Can "a break" be a good thing or are we doomed?
May 25, 2010 10:38 AM Subscribe
My partner of almost two years and I are "taking a break." Is it possible that this could be a period of growth and not just the death rattle of our (up until recently) happy relationship? Have you ever taken a break successfully?
My boyfriend and I are (were?) really great together for a long time. All the typical stuff just right on target--we make each other laugh, have endless conversation, great physical chemistry, same views on important stuff, same general goals (family, kids, etc), it was your basic "good fit" thing. I love him to pieces and I know the feeling is mutual. He treats me so well and I feel lucky I found him.
He graduated college 6 mos ago and hasn't found a job since then. He has been kind of aimless in the interim, not really looking, feeling kind of lost about what he wants to do. Kind of quarter-life crisis material. I just graduated a week ago, and as my graduate date approached I felt more worried about him not really *doing* anything. He has lots of savings from his only parent dying in his teen years (no siblings). Therefore he's probably partly unmotivated due to lack of acute need and lack of family support/pressure of any kind.
We started bickering more and more about his lack of job in the last month. I couldn't stop bringing the situation up since it began to worry me more and more that he was never going to work and that we were doomed. I know you can't keep going in different directions in a relationship indefinitely. Also, his best friend took me aside a few weeks ago to say he was worried about him, that he'd been staying in his room a lot and not going out all day and sleeping more than normal. Once I knew this I couldn't stop worrying.
I confronted him a few days after that exchange and basically said that I was concerned. He reacted defensively like he usually does (it's my life, stay out of it, I don't tell you what to do, etc) but finally broke down crying (unusual for him) and said he's depressed, feels hopeless and hates himself, wants to work but has no idea where to begin, and is smoking weed too much and worries that he's abusing it in order to cope with his feelings. I was sad to hear this but suspected some of those things, though I didn't realize they were so severe because he is a little bit evasive about his emotions. He said he felt he needed space to figure things out, that he felt unable to give support back to me at this time, and wanted to take a break so he could focus on himself. He told me he loves me, is not just trying to punish me by doing this, and that there is no one else. I told him I'm sorry he's in so much pain, to please seek therapy, that I love him also and believe in his ability to have a happy life, and that I would let him contact me when he was ready.
It's been a little less than 2 weeks. In the meantime, I graduated. He wasn't there and it made me incredibly sad and even kind of angry. I sent a text saying it wasn't the same without him and I was thinking of him. He replied the next day that he was sorry he wasn't there but hoped it was good and that he is proud of me. It was a nice thought, but I can't help but feel bummed out that he didn't wish me well on his own initiative. It feels so sad to have someone be your best friend one day and then ignore your graduation the next. That's all the contact we've had. It's been tough emotionally but I have also been resolved that it's the right thing for now if I want any chance for things to get better. I mostly hate not knowing if things are really over, although this was framed as a "break" and not "the end" during our conversation, and I don't think he would say that just to wuss out of saying it's over for real. I know there's a lot of love there; I don't have that feeling of doom I've had in other situations when I know the relationship is dead. Just confusion, sadness, and then a sort of weird peace that comes with trying to be selfless with your love, I guess.
I feel very sad about this situation. I know right now I just need to live my life the best I can and be prepared for it not to work out, but I still really love this person and had hopeful visions of a bright future together. I'm just wondering what people think about this and how I should approach it? For the most part I think I just need to make good on my promises of space and let time handle it, but that's hard because I like to drive things to resolution and hate uncertainty. That's pretty much how we got into this mess to begin with, really. Have you ever observed a relationship where space resolved the issues? Do you think I am crazy to have any hope? Should I be thinking about this in a different way? Any thoughts (be kind if you can) would be appreciated.