I’m 20, my ex is 21. We’ve known each other since the fourth grade. We were always somewhat close, but we grew much closer in high school. Finally, our senior year, we realized we felt something for each other, at least I thought so, and we started going out.

We were together about three years and eight months. In fact, today would be three years and eight months. Two days ago, he broke up with me.

We had what I thought was a solid relationship. We talked about our future together, and he and I both said we believed we were soulmates. We both came with emotional baggage, but when push came to shove, we always managed to talk about things. He even asked me to move in with him next summer!

I love him with all my heart and soul, and he said he did too. The problem is, while he says he still loves me a lot, there’s a girl he met online he has feelings for. He wants to explore those feelings.

Beyond that, he feels he hasn’t been taking enough time for himself. He was so paranoid about how I would react to him wanting to hang out with his friends that he’s been sneaking out to see them! He said he doesn’t consider us apart, just “rocky.” Yet he took back the sweetheart ring he gave me.

I was so certain he was the one, but what is he doing to us now? We’re “rocky”? He still loves me? He asked if I’d be there for him if he was making a mistake. I said, if I was, I’d have to look where they stamped “WELCOME” on me because I’m not a doormat.

I tried to let him go with grace, but I feel like I’m dying inside. My friends aren’t here for me either. They’re all wrapped up in themselves even though I’ve always dropped everything for them.

Is that my mistake? Do I give too much? I don’t know. But what do I do about him? Do I get over him, or do I hold to the hope he’ll realize he’s wrong?

~ Cosette

Cosette, you can think it’s love until the moment the other person says, it isn’t.

The ex said he felt he could not see his friends because of how you would react. That’s like blaming you for not calling him Pooky, when he never said, “I’d like you to call me Pooky.” He made up something he imagined you would feel, but that has nothing to do with wanting to date another girl. There’s no logic there, just blame.

So he drops this nonsense on you, and of course you couldn’t immediately process what drivel it was because it put you in a highly charged state. He should simply have said, “I am attracted to someone else. Can I have my ring back?”

By the way you treat your friends, your ex knows you put others before yourself. He’s hoping to take advantage of that by having you wait in the wings while he tries another woman on for size.

Still, we don’t blame either of you because what you two had was like. An internet girl came along and proved it wasn’t love. With the tiny experience of the world you each have, you liked each other more than you liked anyone else.

You paired up over commonalities, years together, and what you call “shared baggage.” But commonalities often breed a false sense of closeness. You don’t need friends to lean on. You figured it out. No retry, second chances, or crying to come back to you. It’s over.

Now you must get back on your path.

You were making we-plans at a time in your life when you make me-plans. At your age, just becoming an adult, your life should be all about you. What are your plans, what are your goals, what does your future look like to you?

That’s where to begin.

Wayne & Tamara

Direct Answers Column for the week  of March 9, 2020

Need some relationship advice? Ask Wayne and Tamara. [email protected]

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