7 Practical Steps To Take Just After A Break Up

It’s crunch time, and the narrow road of our previous life has reached a crossroads. A crossroads, I might add, with an infinite amount of intersections. It can be overwhelming.

So what now?

#1 Erect Strong Boundaries

It isn’t arrogant to define how we choose to be treated in the wake of a breakup.

If the decision has been made to call it quits, with or without our consent, then we are fundamentally no longer responsible for juggling our ex’s insecurity or mixed signals. We have ourselves; our lives and our emotional well being to think of now.

The sooner we erect personal boundaries to fend of confusion and potential manipulation the better.

First thing’s first, decide under what conditions (if any) you are willing to communicate with your ex. Such as:

  • Making sure your ex knows what is acceptable communication. If you want to reconcile, then make sure your ex can’t just reach out with pictures of their dog to lure you into a false sense of hope. If you are only interested in talking about “us”, then make sure that if the phone does ring, that’s what it’s going to be about.
  • Demand respect by disregarding outbursts of insecurity that are aimed at bringing you down (anger, blame games, guilt, emotional blackmail, e.t.c). Opening yourself to confusion and hurt in the name of what you had will do neither of you any favors in the long haul. If you are afraid that not engaging with an ex, despite the hurtful tone, will lead them to disappear, recognize that their shenanigans have little to do with you, and everything to do with their ego, and catering to this insecurity isn’t improving your chances.
  • Define the medium of contact as something comfortable to you. If hearing their voice is too painful, or too stressful, don’t be afraid to de-escalate the means of communication to something less personal, and more comfortable such as E-mail. Again, we are no longer responsible for juggling our ex’s insecurity! It can understandably be difficult to grasp this at the tail-end of co-dependency.

Admittedly, just because we insist on structuring out post-breakup communication the way we want it, doesn’t guarantee that our ex’s will listen. Which is why it is important that we…

#2 Lead By Example

Despite our own confusion and emotional back and forth, it is important to act consistently. Both out of respect for our exs, and because we fundamentally teach people how to treat us.

If we engage in mixed messages, then it is likely that our ex will feel that this sort of mind game is also acceptable (even if we told them it wasn’t).

Actions really do speak louder than words.

Yes, this is all easier said than done, and sometimes the urge to reach out can overwhelm us. It happens to the best of us. However, the more consistent we are, generally speaking, the more consistent our exs will also be.

Consistency doesn’t mean we can’t change our minds, it just means that we are consistent in the means, tone and way in which we communicate. If we have a change of heart then we should communicate this, but if we flip-flop constantly we are going to tear trust apart and foster resentment.

#3 Shred Remnants Of Co-dependence

Making our exs the focal point of our breakup means delaying healing. It’s a little like an alcoholic trying to break the habit by filling their fridge with beer.

A breakup isn’t just separation from the past, it’s a new beginning, a fresh start.

This isn’t just misplaced optimism, it’s an objective fact.

Even if we do hope to reconcile, re-acquainting ourselves with elements of our individualism that may have been lost is a healthy way to approach whatever future awaits.

  • Rekindling dusty social circles and old friends.
  • Rediscovering hobbies and pastimes that made us tick.
  • Focusing on our careers.

The possibilities are literally endless, and I won’t bore you with them.

No matter what the future holds in store, reconciliation or separation, rediscovering ourselves as individuals means we are better equipped to sustain ourselves emotionally. Win-win.

#4 Make The Breakup Yours

Right-o, so this may seem a little ironic for two reasons:

  • I’ve urged you not to make your ex the focal point of your future.
  • I urged you this on an article about steps to take after a breakup.

So yes, it may seem a little hypocritical of me, nevertheless…

While fixating on an ex is generally a bad (but often unavoidable) idea, we shouldn’t stigmatize the breakup as some kind of weakness. Nor should we allow others to define how we choose to navigate the bubbling waters of emotional turmoil (those seas our ours, after-all).

It is up to us to dictate the manner and tempo of our healing.

I’ve tried to structure this article in a way that provokes food for thought, but at no point do I offer any of this as a universal truth. Truth, when it comes to relationships, is relative to the experiences and character of those involved. Not a generic pan-human script.

So. If you’re wondering why dating or clubbing is only making the flashbacks worse, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you and don’t let anyone tell you there is.

This is a liminal stage in our lives, and to deny ourselves the chance of owning and living it on our terms is to deny ourselves an important growing experience.

#5 Find A Way Of Channeling Stress

Even if you are quite certain that separation was the right idea, good luck convincing your subconscious mind of this.

In other words, there are still going to be moments, pangs and memories that suck.

Due to the heightened base-line of stress, finding a temporary outlet to release pent-up stress can be of great use. Breakups aren’t only a psychological quagmire, then can be a physiological one too.

Case in point: Making my thoughts tangible, by making this blog, was my way of making sense of my inner demons. It helped me transition internal pain externally. This is why keeping a breakup journal is such a popular tool for healing.

  • Build a little bonfire and host a funeral for your breakup.
  • Beat the living snot out of a punching bag at the gym.
  • Write a bittersweet fantasy epic laced with real-life parallels and innuendos.
  • Talk yourself out with a friend.

Whatever it takes, find a way to externalize grief, even if you think it is manageable.

#6 Develop A New Routine

In point #5 I mentioned the subconscious mind. Understanding, at least superficially, how it works (I’m certainly no psychologist) can give us a leg us with regards to finding our feet again swiftly.

Sometimes our conscious mind will confuse breakup pain stemming from losing contact with an ex, with losing contact with a comfort zone or routine. In short, it isn’t really the ex that we miss, but the world we used to know folding up all around us.

It can be tricky to differentiate the two.

Personally, I feel the two overlap somewhat, but the act of being consistent with a new routine is a great way to discipline subconscious pain into accepting our new lives, without requiring any validation from the past. After all, the end stage of the Kubler-Ross cycle (the notorious five stages of grief) is precisely that, acceptance.

The important part here is developing a new structure for our lives, day in day out, that will allow us to quickly embrace our new reality. This will happen regardless of whether we face it kicking or screaming or in a welcoming way, but if it’s going to happen, we might as well embrace it.

#7 Make Big Changes

No matter which way you cut it, breakups epitomize adaptation and change, and because of this, your mind will accommodate enacting far larger changes than you would usually be able to stomach. Take advantage of this!

Your comfort zone has been stripped away. Let’s build a better one.

Disclaimer: Before I get into the nuts and bolts, please don’t make changes subjectively or impulsively. These decisions must be weighted down with the objectivity of a hammer, and enforced with a glacial fist.

Still with me? Great, onward-ho.

  • Strip your life of bad influences. Toxic friendships, and other things that bring you down. Most people will accept that a breakup will mean increased distance, use that stereotype as an umbrella to forfeit drama.
  • Redefine yourself. Are you frustratingly stereotyped as that guy, or that kind of woman? People will expect and look for change after a breakup, use this to redefine yourself in a way which suits you. Break the mold and shake the pillars. No, it isn’t all about what others think (rather than real internal change), but let’s be honest — it helps.
  • Just do it. I know this reads like a Nike commercial or an homage to Shia Lebeuf, but now is the time. Doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it isn’t purely a side-effect of trauma. Just. Do. It.

About the author

James Nelmondo

James "the Unknown" Nelmondo is a self-styled relationship enthusiast, former infant, part-time dumper and full-time dumpee.


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  • I am assuming you have to be a strong and wise person if you can do all that after a breakup. Most of my thoughts are still to either kill myself or get castrated, 6 months after the breakup…

    Maybe it is completely different situation and level of grief for somebody who was at fault, plus, being dumped. I know in my case I am the one 100% to blame for failed relationships, for not pulling my weight, for being a jerk, for acting like a prime top of the line a-hole and feeling proud of it. Oh, yes, and the other person being complete opposite of me – a truly great and bright human being.

    How can somebody like me have any “normal” and positive thoughts after that?

    I cannot wrap my head around on how to live with myself now. I feel like all the crumbs of a good person I had slowly flew away after the breakup. Also, knowing the fact that finding someone at least half as good and decent (especially in today’s world of lie and pretentiousness) as my ex, just makes all the effort to recover obsolete. If you won $1,000,000 in a lottery once – you are not winning anything like that in your life ever again.

    • Hi Sergeo,

      It’s a lot easier to state points objectively than it is to live them, absolutely.

      The goal here isn’t to tell people what they should measure themselves by, which is why I wanted to make the point that we only have partial control over feelings such as guilt (point #5) and that our breakup and the feelings that ensue are tailored to our personal experiences:

      Truth, when it comes to relationships, is relative to the experiences and character of those involved

      The sole intent with this article is to perhaps give people who feel lost some food for thought, a sense of direction. That’s pretty much it.

      I know I sound defensive, and that’s because this is a blog built around my personal experiences, and I’m aware that the thoughts contained within are mine, and should not be projected onto others. I really do not want to give the impression that I’m looking down on others, or trivializing their pain.

    • Hi James,

      First of all, I would like to thank you for your help and insights based upon your experiences with break ups.

      I recently ( two weeks ago- but I feel. It’s been over months ago really..) broke up with a narcissist /bipolar (if there’s such thing) ex lover. He stopped having sex 3-4 mos ago so the romantic side of it has been null But he was still getting the fringe benefits of a lover from me when we hung out. His libido was low- no desire for sex, etc. Not sure if Medical Marijuana had an affect. He smoked quite a bit every 2 hours for his anxieties. He’s off and on with jobs, and he was never consistent in all areas in his life @39 years of age. He felt pressured on the “Lover” part from me that he requested to be just “Frenz” but he still expected the fringe benefits of a girlfriend without sex. There is now way I will go for that and with no benefits to me since I gave and he never made the effort to give as well so I told him that I needed time to heal and move on before we can just be “Frenz” and If I feel he’s even worth being friends in the future. He freaked out and was so angry. We both escalated a nasty stone throwing, name calling, put downs on text. I tried to text not to reconciliate but to be cordial in the break up. Although I stopped seeing him- been 3 mos ago, he was still texting so I put an end to it. He’s angry, hateful and ignoring me. I felt hurt about the change and his request. I guess I still wanted to just have fun with him as a lover but he changed since I was always available for him everyday that he wanted to put me in the frendzone to still get the fringe benefits. I have many admires asking me out but I feel doubtful. I think I will just focus on my corp career, yoga teacher training, music and continue focusing on my inner awareness, loving me. I will try the 7 practical steps you’ve written. It’s tough when feelings of grief, fear, lust and anger arise due to memories/nostalgia good and bad. Letting go is the key but it is work.

