- Gender and Relationships
Getting the Ex Back - Good Idea? How Should She Start?
I wrote a couple weeks back but never got your take on things. It seems like everyone has advice to offer up, but I would really appreciate knowing what an impartial (and wise) person has to say.
My boyfriend and I broke up about 2 months ago. I haven't talked to him since, except to text him good luck for the new position he was starting in early August. He texted a thank you back.
The more time passes, the more I miss having him in my life. I also recall the petty things he brought up and the freakouts, however. I wish we had actually had time to talk over things face-to-face, instead of all the freakouts, and ultimately breaking up on the phone. given some time passing, a large part of me wants to talk to him again. I don't know that he would even think about initiating talking to me because I said I didn't want to be friends. I said that anticipating how hard that would be, but I have stayed friends in the past with exes, and actually that was fine.
I would like to talk to him. He has family here and will be visiting frequently enough where this would be possible. I guess I would like to see if, given some distance and relief from the high pressure situation we had, we can regain some of the relationship we had. I lost both my love and my best friend, who until that time had been really wonderful to me. I was so happy with him until it came down to me having to move without a further action from him. Now, that is a non-issue, at least for the next year. I am taking classes here and committed to my job until I find out what school offers I have for next year. Several possibilities are near where he is, but plenty I like are elsewhere too. True, it would be containing the long-distance thing, but he is actually closer than he was last year and both of our schedules will allow for more opportunities to visit. I am getting off topic. . .
I know I let something valuable go, but at the same time, we at least both needed to take a step back. I want to get in touch with him, but I wonder if should just be strong and let go. What do you recommend?
Dear too independent?
You've hit a lot of the big ones here. Getting back together with the ex, closure, being friends with the ex, being independent...
The circumstance you're in is one with a lot of possibilities, many angles, many directions that I could encourage you to take. So it's important for me to listen to your "tells" to get a real handle on where you're really coming from right now.
The"petty things and freak outs" didn't get any detail, but how you could arrange getting together is fairly well thought-out. Your instincts told you that was off topic, and that's a tell, too.
What we say subconsciously is often much more significant than what we consciously think about sharing. The things we say, the things we don't, are all indicators of where our focus is and what we need to heal.
You're a very emotional person, at least regarding your ex. You feel things, and you feel them so deeply in fact that they are affecting the way your mind is processing. You're also a little controlling. You feel like if you can take control over details like visits and a time table or a schedule, that you can make it more possible for something to work.
Feeling deeply and wanting to take control to make the things you want happen are not necessarily bad. But putting them in with the other things you've shared completes a momentary picture of you that isn't very strong or clear. Signing your name "too independent?" is a bad sign. On some subconscious level are you asking if you should give up some of yourself so that those "petty things and freak outs" can be ignored? You said you had to leave without any action from him. Sounds like you gave him an ultimatum? Did you tell him he has to live with you, or propose to you, or meet some other goal of yours or you were going to go? Those things always backfire, there was really no other way that could have gone. That wouldn't be a reflection of your independence, it would be a reflection of how weak and short-sighted you are when you give an ultimatum.
Maybe it wasn't an ultimatum. I can't tell. But that "non action from him" reference doesn't sound good. You say it's a non-issue now. The circumstances within the ultimatum changed, or you withdrew the threat, or whatever was going on in your life changed? Either way you say this all resulted in freak outs and a phone break up. Eesh. Breaking up over the phone is never good. But the "too independent" statement just doesn't line up for me here.
Additionally, it's a huge contradiction in two very basic essential lines in your thinking, or not thinking. You're asking are you too independent, have you taken too much control, had too much self respect, been too strong, or given a bad ultimatum which you're qualifying now as independence - while avoiding the very real fact that he hasn't called you. He's not contacting you. He's not trying to figure out how to get you back. By a certain definition, he's the one being independent. You're not.
There's a lot of tell in your comment, and we're not even half way through them. Let's go through some more.
You're throwing the friendship card into this mix as if that will further solidify why you should be back in touch. Again, you use a qualifying point - that you've remained friends with other ex's. You may want to convince other people that you want your ex to be friends at least, but you aren't convincing me, and I doubt you're convincing yourself. You want him back, you miss him, you love him, you're all gooey and emotional. You're just broadening the scope of interaction and qualifying your intentions with the less risky excuse of friendship. It's either that or a pathetic short-sell of yourself that you need him in your life so badly that you'd be willing to suffer through being friends and watching him date, have sex with, and love other women. I can see how on a tear you might step in that shit, but I don't think you'd wear it. I think you'd scrape it off. I think you are using the friendship thing as another qualifier.
