After I left to move, Greg called me everyday, and continued to make future plans. When I had been gone approximately two months I pushed for a more concrete timeline and that’s when he dropped the bomb: he was not sure if he wanted to move. But he still loved me and had all the feelings for me and did not want to break up. Fast forward to a week after that bombshell and he drops another: he would not be moving and did not want a long distance relationship. He ended it.
I was/am devastated. I got permission from my job to travel and work from home and returned back to our formerly shared home (his house) to try and work things out. It was a disaster. He told me he did not want me to leave my job to come back to him. He told me if I moved in with him that he was afraid I would eventually leave and take half his house. If we ever had children, he was afraid that I would leave and take them away from him. He felt like I was making him responsible for my happiness and that he couldn’t decide right then and there if he wanted to be with me forever. It ended very badly with an hours’ long fight and him eventually telling me that he didn’t love me, he had never loved me, he was done with me, and he never wanted to see me or speak to me again.
I returned back to my new location. I tried reaching out (too much!) with repeated calls and emails for about another month. He told me if I ever again tried to make contact he would call the police, report me for harassment and have me fired from my job. Needless to say, I stopped contacting him. I’ve entered therapy. But I still miss him so much. The last I heard he is seeing someone new and has totally moved on.
I am struggling to decide if I should move back home (all my friends and family are there) or if I should stay in my new location (which I hate). I know the only chance we would ever have to be together is if I moved back home. But given what he has said, any reconciliation seems unlikely. I know I should give up and move on but part of me still thinks we could be together if only I was there in person. Part of me thinks the only thing that broke us up was the distance. If I close the distance we could be together again. What should I do? — Lost and Devastated
I know how you’re feeling; I’ve been there as I bet a lot of us have. You’re hurting, grieving, feeling rejected, and like the rug has been pulled out from under you. If you’re like I am, you probably feel a loss of control, which is a really uncomfortable feeling, and are desperate to take any action that might give you back a sense of some of that lost control. The most challenging thing you can do right now is the best thing for you: lean in to the uncertainty. Resist the urge to fix it and get everything back on track. Your relationship is 100% over and you are not going to get it back. Moving back home will not resurrect your relationship. It will not give you back the future you were imagining. That future wasn’t real and it didn’t belong to you. What belongs to you is what you’re building right now and you owe it to yourself to see what develops. There’s so much beauty in the possibilities. Embrace the gift of potential.
There is zero – and I mean zero – potential with Greg. He doesn’t love you, he doesn’t miss you, and he never wants you back in his life. And, frankly, I can’t imagine that you want the version of yourself you’ve become in relation to him. Let that version go. Let it all go. Releasing the possibility of ever getting back together with Greg won’t make the pain disappear. You’ll hurt for a while (this doesn’t mean giving up the fight is the wrong choice), but in letting go, your gains will eventually be much bigger than the pain, starting with your dignity.
Stay where you are. Give it at least a year. It’s only been seven months and you’ve spent that entire time obsessing over Greg. You don’t say where you moved, but everywhere on earth has been experiencing a pandemic, the peak of which likely hit soon after your move, and that’s a difficult time to embrace a new home. Things are calming down now. What could life in your new home be like post-pandemic and post-break-up? What could life be like now that you’re no longer tethered to a relationship that had no real future? The possibilities are endless! Lean in to the possibilities, the potential, the gift of uncertainty, however uncomfortable and even painful it might feel right now. It won’t always feel that way. Eventually, the pain and discomfort give way to something much better: excitement!
If, a year from now, you still hate where you live, then explore leaving. Maybe that means returning home. Maybe it means going somewhere else. If you do return home, I hope that a year from now you’d do so with nary a thought of Greg. As long as he guides your decisions, you won’t be happy or satisfied because there is no possibility of happiness with him. He’s made that abundantly clear.
