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MJ Acharya

MJ Acharya

Author, blogger and healer of broken hearts

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Mike Riley

Co-author of How To Heal A Broken Heart In 30 Days

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Melissa Kantor

Author of the young adult novel The Breakup Bible

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If you have questions about this change, you're in the right place. Our editors, experts, and community of change optimists have answers!


Question:Is there a recipe for making happiness from scratch?


Six months ago, I ended a two-year relationship because of timing: while I love/loved him immensely, I was preoccupied with my other “instabilities” (i.e. money, school, work, etc). So, I told him that, despite how happy our relationship made me, I was not able to commit to someone the way that we were, at that moment in my life (we talked about getting married, eventually). I knew I still had a lot of other preparations to undergo (and confidence to seek) before I could really love someone the way you should before you commit your life to them.

While he spent the last six months trying extremely hard to put us back together, I kept him at arms length, as a “friend” at best. In the past six months (approx), I’ve moved into a beautiful place, received a promotion (two raises), started my MBA (a program for working professionals on the weekend, which the company I work for is funding), paid off my car, emotionally re-attached myself to my family, etc… So, here recently, I realized that I am here:
Love (I am still in love with him) + Stability (work + school + finances + family) = Emotional Bandwidth (to really “be” in a relationship; whereas before I was sort of “going through the motions,” being mentally consumed by my other insecurities. Previously, I was physically there, but not mentally there, in terms of our relationship).

One day about three weeks ago, we were on the phone for over an hour, talking about nothing (small talk, jokes, stories, etc). I asked him to come over so we could talk about “us.” He then said he couldn’t… because he’s been dating someone else (for two weeks). So, I hate to say it but, I lost it… he ended up coming over anyway, and in between tears, I said, “my heart believes we are meant for each other, so if that’s accurate, and one day you feel the same way, maybe we can be together then.” He, also crying (hard), said he was scared to try again and have the break-up hurt even worse than it did the last time, if it doesn't work out. He’s also afraid that, if we’re not supposed to be together, he’ll wake up thirty years old, at relationship “ground zero.” (At the start of this next year, he's 28 and I am 24). On this day (now three weeks ago), he said he needed “some time to think” (meanwhile, he’s still dating this other girl although I don’t know how often/seriously); and, in the past three weeks, we still talk regularly (emails, text, phone calls, etc), but nothing conclusive.

Crushed, I feel like I've been preparing for the lead role in a magnificent play, and I’ve just been demoted from the staring role to be an understudy. For the record though, I do feel like I owe him the same time for self-maturation that I asked for six months ago (even though my personal growth sabbatical didn’t include dating other people)… Is there any way to really know if it's "over?” Or, will only time tell? And, if “only time will tell,” what can I do to cope with the situation at hand?

Asked by SomethingTimeless on 11/2/08 2 Answers»


QUESTION (AGAIN): Thank you, thank you, thank you for the advice and information!!! This is easier than starting yoga, beginning to see a therapist again, throwing myself further into work, and going out for "girls' night" more regularly (all of which I've done lately).

I think the hardest part is that he seems to, everyday that I don't talk to him (we talk maybe every three day or so), he's drifting farther away. And, I've always been in a position where anything I had or have has been a direct reflection of how hard I've worked for it, congruent in everyway. And, because love isn't one of those things ("you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink"), I almost don't know what to do... because I can't literally "take control," and "work" at this. Although I am perfecting my ability to be patient.

Everyone and everything on this site says, "don't call your ex" is this same type of situation? I feel like I should still "try," in a way, to be his friend. We talked like friends before this happened... and if I back off completely I don't want being without me to become easier by the day, because I want him to still know that I care. Just like he tried for nearly six months, with the efforts sort of diminishing in the past three weeks since this happened, I feel like I would be decreasing the probability of us having a future if I back off completely. So, I see your "space" idea, I completely agree... and I raise you this: how much space? And, how long should I really wait, before I try to switch gears?

Answered by: SomethingTimeless on 11/4/08


Hey there,
Thanks for sharing your story. I know how hard it can be to open up on a forum like this!
First off, I congratulate you for doing what you needed to do to get your life on the right track. A lot of people don't do that and they stay in a relationship and ignore their personal development because they are afraid to change things. So good for you for getting your life on track.

As for your ex-boyfriend, it sounds like you know that you need to give him as much time to grow and deal with what he needs to deal with as you gave yourself. You also have to realize that it sounds like he was really hurt and possibly felt abandoned when you decided to go on your path. That doesn't mean your decision was wrong, but it does mean that you can't expect him to come running back to you when you suddenly decide that you're ready for him. If you weren't prepared to put your life on hold for him, don't expect him to put his life on hold for you. I don't mean it to sound harsh, but I think you already know that you don't really have the leverage to ask to be together with him again.

Time WILL tell. Give him some space. If you're meant to be together, things will work out. In the mean time, maybe you should continue what you're doing in focusing on your personal growth so that when you are ready to be back in a relationship, you're REALLY ready. Talking on forums like this or with friends will also help. I know when I'm dealing with a really difficult issue I need to talk to anyone who will listen about it and solicit all kinds of advice. It may not result in anything in the end, but at least it gives my brain some time to work things over.

I really hope you work things out, no matter how it ends up, and that you end up happy. Whether it's with your ex-boyfriend or with some other great person who is waiting for you out there, it will happen.

Answered by: Lourdes542 on 11/4/08
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