      Any suggestions when there’s an urge to text an ex and you know you shouldn’t? He’s now ignoring my text. I emailed him last night short and sweet that I was sorry for texting to be cordial in the break up. He emailed back, “Don’t email me”. I replied, “ok” Should I just forget seeking approval for a cordial break up from him? I know nasty words have been exchanged in the last week but I really have let it go and just want to move on.. please advise. Thanks James!

    • Hey there Leilani,

      In the end cordiality won’t mask the fact that you broke up, so — nasty messages or not — the breakup debacle is just a footnote with regards to healing.

      When emotions are at play people can change, and I’m sure you’d agree that engaging in blame games and “stone throwing” as you put it, is not a definition of who you are, and to an extent the same is true for him. I say this because it’s all too easy to define what a relationship was, or an ex was, based on the final, gut wrenching days of a relationship.

      Moving on, or more realistically just “accepting” a breakup is closer to surrendering than it is to being happy. If we forgive both ourselves and our ex’s, no matter what was said and done (short of real cases of abuse) we speed up healing a great amount. We owe it to ourselves to try and forgive.

      His actions may sound and look dismissive and angry, but it is just another way of channeling hurt. A counter-productive way, I might add. In the words of Malachy McCourt:

      Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

      In the end you attempted to be cordial and the attempt fell flat, however your intention to eradicate resentment will not be forgotten. More than this, you will have an easier time moving on for having attempted it. Forgiveness is a large part of moving forwards that is often neglected.

  • Thank you so much James! I am seeing it from a different perspective most of time now and I agree the emotion (s) from me at the time (pain, anger, longing, etc) is really not who I am (it goes the same for him); however, I do feel a struggle with the emotions of control, approval, separation, oneones and ego. I understand that the past is the past, the imagined future is the imagined future and the “Now” is where we need to be in… awareness. that is my struggle.. emotions of guilt, wanting (lust) where it was in the beginning but with second thoughts. I’m not here to label but my habituated roller coaster of emotions are not helping me. I do understand that I need to welcome any sense that it’s personal. It’s about me and who I am because it’s not.. also, I understand that forgivess is about courage, acceptance and peace prior to letting it go.

    Happiness is within all of us… love what is.. us. I guess I feel a challenge of emotions trying to figure it out, fix it, etc when I truly need to work from within…

    Do I ignore him if and/or if he text in the future?? He is full of baggage.

    • Hey again,

      Yes, on the one side it’s nice to try and be objective, but no matter how disciplined we are, there’s always going to be that roller-coaster ride we’re only partly in control of. A lot of the pain is processed subconsciously, there’s no off switch.

      I also do think that attempting to fix things (in ourselves) can be taken too far, I’m not saying it’s the case here though. What I mean is that if we create an expectation such as working towards “happiness”, then every day we wake up and aren’t “happy” we then label a failure. So in a sense attempting to focus all our efforts on healing can mean defining ourselves as broken. Like the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, everything ends up looking like a nail.

      But yea, to a certain degree it’s unavoidable. And our subconscious mind is going to groan and lament over the past, regardless of what we want it to do.

      Regarding contact, I would personally refuse to engage messages that were’nt crystalline with their intent. If there’s no question, there’s no answer. Mixed messages, crumbs and other examples of poor communication I would generally gloss over, or answer tersely if they demand an answer.

      I wouldn’t ignore an ex unless they repeatedly refused to respect my post-breakup boundaries (asking for favors I’m not uniquely qualified to help with, mixed messages, e.t.c). But if they send me a one-off bait and switch message such a picture of their new dog , I’m certainly not going to take the bait in the interests of clarity. If they aren’t committed enough to overcome a pinch of fear or pride in order to communicate transparently, then it would have been a waste of time anyway.

      That’s just me though. I know that for others going full no contact has been beneficial. I prefer going limited contact (contact with conditions).

  • Aloha James, I’ve never heard of “Limited Contact?” well, speaking of limited contact, I thought it was what I did by attempting to be cordial with him. He never replied to me. Do you think he could be doing NCR? He’s done this before since he has this history of off and on with me. Honestly, I would like to stay true to myself and my intuition tells me to let go and just not mind him ignoring me. It maybe be the subconscious in me feeling whatever it is I’m feeling. Do you think he’s angry and have this much hurt because I broke it off from his offer of just friendship? I think he was Playing head games with me. Best was to walk away…what would be your advise if he’s doing NCR playing head games?

    • Hey again,

      Not sure if it’s a term in current usage, but I couldn’t think of a better way to call it. Perhaps conditional contact sums it up better!

      I doubt he’s angry, and if he is, it’s sounds like it’s because — as you put it — he can’t get the fringe benefits. So no loss there. If he’s trying to starve you out, and make you crumple due to the silence, you’re best bet is to just endure it. If it is a game, then by giving in you will only teach him that it works.

      However, there’s no guarantee it’s a game. Either way I’d personally stick to no/limited contact, unless you really do have something specific to say (if it’s important, say it). If not, random crumbs benefits nobody, and will just lead to more questions and potentially worse resentment.

      The main thing is not using NC by itself as a way to make their resolve crumble, because there’s a chance it won’t. Worse, it’ll only get stronger. I’d only do NC if I wanted to heal.

  • Hi,

    My boyfriend broke up with me at the beginning of January and I am still dealing with a great amount of pain from the feelings of loss of my relationship and best friend. We have had limited contact for the last month and half (usually based around him moving out and signing some papers). Since the break up, I have forced myself to be more social, rekindle old friendships, go to meet up groups, spend more time with family, and more time at the gym. But I still feel empty inside with out him here.

    Last Friday he contacted me (the first time he has initiated anything ‘persona’) to tell me that he finally found a new apartment (he’s been sleeping on friend’s couch) and that he finally got his promotion at work. He then asked for an adjustment to the payments he is making to me on a vehicle he purchased from me. Once we had briefly discussed this, he continued the conversation for a short time by asking how I like a video game he had recommended to me, and we talked about it for a few minutes. (all of this was over text message)

    Do you think this was a casual way for him to maintain some semblance of contact with me or just a ruse to ask the question about making the payment on the vehicle.

    I have really been struggling with this breakup and have tried to not contact him unless absolutely necessary, and have been successful until he contacted me on Friday. Since then, I haven’t been able to get him off my mind (even worse than before) and I made the mistake of sending him a pic of a dog (not mine, one found on the internet) that looked like him (both have mutton chops, the Ex kinda looks like Wolverine) and a short message “This dog is trying to steal your thunder.” His only response was ‘lol.’ Should I take this a sign that he doesn’t want any contact from me at all? I don’t plan on contacting him again, but I don’t know how good my resolve is anymore.

    Any suggestions on better handling the negative emotions? I can’t get out of my head the idea that I want him back and that he is ‘the one,’ which makes healing and moving on almost impossible.

    • Hey there Sarah,

      Yes, I do think it was aimed at not allowing the connection to die out entirely, talking about the game was entirely superfluous, if he only contacted you to talk objectively about the car situation, he probably wouldn’t have extended the conversation longer than necessary.

      If he talked first about the game, it may have been in a ruse to soften the mood. But from what I gather that came after you’d discussed the car stuff.

      I have really been struggling with this breakup and have tried to not contact him unless absolutely necessary, and have been successful until he contacted me on Friday. Since then, I haven’t been able to get him off my mind

      That’s most likely why he did it, and it worked.

      Regarding the dog pic (ironically it’s the example I often use to portray contact that is intended as a “don’t forget me”), it doesn’t sound to me like he’s trying to run for the hills. You didn’t ask him a question, and he voluntarily decided to validate your message rather than leave it hanging. Even if the answer was “lol”.

      Wanting him back is both a conscious and a subconscious process, the only thing you can really do is take care of the conscious side — by controlling communication and the way you communicate.The subconscious side of things has it’s own race to run and contains many different aspects that make the entire breakup difficult to digest (addictive elements, the loss of affection and intimacy, along with the pain of genuine separation).

      If you don’t me asking; what’s stopping you from telling him how you feel? Was it his decision to part ways? Or is it the fear or rejection that outweighs the anxiety of not knowing where you stand?

      I’m not judging, just curious.

  • Hi James,

    Thank you so much for replying. I am getting a lot out of your articles.

    He ended the relationship after a month of things feeling off between us (I didn’t recognize it in time) and 3 days after I picked a stupid fight that stemmed from my insecurities. We had been together for about 2 years, and we have had a couple of fights that were my fault (I would admit to that and apologize, I am an insecure person in general) The fight blew up way out of proportion and he basically stonewalled me the rest of that day and was very distant for the next 3 days and then he came home on Jan 1st and ended it. He originally tried to use an excuse but I pushed for answers and he admitted that he had lost feelings for me and that he didn’t feel he made me happy or was good enough for me. (I wish I could have shown how happy I was while we were together, because I was)

    I guess I feel at this point I don’t know if it would be wise to tell him and I simply don’t know how. I told him the day he broke up with me that he did make me happy and that I still loved him and am fully committed to the relationship, but he held firm to his decision. Both of us are shy and introverted and I am afraid that trying to speak to him about it will push him away. I don’t know if I should do it in person, in a letter, in a message (text or FB, neither of us really use email)… I also don’t know how to word it or convey it.

    I have never gone through a breakup like this before and it has left me feeling completely broken to the core and I can not move past the idea that he is who I want. I know I don’t need him since I lived just fine without him for 28 years, but I am also still very emotional. I don’t know if I could speak with him objectively. I could write it out, but should I actually tell him?

    PS: I don’t know if I could ever be ‘just friends’ with him. We were for about a year and half before we started dating, but there was always a strong physical attraction and a sense that we were meant to be together. So it was never truly platonic.

    Your opinion on this situation is greatly appreciated and I can answer and questions you have to get more perspective from you. Thank you.

