The Enduring Debate

  • #1
Hello. I am in need of anonymous, unbiased, 3rd party internet advice. :)

How do you know when it is time to say when?
Not going to go into vicious detail, but I broke up with my BF of over a year (we are both 21 year old college students), and then changed my mind, tried to come back and we ended up in purgatory. I still care about him a lot. But I something deters me from fully getting back together and I can't place it, yet I can't break it off.

We were partners in crime. I'm always scheming, and he is always encouraging me. When I had an obsession with mountaineering, he bought me a new ruck pack and we hiked. When I had an obsession with aviation, we on a whim went and took helicopter piloting lessons.

But something is not there anymore and it is painful to realize this. How do I let go? And how do I even know it's the right thing to do?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
387
1
Simple. Ask him.

This just got into my mind and I just cant help but say it. Your name sounds like Cherry-Popper to me.
 
  • #3
Simple. Ask him.

This just got into my mind and I just cant help but say it. Your name sounds like Cherry-Popper to me.

I can't ask him how I know it's time to break up with him! That's a little socially unacceptable!

Hah, it's not supposed to. It's cherry trooper, as in a newbie paratrooper.
 
  • #4
But something is not there anymore and it is painful to realize this. How do I let go? And how do I even know it's the right thing to do?

Alcoholics don't quit drinking by going back to the bar.

If something isn't there anymore, the chances of it coming back are slim. More than likely, it'll turn into something that neither of you like, and the chances of it getting messy increase exponentially with every encounter.

How do you know it's the right thing to do? "But something is not there anymore and it is painful to realize this." THAT'S your first hint.

Cut bait, take some time to yourself, and be careful not to use him as a sort of "benchmark" for future boyfriends by learning to be comfortable being your own enabler. You sound pretty outgoing, so you should be able to easily find adventure in your life.

The one thing to be careful of is not to become dependent on love interests. On one hand, something is missing from the relationship. But on the other hand you still need him because he enables you to...I don't know...be yourself? This sounds like a classic setup for co-dependency, or even Dependency Personality Disorder.

I'm not saying that these clinical issue are present in your life, I'm just saying, "Hey, red flag."

You're an adult, but you're not yet fully mature on a physiological basis. Many mental problems stem from relationship problems, and these mental problems don't manifest until a person is in their mid to late 20's. So, you still need time to develop emotionally.

This situation sounds like it can arrest emotional development. That's why I say, "Hey, red flag."
 
  • #5
Alcoholics don't quit drinking by going back to the bar.

If something isn't there anymore, the chances of it coming back are slim. More than likely, it'll turn into something that neither of you like, and the chances of it getting messy increase exponentially with every encounter.

How do you know it's the right thing to do? "But something is not there anymore and it is painful to realize this." THAT'S your first hint.

Cut bait, take some time to yourself, and be careful not to use him as a sort of "benchmark" for future boyfriends by learning to be comfortable being your own enabler. You sound pretty outgoing, so you should be able to easily find adventure in your life.

The one thing to be careful of is not to become dependent on love interests. On one hand, something is missing from the relationship. But on the other hand you still need him because he enables you to...I don't know...be yourself? This sounds like a classic setup for co-dependency, or even Dependency Personality Disorder.

I'm not saying that these clinical issue are present in your life, I'm just saying, "Hey, red flag."

You're an adult, but you're not yet fully mature on a physiological basis. Many mental problems stem from relationship problems, and these mental problems don't manifest until a person is in their mid to late 20's. So, you still need time to develop emotionally.

This situation sounds like it can arrest emotional development. That's why I say, "Hey, red flag."

The sad, unacceptable truth. Isn't that just like a human being to want to deny the tough truth. Yeah, I know yo're right. At least on the "hint." As for the other stuff, we're anything but co-dependent. We were a very unorthodox couple, and we always prioritized our friendship over our relationship.
 
  • #6
I come from a ridiculously dysfunctional family, so I see red flags all the time. They almost always amount to nothing, but I see them all the time. That's the only reason I mentioned co-dependency.

But, if that's not an issue, then you have to follow your heart, and you'll have to have a talk with him. It will either be, "what do we have to do to make it right?", or else it's goodbye.

How long were you together?
 
  • #7
387
1
I can't ask him how I know it's time to break up with him! That's a little socially unacceptable!

Hah, it's not supposed to. It's cherry trooper, as in a newbie paratrooper.

Cant or Wont? You seem to like the social norms when it favors you.

I was thinking about this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Yofx-6pXI
 
  • #8
jim hardy
Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,847
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You're just 21?
my view from the other end of life's journey:


Hello. But I something deters me from fully getting back together and I can't place it, yet I can't break it off.

From here it sounds like there's something that you do not quite trust. It might be something about him or it might be something inside you.

.... And how do I even know it's the right thing to do?

From my experience only hindsight will tell.

ChosenOne said:
This situation sounds like it can arrest emotional development. That's why I say, "Hey, red flag."

This old poem is sometimes analyzed as being about the choice between growth and safety:
My Pretty Rose Tree
By William Blake (1757–1827)

A flower was offer’d to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said, ‘I’ve a Pretty Rose Tree',
And I passèd the sweet flower o’er.

Then I went to my Pretty Rose Tree,
To tend her by day and by night,
But my Rose turn’d away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.

Beware feelings of "need".
 
  • #9
14
4
When it's no longer the "right" place to be, it is time to be somewhere else. You know in your heart.
 
  • #10
Choppy
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
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You both have to want to move forward with the relationship. That doesn't mean that you have to be thinking marriage or anything, but when you think about your life in the coming years... do you want to be initmately involved with this person over that time?

At 21 you still have a lot of time to explore relationships, find out who you really are, and what you're really looking for in a relationship. So it's even okay to stay in it and "see where it goes" if you're not sure about any kind of committment. But the breaking point, in my opinion, is really when one or both of you realize that you'd rather be exploring other options - even if that option is being on your own for a while.

In your case it sounds like this is a special person in your life and on some level you want that connection to continue, but perhaps without the romantic/intimate dimension. Its never easy to end an intimate relationship... even if you both know that it's for the better, but sometimes you just have to do it. If you don't you'll end up hurting each other... if not by dating someone else behind this person's back then by feeling trapped in a relationship you no longer feel happy in.
 
  • #11
5
0
This is tough. If you wait for him to give you a concrete reason to break up, it probably won't ever happen. You're going to have to decide for yourself that you do not see yourself staying with him forever, and would rather spend your time exploring other relationships. If you're having fun you can continue to date him, but you have to understand you are staying in the relationship because it is fun now but may not have a future.

For what it's worth, I went through this a few years ago. I went through a transformation where I stopped wanting to date for the sake of fun and started looking for a relationship that I could build to a marriage. When I did this, I realized I could not see myself marrying my current girlfriend. I still loved her, had fun with her, and didn't want to hurt her but I knew I had to do something. I waited for an opportunity/reason to break up with her but nothing came and after about a month of this I went ahead and told her that I wanted to see other people. It's a tough call to make since you're partner didn't do anything wrong, but my break up has lead to me meeting the woman I could see myself marrying and I'm glad I cut it off when I did.
 
  • #12
224
10
Mate, please look at the posted-at dates before you reply to a thread. There is no digging up graves in the cemetery.
 
  • #13
LOL!! Unless you're the grim reaper!
 

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