We are "on a break". How long should it last?
October 18, 2013 10:46 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee and I have been together for seven-and-a-half years, owned a house together for three, and in the spring of this year she agreed to marry me. Last week she told me, quite out of the blue, that she wanted a break from our relationship.

Things between us have been good. There was a period over summer when wedding plans caused a little bit of tension, but that was dealt with and we were both looking forward to the wedding, and we have spoken about starting a family after that.

The conversation about having a break lasted only about half an hour. She said that she had started to feel differently about her life in the last couple of months. This wasn't news to me - she has become quite a lot more outgoing, confident and pro-active recently, which has been great to see.

She has been something of a housecat for most of our relationship, tending to socialise as a couple rather than on her own, and choosing my company over her friends most of the time. But recently she has been going out more, spending more time with her friends, and also trying things that she used to say no to (for example, we went wild camping with some friends the other week - something I usually do without her, but she described as something "the person I'd like to be would do").

She says she would like some time to find out how she would feel away from our relationship, and I can completely understand that, given how differently she feels in herself. I asked if there was anything else affecting her decision, but she said there wasn't, so since then I've been staying with friends and we have reduced contact to a few text messages about practical matters.

It has been eight days, and I have felt very anxious for the last few of them. I find myself checking my phone every few minutes in case she has made contact. I drove past our house a few times just to see if she was there or not, and generally unless I'm with people, my mind is wrestling with thoughts about what might happen from here.

I've had wonderful support from friends and family, and conversations have helped me rationalise what is happening. But I feel unsure about when is the right time to make contact with her, if she doesn't come forward to suggest we talk. I don't know if she needs a month, or if two weeks is enough, and I also feel I don't want to be initiating the next conversation - I feel it should come from her.

One factor that is playing on my mind is the fact that my fiancee wore a contraceptive implant until it had to be removed over the summer. The change in her was dramatic, and she experienced a sudden loss of self-confidence. It was after this levelled out that she seemed to become more social and pro-active in her free time. Sex became less frequent after that, but we were talking about it and agreed it wasn't a problem.

I wonder if anyone has anything to share about the way that hormone changes can affect the way a person feels about their life and relationship. Any other thoughts about managing breaks in long-term relationships would be very welcome also.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

If you two had agreed that you needed to spend some time apart, you should have had a set of discussions, set the ground rules (Is she seeing other people? Do you even know?), figured out how long it was going to be for, talked about what you wanted to get out of it, discussed whether it would be better to end the relationship, made plans regarding the scheduling of the wedding (Is there still a wedding scheduled?), etc. There should have been a lot of communication, and a lot of clarity for each of you. Not a half-hour talk and you wandering around in confusion. Christ.

You need to have those discussions now, or end the relationship.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2013 [18 favorites]

For me, personally, yeah, hormonal contraception plays a HUGE part in how I feel, physically, and how I treat others. Obviously, I can't say if this has anything to do with your relationship, though.

But I agree with mr_roboto, you need to make contact now and see if you can feel out what the situation is, especially since it seems like you have moved out of your own home. Go back to the drawing board and have a real conversation.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't care what's going on with her or your relationship--it is absolutely ridiculous that you have been displaced from your home for an indefinite length of time because of this. That needs to change now. Either you have a firm end date/come to jesus moment, or SHE figures out where to go/what to do while she gets sorted.

This is insane. Get back into your house. Talk to her. Make some serious decisions.

Good luck.
posted by phunniemee at 11:01 AM on October 18, 2013 [66 favorites]

You're missing something.

There's something else happening. You keep saying "things between us have been good" and "we were talking about it and agreed it wasn't a problem" -- but people who are 100% happy in relationships don't normally need to take a break from them.

She wanted you to think everything was good. Or you thought everything was good, and were missing other signs.

Now you have to find out why everything wasn't actually great, and acknowledge that she was feeling differently but couldn't vocalize her issues for one reason or another. This isn't about blame, it's about accepting reality to move forward.
posted by barnone at 11:03 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

If it were me I'd ask her for a specific timeline. You are allowed to have needs here. Some things you might want could be daily check-ins, couple's counseling to get to the root of what's going on, or a deadline for how long this is going to go on.

Figure out what you want, and advocate for that directly.
posted by latkes at 11:05 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, oral contraceptives (Tri-Cyclen Lo) turned me into a moody bitch, killed my sex drive, and made my life generally unpleasant. I'm so glad I'm off it. The change was remarkable. When I finally got off it, I was a lot happier. And my relationship reaped the benefits of that happiness. The opposite seems to have happened in your situation.