  • Hi again,

    The “lol” reply we previously discussed makes a little more sense now. Well, as much sense as I can extract from a situation that I am not actively involved in, or know the character of the people involved, that’s a pretty big caveat to any conclusion I might reach!

    Regardless, his “lol”, the way I see it: By replying succinctly he is demonstrating respect as well as caring, because I’m sure he fundamentally knows that a no-show what have stung.

    But given the fact that he claims he has lost his feelings, and given the fact that if he was dead-set on reconciling he would have *probably* used that shred of contact to chime in somehow, makes me question whether anything has changed as of yet. And things probably won’t until new experiences allow him become more objective about your relationship.

    The issue here is that while it may feel like an eternity, not much time (in “feeling” terms) has actually passed. The fact that you remain stuck is a testament to this, it took me the better part of a year to begin feeling better about my last breakup (thought I’d throw that out there).

    It’s an admittedly pretty rough assessment, but it’s my gut instinct nevertheless.

    Regarding friendship; don’t feel pressured into believing that not being friends is in any way inconsiderate or crude. If you continue to consider him a romantic candidate then it would be rude to masquerade as a friend, not the other way around. I’m actually a little surprised you can stomach being Facebook friends, I certainly couldn’t have handled that a month out of my breakup. Chronologically speaking, one month out really is emotional ground-zero.

  • Hello,

    Thank you again for replying quickly.

    I have gathered from the few articles of yours I have read that you do not think reconciliation is overly possible in any situation.

    Given that, and given that I can’t get past my gut feeling of wanting to be with him. What is you advice on moving past the pain and longing? Do I keep up the no contact? Do I unfriend him on FB? (He I not overly active) I just do t know what to do or think at this point.

    • Hey again,

      If you can’t communicate you can’t reconcile.

      So I would make sure that at the very least there is a way of contacting, or a way for him to contact me. And I would also make sure that he knows why I’ve gone silent so that he doesn’t misinterpret my silence as indifference. He should feel comfortable reaching out should he have a change of heart.

      Unfriending him on FB or cutting out the chit chat are things you do to protect yourself so that you don’t live surrounded by mixed messages and have little to do with reconciliation directly. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether being “friends” is something you can stomach.

  • Hi,

    Do you think I should just go ahead and tell him how I feel regardless of why the breakup occurred? Is it too soon? I honestly don’t know where he is emotionally. I don’t know if he has moved on or seeing someone else – and honestly, I have been too afraid to ask – nor have I really had the opportunity. We don’t really have any mutual friends (we really only hung out together or with family) and I don’t want to bother his friends (he really only has 2 or 3 like I do) or his family. I have been tempted to message his mother to ask her what her thoughts are on the breakup, but I am not sure that is fair to her.

    Or, again, is it better to just keep limited/no contact until I seem to be in a better place?

    • Why would it be too soon?

      Don’t be afraid of pushing him into a corner. Rather than deliver an ultimatum just limit yourself to telling him how you feel and leave it at that, no questions.

      The reason why doing it is important isn’t just because of reconciling, it means that you can move forward knowing that he knows how you feels. No what-ifs to deal with in the long-term. If he chooses not to contact then you have you answer.

      You can’t really do limited contact unless you are sure he knows how you feel, it would defeat the purpose and you’d probably feel compelled to keep throwing crumbs out to tell him you care indirectly anyway.

  • Hello,

    How would be the best way to tell him? A letter? A message through Facebook? Texting? In person?

    Thank you so much for your replies.

  • Sarah,

    Something relatively impersonal such as an E-mail or a letter would be my choice, because you can say what you mean without having to deal with on-the-fly insecurity.

    That’s really my choice though, it’s up to you to decide what you are fundamentally more comfortable with.

    I would go with whatever increases the likelihood of delivering the message, and potentially dealing with the feedback, in a way which is as objective as possible (even if you the insecurity is killing you internally). The important part is that you can convey your feelings directly, without defensive fluff to soften the blow.

    You don’t have to do any of this of course, but at least personally, in the long run, I’d rather deal in absolutes than hang onto a cliff of hope.

    And yes, that’s far easier said than done, and by no means a given.

  • Hello,

    Thank you. I am really struggling with this decision. I do not want to come off as pushy, needy, or desperate, which my friend thinks will happen. My mother thinks I should do something similar to what you are telling me to do to get it off my chest because she has seen how emotionally broken I have been over the last month and half. I may ask his mother (if she is comfortable speaking with me at all) about the idea – to better gauge if it will be poorly received on his end.

    From the male perspective, (I don’t know if you have ever been the dumper) would a letter such as you describe be welcome? Would it offer any benefit to you or can it only be detrimental? I realize I should focus on me right now, but again, I am so afraid of pushing him even farther away. I also don’t want to increase any suffering or negative feelings he may have just to alleviate some of my own.

    Also, going back a few posts, does the breakup (the fact that he initiated it and said he ‘lost feelings’ for me) change your opinion on the discussion that he initiated with me? (I have copied it below)

    “Last Friday he contacted me (the first time he has initiated anything ‘persona’) to tell me that he finally found a new apartment (he’s been sleeping on friend’s couch) and that he finally got his promotion at work. He then asked for an adjustment to the payments he is making to me on a vehicle he purchased from me. Once we had briefly discussed this, he continued the conversation for a short time by asking how I like a video game he had recommended to me, and we talked about it for a few minutes. (all of this was over text message) ”

    This was 3 days before I sent him the picture of the dog and his response only “lol.”

    Thank you again for taking your time to answer my questions. It is greatly appreciated and very helpful to talk to someone who has no stake in the situation.

    • A few things,

      If a declaration of your feelings is enough to push him away, then it means he was only hanging on out of friendship. The only thing you’ve really lost, if the only condition you can accept is reconciling, is a sense of hope.

      The idea that giving it more time is a risky one, because it is (my opinion) more likely to create additional distance than it is to make the idea of getting back together more likely.

      He might just get used to not having you around. He might meet someone else. E.t.c. Feelings might never fade away entirely, but circumstances change, and we adapt. I’m not saying this to scare you into acting, but I think we can both agree that objectively speaking this is how reality usually pans out.

      The only positives about waiting it out is that you both become more objective and less insecure about the situation. But not doing anything is every inch as risky as doing something. I would personally argue that it is riskier.

      Regarding what it feels like receiving such a letter: It depends what the breakup left in its wake. Even if I was happy with the decision to breakup, receiving an honest summary of my exs feelings in this way would bring in clarity, and would make me feel a little better about my own insecurity. If I wanted nothing to do with them (which obviously isn’t the case here), I probably wouldn’t even bother answering.

  • Hello,

    Thank you, I will take all that into consideration.

    Sorry to bring this up again, but I really am curious (and desperate, and looking for answers, and … lol) what you think now:

    “Also, going back a few posts, does the breakup (the fact that he initiated it and said he ‘lost feelings’ for me) change your opinion on the discussion that he initiated with me? (I have copied it below)

    “Last Friday he contacted me (the first time he has initiated anything ‘persona’) to tell me that he finally found a new apartment (he’s been sleeping on friend’s couch) and that he finally got his promotion at work. He then asked for an adjustment to the payments he is making to me on a vehicle he purchased from me. Once we had briefly discussed this, he continued the conversation for a short time by asking how I like a video game he had recommended to me, and we talked about it for a few minutes. (all of this was over text message) ”

    This was 3 days before I sent him the picture of the dog and his response only “lol.””

  • It sounds to me that he continues to care and value your connection. But whether or not that means he’s toying with the idea of reconciling I have no idea.

    It’s clear he hasn’t lost all his feelings for you, but perhaps he was referring specifically to romantic feelings.

    There’s really not all that much to go on at the moment I’m afraid. Initiating contact is a great sign, but it could mean anything from caring about you in a platonic way, letting you know he’s still there or that he’s having trouble moving on.

    It’s probably a bit of everything.

  • Thanks.

    I am unsure how to write such a message. Obviously I shouldn’t put any blame in there regarding the relationship or the break up. But do I just come right out and say that I still love him and I want to get back together? Do I write it discussion certain points?

    Sorry, I am so confused. I really don’t know what to say, especially since I am not sure where I stand.

    Is asking his mother about sending this letter being a good idea – a bad idea?

    (Sorry, I know I am kind of all over the place. I am trying to stay as objective as possible while still dealing with my emotions)

  • If you have nothing to say, and you don’t know where you stand, then you probably shouldn’t really say anything for awhile, or at least until you are on firmer ground regarding your intentions.

    I was under the impression that you were sure about wishing to reconcile, if you aren’t, then you’d do more harm than good by telling him how you feel, because all you’d be looking for is validation. And if the message conveys confusion it would only make the situation worse.

    If you do reach out, don’t overthink it. Just say it. Padding the message won’t alter his reaction to it in any meaningful way, other than confusing both of you further.

    The clearer the message, the clearer the answer.

    I wouldn’t message his mother personally because you’d risk muddying the waters by adding another variable to the mix.

  • Thanks, (Also, I do realize a lot of my questions can not be answered with any certainty, but hearing another perspective is very helpful in organizing my thoughts.)

    I am firm on reconciliation and have a lot to say to him, but I also have a tendency to be wordy and go off on tangents (I have had to edit and rewrite some of these posts to keep them as succinct as possible). I am not sure what I should focus on. Seeking validation is a tendency of mine, but I don’t think that is my motivation for wanting to contact him. I want him back, and I know for that to happen we both have to want it and that we would have to start from scratch. I don’t know how to covey this or if I even should or if he would even be willing at any point in the future to try.

    I don’t know where I stand in regards to his feelings towards me – I don’t know if he is fine, hurt, angry, … I have no window into how he is doing or what he is feeling. I also don’t know if he is already seeing someone else – which would give me the answer I need as I don’t think I could handle being in contact with him if he is – and I would want to respect that relationship regardless if is a ‘rebound’ or not. His mother would be that only window and I am seeking advice from her on whether communication is a good idea at this point as she is the only one in connection with him that I would be comfortable asking. (but I won’t if that is a bad decision)

    And again, I am still apprehensive and fearful that any communication regarding feelings (vs idle small talk or no communication) will do nothing but push him away and solidify the end of the relationship even more. (Not that it isn’t completely solid as it is) I understand your point that more time has the possibility of being risky as well.

