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Break-Up Fake-Out, or Move Out Without the Lout?

Dear Dr. Neder,

I was reading your article on "10 Signs Its Time to Break Up", so I decided to write. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years (on and off) for various reasons. I broke up with him 2 weeks ago, and now I feel like I made a big mistake.

One of the reasons I broke up with him is because he would sometimes go for days without calling me because he was in one of his "moods". Even though I told him repeatedly how horrible this made me feel, he continued to do it. Another reason was that I always seemed to be giving and never receiving anything.

For instance, he just got a new apartment, so I furnished his bathroom, but a month down the road, he forgot my birthday and then when I reminded him, he still didn't get me anything. Other than that, we had a really good relationship and he said he realized I deserved better and was going to do better.

Do you think I should give him more time to "work on himself" or was breaking up the best for both of us? I would really appreciate your input. Thanks!!


You have to answer two questions; one of them is simple and the other more complex.

The first question is this: did you break up with him to punish him? Many people (particularly women) will do this. It's both a threat and a reaction to anger. In other words, you may have just broken up with him to "get him back" for hurting your feelings. Obviously, this isn't a good idea. If you decide this is the case, then you should definitely rethink this action. If you decide it was a mistake, don't just go back and hook up again. You need to get this problem fixed inside of you. Relationships are fragile things. If you continue this type of behavior, you're liable to permanently damage it beyond repair.

The second question will take some time, and is simply this: does this man meet your goals? Of course, you actually have to have relationship goals and very few people do. When you set these goals, you need to really evaluate what you want in your life; how your life will be when you find it and consider every aspect. Be complete and specific, but understand that this may take you many hours. You also need to write this information down somewhere - don't waste your time and just ponder it. That won't get you anywhere. Also, don't focus on "who" at this point, just focus on the "what" and "why".

Once you're done with this project, simply compare this man to your goals. How does he fit and in the areas where he doesn't, are you willing to live with that? If you are, fine. If not, can these things be corrected?

After this exercise, you'll be much better able to determine whether you need to go back to him or not.

Finally, it's entirely reasonable to expect that he'll be involved with special events in your life just like you are with him. If he doesn't seem able to do this, you might want to ask yourself why this is so. Is he so self-centered as to not be able to get involved with anyone else or is he simply so forgetful that you need to get him a calendar?

Best regards...

Have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at dwneder@beingaman.com for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" (volumes I & II), and other products visit: www.beingaman.com. Check out the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beingaman.

Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
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