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Love Letters

We Never Stopped Hooking Up After the Breakup

Letters can come straight to my personal email at meregoldstein at gmail dot com. Put "letter" in the subject line.


Q:

My longtime boyfriend broke up with me just over two years ago, yet has remained a part of my life since. We never stopped hooking up after the relationship ended. We tried to stay away from each other, which lasted for about a week each time before he would reach out to say he "had to see me" or that I "was on his mind."†

After two years (I realize that this is an insane amount of time to be caught up in such a cycle), I decided to cut my losses and move to another city four hours away from Boston last summer. Despite the move, we have managed to (still!) see each other on occasion, and have had some lengthy discussions about our feelings for one another, though we have not yet reached a resolution.†

Very recently, he has decided that we should "back off" and "see what happens." For the last month, he has "backed off" by going a week without speaking, and then finding a way to lure me back into almost nonstop conversation. After a couple days, he falls off the map again.†

This situation is killing me. I am losing sleep and can barely muster up an appetite. I know deep down that this relationship is flawed and that I should have let go a very long time ago, but I feel paralyzed by the hope he extends each time he reaches out, however infrequently that may be.†

I know you get this question all the time -- but really, how do I move past this? What do I say the next time he says something? Do I demand answers now? Do I not say anything at all? I've been looking for the light at the end of the tunnel but I can't seem to find it.†

– Still Stuck, Not Boston

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A: "Back off" and "see what happens." That makes me giggle. Those two concepts don't go together. That's like saying, "I'm just going to watch TV and see what happens." If you back off, nothing is going to happen.

You know that this relationship is a mess. You know that it's over. You can move past it by stealing his line. Tell him that you want to back off and see what happens. Because when you back off -- and I mean back away -- you'll start to build a life without him. You'll start to accept that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't shining on him.

No need to demand answers. Your loss of appetite is the only answer you need. You need to set boundaries and keep busy with other people. You need to practice some self control so that you don't spend another two years in this hamster wheel.

Readers? Does the LW need to demand answers? Thoughts on what's been happening over the past two years? Back away and see what happens?


– Meredith