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Meeting him happened to coincide with him receiving a job offer for his dream job that he had been gunning after for the last few years. He started the job officially a few weeks after we met. The job was a big career change into something he had little experience with, and a job that is generally a higher hour, higher stress job than the job he was at when I met him. He is also taking a full load of graduate courses to finish his graduate degree.
As he got into the new job, I could tell he was stressed and the stress seemed to be increasing. I was a little worried that, between a brand new job and grad school, there wouldn’t be much left for pursuing a relationship. However, he was still making a big effort to see me frequently, he seemed excited about me, and there was absolutely no indication that we wouldn’t continue dating. Until he called me one day after an especially rough week of work (working till 9 or 10 pm) and school (I hadn’t seen him at all that week) and told me that he was really sorry, but he was overwhelmed and felt like he really just needed to focus on work for the next few weeks — that I was great and, if he was at his old job, he would definitely want to date me. I asked if I would ever see him again, and his response was that, at least for the next few weeks, he had to say no. There was no commitment from him that I would ever hear from him again.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the emotional whiplash that I experienced with this seemingly out-of-the-blue end of things. I guess my question is, is being too busy to date ever a valid reason to end a relationship? Or is it always code for someone not being that interested? Seeing as everything was going so well until the one day it wasn’t, I have a hard time believing it was because he wasn’t in to me. But I also feel like, if you are really in to someone, you don’t let them go and you do what you can to try and make it work. Should I believe what he said, or did I totally just get played? I want to believe him, but I am having a hard time not taking this as he just didn’t want to pursue something with me. — Emotional Whiplash
This kind of thing happens all the time, and I think we, especially as women, make it much more difficult than it has to be because we have this sort of fairytale, rom-com idea of love and relationships where our significant other will move heaven and earth to be with us if his feelings are real and sincere. And, yes, it’s true that, if you’re really into someone else, you don’t want to let that person go. But, you know what, life happens and you have to prioritize stuff and maybe it comes down to: “I like this person a lot — like a lot, a lot — but I’ve only known her a few months and I’m just not invested enough to sacrifice things I’ve been working so hard for for much, much longer than I’ve known her, in order to create the kind of relationship I’d want to have with her — the kind of relationship she deserves to have. Something has to give and it can’t be school and it can’t be this brand new job so, unfortunately, it has to be the girl, and man, that sucks.”
Timing is an enormous equation in relationship success. You can meet the right person, but, if you meet at the wrong time, it’s not going to work. This isn’t unique. This isn’t a problem only you have experienced. Almost everyone who has ever fallen for someone else has probably been the victim of shitty timing at least once. The truth is, it sucks. It sucks a lot. Until it doesn’t. It sucks until you finally meet the right person at the right time and things line up and, yeah, it still takes effort and everything, but it works. And when that happens, all the wrong people and all the wrong times it didn’t work will be worth it.
The key here is not to get bitter. Be flattered that this guy, for everything he had going on in his life, made a big effort to try to make it work. It sounds like he wanted it to work really bad. It’s not his fault timing wasn’t on your side this time. And it’s not your fault. It’s just the way it worked (or… didn’t work, as the case may be). Keep your heart open and hope for better luck next time. That’s really all you can do.
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Lily in NYC March 25, 2014, 9:10 am
LW, even if it WEREN’T a valid reason to end a relationship, there’s nothing you can do about it. “It’s not like you can call him and say, Listen here, bucko, I’ve decided that being too busy is not a valid reason to end this relationship, so pick me up at 8pm on Friday.” Honestly, any reason is valid – I dumped a guy once because I couldn’t handle the fact that he wore sweatpants in public. One of my more shallow moments, but still valid because it really bothered me at the time.
LlamaPajamas March 25, 2014, 9:18 am
I agree! And you don’t need a valid reason to end a relationship – people should be able to get out of a relationship at any time for any reason. It sucks but that’s how it works. And it sounds like this poor guy is overwhelmed – working at a new job until 9 or 10pm on top of taking graduate classes? I’m getting a stress stomachache just thinking about that. Years ago I started dating a guy while I was working two part-time jobs and looking for a “real” job (I had just finished grad school). I was completely overwhelmed and remember telling this guy on a weekly basis that I needed more space and time to myself. He didn’t understand at all so I ended things with him after just 6 weeks. Like Wendy said, timing is a huge factor in relationships.
MsMisery March 25, 2014, 1:05 pm
Dating is like working for an at-will company. “We may terminate your services at any time…” It’s NICE to have a reason, especially a valid one, but you don’t always get one.
Amy March 25, 2014, 11:20 am
I don’t think she meant was it valid that he ended the relationship. I think she’s asking whether he could be serious that the reason he was ending the relationship was that he was too busy or if that reasoning is just an excuse for him not being into her.
Lily in NYC March 25, 2014, 12:16 pm
Yeah, I get that, but my point stands. It really doesn’t matter if he is too busy or thinks that her eyes are the wrong color or that she smells like fritos. But I do think the guy was being honest wtih her and that it’s more than possible he will get back in touch with her before too long.
