My ex broke up with me at the beginning of January. I want to give our relationship a second chance. Should I? How? Wall of text within.
posted by fight or flight to Human Relations (49 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The background: my ex boyfriend (24) and I (23) started seeing each other in November 2010. We met online and it was casual at first, with me visiting him in his city every other weekend or so to hang out/go to cool gigs/play video games/cook delicious food. By April it was every weekend and we had upgraded from "two people hanging out and having sex sometimes" to "officially exclusive/in a relationship" and things were awesome.
We were compatible on almost every level. I've never connected to anyone that well before. We could talk about anything, we made each other laugh, shared secrets, were very physically affectionate -- all that good shit. The only problem I had was that he could be somewhat emotionally reticent, but the indications were so (to me) minor (stuff like, he wouldn't tell me that he had missed me after a long week away, or put kisses on the ends of his texts) that I was willing to let them go. It may be worth mentioning that the boyfriend I had before him had been the complete opposite of this -- telling me he loved me all the time -- but ended up cheating on me twice, so it's safe to say that I no longer put much store by what people say. My ex was also less experienced than me in relationships -- the only one he'd had was a year before we met and lasted 3 months, with him being dumped for being emotionally unavailable. He was very concerned with being a "good boyfriend" and not knowing how to do/deal with "relationship things".
In September I accepted a job in my ex's city (unrelated to him -- I had been planning to move for a long time before we met), but my housing situation imploded literally days before I was due to move and I ended up having to live with him for two months while I looked for another place. I had raised the possibility of us living together before, but he had always backed off, saying that he didn't feel like he was in the right place. I accepted that and didn't bring it up again. However, when my move fell through, it was his idea that I come and stay with him. I felt guilty that we had been thrust into a situation he wasn't happy with, but every time I expressed this guilt, he reassured me that he was okay with it and not to worry, but emphasised the fact that it wouldn't be forever and I'd find a place soon.
However, my emotions ended up getting the better of me. In late September I told him one morning before I left for work that I loved him. I didn't expect him to respond, but I (being a hopeless romantic) don't believe in withholding love and felt like I had to say it or else spend months regretting it. He didn't reply and I left, a little conflicted.
I made the (in hindsight) mistake of telling him I loved him a few more times after that, usually in the mornings, when I could pass off his lack of response for sleepiness. He never brought it up himself and his attitude and actions towards me never changed -- he remained physically and, to some extent, emotionally affectionate, and we were both happy. Or so I thought.
At the beginning of January, he came over to my place and told me that he didn't think we should be together any more because he didn't feel the same way about me that I felt about him. He said that my telling him I loved him made him feel uncomfortable and guilty that he couldn't return those feelings, that he had been thinking about it over Christmas and had decided I "deserved" to be with someone who wasn't so emotionally unavailable. I told him that I really hate when people take it upon themselves to decide what I want, that I only wanted him, and that I understood if he couldn't express his feelings like I could. I explained that I come from a family who often express love verbally, and that I had seen that his family were not so expressive (I had never heard any of them say "I love you" or even really hug or kiss) and I understood that everybody is different in how they process and deal with their feelings.
I asked him if he had ever felt that way about me, even inside, and he responded that he didn't know. I asked him if he cared about me at all and he said "of course". I cried, he looked stricken and left.
Since then, we've both been attempting to stick to No Contact (after I explained it to him), with little success. The longest we can manage is a week before one of us (usually, but not always, me) caves and sends a lighthearted "here's a thing I saw and thought of you" email/text, which then leads to a depressing cycle of me apologising for breaking No Contact and him telling me I have nothing to apologise for, that he enjoys speaking to me, then both of us avowing to stick to it this time.
Three weeks after the breakup, I called him and said I needed him to be absolutely certain this is what he wants because it didn't seem that way to me, to which he responded that he didn't know. I asked him if this meant we would never be together again and he said he didn't know. I told him I wanted to respect his decision and his feelings and that I wouldn't be speaking to him again for a long while.
Guess how well that lasted. Yeah, I know, I'm an idiot.
A week or so ago I ran into him on a TF2 server (his ex and I are friends and we play together sometimes, so he'll follow her in and we'll end up playing alongside each other). We spoke a little, then I invited him to another game and we continued talking, which ended up with us exchanging the long backlog of Links to Cool Stuff we had both (it turns out) been saving up for when we could speak again.
Since then we've been talking nearly every day, just like we used to when we were dating, just shooting the shit about video games and things we've seen on the internet. We haven't spoken about the breakup or even how we're feeling. It's nice to be talking again, but I'm not sure how long it can go on for before it collapses. I want to do something, to make or break.
It's probably worth noting that since the breakup, I've been doing my level best to create a life of my own in the city. I go to yoga and an art class twice a week; I'm doing well at my job, reaching out to old and new friends and exploring my new surroundings. I'm honestly happy about who I am and where I'm at in my life. I'm even kind of excited at the idea of dating someone new, should that person come along. I'm pretty sure, if it were to come to it, I would be just fine without this guy. But part of me is still hung up on him and how good it was, and I can't leave well enough alone.
This weekend I am planning on getting an old games console fixed at a place close to his home (honest-to-God, I didn't realise it was nearby until I had made the appointment). It's a while-you-wait service so I'll be in the area for about an hour, with ample time to indulge the temptations of my traitorous heart. My plan, if I go through with it, is likely to be as follows:
- I will tell him tonight/tomorrow that I will be in the area on Saturday.
- I will ask him if he wants to meet up and talk - if not, no big, I will go on my way and leave him alone.
- If he's okay with it, I will go to his place and set it all out on the table, that I still care about him and want to us to try again. If he doesn't want to, then I will accept his decision and move on for good.
So, my questions to the sensible hivemind are:
1. Should I go through with this? Why/why not?
2. If I do, how do I go about asking him to give us a second chance without emotionally blackmailing him into doing something he doesn't want to?
One final thing -- I know there's some kneejerk DTMFA stuff in here, but please try and hold off on it if you're answering. I've heard it all before, not least from my own brain. Constructive criticism is, however, welcome.