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Communicating after a breakup SOLVED

LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
edited September 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
My girlfriend and I have been dating for 1 year. Despite still being very much in love and stable, we broke up last Friday due to summer being almost over. We are about to be seniors at different universities. She decided we needed to immediately implement the zero-communication policy to make it easier, even though she would be in town for another 11 days. During the breakup conversation, she was bawling and sobbing, while I was outwardly stoic but consumed by dread.

After going an entire year with heavy communication every single day, this was extremely jarring and heartbreaking. The weekend was tremendously difficult for me. I hadn't cried in sadness for maybe 8 years, and I cried every day that weekend, including Monday morning. However on Monday night...

Monday night she showed up at my place in tears, told me how badly she was taking it. We talked, and soon after we were back together until the day she leaves. She invited me to spend the night at her place, which I did.

I don't whats right or wrong anymore; whats the mistake. The early-enforced zero-communication, the breakup in general, or getting back with her for the next week? When she goes back to school and we break up, is the zero-communications route really the least painful? I really love this girl, and though its very embarrassing to say, under ideal conditions...lets just say she is VERY marriage material. My father advises me that we should stay on each others radar, so that when we are older and more settled, maybe we can find each other again. Is that a bad/foolish idea?

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    urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The zero communication rule is the only way to get over her. It sucks, but that's how it goes. Keeping each other on the radar will only hurt your chances of probably finding love after the relationship. And thinking that in a few years when you are "settled" you will be able to continue the relationship is a pipe dream at best.

    I hope this doesn't seem cold hearted. Because I didn't mean for it to sound like that.

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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So you love her, she loves you back, you're stable, and you're breaking up ... why exactly? Because you're afraid of long-distance relationships?

    Fuck's sake man, recant that shit especially if her feelings about "marriage material" might be mutual. Long distance, while tough, can and does work.

    Ninja edit - How old are you two? "Seniors in university" would imply early 20s, wouldn't it? Unless you're in one of those weird countries that calls high school "university" or something.

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    urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hmm I didn't see the word "university". I saw senior and assumed high school. Do you really only have a year left of school? What degrees?

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    ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Anecdotal evidece on my part, a friend of mine from college started dating a guy during her junior year. Right after she graduated, she moved out of state from MN to FL for nearly 5 years to get a doctorate. She came back and within a year they were engaged.

    I've heard the long-distance relationships are not easy and it involves a lot of trust. This is the only time a friend of mine has tried one and it's gone well. They know people who have done the same.

    If you're really into this girl, you might see what your friends or family think since they can see things you cannot, you should takl to her about making it work long-distance. Make efforts to visit her and see if she's able to make some efforts to visit you as well. If you're both seniors and plan to graduate after this year, it'd only be a year, right?

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    LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Im 22, she is 21. I'm 10 months older.

    We did the long distance thing last year, which was difficult but worth it and it did work. We visited a lot and she spent holidays and vacations with me. I guess the biggest problem is that she is going to spend all NEXT summer in Africa before going off to whichever med-school she goes to. Her words were "it feels like we are at a dead-end".

    Even if I did convince her to stay, I'd hate that I had to "convince" her to stay. And I'm grounded enough to recognize that maybe this is for the best.

    LiveWire on
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    LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    urahonky wrote: »
    Hmm I didn't see the word "university". I saw senior and assumed high school. Do you really only have a year left of school? What degrees?

    I'm Molecular/Cell Biology with chem minor, no idea what I'm doing when I graduate. She is Human Biology and 90% going to med school.

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    SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So why are you breaking up in the first place, when it doesn't seem like either of you actually wants to? Yeah, long distance can suck, but does it suck more than breaking up a wonderful relationship? What's wrong with giving the long-distance commitment a go and communicating regularly about how it's working out for you?

    Seems to me that a stable relationship between people about to be seniors in Uni is different from the fabled doomed high school sweetheart relationships you always hear about. I have plenty of friends who were separated for a year (or a few years) in their mid-twenties, who made it work until they were able to come back together. And I know others who weren't sure if they wanted to make that kind of commitment, so they just kept up communication with each other... some decided to stay together and others didn't. I don't know if you two have discussed and discarded these options already or if it was more of a kneejerk reaction that long-distance relationships suck and are doomed, so we better break up.

