Odds of us getting back together?

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Dear Meredith,

About a month ago, my boyfriend of two years broke up with me. We go to the same small religious college, and our relationship was founded very strongly on our morals and values. However, I had some unresolved issues that I thought were solved, and it took about a year and a half for them to come out. I started blaming myself when my boyfriend or friends wouldn't want to hang out for normal reasons – like they were just tired. For about six months the behavior got progressively more common and more intense, and my boyfriend was around for a lot of it because I trust him as a source to process. However, the validation he gave me didn't seem to be solving the problem, and he started to share with me that he "didn't feel like enough.” I didn't know what that meant at the time; now I do.

When he finally told me the pattern I was in – that I was pushing him away, to the point where he didn't know if he could still be in a relationship – I instantly snapped out of the funk. I started going to therapy and have worked on thought reversal strategies. But he said he couldn't see the same happy future we talked about right now because of everything that had been happening. During the same six months, my boyfriend and I had talked a lot about our future and getting married. He added an extra year of undergrad so that our timelines matched up in order for us to move to grad school for him together. We had gone and looked at engagement rings four months before the breakup, and literally weeks before breaking up with me he had told me, out of the blue, that he had saved up $2,000 for a ring.

I still believe he is the one for me and I both see and have been told that he is not dealing with the hurt from our relationship. After our breakup, I found a letter he had written me where he was starting to question his career and academics, but I hadn't thought much of it until now because I think he is going through a quarter-life crisis. He also told me that he wants to know if someone else could make him happier; I know he has started talking to another girl, but when asked about her, he tells people they are friends. When he was breaking up with me I asked him if I could ask him back out on a date – to see each other – and he said, "yes just don't do it too soon." I guess my question is, do you think we have a chance of getting back together?

– Hoping


"Do you think we have a chance of getting back together?"

Maybe. Sure.

I think that in the world where that happens – for the right reasons – you leave him alone and enjoy the fruits of your work in therapy. You get to a place where someone being too busy to spend time with you doesn't feel like rejection. You live your best life feeling happy in your community and on your own. Meanwhile, he deals with his own insecurities. Maybe he dates (sorry). He thinks about his career and where he might live, without having to plan for two. Then, after he works through it, he realizes he misses his partner. He returns and both are you are better together because you took the time away.

That's just one version of this story, though. In another – one that is also wonderful – you both get comfortable with your newfound independence and realize that while you were fundamentally important to each other's growth as humans, you can use all of the lessons you taught each other to be great partners to others. You realize, over time, that someone can be a meaningful part of your history without being part of your future.

I can write out a zillion choose-your-own adventure paths for this story, but the point is that it's too early to play any of them out. It's frustrating, but you have to take this day by day, grieving the breakup, finding excitement in the unknown ... it takes work. And yeah, it's sad.

Continue to build your life and try to answer the smallest questions, one at a time. Stop asking about him and his motives, and give yourself the chance to think about your own.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts?