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Breaking up after 4 years to let him travel


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Here's the story..


My boyfriend (26M) and I (25F) have been together for 4 years. We clicked right away and have a very caring and loving relationship. He has a lot of savings and had plans to travel for at least a year before we even made it official. I couldn't travel with him at first as I was finishing my degree, then I started a job but expressed that if he still wants to travel perhaps I could join him for some of it or all of the trip. But we never really made concrete plans and we got distracted by our jobs and relationship so he put his travel plans on hold.


Recently his close friend came back from a year of travelling SE Asia, NZ and Australia and the dream of travelling started coming up in conversations more often. As my boyfriend is in a situation where he has resigned his job and his flatmate wants to leave their flat and travel, he ultimately decided that there is no better time to finally do it than now. I completely understand and support him in following his dreams, I wouldn't want him to resent me one day for standing in the way.


He hadn't booked any flights or had any concrete plans when we discussed the possibility of it happening and he expressed that he thinks it's best if broke up when he leaves as he wouldn't like to put an end date on his travels. It sounded like he thought this decision through and although I was upset that I had no say in it, I could agree with it to an extent. I want him to follow his dreams and I want him to be happy, but ultimately I was hurt because I am losing someone very close and important to me even though none of us had done anything wrong and love each other.


For the first few days I was in denial, I spoke to him and tried to change his mind about maybe trying LDR or if I could meet him somewhere along the way. He had the reasons to not want to do this and I actually agree with them but it's a hard to swallow pill. We don't live together but spend 4 days a week in each others houses, we love each others presence at all friends and family events, we get weird sometimes when we're away from each other for too long... And so naturally we both know that a LDR would not be ideal. He said it's easier to break up now than from miles away and he didn't want to call it a break because he didn't want to commit to a promise as he couldn't promise me how we would both feel in a year.


It hurts being left with no choice but to let go and although I know he would miss me at first, I have no doubt he would move on faster as he would be in new exotic places with new interesting people.


I am not really looking for relationship advice as I know it's not a situation where I could do anything without it resulting in resentment so I am just slowly letting go of things ensuring that he knows how grateful I am for the time we spent together.


However, I am interested to hear if anyone has been in a similar situation and how did it pan out in the end for both of you? Where are you both years later? How did you move on if you did?

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I think you don't need someone in the same situation. He is using his travel as an excuse to break up ultimately. If he really wanted to be with you he would, the end. I am really sorry that you want to be with him and he doesn't want to badly enough. I never lived with anyone and was in very serious relationships so living together is not a symbol of it (my husband and I officially lived together once we were married and very briefly at a time before we were married -less than a month).


What I would do is end things today. Don't stay attached to someone who is prioritizing this travel/relocation over you. Let him go right now. Don't give him the benefit of your friendship or companionship or listen to all his plans if he doesn't want to be in a committed relationship with you. Good luck and I'm really sorry.

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I think you don't need someone in the same situation. He is using his travel as an excuse to break up ultimately. .


As a long term traveler myself, I disagree that he was using it as an excuse to break up. But I do think breaking up is a good idea.


It does not mean it is permanent, as if he returns and all he has been able to think about for the year is getting back to you, then it will likely be all on again. I can see that what he doesn't want is someone on the other side of the world monitoring his movements and holding him back from the experiences.


And, he is 26. If he decides he would like to work in Aus for a bit, he is able to apply for a working visa. His dream has always been to do some travel, so I think it is good of you to allow him to do this. This also does not mean that should things change and you do decide to join him, he might be happy to accomodate.


Let him go and if he comes back he's yours, and more likely a more whole person for his experience overseas.

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I agree with you, I think if he didn't do this in his 20s he will end up resenting me for it and really it will be a great experience for him to grow as a person as I think he would be useless to me or any future partner if he is not happy with himself and the life he has right now.