    I am torn between a few schools of thought:
    1) Similar to yours, contact now and lay your feelings out on the table and letting them know the channels of communication are open. Risking them reacting in a negative way and slamming the door shut permanently
    2) Keeping no contact for a period time and then beginning contact again in an attempt to reopen the lines of communication with the intent to build the road to reconciliation
    3) Keeping no contact permanently until he decides to reopen the lines of communication (the idea being that is has to come from the bumper anyway)
    4) Realizing I am simply holding onto to the ghost of what I thought was true love and just giving up completely (I don’t like this and I do not believe our feelings were not real, just got lost in our daily lives and poor communication problem – something we both admitted to at the end)


  • Hey again,

    Yes, you’re right about how breakups lead to these dilemmas. On the one side you can force clarity, at the cost of tearing what’s left of our peace of mind apart. On the other, the slow spiral down towards turning the fire into ash. Potentially wasting time and leading to resentment.

    Not a pretty choice to make.

    That is of course if it is actually doomed to fail, but it isn’t a given. And sometimes it’s precisely because things aren’t black and white that we tear ourselves to pieces (out of doubt and fear). On top of the grief stemming from separation.

    I know that when it was my turn to crawl that I was surprised to find that my healing accelerated rapidly once she left the country. And I came to realize that despite that being my worst fear, the action itself had stripped that indecision and torment from me. Sure, it made grief stemming from separation temporarily worse, but it was clean pain. Because I knew that I no longer had a choice but to accept fate as it stood. I was able to finally surrender.

    I suppose that’s why I tend to urge people not to indulge in no contact and use it as a weapon or tool for anything other than healing, because they forget that while it may have an effect on the ex in question (force contact because they’re starved of attention), it also keeps US planted in anxiety. It does not serve as an answer, nor does it offer any. It merely delays the truth.

    Again, this is just my opinion, and there’s every chance I’m wrong or that what works for me won’t work for you. I just thought I’d explain my motivation and why it helped me personally.

  • Hi,

    So, I had already kind of contacted his mother (asking if I could ask her a question). She responded and I was unable to keep myself from speaking with her. I did make sure she knew that she could say no to answering any of my questions if she felt uncomfortable answering them.

    I told her that the last month and half have been very hard on me and that I wanted to reconcile with my Ex. I asked if she thought sending him the note would be a good or bad idea – in that, did she think it would impact him in a negative way. She asked if I had tried to call him (No) and that he can be very hard headed. She said if it was her, she would send something and that he does listen to reason; it doesn’t hurt to try and if it doesn’t turn out like I hope, at least I will know that I have tried. I told her I wasn’t sure I could speak with him with out getting emotional and that I didn’t want him to feel like I was trying to guilt him into something or make him feel bad. I also said, that to be honest, I just miss my best friend and I don’t want to do anything that might push him farther away. Her response was “the best thing I can say, if he is your best friend, then you owe it him and yourself to be honest and showing your emotion. Because he can try to hide his emotions, but he is very emotional as well. You owe this to each other.” and “This is a test in your relationship, either it’s worth fighting for or it’s not. But you both have to want to fight for it and compromise on issues that will pull you together.”

    So, right now I am thinking that a note or meeting with him may(?) be the best course of action for me, as I just can’t go on like have been – feeling that I am in some sort hellish limbo with my emotions and uncertainty.

    Thoughts? On contacting him and on what his mother said?

    If we are both in a state of high emotions, is it a good idea to contact him at this point or should it wait a couple more weeks to allow both of us more time to settle emotionally? As you said, its only been just under 7 weeks, which I guess isn’t a substantial amount of time in the grand scheme of things.

    I hate to say it, but I think I am more confused as ever. I apologize for dumping this here on you, but hopefully my situation can help others.

    • if he is your best friend, then you owe it him and yourself to be honest and showing your emotion

      That’s exactly it, she was more concise than I was. Though I would definitely prioritize owing it to yourself over owing it to him. It has less to do with “owing” each other and more to do with respecting each others feelings. You don’t really “owe” him anything. To frame it in terms of “owing” only injects guilt into the picture, which is the last thing you want. Breakups lead to a separation of co-responsibility.

      I’m not entirely sure that considering it a “test of the relationship” is the right way of looking at it, though. Holding on to the idea that somehow, despite being broken up, that you’re still “in this together” seems like feeding a potentially false sense of hope, more than it does a reflection of reality. And as you say, naming it as such can lead to even greater confusion, because you continue thinking as if you were part of a whole rather than an individual.


      Regarding contact or not; I would. But that’s just me, and the reason why I shared in a previous post — because I hate the slow anxious boil of not knowing where I stand.

      But should you?

      That’s entirely up to you. Though as mentioned, waiting a couple of weeks isn’t a long enough time for something internally momentous to occur, but it might be long enough for you to have crystallized what the battle plan is.

  • Hi,

    I agree, I don’t ‘owe’ him anything. But I do feel the same way as you in that I don’t want to spend the next several months / years with the ‘what ifs’ and downward spiral of emotions. I am considering waiting a week or two, simply to get my thoughts straight on what I want to say and to prepare myself for the various possible outcomes – mainly the possibility being rejected. I ‘know’ it is a possible (and a likely) outcome, but I also know I am not entirely ready for that particular “No” from him just yet. This will definitely take a lot of self evaluation and personal thought – different than that of what I have been doing up to this point.

    The main points I will want to get across are that I miss my best friend and I miss him being in my life. That I would like to start over from the beginning (as much as possible after all of this) and try again (but will not out right ask – more, mention it – nor will I demand). I don’t know if I can be ‘just friends’ (I might be willing to try after a few more months of healing if that is all he can offer) but I am willing to allow the lines of communication to stay ‘open’ should he want to contact me and try in the future if he says no now. Is this too pushy?

    Suggestions on staying as non-confrontational as possible if/when we do meet (assuming he says yes, and I do know I need to be prepared for him to say no)? I am usually pretty good, but if I get emotional, they can take over sometimes. So I will have to go over scenarios in my head to prepare myself for the possible irrational emotions that might pop up.

    As for her comments on “in this together” – I suspect she hopes the relationship can be salvaged, as she was just surprised by the breakup as I was. But I am trying not to read too much into what she said (per your recommendation in another article, taking it at face value as much as possible). I am trying not to read into that as it saying that we are still together and he just sees this a ‘break’ – because I know that is NOT the case. And I am okay with that, I just don’t like it. lol

    • Hey again,

      Ok, I’m beginning to get a grip on your intention now. Thanks for the clarification. I was previously a little confused, but I put it down to the whole thing being confusing in the first place, which is almost always the case.

      No, keeping the lines of communication open “just in case” is anything but pushy, the only time it becomes pushy is when you abuse those communication channels, which — given how you are debating whether or not to even contact him at all — is obviously not the case.

      Knowing that there’s an avenue for communication (and that it can be used to convey important stuff) serves both of you.

      Regarding staying non-confrontational or calm, I would say that building contact upwards is your best bet. Don’t just jump into a face to face meeting having no idea where you stand, insecurity can tear everything apart. Start clarifying things over an impersonal medium such as email so you can react to things at your own pace and in your own way.

      Once you have a rough idea of what to expect go and grab that coffee (assuming things pan out in that direction).

      Also, thanks for the heads up regarding the comments not working, I’ll have a look at it. You can also shoot me an Email (which you have), and we can continue there if the website continues to be broken!

  • Hello,

    Thanks! I will try and keep this on the website (if it will let me) to hopefully provide insight for other people who might be going through the same thing.

    I was talking with my mom and brother about contacting him, and they both say go for it – but to be sure not to have an expectation of him wanting to try again. I am still fighting that hope which is the hardest thing.

    My friend, who has been through a nasty breakup (he simply disappeared on her for over a week) and then reconciled with a guy (2nd time was almost a year after the initial break up, the 2nd time only lasted a year) says I should either 1) simply give up all hope and move on or 2) talk to him, tell him how I feel and then slam the door on all of it and walk away.

    Then I think about my ex’s mom basically encouraging me to contact him and I see this as a sign that she knows something. What? I am not sure, but I find myself wondering if she knows that he does in fact still love me and wants to come back.

    Trying to reconcile all thiese opposing views (along with the majority of the Internet saying to wait and see if they come back on their own, otherwise you look like a pathetic, needy fool) in my own mind is causing a great amount of turmoil. All the while, I have no idea where my ex is emotionally.

    How to reopen a dialogue when the last time a sent him something (the dog pic) and his only response was ‘lol.’ Should that not be taken as a sign that he doesn’t want to communicate? Or do I take his conversation with me (about the apartment, promotion, vehicle payment, and then game) as I sign that he does? He has made no attempt to contact me since last Friday.

    This really feels like I am standing at crossroads with 100 options and I don’t know which one take.

    • heya,

      Regarding this:

      along with the majority of the Internet saying to wait and see if they come back on their own, otherwise you look like a pathetic, needy fool

      I would urge you to dismiss this line of thinking for the following reason: Demonstrating the ability to be vulnerable is the epitome of courage. If you got a message down the line from him confessing his emotions openly, would you dismiss it because of it’s “desperate” tone?

      And secondly…

      What if he both of you think along the same lines? It goes nowhere, needlessly.

      I know the point is that you risk “looking desperate” to him, but honestly, telling someone how you feel is not desperation. A desperate message is one which is laced with insecurity, it is not the act of seeking transparency that is desperate, it is the way in which the message is relayed. If you just limit yourself to telling him how you feel, I fail to see how it can be misconstrued as desperation.

      Should that not be taken as a sign that he doesn’t want to communicate?

      Not really. He didn’t have to answer at all, but he did. He may not have used that scrap of communication as an excuse to broaden contact, but he didn’t dismiss it either. If he answered at all it demonstrates that to a certain degree he values contact.

      What I’m saying is that his answer does little to settle the scales of intent either way. His “lol” was simply a validation that he’d received the message. It’s a good sign in as far as that he respects or cares enough to validate the message, but it doesn’t address his feelings in any meaningful way. There’s simply not enough meat on the bone here for you to get rough idea of what’s going on internally.

