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Relationship limbo - not sure how to proceed...


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Hi all!


I posted yesterday but I'm afraid I wrote a mammoth post that was probably quite discouraging for anyone to answer. Anyway, I'd like to get some advice on my situation so I'll try and be concise this time.


I was with my ex (?) for almost 2.5 years. We got on well, loved each other, met our respective families and friends, had a lot of fun together. However, over time we started developing an unhealthy dynamic. I've realised I have some abandonment issues to deal with from the past, which made me cling onto him for dear life - to the point that spending time with my friends, my hobbies or my work never seemed like a worthy substitute to being with him. I even engaged on full on call/text terrorism a few times when he didn't answer his phone, and got upset if he didn't have much time for me or had to re-schedule a date. On his part, he showed signs of being the avoidant attachment type - he tends to push people away when he's stressed, which he says is the result of a very overbearing mother (I've met her and have to agree on this). He made me feel taken for granted sometimes and like he didn't have much time for me, sometimes as a result of a disproportionate reaction on my part but sometimes for no reason at all.


Things got worse over the last 6 months or so. I was very unhappy with my job, which left me feeling like I just wanted to come home and do nothing, except seeing him. It's like I was putting my life on hold because I felt down and he was the only person that could make me happy. During that time, he got a very stressful chef job and had very little time (not just for me, but for his friends, family, music too). The combination imploded - I felt like he didn't give a **** and he felt like he was letting everyone down and couldn't give me what I deserved.


I recently quit my job and started freelancing, so I'm -a lot - happier with my life. He quit his job a week ago too, to focus on his music and because it had taken over his life. 2-3 weeks before he quit, we decided to have a break where we didn't see each other and had little communication, since we both realised we needed to be happy with our lifes before being able to make each other happy. That seemed hopeful, but on his last day at work he went out with his workmates to say bye and didn't answer my call - his communication had been a little distant for a few days prior, and it sent me back to that horrible, neglected feeling. The next morning I asked him if the time apart had made him realise that he didn't have room for me in his life. He said yes, but he wanted to meet up an explain. I was hyperventilating by then.


We met up, and surprisingly I was quite calm. He told me that seeing me so happy about other stuff had made it all come flooding back, that he loved me to bits and he just needed a bit of time to get back on his feet and remember what his life was like before the job took over it, that he didn't want to be this person that pushes people away anymore and he felt he needed to win me back. I agreed that we both had some issues to resolve, as I didn't want to see him as the only person that could make me happy anymore, and he suggested to keep on meeting and taking the meetings as dates, like when we started seeing each other.


He called me a few days after that, we went for a coffee. It was nice, talking a little about the relationship but focusing on everything else that's happening in our lives. We had a nice time, he commented that he was liking this dating thing and that talking to me for 1.5 hours still felt like 20 minutes. I want him to have time for his music, his friends he hasn't seen for ages and everything else, and on my part I've made an appointment with a counsellor and I'm enjoying my work, my hobbies and seeing my friends a lot more.


I guess my problem is that I'm not too sure what's going on. We're not together, but not quite split up either. When I've split up from other relationship, I usually go no contact until we can have casual conversations again, but never tried to get back with them as it was always pretty much done for me. I understand that NC gives people the time to work on themselves, so they can move to gradually more contact if they want to reconcile. I really want this to work out though, and I feel like going NC is a bad option in this case, as we might lose the connection we still have and make things awkward in the future. At the same time, I feel like I should be the one giving space and him the one calling to make dates, as doing the opposite is what made things go to pot before, so I don't really want to contact him a lot if he doesn't show much interest (he might be trying to let things go gently).


I don't know if any of you has been in a similar situation, where the break wasn't quite clean cut? Any thought will be appreciated!

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I can kind of relate to what you're going through as I have similar issues in relationships. Unfortunately all I can tell you is the very fact that you need to know what's going on is a symptom of your issues. Knowing what's going on used to be a much bigger issue for me, but as I've become more secure it's become less important. Of course it's natural to what to know where you stand, but there are some situations where you have to just let things be, and it seems like that's where you're at right now and it's going well. If your interaction with him continues to be good, eventually you'll get to a place where you can put a label on things again. Right now it sounds like doing so would just put too much pressure on things.


If you feel the need to work on yourself, you can say so. If you can figure out how much of a connection to him is enough, and how much is too much, keep it there for a while, and lay out boundaries for him if you have to. As you said, you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with him, so be very mindful of what's healthy for you. I hope this helps

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Thank you so much for your answer, Scaryhobo. I hand't tought about it like that, but you're right. Even though I know I need a bit of time to work on myself and he needs a bit of time to do the same and get his life back, I guess I'm craving the reassurance bit again, knowing it will be okay in the end - which stems from my issues. I should just be grateful that we are taking this time to be in a better position to either reconcile and label it or to be be able to deal with a possible ending in the future.


Thanks again for your words!

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