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Don't know how/if I should fight for a relationship with my grieving ex?

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I originally posted this earlier today in a thread about writing letters to an ex. Somebody suggested that I create a new thread in order to get more comments and advice. So, here it is!


My ex broke up with me because his mom died, and though we tried, he couldn't emotionally handle a relationship while grieving. I was hurt and confused at first, because I couldn't understand where he was coming from. We had an awesome relationship, and we were both happy with it. Now that I've had time to think, I realize that he still cares about me, and the break-up did not have anything to do with me. I texted him once, a few days after the break-up and told him that I still care about him a lot and that I want to be with him, and that I'm willing to wait for him to get better. He replied with a meaningful, but vague, text. I couldn't tell from the text if he wanted me to move on, or if he truly wanted me to wait. He said things that supported both arguments, and honestly, it could have easily gone either way.


Now, a considerable amount of time has passed, and I am still confused as ever! I initially thought I'd try to move on, because I didn't want to sit around waiting for a relationship that may or may not happen. But, I realized that I want to wait, and I wouldn't ever want to be with anybody else. In an attempt to get some questions answered and to make myself feel better by tying up some loose ends, I wrote an email (about two short paragraphs), but haven't sent it. In the email, I wanted to check in with him, so I wrote that I still think about him a lot, and I hope he's taking care of himself. I also mentioned my confusion about what he wants from me, but that I know he has other things on his mind right now and that I don't expect him to have any answers for me anytime soon. Lastly, I apologized for the hurtful, but meaningless, things I said to him in my confusion the day that we broke up. I ended the email reiterating the fact that I still want him, despite the stuff that's happened, and that I know he will get through this difficult time. I wrote that I hope to hear from him someday, when he's ready.


The reason I'm posting this is because I was looking for some opinions about whether or not I should send the email. I put a lot of effort and thought into making sure it isn't something I will regret sending. But, I'm still unsure if that's the best thing to do. The last thing I want to do is push him away. No Contact is my only other option, but I'm afraid that, if I do that, he may think that I have stopped caring about him and am moving on.


Any suggestions?

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How much time has passed? Also, how long did the relationship go on? Those are two important factors.


If he is a young man - 18-25 years old, the death of a parent is more all encompassing and devastating than when you are older and your parents are elderly and you know it will happen someday. This has rocked his world. I suggest refraining from sending the note right now if it hasn't been too long. He knows your number and it is up to him to contact you when he is ready to reach out.


But I really can't say definitively without more details about this.

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He is 25. We were together for about 3 months (honestly the best 3 months of my life) when she passed away. She had cancer, and he knew since before we were together that she was sick. We tried carefully for about 3 weeks to continue our relationship after her death, but his depression was having quite an impact on us. One day, we brought this issue up. I told him that it hurt me to see him so hurt, and that's when he decided that he couldn't put enough attention into a relationship. He said that I deserve more, and he didn't want me to share his burden with him. I told him that I wanted to be there for him, though he gradually helped me realize that our relationship would only continue to deteriorate if he didn't take time for himself to heal.


I know that if we ever started seeing each other again, it wouldn't be for a long time. I read somewhere that it can take years for someone who is grieving to return to a normal emotional state, and honestly, I really want him to take the time that he needs to feel better. It's been nearly two weeks since the day I sent him that text I mentioned sending a few days after we broke up. It really hasn't been long, so I figured I would wait at least a month before trying to say anything else to him, probably more. I don't want to make things worse for him, and for us, by pushing him to think about a relationship when he's obviously got other things to worry about, and I'm most likely no longer a priority in his life. I do, however, have concerns that going through No Contact for too long may have negative effects. Maybe that's just because I have my own insecurities I'm still trying to work out.


I just don't know for sure what the right thing to do might be. If I decide to give up hope for good and to move on, then I know that with time, my life will probably return to normal and I might be happy again someday. However, there is something that feels wrong to me about giving up on somebody who is going through the most difficult thing he has ever had to deal with, and part of me doesn't want to give up hope, because I know he still cares about me just as much as I care about him. I hate that we were forced to end what was a beautifully blossoming relationship so prematurely.

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Speaking as a widow, please don't think of it as a rejection or something that was 'forced to end'. Its just bad timing, thats all. If you were to contact him, just say something like 'Thinking of you'. Then leave him alone. Don't make this about your love for him and how much you love and care for him or apologise for the way things ended or things that were said.


I also think that 3 months might not be long enough for him to feel emotionally close enough to you for him to bear his soul to you and lean on you for support and he just needs his family around him and time to deal with the gut-wrenching, heart-aching loss of his mother. Its also possible that he doesn't feel like he has any room in his heart to love anyone right now, so large and overwhelming is his loss, and I can totally relate to that.

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I really think at 3 months you guys were just starting to date. That's 12 weeks. There isn't much invested there for him to walk from it.


If you sent him a text two weeks ago, "A lot of time" has not passed. He knows where you are and will contact you if he is ready to. Don't contact him. Contacting him now will only remind him that he cannot handle a relationship right now - and he won't be receptive to staying in touch. You say No Contact is damaging - no it isn't. if you kept in contact, he would just push you away farther. He needs space. I would move on with your life and if he contacts you and you are single - great, go from there. But if you are not and if he doesn't - you guys DID break up, after all, no matter if "you" were not the reason. If you run into eachother by chance down the road - great - but don't contact him now. Some relationships are just victims of bad timing and yours was one of them.

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A "considerable" amount of time is what I said... Maybe I misspoke, but he's not the only one who's lost someone important. These last few weeks have been really nasty for me, and each day feels like forever. I understand that what I'm feeling doesn't even compare to the loss he's feeling, though.


Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it, and it's what I needed to hear. Life can be pretty unfair sometimes, but I'm sure there's a lesson to learn from this experience.

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Well to be fair, at only 3 months in you don't know how this would have turned out even if his mom hadn't passed away. I wouldn't romanticize it too much in your head because that will just be torturing yourself. It sounds like you guys just broke up a few weeks ago, which I guess for 12 week relationship is a long time, but in terms of grief is no time at all. I agree with the above poster, don't mention your relationship in your messages to him. It proably hurts you to hear this but I'm sure dating is the last thing on his mind and his heart wont have room to think about anyone for a long time, probably at least a year. I would just let this one go internally if I were you.

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