I broke up with my girlfriend but I am so confused. Should I get back with her?
June 25, 2012 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Broke up with my gf and I don't know what to make of my feelings. should I get back with her? Should I just move on ? Should I go no contact?

Dated a girl for 3 years. Things were great between us at first, we moved in together and had plans to make a life together.

But I guess all the arguments ended up taking a toll on our relationship. At first, we used to argue so much, it was crazy. A year in our relationship, we separated and got back together after 3 weeks. She was the one to initiate the break, but she later said she realized I am the one for her, she was miserable without me and all. So, we got back together. For the following months, we barely fought ( we use to fight so much that arguing once in a while felt like not fighting at all!). Yet, I was already feeling that something was missing. Nonetheless, we kept doing our thing. I was hoping my doubts would ease with time.

Few months later, we got into an argument, and in the heat of the moment I broke up with her. I was very stressed out by school ( grad school) and I guess It weighted on my decision. That night she refused to tell anyone it was over and kept talking me into getting back together. After giving it some thoughts, I decided not to go through with the breakup.

I later found out that when she was trying to convince me that we were both just under stress and we should not breakup, she also signed up on dating sites. When I asked her about it, she broke into tears and told me that she just felt worthless as we were talking about the breakup and wanted to see if she was still attractive. She wanted to see if anyone would wink at her, but she was not thinking of doing anything. However, this reinforced my feelings that she was also trying to stay with me because she was just afraid of not finding someone after. I had the feeling she was not really in love with me, but just with the idea of companionship.

She knew that my feelings were not what they used to be, but said we could work on that and take it slow.

A month later, I was studying my butt off for my finals, when she came to me. She wanted to talk about my feelings. SO I told her how I felt, and how things were not getting back to what they used to be. She was understandably upset and decided that she wanted to go somewhere else for a little while to give me some room to think. I wanted to stop her from leaving, but never found the strength to do so. She left, and we kept in contact. I felt like I could not make up my mind and decided few days after, it would probably be best to let her go. I was having such a hard time overlooking the flaws. When we talked, she said she understood, and said she appreciated the fact I was honest about my feelings.

A week later, I found out she was back on dating sites, seeing people and was already being intimate with someone. Needless to say, it crushed me. I understand that we were not together anymore and she was free to do as she pleased. However, I felt like our time together never truly meant anything to her. Besides, she had told me before that signing up on dating sites was silly, and that she was over that and wanted to prove to me that all she wanted was me and no one else. Yet, this is exactly what she did this time around.

The sad thing is, I was starting to miss her a lot and was going to talk to her. I was determined to discuss things with her, and was thinking about taking things to the next level (engagement), had we decided to get back together for good.

Even though I was the one to break up with her, I still did care about her. I wasn’t even thinking about dating someone else or having no strings attached sex.

I still miss her a lot and have been feeling quite down lately. She was like my best friend. She asked me once if there was a chance we could get back together. However,I feel like getting back together wouldn’t do us any good, given what I know.

I’m so down right now. I wanted to get your input on the situation. What does it all mean ?was this her way of exacting revenge ? why does she ask me if there is a chance to get back together, even though she knows I know about what she did?
I feel like she kept clinging to our relationship not because she was truly in love with me, but because she was scarred of losing the companionship and not finding anyone else.

Having said that, I wonder if getting back together would do us any good. I feel like I can’t trust her anymore. I understand that everyone deals with pain in his/her own way. However, I do not think I would be able to put up with someone who might seek affirmation somewhere else every time the going gets tough for the rest of my life! A relationship is hard work ! things go south quite often. How can we make a life together when the trust is gone, when you can’t say for sure that your significant other truly loves you and will be there for you during bad times?
That is probably the main reason I haven’t talked to her about getting back together.

I feel like my judgment might be clouded at the moment because I was so used to living with her, that I feel like I need her in my life. This was by far my longest relationship and the one I felt like would last a lifetime. There are days when I feel like I don’t really need her , I will be fine without her. But then again, there are days when I just feel so lonely. We both didn't have much of a life outside of the relationship. The difference is she has family and friends around, while most of my close friends live in a different state and my family lives outside of the country. It’s just been a month since we split up. Even though I feel so lonely, I do not want to get into a rebound relationship either. I think it is selfish and inconsiderate.

