Q: Hi Meredith,
My relationship of close to two years recently came to an end. In the beginning things were perfect between "Joe" and I. We had great chemistry, shared many interests, and genuinely loved spending time with each other.
However, the last several months of our relationship were not that great. I was unhappy at work and having problems with my roommate. I took a lot of my frustrations out on Joe. I became dependent on him because I feared losing him, and I spent little time with my friends. I picked fights with Joe for no reason, or simply because I was unhappy with my job. Slowly, he began to withdraw. He finally had enough and broke up with me.
Since our breakup I changed companies and I'm now living on my own. My relationship with my former roommate is perfect and I'm no longer depending on one person for a social life. I'm going out again, meeting up with old friends, and really enjoying my new freedom.
The only thing that's missing is Joe. I still love him and I think about him constantly. The two of us said that our relationship was the most meaningful one that either of us had ever had. I pictured myself marrying him and having children with him one day. If I could change the last months of our relationship, I would in a heartbeat.
However, a week after we officially broke up, Joe started dating someone else. The new girl, "Jane," is from the same town as him. They met through friends and are now in an exclusive relationship.
I'm devastated. It's been a little over three months since we broke up, and I agree the two of us need to move on, but how can he move on so quickly? When we broke up he told me that he was not a relationship guy, that he didn't know what he wanted. But now he is practically in another relationship with someone else.
When will I be able to move on? I lost a wonderful guy because of my inability to handle my own drama, and I also lost my sense of pride. I gave everything to him and I was there for him through thick and thin. I thought about him constantly, bought him things he needed, cooked him dinners, helped him with work. How can I be replaced so quickly? Was I really that bad? Is this a rebound, or do I just have to suck it up and deal with the fact that I lost him and things will never go back to the way they were?
– Upset and Not Ready to Move On, Boston
A: How can he move on so quickly, UANRTMO? He didn't. He moved on over a period of months. Every time you fought about something that had nothing to do with him, he took a step away. Every time you seemed dependent and unwilling to see friends, he took another step. For him, this is a long time coming.
But can I point out a few things? Yes, you loved him. But you used him as a punching bag knowing full well that he might leave. A part of me believes that you not-so-subconsciously instigated this break-up -- that by misbehaving with Joe you were really forcing yourself to make positive changes on your own terms.
You did things to put your relationship at risk. And he is dating someone else -- which means he's willing to risk losing the best version of you. That's where you are. You're both responsible, and despite missing him, I'm not sure you'd want it any other way right now.
My advice is pretty basic -- to learn from your experience and go out and date. He knows you want him back, right? Now all you can do is live. And remember what you told us -- that you're a cool, independent person who knows how to cope with difficult situations. Maybe this new, better version of yourself wouldn't put up with the real Joe. Go find some alternatives.
Readers? Am I right to say that she did this on purpose? Would he have left anyway? Is she to blame for his departure? How did he move on so fast? Did he? Any chance for reconciliation? Talk.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.