- 5 years ago
Regular bee going anon here. I wholeheartedly apologize ahead of time, as I know I’m about to word vomit a novel out. That being said, these have been the longest and most confusing two weeks of my life and I know I’m going to get better advice and thoughts if I can be as detailed as possible.
My (currently former) SO and I have been together for two and a half years. We are both in our early twenties and both employed, though I am still a student and he has graduted. We met each other at a function in the major city near our two college towns, contacted each other, and were dating within a number of days. Our relationship started out fast, furious, and serious, and admittedly has probably always been. We were long distance for nine months, driving three hours every weekend to see each other. After a little over a year of dating, we decided to move in together. In retrospect, this happened more out of convenience than readiness and it’s likely something we were not ready for. Not to say that living together wasn’t/isn’t wonderful, just that it’s a very dramatic change to go from seeing each other once a week to living together without that opportunity to find out what just being a regular couple in the same town is like first.
After six months or so, our lease ended and we moved into a place of our own, despite previously having two awful roommates. Combine a lack of other people to sometimes act as a buffer, him graduating and having much more free time, me switching to a study plan that had me at the house a lot more, and you end up with a couple that just simply spends way too much time with each other. We loved each other and knew it was a problem, but weren’t sure how to remedy it. Unfortunately this, combined with us being young and not always fair fighters, meant a lot of times that the “move out” card got threatened when a fight would get really big. This happened infrequently but it happened enough times that we recently mutually agreed that searching our own places would be the best thing for our relationship and for us to continue growing.
This brings us to the real point of my post. A little over two weeks ago, I mentioned to him that I was finding it really hard to comprehend what was going on and where he was mentally at when I knew it’d been a couple of weeks since we’d decided to live separately, yet he’d made no progress or attempts to find a place or contact anyone. He got really upset and insulted and told me that if I felt he wasn’t doing a good enough job, we’d probably just better break up. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. Knowing him the way I do, I don’t think he really means it or wants it, but what else was there to do but take him at face value? I got out of the house for a couple of hours, came home, talked to him very briefly, and then went to bed. The next morning, I told him that I thought he’d be better off staying a co-worker’s house that night. He didn’t argue, I left for class, and came home to find all of his things still there. He’d taken no clothing, no toiletries, no pillow or blankets, left his laptop and prized musical instruments, etc., even though he’d left for work and was perfectly able to take them along.
Since that day, he spent a total of a week entirely out of the apartment. He stayed with his coworker for a couple of night’s and crashed in his boss’ guest room for the others while a close family member came to spend time with me. He naturally needed to get some things and texted a couple times to ask if he could stop by. Each time, I packed what he needed and handed everything right over to him, not letting him in the house. He was very confused by this, and made that very clear to me. I eventually let him come get all of his clothes, though he took nothing else, and he expressed the fact that he didn’t know why I wouldn’t let him in the apartment (which is only in my name, just so I don’t look like a law-breaking jerk), he hadn’t contacted me or anything because he’d been waiting for me to get in touch first, and he was glad to hear that I hadn’t “wanted to kick him out” but had because there was really no other option.
At the end of that week and weekend where I was forced to interact with him at work (we work at the same facility but have completely different positions), I started out on my own. He asked me if I’d allow him back in to sleep on the futon, and then backed out when I asked him why he wouldn’t rather stay at his friend’s instead of immediately saying yes. Pretty much no contact for the majority of that week, save for one night when I had to cover for someone and saw him at work. The weekend comes again, and he tries to initiate more contact. He brings my favorite candy to me to work in my favorite flavor, lets me know he’s leaving for the night, checks in with me constantly about how I’m doing, occasionally tries to make eye contact or smile at me, offers me take me on the long drive home, etc. I have really tried not to engage him too much or be too forgiving, but I also love the guy, so it’s really hard to completely shut him down or overanalyze the situation.
Finally, we hit the point where I have no other choice but to catch a ride from him. I text him to ask when he’s heading in to work, but don’t immediately ask for a ride, as I’m not expecting a response. Immediately, my phone blows up with texts, telling me when he has to be in but saying he’ll leave earlier if I have to be there earlier. I never even got to ask him for the ride. He also asks if he can come stay on the futon. Missing him, I finally cave. He comes over, it’s late, and he just asks me repeatedly what I’m thinking and if I have anything to talk about. Of course I had a lot to say, but I didn’t think that was an appropriate time to talk, so I let it drop. In the morning, we both got ready for work, ate breakfast together, and made small talk. Work was uneventful and I got sent him with someone else before he was excused. When he left, he contacted me and asked if he could come make dinner for me. I told him that I’d be okay with that.
That night was the first time we really talked at all. He made me one of my favorite dishes and downloaded the newest episode of a TV show we usually watched together. We got through dinner without incident, but by the end of the meal, I was getting really frustrated. He’d technically broken up with me and was clearly going out of his way to do things that didn’t line up with that, so why couldn’t he talk to me? I tried to start talking and without really having a good explanation, we got side-tracked and ended up having sex. It was passionate, really hot, and he was very tender and attentive, despite everything. Afterwards, we laid there and held each other and really began to talk. I told him that this time apart had been painful, but had given me a lot of time to reflect on our relationship and the things I wish were different. I told him I wish we had a chance to really start over, to try having a relationship that was more relaxed and less serious for people our age, and to try seeing if living apart really was going to be as good for us as we thought it would. Simply put, I think that breaking up isn’t necessary and is a cop out when it doesn’t address the real issues we have and when we’re clearly not wanting to be entirely separate. He told me that he understood and would certainly think about it, but he hesitates because we’ve always been so serious and he’s worried we wouldn’t be able to start out more casual. He feels he really needs to experience living on his own and being able to go out with his friends more, so that’s important to him. He just tends to see things as being very black and white and has a hard time conceptually understanding that he can have both things that he wants: an independent life where he can go out and be with friends and what not but also a relationship with me. We left the evening by saying we realized nothing was going to get solved or determined that night, and that we’d just have to keep thinking. Since then, a couple of friends and my counselor have suggested that perhaps a good start for us would be to try going on dates without the pressure of a title. I have yet to bring this idea up to him, though I don’t personally think it’s a bad one.
Since then, I’ve really just been trying to give him his space and focus on taking care of myself. I am trying not to get my hopes up for things working out, but also have this gut feeling that they will if we just give it time and take it really slowly. He keeps texting or calling me, coming over to cook me meals or do chores for me (even though I’ve said I don’t need or want him to), and just hanging out at the apartment in his free time. He’s courteous and pleasant and more than willing to listen to me, but he’s not going out of his way to initiate physical contact or anything. It’s confusing and hard when he’s gone, but it’s just as difficult when he’s constantly around me. I’d be able to give him his space and independence, like he wanted, much more easily if he didn’t keep initiating contact.
TL;DR: Boyfriend broke up with me, but doesn’t act like it’s what he wants or like we’re no longer in a relationship. We’re young and he wants to have the experience of living alone and being able to just go out with the guys, something he feels like he’s been missing because we’ve been together so long and have always been so serious. I’m needing help dealing with his contradictory words and actions, and could use some advice on being patient because things have the potential to work out if we just take it show.
Again, I’m sorry for the length. I’m just in need of a little insight or someone else’s view. I realize that we are young, that he hasn’t treated me overly well, that this may not work out, etc. But I also know that this is not how people who truly want to be broken up act. Anyways, any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated. And if you need any clarification on details, despite this post’s insane length, don’t hesitate to ask.