I feel bad about breaking up with her

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I don't know why I expected to feel better after breaking up with my girlfriend. I suppose I thought I would know that I made the right decision, but I sit here feeling unsure and worried.

It had been hard for a while, and we were having too may of those irritated moments that made us realize we needed a break. She would regularly mention things that bothered her – that I was from a family with more money than hers (didn't even bother me). She thought I cared about her financial situation (I have a self-supporting career and don't expect anyone to support me). She also told me weeks before that I made her feel insecure sometimes, and I was upset with this because I definitely didn't want to make anyone feel that way. We weren't even comfortable with each other in the same space anymore. That cant be right, right?

My romantic feelings slowly changed, and each time I saw her it was more like seeing a friend. When I behaved like we were just friends, it made each interaction easier, but it also made it easier to wish I never had romantic pressure with her.

I did tell her this when we broke up. I had to explain what I felt, and maybe I shouldn't have because it seemed to make her think that I found her hard to love, and I feel so bad about that. It's not true; I do still care for her.

Since the breakup, we have been in contact. I asked if she is able to maintain a friendship, and she said yes, but I don't think it's something she'll be able to do. I'd be stopping her from moving on, right? I want to be the good person and make the process as easy as possible, but it’s hard when she is so determined to stay in contact. Why is it that you miss someone after a breakup when it was your idea? I guess it's the feeling of not being close to them anymore ... but how could you miss being close if you felt uncomfortable with them?

I feel confused, and I'm not sure I've done the right thing. I just know that I wasn't in love with her anymore, and our relationship made us both insecure after months of trying. Is it wrong to maintain contact? Am I hurting her even though she is asking for my friendship so early on after breaking up?

– Feeling bad

First, you did the right thing. I know you feel terrible about hurting her, but that doesn't mean you should be together. You have us plenty of evidence that the relationship wasn't working. Feel free to re-read your own case.

Sometimes breaker-uppers assume they're going to be Teflon when it comes to feelings. They believe they'll be capable of friendship with an ex because that's probably what they wanted anyway. They say they'll do whatever they can to make it easier for the broken-hearted party, even if it comes at their own expense.

But breaker-uppers have feelings, too. You need to take a break from her, not just for her, but for yourself. You did have romantic feelings for her, and she was an important anchor in your life. That means you need space to reset. Please tell her that as much as you hope to have a friendship with her, you need some time to think, find a new routine, and figure out what's best for you.

You can add that you also believe she’d benefit from having time on her own to seek out more community. Tell her what you told us – that you don't want to be in her way. Just make it clear this is mostly about your own needs.

It makes perfect sense that you're missing the closeness and the routine, even if it wasn’t great. You cared about her; breakups are rarely a breeze.

You're not ready to be friends. Don’t feel selfish about that.

– Meredith

Readers? Can you explain all of this confusion after a breakup?