Exactly whose idea was it for you to move out while she makes up her mind? Are you supposed to just sit back and wait patiently while she decides to break up with you? If my partner pulled something like this, it would be the end of us. Fuck. That. It would show me that our ability to trust and communicate had been completely shattered.

You two need to talk. Now. To each other, to a therapist, and likely a lawyer.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:07 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

You are definitely allowed to ask for a timeline here - at the very least, a timeline for when you are going to discuss this again. You can't and shouldn't just be twisting in the wind waiting to hear whether you're living on your friends' couch for a week, a month, six months, whatever.

Ideally you need to get into couples counselling together, but if she's not ready for that, and you're willing to wait that out for a while, okay. But you need to be able to carry on with your life in the meanwhile and that means at least knowing some basic information like 'when will I hear from you next' and 'how can I access my stuff' and 'do I need to make actual living arrangements, and/or do you need to make living arrangements since you are the one needing a break.'

You'd be well within your rights to call her up and talk about this stuff today. Without giving you this basic courtesy of setting some kind of rules, timeline, and giving you enough information to live your life while she thinks about this, she is not treating you with the respect and kindness due to a partner of seven-and-a-half years barring extraordinary circumstances. Whatever her feelings about the relationship and whatever her romantic feelings, she should be treating you with some basic respect and kindness here.
posted by Stacey at 11:12 AM on October 18, 2013

Friend, with all due kindness, I think you're getting set up for a fall here, and I'm speaking as someone who has taken the same tumble.

It's troubling to me that, as you've presented it, your SO announced that she wanted a break and YOU moved out--seemingly indefinitely. It's troubling that she laid this out as a done deal, and in a 30-minute conversation. It's troubling that you seem to be endorsing her decisions. While I'm not saying you should "cowboy up" and lay down the law with her, you do seem like a passive party here, and I'd be concerned you're getting walked all over.

As I've said, I've been there with my ex, and it's not a nice place to be. I don't buy the whole self-discovery thing; we all will be "someone else" when we're single, or when we move to another country, etc.--if you follow me. She's just trying out life solo and the new experiences it brings (with all the comforts of home, since you so graciously moved out); it's not an incredible journey of personal development. It's just them in another, non-you context.

Good luck. FWIW, I had a similarly hard time (as you might imagine) when my ex-wife went out discovering herself (and her married co-workers, to the dismay of all), but I'm re-married now to a delightful woman. Life is full of surprises.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:12 AM on October 18, 2013 [39 favorites]

An increase in self-confidence should translate to an increase in libido, not vice versa. I am guessing she's met someone who thrills her more than you do and she wants to explore if they're worth leaving you for.
posted by Dragonness at 11:15 AM on October 18, 2013 [16 favorites]

Your post is written in this stilted, non-emotive manner. Where are your feelings in this? Do you feel hurt or betrayed? I know sure as shit I would be. Don't just sit there and be so passive about this! Find out what's going on. A half-hour conversation is nowhere near enough time to discuss a "break" of a longterm relationship. You are deserving of answers and a timeline to get back into your own house.

And what barnone said.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:15 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I get that you are trying to be understanding, non-controlling, and supportive of her personal growth. You want to be the good guy. However, you have needs too. You deserve to have more information about your relationship and this break, and you don't deserve to be kicked out of your own home for an indefinite period after a 30-minute conversation.

Set up a phone call or meeting with her. Talk more abou this break and her timelines and expectations. Express your pain and anxiousness, and describe the practical issues with living away from your home. See if you two can agree on a course of action.

This temporary break may well become permanent.
posted by Area Man at 11:28 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think you might be in a slow motion break up. Usually when people are feeling good, adventurous, and confident, and they are in a relationship, they want to share that with their partner. They don't start wondering how they might feel without you.

I also agree that you need to talk about the break and what it means. It's not practical for one person to be displaced out of their home for an indefinite period without at least knowing what the goals and expectations of this period are.
posted by sm1tten at 11:32 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I feel unsure about when is the right time to make contact with her, if she doesn't come forward to suggest we talk. I don't know if she needs a month, or if two weeks is enough, and I also feel I don't want to be initiating the next conversation - I feel it should come from her.

No, you need to bring this to her. Tell her that these last eight days have been kind of nerve-wracking for you and you'd at least like to get a small amount of clarity. Explain that you're not asking for an immediate resolution here, necessarily, but that you'd like to know where her head's at.