I just feel anxious about not knowing where either of us would be in a year and I am dreading seeing him moving on if it happens although he said he's not going to look for and come back with a wife or girlfriend as that is not the purpose of his travel, but also he cannot promise anything as either of us could have outgrown the other and he wouldn't want us to go through a second heartbreak. So essentially we're leaving things up in the air and we'll see where we are when we're both in town again.


We are also yet to discuss what sort of relationship we'd have when he's gone i.e. no contact or occasional..

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In my years of backpacking and living overseas from my birth country (I'm a Kiwi by birth) I have met a lot of people who have travelled while their partners/ex partners were left at home. Very few have spent their time shagging their way around the world, and if anything, most with partners/exes at home have looked forward to the end of their travels to get back to their relationship.


Yes, I guess it is the anxiety of him heading into the unknown. And, I think this would be the hardest part for you. And, I also feel that breaking up will make it easier. But, that does not mean you should disappear from his life entirely, just don't hang on to him for dear life in hope. And, you never know. once he has gone, Mr Stupidly Perfect for you might move in just down the road.


As for communication while he is gone. I think the occasional reminder of your existence is best. Lond winded and needy 'I miss yous' won't be helpful. If anything your support in his growth due to experience of other cultures would be better as no doubt he will be spamming on social media. 'My god, those photos you have been posting look amazing, I wish I could be there with you, keep enjoying and I look forward to the next lot', will let him know you are there without him thinking you can't live without him.

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Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately you have no choice, he will be off doing his thing. Do not wait or try to pursue a LDR. It would be best to totally immerse yourself in your own life, interests, career, friends and family. Join some organizations, volunteer, stay busy. Consider it freedom and growth.

It hurts being left with no choice but to let go and although I know he would miss me at first, I have no doubt he would move on faster as he would be in new exotic places with new interesting people.
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If he is choosing to break up rather than stay committed to you he is choosing travel over you. The end. He is choosing the "freedom" to not have to check in with his partner over staying committed to you. He is willing to risk you getting snapped up by someone else because that risk is worth traveling to him.


People move towards pleasure and away from pain. He chooses what he sees as the "freedom" to travel -that pleasure- over being in a committed relationship with you - by definition less pleasing of the alternatives and a painful restriction on his freedom.


I love a lot of things -it's not just about travel-it's about choosing to be with your partner even if you have to compromise on other things. And if what you need to compromise on is more important to you than your partner, you choose that thing and not your partner. For example, I would have chosen graduate school over my partner when I was in my 20s -meaning if he had asked me to choose never to go if I wanted to be with him. I would have chosen parenthood over any partner - being a mom was more important to me than being with someone who did not want kids even if he was the most awesome person ever. So if my partner had changed his mind about having a child I would have left him.


Your boyfriend told you from the beginning how much he valued travel. Now he values it so much that being in a committed relationship with you while he is away -or waiting until you can go with him - is less important to him than leaving now with no "restrictions" at home -he sees the relationship as "restricting" his freedom to travel in precisely the way he wants to. I can relate to him because I have to make daily sacrifices that restrict the freedoms I desperately crave because I am a mom of a minor child. I choose motherhood, I signed up for these restrictions. If I hadn't wanted motherhood as much as I did I would have seen those sacrifices as dealbreakers. He sees the sacrifices he would have to make to be with you, the woman he says he loves, as too great given his love of travel. So give him all the freedom and space he wants today, right now - do you really want to hear about his travel plans? See his facebook posts on who he's meeting, what he's experiencing?


He may come back and seek you out. At that time you can decide if you're interested and available. At that time. For now live your life. I wouldn't do the what ifs either -waste of your precious time. He's willing to risk you being snapped up by someone else.

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Treat this just like any other break - it's over. The reason for the break really doesn't matter because the net result is always the same - you are no longer together.


As hard as it is, do not put your life on hold waiting on him. He isn't putting his life on hold for you. You might reconnect eventually or he might come back with a wife or gf he met while traveling or stay abroad permanently. Bottom line is that this guy put his freedom above 4 years with you and made that crystal clear - he can't give you even a rough idea on when he might be back because he doesn't want you sitting around and waiting on that. He is already well checked out of your relationship and committed to plans that do not include you in any way. Harsh, but better process that and let go than put him a pedestal and waste another year or two waiting on him. He isn't afraid to lose you, which means he doesn't value his relationship with you quite as much you do.

