The Predicament of the Week from July 20, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I love your column and enjoy browsing your advice. Now I’m in need of some myself.
Boy of My Dreams (BOMD) dumped me last week. Here’s the history. We’ve been together 10 months. Happy, happy, on both sides. We did well at overcoming the inevitable relationship obstacles and enjoyed the time we had together. About two months ago, a betrayal of trust occurred…but it wasn’t what you might think. BOMD lied to me, and I caught him at it. It was a whopper, but really, no serious harm occurred, except to the trust between us. I took some time away for a few days and reevaluated. I decided the relationship was worth it to me. What I didn’t do was forgive him, address why this betrayal occurred, and move on. Another month later, I was still holding this incident against him. BOMD’s frustration with this state of affairs caused him to break up with me. I panicked, realized I hadn’t done my part to get on with things, and convinced him to give it another chance. Which we both wholeheartedly did. So over the last month of the relationship, I did forgive him, I did think about why it happened, and made great efforts to improve our relationship. It worked like a charm. It was easy. We were happy and enjoying each other’s company, and life was good. BOMD admits he was as happy in our relationship as I was.
Here’s the clinker. After a fun evening out with friends, I coyly asked BOMD to come stay at my house…and kind of had to talk him into it. The next morning, I said “You know, it isn’t the end of the world, but my feelings were a little hurt that you wouldn’t want to end such a fun evening with me. But this relationship isn’t a prison — if you need to be away then I’m glad you were honest about it.” Then it all came out.
BOMD broke up with me. The main thing he had to say was that he’s happy 95% of the way, but he doesn’t see that last 5%. He knows I want to work towards a committed relationship eventually, and he doesn’t think he wants that with me, if with anyone ever. He feels he owes it to me to let me go. He says he loves me. Our sex life is beyond the beyond. We enjoy the same things. Everything was peachy. But he just isn’t sure.
Breakup Girl, I love this guy. I know it hurt him to even say these things to me. He’s very sweet, sensitive, and caring. We’re not talking about some guy jerking me around here. I’m nobody’s doormat. And I love him enough to to understand that if he truly doesn’t love me “that way” then I do need to let him go, for both our sakes. But right now, I still want to hang on.
When I ask him what’s missing, he says sometimes he’s just not comfortable. It isn’t me, at all. He loves me. He just doesn’t know what the future holds and doesn’t want to hold me back. All I can think is: garden-variety-committment-phobic with a touch of just-about-30-and-doing-huge-self-assessment. And I’m part of the fallout. I understand he needs to think about his life and possibly make a change, but I think this may be the wrong one. He’s giving up a lot. He admits he is, and he admits he’s scared about it.
You might want to know that I’ve never demanded a long-term committment of him. He knows I want that EVENTUALLY though, so he feels like he needs to be honest and tell me he’s not heading in that direction, or at least not with me.
I feel like — sheesh, we’ve got 95% going here. We could actually hit that rare true love thing. IT’s what we both want. It’s only been 10 months. We’ve done so well together, he admits it. I want to give things another try.
So here is where I’m at: I’m giving him all the space he needs. I’m waiting him to call and come to me…which he is doing. I’m treating him with kindness, but not stepping over the boundaries (i.e. not trying to trap him with great sex) that he needs right now. I’m being totally honest with him — telling him I want him to think about this decision and that the door to our relationship is still open as far as I’m concerned. I’m encouraging him to talk to his friends, his mom (who he has a great relationship with) whoever he needs to get some perspective. He wants to do all this, and he wants to talk to me about our relationship and what’s been bothering him.
My feelings for him are so strong, I love him so much, that I have to hold out hope right now, and I have to try. At the same time, I won’t be able to face total rejection forever. He won’t string me along. If it’s not working, I’ll know it. A few weeks of time will tell.
So my questions to you are: am I behaving desperately here? Ought I just swallow this bitter pill and consult your website for advice on how to get on with my life? (I’m definitely already going through the motions; what with the movies rented, books devoured, and stencilling project I’ve started in the hallway.) And if I’m not crazy and you think true love might still be in the cards for BOMD and I, how do I best proceed? Thanks ever so much.
Desperately? HARDLY. Stencilling? Go, girl.
Here’s my only cautionary note. Everyone who has EVER been in BOYD’s position — of loving someone dearly, but not being able, for whatever il/elle ne sait quoi reason, to go the extra 5% — is sitting here right now thinking, “Oh, my God, that’s exactly how I felt, exactly what I said when I was mixed up … yet, at the same time, actually sure I was doing what I needed to do.” His sounds like a totally textbook case of “close, but no cigar.” He might be back, but I wouldn’t bank on it. Mainly because banking on it won’t bring him back. Which you already knew. (Unless you didn’t happen to mention that you’re stenciling his initials.) Still, REGARDLESS of whether true love might still be in the cards, you are making all the right moves on the right side of town. Which is why you go to be the P of the W. So while you’re at it — if it makes you feel any better — stencil your bad self onto some oaktag, cause you are now Breakup Girl’s poster child for How To Deal. Stay strong.