And when you do, you should prepare for bad news. If not at that moment, then soon.

You say she's been a housecat for most of your relationship, so either she's with you alone or she's with you among other people. You've been together for more than seven years. You live together. All of which leads me to this:

She said that she had started to feel differently about her life in the last couple of months.

You are the biggest feature in her life. so when she says "her life," she is almost certainly talking about you.

I'm sorry, but I think she's slo-mo breaking up with you. You need to get a lot more specific with her. You have that right.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:37 AM on October 18, 2013 [12 favorites]

I also feel I don't want to be initiating the next conversation - I feel it should come from her.

I think now would be a good time to initiate a conversation with her. She's had a week-plus on her own; she hasn't suggested any sort of timeline for further discussion; and you are in what sounds like a terribly painful limbo with no known end in sight.

It is 100% OK to step forward and act on behalf of yourself, even if it causes her some discomfort. It is the self-respecting, wise, and kind thing to do.

I would suggest that you begin by asking her to take her own turn living outside of your home. She can crash on her friends'/family's couches for a week, while you return to the comfort of your nest. If she wants to feel what it's like to be without you, she should be willing to REALLY feel what it is like, including what it means to walk away from the shared home you've created together.
posted by nacho fries at 11:38 AM on October 18, 2013 [9 favorites]

Do you own the house together NOW? If so, leaving during a breakup can have bad news bears issues about not being in residence, you may forfeit some rights to ownership.

Talk to a Lawyer and assume that you're breaking up.

I'd call her back and say, "Okay, I had my week out of the house, you're turn to have YOUR week out of the house." See what her reaction to THAT is.

Dude, you were too nice here. I would have insisted on a "We're either HERE or THERE, but I'm not waiting around for you to decide how MY life is going to happen."

So move back in, even if you have to sleep in a guest room or the sofa. Then have an honest discussion.

She's trying to keep you in abeyance while she decides what she wants to do and that's NOT FAIR.

Stop being a doormat, and don't let her dictate how things are going to be for both of you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:38 AM on October 18, 2013 [43 favorites]

No. You don't "take a break" from an established relationship unless maybe there was a dire set of circumstances (like, rehab-grade dire with co-dependency and co-addiction issues, or maybe a necessary temporary separation to deal with a massive medical/family ordeal). People should grow and change over time, and when you're married you don't boot your spouse out of the house to accommodate those changes. You work together to fit the change into your lives.

You are being slow-dumped, and very possibly legally manipulated if you own the home.

Go home. She needs to choose whether to leave or stay, and unfortunately it looks like it's going to be leave - and if she chooses stay, you should say no unless it involves a thorough physical with bloodwork (because massive personality changes alone are a big red flag, associated with a hormone change is two giant waving red flags all over the place), and probably therapy.

You don't throw the love of your life out of the house because you're suddenly happy. You share it.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:40 AM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd say this is a dealbreaker. I could never relax inside this relationship again, forever on eggshells about if she wants another break with no due notice.

I would return to the house (to take possession) and stay in a guestroom until you have untangled your affairs. Then part ways and say goodbye.
posted by 99percentfake at 12:08 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is so extreme! Yes, stand up for yourself here. You deserve a solution, and you have every right to negotiate so that you understand the timeline, and you have every right to live in the home you co-own. It wasn't you who requested the break, so why were you the one to move out?

You need to talk to her, at least enough to straighten out some of these questions, and make it clear you're not willing to be the nomad any more - you've done your time on couches. If she needs more space, she should make a plan for herself, and I'm sure you have a financial discussion to have about who pays the mortgage. Don't keep being passive about it. You have problems to solve, and you don't have to wait for her to feel like having a conversation.

I find the sudden personality change suspicious and am not that willing to chalk it up to hormones. Also, the drop in libido (with you) is strangely timed with this "need a break" thing. It just sounds like one of two things is happening: her agreement to marry you suddenly made all this real for her in a way she's uncomfortable with, and she's now rethinking/backpedaling/hoping to get out of that arrangement; or, and I don't normally leap to this, there's someone else. Only she can really tell you what's going on; but one caveat is that even she might not know, she might not be operating with enough self-awareness and consideration to articulate this for you. That's why I think you need to define the minimum acceptable boundaries you will give this situation, and establish a timeline, including a date by which you'll consider the relationship to be ended if you haven't gotten back together by then, and initiate a mortgage buyout or whatever other logistics you need to manage.
posted by Miko at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

You have been turned out of a house you co-own? Why? If she needed a break, SHE should have moved out. Is it time to move back in and get a lawyer? I hope you have written records of what you own and what she is entitled to. If possession is 9/10s of the law, you have in effect given her the house.
posted by Cranberry at 1:08 PM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I agree with the other posters that moving out of the house you own for an indefinite period of time is pretty crazy.