LW March 25, 2014, 2:05 pm
So valid was a poor word choice on my part looking back on this. I absolutely meant whether or not it was an excuse. Also, is it wrong that part of me thinks it may be awesome to smell like Fritos. Fritos are the best.
Kate March 25, 2014, 9:22 am
WWS. The only other thought I have is this: This is kind of a generalization, but guys hate to feel like they disappointed you, let you down, messed up, etc. So there’s potential for a guy just to end it or put it on ice rather than feel like he’s always disappointing you. This would be even more likely if you were sending signals that you wanted him to spend more time with you / make you more of a priority. Which I get a little from reading between the lines of your letter. Ultimately this just wasn’t the right fit and/or timing, so everything Wendy said, obviously, and I’m not saying that you did anything wrong or should have done it differently or there would have been a different outcome… just one possible facet to consider.
Banana March 25, 2014, 10:30 am
I’m glad you brought this up. I don’t want to make any assumptions about how this LW behaved during the relationship, but I can say from experience that dating someone with a very demanding job who is also taking a full college courseload is not going to be a “typical” dating experience. It takes a lot of effort from BOTH sides — not only is it a huge effort for him to find the time to invest in the relationship, but the girl who dates a guy like that needs to learn to be flexible, understanding, willing to savor the little snatches of time you get to spend together without asking for more that you know he can’t give right now. It’s not for everyone. I’m not saying it’s the LW’s fault for being too demanding; but it might even be a comfort for her to realize that it’s okay for HER to not want that kind of relationship.
LW March 25, 2014, 2:42 pm
Hi, LW here. Just wanted to clear up that there was no pressure to spend any more time together. The 2-3 times a week (all initiated by him, he never even gave me the chance to suggest plans!) was more than enough for me in a new relationship. Actually, much more than I ever expected. I’ve got a great, very full life on my own, so I didn’t feel any need to rush into being a higher priority for him this soon.
I actually only ever tried to initiate something once…the last week, I asked about grabbing dinner one night when he hadn’t mentioned getting together that week.
Kate March 25, 2014, 2:52 pm
Got it. I do think it’s possible for someone to end a relationship because they truly feel that they can’t give the other person what they need, at least right now, even if the other person isn’t putting direct pressure on them. Just a thought, and also may point to him being a good guy, just bad timing.
bethany March 25, 2014, 9:22 am
I’m pretty sure there’s no “invalid reason” to end a relationship. So long as one of the parties involved doesn’t want to be in it, the reason doesn’t matter.
LW, I’m sorry this happened to you. But honestly, it sounds like he was really overwhelmed and needed to have some space to deal with the transition and challenges of his work/education right now. Who knows, maybe a few months down the line things will settle down for him, and he’ll be ready for a relationship and you can give it another shot. He sounds like a stand up guy, to me.
This really is one of those, “It’s not you, it’s me” cases. There’s nothing you could have done here, it’s just a case of bad timing.
Kate March 25, 2014, 9:26 am
Yeah, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if this guy resurfaced after some time. I mean, don’t wait around for him, but I get that vibe that he just couldn’t deal with everything at the moment and may actually come around again. Up to you whether you want to or not if he does.
GatorGirl March 25, 2014, 9:26 am
Yes, it’s totally valid! My SIL just started working a job like that; 12 hours days 6 or 7 days a week. I don’t know how people do it.
katie March 25, 2014, 9:27 am
there is no invalid reason to end a relationship.
“Seeing as everything was going so well until the one day it wasn’t” — welcome to life.
suzyinthesky March 25, 2014, 9:56 am
I agree with you. But I think maybe the LW may have meant something else by “valid reason”. Reading her letter, I read it more as her wondering “is it the REAL reason?” as in, should she take it as face value or was he just not that into her. Just a thought…
katie March 25, 2014, 10:13 am
well, i think that line of thinking should be outlawed just in general. we have LWs on here all the time ask that question- and we can, and do, speculate about every possible thing. for instance, this guy might be a secret agent and he just got orders that he has to go to russia to manage the whole crimea situation. thats all it is LW, you snagged yourself a secret agent. but thats ridiculous, right? speculating about the “real” reason is just as damaging as wondering if a reason is “valid”. and i get that its a natural response to want to “fix it”, especially as a woman, and i like what Sas said below about how the LW is probably trying to deflect her own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy- but when a break up happens, a break up happens. going down the “i dont believe the reason he gave me when he broke up with me” rabbit hole is just never healthy.
suzyinthesky March 25, 2014, 10:18 am
Ha ha! haven’t we all been dumped by a secret agent!? and absolutely, yes, it’s not a rabbit hole we want anyone to go down. I just noticed that everyone (myself included!) immediately got caught up in her use of the word “valid”. And I think she may have just used the wrong word.
