She broke up with me twice

Are you having a feeling about being alone ... or with someone? Or somewhere in the middle?

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I'm 30 years old and I've been single for the last 13 months. Previously, I was in a great relationship with a girl who we can call Sarah. Sarah and I dated for a little over a year and we had, in a lot of ways, a great relationship. We had a ton in common, enjoyed a lot of the same activities (hiking, going out dancing, climbing etc.), got along with each other's friends, had great sex, and communicated well with each other. The biggest challenge in our relationship, from my perspective anyway, was that I always felt like she was holding back, or keeping me at arm's length emotionally. We didn't say "I love you" until 12 months in, and at six months she actually broke up with me. She regretted her decision, and two days later wanted to get back together with me and I agreed.

She blamed a lot of her emotional issues on a very difficult relationship with her parents who are divorced. They had a rocky marriage and divorced while she was in high school and I know the entire experience has impacted her in ways that I cannot fully understand. Her dad left her mom for his office secretary and the two of them do not communicate. Our relationship continued and we met each other's families and strengthened the connection. Then, a little over a year into the relationship, she broke up with me again. She again regretted her decision two days later, but this time I wasn't willing to take her back. It hurt me deeply but I didn't want to re-enter a relationship with someone who had now broken up with me twice (fool me once, right?)

Over the next few weeks she put in a lot of effort to get me back and started seeing a therapist but I couldn't feel the same way about her again, and was scared to go back to her and risk getting hurt again. Now over a year has passed and I think about her regularly and I miss our relationship. Going back to an ex is generally viewed as a categorically bad decision but am I crazy if I reach back out to her? Could things possibly be different or would I just setting myself up for failure?

- Confused

Yes, you'd risk getting hurt again. You'd also risk hurting her.

Bu everything's a risk. Not reaching out means you'd risk never knowing her again.

If you want to know how it would feel to talk to her, what she's doing now, and if she'd even be willing to engage, sure, reach out. Just know that it might not be a "we're getting back together" call. All you can say is that you think about her a lot, even a year after your breakup. You ended the relationship because you didn't want the ups and downs, but in all other ways, you wanted her.

Maybe her response will show you that she's still a person who would avoid a long-term commitment. Or perhaps she'll talk about how she's grown.

I’m all for reaching out to get information, especially if you've thought about it and it's not some impulsive move because you were lonely one night. But start small. Stick to an "I’ve been thinking abut you and would love to talk" kind of statement. Don't make any requests or plans until you get past that first step. If this romance starts up again, you can see how you feel – and whether your trust grows.

If she says no to all of this, that's a fine answer too. It's a response that can help you move on if this isn't going to happen.

– Meredith

Readers? Reach out?