    So if you're determined to break up, you two need to talk about what continued communication would mean to you. I suspect it wouldn't be a problem unless/until one of you decides you're interested in somebody else. At this point, it seems like it'd be a while before that happens... you both will probably need time to mourn the end of your relationship first. So why cut off all communication now and face terrible heartbreak that will make you miserable at the start of your years in new schools? Why not keep in contact and maintain good communication? Yeah, it might hurt if one of you decides that you actually are ready and interested in dating other people again. Or it might not hurt as much, because you've both taken the time to let your relationship take its course and determined that you're not ready to make the kind of commitment that a long-distance relationship requires. Maybe you'll both decide that you want to make your careers the top priority and that precludes having a relationship with each other. Or maybe you'll find space to be together and make a go of things after university. It's very difficult to predict how these things will happen until they actually happen, no?

    Edit: This took me too long to write, so you've explained some of this stuff in-between. I still think the core of my advice stands, though. With good communication, there's no reason you have to slam the door completely on your relationship, be it friendship or romance.

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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Just how much distance are we talking about between your schools here?

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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    People don't always fit in typical little life boxes. Most people break up in your situation, but there is no rule saying you have to. Can you get a job in the city she's going to be studying medicine in? That way you could stay together.

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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If you're committed to the idea of breaking up, then at least give yourselves the last few days of summer together. It'll be much easier to enforce the communications-blackout when you're busying yourselves with studies and school social events, and when you're not within easy travelling distance.

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    LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Corvus wrote: »
    Just how much distance are we talking about between your schools here?

    6 hour cardrive. Her parents live in my city and she spends most holidays and all major vacations here. We saw each other about 1 weekend a month for the last 4 month semester. The biggest problem is that this next time, there is no summer vacation reward at the end. She goes to Africa for the summer, then med school. Were I to follow her, it would close my option of gradschool, which Ive been considering.

    Also, don't take for granted that she would want to stay together for all that. Even if I did.

    edit: she probably wouldn't. I have myself an ambitious girl who does not often act on impulse.

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    SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    That's why you have to ask her what she's thinking now, after showing up at your door and realizing that the hard stop on communication wasn't working for her. :)

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    underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    Sounds like you guys have a great relationship. You're also 22. IMO, let her go. You'll find someone else and it will be a lot easier on both of you because (hopefully) the next woman in your life will be local. You burn a lot of cycles on a long distance relationship that can be spent doing other useful things, the least of which is living the "single life". Tough to think about, but that's been my experience.

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    xa52xa52 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Med school in one place, and internship in another, then residency in another before finally settling down. It's just not realistic to assume you can do all that moving with her and manage to find school/work nearby, and you're not going to maintain a long distance relationship for the next several years. Plus, she's just not going to have a lot of time to dedicate to a relationship during various parts of this process. It's unfortunate, but that's the situation. Sometimes even good relationships don't work out.

    That said, zero-communication is the way to go, once you both leave for school. I don't think there's any benefit to starting early though. You don't want to leave regretting that you didn't spend your last week together enjoying each other's company. Even if there's no future in it there's no reason you can't enjoy what you have for now.

    I also think that any time this week spent discussing/rationalizing the possibility of a LDR would be a waste. I wouldn't bring it up.

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    witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If you do end up breaking up, I agree that zero communication is the best way to go. That said, I think you should talk to her about your options. She's going to med school - and you want to go to grad school - why not apply in the same cities? Assuming you get acceptances in the same city, you have the big reward of seeing each other almost every day once she returns from Africa. Most medical schools will have some sort of graduate biology program nearby. Obviously, this means that one of you might have to compromise on which program you enter, but if you truly want to make it work it won't be that much of a sacrifice in the long run.

    You also should be aware that medical school will sap all her time and that will most likely have more periods of being long distance as she completes her education. The idea is to find creative ways that you can be together while still pursuing your individual ambitions. Eventually, you'll come to a place where you're more in control of your own circumstances and can make a decision about where, how, and when to "settle down". If you both truly feel strongly for each other and would like a life together, don't throw that away just because of the obstacles you face. They are difficult to overcome, I know, but in the end, if it's right, it's worth it.

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    KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    xa52 wrote: »
    Med school in one place, and internship in another, then residency in another before finally settling down. It's just not realistic to assume you can do all that moving with her and manage to find school/work nearby, and you're not going to maintain a long distance relationship for the next several years. Plus, she's just not going to have a lot of time to dedicate to a relationship during various parts of this process. It's unfortunate, but that's the situation. Sometimes even good relationships don't work out.