First, things seemed off when she avoided meeting me several times and Chad seemed perplexed by her behavior. However, I remained open to meeting. Our first encounter was brief and she was incredibly rude, cutting me off while I was making conversation. The second meeting was at her home, where she invited us for a BBQ. During this interaction she cut me off, diminished anything I tried to discuss, made rude comments about my race (which seemed odd because her boyfriends are the same race as I am), and brought up deeply painful experiences Chad had told her about me during the dinner party (I’ve since asked Chad to not tell her stuff). At one point she ignored her boyfriend and me to give my boyfriend a special treat, which Chad shared with me.I was deeply unsettled by the whole experience, but I didn’t have the heart or understanding to say something to my boyfriend. I met Jill again, and she was nicer that time, but there was still an edge with her. She still buys my boyfriend expensive, elaborate gifts, and she forces her boyfriend to hang out with Chad and participate in hobbies that are solely Chad’s but which she wants to be heavily involved in. I finally told Chad I believed that even though he and Jill have been broken up for years, it’s obvious she’s still crazy in love with him. He seemed totally shocked. He doesn’t have many friends, and I feel guilty for making this situation awkward, but from my perspective it seems like she has an agenda. Did I make the right decision? Am I being overly sensitive or jealous? — Not a Fan of His Ex
I’m confused. What was the decision that you made? All you did was tell Chad that it seems like Jill is still crazy in love with him, right? You didn’t break up with him, did you? Or forbid him to see her or make any decision that might change the situation? So, I’m not sure what you’re asking, but, you know, any time there’s a third person in a relationship whose presence and behavior makes one of the people in the relationship uncomfortable, there’s trouble. You’re uncomfortable with Jill’s presence and behavior. You’ve now made that explicit to Chad. What he does with that information should guide what you do next. If nothing changes, *then* you have a decision to make: stay or go. You can’t forbid Chad to see his friend. You can’t force him to change the boundaries of this friendship. You can’t change his behavior or Jill’s behavior. What you can do is change your response to it. And if their relationship continues to disrupt your well-being and your relationship with Chad, even after you have made your feelings clear, move on. Who wants to be with someone who is ok with a racist friend, anyway?
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
Ele4phant July 6, 2021, 11:00 am
Ooohhh, LW1 I feel for you too and I certainly have experienced being abruptly dropped like hot garbage. It sucks.
But, you are verging into crazy ex girlfriend territory.
While he may have suddenly (to you) changed his mind about being with you and that was shocking, he’s since been very clear and consistent that he does not want to be with you any longer. And yet – despite his clarity you moved back into his house, continued to contact him AFTER he told you not to contact you, you are in part entertaining the idea that there’s a slight chance of reconciliation if you were to move home.
If you were a dude, we’d be advising Gregette to get a restraining order.
This relationship is over. You need to move on, as devastated as you are.. Perhaps moving home to be surrounded by family would be a good thing given how heartbroken you are, but you must let go of Greg, fully.
Maybe a few counseling sessions to process your shock and heartbreak would be worthwhile.
ele4phant July 6, 2021, 12:18 pm
Also, distance is not the reason you guys broke up.
Distance may have him realize faster than otherwise might’ve happened that he wasn’t that invested in you, but it didn’t cause him to want to move on.
I’m sorry, I know this hurts, but you’ve got to let the image of you and Greg being together go.
At the end of the day – you weren’t actually together that long. Sounds like things started and got intense really quickly, and then when he had a moment of distance from you, he realized, oh, this isn’t what I want.
You would’ve ended up in the same place regardless. This was doomed to fizzle out sooner or later, you moving maybe just made it sooner.
You have the gift of new surroundings and new people (and a world that is opening up). You don’t have to throw yourself back into dating (in fact, you probably shouldn’t), but throw yourself into this new life, that will be free of reminders of your life with Greg. You get a fresh start, embrace it.
LisforLeslie July 6, 2021, 11:07 am
LW#1 – you moved really fast with this guy, before you really knew him. The person he was at the beginning of your relationship was a facade. The person he showed you after you moved is the real him. The person who said terrible things and hurt you intentionally is who he really is. He will never go back to the way he was in the first few months of your relationship.
