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Should I reach out for closure?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  December 19, 2012 08:32 AM

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Chat day.


Q: Hi Meredith,

It's been just over a month since my girlfriend of three years decided to break up with me. I've tried to focus on myself. I've been spending more time with my own friends and visiting family, going to the gym more, and I've had some great days. But I have had a few terrible days during which I can't help but cry at any given moment.

I should probably start by mentioning that we were each other's first same-sex relationship. (I don't consider myself to be gay and do not plan on dating women in the future; I considered the attraction specific to her as an individual.)

We got together in college and have both been living separately (although she wanted to move in together) in the Boston area since this summer, after I graduated. The adjustment to full-time working life has been difficult for me, and her new job in Boston can have crazy long hours too. I have felt lonely and a little lost during this transitional phase of life. Our time together became stressed.

So, one day she showed up to tell me that she has not been happy for the past month or so (news flash) and needs time alone to figure everything out. I was shocked, confused, hurt, angry, and offended that she did not come to me with her ideas or concerns before making such a major decision (which I would call an overreaction). I felt that after three years and due to the difficult nature of how we got together in the first place (through a lot of tears and soul searching) that she owed me more respect. I had always been the more insecure one and had my doubts at times, but each time an issue arose I did the difficult thing and talked it through with her. Her actions felt inconsiderate not to mention heartbreaking.

I realize that first love is supposed to hurt for a long time, and that it has only been five weeks. It's just that some days I feel like I haven't even made any progress since the day she dumped me.

I know that I'm not supposed to talk to her in order to move on, but I don't think I can with so much lingering confusion. I need to know if there is something about me that made me un-datable after three years. I also don't think I could feel any worse than I already do, and I know she can't hurt me any more than she has, so I feel I have nothing left to lose even if talking again doesn't help. How bad do you think it would really be to talk to her again after staying strong for 3+ weeks with no contact? Would this help me gain "closure" to move on? At this point I don't want to get back together with her; she hurt me terribly and frankly doesn’t deserve me! I just want explanations ... or even just some confirmation that I was right, and she made a mistake (I know that's immature, but hey I'm only 23). Please help!

– Broken-Hearted Post-Grad, Boston


A: I understand why you're a mess, BHPG.

1. The end of a three-year relationship is usually devastating, no matter what.
2. You're right out of college and going through so many changes. And now you've lost your best friend and romantic partner. Of course you feel lost.
3. You put so much thought into the start of this relationship. You guys made important decisions together. But in the end, she made the breakup decision on her own. It makes sense that you feel lonely and betrayed.

You're asking me whether you should reach out for closure. My answer is: Not right now. I'm sure you both have more to say (three-year relationships often take more than one breakup talk), but I don't want you to talk to her again until you've set up a new routine for yourself. Get used to keeping yourself busy in your apartment. Spend a few more weeks hanging out with those friends, going to the gym, and getting accustomed to your new life. Eventually, when you're more comfortable with your post-relationship world, you can reach out -- if you still want to. I'd wait at least another month and then reevaluate.

I understand why you want to reach out one more time, just to have the breakup talk again with some perspective. I just want you to be in a better place when you do.

Readers? Should she reach out? If so, when? Does it sometimes help to get confirmation of a breakup after the initial shock is over? What happened here? Is the same-sex relationship comment relevant? Help.



– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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