LlamaPajamas March 25, 2014, 10:19 am
I agree with Katie. It sounds like this guy ended things gently and kindly and the LW recognizes that he’s overwhelmed with school and a new job. I sympathize with her but this is one of the most clear-cut break-up stories I’ve heard so I don’t think she has any reason to doubt what he said. I actually find it a little frustrating that she’s making this about her when it sounds like he’s been perfectly honest with her.
Amanda March 25, 2014, 10:26 am
I agree with you but I think the issue is she’s fairly young and this is probably her first “grown-up break up”. I think the first few break ups I had were either completely drama-filled or they just ghosted. When you go through this for the first time…it’s weird. I remember kinda sitting there going, “That’s it? It’s just over?”
muchachaenlaventana March 25, 2014, 10:21 am
IDK I think personally it may help some people to realize it wasn’t about *them* especially if there is an insecurity issue at play. I think she has accepted it is over, but if I were her it would help to know that it wasn’t about him not being into it, rather the fact that he was legitimately busy and didn’t have time for her. Otherwise I think people can spend hours going in to every little detail: “what did I do?” “why didn’t he want me” “what can I do better in the future”. In this case, it probably will help this LW to know, yeah sadly it was just about the timing being off and him being too busy. There is no fix for this, so chalk it up to that, don’t think about it or over-analyze it, be sad for a short bit, and move on and find someone else where the timing is right.
Banana March 25, 2014, 10:42 am
Yes, this. Also, I think that examining why things end (in a healthy way, not a nitpicking or insecure way) is one of the best ways that people learn from past relationships and use those experiences constructively to move on. THAT’s why we talk so much about the reasons behind breakups here — yes, katie’s right that when it’s over it’s over and every reason is a “valid” one, but I think that it’s important for people to try to understand why things end, so they can learn from it. Sometimes that means trying to figure out what someone MEANT by their reasons, and whether (or not) you played a part in them. My brother once said that you can learn a lot about a potential mate by how they describe their past relationships and breakups. If they’re always the victim, that could be a red flag because it means they never saw how they contributed to the decline of a relationship (and it’s very rarely one person who destroys the entire relationship), OR they’re incapable of coming to terms with the idea that sometimes it’s bad timing or whatever, and no one was really the “victim.”
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 10:44 am
You should try to learn something from relationships though, in general, so I don’t think there’s harm in asking yourself if you “did anything” or at least, “what worked and didn’t in this relationship?” (but that’s different than trying to determine the “real” cause of the split so as to not be insecure.)
katie March 25, 2014, 10:52 am
muchachaenlaventana March 25, 2014, 10:57 am
Everyone has insecurities, show me one person who does not and I will give you $100 (I am broke so this is my equivalent of like 10,000 ha). If realizing this guy dumped her because of his schedule and bad timing helps her get over some of those insecurities and/or move on more quickly and have more confidence and self-assurance in her next relationship, I really don’t see the harm in it.
katie March 25, 2014, 11:03 am
what? i never said any of that. i agree- if wendy and all of us help her by telling her this stuff, thats a good thing. hopefully next time she will be able to see a little more clearly, because she will have the knowledge and experience of this situation. but that doesnt mean im not going to say what i did…?
muchachaenlaventana March 25, 2014, 11:11 am
I just was saying in this case, speculating on if the reason was valid or just having the confirmation that it was valid imo isn’t a damaging thing for this LW. I think it could help her move on and be overall more self-assured as she seems to be caught up in thinking there has to be some other reason this guy ended things–>and if this need for a confirmation or affirmation of that comes from a place of insecurity it’s not necessarily a bad thing either nor is it entirely controllable. I wasn’t directly responding to you just the general flow of convo on this thread.
Elisse March 25, 2014, 9:33 am
LW, for what it’s worth, 7 months ago I started a new job, moved, and started a new relationship within the same month. I was OVERWHELMED, especially with my new job, and sometimes still am (it’s a new industry for me). My boyfriend and I are medium-distance (1.5 hours away) and only see each other once a week. His job is overwhelming too. I can say for sure that, especially in those early months and even now sometimes, if we’d been closer and wanted to see each other more often than once a week, I’m not sure I’d have been able to handle it. I can’t even imagine what kind of schedule or level of mental and emotional investment he is putting in right now. I’d definitely say give him some time, and, as they say, if it’s meant to be, it will be.
Lyra March 25, 2014, 9:43 am
I disagree with your last part — I don’t think she should give him some time. He’s been clear that he wants to end things, so she should move on with her life and not wait for him. If they are both single in 6 months and want to give it another shot great, but at this point she should continue on with her life.
Elisse March 25, 2014, 10:04 am
Maybe I phrased that wrongly. What I meant was “accept what he’s saying, let him go, give him space.” Don’t wait around, don’t be clingy. I didn’t think she should put her life on hold or anything, but rather move forward, and if it’s meant to be, it’ll be.
