Q: I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 2.5 years. During that time we've had a month break shortly after our one-year anniversary, and a year later we broke up for four months. We've been back together for a little over five months now.
I love him dearly. I have given a great deal of time to this relationship, as he is still in school and lives a few hours away. Up until last month, things were going great. We had fun together and laughed. But, there has always been a feeling of doubt in my mind following our last break up. I found out that he was flirting with other girls and I didn't approve of it so he stopped.
Recently I've felt like he doesn't want to spend time with just me. He also lied to me about hanging out with another girl, and that really crushed me. I brought this up to him and it seems like it has pushed him further away from me. He has seemed totally disinterested in spending time with just me and in having a relationship. After I talked to him more, he said he doesn't know what he wants anymore. I want to move forward and continue to have a happy and loving relationship together. But I don't know how to make him happy. I know we've both been unhappy and unsure about where the relationship has been going. I have a sinking feeling that he is starting to develop feelings for this other girl.
I talked to him yesterday about trying something -- taking a break. I want to be able to laugh and smile with him again, and I do want to have a future together. Upon suggesting a break, I said I wouldn't contact him at all for a month. I said I would see him on his birthday in a month and then we can move forward from there. He seemed like he was OK with this and it seemed like in a month, he and I could move forward as a couple because that's what he wanted too. But I could be wrong.
I wouldn't say that it is a huge weight off my shoulders to take a break, but I think we both needed it. I continue to worry about this other girl and that he won't want a relationship with me again, given how rocky things have gotten recently.
I'm not sure if this was the right move, or what's in store. Any insight or help would be appreciated.
– Setting Love Free, St. Cloud
A: The break wasn't a terrible idea, but please understand that it will probably lead to a breakup. And that's OK.
I'm not sure how a month-long break is supposed to fix all of your problems. If anything, it'll just remind you that you can live without him. It'll give you a taste of freedom.
My guess is that in a month, you'll end things for good and feel more confident about the decision. You're both unhappy, and you're getting to the point where you don't trust him. You say that he doesn't want to spend time with you. That's no good. And keep in mind -- this is your third time-out.
Take this time to remind yourself that you can go it alone. Spend the month considering what life would be life as a single person and whether your routine is more pleasant when you don't have to worry about trying so hard to make someone happy.
I know you want to reunite and have a shiny new relationship all over again, but I don't see how that's possible. This month off is basically a set of training wheels that will get you to a real breakup. And with all of these issues, isn't that what you need?
Readers? What happens after a month? Is this a training wheels breakup? Should she be worried about this other woman? Should they stay together? What is he doing with his break time? What if he wants to stay together? 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.