Dear B. Scott:
I have been in a relationship with a man for about four years now. There were issues in the very beginning as a result of him not being honest about being involved with other women. As a result, I shut down emotionally and withdrew myself. At the time I thought I was protecting myself.
Time passed and we broke up and got back together a few times. Each break up was initiated by me wanting time and space to heal. The pattern each time we go back together was he would try really hard to impress me for a couple months then got comfortable in his old ways.
Our last breakup was six months ago. We attempted to be friends for awhile but that wasn’t working so I cut off all communication for a month. When we resumed communication it was as friends. He told me he was devastated and depressed the entire time we didn’t talk. Later, he admitted he went back to sleeping with a bunch of women.
I’ve been working through my own issues with things that occurred in the relationship and decided to forgive him completely. We both agreed we wanted to work on things now it seems that he is harboring animosity and resentment towards me. It seems very sudden as he’s never been withdrawn or hateful until very recently. I’m not sure if I should stick around and work through this with him or again cut communication to give him space to work through it alone.
Dear Love Muffin,
After investing four years in someone, it’s easy to see why it’s hard to let the relationship go — but the reality is that sometimes you have to.
It’s great that you’ve worked through your personal issues and are now able to forgive him for what he’s done, but at the end of the day you’re just one person in a two person relationship.
He has to do whatever work HE feels is necessary for his spirit to get back to a place where he’s ready to embrace the relationship. It doesn’t sound like he’s done that quite yet.
When he told you he was ‘devastated and depressed,’ that was your cue to listen and believe him. It’s foolish to think that his issues would subside simply because you decided you were ready to try it again. Breakups are hard for everyone involved.
I hope you guys work out, but sometimes two people in an on/off relationship become like two ships sailing in the night — you just keep missing each other.
At some point you have to ask yourself whether or not your relationship has run it’s course; whether or not you’re still around because it’s familiar as opposed to it being a healthy, evolving, relationship.
What’s done cannot be undone, but you both have the ability to choose how you move forward.