There are days I want to just get back with her, if she still wants to. It would, however, suck to get back with her only to realize this would not work. We have both made some mistakes and hurt each other, and I worry that we may start resenting each other if we get back together. I am just so confused right now. Should I wait few more months to sort through my feelings before doing anything I could later regret ? Things are not going well for me professionally, and that could also exemplify the feeling of loneliness and the urge to get back together to relieve some of the stress. Like I said, I am very confused right now and don't know what to make of my feelings.

she also says she was just dating, nothing serious and no one is like me and she is miserable. She said she wants to hear from me, but when I text her she takes forever to reply, or just use short sentences, like she doesn’t want to talk. But then again, there are days when she seems like she wants to know about how I am doing. I’m so confused. Should I just go no contact for a while ?
posted by hildegarde89 to Human Relations (18 answers total)
My sister has a similar story from her grad school days, and no contact worked for her. She tends to have good relationships with her exes after a period of no contact, even with the intense dramatic ones. Your results may vary.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:58 PM on June 25, 2012

Whoah, hold your horses. Everyone will talk about the other parts of your question, but I just have to point out the reality here.

However, I do not think I would be able to put up with someone who might seek affirmation somewhere else every time the going gets tough for the rest of my life!

She didn't seek out affirmation somewhere else every time the going got tough. She got involved with other people after you broke up with her! After! YOU! Broke up with her!

That is natural. That is the way it should be. That is not the sign of any badness at all. You broke up with her, man. Should she sit there and be a nun, pining after you, while you do your thing?

No matter what you decide about anything else, I think you are being really wacky about this one part.
posted by cairdeas at 10:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [34 favorites]

It sounds like you only wanted her after she'd moved on.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 PM on June 25, 2012 [7 favorites]

You've written a lot here, but I don't see much about the parts of your relationship that actually worked, just a lot about fighting and insecurity. Seems to me like you miss having a companion, and you've realized that being on your own can be kind of lonely. That in and of itself isn't enough of a reason to get back together with someone if they aren't the right person for you. I'd give yourself some time to get over this, and then maybe reexamine how you feel about all of this a little further on down the line.
posted by tokaidanshi at 10:28 PM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yep when you break up, she doesn't owe you anything, and her going to dating sites doesn't make her a bad person or reflect on your relationship with her in any way. She's single! She can go to dating sites, meet guys, whatever.

If you want her to be meeting your expectations of yourself "I do not want to get into a rebound relationship either. I think it is selfish and inconsiderate." ... well thats your own issue, not hers. Those are your values that have nothing to do with her.

I know its hard to break that association in your mind that you are no longer dating and that she's forbidden to do things that she was when in your relationship... but thats really how it is.

But I think you are on the right track (no contact) and will come out the other side of this wiser and stronger.

Best of luck.
posted by Admira at 1:08 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

People tend to focus on the best things they miss about their ex when they break up. A kind of break-up remorse, if you will.

But seriously, as has been said before, you broke up. She can deal with it in any way she sees fit. Everyone has different ways of doing things and handling being broken up with.

Go no contact for a few months at least. Move on.
posted by inturnaround at 5:35 AM on June 26, 2012

My name is Dani and I'm a serial "get back together"-er. Okay, now you try.

I've been with my husband for 4 years now, but before then I had the same issue as you do. I'd get into a relationship which was crazy (fights, trust issues, just made me feel awful) break up with the guy and then immediately regret it. I missed being in a relationship and questioned everything I had done. The previous posters are right, when you leave you start to think about all the good stuff you miss and the lousy stuff doesn't seem so bad.

But it is. It sucks. You get back together and the cycle starts again, but now you have the sting of the break up lingering.

Break off contact. Move on. It's the only way. Besides, in a few months you'll meet someone who you'll get along with and eventually fall in love. It always happens.
posted by Danithegirl at 5:53 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

How can we make a life together when the trust is gone, when you can’t say for sure that your significant other truly loves you and will be there for you during bad times?

