Q. About a month and a half ago, my boyfriend broke up with me. I’m 23 and he’s 21. I thought we were going to move in together after he graduated college. We always talked about getting married and having kids. To say I was obsessed with him would be an understatement; I was absolutely head over heels. I’d say our big problem was that I gave SO much to the relationship that he kind of stopped making the effort he always used to make, which would cause me to get angry and feel like a burden. When he broke up with me, he told me he didn’t want to be responsible for another person, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his senior year doing whatever he wanted, going to parties, and meeting new girls. He broke my heart. We exchanged stuff when he returned home for Thanksgiving and ended up sleeping together a few times. I know, I’m an idiot.
I still love him and he still loves me. I practically begged him to give it a chance again and he said he couldn’t decide if it was something he wanted or not. I know I deserve much better, especially after how great of a girlfriend I was to him. I just can’t get over him. I know it’s unrealistic to assume I’d already be over him, but I am just so sad all of the time. I keep wondering why he wouldn’t want to try again. Wouldn’t you? If you knew someone was willing to do anything to make it work? We talk here and there, but I know my best route is to cut off contact with him. I guess my question is: What do I do? How do I move on?
A. I’m so sorry. Breakups are terrible. They rip your heart out . . . and that is why we have so many great songs, books, and movies about them. It is a universally horrible thing to lose someone you love and know they’re still out there, choosing not to be around. You need to give yourself lots of time to recover.
I promise that it won’t be miserable every second of every day, and that it will feel better once you find a new routine that doesn’t involve him. Keep in mind that you just started rewriting the script. You were fantasizing about a life together and now you have to change that narrative.
You asked whether I’d try again if I knew someone was willing to do anything to make it work. The difficult answer is no — I would not commit to a romantic relationship simply because my partner offered to try even harder to keep it together. Effort isn’t always the best solution, and in your case, your willingness to do more wasn’t going to be the fix.
What I said about routine (finding a new one) is the most important thing after a breakup. Schedule yourself so you’re seeing more people. Make sure you have someone to call instead of him. Start to make new memories.
Also, do not speak to him, see him, or sleep with him during Christmas.
Or New Year’s Eve.
Don’t feel too bad that you slept with him after the breakup. It happens all the time and is a nice wrap-up.
I did the weepy “why am I not good enough” thing once. ONCE. And if I could take it back, I would.
Just because you put in the hours and the effort, you don’t automatically get a promotion.
You have presented your best self to him, or what you consider your best self, and he does not want it. You need to find someone who wants what you offer.
All those things that made you a great girlfriend? What if you put even a fraction of that energy into being a friend to yourself? Be kind, be supportive, and foster confidence in yourself so that you can heal from this breakup.
This^ is really great advice.
“. . . I know my best route is to cut off contact with him.” You answered your question before you asked it.