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YEs just to re-iterate what others have said. I would take this as the break up. Wish him well and move on with your life. Block him on social media, you don't want to see what he is doing while you are stuck at home.


Get out and meet new people, friends, guys etc. JUst keep busy until you are over him. Good luck.

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I agree with you, I think if he didn't do this in his 20s he will end up resenting me for it and really it will be a great experience for him to grow as a person as I think he would be useless to me or any future partner if he is not happy with himself and the life he has right now.
If he actually wanted you as a life partner, he would work WITH YOU to do this travelling he wants to do together. He wouldn't break up with you and leave you behind. If I were you I'd just stop seeing him right now and start the process of getting over him so you can find someone who wants a partner in life and a family if that is your ultimate end dating goal. Your boyfriend is not wanting to settle down.


Wish him luck and to not contact you while he's away so you can get over him and be free in mind and heart to find the right guy who wouldn't dream of leaving you behind.


It's magnanimous of you to want him to realize HIS dream but you shouldn't do it at the expense of your own.

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I'm sure he cares about you, but he definitely lacks the deep feeling it takes to make a good lifetime partner for you. As others have said, a person who truly loved you like that wouldn't risk freeing you, knowing that the breakup could last forever. A committed person would have an end date to the travel period, and would ask you to visit at least once, or to meet you halfway a few times, and to keep in touch at least weekly, because people can have more than one priority.


It's best you go cold turkey with no communication for closure. Putting yourself on ice for a high risk partner is just a huge waste of your time and not in your best interest. You can still have good memories of your time together, but realize that your fate lies with someone who is so crazy about you, he will never let you go--not even once.

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I would add that if years from now he comes back to you and wants to give it a go I would not "forget" that he let you go once but at least listen to why he wants another chance and see then if you're still into him. But until then - if that even happens - he needs to be off your radar 100%.

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Sorry for this moment.


I very much agree with the sentiment many have expressed that this must be treated as the end, hard stop, for your own health, happiness, and emotional growth. While I can very much relate to your boyfriend—longtime traveler and chaser of big dreams here!—there is really no avoiding the hard math that if he wanted to be with you and travel he would do exactly that. Plenty do it, just like plenty of people are in relationships—with actors, musicians, activists, researchers, diplomats—that involve occasional stretches of separation.


He has chosen the opposite, and it's a choice that is telling: telling of where he's at in life (very young still) and telling of how seriously he takes your relationship (not as seriously as you). Hard pills to swallow, I know. But I think not swallowing them is more detrimental in the long run, since it means valuing another's dreams at a level higher than your own.


I've been him, I've been you. At 25 I broke up with someone because I could reconcile something I wanted (six months driving through the south, settling for a stretch in a funky town to work on a creative project) with being in a relationship. Flash forward to 33 and I was with a woman who had her own similar itches to scratch, and couldn't see (as I could!) that they could be scratched and we could remain together. In both those cases—wonderful women, wonderful relationships—there was more going on than just travel. Places we needed to grow but couldn't alongside each other, places we just didn't quite fit. Past all the wanderlust and existential stuff, what you had in both those stories are people who no longer wanted to be in a relationship.


I would wish him the best on his voyage, but in much the same way if he weren't traveling at all, but just wanted to live his life without being in a relationship. Because that's the hard truth here. Should he change his mind, he can try to see about you, but living your own life with that door open—and keeping contact simmering to ensure it stays open—may come to quickly feel like your own life being half lived.

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My friend went through something similar, though she was the one embarking on extended world travels and ending her relationship. It was right around the same age you are now, too.