LW#2 – Based on your description, I think Jill likes having your BF as a backup. Do you want to avoid her or do you prefer to be present when your BF and she get together? If you do get together try to gently call her out “whoa, that was harsh. Why the attack?” or “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean by (racist thing). Hey other guys, do you understand what (racist thing means)?” or just a friendly “Oh, you must be having a hard day.”
brise July 6, 2021, 11:26 am
LW1: I think that he did love you, but on his terms. You say yourself that the relationship was a bit distant, independent. He wasn’t ready to commit to you more than that (to move for the relationship, or to be in a long distance relationship). When you insisted, he shifted to the rejection mode, because he is avoidant. If you insist in a break-up, you will get that result. You will hear awful things, that “he never loved you”, “you suck”, and so on. Been there done that, in both senses. It doesn’t mean that he always saw you like this, or that he doesn’t or didn’t have feelings for you. He reacts to your insistance and refusal to aknowledge his decision, he goes from love to hate. To get rid of you, he says what he knows will send you away. I did the exact same thing with an ex-boyfriend whom I loved but not so much, not to the core that I would move to an other country and commit to marry. As he insisted and coudn’t hear it, I ended up telling him the radical words, like “I don’t love you, I never loved you”. I didn’t make threats of a police call, you must have really exaggerated!
Anyway: it is dead. Beyond dead. It is sad, but common. When you move, you can’t expect your S.O. to move too. It is a risk. Either you move together, as a committed couple, or you take the risk to lose the relationship. You weren’t so committed. You were recent as a couple. So: it happens.
Your only mistake was the reaction to fly back to him without asking him first: you can’t do that. You just triggered his “take me out of this trap” program.
Then, you really lost it, right? Let it go. This is behind you. Forgive yourself. I think we all did that once. I also lost it once when I got dumped. This is human and common.
Embrace your new life. You had the worst start, because of this “Greg” nuisance. Now please perceive your new place, new job, in a Greg-free spirit. Heal your wounds and try to discover your new city, to make new friends. Give yourself some time to decide what to do. I think that it would be a mistake for you to come back so soon. You would be all again torn with the memories of your ex-relationship. See the positive of the distance. Forget about him, don’t follow him, let him go. New life, new page. And let go of your harrassing persona. Not a version of yourself you want to keep. Good luck and don’t despair. You have the potential of a whole new city to consider.
Fyodor July 6, 2021, 12:54 pm
yeah, the things he said were terrible, but I could see someone dealing with an ex who shows up and argues with you for hours about how you shouldn’t be allowed to break up with them, just saying whatever is needed, to end it.
ron July 6, 2021, 4:38 pm
It sounds to me that he did really care for her and want to continue to be with her. All the talk by him of future plans for him to follow her seem like him trying to convince himself that moving would work for him. Perhaps he didn’t see his career surviving the move, LW doesn’t mention what opportunities would exist for him in her new location. Perhaps he couldn’t bear to leave friends and family (and LW now wants to leave new area to return to friends and family) and that her demand 2 months into the LDR that he set a concrete date to move just crystallized in his mind how much he didn’t want to leave current area.
I agree with Fyodor that Greg said what he felt he had to say to get LW to back off after she went kind of crazy after he broke up with her.
I don’t understand how she could care this much about Greg and still move for a new job (was he ever enthusiastic about picking up and moving after her, was her move ever a joint decision) and now she is so eager to throw away the new location and run back home. She is as unsure of what she really wants and what she is willing to sacrifice to get/keep it.
She chose the job/place over the SO and then he did the same. They got into so much trouble because neither of them was willing/able to understand/communicate what they wanted/needed to have.
Her actions had reached the point where threatening to report her for harassment was completely reasonable.
OP July 12, 2021, 9:42 pm
To clarify a bit the original letter:
When we met, on our very first date actually, I told him I was in the running for a job position that could potentially involve me moving across the country. I got hired for the job 3 months after we started dating and before we moved in together. We moved in together knowing that I would be moving, but for reasons related to COVID not knowing exactly when the relocation would take place.
We had many many many ongoing conversations about the future, me moving, whether he would come. What he would be giving up to move, etc.
The area where we are from has very few job prospects and he lost his job about 5 months before I moved. The area I moved to has many job opportunities for him as he is a labourer/jack of all trades and was considering going back to school. Which was part of the plan.
I pushed for a timeline because I was trying to figure out the logistics of the move, how much money we would need to save, etc.
I realize from the above that it seems things moved fast but while it was happening it did not seem that way. We were very much on the same page.