      The feeling of being at a crossroads is accurate because that’s exactly what it is. The only thing left to do is choose a direction and go for it.

  • Hi,
    (Once again I would like to thank you for the time and thought you are putting into all of this.)
    This will be very long, sorry.

    I am struggling with this decision because I am fraught with insecurity. I am almost certain it was a factor in his decision to break up with me. Below I am going to give a brief summary of the relationship – some of it is not pretty and we are not proud of it. It may change your opinion of me and the whole ordeal. For reference I am 30 he is 27.

    We met at work 4.5 years ago, but didn’t really start hanging out until almost 3 years ago. The friendship quickly escalated into more of a FWB situation (after I had left the job) and he had a girlfriend at the time. I don’t know why I allowed such a thing to happen other than to say that I was so drawn to him (both sexually and mentally) that I let it cloud my judgment. I have always felt an extreme amount of guilt over this but I think I was so attached to him and the fact that a man found me attractive enough to pursue me (a very very rare thing – major insecurity there). This went on for nearly a year until his girlfriend finally broke up with him. We entered into a relationship 2 months later. We were together officially for a year and 4 months. We lived together for the last 4 months. Our major issues during the relationship were lack of communication and insecurities on both sides. Mine: I was always afraid that I wasn’t enough for him and he has a tendency to text other girls / ex-girlfriends. I was always afraid that he was keeping someone on the back burner, but at the same time he didn’t give me reason to not trust him so I did as best I could (I do not trust anyone easily). His: He has a lack of self worth, was insecure that I make more money, and has issue stemming from his parents divorce.

    Through out the relationship, I would pick fights stemming from my insecurities and he would shut down, which would make the fights worse. But we were usually able to talk it out and be ok (until the last fight 3 days before the break up). Another issue was his lack of sex drive – I didn’t notice it before the relationship because we only hung out about once a week. Once we were together all the time, our sex life went from once a week and dwindled to more like once a month – despite my telling him I wanted more intimacy. I really don’t know if this was normal for him or a by product of something else (illness or stress). This actually became a big contention between us, more because I felt like he was no longer sexually attracted to me despite him saying otherwise. But for the most part, we had worked most of this issue out, or so I thought. One thing we didn’t really get to experience as a couple was sleeping together in the same bed. He works nights, so we didn’t get that bonding experience.

    But overall, we connected very well, always enjoyed each others’ company, and spent pretty much everyday together the entire relationship (even when we weren’t living together) – maybe this was a mistake. We never really dated, we just went from ‘friends’ to being in a committed relationship. Maybe this was a mistake also. But I felt we loved each other very much and I really saw a true future with him – knowing both of us had some growing and maturing to do.

    (Note, we have met each others extended families, vacationed together, and had talked long term)

    The last month of our relationship is when he all of sudden began pulling away. His sister got engaged at the end of November (I don’t know if this is relevant). He became distant and didn’t want to talk as much. I wasn’t a major change all at once, but gradual and I didn’t pick up on it until it was too late. I was hoping to talk with him about what was going on the week he broke up with me. 3 days before, we had another fight stemming from an insecurity of mine. He stonewalled me for the rest of that day and we were not able to come to a good conclusion to the fight that night. He was very distant for the next 3 days and then he broke up with me.

    His initial reason: He has decided he wants kids but doesn’t think I do. (he doesn’t know my stance on kids since we haven’t talked about it) I quickly shot down that as a reason for the break up and forced him to tell me why he was doing this:
    – He doesn’t feel like he makes me happy (he did, but I had a hard time showing that apparently),
    – he doesn’t feel good enough for me (thinks I am smarter than him, I make more money),
    – doesn’t like how our relationship started (he cheated on his ex-girlfriend with me – I am not proud of this either and it has weighed heavily on my mind as well),
    – he has lost his love for me and not sure he knows what love is,
    – doesn’t like that his automatic reaction to anything tough is anger (he feels he relies on anger)
    – blames himself for his parents divorce (he was 15)
    During this conversation he broke down and began to cry (have only seen him do this once before during one of previous fights when he thought he wasn’t making me happy) and he then full out broke down for a solid 3-5 minutes bawling – I don’t know what caused this. It was an intense conversation that lasted a few hours. He also admitted to me that I am the only person who has ever been able to get him to open up. He also said he wanted to stay friends – but I think this is the most selfish thing a dumper can ask. I think I handled the breakup as best I could, I did cry a lot, but I didn’t yell or scream. I did force him to tell me the true reasons though. But it hasn’t helped me accept the breakup.

    I think he thought that he would continue to live in the apartment after the breakup, but I had to ask him to leave for my own sanity as I was taken by such surprise and so hurt by it. He was gone a week later, we had very little contact during that time – on the day he moved the last of his stuff I was here and he came in very angry, but I was able to calm him down and he left amicably – there was not talk of the relationship. He went to stay on an ex-girlfriend’s couch and is still there almost 2 months later – I don’t know when he will be moving into his new apartment. All other communication between us has already been discussed.

    Well, that is the nitty gritty of it all. I don’t know why I wrote it out, but there you go. I don’t know why, but the last few days I have just felt more and more lost about this whole situation.

    From a male perspective, is there hope for reconciliation (I know, not a fair question, but I have to ask) with all that has happened and all that was said? How do I gradually reopen the lines of communication? (he does not use email) What do I talk about initially?

    (I apologize for the length of this and just dumping it all out there)

  • Hey,

    Well, bear in mind the website is called unknown for a reason, and that reason is that people (and myself) should be able to discuss this stuff without judgment. To judge would defeat the purpose, so don’t worry on that account!

    I can’t help but feel that his “list of reasons” rings more like a series of excuses than honest self-evaluation.

    Claiming things like you’re to good for him, or he can’t make you happy screams of a soft let-down. Because projecting in this way is usually aimed at softening the blow. Obviously these aren’t things he gets to decide — they are yours.

    The only thing he takes personal responsibility for is his loss of “love”. But given the fact that he says he doesn’t know what love is, it makes me question what feelings he had when your relationship did work. Was that not love? And if it wasn’t what was it?

    Lust? Nope, you made clear it wasn’t about that.

    Affection and attention? Doesn’t really sound like he relied on those either to be honest.

    What that leaves is camaraderie and friendship (mixed with romance), and given the fact that you state you enjoyed each others company, it seems likely that it seems likely that a relationship (to him) means upgrading adventure into something more intimate.

    This is obviously my gut feeling and not a fact!

    If that’s the case, it would make sense that he would wish to remain friends, because if the responsibility that comes along with a relationship had become stressful or draining to him, downgrading in this way would allow him to keep the perks of the relationship (your company) without the responsibility and sacrifice needed to fuel commitment.

    So, with regards to reconciling, given my gut instinct on what I’ve read. I think that reconciliation may be possible if it is framed in a way which attempts to shred whatever piling up of responsibility has accumulated. His worry about having kids could be another sign of this fear of commitment piling up.

    Thing is though, it’s not really fair to ask this of you, relationships involve co-responsibility because they are — in the end — an ongoing product of compromise. But it is — as they say — what it is.

  • Hi,

    Thank you for the lack of judgement, as I have placed plenty on myself by this point as it is.

    So, are you saying that your gut feeling is that he was in the relationship for only the friendship and is likely not interested in being romantically involved? If so, should I even look to reconciliation as an option? I can’t be ‘just friends,’ and I don’t know if I ever could be.

    He was the one who usually suggested we do the more romantic things in the relationship (dates and what not) and he was always initiating the smaller intimacies such as kissing, holding hands, hugs, cuddling (we both were). Towards the end we lost some of that, but I am not sure if it was in response to him pulling away or we just became too complacent.

    “So, with regards to reconciling, given my gut instinct on what I’ve read. I think that reconciliation may be possible if it is framed in a way which attempts to shred whatever piling up of responsibility has accumulated. His worry about having kids could be another sign of this fear of commitment piling up.”

    I am unsure what you mean by this. Do you think he shows signs of a commitment-phobe?

  • Not solely a platonic friendship, otherwise it would never have escalated as far as it did.

    You mentioned the birth of it all being FWB, perhaps those were the pillars that he was initially comfortable with before it erupted and became a fully fledged relationship, and he may feel as if the relationship had outgrown his initial intention. Don’t quote me on that though, it’s just a possibility for you to consider.

    Whatever the reason is, it does seem as if he reached a point where the weight of the relationship may have trumped the benefits of romance. Namely: Feeling responsible and being responsible (he does mention feeling responsible for making you feel a certain way after all).

    This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s phobic with regards to commitment, merely that he wasn’t able or willing to commit (maybe in general, or maybe with you. When he says he doesn’t know what love is he’s implying in general).

    Holding hands, cuddling and kissing are signs of affection and as such show that he is/was both attracted to you and that he cared. You obviously already know that, but just because they were part of the romantic routine doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t ultimately shy away from the relationship out of fear or unwillingness to transition to long-term commitment.

    The fact that he slowly pulled away could well have been complacency, but it might also reflect ever-increasing internal distance. Often the two feed off each other.

  • Are these signs that I should just throw in the towel and move on with out the hope of us getting back together? Or do you still feel a conversation between the two of us would be a good idea? Should I just move forward with out that hope and deal with any possible communication he might initiate in the future?

    He was the pursuer in the beginning, he acted like he wanted to spend all of this time with me, I was the one who asked if we were exclusive at the official start of the relationship and he immediately said yes – I am pretty sure it had been assumed prior to that, but we used that as our anniversary date, which he was the one to remember and remind me of a month beforehand. He didn’t like it when I traveled without him and always acted like I had been gone for months when I returned after just a few days. We had a co-dependent relationship, I realize that now, but I really feel we both were overall happy and committed.

    Something else I forgot to mention – up until November (a month and half before the breakup), he did not have a license or vehicle. He rode his bike to work and relied on me to get him around. The only reason he has those now is because I researched and found out he did qualify for a hardship license and he purchased my old truck off of me. Could his new found freedom have had a part in his decision?