Of course you feel anxious and can't concentrate. She just turned your whole life upside down, for an indefinite period of time, and now you're living with family and friends while she....does whatever it is she's doing. It sounds like right now you're basically at her mercy to make up her mind. That's insanely anxiety provoking.

I don't think the contraceptive thing is really an issue here--and that's speaking as someone who has had severe reactions from birth control. In no way does it mean it's okay for her to kick you out of the house that you own.

I am in a long-term relationship where we had a "break" that lasted a few months. However, we went to counseling, we talked about what the issues in our relationship were, we both very much wanted to make the relationship work, but at the time were struggling to figure out how.
posted by inertia at 1:30 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have been in your fiancee's position re: birth control complications and drastic, drastic shifts in mental health and wellness, and yes, the brain can do some really hardcore reversals when hormones get effed up. That being said, one conversation does not warrant you suddenly losing your home. You need to get assertive now. She's not doing right by you right now.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Generally in situations like this, the person who wants to change the status quo should be the one to move out/buy a new car/whatever.

I agree with everyone else that you can and should initiate a where we at convo, and for your sake, get back in that house asap.
posted by smoke at 2:09 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

In your place, I would get a lawyer. You jointly own a house and have been asked to leave it.

I would also guess that she has met someone else, but that's not really relevant.

What's relevant is that you may be being set up to lose your home in one way or another, and you are being left hanging emotionally and in terms of your entire lifestyle. She is the one who wants to get her head sorted out, so she should be the one to leave.

What is going on while you are staying with friends? Are you still paying the mortgage?

You are being severely ripped off already, and you are already being treated like a doormat. Now maybe she isn't a golddigger who is going to dump you and strip you of every penny you own, but that's no reason not to get a lawyer. An hour's consultation will tell you your options now, and you won't be looking back later and saying "I wish I had known I had that option earlier on".

If the thought of consulting a lawyer fills you with dread - just imagine having no home to go to while your GF entertains her circle of gentlemen friends in what was your house.
posted by tel3path at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would basically make this slightly about your needs.

"Hello, I am moving back in to our home. If you require more time for this break you will have to figure out another way to get it. If we need to talk about the relationship, we can certainly do it but for now this is just me telling you that I am moving back into our home."

This could be about different hormones, it could be a mental health issue or it could be about something else entirely, or nothing. However I concur with other people that having some sort of a relationship-crisis moment does not mean that you make OTHER people amend their lives so that you can get your shit together. I have definitely been in long term relationships with people who went through moments of relationship faith crisis and it's definitely no fun. However, there is no reason that you have to play the guessing game and figure out what her deal is and accommodate her.

Move back into your house. Tell her you'll need a deadline (which can be in the future) by which you guys will decide if you are still engaged. You can sympathize with her feelings while at the same time acknowledging that her decision to act on them in this somewhat radical way is a choice, not an inevitable outcome of feelings. I am sorry, this sounds frustrating.
posted by jessamyn at 2:22 PM on October 18, 2013 [20 favorites]

It sounds to me as if she used to spend all of her time with you and was content to do so, and now she has discovered the joys of not socialising with you and has realised there is whole world of possibilities at her fingertips that she never knew existed.

It sounds as if she might have met someone else.

I also believe that as the one that wanted the break, she should have moved out not you.

I urge you to speak with her ASAP and have a longer than 30 minute talk about the state of your relationship right now and where it is going.
posted by JenThePro at 2:51 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

> It sounds as if she might have met someone else.

I also believe that as the one that wanted the break, she should have moved out not you.

Yup to both of these points. I know it seems unthinkable, but you should start trying to absorb the idea that your relationship is coming to an end. It may not happen, but it seems from what you've told us to be a likely outcome. And for god's sake move back into your own house.
posted by languagehat at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Make contact and move back in ASAP. It's not reasonable for her to expect you to move out of a home you co-own for an indefinite period and eight days with no plan in place is more than enough. You may be feeling agreeable with the hope to improve your chances of staying together, but this is not how breaks work. She is taking advantage of your kindness and fear of losing her.

