

My thought is that you should. First, I think that if you don't see him, you'll spend your own holiday thinking about what you're missing. Second, it might help to see him as he is now, just to remember what was real and what wasn’t. Sometimes we romanticize a person or a relationship, and it sounds like you could use a real point of reference. Third, you can use the hangout time to ask him where you stand with him. Yes, he told you it's over, but you can always ask questions about how it's going and what he's thinking. He might not have anything new to say, but it's OK to ask for clarity if you're confused.

You write that your friends "say he's distant because he's trying to get over me, but I think it's because he's moved on completely." My guess is that it's somewhere in the middle. This man can move on from the relationship but still be sad about what he lost. That can happen for you, too, by the way. You can miss him but still have fun doing other things. You can wonder about what might happen in six months but also go out with friends, pursue your own interests, and maybe have a date or two (or three). That kind of multi-tasking should be your goal.

– Meredith

Readers? Thanksgiving visit?