Lyra March 25, 2014, 9:36 am
Yup, perfect case of bad timing. This happens all the time and it’s a perfectly legitimate reason to break things off. Ultimately, LW, if he tried to maintain a relationship with you with things as they are, you would always be secondary to the job. That never feels good either. At least he was nice enough to break it off without stringing you along. He could have ghosted you or pulled a fade out.
This happened to me too back in the fall. I had a few dates with this super cute guy who was working 5 am until like 7-8 pm daily. We had a lot in common, he was incredibly sweet, and we were both looking for relationships, but he had started looking for new jobs because his job was so draining. He was thinking about moving out of state and it just wasn’t going to work.
BriarRose March 25, 2014, 9:47 am
Ugh, that really sucks. While I agree there is no “valid reason” list for ending a relationship, I don’t think any of us can deny that this would sting. It’s hard to have something like timing be the thing to end a relationship. Granted it happens a lot, and this dude does seem great to not string her along, but it still sucks when you’re going through it.
LW, I agree with Wendy, especially when she says “it sucks until it doesn’t”. This will hurt for a bit, but don’t let it harden you to future relationships. Someday you will find that relationship where the timing is great for both of you, and everything else clicks, and you’ll have that “aha!” moment when you realize how great things really can be for you.
SasLinna March 25, 2014, 9:55 am
I’m guessing on some level you’re suspecting the end of the relationship was about you – that you did something wrong. So you’re scrutinizing his reasons to find out if there was something YOU did that caused the relationship to end. The thing is, it could totally be about him. Just believe him that it was too much for him and that he has made his choice as far as setting priorities go. It doesn’t reflect badly on you that he’s decided against pursuing a relationship with you. Try to accept his choice and move on.
Miel March 25, 2014, 9:59 am
Wendy said something about prioritizing and I think that’s key. I had a professor who said “make a list of your priorities in life, erase only but the first three, that’s what you’ll have left [insert here: in college, in grad school, at this new job, etc.]” And actually, that’s a good exercise.
For many years, my priorities were:
-Me time to relax
But then I met my boyfriend, so it shifted to
One of my friend was way busier than me. It would go “School, Dance class, work”. And yeah, when he would meet someone, no matter the sparks, he wouldn’t have the time to date. Because his three priorities where already onto something else. I think it’s a good trick to wonder what’s our three priorities in order. It sometimes explains why we feel so overwhelmed when we realize we are trying to fit a 4th or 5th thing in our schedule.
Amanda March 25, 2014, 10:07 am
Aw, LW, this does suck. It sucks regardless of which side you’re on (trust me, – been there, done that). It is hard to wrap your head around anything that’s out of the blue. But you know what? That’s love. And life for that matter. Things don’t go as planned. If they did – life would be dull. Really, it’s the disappointments that make the things that bring us joy so much better. So take this experience, hold on to it, and sometime in the future when you’re happy in a relationship that is working – look back on it. Because I can all but guarantee you’ll think, “Holy crap. This is so much better!”
Kate B. March 25, 2014, 10:21 am
The short answer is yes. Sometimes it’s an excuse, nut im this vase I think he’s being sincere. Changing jobs is very stressful on it’s own and if you’re changing careers, too, (especially into one you don’t have a lot of experience with)even more so. I’m sorry, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Pick up and move on. You did nothing wrong.
thatgirl March 25, 2014, 10:23 am
What a bummer…but this is totally reasonable on his part. Part of having a relationship is having time. There is such a thing as having no time to date! As a single parent, any time I have revolves around my kids’ schedule…so softball season would not be a good time to start seeing someone, because I couldn’t put my all into it!
Keep putting yourself out there, and if things clear up for him, you may still be free….or you may have found a great guy by then! Good Luck!
Kate B. March 25, 2014, 10:30 am
“but in this case” Wow. Typing on a train.
Holly March 25, 2014, 10:32 am
Yeah, timing sucks, and it’s the one thing you can’t really control when you’re starting a relationship. You can try to make sure the other person is super compatible with you, you can try to go on stellar dates, you can try to be the best you you can be – but if the timing is wrong, sometimes the rest of it doesn’t matter. My last ex-boyfriend and I didn’t work primarily because of timing (in that he isn’t ready to grow up, so a different kind of timing, but if we dated at a point where he had grown more into being an adult it would’ve been perfect) and it was a similar case with my last ex-girlfriend – she couldn’t make the relationship work while a bunch of life stuff suddenly cropped up. It really, really blows, but try not to be bitter or angry at the other person – it sounds like this guy handled it the best way he could, under the circumstances. And if it means anything, I’m sorry. I know it blows.
lemongrass March 25, 2014, 10:35 am
There is no “valid” reason to break up with someone because any reason is valid. Break ups are not something you have to validate- if you don’t want to be with someone, that’s it! This line of thinking is what keeps people in bad relationships way longer than they need to- because it’s not “bad enough” to leave.
Laura Hope March 25, 2014, 10:46 am
They say that men tend to define themselves (or base their self worth) by their professions and women, by their relationships. If that’s true, he does need to put his new career first just as you would put your relationship with him first. I suspect that when the dust settles, he will reach out to you again. But I wouldn’t wait around.
