Q. Dear Meredith,
My boyfriend of two years and I broke up in January. We mutually agreed it was for the best. After a few emotional breakdowns in December, I realized I wasn’t my best self and that my ex was experiencing some emotional baggage he couldn’t explain. We both needed to work on ourselves. I am still in that process.
We had been living together for almost a year, and perhaps we could have been more thoughtful about jumping to that step. I had never lived on my own and although I paid my own bills, I was still dependent on my parents. That dependence rolled over to him, so my self-esteem and self-worth were subject to his actions and words. When it all stopped suddenly in December, it was a big shock.
There are a couple of factors that caused the breakup. We weren’t growing as a couple. We weren’t having the conversations couples should be having after two years of being together and one year of living under the same roof. I truly thought that because we never fought or argued, everything was great. Turns out there’s a lot more to making a relationship work than I had imagined.
On the day I finally got all my things from the apartment, we agreed to meet up after 60 days to catch up. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good idea. A month ago, I finally stopped crying about him every day. My love for him may never go away but I can live with that now. I want to see him, but I’m also afraid those strong feelings will resurface and I’ll have to start all over again.
— Spring is Coming
A. “ We agreed to meet up after 60 days to catch up.” Do you need to catch up on anything right now? It doesn’t sound like you do.
If you had a really good reason to see this ex — if you believed an in-person meeting would give you clarity or help with self-discovery — I’d say go for it. But at the moment, you don’t require any answers from him. You seem to understand what led to the breakup and what you have to do to feel better about yourself now.
Remember that you just stopped crying about him a month ago. You don’t have to make good on promises you made when you were in the middle of moving out.
You can practice your communication skills by explaining your needs. As in, “I know I said we should see each other at the end of 60 days, but I’m afraid of how it will make me feel. I don’t want a meet-up to undo the progress I’ve made. I hope you understand.”
You don’t have to keep to a schedule, at least not for him. So don’t.
How does the catch-up conversation even go? “Remember when we broke up? I was sad but relieved. Want to have sex for old times’ sake? No? Me neither.” --TESS
What good could possibly come of seeing him again? You’ve made great efforts in moving on; don’t take a step back, keep moving forward. MMNNEE
Don’t go back to him. You don’t have to yet. It took me a couple years before my ex and I could see each other and talk about what happened. Now we’re friends again because we realized maybe that’s all we ever should have been. MICHELLE--Get Season 2 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast now at loveletters.show or wherever you listen. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.