I did not choose this job over him. The job and the moving pre-dated our relationship and was a known entity during the relationship. I was very upfront the whole time that this was my plan. I asked him to come with me but told him it was ok if he didn’t want to. He repeatedly reassured me for months that he was going to come with me. All of our friends and family were shocked when he ended things and said he wasn’t moving.
If he had told me he didn’t want to move before I left it would have been a different story.
Also I should mention I did not show up unannounced when I returned to work things out. We had spent about a month talking on the phone, rekindling the relationship, he said he wanted to try. He picked me up from the airport. I quarantined at his house.
I wanted to come home but I wanted to keep my job at the same time. I was put in a terrible position where I felt like I was being pulled apart.
It was the worst thing I have ever gone through.
ele4phant July 13, 2021, 11:59 am
I’m sorry you’re hurting. But, I promise you, this is not the worst thing you will ever go through. Heartbreak happens, to virtually everyone. It is a rite of passage. You will get over him, you will move on. Aside from a select few that marry the first person they date, we’ve all been there and most of us go on to have more relationships. Many that will also fail, until one doesn’t. You’ll be okay.
You do need to let go. I know you feel like you weren’t moving very fast, but you were. Moving in after three months is bananas. You guys didn’t know each other, you were in love with the idea of each other.
Sounds like things got very intense very quickly, and when he had a moment to breath (once you weren’t physically there), he had a moment of clarity that actually you weren’t what he wanted. It happens.
Given that he’s picked already with somebody new, he may be one of those people that just can’t be alone and burns hot and heavy from the beginning, only to lose interest quickly. In the future, there’s a reason things work better when they burn more slowly, you actually get to know one another.
You did go a little there with the constant calling and texting. Someone telling you they don’t want to be together, even if it hurts you, even if you don’t understand, is final. Don’t do that again. Respect boundaries you are given, even if you don’t like them.
You are in a new place, get to know it, get to know people and move on. You will be ready and open to date someone new in the future.
Rebecca July 15, 2021, 1:13 pm
Thanks for your clarification, OP. That’s really, really not cool of him.
That said…what everyone else has said is accurate; once a (former) partner brings the cops into the conversation, it’s over. For real for real. Completely. No going back.
If you can find a way to really truly accept that it’s over, you can start to heal/move past it.
brise July 6, 2021, 11:39 am
LW2: you should mentally get used to the idea that this relationship has met a dealbreaker and that either you solve it or you end it. So get used to the idea that the best decision, in a status quo, is for you to break up. Once you reached that inner conviction, sit Chad down and tell him: “it doesn’t work like this with Jill. You both are too close. She says racist statements to me. She is well too enmeshed in your life. So here is my ultimatum: either you decrease drastically her presence in your life, or I end it.”
And end it. As I am pretty sure that he won’t. By the way, don’t plant the idea that she is still in love with him. Maybe she isn’t. She just like the power, having two suitors, and so on. She dislikes the competition. She owes him.
I think that in two weeks, this relationship will be over.
But your only chance IS to make the decision: ultimatum and act on it.
laylas July 6, 2021, 1:21 pm
LW1: This sucks. I’m sorry. It will hurt, probably for a long time, and there’s only so much you can do to mitigate that. You will not be able to ‘move on’ right away, that is natural. But if you are feeling paralyzed by the grief, I would strongly suggest seeing a psychiatrist about a short or long term modulation regiment. It can make all the difference in the world. But beyond that, the only cure for a broken heart is time. Good luck to you.
LW2: Dump him. The ex is not the problem, it’s his complete inability and unwillingness to stand up to her when he sees her treating you like shit. And I don’t believe he’s as blind to it as he pretends to be, he just doesn’t want to do anything about it, which is disrespectful and unloving to you. No, you are not overreacting. Move on.
laylas July 6, 2021, 1:29 pm
Karebear1813 July 6, 2021, 8:31 pm
“I know the only chance we would ever have to be together is if I moved back home. But given what he has said, any reconciliation seems unlikely. I know I should give up and move on but part of me still thinks we could be together if only I was there in person. Part of me thinks the only thing that broke us up was the distance. If I close the distance we could be together again. ”
LW1 -WOAH! You are losing your damn mind. Stay in therapy. Call your close friends and family for support. What you need to do is stay FAR away from this man. You need to respect his wishes. You are being subtle with how bad your behavior has been but the lines I am reading in between is that you are coming off psycho to this man. I know it hurts but yes, you are losing total control. I think if you go home it’s to be around support and not in hopes of rekindling this lost relationship. Grieve, cry, be angry, scream, lose yourself but then get back to focusing on a healthier, happier you.
