Q: I was in a serious relationship for 2.5 years. This past January we had the conversation about future and where we saw this relationship going. He told me that he has issues with his ex (financial, they were living together) that he has not resolved. Her name is still on all his assets (house) and although they now live separately, they have some issues that they need to resolve with lawyers. He is afraid to just pay $$ and break ties as it would jeopardize all the money he has put into the house. I told him that there is no way we can start working on our future until these issues are resolved.
I was both upset and angry that not only did he not tell me when we first started dating (took away my choice in the matter) and that it took me pushing and probing about our future to find out about this. Aside from this, when I look at our relationship, it was great. We never fought or disagreed, and we were each other's best friends.
My problem is that we work in the same building, so although we are broken up, we still manage to bump into each other in common areas and start talking. We chit chat and say hello when we see each other, and this sets me back in the moving-on process.
When we had the discussion about breaking up, I was crystal clear that we were DONE, and that if we saw each other, we could be civil but other than that, no text messages, phone calls, or any casual correspondence. However it always seems to start small and then we reach a point of daily correspondence, and a text message here and there that leads to phone calls. I was clear that any relationship between us would have to be him coming to the table prepared to discuss taking our relationship to the next level and only if his financial issues with his ex are resolved.
In past relationships when things have ended, I am able to bounce back much quicker and move on with my life. This relationship has really hit me and broken my heart. I just feel this intense pain and although when I see him, I genuinely want to completely ignore him and not stand around for 10 minutes providing a mundane update of my life, but I feel obligated to have a conversation.
Do I just walk away? Do I just ignore him? How do I get back to focusing on me?
– Broken Hearted
A: You can ignore him. Unless there's a professional reason to talk to him during the day, you can pretend he's invisible. If you need space after a breakup, even in the work place, you're allowed to take it.
It seems to me, though, that you need a better understanding of this breakup -- at least in your head -- before you can move on. You told him that you couldn't be with him until his financial issues with his ex are resolved, but does that mean he can show up again as soon as he figures it out? What if he buys her out in six months or a year? Will you still be open to taking him back?
You never told us whether he said he saw a future with you, and whether the house was all that stood in his way. If his connections to his ex were no longer an issue, would he want you around for the long haul? If you never got an answer, that's something to consider. It sounds like he's using that house to maintain the status quo, and that's just not good enough for you.
I would tell him (email is fine) that you must stop all forms of communication. Tell him that when you asked about a future together, he talked about the about house, and instead of working with you to come up with a solution, he let you go. That was his choice, right? If he's willing to let you walk, there's no need to talk.
He could have said, "How can we make this work?" Instead he did nothing. (Right?) You're allowed to remain silent. It's called self-preservation.
Readers? Did she get a real answer? Is this breakup permanent? Was she too rigid about the house? Is he using it as an excuse? Can she really ignore him? Help.
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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.