    Right now, I truly can not stand life with out him here. Despite my efforts to be more social, spend more time with friends and family, and picking up new hobbies. A major issue for me now is that I work from home, by myself. I am obsessively reading articles and forums about getting an ex back and clinging to the few reconcile stories that are out there as a form of hope for me. I know this behavior is damaging, but I simply have not been able to stop. I also check is FB page on a daily basis – thankfully he is not an active user as far as posting go. I don’t know if I can unfriend him, to be honest.

    Starting over would also be extremely hard as we were such a presence in each others daily lives. How would we even begin that transition from together all the time – to now, where we are completely absent from each others lives – to the possibility of ‘starting over’?

    I don’t know how to proceed and feel that I am in a current state of limbo.

  • If, and that’s a big if, what I surmise is true, then it still doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel because the solution would be to rebuild the relationship in a way that does lead him to feel pressured or drained.

    This may or may not be possible because it would involve collaboration, and his willing participation (along with yours), and nobody can guarantee that — even if you were to reconcile. But unless an attempt is made you’ll never find out.

    By throwing in the towel you will eventually move on, granted. But you will move on regardless of what happens next.

    Even if the answer is a flat no, what do you lose in the long run (obviously in the short term the pain will flare even worse) by reaching out? What I’m saying is that if you’re willing to throw in the towel you’ve already considered making it a no preemptively, if you’re going to do that you might as well hear it from him, so you don’t keep asking yourself “what if” a year from now.

    At some point I honestly believe that the anxiety stemming from the edge of obsession (which is perfectly normal in the wake of a breakup) you mention can override the pain of separation itself. I can only speak for myself, but that’s what happened with me. I came to the point where the damage I was inflicting on my own psyche was objectively worse than getting hit on the head by rejection.

    And rejection it was. But here I am, alive and kicking!

  • Yeah,

    At this point I have to decide on what I feel I need to say and then decide if it is worth saying. I think it will take me a little while to determine those two things. And then the hard part of opening communication with him again to see if he is even willing to meet. That will be the first indication if he would even be willing to try and start over (which I agree, is the only step forward – the previous relationship is done, it was broken).

    And you are right, the pressure and anxiety I am putting myself through are becoming far worse than that of the pain I felt after the breakup, and I am not sure I am willing to live with this much longer.

    I was able to have a long hard talk with my mom tonight about all of it and she brought up some very valid points (many of which were hard to hear) but they did bring some clarity. Hopefully I can keep that clarity in the coming day while I figure these things out.

    Thanks again, I will try to update this if anything happens either way.

  • Hey,

    I doubt anything will sound trivial. You have given excellent insight and advice so far. So please share if you have any more thoughts.


  • Hey, (posted this in another article that it relates to also.)

    If a guy ‘cuts and runs’ due to fear of intimacy that stems from his own insecurities and low self esteem, (things my ex struggles with greatly) is there a reason to believe that they will come back (either on their own or if approached)? Or will they blame you for the resulting trauma because you were the one present when things obviously came to a head?

    (Yes, I am still struggling with all of this unfortunately)

  • If it was insecurity that led to breakup rather than a flatter sense of having lost his feelings for you, then once the insecurity itself subsides or is dealt with, then there’s a chance – yes.

    But the question of whether or not this happens remains, and there’s obviously no guarantee that it will.

    If he does blame you, and you are fundamentally guiltless (you are not to blame for his insecurity unless you consciously manipulated it), then it’s really only a defense mechanism aimed at averting personal responsibility.

    But given the fact that he broke up with you, I don’t see how he could justify that particular anger.

  • I don’t think I manipulated his insecurities. I always tried to encourage and build him up. He was uncomfortable with the idea that I am ‘smarter’ and have more money than him. (I am not smarter, but I am more highly educated. He is very smart but in a different way than I am and I thought I made that clear to him and I never knowingly made it seem like it was an issue, because I didn’t see it as one.)

    I messaged him on FB today to let him know that he had mail here. He did not respond even though he saw the message. So I am not sure how I would open further dialogue with him at this point, as it seems he doesn’t want to communicate and I don’t want to push. My emotions oscillate constantly and trying not to give in to the desperate feelings are hard. The letting him know he has mail was in a moment of weakness, but it has been 2 weeks since he was last here (to sign papers and when he got the last bunch of mail) so I figured it would a benign enough thing to say.

    So, what to do at this point? Just drop it and see if he contacts me in the future? What do I do with his mail? He obviously hasn’t changed his address yet, and knowing our post office, it will be weeks after he finally does for his mail to stop coming here.

    Gah, this is so frustrating.

  • If disclosing how you feel is too hard at the moment then dropping it for the moment is probably your best bet because you’ve planted a seed in any case (picking up his mail). It gives him an opening should he choose to accept it.

    It is a benign thing to say, despite it primarily being borne out of a desire to contact, it is nevertheless something he needs to know about.

    Moments of weakness happen to the best of us, thankfully in this case it didn’t really muddy the waters, while it may have been a moment of weakness, you did have a legitimate reason to let him know about the mail. Even if he already knew.

  • Yeah,

    He did this before also, when told about important mail that had arrived. He didn’t respond and never came to get it until I asked him to come over and sign a paper for the vehicle (almost a week and half after being told about the first batch of mail). I don’t really understand his actions on that or this. He agreed right away to come sign the papers (knowing he would have to interact with me) but never made a plan to pick up the mail? (even though some of it was very important and time sensitive – the timeline of which passed by the time he came over – at which time he did get the first batch) The signing was not an unpleasant experience – he was upset later in the day when he actually read the new contract (I pointed all new points out to him when he signed, but used the excuse of being half asleep), but we worked that out over FB message and he ended the conversation by recommending a game to me. (The one he would use to extend the conversation when contacted me last Friday – the topic of an earlier post here)

    Today, I know he was active on his gaming system at the time I told him (so he was awake – works nights, and the message on FB said it had been seen) and he is staying just 2 buildings away – so it is not like it would be a major inconvenience to come and get it. Does he maybe see this as a covert way for me to try and get him over here? That may be a very small thing in the back of my mind, but really I just don’t like knowing its here – as it just feels like another ‘connection’ to him that is holding me back. Is he using this as a way to have an opportunity for future contact? Or does he just not care?

    Gah! Again, frustrating.

  • Yes, having crumbs like that around the house means littering the place with emotional triggers.

    I recall my ex calling me asking me what to do with my stuff (that was at our old place) and I literally told her to burn it. No idea if she did…

    Clarity was worth more to me than $100 worth of clothes. Knowing I’d see her face to face made me flinch (I had gone no contact to heal, after 2 months of it I got to the point where I actually avoided her rather than longed for her because of how much progress I’d made on the healing front).

    Perhaps he feels the same way, and that seeing you would weaken his breakup resolve. I don’t know. Or perhaps he just genuinely doesn’t care about the mail. Both are possibilities.

    It’s also possible, as you say, that it’s a way of keeping the connection alive. Because he knows that sooner of later he will come and pick it up. Definitely. The problem with reading into that though, is that fuels hope in you as well, so if it doesn’t pan out that way, the sword cuts both ways.

  • PS: My last “Gah! Again, frustrating.” is said with a little jest. I am not overly angry or emotional, just… frustrated. lol

  • Hi,

    I guess I just don’t understand why he would immediately (with in a few minutes) arrange a time to come do the paperwork (something he didn’t think was overly important before as far as I know) but not do this.

    And yes, I am reading too much into it, because I do still hope he will just come back and say he wants to try again.

    The mixed signals though… or are they only mixed on my end?

  • Just confirms he really isn’t intent on ignoring you, beyond that it would be possible to convince oneself of anything.

    E.g: What if he waited for hours to not look desperate?

    You might as well flip a coin :)

    I wouldn’t read into it, it’s good news in as far as that he isn’t ignoring you or is superficially resentful.

    The way I read it, it isn’t a mixed message. There’s nothing to misinterpret other than why he replied in the first place, which is probably just out of thanks.

    Naturally that will never stop anyone from not over-analyzing it after a breakup of course, that’s just how our brains work (usually without our consent I might add). But at least externally nothing has really changed.

  • My mixed signals comment was towards the fact that he seemed open during the talk of him getting a new apartment, a promotion, adjusting the payment, and the game. (He initiated, responding quickly after I had responded) Giving the quick response (even if it was only ‘lol’) to the dog picture. But then (seemingly, given it showed that he had seen the message w/in minutes of me sending it) actively waiting hours to respond today.

    I know I am ‘reading between the lines,’ but discussing it with you helps me keep a level head, and I really appreciate your help and thoughtful responses.

    (Side note, after the breakup, we had agreed to a ‘schedule’ for us to go to the gym. Apparently on Wednesday he showed up much earlier than usual at a time I would usually be there – I had decided not to go for some reason, and I don’t know he actually knows what times I go. He just said he was sticking to his normal schedule and I have been working around that. Today, he shows up an hour earlier than he normally would have while I was just finishing up with the trainer.
    He walked straight past me and started working on the speed bag in the far corner. I walked by him to get to the bathroom (its a very small space) and we just sort of nodded our heads to each other. I left soon after, no words or other looks exchanged between us. I don’t know if this will become a regular occurrence and I don’t know if he is doing it intentionally. Any thoughts?)

    • Hey Sarah,

      Well the previously discussed “lol” answer and his “thanks for the heads” up are the online equivalents of nodding heads offline so I suppose that makes sense.

      It seems likely that there’s a fundamental unwillingness on both sides to initiate. I don’t mean initiate solely with regards to reconciling, but if you parted ways amicably then saying “hi” would be the polite minimum, you do have a history that warrants that much.

      I don’t want to fuel the fires here, but a cursory mutual nod seems there’s still some insecurity here, not just on your side, but on both. If he was over it he probably wouldn’t have a problem with asking how you were doing (he’d have nothing to lose or fear by having a conversation with you). Again, gut instinct here.

      So when you ask if it’s intentional, it seems — to me — probable that he might have also feared an open-ended discussion.

      But I risk over-analyzing here, because again, we aren’t dealing with anything concrete, and he might just have been pensive or distracted.