If she had broken up with you and then immediately gone on dating sites, you might have valid reasons for feeling this way. But you broke up with her, so you have no right to feel hurt or cheated.

When a person gets dumped, it is a big blow to their self-esteem - especially when you factor in that the weeks prior to the break-up are likely full of criticism and arguments from the dumper. So when the person who was dumped gets back out into the dating world and finds plenty of attractive people flocking to them - people who seem to appreciate what they have to offer instead of critiquing it - they are entitled to enjoy the validation. It helps them rebuild their confidence.

It sounds like you didn't appreciate your girlfriend until she was gone - you had a false valuation of your worth compared to hers. Now that you're both single, and she has more options than you do, you're starting to have regrets. If you genuinely think you should get back together, then give it your best shot. But you need to be the one to apologize, and you're absolutely not entitled to hold anything against her for stuff she did while you two were separated - EVER. You brought that entirely on yourself, and you need to take responsibility for that.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:01 AM on June 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

Breaking up is hard to do. That's why Neil Sedaka made all that money writing a song about it.

You know in your heart of hearts that this relationship had run its course. You know that while you may have love for your ex-girlfriend, that there was no, good future for your relationship.

You need time to nurse your wounds and to get over missing the companionship and familiarity of your relationship. This means no contact.

She's trying to move on and every time you call, or email, or make contact, you're chipping away at what is already some flimsy resolve.

Focus on other things right now. Does it make sense to move? Do that. Does it make sense to take a road trip with some buddies? Do that. Does it make sense to throw yourself into work? Do that.

When you look back on your life, you don't remember how you felt, you remember what you did. Exercise, write, dick around on the computer. There are tons of things you can do to distract yourself.

Some people move on by meeting new people, "Un clavo saca otro clavo." One nail drives out the other nail. Don't judge your ex by her desire to get back into the dating pool. It's possible that she's been missing intimacy in your relationship far longer than you think.

It's over. It's sad. It will be fine.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:03 AM on June 26, 2012 [8 favorites]

No; it's over, and it sounds like you both are trying to hedge your bets against being alone. So yes, I think no contact would be a good idea.
posted by sm1tten at 7:03 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I agree with cairdeas and Sidhedevil. It looks like your desire for her now is largely motivated by her attempts to move on. Don't project your motivations onto her actions. Eventually, she'll find someone who isn't a "rebound." It's not selfish or inconsiderate of her to seek companionship. Don't contact her. Don't engage when she contacts you. You're both picking your own scabs at this point.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:25 AM on June 26, 2012

I think no contact will work wonders for you.

On a deeper level, though, I'd advise you to focus on finding a healthy framework for working through conflicts with future partners.

Also, I hope you can get to a point where you know that the good parts of a good relationship don't "disappear" from your awareness during times of stress the way I'm guessing you think they did based on the way you talk about school stress influencing your breakups. Because life is going to continue to have stressful points with whoever you wind up with, and you need to recognize that those are inherently bad times to get into arguments and you need to keep that stress in its proper place and keep it from fucking up what's going on with your partner.

Also, I hope you get to a point where you're not using proximity/commitment (living together/engagement) or sex to paper over your relationship's weaknesses either, because I'm getting a distinct vibe that there was a lot of that going on.

I know I've been describing my advice in terms of its end effects up until now, but the thing that will get you there is better boundaries. Habits to resolve stress that don't rely on your partner, sources of stability and self-worth that don't rely on your partner, areas of your self and of your life that you don't rely on your partner for.

If everything keeps coming back to your partner, that's not a sign that your partner is right for you or will make everything better, it's a sign that you really need to reorient your expectations and beliefs about what makes for a happy and stable life so you're relying on yourself and the things you have control over.
posted by alphanerd at 8:23 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

I had a one-month split with my boyfriend in September of 2011. He broke up with me and I was crushed. During this time I definitely reactivated my OK Cupid account and flirted with cute boys at parties. We ended up getting back together after a month. I would have really resented any suggestion that my ex had any control or say in my activities during this month we were broken up -- to me, broken up means broken up, and any sort of dog-in-the-manger-ish attitude about this would have been a total turn-off. If you do want to get her back (which you might not, given the dysfunctional relationship patterns you and she have been exhibiting) leave out the fact that you think she did anything wrong by dating people or trying to date people while you were broken up. All of that is really none of your business.
posted by peacheater at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2012

You two aren't good together... you'll realize that when you're with a new girl who you dont fight and argue with and mistrust.

