I have been seeing someone, let's call him Pete, for almost a year. We met last spring when I was doing an internship in Boston and he was finishing up his first year of grad school. We were very happy for a while, all the wonderful rushes of first love, etc.
And then the summer ended. I had to move a few hours away for the fall to finish up my last semester of school. The place where I had interned offered me a job upon graduation, so Pete and I decided to do long-distance, just for a couple months, since I'd be back so soon.
Halfway through the fall, I started noticing that he was being really distant. The next time I came up to see him, I told him how much it was hurting me when he was distant like that, and he confessed to me that he had been suffering from depression for a while. He told me he was starting therapy and starting going on medication, and things seemed to be getting better. I even suggested -- and we did -- spend Christmas with his family.
The new year started and I moved back to Boston, but things were different. He only wanted to see me when he didn't have anything pressing for school -- so it meant only on weekends or, if during the work week, only me coming over to sleep at night.
I wrote a letter to him, full of "I statements," supportive comments, statements of love, and things that I felt that we, as a couple, need to work on to have a more fulfilling relationship.
He started crying. I mean, hysterically. He told me he loves me, so much, and that he doesn't want to lose me. That he had to break up with his last girlfriend when he moved to go to grad school and that he didn't want to hurt me like that. He said that he just couldn't do it, that he feels like he can't give me what I want, what I need.
Pete is a man who is very introverted, needs a lot of alone time. I thought about it and all the times we were physically together until this year, he was not in school. Except this fall, but we weren't even in the same city. I think he just doesn't know how to deal with stress - and that right now our relationship is the only thing he has that he has control over.
I just don't know how to feel. He wrote me the sweetest card for Valentine's Day, it was a freaking sonnet! Like, Shakespearean sonnet! How does someone write their girlfriend a romantic, beautiful sonnet on Monday and rip their heart out on Thursday?!
Last week, it had been two weeks since I heard from him. So I texted him, asking if he was OK, and he said that he misses me, misses us, and that he's sorry. I texted back, telling him I was sorry too, but above all else I want him to be happy, and if that means that we're not together then so be it. It'll hurt for a while, but so be it. He didn't respond that night but texted me yesterday that he’s incapable of a serious relationship right now.
I haven't responded yet. I don't know if I even should -- and what to say if I did. I'm not even sure I'd want to be in a relationship with him again. But part of me wishes we could just go back to the way things were between us and pretend that this whole incident never happened.
– Dealing with a Stressed, Depressed Shakespeare, Boston
A: The thing about Shakespeare is that he was super good at writing plays and whatnot, but he was a pain to date. At least that's what I learned from "Shakespeare in Love."
You're telling me that part of you want things to go back to the way they were. But things weren't great for very long. You were having problems months and months ago. And even when things got better, you were still a long-distance girlfriend. You put it best -- when he's in school, he's just not very good at being good to someone else.
And that's your answer. He can write you a sonnet on Monday and break your heart on Thursday because he's selfish and bad at multi-tasking. Yes, he's depressed, but he's not asking you for your support. He's not asking you to stick around.
It's time to take Shakespeare's advice and "examine other beauties." Because even though this is a big loss, there are others out there.
Readers? Is this guy going to show up again when he has a break from school? Is there something here to save? Should she send him another note? Discuss.
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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.