  • Hello James,
    I just wanted to update you on how I am doing since the break up 2 weeks ago. I’m truly getting to know who I am as a “Being” internally with the emotional roller coaster (our subconscious) and working on them by facing them, I ‘m more in tune with “Awareness” which is already in us. I found that when I think I miss him and want to get back with him, my mind deceive me due to not facing, dealing what’s inside of me. Like you said, when emotions are at play, we have the tendencies to act upon our thoughts. What resonates from within is our utmost security from within. In the last 2 weeks, I’m truly honest with myself. I miss me not him. Sure I miss how he made me feel but really, that was from seeking validation and approval or oneness but I’ve been giving those to myself and these patterns of longing and wants from him are gradually disappearing and my security in loving myself is getting stronger. So all the “ifs”, “uncertainties”, “should’ve”, “could’ve”, etc. Gone.. from my thoughts and mind.. it just is.. I was living, thinking about the past, what happened, trying to figure it out… living in the imagined future.. should I text him, etc which was daming the flow of the river per say which is my life instead of living in the now for me. The stucknesses within my emotions are gone.. I feel free. Until I come to terms within myself that I am my best friend and you are right “forgiveness” is the key and living in the now, I will feel stuck emotionally. Let it flow.. as is.. thank you for everything that you do! Aloha!

    • Aloha Leilani,

      Glad to hear it!

      Yup, that’s why relationship grief is usually a blessing in disguise, it allows us to start fresh with a better understanding of who we are and what we want. And there’s that clean feeling (once you get there) of having fought for that right. We did it on our own, without requiring validation or support from anyone else. It’s definitely empowering.

      I thought my breakup would break me, and it did, but I realize now that it was a prerequisite to building myself up again into something more productive and — ultimately — more fulfilling.

      Thanks for checking back in, it made me smile. Best of luck!

  • So, how open the line of communication then? Or do I even try at this point? Wait for him? Message him again with a direct request to talk? As silly as it sounds, I don’t want to come across as weak or pathetic, it was him who ended the relationship as a complete shock to me so I don’t want to appear to be begging. I feel that if there is even the smallest chance of starting over, it has to come from him. But he is also hard headed, stubborn, and internalizes everything. I don’t want to have to ‘convince’ him, as that will either lead to nowhere, or likely put us back in the same path to failure.
    I wish I could get the clarity Leilani has so quickly. But this loss has truly broken me.

  • You describe the post-breakup conundrum perfectly, and the cold, hard truth is that there are no easy answers. Every action you take is inherently risky.

    If you require him to initiate, because he did the breaking up, communication may dwindle to nothing and distance grow because — as you say — he will internalize and cement his insecurity.

    Conversely, if you reach out, there’s a chance that rejection or confusion further catalyze grief.

    There’s little I can add here, because it seems to me that you are well-aware of what the options — brutal as they may be — are.

    You asked me earlier what I would do, and what I would do is reach out. It’s easy to say for me, because I’m obviously not invested in the ordeal emotionally. But that is what I did when I reached the very same crossroad. And although it did lead to rejection, I can honestly say that getting an answer, literally “any” answer, was better than not having any at all.

    Beyond this though, I unfortunately can’t honestly think of a way to ease the situation, or make it any less frustrating for you. Sure, there are lots of gimmicks out there that claim to solve this stuff, but the reality is that they only serve deflect and delay. The core issue of seeking clarity will remain unless it is confronted.

  • I know you are right, but I am allowing fear to hold me back. I will have to overcome or succumb to that.

    You mentioned, either here or in another article, that you had a reconciliation at one point and that it ended badly. Would you mind sharing why it failed? Was it a lack of willingness from both sides to work together and compromise? Or did it boil down to a lack of compatibility? If you don’t wish to share, I completely understand. I am just trying to lay the groundwork for myself to see if I think it would work with him again. My gut says yes, but my mind is throwing out the reasons it won’t and my heart is begging for things to go back to the way they were when we were truly happy (or, at least I think we were).

  • I’ve had failed reconciliations happen a couple of times, despite willingness on both sides.

    This is going to sound pretty cynical but the truth is that I am now (as a result of personal experiences) convinced that love alone is not enough to have a relationship.

    In my case(s), while love was present, we were fundamentally incompatible (e.g completely different relationship goals, different ways of quantifying fulfillment e.t.c), and we ran on the fumes of love for years, but we tore ourselves apart compromising what was important to us as individuals in a desperate attempt to keep the ball rolling.

    You can work on communication, you can work on insecurity, but if settling means that one person (or both) is forced to amputate their own fundamental needs, then in the end someone is going to become miserable, and if one person does, both people do. Hence the never ending downwards spiral of greater distance -> greater insecurity.

    I’m pretty sure that whether its 6 months down the line, or 6 years down the line, this process accounts for the death of most relationships. And it’s probably for the best.

  • Thank you for sharing. I have also come to realize that love is not enough. I thought I understood that before, but I definitely do now more than ever.

    I am hopeful that as long as enough healing has taken place (obviously, that will take more time) and we can learn what each of our own ‘love languages’ are and are able and willing to fulfill them for each other, we could start over.

    I know I am probably in the bargaining stage of the grieving process (…again… I seem to be fundamentally going through all of the stages over and over it seems, sometimes all at once, lol) but I have to be able to look forward, and right now he is what I see. But given that I am still in the major processes of grief, I think this is why I am so undecided on reaching out to him (though I did have the text written out a few hours ago, but stopped myself from hitting send – I am not yet sure why).

    Logically, I know I need to be able to look at the situation from a ‘neutral’ (as possible) standpoint and I know that with time, my definition of ‘forward’ may/will change. Emotionally, right now, I want to run up to him and beg for him to take me back. Thankfully, I have enough self control to not only NOT do that, but to realize it is strictly an emotional response that ebbs and flows and will dissipate with more time.

    At present, I plan on just continuing on as I have been (being more social, working out, focusing on healing, and dealing with the emotions as they come) and see where I am in a couple of weeks. This obviously runs the risk of things for him ‘changing’ in either a good or bad way (as far as my current desires are concerned), but I know right now is not the time for me, emotionally, to see or converse with him. I would be ok if it were over a medium (FB or text) but not in person, and what I want to say needs more intimate contact than that I think. If he reaches out to me (at this point, with me informing him of his mail, the ‘ball is in his court’) I will respond while still protecting myself from as much hurt as possible. If he does not, well – then as you have said – that is also an ‘answer.’ If we happen to run into each other at the gym again, I am hopeful I will be able handle the situation better and try to be more … open/friendly, and less hostile. (No words were spoken, but we did basically avoid each other) I don’t know how I will feel in the next few weeks, but the swings in my moods over the last week alone tell me loud and clear that I am not in a frame of mind to make a big or rash decision. I think we both need more time regardless of the ultimate outcome.

    Does that sound crazy? lol

    • Sarah,

      You’re absolutely welcome!

      Doesn’t sound crazy at all, in fact, you sound quite a bit more assertive than when this discussion started.

      One thing that continues to confuse me though, if you don’t mind me prodding a bit, is this idea of “looking desperate”. I don’t agree that reaching out gives that impression. I’d say that if someone reached out to me in a transparent and assertive way I’d be more likely to credit them with courage than anything else.

      Not saying you should of course, that’s absolutely your decision to make. But I wouldn’t hold back for fear of how you would be judged.

  • Again, I want you know how much I appreciate you continuing to converse with me regarding these issues. Even though you can not give me any of the concrete answers I am asking for (I know, not fair and not possible, lol), you have continued to be remarkably helpful to me in working through these feelings and questions on my own. Your opinions, experiences, and insights offer a great deal of assistance.

  • Hi Sarah,

    I empathize with what you are going through with your emotions. Believe me I thought I was broken as well but the clarity and awareness brought to the reality that I truly needed is me. I need me.. I do a lot of releasing and meditation since I’m into “Yoga” so I reach my higher spirituality. I love me :) so there are no “what if’s” see, if you focus on self love, you will find that what happens around you is natural and when you accept and have “love” for you, “Clarity” and “Self Love” will forever be your feeling- keep busy, continue to work out, set your goals, let go of self blame and write in your journal. Insecurities and fears seem to come to the surface from way back prior to our relationships. It is difficult but it’s a choice. Spend time with yourself. Love who you really are.. the “Core” you are “Beautiful” “Strong” and “Loving” we ALL are. When emotions rise up, stay and face them. Don’t run away.. it’s okay- Remember.. you are Confident, boundless and Strong! Stay busy and Love yourself!! Nameste :) life is beautiful! It is you!

  • Btw, I still go through the roller coaster of emotions but I’m okay with them now.. I don’t suppress, hide nor take them personally anymore.. it just is… he broke up with you? so be it.. it’s not the end of the world. Love you.. let go of wanting happiness outside yourself from any person, place or thing in the waking dreams and stay the happiness that you are.. he will come to you when and if he needs to and if not, it’s okay too. Love. Yourself! I thought my ego was bruized but again, I know “Ego” is just one of our Emotions. It’s not me. No matter what what happens, you, I, We as one will be okay.. we are and will always be “Peace” :)

  • Leilani,
    Thank you for your kind words, they are really touching and compassionate. I will try to work towards self love, something I have never been good with.

    I guess I just don’t know how to reach out to him. I can see how me just coming out and saying “hey, I want to talk to you because I want us to try again,” can be contrived by others as a desperate attempt to hold onto to the past, when really I am just looking forward. Also, since he is the dumper, me coming to him with this can look like I am coming on my hands and knees to beg for him back. I don’t (and haven’t) want to beg, but how to convey the message otherwise?

    My heart is yearning for what was, but I know that is gone, but feel it could be rebuilt better if both of us are willing to try. But at the same time, there is the issue of timing. It’s been just under two months, he hasn’t moved into his new apartment as far as I can tell, he just got the promotion and I don’t know it that has started, and he hasn’t reached out to me in over a week. All this points to the likelihood that he won’t be very receptive for whatever reason. I am now also dealing with the fear that I won’t be able to find my trust in him again. Which was an issue from the start b/c I don’t trust easily and it took a while for me to build my trust in him before.

    I am just as lost as ever, but have a better handle on my emotions than before. I have never been good at verbal communication and neither is he. So a face to face scares me. The thought of sending him a letter (don’t know if that is even a good idea) and possibly never hearing a response (and not seeing body language or reaction to the letter) scares me also.

