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Do you think that when someone wants to 'take a break' after

Hi do you think that...
Hi do you think that when someone wants to 'take a break' after 3.5 years of dating long distance but exclusive that that means break up? My boyfriend wants me to come for Xmas (Chicago to Florida) but wants to be 'on a break'. He's my best friend and I want to be with him but think this is a bad idea for me. He has a lot of commitment issues he isn't sure if he can get over...
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Answered in 15 minutes by:
12/19/2011
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

I agree with you, taking a break may mean that your boyfriend is having commitment issues. Maybe in his mind he is thinking Christmas usually means engagements or special and meaningful times with your partner, especially if you have been together for as long as you have. This may trigger his commitment issues so taking a break may help him feel he is putting some space between you and give him less anxiety. Maybe a friend said something to him or a family member about being more committed in the relationship and it triggered his commitment anxiety.

The fact that he wants you with him is a good sign. It would be much more concerning if he didn't want to be together at all. So that may mean he still wants to be together, but is fearful of the expectations on him. This may be a good time for the two of you to talk this issue over. If there is to be any future for your relationship, your boyfriend is going to need to talk this out, either with you or with a therapist.

If you do decide to see him and talk to him about this, try approaching him in a gentle and non threatening manner. Tell him you would like to get his thoughts about the situation and talk it out so you and he both know where you stand. Keep your statement all "I" statements, such as "I feel confused by taking a break....". If you avoid blame or accusing he will be more willing to talk.

If he refuses to talk to you about this, you may want to suggest therapy. If you cannot go together, ask him if he would go on his own. You both have been together long enough to establish a serious relationship with a good future, so therapy is a good option to keep your relationship healthy and to address any problems now.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks for the quick response! Problem is, I absolutely know he won't see a therapist. He is too cheap and to make it worse he's lost a lot of money in the past couple years since a business partner cheated him. I really love him but he cancelled on coming to see me for July 4th then again for Thxgiving. He's been here 1x in 8 months vs me 4x there. He chipped in a bit financially but only when I asked. I kindof feel like he's trying to get rid of me but doesn't want to be the "bad guy". Since we spoke about Xmas (and I told him I'd cancel my flight), I haven't heard from him at all. That was Thursday. He said he wld call that night but never did. We usually talk every day.

Thus, I'm afraid to put much more into this... and especially if he doesn't think I'm right for him and wants to go, I have to let him. But I also don't want to give up if there is any hope so am not sure what to do... He's 49 and never been married or engaged. He is scared of living together too but despite the fact that I would have to move across the country, he's freaked out about the idea of me (or anyone) moving in with him and is afraid to try b/c of the move involved.

It's been all about him and his constant crisis for 2.5 of the 3.5 years and I feel like I'm always there for him but not getting much back and this break now really feels like an insult. I'm trying to balance anger, disappointment, fear and regret as I broke up with him on Thxgiving b/c I was upset that he cancelled last minute but then I tried to take it back and he wouldn't let me... :( So, I guess my remaining question is do I contact him at all (he has a lot of clothes of mine there) or leave him alone completely to figure out what he wants and if I'm any part of that, even tho I may never hear from him again? I'm inclinded to leave him alone in case he was just looking for a way 'out'....

Thanks! :(

Thank you for the additional information.

I am sorry that he is treating you this way. You deserve more than this after being with him so long and helping him so much.

I think you are seeing this situation very clearly and with a lot of insight. It sounds like he has some issues that do not allow him to stay in relationships no matter how much he loves the person or has a connection to them. Your comment about the relationship mostly being about him is a clue to some of the issues he needs to address. It seems there are some deep seated problems he should deal with that greatly impact his relationships.

Leaving him now, on your own terms, is probably the best way to make the break. You can certainly ask him to send you your clothes and tell him you are ending the relationship for good. You can do this through email or by phone, either way. It depends on your comfort level. Since he has already shown signs of ending the relationship, how you finish it isn't as sensitive as if this was a solid relationship ending for the first time.

Protecting yourself in this and having control over how it ends are the most important factors. You want to be able to look back on this and say you were sad about it but you felt had some say so in the situation.

Kate

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks. ***** a wonderful, sweet funny guy but also incredibly selfish though he doesn't realize it and it took me all this time to see it. He also likes to do his own thing more than most guys do so being in a relationship is tough for him I think. He looks really young and is a great dancer too so he constantly sees/meets many girls interested in dating him so I think that's part of the problelm too. His dad is a bit of a player also. Being so far away, perhaps I'm just too much trouble,, considering his options.... I don't feel that way about him because I think he is that special but what can I do. Maybe I'm just not to him.

I have had a tendency to act insecure with him due to his lack of commitment, many attractive female friends and unwillingness to make real future plans with me. However, it is a vicious cycle b/c that trait in me has just pushed him away even more and is one reason he isn't sure about me/us! So now I feel very guilty about that too... :( I hope this not working isn't my fault but I kindof feel like it is. Anyway I'm going to assume if he wanted me to be around, he would be calling so I'm going to just let it go. As I said, visiting while "on a break" doesn't sound like a healthy option for me b/c I'm too emotionally invested. Last question, how do I let go of feeling like it is my fault and kicking myself over n again? I really regret pulling the plug on Thxgiving. I was just so sad and frustrated...

I think he is giving you all the signs that he is just not interested in commitment, with you or anyone. You are seeing the signs (attracting other women/ being a player (a big sign), being into himself and not giving you what you need in the relationship. It sounds like this is more his fault than yours. Holding onto those thoughts plus talking to others who know your situation such as friends and family, should help you move on from the relationship. If you had stayed, he would have moved on himself anyway. He doesn't sound like solid relationship material at this point in his life.

Kate

TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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