Direct Answers – Upon Further Reflection


I met a girl when I was a senior in college and she was a freshman. We dated all throughout her college years. Though it was a long-distance relationship, we made it work.

She graduated and took a job about three hours away from me, and we began to plan for me to move up and live with her. I asked her to marry me and she said yes.

A week later she calls and tells me she can’t and it’s over. Her reason is that she just can’t get over how emotionally distant I was in the past. I admit I am reserved, but I never hurt her intentionally, and she admits our relationship was good.

I don’t get what happened. When we last saw each other, she told me she loves me so much and will miss me, and if she could fix the problem she would, but she doesn’t see a way. A lot of people tell me she got scared and confused with her life change—a new place, a job and being on her own for the first time.

She still wants to talk and tell me what’s going on in her life. I don’t know. Is it over, or is she still making her decision? I don’t want to wait around and talk to her because then I’ll never be able to let go. At the same time, if there is a chance for this to work out, I don’t want to give up.

~ Quinn

Quinn, it’s a little bit of this. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. Now I have put away my childish things. Then I saw through a mirror darkly. Now I’m a newly-minted adult with a college degree and a job. I’ve grown up.

When you started dating, you were a senior in college and she was a freshman. In her mind you were more mature and sophisticated than the boys she knew. Dating you boosted her status.

Now she’s been a senior herself. She’s seen lots of guys: mature guys, sophisticated guys, guys who have done stuff. What you have done, she has done. She’s no longer the little girl fresh out of high school looking up to a college senior.

She says she can’t tell if you love her more than you love potato salad. Maybe there’s something to that, maybe not. You have to remember, when someone breaks up with you, they have to say something. The reason often has little to do with you.

She’s got options she didn’t have four years ago, and she knows it. Your relationship worked for a time, and in dating that’s often what it is. It worked for a time. Her ease and coolness in becoming your “friend” shows you are not meant for each other.

Letting her talk to you as if she hadn’t just broken your engagement isn’t good for you. You know that, just as you know she does it to insulate herself from what she has done. “See, he doesn’t mind.”

Sometimes we need to count our blessings for an event which did not occur. In figuring out where she is in life, she helped you understand where you are in life. You haven’t yet met the woman who brings your feelings to such a pitch that she knows, “He loves me a lot more than he loves potato salad.”

~ Wayne & Tamara

Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara – Column for the week of September 25, 2017

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