What does back off mean?
March 3, 2009 2:41 PM Subscribe
In relationship terms, what, exactly, does "back off" mean?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (57 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know this is going to sound so stupid, but in an email my (now ex. I guess) boyfriend told me to back off. There was a communication breakdown about plans for the weekend. We were supposed to do something on saturday, I sent him an email friday night about it, (he thought I didn't want to do anything with him that day, I was just saying I didn't want to go to one specific place, and why) and then he wouldn't take my calls all day saturday (something he's never done in the year and a half we've been together). Finally around midnight he told me this wasn't working and to back off. I sent a reply on sunday and he replied saying that I did not respect his request to back off. I haven't heard from him since.
What exactly does back off mean? It should be so obvious, but it is vague to me. It doesn't have a sense of "lets take a break" yet it also has no sense of complete finality. Does it mean that he never wants to speak to me again, but he feels too guilty putting it into those words? Does it mean give him time? Does it mean to wait till he contacts me (which could be never)?
I'm not usually this relationship illiterate but I just don't understand the whole "back off" thing. There are many things I'd like to say and get out of my system, but what are the rules under "back off" conditions?
I don't want it to be over, I love him and am heartbroken at the thought of having him out of my life. Maybe I just need to realize that this was one of those stupid situations where I saw '"forever" potential, and he just wasn't that into me.
I know this sounds like jr. high, but we are both in our late 30's.
I tried to include all necessary info, but in case you need more info, send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.