LlamaPajamas March 25, 2014, 11:01 am
Yikes! Who says this? I’m a woman and I’ve always defined myself by and found confidence in my profession because it’s more than just a job, it’s my life’s passion. Maybe it’s just my group of friends and colleagues, but I really don’t know any women who define themselves by their relationships. And I’d hope the LW wouldn’t put grad school and a new job on the back burner for a relationship if she was in this guy’s position.
katie March 25, 2014, 11:10 am
actually, women continually put grad school and/or new jobs on the back burner for relationships and/or having kids. statistically, that happens all the time for women, and almost never for men.
LlamaPajamas March 25, 2014, 11:15 am
Not the same thing as defining yourself by a relationship vs. profession. And I’d hope that she wouldn’t have declined a new job and put grad school on hold for a guy she just started dating.
katie March 25, 2014, 11:28 am
im just saying that while what laura hope wrote is really terrible and hard to hear- its statistically true. sad, but still true, even in 2014.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:32 am
She wasn’t just sharing a stat, she was taking the stat and using it as advice to the LW.
And sure, statistically it may be true, but I’m happy to hear LP hasn’t encountered it, HOWEVER, if you, as an adult, choose to put your relationship before your job or your job before your relationship, that’s your choice and either isn’t necessarily bad.
What’s bad is telling someone if you want a relationship, sit around and wait and keep prioritizing that person who isn’t prioritizing you.
katie March 25, 2014, 11:37 am
actually she was probably taking that stat and turning in into a generalization- which isnt ever fair, but- i mean its still true.
im also happy that LP hasnt encountered it, and i havent hugely either… the women i have encountered it from are all from my christian junior high, weirdly enough. my other friend’s (soon to be) husband is going to likely become a stay at home dad when they have kids. which is great to hear.
i do agree that either isnt necessarily bad, but the trend that we (still) have where women overwhelmingly choose the relationship as the primary thing isnt good. it’ll be good once its a spread out decision made by both men and women.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:43 am
I’m kind of on the ‘to each his own’ train about this topic. If you prefer to be a sahp, go for it! If you prefer to work, go for it! Get what you what, do what you want.
A close friend of mine (female, not at all religious) went to a prestigious college, got 2 really difficult degrees at once, was excellent at her job, but when she had kids and her husband said he’d quit working so she could continue to and they could have a parent at home, she decided she preferred staying home. She liked it more. Its what she wanted to do with her life. I think that’s awesome.
Katie March 25, 2014, 11:56 am
Oh I agree, but we aren’t at the “to each their own” spot yet. You cannot tell me that the overwhelming majority of women all want to be stay at home parents, or even a mother, or a wife, and that the overwhelming majority of men all want a powerful and successful career to take care of the wife and kids at home. – not to mention economic issues that will bar a family from ever being able to have one parent as the primary child care.
I’ll be happy too when people actually are doing what they would like. But we aren’t there yet.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 12:02 pm
Haha, I’m not telling you that.
LlamaPajamas March 25, 2014, 11:56 am
I’m coming at this from a different perspective – LH said women tend to define themselves and get their self-worth from relationships and men from their jobs, and I view self-worth and defining yourself as different from making something a priority at any given time. I definitely prioritize my family and friends over work, I just don’t define myself as a fiancée or daughter or sister. And I don’t just define myself by my job – I have a lot of identities (as does everyone). SAHP prioritize their families over work (which is great – my mom was a SAHP and it was fantastic), but they don’t necessarily define themselves or get their self-worth entirely from being a SAHP. Just because women put off work or school because of a relationship doesn’t mean they’re defining themselves by their relationship. I was just curious about this generalization because I’ve never heard it and it’s seems really simplistic.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 12:02 pm
gigi March 25, 2014, 11:13 am
This seems out-dated, or wrong to me? I don’t define myself by my relationships or my work. I am me & I would be me without either of these things. However, I do prioritize my relationships over my work, to a certain extent, because my relationships ( romantic, family, friends) are more fulfilling to me than work. My work pays the bills, my relationships make my life a happier thing.
LlamaPajamas March 25, 2014, 11:21 am
And that’s totally reasonable. I didn’t mean to imply that I prioritize my work over my relationships, it’s just that my job is my way of giving back to the Universe on a larger scale than I could do in my personal life, and being useful is really important to me. Not everyone has a job they’re passionate about so I totally get that this doesn’t apply to everyone. But being a Medical Librarian Who Helps People is a core part of my identity – I never think of myself as Mr. LP’s fiancée, which is what I think Laura Hope was leaning toward.
