I Want My Boyfriend Back

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Reader’s Question

My boyfriend and I were together for two years. We always had a very close relationship. I left him about three months ago because I was afraid of settling, and scared of making a mistake. I just wanted a little space to breathe. Finally he gave me space and stopped calling, and I missed him. Now I feel like I made a mistake and I would do anything to have him back. I feel as if he was my soul mate. But he has been with someone else for about six weeks. They say they love each other.

Am I too late? What should I do? I have tried to meet him and he refuses to meet me. I texted him and he told me I broke his heart and he couldn’t forgive me. I want to just show up in the hopes that I can actually see his reaction, and know if he is just hurt or if he has really moved on. Is this a bad idea?

Psychologist’s Reply

I am so sorry to hear about your heartbreak. Now that you want to resume your relationship, your ex-boyfriend is involved with someone else. I would imagine that stings. You have tried to contact your ex and he does not want to talk to you. That’s got to hurt too. So what are you supposed to do? Let’s consider your options… You could respect his wish not to see you (painful, I know). Alternatively, you could try to contact him again. If you choose this latter option, I would advise you to consider carefully your goal in doing so, bearing in mind he may not be receptive to you, and this could be your last contact (you will need to respect his wish for no contact, if that is what he wants). Think carefully about what you would like to convey and what you hope to accomplish.

If your goal is to communicate that you wish to date him again, be mindful that this may be hurtful to your ex and his current relationship. Let him know why you need to tell him your feelings, but understand that he may still choose his current relationship. Before saying anything, you may want to inform him that you will respect his wish not to communicate, but you would like one final chance to express your feelings. Ask him if he is willing to talk to you on the phone or in person, or if he would prefer to receive a letter. Be prepared that he may elect none of these options. Then you will need to let go and somehow move on.

Also consider how you would like to contact him. You mentioned texting him. This may not be the most suitable forum for communicating. If you need to write him, then e-mail or even old-fashioned letter-writing may be more appropriate. That way, he knows that what you have to say is intentional, well-thought-out, and you are not impulsively writing thoughts and feelings off the cuff.

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At some point, you may also wish to examine your feelings more thoroughly with a therapist to determine whether this painful situation could have been prevented or not. For example, I find it curious that you redeveloped feelings for your boyfriend once he started dating someone else. Is he somehow more attractive to you now that he is no longer available? In other words, is his involvement with a new relationship making him seem more appealing? If so, you may need to sort out the extent to which your feelings are passionate longings or, conversely, deep love and caring. You even mention that you felt scared about settling down with him. It may help to determine how your fears relate to your fear of intimacy generally. Perhaps you are scared about feeling too stifled in a serious relationship. A therapist can help you overcome your relationship hang-ups so that any future ones (either with your ex or with someone else) can be nurturing and healthy.

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