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I know this may seem premature, but at least hear me out.

 

My gf and I were two weeks into starting a long distance relationship (which is very tough) and she started school (which was harder than she thought) and she had a death in the family (he was around her age, so it really hit her hard). With everything that went on, she described herself as "an emotional trainwreck" and decided to go to church and find herself, etc, you've heard the lines.

 

She told me she needed space and for about 3 days we didn't talk at all (we used to talk at least once a day). After 3 days of not speaking, she broke up with me and said that the feelings she felt for me had changed (she did this over email, but I finally convinced her that I deserved the opportunity to talk on the phone).

 

Prior to this, we only started dating in March and we were together all summer and were truly in love. It got to the point where she knew she wanted to marry me, we talked about future plans, and she would make promises that she would never leave me, etc.

 

Over the course of 2 weeks, it went from that to her thinking her feelings for me had changed. I'm logical enough that I know when she has that much stuff in her life hit her at the same time, she isn't going to be emotionally stable (as she said) and isn't going to be able to judge her emotions properly. When you're grieving, a popular coping strategy is that you're going to feel more disconnected from those you love and you WANT that so you can deal with it on your own. I suggested she waited a month or so until her life re-stabilize until she made her decision, but she said this was the only way she could heal.

 

My question is, the girl who broke up with me on the phone was not the girl I knew. She was not as strong, not as mature, just not herself, not the girl I loved and started dating. It is understandable with all the stresses and grieving that she was going through.

 

I know what we had in the summer was real, and what we had during the summer was when she was emotionally stable and her life was intact, her goals were in sight, etc. The girl who broke up with me was emotionally unstable, stressed, grieving, and going through a general rough period. I don't know which girl I should believe.

 

Is it worth my time to wait for her to return to normal and try to initiate something, or should I just believe that what she feels now is what she's always going to feel? I love this girl very much, but I was surprisingly un-hurt by the break up just because it didn't feel like the girl I knew was breaking up with me.

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It sounds like it could go either way. It really depends on how she deals with the crisis - either the breakup is just a coping mechanism and she'll go back to the way she was before, OR the grief is changing her and she'll be different after she heals.

 

If you loved her that much, you should know her well, right? Try to look at it objectively. Realistically, do you think she's going to want to get back together? I know it's difficult but you have leave out any hopeful thinking. Try to figure out whether or not you want to wait around for someone who may not want to be with you ever again.

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I thought I knew who she was, but this whole experience has been pretty eye opening. We had never gone through any ups and downs in our relationship, it was pretty much picture-perfect. This is really the first and only speed bump we hit.

 

I always saw her as extremely mature and stable and strong. She did get emotional a few times but it never effected her resolve and she used me to lean on and she got through it.

 

I would never have guessed she was capable of this kind of 180 degree swing. So I really don't know who she is or if she's going to be who I once thought she was.

 

If she returns to normal, I would hope that her feelings for me return to normal as well, and in that case I would be interested in getting back together. If she does not return to normal, I am not interested (however, if she didn't return to normal, I don't think her feelings for me would return).

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I would leave her alone to move through her grief and sort out her emotional footing. She's likely to see things much differently given hindsight, and I would allow for that rather than try to wrestle what you want out of her current state.

 

I'd make this less about you and her feelings for you, and I'd make it about recognizing that people handle shock and grief in unique ways. For instance, losing someone so young could have clobbered her with fear of attaching to anyone else right now. You can't rush someone through that. It's a visceral reaction, but if you try to tell her that, she'll want to claw your face off.

 

Permit yourself your own grief, and trust that she knows how to reach you if she ever wants to. You can always send her a sweet card or note that tells her you'll respect her wishes, and you hope that if she ever feels up to seeing you in the future, you'd welcome her call to see if you're still available.

 

Don't manipulate her, or she'll resent you for it. Don't hinge your choices about how long you grieve over her or when you move forward on her behavior or decisions of this moment, and don't press her to change them. That wouldn't be about love--it would be about control. You're not likely to get instant gratification out of this no matter what you do, so don't permit impatience to play your cards badly.

 

In your corner.

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Every break up is different buddy, sometimes it brings you down, sometimes it doesn't, occasionally it hits you when you never expect it. From your post I get that you guys are young but you have to stand up for yourself man. Emotions are still raw so give yourself some time but what ever you decide to do has got to be on YOUR terms, not hers. Watch what she does next and go from there. Really you can't do much more. If you still want to be with her give her a set time (don't tell her) and if she does not come around it is her loss.

Cheering for you!

R

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It may just be that she hasn't shared a lot of herself with you. The problem with picture perfect relationships is that you're not getting the full picture. There should be more underneath the surface, you know? People don't get along 100% of the time. If you do, then at least one of you is holding back on part of yourself to maintain the perfect relationship.

 

I suggest giving her space. Maybe tell her you don't know her as well as you thought you did, and if she wants to reconnect, go on a few dates, whatever (in the future), that you're open to it. But it really sounds like you're pretty much out of the equation here... you can be there for her, but don't wait around for her.