Nikita Patel June 25, 2019, 4:31 pm
This is the most sensible thing i have read. I define myself by my character, my interests, my knowledge. I am me because of me. I love my relationships, family, friends … boyfriend. They will always take precedent over work. We have one life, i will not let me career define it, even though i am ambition and have life goals. What makes my heart happy is my relationships. From suffering bad mental health issues and still recovering now, happiness trumps all.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:14 am
This might be the most unhealthy advice I’ve ever read.
bethany March 25, 2014, 11:50 am
I don’t think Laura’s off base here. First of all she said men TEND TO. Not that all men and all women are a certain way. Think about it like this- if you asked people to name their top 3 priorities like someone above mentioned, many men would have career in their top 3, and many women might have family/husband. As far as generalizations go, I don’t think it’s that off base. My top 3 would be Husband, Family, Friends. My career or education would never make the list. I’m sure it would for many women on DW, and out in the “real world”, but if we’re looking at American Society as a whole, I’d put money on men placing more importance on their careers than women, and women placing more importance on relationships (romantic or otherwise).
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:53 am
Do you think the generalization continues to be true as a relationship progresses past the beginning stages?
bethany March 25, 2014, 12:02 pm
I hadn’t really given any thought to that… But if I had to say, I’d guess that the generalization is truer in the beginnings of a relationship. Like a man who values his career would make decisions in favor of the career over a girlfriend more in the beginning of a relationship? I seriously have no idea though. I’m just talking out my ass at this point.
iwannatalktosampson March 25, 2014, 12:12 pm
See I think it’s sad that women would EVER put their relationship above their career early on. Once you’re engaged, sure. But dating after 6 months? I would think you were naive you put a relationship above a career. If your relationship is supposed to work out it will regardless, and at least you’ll have something to stand on.
bethany March 25, 2014, 12:20 pm
Eh, I can’t get behind that. I mean, I turned down a job once because the hours were too long, and I wanted to be able to have free time to spend with my friends/family. In that situation, I was putting relationships before my career. And I’m cool with that. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to quit my job because I need to hang out with my husband!
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 12:25 pm
Yea, but presumably those relationships with friends/family exceeded 6 months, right? So of course it makes sense to prioritize those over a potential career with shitty hours. What would make little sense to me is not taking a more reasonably houred job because you want to spend most of your time with your new boyfriend of 6 months.
bethany March 25, 2014, 12:29 pm
iwannatalktosampson March 25, 2014, 12:25 pm
I would never encourage my friends/family/future daughters to make that decision. I mean it has worked out for you so that’s good, but I would never say that that’s good advice. Unless you’re independently wealthy, then obviously do whatever you want.
bethany March 25, 2014, 12:27 pm
Well see, there’s the difference- You place more value in your career, I place more value in my relationships. Neither is right or wrong, it’s a personal thing.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 12:33 pm
As long as you are paying the bills with a stable job, I think its good to value relationships more. Its just tough to find that balance maybe? Or be sure you are going to pay the bills always. (which no one is sure of really)
I feel like I agree with you both which makes no sense.
Flake March 25, 2014, 10:56 am
Life isn’t a ”Sienfield” episode. Any reason is a valid reason to end a relationship.
Laura Hope March 25, 2014, 11:33 am
Apparently, I’ve touched a nerve. I do think we women tend to see ourselves as daughters, friends, mothers, partners, girlfriends etc. Not everyone, of course, but in general. If you guys disagree with me, okay. Cool.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:36 am
Sure, I see myself as all those things (and a professional), but that doesn’t mean I should wait around for someone to decide to want me since that’s the only way to land/keep a partner…since your male partner is obvz going to be doing his own thing with his job. I’d call that accepting the crumbs.
bethany March 25, 2014, 11:52 am
She said above not to wait around!
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:54 am
Laura Hope March 25, 2014, 11:43 am
No no no. I didn’t say she should wait around. I wouldn’t. I just thought it might be helpful for her to see it from this perspective and not take it so personally.
lets_be_honest March 25, 2014, 11:54 am
Got it. Sorry.
Laura Hope March 25, 2014, 1:25 pm
That would be funny though. Dear LW, Clearly you should wait for this man in the hopes that he may return. In the meantime, maybe you should take a few courses in Home Economics–cooking, sewing , cleaning, so you can better serve your man, should he choose you to be his wife. Sincerely, 1954.
LW March 25, 2014, 2:24 pm
Hey y’all, LW here. FWIW, I’m not young, I’m in my 30s. This is not my first rodeo…I’ve had several long-term relationships, including one engagement. This is, however, the first time I’ve had a break up be this unexpected, and not be the result of things really going down the toilet. I really don’t think I’ve ever experienced something that was mature, calm, and kind in this way, and I guess I haven’t known what to do with it. (sad, isn’t it?)
And yes, “valid” was poor wood choice on my part. I meant whether or not it was an excuse, not whether it was a valid decision.