My last relationship (around 1 year) was alot like yours. I broke it off with her rather suddenly, didnt see her or talk to her for a week until I went to get my stuff from her apartment. Seeing how heartbroken she was, the next couple months really sucked... I knew how much I didnt like being in the relationship but I also had a feeling that we both needed each other. More time of no contact helped that, very slowly... it wasnt until I got with my current girlfriend that I was able to look back and review that time period objectively, without the emotional influence. And I realized it was good to go no-contact, allow the feelings of loneliness or regret or sadness to come out, and move past it.
posted by el_yucateco at 10:22 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

She didn't seek out affirmation somewhere else every time the going got tough. She got involved with other people after you broke up with her! After! YOU! Broke up with her!
I don't think he meant the affirmation when they had broken up for good. He meant the time when she convinced him not to break up with her, then went on the dating sites because she wanted someone to tell her she was attractive.

For my money, this is over over over. I can't see any reason you should get back together with her - you don't even seem that excited or happy about the idea.
posted by dithmer at 1:09 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just purchased an e-book about relationships that might bring you some perspective. It focuses on the reasons people in relationships find it so hard to move on for good. It won't help you get over her in a few days, but it will help you to realize why you're having such a problem cutting the cord. I thought it was worth the purchase price since, after reading it a few times, it sunk in that there's no such thing as a soulmate and that being wrong for another person does not reflect on myself in any way. Internalizing that message allowed me to get over some unhealthy attachments to people that didn't add value to my life.

There are millions of people in this world and many of those people could be a better fit for you than that woman. It sounds like your relationship with this woman has run its course. Nthing no contact along with a healthy dose of introspection and nurturing the fulfilling relationships in your life unrelated to this woman. Let go of your ego and move on.
posted by sunnychef88 at 11:50 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with sm1tten. It sounds like you're both struggling to deal with loneliness, but that is the worst reason to get back together, and I think you know this. You should definitely go no contact for a while. I mean, if you run into her, don't give her the cut direct, but don't facebook her or text her.

You might be able to get her back, but I don't think you will be able to keep her -- nor do I believe you would want to, after a while. You broke up for a reason.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:17 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I sometimes get super rational and so I at one point needed confirmation that breaking up was the right thing to do. Luckily, my university's library has access to psychology journals. One study that was "comforting" was The Connubial Crucible: Newlywed Years as Predictors of
Marital Delight, Distress, and Divorce. Basically, argumentative, conflict-full relationships (ambivalent relationships), don't improve. They are the ones that end most suddenly in divorce. There are other interesting observations if you can access it, but basically: you did the right thing. The relationship was full of conflict, bickering, issues, and they could not be resolved. Pre-marital satisfaction is generally a predictor of marital satisfaction (except for the head over heels, unrealistic expectations crowd). Of course, that's just one study and can't measure all variables, but maybe that will give you some comfort.

As for the dating right after break-up, I always give myself a break right before another relationship. I feel like I'm not ready (too much comparing will happen) and I don't want to hurt my ex. I personally think its a respect thing and you need some time to properly grieve. To me, waiting a bit after is a courtesy. And generally you can't get too upset about courtesies (also, if a relationships was really tough/difficult, I think it changes the calculus a bit). People think, if I don't do this now, I'll miss out on the love of my life or something amazing. Generally, that's not true and sort of delusional. There usually always is someone else when you're actually ready.

Anyway, I know it hurts, but if you can think through all that was wrong, how it didn't work, and get some emotional distance, you will realize that it's better she's gone and with someone else. Don't concentrate on her. Concentrate on you.
posted by yeahyeahyeah at 12:21 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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