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I'm usually pretty perceptive if I notice that someone is holding back because they would rather the relationship work out than US work out. Most of my relationships are only a few months long because of this (I don't miss much, it's just my personality and possibly my psychology degree, so I know when it isn't right or something is wrong). I never noticed it with her. She would constantly say how nice it was that she could be herself around me and know that it was her that I loved and not how or what she did.

 

One problem, of course, is that we were starting a long distance relationship. I'm 8 hours away from her. So even if she did become herself again, I'm not sure how I would know. And there's the question of whether distance and time makes the heart grow fonder or if it makes you forget how much someone meant to you. I don't know what to make of it. I know that right now I'm going to leave her alone. I just don't know what I should do after she has had a month or so to recover.

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Well, even then, some people have a hard time opening up fully to others. Especially if she had to cut you off to grieve properly... that's a sign that she was holding back on part of herself.

 

Would it remain long distance for a while? If her coping mechanism is to push people away, then it doesn't sound like her heart would grow fonder with the distance. Perhaps just contact her on occasion, maybe something funny or something she would want to know about... keep the lines open. Honestly though, if it's still going to be long distance, it really doesn't sound promising at all.

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I am fascinated how quickly people change. I had long term relationships that went from daily love messages to complete coldness even cruelness in a matter of days. Do not beat yourself over it man, it part of life. Don't think to far ahead, play it as it unfolds. You know you might like the person she may become after this change. Cheering for you man!

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For someone with a psychology degree, you're not exactly demonstrating patience or understanding about this woman's shock and grief. You're making this all about the way you perceive her, and there's a term for that.

 

We don't get to prescribe the extent or degree of someone else's reaction to death, and the way a person responds to a sudden loss--especially of someone young, should be considered carefully in contrast to a reasonably short-term love affair. Read more on grief. Refresh what you've been taught about what people TYPICALLY do immediately following such an event, including distancing themselves from loved ones.

 

If you don't stop making this about your relationship and your perceptions, you'll only demonstrate a limited scope of understanding about human behavior under stress and loss. That's not likely to impress her.

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People keep bad mouthing LDRs, I would have to disagree. I have had a beautiful relationship with a wonderful girl for years. Weekend visits, random visits ect. Ended with a breaking up once she moved in, hehe. I am sure won't happen to you. She will make it work if she wants to. I really hope she will grow fonder as you seem very much in love with her. Man, give yourself enough time and when you are there ask her for a friendly date(coffee or something). Hope you guys can sort this out!

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For someone with a psychology degree, you're not exactly demonstrating patience or understanding about this woman's shock and grief. You're making this all about the way you perceive her, and there's a term for that.

 

We don't get to prescribe the extent or degree of someone else's reaction to death, and the way a person responds to a sudden loss--especially of someone young, should be considered carefully in contrast to a reasonably short-term love affair. Read more on grief. Refresh what you've been taught about what people TYPICALLY do immediately following such an event, including distancing themselves from loved ones.

 

If you don't stop making this about your relationship and your perceptions, you'll only demonstrate a limited scope of understanding about human behavior under stress and loss. That's not likely to impress her.

 

You're right, and I realize this now after reading what you had to say.

 

I guess it's hard to feel sympathy and understanding for someone who hurt you, even if you love them. I know that this made it easier for her because our LDR was an extra stress in her life and not a comfort (which I wish it could have been). It's hard to give up your entire relationship and the future you had planned in a matter of a few days and some bad circumstances.

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You're right, and I realize this now after reading what you had to say.

 

I guess it's hard to feel sympathy and understanding for someone who hurt you, even if you love them. I know that this made it easier for her because our LDR was an extra stress in her life and not a comfort (which I wish it could have been). It's hard to give up your entire relationship and the future you had planned in a matter of a few days and some bad circumstances.

 

Thank you for considering this, because I'm not writing it to finger-wag you. It would be tremendously helpful to pull back your microscope and apply foresight instead of just reacting to surface stuff. Put your professional hat on to see what's happening so you won't make the mistake of treating this as a typical breakup. It's not. It has hardcore trauma written all over it, and you guys are just trampling over that to figure out some woman puzzle.

 

It's not about you.

 

I'm not sure who this person was to her, but I know it took me months of shock just to begin the 'real' grief process for certain losses in my life--and I'm reasonably mature. This is the stuff that strains perfectly strong marriages, and so it's ridiculous to chalk up some character flaw in someone who gave you good fantasy at the start of things.

 

Either you're invested in a person because you truly deeply love her, or you're not. If you are, then your concern is for her well-being, not how well she responds to your wants and needs while under multiple stresses. If your investment is anything beyond the superficial, then it's for the long haul, and that means you're not concerned with debating how convenient her grief is to you at the moment, or whether she'll come to her senses according to your calendar.

 

Invest in faith. Study grief. Send her encouragement from afar without making demands. Do what you can to remain mindful that someone you love is falling apart, and the best you can give her right now is patience.

 

In your corner.

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