You both need to talk about this in more concrete terms. I agree that it's likely that she's having second thoughts about being in a relationship and may already have started something with someone else. Regardless of her reasons, you should be back in your own home.

As an aside, I find it odd that she'd decide to stay in your shared home, filled with signs of you and memories of your life together. If I wanted a break to find out who I was outside of my relationship, I wouldn't be doing it in my quasi-marital home.
posted by quince at 3:49 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

[Folks, answer the question being asked please.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:47 PM on October 18, 2013

Nthing that this seems suspiciously like an eviction from your home, not a "break" - it's extremely unusual for there to be a wishy-washy "break" in a happy relationship that's so fixed that there's a ring and real estate involved.

I approve of the "I'm returning to our home, if you need this break to continue we need to work out some reasonable parameters and find you a place to live" strategy.
posted by SMPA at 4:48 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh, and hormonal contraception can have extremely significant effects on both mood and cognition. Testosterone, and a bunch of other things you associate with, e.g., "roid rage," are hormones, too: this is some very fundamental biological stuff that's being messed with. However, some of us feel much better, or just differently (neither positive or negative) on hormonal contraception versus nothing; it's not something that you can reliably predict will have a positive or negative effect on a person in advance. Also, it can change over time, and between different chemicals.

But hormones don't give anyone a free pass to kick another person out of their own house.
posted by SMPA at 4:57 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would be quite concerned that there were some legal ramifications to having moved out, and that this was part of some kind of Maneuver on your partner's part. This is perhaps not a generous view to take, but then I think the view you're taking is overly generous. I'd recommend getting back into the house without delay; as others have said already, even assuming there's nothing more to this than your partner has said, she should have been the one rustling up new living accommodations for herself, since this is her brainstorm.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:30 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sorry to say it, but I think your relationship is probably finished. This has a bad smell all over it.

> I don't know if she needs a month, or if two weeks is enough, and I also feel I don't want to be initiating the next conversation - I feel it should come from her.

Well, you cannot find out how long of a break she wants without being the one to say Let's Talk Now. (The answer to "how long" is anyway very likely "I don't know, but longer".)

Two weeks makes more sense to me than a month, but none of it makes much sense to me. I don't think there's standard guidelines here.

I would be inclined to say wait until she contacts you. The longer that is, the more sure you can be that the relationship is over. However, as others have pointed out, you really shouldn't be moved out indefinitely. Move back in soonish (tomorrow would be fine, no more than another week for sure), and if she wants to continue the break, it's her turn.

You should do some soul searching about whether you still want to be in this relationship. You're not being treated well here and you do not appear to be valued.
posted by mattu at 8:11 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can sympathize with her feelings while at the same time acknowledging that her decision to act on them in this somewhat radical way is a choice, not an inevitable outcome of feelings.

I agree with this comment by jessamyn and everyone's comments saying you should move back in. In addition to the fact that this was her choice (no matter what's going on with her hormones), another important fact is that you're making choices too. The whole tenor of your post gives the impression that she is the decider of how it's going to be for both of you, and that it's a given that when she announces something, it's an order for you to follow. I mean, just look at how you seemed to completely go along with her new arrangement which is so much more favorable to her than to you. I find this hard to understand. I assume you're thinking that the best way to maximize the chances of getting her back is to be as docile as possible. I'm not inclined to agree with that, but even if that is true, this raises the question: do you want to be in a relationship (soon to be marriage) that's founded on the principle that one person's whims unilaterally dictate what happens to both of you, with no regard to commitments or stability?
posted by John Cohen at 8:22 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Move back into your home. Respect her need to explore herself. You don't have to assume anything except that your relationship has changed. Your wedding plans are temporarily shelved. Suggest that she may want to live elsewhere while she reexamines her life.

Contact a lawyer to get a good reading on how common property ought to be handled (in the event that this hiatus becomes permanent), and think of various ways that will fit into your situation. In the best-case scenario, she goes off to explore her new insights, and drops you a line now and then. In the worst, you have to divide your common property somehow, using courts and lawyers, and part with hard feelings on both sides.

A person is allowed to grow. Sometimes we evolve in ways that surprise us. You can't blame her for that, but you don't have to live in Chump City while she deals with personal issues that don't include you. If she's grown in ways that exclude you as her life's partner, you don't have to let her punish your for it, and you don't have to pressure her into to doing things that may turn out to be hurtful. By this, I mean that she may not be able to take the high road, ethically, so take your life into your own hands. Let her do what she's going to do, and if she leaves, wish her well. Meanwhile, back at the legal affairs office, you have laid out the groundwork for an equitable fiscal separation.

