How long will he need?

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He left his wife and his unhappy marriage, and he started dating me a couple months later. We fell head-over-heels in love with each other. We've lived together for a year and enjoyed a wonderful, happy, drama-free relationship. I've supported him nonstop through this divorce process. We reached the final hurdle of the divorce becoming final. The sudden transition and financial/emotional burden (due to not seeing his kids as often, selling the house, drama and hatred from the ex, etc.) took a huge toll on his mental health. He left me. He told me he needed space, needed time to think, and that he was going to stay with his parents until he is ready to find an apartment of his own.

I'm beyond devastated and heartbroken. This was no ordinary love; this is the man I know I belong with. I felt it in my soul, that he is God's match for me. I'm shattered. He later told me that he feels in his heart that his decision was irrational. He asked me to just give him time to think. I professed my undying love for him. I told him I'd give him all the space he needs and that I would wait for him until he tells me not to. That was the end of our conversation. I have no idea how long he will need, what he will end up wanting, and whether I'm making the right decision to wait for him. Am I torturing myself? Am I setting myself up for another devastating heartbreak? I just don't know what to do.

– Heartbroken

I can understand why he needed some space and time. A lot happened, and even though the year was "drama fee" for you, he had plenty to think about – and so much change to consider.

I wish I could tell you how long to wait. I'll only say that for practical reasons, you should make decisions that are best for you alone, as opposed to both of you, as partners. Right now, it is just you. That means you need to live in a place you can afford, surround yourself with other companions (friends? family?), continue to build a life, and seek out whatever help you need, even counseling. If he wants to come back, he can work around that.

Please know this: it's dangerous to decide that any one person is a forever soulmate – the only one ... that a divine power wants you together. Why? Because there are many good people in the world, and if one isn't treating you right – or decides to leave – there are more opportunities for love. Your happiness isn't tied to one person. Honestly, that's so much pressure on any two people to make it work. You feel undying love, and I get that. But over time, if he can't communicate his needs and a timeline, you'll have to do what's best for your own life. That's what’s best for your soul.

– Meredith

Readers? How long should the LW wait?