You visit and revisit the fact that there was no closure. This is probably one of the biggest propellants in your current feeling of spin-out. You bring it up at the start of your comment and then you lay your closing on the premise. Clearly you have things to say to him, and most likely you are even open to wanting to hear what he has to say, too. Most likely, part of that means you want to apologize, or you want him to. Something got stuck. Only you know what it is.
Closure is a necessary part of endings, and new beginnings.
The bottom line here is that you haven't given yourself permission to go through the break up. You're avoiding the real bad shit, you're gripping to excuses, you're rationalizing, and you're qualifying your ideas of reconnection without any real solid fundamental work on the actual break up. The freak outs. The petty things he brought up. What is it you don't want to really call out loud here? The shit he did that really sucked? Or something you did that was really wrong? Something here failed. Not calling it by name isn't helping you work through this or manipulate the advice into something you want to hear. You haven't let yourself process, or blame, or own. Either you are avoiding the real work of that because you know it will lead to letting go, or you worked it to the point of pain and then just turned and ran in a different direction with the whole separation.
Let me summarize what I drew from your tells. You are no where near ready to be in touch with this guy. You are still in love with him, and I'm not convinced it's a healthy love that gives you a healthy self image. I'm not at all convinced this relationship is a place where you thrive. You don't want to be friends with him, or "just have him back in your life" in a desperate way. You want him back, as your boyfriend. If you think about the reasons you two really broke up, and I am pretty sure that means he broke up with you either by will or by failing an ultimatum, you bury them by spending more time thinking about things you can control, or things that will "work" like his visiting relatives and how you can see each other.
Let me give you an example of how that would translate. I'm not saying this is what happened, I'm just saying here's an example of what I mean. If for example, you gave him an ultimatum to marry you or else, the problem is that you tried to manipulate and take control of a partnership instead of valuing your partner's feelings, whether they be that he wasn't ready, or that it was the wrong time, or that he doesn't believe in marriage. You didn't behave like a partner, you tried to take control where you can't take control, and it blew up. Now, instead of working on what would be the real issues there, such as how you did not demonstrate the kind of partner you wish to be, or how you really do want to be married someday even though you handled this wrong, or the very real possibility that he does not want to marry you - instead of working on these real problems, you're twisting them into things like, are you too independent, and how you can see possibilities and take control on the agenda of visits and see each other. Yeah, it's easier to think about a schedule then it is to think about how you wanted something he wouldn't give you, or that he doesn't want to marry you, or that you proved you aren't ready to be a partner by dismissing his feelings, wants, and fears. Whatever petty things and freak outs you're not explaining would probably have to do with how he reacted to this.
I'm sorry I can't find the other time you wrote to me that you mentioned. With about 250 hubs it's hard to keep after all the comments. It's always better to email me, but I do realize sometimes a few get away from me. Either I move one to the wrong folder, or I mark it answered accidently. Sometimes a few wind up in my spam folder. I apologize. I do care about everyone that writes me for advice, and although I can't respond to everyone I really do make every effort to respond to as many as possible.
In your case I will tell you this: you're in this process of the post break up emotions and thoughts. A note you wrote 2 weeks ago would have different tells than this one. And if you wrote it again in a month, it would be different again.
It's a process. It's kinetic. It's something that is changing and shifting as you absorb and work it. My take on your note isn't a final word on the state of all things between you and this guy. It's just a magnifying glass on where I think you are with it all right now. I am hoping by my pointing out what you said to your conscious mind that you will be able to continue your process more clearly. Just because I'm saying now that you need more time to really think all this through, that you're not ready, you're not clear, you shouldn't contact him - doesn't mean that a month from now you might be in a completely different head space.
I mean, I can surely give you a couple pieces of broad-stroke advice that anyone in your situation would benefit from regardless of their place in the process. Waiting for him to contact you would be much better. To find the closure you are lacking, try writing him a letter, but don't send it. Just use it as a tool to get all the things you really want to say to him out there, articulated and released. If you feel the need to get rid of it, throw it in a moving body of water, plant it in your yard in the dirt, or mail it to Santa. But don't send it to the bf.
And don't call him. Not now, anyway. Maybe later.