    Internship is residency, unless she ends up in a program that requires 1 categorical year in Internal Medicine or similar prior to the start of her more specialized residency. For most doctors, it will be just 2 locations between medical school and residency. That said, it is entirely possible to remain in the same location for residency that she does her medical school in particularly if she ends up in a major urban area with a large number of hospitals and thus hopefully a large number of potential residency programs when med school is finished. My wife did her med school, residency, and now fellowship all at the same institution. When applying for residency and fellowship all but one of her top 5 choices for each were here in the same city.

    Also, the notion that she will not have a lot of time to dedicate to a relationship is not necessarily true. It's certainly possible, and that possibility was something they advised all incoming medical students of during my wife's orientation, but it really didn't turn out to be the case until her 3rd and 4th years, and only during certain rotations at that time (namely, anything where she was on call every 4th night). Medical school is difficult and there is going to be more studying required than there was in college for most people, but not everyone buries themselves in their studies during those 2 years of classes. My wife (then girlfriend) had plenty of time to spend with me pretty much any time other than major exam periods. She had quite a few friends who maintained or developed relationships during that time, and the number of other students getting married during or at the end of their 4th year of medical school (including my wife) was absurdly high.

    Opting to end a good relationship because med school and training may cause some difficulties down the line is a terrible idea. If it becomes impossible for him to find work or do further schooling wherever she ends up for medical school, well, you cross that bridge when you come to it. It may not ever even be a problem - I know the possibility worried us, but my wife ended up being accepted to a medical school in our hometown of Chicago and everything worked out perfectly; all that worrying turned out to be for nothing. Anticipating even further to potential locational difficulties for residency 4 years down the line is just absurd.

    Ketar on
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    TalkaTalka Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I advise against taking any sort of middle ground here. Either stay with her, or cut her out of your life. If you aren't 100% positive you want to make a long distance relationship work, you need to break off all communication. And I'm aware just how impossible that can feel. I've been through almost your exact situation: same ages, same dilemma, and although we both recognized that the relationship would become untenable and that long distance would not work, we still loved each other deeply. So we tried a zero-communication technique--it was too hard, so we kept to giving each other updates every few days. This was convenient in the beginning, but was ultimately the cause of way more drama and heartbreak than I'd have endured had I kept to the zero-communication policy we'd initially agreed on.

    If you both are sincere about loving each other, than I think you either have to stay in the relationship or cut her out of your life entirely. And believe me, I know that's the hardest possible thing to do right now, but if it makes you feel better it's not only what's best for you, but also for her-- sticking to your guns will mean doing what's best for somebody you love.

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    I realize that you're both going to different schools and have difficult majors and all.. but I really don't understand why you need to break up.

    From what I'm gathering here, you're breaking up because you can't bear to be apart. And that just sounds... absurd to me.

    If you're going to do it and be real about it and you intend to see other people, then zero communication. If you're going to "stay on each others' radar" in the hopes of getting back together when things settle down, you may as well try to talk as friends. But if that's not what's going on and she's really breaking up, then you need to make sure you have some time and distance to get over things properly.

    ...Sorry, this still sounds ridiculous to me, though.

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    MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Long distance relationships can work, so long as you both want to make it work. I think it's best when you're both working towards the same goal. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this girl? Does she? Work towards the day when you are free from your academics, then you've reached your goal.

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    makeyourwifehotmakeyourwifehot Registered User new member
    edited August 2009
    Yeah dude...whe the passion and connection are high, they're high. When it goes away, it feels bad.

    It's not a bad thing to feel like crap. It means you are a passionate guy and the NEXT woman who is lucky enough to be with you will treat you like a prince.

    Opening up your heart isn't a bad thing. Leaning what qualities you want/need in a woman can be more strategic vs. random. It seems many guys date whoever is closest to them or friends of friends.

    Try replacement therapy.

    Take up a new hobby. Meet new people and don't even TRY to date. Be "out there" with a purpose...that purpose is to be fun, laugh, make others laugh and not look for a relationship. THAT is when the next hot girl will be looking at you and saying to herself, "Wow...he's interesting."

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    KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Long distance relationships do suck. But they can work.

    My husband and I were doing the long distance thing for my first year of medical school (I graduated a year before he did). It wasn't fun and I didn't have as much free time to visit as I wanted. But it had a definite end point and that was good.