    Things like this are what are holding me back and giving the impression/fear that I will look desperate.

  • Fair enough. I absolutely don’t mean that passive aggressively, just in the sense that we’re different people with different models of judgement.

    I realize now that when I reached out, I did it more for myself than anything else, and as such I didn’t really care how I came across. I did it for my own sense of clarity, and at that stage clarity trumped whatever notion of dignity I might have had.

    Looking at it now, I suppose I see your side of the argument (beyond just the abject fear you mention). There’s the risk of cracking the ego open and spreading the pain from just the breakup to a larger sense of questioning self-worth.

    I definitely plummeted to ground zero on that score. To the point where I was amazed (and suspicious) that people actually were interested in dating me after the breakup itself.

    I think rebuilding my ego masked a lot of the breakup pain because it became the more critical of the two problems I was dealing with. A little like ignoring the headache because your leg is cramping.

  • Yes, I think that is where I am now, trying to rebuild my ego without going through the pain of further rejection from him – though the ‘not knowing’ the ‘what ifs’ may prove to be just as damaging; only time will tell I guess. While I do think he still has feelings for me, I know him well enough to know how stubborn and single minded he can be and only he can decide what he wants to do and how to go about it. At this point, he has to realize that the lines of communication are open, and I am not sure there is anything more I can do.

    May I ask how you approached your ex when you reached out? Did it start with innocent texts that built up to the possibility of a meet up, or did you just come right out and ask? Also, when you had the conversation, how did you go about expressing your desire to reconcile? (This is a major sticking point for me, as I really have no idea what process would be good to take or how to go about this if I do decide this is the road to take – though I do know it is different for everyone.) I am so much better with my written communication, but not sure it is a good medium for expressing such feelings. (He is not much of a reader, or talker, – he’s a gamer, so really is just overly anti-social. lol) A lot of our communication was through text when we were not together. Never had a prolonged phone call and both of us are uncomfortable talking on the phone in general.

    Add to all that is going on internally for me, I have friends and family members who I value and trust telling me I need to move on, he isn’t good enough for me, asking why I would want to go back to someone who acted like he did (immature and running away instead of facing the problems we had when they arose rather than concealing what was going on in his head…), … I also have my fears that he may have cheated on me or is sleeping with the person he is currently crashing with (she is an ex-girlfriend which has thrown my internal struggles into a massive torrent.) Not sure I have mentioned this fear to you.

  • In my case it was a little weird. She didn’t actually break up with me but kept asking for more time.

    This would normally have been okay but she was due to leave the country in a couple of months, and by shutting me out in this way it became evident that she would be leaving me behind (are we supposed to just get back together two days before leaving with even talking about it? Yea. No. I think changing country warrants a little more discussion than that).

    So we kept throwing crumbs at each other (I miss having coffees with you, etc) for weeks. Finally just got sick of it all and phoned her and asked her for a straight yes/no answer.

    I’m usually not this direct, but I feel the situation forced my hand, and I needed to know what my priorities were.

    It was a no. I thanked her for being honest, erected an iron curtain and got on with things (things weren’t quite that simple, but that’s the long and short of it).

    It sucked, but not living on the edge of doubt did help a great deal.

  • That is a rough situation, sorry you had to go through it. It is almost worst than where I am. I have already been rejected, but can’t move past the feelings I had during the relationship.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • I didn’t move past those feelings either, but I had no choice. Sometimes I still feel the odd pang of remorse, but it’s no longer something debilitating, just background noise.

    Bear in mind the entire debacle lasted months, and it took me close to a year to feel somewhat “free”.

    Making this website helped me channel those feelings. It was my version of what Leilani referred to as “make a journal”. The first few articles I wrote are quite palpably the result of dealing with those feelings. And it’s amazing how the tone has changed from then to now!

    It really is a one-day at a time thing. There’s no other way. Drop by drop, bit by bit, you tear your way through it.

  • Gah, I did it again -_- (I thought I was regaining some control over my impulses…)

    I mistakenly looked at his FB page and he had posted a meme about a “fitness tip” that made a joke about sleeping more, working out more, eating more, and ‘burn your ex’s house down.’ I didn’t understand why he would post something like that. Instead of obsessing about it all day, I decided to message him, and we had the following exchange.

    Me: Why would you want to burn my house down?
    – Him: I’ve never said or thought that
    Me: Oh, I was just referring to your last post. It popped up randomly on my page lol
    – Him: My last post was about a “fitness tip”
    Me: It says ‘burn your ex’s house down’ at the end.
    – Him: Oh. Well it may be a joke in poor taste, you didn’t take my dogs so your house is safe (referring to his last ex who took the dogs when they broke up)
    – Me: Good to know

    (A few minutes later in an attempt to not look ‘weird’ for messaging him)
    Me: Oh, the reason I messaged you, I was wondering when you were going to make the february truck payment?
    – Him: Never!
    – Him: Jk I forgot
    – Him: Been busy getting shit ready to move wednesday
    – Him: Anyway It can wait til friday?. I actually did some overtime this week
    Me: ok
    – Him: Thanks *my name*
    Me: yep
    Me: good luck with the move
    – Him: Thanks, 3 flights in my near future
    Me: oh?
    – Him: Ya. It’s on the 3rd floor, I’m gonna break that couch into tiny pieces
    Me: ah, I thought you meant flights – as in flying somewhere. ll
    lol (Our trip to Las Vegas last year was his first time on an airplane)
    Me: Third floor moves are no fun
    – Him: I agree, but nobody will be stomping around on my head while I sleep
    Me: that will be nice.
    – Him: Yes Indeed
    Me: That was my biggest complaint in my last apartment.

    I don’t know if this was a pleasant exchange, a negative exchange, or just a neutral one. I know I shouldn’t have looked at his page in the first place, but I am still working on that impulse. I almost asked him out for a coffee, but I don’t want to add to his stress with moving (and risk him being less receptive to having a conversation). Also, still don’t think I am ready nor do I know if I actually want to have the conversation anymore (at the present moment, who knows how I will feel later). I do know that this conversation showed him that I am obviously not over him, that I still look at his FB page, and that I am still insecure, so I don’t know if I have set myself back.

  • Well,

    I bit the bullet and sent him a message asking him if he wants to meet for coffee or something after he has moved and settled in.

    I woke up this morning not wanting to live in the limbo anymore, and as much as I have been trying to convince myself over the last few days that I could move on with out further action towards him from me, I know myself better than that. With the above invitation, I have released that nervousness and feel that I will have my answer one way or another with out having to question. I have launched the ball into his court, so to speak. What ever happens, it will be an answer I guess. I am not sure what I will say, but have the ‘excuse’ of giving him his mail and a few of his things I have found (have not mentioned these to him, but will act as a buffer if he says yes). I will keep it short and as pleasant as possible. Just need to figure out what to say – assuming he says yes and schedules a time. If he says no, then I will take that as an answer and use it to progress my healing and move on (hopefully, but it could just cause me to go into another spiral) On one level, I am kind of hoping he does say no, as I know my nerves will be on edge otherwise figuring out what to do and say.

    I hope this current feeling of release and calm lasts more than just a few hours. lol

    Thoughts on that last exchange in my previous post? It seems he is somewhat open to communication, so I am hopeful we can have a productive exchange either in person or through text (if he decides he doesn’t want to meet).

  • Sorry to post again with out waiting for your response, but I have my answer. His response was: “I Dunno, let me think about it.” I took that as a ‘NO’ and didn’t respond since I was running out the door. I came home an hour later to “What for? – Cuz I don’t want to meet. So can you just say what you want to say?. I’ve been stupid busy and don’t have the time” So I am taking that as a ‘H*LL NO’ and not responding. He is trying to bait me into a fight and I don’t want to go down that road. He has done that before on a few occasions and I have had to calm him down, and I simply don’t have it in me to do it again.

    So, what’s done is done, if he contacts me in the future I will respond based on how I feel at the time, but for now – I can move out the ‘pining’ and the ‘what if’ limbo I have held myself in for the last 2 months. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my chest. I know I am not healed, that I will still suffer pangs of sadness, loneliness, and will want to contact him – but I think it will be easier from here on out. I can focus solely on me and not wonder if what I am doing will affect him or how he perceives me.

  • Unfortunate, but yes, at least you have a better idea of what your priorities are. This way he knows not only what your feelings are, but that the ball is most definitely in his court should he have a change of heart. So yes, you’ve done what you can, and hopefully the pain is clean this time around and not laced with “what ifs”.

    Sorry for the terse reply, I’m traveling at the moment with sporadic time and Internet access.

  • Hi,

    Don’t know if you are still checking this article but I figured this would be a good place to write.

    Its been two weeks since my last writing. I haven’t contacted him other than to ask for his monthly payment on the truck a week ago. A few days later he messaged me on FB – “Since I know it was a big deal to you, check this out..” He then posted a picture showing a zero balance on a debt he had (that had been sent to collections and that I had pushed him to take care of during the relationship.) I told him “Congrats, that’s really great” and he said “thanks.” (this was a week ago)

    My brother said not to take it as a malicious act, and maybe it just shows that I had a good influence on him. I can’t help but feel that it was a slap in the face to show me how well he is doing with out me.

    I am no longer in the limbo of wondering what is going to happen, but I am still very emotional (more inwardly than before) over all of this and I still miss him and want him back. I am working towards moving on and I am doing much better than before, but I am still having random moments of sadness and longing.

    I guess I just wanted to update and ask why, from a guys perspective, he would send that picture to me? Why, 2 months after breaking up with me and telling me he didn’t want to see me, would he bring up his debt with me? Why send out that ‘bread crumb?’ Was my short response adequate? Should I have tried to continue the conversation? Should I have not responded at all?

    (And yes, I still hate all of this, lol. But really, I am doing better than before and I want to thank you again for your help.)

    • Hey Sarah!

      I think, all in all, I agree with your brother. Thing is, just because you’ve parted ways, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an ailing connection (as you well know). I find it likely that he still values your respect and feedback, and that he may have been proud of his achievement and wanted to share it with someone who would care.

      Of course, this doesn’t preclude that it wasn’t a “forget me not”, but it doesn’t strike me as overly vicious, although it is possibly a little selfish (he discounts how this might open a wound).