I was with her through the worst of it

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My girlfriend of more than four years left me. I believe I was a pretty good boyfriend. She lost her house and I let her move in with me (and my parents). I was with her before that, when she was staying at a mission. She had a job but no car and I gave her rides to and from work for two months. I didn't mind because I got to spend time with her.

So she had the job for about about five months, and, due to various circumstances, got fired. Then she moved away to care for her mother who had cancer – until her mother passed away. For whatever reason she couldn't continue to live in that house, so that's when I asked her to move in.

I'm not perfect, and we had a few arguments I do have a temper, but no name-calling or physical abuse at all. None of our disagreements lasted over half a day. But she moved out after 10 months. She just took off. But I want her back.

What do you think? If I can convince her, is this a good idea?

– Get her back

I think she has to put herself first, whatever that means for her. She needs a stable situation that doesn't rest on one person's involvement. She probably has a lot of work to do – to grieve her losses, figure out her job situation, and find a way to feel safe in the world.

I don't know what that entails. Maybe she doesn't either. All I can say is that if the living situation wasn’t working out for her, this whole setup had to change. I wish the two of you had spoken more about the terms of her leaving and what it meant, but fill in the blanks with this answer: "she’s gone."

Because she is, in fact, gone, and now you need to grieve and contextualize the time you spent together. Focus on yourself and your place in your own home. She's got a lot going on, but what about you? You told us nothing about your life – your goals and interests – outside of her. How can you use this time to make your own world a better place? It sounds like you've given her a lot of the space in your brain for many years, and for understandable reasons. There is a relief that comes with giving that time back to yourself, once you get used to it.

Make some plans on your own and see how it feels. For now, getting her back is not on the agenda.

– Meredith

Readers? What is on the agenda?