Q: "Gus" and I were together for four years and broke up at the beginning of this year. I still love him, haven't felt a connection like that with anyone else, but we had plenty of ups and downs over the course of the relationship. The last couple of months prior to the breakup were worse than usual with more fighting and bickering. This was partly due to stress from my work in school and the fact that I felt like he didn't include me very often in his social plans. Of course, I acknowledge I was to blame, as well. We did not live together. He's 30, I'm 29. We both had plans for marriage and kids.
There was a moment of infidelity on my part, which was the reason for the breakup. I never tried to justify it, but I was truly ashamed and wanted to work on things. I ultimately respected his wishes and we parted ways. I tried my best to move on, finally going on a few dates, surrounding myself with a few close friends, but I had a hard time getting over him, still missing him very much. About two months after breaking up, he contacted me (via email) stating that he was seeing someone but that he continued to think about us. We agreed to meet up for coffee and we were able to laugh together and talk about the good times. We didn't discuss the elephants in the room -- infidelity or his girlfriend -- but from then on we texted constantly, phoned a few times, and would make occasional plans to get together for dinner/movies. Most recently we became physical, with him initiating the first move.
He has said he doesn't want to be pressured into a decision about me because he doesn't want to get back into a situation where we would be unhappy again. This whole time I never pressured him. But I finally made it clear that for everyone involved, he needs to make up his mind as I can't continue to put my life on hold while he decides what he wants. It most certainly isn't fair to her. He indicated to me that he had some commitments with her he felt he had to honor but remained vague about the details and would not give me a specific time frame.
At this point, I feel like he's just appeasing me by saying he needs more time and I wonder whether he has any intention of ending things with her. Do I have the right to insist that he immediately break it off with her if he's serious about us? Should I cease communication altogether until his decision is made? Should I just walk away even though deep down I want us to be together?
– Tired of Waiting, Boston
A: Do I have the right to insist that he immediately break it off with her if he's serious about us? Yes.
Should I cease communication altogether until his decision is made? Definitely.
Should I just walk away even though deep down I want us to be together? Probably.
This whole thing is a mess. I mean, let's say he breaks up with her and you guys become a couple again. Would you be able to trust him? Would he be able to trust you? He seems pretty comfortable living a lie right now. Would you be able to feel safe in a relationship with him?
My advice is to really think about why you want him back. Yes, texts and lunches are fun, but if you become a couple again, the elephants in the room will return. And this time, they will be bigger and smellier. Really, you fought for months before you broke up. Then you cheated. And now he's cheating. The history will travel with both of you.
If you're really determined to keep him, please stop talking to him (and texting, emailing, lunching, etc.) until he is legitimately single. He's behaving like a bad guy right now, and you're helping. Stop.
Readers? Should she demand that he end his relationship or walk away no matter what? What is she trying to save? How can this be fixed? 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.