My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly five years. It goes along great, and then something happens and he walks away. Then, it’s usually me who reaches back out. We find our way back to each other only to “rinse and repeat.” It’s a vicious cycle and has become the norm, unfortunately. He wants a commitment of marriage and so do I, but it’s hard to give him that commitment when he is ALWAYS the one walking away. It’s never me.
Recently, his apartment lease was up and he said he wanted to move in with me. He also wanted to move in his 18-year-old son who just started to live with him a few weeks ago. (Prior to this, his son lived with his ex-wife for nearly 4 years.) I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I wanted to continue to see him while he got closer to his son. He didn’t like what I had to say, so here we go again with not talking.
We’ve exchanged a couple of text messages and I’ve seen him once for lunch. When we saw each other, he said he wanted us to talk with a therapist. I agreed. Days went by and I didn’t hear back from him. I texted him to ask about the therapist meeting. His response: “I’m focusing my attention on my work and raising my son right now.” So, yes, in other words he doesn’t have time for me.
So here goes my question: Do I let it go and wait for him to contact me? Do I reach out to end it all for good letting him know that I deserve attention and, since I’m not getting it, I’m walking away for good?
I really do love him, but I am just not so sure what’s the next best step to take. — On and Off
Yes, I have given you relationship advice before. In fact, since June, 2015, I have given you advice on the same relationship dilemma with the same on-and-off boyfriend four times — once here when you asked if you should beg him to come back, once here when you complained about him emotionally abandoning you, once in a now-deleted forum thread when he said he just wanted to be your friend and you asked “Should I continue the relationship ‘as is’ and give him the space he seems to need hoping for a change of heart? Should I go back to him and say that I can’t be friends because I was happy when we were a couple, and wish him the best of luck walking away once and for all?,” and once in a private email thread with you back in June, 2016, in which you wrote:
My boyfriend and I broke up about two months ago after a 4-year relationship. He was ready to be married. I wasn’t. I had just been through a divorce after being married for 25 years and my mom was very sick and passed away. I want him back in my life, and have read all the relationship blogs I can get my hands on.
During our relationship, he would get frustrated and give me the silent treatment. We eventually worked things out each time, but only when I initiated things.
The current state of our relationship is that we are texting and say we will be here for one another as time goes on. We are going to a concert in a few weeks – but, I think, as friends.
I want to tell him how I really feel. Should I do that, or just give it more time?
Sound familiar? The abandonment, the “just being friends,” the waiting for him to initiate a reconciliation, the wondering if you should just give it more time. I told you then, for the third time, to move on. Clearly, you didn’t listen to me. Each time you’ve written to me — each time you complained about the boyfriend emotionally abandoning you, walking away, taking back your engagement ring, and just generally treating you like shit–I told you to MOA. For over two years, I’ve been telling you to MOA. And you keep ignoring my advice. You keep going back to this guy who keeps leaving you. Why do you keep doing the same thing? Why do you keep going back to him? Why do you keep writing to me and ignoring my advice? Are you expecting me to tell you something different? Do you think I have something to say that will magically make your boyfriend a gentleman who cares about you and your feelings? I don’t. No one does. It’s been five years. This is your relationship and it’s not going to change. And this is the fifth and final time I’m going to tell you this: MOA. And get yourself to therapy. Like, individual therapy, not couples therapy that the dude is too busy to attend.
If you don’t finally follow this advice, you will continue indefinitely the same soul-sucking, dead-end pattern you’ve been engaging in for five years and it will be entirely your own fault. Seriously, lose his phone number, block his email, disengage on every single level, and once and for all MOA and focus on creating a life for yourself outside this emotional purgatory you’ve been living in for years.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.