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Texting and talking again. But I am still hurting. NC or not NC?


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My ex-boyfriend broke up with on the 1st of January after a massive row on NYE. We have been together 14 months, last 3 of them living together. We also work in the same office. I am 26, he is 31.


The reason he gave me when breaking up with me was "I can't do it anymore, we drive each other nuts". In the days following the breakup he was extremely stressed, even cried when we talked and admitted he still loved me. However he said we were having too many fights and now he could't forget them, that all of the bad things were constantly in his head. A few days after the break up, we had a long talk and I asked whether he would see us working it out - he said "currently it doesn't feel like it". We canceled a holiday we were supposed to go on and started proceedings to terminate our shared lease - he initiated this "burning the bridges". He went to live with a friend while I stayed in the flat. By now both of us moved out completely


I cut off all non-essential communication after that talk for about 3-4 weeks and we only spoke/texted about practical matters - with him initiating contact the majority of the time. Although in those conversations he still tried to ask me things like where I went on holiday or saying he really loves the christmas gift I got him, to which I would give short polite replies. Since the break up I lost 8kg, hit the gym, significantly improved my appearance, completely changed my wardrobe, reconnected with friends and family (who have all been absolutely amazing and supportive), started seeing a councellor, started a journal, went on a spa weekend, went on holiday with my Mum, even went on a date recently. I get compliments every day about how fantastic I look, and all of my friends keep telling me that I am better off without him.


I have spent a lot of time analysing what went wrong. And it boiled down to, believe it or not, alcohol. He is a big drinker and loves to party. We would party together, he would party with his guy-friends, he would go for drinks with colleagues and clients, etc. etc. At first when we were dating, it didn't bother me that much as I spent time doing useful or fun things while he would be out with his friends - I also do like to drink and party, just not ALL of my spare time. However I expected him to settle down more once we moved in together. He actually told me he wanted to settle down and make our relationship his priority, and he suggested to move in together. But then we moved in together and nothing changed. I started getting upset about it, as nothing was happening in our lives. We were not doing anything constructuve, individually or together. I used to study, do lots of sports, always organise things with friends, arrange events and holidays. He is disorganised and while he would say he loves me and message me a lot when he was away on work trips (he goes away a lot), he stopped making any real effort in the relationship. I stupidly thought that if I party more with him we'd have fun again. But that just resulted in me drinking more and all my bottled up frustrations coming out, where I would blow up, go mental and tell him mean things - mind you, mostly the fight would be because he went to drink with his buddies and is not home 8 hours later, and I would send him very angry messages to which he either would not reply or reply in a very calm manner "I am just with my mates, what's the problem?" But then next day we would make up and pretend like nothing happened, brushing it under the carpet. I can see now how excessive drinking and poor communication clearly brought this relationship down.


3 weeks ago we saw each other properly in person when finishing up some things in the shared apartment. We had a long catch up but did not discuss our relationship. Well only briefly. He said he was very stressed after our break up, and when I asked whether he still had bad things on his mind, he said "I think about it all the time" - I obviously don't want him to dwell on bad things but on the other hand he still seemed not to have moved on completely. I decided not to press him any further on that topic. When he left he hugged me very tight and said it was SO good to see me. It was a long hug but he made no other move.


Over the last few weeks we started chatting more. A text here and there, I see him at work, and sometimes when I go out for a smoke I bump into him - we usually have a friendly conversation. I am happy to see him, but it kills me inside that we are not together. He has been complimenting me on my looks and clothes, and upon seeing that I now live a healthier lifestyle he started saying things like he's gona go to the gym more (he has, I can see him going at lunchtime) and that he wants to cut down on his drinking. However, I have reasons to believe that he still spends his weekends getting smashed until early hours with the same group of friends of his who are all 5 years younger than him and party an awful lot. He used to mostly message me practical stuff about our shared apartment, but now we moved out it's no longer an issue. I have texted him a couple of times using some "inside jokes" to which he replied immediately with cute pictures and comments. So now he started sending me little messages here and there: a link to a song, a cute video about bunnies (I love bunnies). I would always reply something light-hearted to that. This has been going on for a couple of weeks however he never suggests to meet in person and we only talk if we bump into each other.


Some people said I should cut off all non-essential contact as 1)it is hurting me 2)to stop being his emotional crutch and show him life without me in it. Most recently he sent me a cute bunny pic with an apology that he didn't have much time to chat when we bumped into each other earlier at work. I have not replied to this. He is now on a work trip so I won't see him at work until next week.


The quality of my life is slowly improving and I started feeling like myself again. My friends and family are fantastic and I am doing new fun and interesting things as well. However, I miss him terribly and he's on my mind all of the time. I thought it's supposed to get better with time but it only gets worse. It's like he left this massive void in my heart and in my life. I know that we can't go back to the relationship we had - I have made steps to improve myself and my life, and I think he wants have a healthier lifestyle as well - I am just not sure if he can! But we have so many things in common, we are very similar, and I can see life together if we are on the same page with our priorities. I have no idea if he questions his decision to break up or thinks about giving it another chance.


I don't know whether I should go complete NC at this stage or continue this little communication between us with a hope to build it up. Please let me know your thoughts!

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Usually, I would say after a break up, there should be a brief period where occasional contact for the sole purpose of sorting out things like leases, accts exists and then flat-out NC. However, you situation is complicated by the fact you work together.


It is pretty clear he is not interested in getting back together. My guess as to why he is contacting you so often is that he feels pressure to stay on good terms so there is no drama or unpleasantness at the office.


It also sounds as if you reluctantly agree you two do not make a good couple. Due to the work relationship, you can hardly tell him he is never to speak to you again... But I would taper off in responding to his messages. If he ever asks why- tell him you appreciate him trying so hard to stay on good terms after your split- but truthfully it is easier to move on after a break up with less personal contact between you.

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Thanks for your reply, sammi87.


We don't really work together, just in the same office. And I have been polite and friendly to him since our break up, so don't think I gave him a reason to worry there would be any drama. I don't want to hurt him at all and have no reason or desire to be rude or unpleasant to him. It's just I noticed his messages started getting a little bit more personal. For example, when he texted to apologise about not having time for a chat at work, he could have just left it at that to be polite. I mean it wasn't even that big a deal that he was busy in the first place, I bumped into him by accident. But sending in addition a picture of a toy bunny is something that he used to do when we were still in a relationship so that got me thinking maybe there is more to it.


And just to clarify, I am not seeing this NC/LC stuff as a "trick to get him back". I went NC in the first place to give us both time to process our emotions, we were both hurt and stressed, and then I started reaching out after some time passed because I sincerely still care. I guess my question was, whether he started sending more "personal" messages to show that he was missing me as well. I don't want to ignore him if he's trying to reach out to me. But I guess you could well be right, and I am just reading too much into that.


I will try to focus on myself for now as there are many things I want to do in my life. And let him be. Only time will tell. I want us both to be healthy, happy, and achieve things. Whether it's together or apart.


Thanks for taking the time to read my story and for your advice.

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