I think this has been tough because everyone close to me has been suggesting that he met someone else, or that if he liked me, he would have found the time to keep going. I’ve been one of the only people defending him in the situation, because I just don’t peg him for a liar, but its gotten into my head and messed with me quite a bit. I also struggle with taking things very personally and being very sensitive and yes, I guess it helps to feel like this wasn’t because of me or something I did. I also guess I was looking for some outside perspective. Or maybe I need new, less jaded, friends and family 🙂
Thank you all for you responses. It actually helps me quite a bit to see that so many of you think that he was sincere. He was so great while we were dating, I was hoping he was being truthful, but when people start down the “this is shady” path, its tough not to listen and doubt.
iwannatalktosampson March 25, 2014, 2:28 pm
Yeah you might need new friends and family. I don’t think anyone thought that he found someone new. Maybe your friends and family have good intentions and are just hoping if you get mad that will be better than being sad. I don’t know. They might mean well.
katie March 25, 2014, 3:00 pm
eh, people can be so dramatic. there is nothing wrong with saying, “it just didnt work out”. no drama needed. i guess i get the need, as your friend or family, to want to bad mouth the guy who dumped you, but honestly- romantic interactions dont need to be so dramatic. people need to stop watching tv or something…
iwannatalktosampson March 25, 2014, 3:43 pm
Agreed. I don’t know why friends think they are doing you a favor by hyping up the drama. I always want friends to downplay the drama, it’s the best way to get over things and stay grounded and keep perspective.
imprint19 March 25, 2014, 10:53 pm
Such a long-time lurker, but something about your letter prompted me to finally jump in the fray. (And write a novel. sorry) Your age was exactly what I was wondering, because in context it makes a lot more sense–especially given the situation. You’re right in not making him out to be “the bad guy” and you know you’re right because you describe yourself as being very sensitive–which usually means you are most sensitive to the emotions of those around you. That’s probably why you’re feeling so guilty about what everyone is telling you. Not only can you empathize and, well, “feel” what they’re telling you, but you can also empathize with him and on some levels you understand. Basically you have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of anyone from an emotional standpoint and see their viewpoint. And then you know you should take a step back and view it from an entirely logical standpoint.
Which brings me to why I was curious about your age. Anyone between the ages of 25-35 (that’s my rough estimate) has had to deal with owing so much money for going to college, ending up working at a restaurants or scrape-by jobs for at least 5 years after you graduate while you attempt to get into the field of your study-if that ever even happens- when everything is so specialized these days and all the grants have been cut. Which is why I can understand what your guy did. If it’s your dream job… yeah, go for it. Especially when “dream jobs” are something that is so hard to obtain these days.
The question is what do you want?
He’s not a bad guy, but he’s already told you he’s too busy. And will probably be for the next at least 2-3 or more years.
We again go back to what you want and what you were looking for. And if you knew what his “dream job” was in the first place, and what it might involve… I think that requires a lot more soul searching on your behalf.
Lindsay March 25, 2014, 10:13 pm
I agree with Wendy for the most part, but I do think that many times a person thinks it’s because they are busy, but it’s about how they feel about the individual. Like a person may honestly think that they don’t have time to date … until they meet the right person. I broke up with a guy once because I really missed having more free time and being able to spend most of my weekend with my roommates and friends, and while that was true, I realized that I probably wouldn’t have missed it that much if he were the right person for me.
LW March 26, 2014, 9:58 am
I think this is what I was getting at with my question, and I was worried that it was more this than just simply an issue of not enough hours in the day. Especially because he had been so wonderful to me and seemed so excited about me. His actions while we were dating didn’t line up with “he’s just not that in to me” or “I’m not the right person” line of thinking, but part of me can’t help but wonder if that’s really what it was. Which is why I’ve been so confused about it all and why its been so hard to understand.
Sarah Salama July 27, 2014, 8:56 am
LW .. I’m in a similar situation now and I read this entire thread looking to see if you ever got your answer .. was he really busy or was it just an excuse out. This same thing happened to me a few days ago and it was the most mature “goodbye”; I didn’t fight him on it and basically said if that’s how you feel about it and us I can’t deny you of how you feel. I never initiate dates he completely pursued me even with getting in touch with me. For the first time I can see I was definitely a “chill” girl. So I’m still confused to why he did it, I also have many family members and friends that say he was just not into you. Your guy seemed very busy but the man I was talking to just moved to a new place, is in a basketball league, has travel dates with friends, and values his family a lot. Being the summer in Boston, the nice weather is limited and I basically told him that and that I want him to enjoy all the upcoming fun stuff. I did express how I was bummed because I thought we had something going. We ended on a positive note and said we could keep in touch and revisit this conversation at the end of the summer. I felt positive about it but as the days have gone on I feel worse (probably since I haven’t heard from him–which I get why) …. so is it just a nice way to let you down or was your guy actually busy… What ended up happening?
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pineapple123 March 18, 2018, 12:55 am
I just want to say thank you for this question and for the response. I just went through this EXACT same scenario last week. I am still completely shocked because everything was a fairytale up until the day he broke it off (due to the same reasons you mentioned). Our stories are shockingly identical.