She had initially planned to be gone for a year, but it wound up being closer to 2. She just enjoyed the experience so much that that she kept going, stopping every few months in whatever locale she happened to be, to do casual work to fund the next leg of her journeys. And yes, she met men along the way and had a few short vacation flings. I don't think she and her ex kept in touch much, though this was the days before social media and smartphones. I am not sure they would have anyway, as she seemed pretty consumed by the whole experience.


By the time she finally got back, he had moved on and met someone else. She didn't seem to have an interest in reconciling at that point either, to be fair, as she had grown and changed a lot in her time abroad and probably would not have been very compatible with her previous partner. It's not that she was somehow better than him, but she was different in certain ways and wanted very different things out of life as compared to her pre-travel days.


I would treat this as a break-up, and limit your contact while he is gone. Give yourself space to heal. Don't put yourself on hold him, hard as it will feel not to. You will need time to adjust, of course, but be patient with yourself.

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As a mother of two young adult sons, I can only add that young men (for the most part) really feel a pull to either accomplish things or experience things before they settle down.


My oldest son had two serious girlfriends during a time that he was wanting to travel and have experiences. After almost 10 years he finally landed the job of his dream that afforded him the privilege to do so.


I don't think he could have articulated it to these girlfriends, that were patiently betting on potential in him. But he would have never settled down until he got that out of his system. From the sidelines, I could see it happening.


The girlfriends got frustrated and resentful and the relationships ended dramatically. I think both young women ultimately would have been good partners for him, had they let him go and got on with their lives. He very well could have returned to them. At the same time it wouldn't have been fair for them to wait.


After a couple years of traveling he finally has it out of his system. Add to that he has a new, very secure and independent girlfriend that perfectly suites him at this point in his life.


It's just timing. Unfortunately, the timing is not in your favor.

And you're correct, he will mature and evolve from his experiences.

It remains to be seen if you find your way back to each other.


My best advise would be to close this door on high note.

Wish him well and get busy with your own life.

Any drama in the meantime will be his last memory of you. You don't want that.


I am sorry. I know it's not what you want to hear.

Your only choice at this point, is how you handle your end and how you want him to remember you.

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I personally didn't have a similar situation as yours. However, I can give you my opinion as I step back and look at your picture.


I'm very sorry. It's awful to be rejected and dumped.


Even though you don't see this now, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise to break up because he's not the right man for you. He's not willing to give you a committed relationship. He wants to see the world and travel.


I agree with both of you. LDRs have a high failure rate. Better to break up now than later.


There is another plan for your life.


Whenever a person wishes to exit a relationship or friendship, you need to respect their choice even though you may not agree with their decision. The reason is because their desire is dead already and if they're moving on, you should, too even if you must with hesitance.


In the beginning, let there be no mistake, you will feel hurt. Next, your pain will transform into resentment and bitterness because you'll feel that you've wasted your time (years), youth and resources (money) on a person (or man in your case) for a relationship that eventually dissolved. This is the normal transition.


Then as time marches on as in months and years, it is true about "out of sight, out of mind." You will become busy with your life, socialize and there will be existing and new people who will waft in and out of your lifetime. Your ex-boyfriend will become a blur.


The secret to moving on is to stay busy! You'll wallow in your misery if you have too much time on your hands. Get busy with work, running your household, exercising, dieting, intellectual pursuits, hobbies, friends, family, a dog or pets if you have any. You'll become so preoccupied that you'll feel too exhausted to care about nostalgia and heartache.


This is how it has been for me. Whenever I'm extremely busy, I'm too fatigued to care about whatever caused me angst whether today, yesterday or tomorrow. You'll realize there's more important focuses in your life than worrying about a person who is certainly not devoting the same time and energy into you. Return the favor and give yourself numerous healthy distractions.


Also, support systems other than forums are helpful. Get together with a friend for tea or coffee, take a walk with a friend, meet for a meal and have balance in your life for yourself and others.


Stay strong and hang tough.

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Your problem is the story of my life.

When I bought my airplane ticket, she said "have a nice life' and we never contacted again.

He is not coming back, and even if he does he will be a completely different person.

You were'nt invited on the trip.

move on. he's not coming back.

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