Fyodor July 7, 2021, 7:26 am
Yeah, I kind of think that there’s some glossing over here. It’s generally been my experience that people whose stalking leads to them being threatened with police reports tend to not be super reflective about their own behavior.
Ele4phant July 7, 2021, 8:19 am
I can understand that this woman is in pain, many of us can sympathize with that, and you don’t want to kick someone when their down.
But, despite understanding what she might be feeling, she’s crossed a lot of boundaries and doesn’t seem to be fully admitting that what she did was over the line.
Most people who’ve had their heartbroken don’t continue to call and contact someone until they threaten to call the cops, that’s not okay no matter how sad and shocked you are, and no matter what hurtful things your ex said to you.
I think a little come to Jesus is appropriate. She is still somehow is holding out hope for reconciliation so she doesn’t seem to yet comprehend just how out of line her behavior has been.
LW1 – you do understand how extreme your behavior has been, right? It’s important to recognize that your response to your heart ache was not appropriate.
Copa July 7, 2021, 9:14 am
Eh, I think if LW1 is in therapy, she understands that her emotions and behavior went beyond a normal response and needs help in addressing them. I also assumed the details were glossed over intentionally because she understands she veered into cooky-crazy territory.
I think Wendy’s advice to LW1 is great. FWIW, I moved to my current city in a new state not long after a break-up in my late 20s that messed me up a bit. I know how hard it can be hard to be without a support system when you’re grieving, lonely, and feeling rejected. And I imagine this is harder during COVID when it’s likely you were more isolated than you normally be. But I decided to look at my move as a chance for a fresh start. I got into therapy, which helped me immensely. Threw myself into work. I said yes to every invite that came my way. I tried new hobbies and explored my new city on my own. Not that there are fewer COVID restrictions, I encourage you to do the same. I assume pre-breakup you thought your new location seemed like a nice place to live notwithstanding your ex. So lean into that feeling. Get your fresh start.
Fyodor July 7, 2021, 1:31 pm
“Eh, I think if LW1 is in therapy, she understands that her emotions and behavior went beyond a normal response and needs help in addressing them. I also assumed the details were glossed over intentionally because she understands she veered into cooky-crazy territory.”
Does she? She is seriously thinking of moving back so that she can harass him more. I don’t see any indication that she respects his boundaries or thinks that it’s wrong to keep trying to badger/pressure him into doing what she wants. I think she’s in therapy because she’s sad that he won’t capitulate not because she thinks she is behaving badly.
Bittergaymark July 7, 2021, 2:09 pm
Agreed! She wants to move back?!
HUGE. R E D. FLAG.
Copa July 7, 2021, 3:20 pm
I mean, who knows. We’ve seen a lot of letters where the LWs casually admit to the bonkers things they’re doing in relationships — some seem *really* clueless about behavior that’s not okay — so I did think her glossing over the details was like an embarrassed acknowledgment that she gets on some level that what she did is not normal even. I also think by the time people seek therapy, it’s overdue and comes only after acknowledging to yourself that you really need help. And even then, most people who do need help will either never recognize it or, if they do, never take that step to actually get in front of a therapist. They’ll talk themselves out of it, tell themselves they can get through whatever it is alone because it’s not THAT bad. You don’t have to agree, it’s just my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is okay. She needs to stay in therapy. She needs to stop thinking there’s a chance of reconciliation because it’s done, it’s over, he’s moved on, and he (rightfully) thinks she’s crazy. Therapy can help her let this guy go and understand why she came unglued over this. I think she should stay put in her new city, really work on herself, and use the rare opportunity life has granted her for a truly fresh start to her advantage.
Copa July 7, 2021, 3:24 pm
In the last couple months of grad school, my boyfriend and I broke up, but we lived in adjacent buildings, so I saw him all the time at school AND at home. I would’ve LOVED this kind of distance and fresh start, LW. Use it to your advantage!
Marie July 6, 2021, 8:32 pm
I feel for you!! This article is very helpful.