    I also spent some serious time trying to convince my then-bf, now-husband, to dump me while I was applying to medical schools b/c I didn't see why he would want to follow me around the country so I do completely understand where your gf is coming from. That doesn't mean it is a good idea :P

    Your gf can still add schools to AMCAS at this point. If you want to go to graduate school you can apply in the same places she is applying. Especially bigger cities will have multiple grad schools and multiple medical schools so you guys don't have to go to the same school. Or cities near each other (can you live 30 mins from each school?) Honestly she will likely have some flexibility in where she wants to go unless she thinks she will just be barely getting in. Most people get more than one acceptance.

    As a medical student (MD/PhD) married to a grad student I feel fairly qualified to assure you that there are quite a few people making that set up work. For the first two years medical school really isn't more time consuming than college. Third and fourth years (and intern year of residency) do suck. But you can work through them. I have plenty of friends that stayed together with their SO's during those years.

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    CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    LiveWire wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    Just how much distance are we talking about between your schools here?

    6 hour cardrive. Her parents live in my city and she spends most holidays and all major vacations here. We saw each other about 1 weekend a month for the last 4 month semester. The biggest problem is that this next time, there is no summer vacation reward at the end. She goes to Africa for the summer, then med school. Were I to follow her, it would close my option of gradschool, which Ive been considering.

    Also, don't take for granted that she would want to stay together for all that. Even if I did.

    edit: she probably wouldn't. I have myself an ambitious girl who does not often act on impulse.

    Distance wise, this doesn't sound all that unworkable. 6 Hour car ride isn't all that bad. Yeah, awkward and difficult, but not impossible. Just a matter of deciding whether or not you think the relationship can survive the separation periods.

    Corvus on
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    DracilDracil Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Don't see the point of breaking up. I've had friends that were living in different states after college and they eventually got married (and yes, they were also med school situations).

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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    In general, breaking up for a potential future problem is idiotic. It's like breaking up with someone because you might have an affair in 10 years, or you might have a midlife crisis, or you might take a job in a different city. Or you might die in an accident.

    Yeah, or maybe everything will be fine.

    That's probably why you're taking it hard. When I broke up with my first real high school girlfriend, we didn't really have a reason -- we were going to college, we figured it would happen at some point, so we figured we'd see other people. Yeah, same result -- tears, break-up sex, casual not-exactly-dating for like 6 months.

    Eventually we had a break around a holiday, and she started seeing another dude, and that was that. I wasn't angry (since technically we were broken up) and so we became just friends, when really we simply started drifting apart at that point. But we had a reason at that point -- we didn't have anything in common, we wanted to see other people, and felt that the last 6 months kind of put a head on our situation.

    Same with residency -- she won't even be home to date anyone, so it doesn't matter if she's with you or not.

    But those first couple weeks, we were kind of like "wait why did we break up?" and so we kept on doing the same things, but with a hint of sadness and/or regret in there that, ultimately, we put there ourselves.


    So if you two don't get along, or there's some reason now that you guys want to break up, then use the future excuses as a catalyst. But if the only reason is because you guys are going to be long distance, then that's kind of lame. A future long distance period is a reason to plan, not a reason to break up. Same with

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    ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Guys, from the tone is sounds like she's the one that wants to break up. She's going out of the country, then to med school. Med school isn't easy and long distance relationships take work. She may just be a goal/career orientated person that has reasoned out that career is before relationship. It may not be what we would choose, but it's not really a "wrong" choice.

    That being said, zero communication is a must, at least at first. You'll both need time to distance the feelings. When I broke with my ex after 7 years we didn't talk for 2 months or so, and then we went back to talking like friends. Some people will need more time to sort, some need less.

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    DibsDibs Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Why did you break up before she was going back? This doesn't make any sense to me.

    Why does going to Africa close your door to grad school? I have the exact same degree as you (sans chem minor) and took the summer off (working outside of my field) to figure out what I wanted to do. I'm now in an excellent Masters program with an amazing adviser.

    You're definitely at a turning point. When I reached that turning point in my relationship I cut it off. It wasn't because of distance though, it was because I needed to know what else was out there. On its own, distance is not enough of a reason to break up. Unless she's pushing it - you shouldn't have to beg.

    Once you're done - you're done. Don't be one of those couples. Stay out of touch for at least a few months - after that it's ok to keep in touch to see how each other is doing.. eventually that will fade.

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    LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Just wanted to thank everyone for the advice. I really appreciate it and I thought about every reply. To give an update for the benefit of those who participated (or for anyone who may care), we decided the night before she left that we were still in love and to stay together. That is all. Thank you.

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