I am not going to “wait” for him, but also would not be surprised if we get back together once his work has calmed down. I am sorry this happened to you and anyone else who has had to have the rug pulled out from under them. It’s been over a week and only now am I able to sleep, eat and be somewhat normal. I miss him terribly.
Rose gold November 15, 2018, 1:19 am
This thread is really helping me… I went through this last night
JD November 15, 2018, 10:20 am
I wouldn’t believe that will happen. If that person really wanted to be with you they would, busy or not.
baccalieu March 18, 2018, 6:11 pm
I believe that this can totally happen without the guy (or the girl) being “not that into you”. The fact that this guy was initiating 2-3 dates per week right up until the end with all he had on his plate suggests both that he thought the LW was worth that time and that he wanted to spend it with her. Although he tried, he just didn’t have enough hours for everything. If his busy period was only going to be a few weeks, you and he might have considered toughing it out and staying in the relationship but not seeing each other much if at all for a while, but this guy’s time is probably not going to free up until he gets his degree, which is likely months and maybe even years away. He didn’t think that was fair to the LW and I don’t think it was the relationship he wanted either. This is especially so since it seems like the relationship was fairly new (two months? three months?). I think he made the right call. It would not be fair for him to ask LW to, essentially, wait for him, like he was going off to war.
Go on and live your life LW and if around the time you know he would be finishing his degree, or otherwise having more time, you still haven’t found someone else, and haven’t forgotten him, look him up and ask to meet for dinner to catch up. (Don’t be traditional and wait for him to call you.)
Ron March 18, 2018, 6:22 pm
Since this is a 2014 letter, she has either lived her life, or pined for a very long time.
Jay March 19, 2018, 4:11 am
I was dating a single mum, who had 2 properties and trying to get her ex’s name off the one she had, worked full time and was extremely exhausted every time I had seem her I knew she really liked me but she just didn’t have the time. She told me she was overwhelmed and although the ending she had given me was less than I think I deserved I can understand she didn’t want to hurt me. I’m currently dating now but I still really think we clicked and it is possible that I just haven’t found someone that I click with yet as I still think about her all the time. Maybe because of the fact that she told my friend that I was the guy she wanted to settle with and maybe in a few months when her head and life clears who knows what can happen( not holding out though). I know this was 4 years ago but just wandering if he ever made contact or did you find you one?.
Shillamiller June 11, 2019, 11:21 am
I’ve had almost the same experience. My roommate introduced him to me in August when we moved in together. For me it was love at first sight, but I’ve never been lucky in dating. We started talking, texting for hours, or just sending stupid memes to eachother. But still we didn’t really knew eachother so we planned a q&a and with time got to know eachother. We…. were the perfect match although we had differences our relationship just continued growing. By December, I knew that he is the one. But in January he moved to another city for work which I never had a problem with. He moved in with his co-workers, settled in the new job , we called and texted eachother a lot. It was around February when he started to disappear. I couldn’t reach him for days or weeks. In the begging of March we had a girls night out, I got a bit drunk and I texted him,and wrote that I’m lonely and I miss him. The next day I sent another one saying that I’m sorry for texting and calling him that late. A week later he broke up with me. The reason was that he’s too busy and tired. Later I sent a Happy Easter card in the group chat (my bf, roommate and I). He texted me to say hi, and I’ve never heard of him since than.
SarahV October 22, 2021, 8:55 am
I totally agree that timing is everything in a relationship. I had the chance to meet the man who would become my husband 6 months earlier than I did but I turned it down because the timing was not right for me and I was not ready for any kind of relationship. When I finally did meet him we were both in the right place and time in our lives and things went great and now we’ve been married for 19 years. But I truly feel like if I had met him earlier I would not have been ready and it would maybe have not worked out the same way.
Advice January 14, 2022, 12:38 am
I just went through a super similar situation. The difference is we were living in different states. My boyfriend and I dated for a few months and just broke up three weeks ago. We started in the summer and everything was amazing. He worked a lot of hours but still put so much effort into making time to talk to me everyday. And we made sure to visit each other as well. In the entire time we dated we only had one day of no communication. He said he loved me and we made plans for our future. It was effortless. I didn’t feel like unsure about anything. He made me feel very secure.
Then in September he started his masters program for school. He also had some personal stuff that got thrown in the mix so combine that with the long hours of work it became tough. It especially became hard from November to December. We did less phone calls and then in December it became just a few texts a day. He would always call me but then in that month we only spoke if I texted him. And we did talk I can see he just didn’t have the energy to have a conversation.
Finally the semester ended and we got on the phone and had a very long conversation. He basically said what your guy said. He said he really didn’t want to breakup but that he feels bad that he can’t give the attention to this relationship because of how crazy is life is right now. So we ended it.
Even though I saw first hand how overwhelming things were getting for him my insecurities still come up. I think “well maybe the distance that I started to feel in that last month wasn’t him being overwhelmed maybe he just didn’t love me anymore” Or also “If he really wanted this we could’ve worked through it”
You almost cant help it…It could all make sense but you still feel rejected regardless and it hurts.