There are people who break up with you not for WHO you are but for WHAT they no longer get out of you. The pain goes away! I believe and have found that God does not close one door without opening another. Congratulations on your new job and I hope now you get to enjoy it. All blessings to you!
Bittergaymark July 7, 2021, 11:51 am
Eh… some here think what Greg said was so awful. But really. He is in a new relationship. The LW up and moves away. (Her choice. And a mighty strange one.) Most likely insisting he soon follow. He considers doing so. Says, sure that might happen down the line. But then — changes his mind. Gets cold feet. Probably after getting starting to see things clearly… After another whopping two months, (two months?!?) the LW starts DEMANDING a solid timeline.
Doesn’t that strike anybody else as simply fucking nuts? They hadn’t even been together a year yet. But instead 11 measly months. Two of which were long distance!!
Greg (understandably) tries to dial back the relationship. (I love you — but me moving? Eh… I don’t know.”) The LW refuses to take the hint. And keeps pushing and pushing. Finally, he rips off the bandaid. And the LW basically goes full on stalker. Showing up (unannounced, I bet.)
It gets so bad he threatens to call the police if she ever tries to contact him again. Think about that. That’s how fucking sideways her visit goes.
And now the LW wants to move home again?!
She sound fucking psychotic.
No, she IS fucking psychotic.
Greg needs to have the cops on fucking speed dial.
ele4phant July 7, 2021, 12:32 pm
I have been suprised at the leniency towards the LW, I think it’s warranted to say “You do recognize how off the deep end you went, right? That’s important to see. You seem to sort of recognized you contacted him too much (the right amount to contact someone after they broke up with you is really zero, FWIW)” and great you’re in therapy, but you also seem to think there’s a chance you can get him back, so let’s make sure you really recognize reality here.
That said, I think most are empathetic that LW is hurting, most of us have been there ourselves, and aren’t necessarily blaming Greg. It hurts to get dumped, it hurts to have unrequited feelings. That doesn’t mean the dumper (in this case Greg) is necessarily responsible for being hurtful (or if he is, it was warranted as she wasn’t hearing him) – just, we get it sucks.
With one or two exceptions, I don’t think any of the other commenters have said Greg is awful or to blame here.
Bittergaymark July 7, 2021, 12:41 pm
Oh Boo Hoo hoo…
NEWSFLASH: Everybody has been dumped! But how many have gone so off the rails that the dumper has to threaten to call the police?!
Not very many, I suspect.
The LW is simply unhinged. More! She thinks the world revolves around her. I mean — how narcissistic is it to demand that a somebody in a new relationship uproot their entire life and follow you across the country?!
Very. Very narcissistic.
Not to mention delusional.
LisforLeslie July 7, 2021, 2:19 pm
I don’t know if Greg is terrible or just in a terrible position. We don’t have enough information. They moved super fast. Moved in after dating three months – I know lesbians who move slower than that. And while being young-ish means you can pick up and move when you want to… sometimes when the person leaves, you feel… relieved. And that might have been the case. Or he might have been a big ol’ needy guy who couldn’t be alone for that long. Who knows? But he said one thing in month 5 and a completely different thing in month 11 (I never loved you) and that toothpaste is not going back in the tube. So I don’t understand why she wants him back so badly.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter if he’s terrible or not – he set a boundary and she refuses to accept it. Nope. Not cool.
ron July 7, 2021, 2:15 pm
” I think that he did love you, but on his terms. You say yourself that the relationship was a bit distant, independent. He wasn’t ready to commit to you more than that (to move for the relationship, or to be in a long distance relationship). When you insisted, he shifted to the rejection mode, because he is avoidant. ”
From what she’s written and the harassing behavior and refusal to accept a breakup, I suspect that anything short of a totally co-dependent relationship, with neither having a life apart from the other, would be deemed distant and overly independent by her. She seems seems a tad mentally ill.
Everybody loves on their own terms — we all have needs, deal-breakers, sacrifices of our current life that we aren’t willing to make. We all have characteristics we need to find in our SO — more mental/personality than physical characteristics. A successful relationship doesn’t demand that we give up our self and things we value outside the relationship. At best it involves shared interests and values, so compromises are not huge.