The emotional part is what takes time to adjust to. It won't help if you let pain turn to anger. Living in the same house with her may be too much to deal with right now, and it will be especially difficult if her new life runs contrary to the plans you two have made for having a life together.

Maybe a few months of total absence from each other will let you both come to a new understanding. Who knows?--it may be that she decides your life together fits her new needs. Anyhow, you ought to plan for your own future without putting any pressure on her, since, as you can see, she may not be in it.
posted by mule98J at 9:26 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Please move back into your house immediately--do not ask or wait for permission. Then tell her you need to know the status of the relationship (you do need to know; not knowing is causing you anxiety). It is possible to be kind and direct, and you seem to have the kindness part down pat.

I understand your feeling that she should be the one to make contact, and I understand the reality of hormonal instability. Neither is a reason for you to be anyplace but home.
posted by whoiam at 10:25 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm with everyone who says you leaving your own house is unreasonable to ask, and that it's even weird for her to want that if she wants to try something new.

I'm really sorry, but a few things add up to an unpleasant conclusion:
She said that she had started to feel differently
she has become quite a lot more outgoing, confident and pro-active
she has been going out more [without you]
she seemed to become more social and pro-active in her free time.
Sex became less frequent after that
she told me, quite out of the blue, that she wanted a break

These are all the signs of a person getting into a great new relationship and feeling good about it. Except the last two.
posted by ctmf at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

And by that I mean, she may or may not have already met someone "better." But she has almost certainly decided that she could and wants to.
posted by ctmf at 12:07 PM on October 19, 2013

This is a freakily situation to a friend of mine in Michigan a few years ago. Because of his privacy, I'll spare the details, but it did not end well and both lost the house in the ensuing legalities, and never set foot in it again. Not surprisingly, he's still bitter.

First up; go back home. Note the word home. It's your HOME. You can either:

- give no notice that you are doing this (personally I'd choose this option), or
- give an hours notice, by phone, that you are going home, then go home

If you choose to do the former, be prepared for any situation when you enter e.g. unfriendliness, emotions, even another person. If you choose the latter, be sympathetic but stand your ground. You're going back to your OWN HOME.

Second; tomorrow, see a lawyer. Cover yourself. Even if it does feel like accepting that something bad and irreversible has happened. You could be very glad you saw one; conversely, if you don't at this stage, you may regret for a long time that you didn't.

The worst case scenario may not come to pass, but from what you have written there is significant possibility that it has.
posted by Wordshore at 1:52 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

One other thing you might want to consider is adding in some professional support for yourself. A third-party to whom you can unload your raw emotions and thoughts. It sounds like you have a nice group of friends and family who are there for you, but I think there's always a certain level of having to put on a brave face that goes along with that in-group support.

There are counselors and therapists who see this type of scenario day in and day out, and who will be able to give you higher-level perspective while also giving you a place to dig into the scarier feelings. You stand to learn a LOT about yourself through this difficult time -- whatever the outcome -- so perhaps if you view it as an intense, uninvited-but-potentially-enlightening experience, you will come out the other side with something positive.

Hang in there.
posted by nacho fries at 4:23 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

So while I'm nthing that this sounds like a slow-mo breakup, I'm going to add some other factors.

I was on hormonal birth control for a while, and then I went off it. What I noticed, personally, is that I was attracted to different types of guys while on and off birth control. While on hormonal birth control - which, I'll note, mimics your body feeling pregnant, so that there's no need to make more baby - I was more interested in salt-of-the-earth types. When I came off the hormonal birth control, my sex drive also increased, but I was definitely attracted to very different guys - more adventurous and for lack of a better word, "flashy."

What this sounds like to me is that she loved you and was attracted to you while she was on hormonal birth control - which had the effect of dampening some of her feelings. She stayed a "housecat", with more domestic interests. Once off the hormonal birth control, it's quite possible that even though she still loves you, her whole body is saying "Wait! We don't actually have a baby! Time to live!" Sex with you may feel different and she may be less attracted - while still not actually knowing why.

The thing is - depression is also like that. When you're depressed, you "settle" easier - you go for someone you care about, and don't worry as much about the sexual component. Now she's more confident and adventurous - and may want more than that.

That said - you shouldn't let this kick you out of your house because money. But I don't think she's necessarily cheating on you - I do think she's reevaluating your relationship in light of all that though.

(Memail if you would like some more details about timing and such)
posted by corb at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2013

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