Have you ever regretted a breakup but resisted reconciliation?
August 14, 2014 5:48 PM Subscribe
My BF and I ended our six month relationship several weeks ago. Since then we've been in touch a few times and both expressed culpability, longing, and regret. We've had one conversation about giving it another chance that seemed to put a line under things, but since then we've had contact again, expressed the same feelings again, and we're on track to having the same conversation again. We're not moving on and we're not getting back together. How do I make this next conversation "stick?" More details inside. . . .
We're gay, both in our mid-30s. Six weeks ago, after six months, we called it quits. The first four months were unquestionably awesome. We connected in every way possible and ended up totally helplessly in love with one another. We both have problematic relationship histories. A long string of three month encounters with nothing ever lasting much beyond that for both of us.
We're both aware that we have attachment style issues. I am anxious and he's avoidant. We both expressed relief at finding someone we could talk to honestly about our problems. Initially we had honest constructive discussions when we hit minor snags that left us both feeling great about the direction things were headed. It really started to feel to both of us like this time things were finally going to work out.
While we both made great strides breaking out of our old patterns they surfaced nonetheless. I started getting anxious and clingy, he started withdrawing (or did he start withdrawing and I start getting anxious and clingy, it's hard to say who triggered who) and the downward spiral began. We both admit that we both contributed to things turning sour between us. I initiated the final discussion but ultimately it was his suggestion that there was no way to make things better and that splitting up was the best thing to do.
We didn't agree to no contact. There's been intensive FB stalking and we've both reached out to one another on several occasions. Sometimes it's lighthearted fluff, sometimes it's serious chat about regret and longing. We haven't seen one another since the breakup.
Two weeks ago after one of these serious chats we agreed to see one another to talk, the agenda undefined. We ended up having a phone conversation before our scheduled meeting where I asked if he saw reconciliation as a possibility, he said he didn't. I felt like I had achieved some closure and was able to begin to move on. We had no contact since then until today.
Since the breakup I've had some exceptionally successful sessions with my therapist. He's given me a different book to read most weeks and the discussions we have about them has generated some great progress. I wouldn't say I've had a massive breakthrough, but a lot of good ground has been covered (thanks for being so awful mom!). Yesterday night I finished the latest book I'd been given and something just clicked. I felt like I had a new and deeper understanding of the issues between me and my ex. I was so excited I wanted to call him and tell him all about it. I resisted that urge, but I did text him to say hello this morning (stupid, I admit). This contact progressed into yet another chat about how we both miss one another and have deep regrets about the breakup but we're both afraid of making the same mistakes again. Once again we agreed to get together to talk.
I feel like we're both pretending we're moving on, but neither of us has.
I'm a pragmatic person and I feel strongly that our issues aren't insurmountable. It's self work that each of us will have to do in order to be successful in any relationship and it's work that's easiest to do when actually in a relationship. Why not do it together with (and for) the person we've each had our best relationship in ages?
I view it as low-risk/high-reward proposition. We've already broken up once, if we can't engage positive patterns with one another after this split, calling it off in a few more months with the knowledge that we gave it our all should be that much easier right?
He's obviously reticent to jump back in to something that he suggested ending in the first place, but he can't bring himself to cut off contact either.
What are the next steps here?