This week our beautiful friend Jo finds herself falling apart after her boyfriend of one year told her he wants some "space". She's wondering if there's any hope left at all.
Here's her letter:
My story is not really complicated, but it might be different than usual.
I moved to States from Europe around mid-September last year.
I was bored, didn’t have friends yet, so I went out on a date with guy met online. To be honest first date was not great. He had too much wine and started touching me which I don’t like on a first date with the guy that I just met. I was even so stupid that I let him take me home. We kissed, but I didn’t like it.
But that's how I actually met my boyfriend.
I gave him a second chance after first date, we spoke about what we want, he apologized more than once.
We were taking things slow, it was really great, but I had to move across the country after two months - there was even a chance that I would have to go back to Europe.
We spoke on the phone and he said "let's get married so we can keep dating and you don't have to leave."
I was shocked.
I said it's too risky and crazy. I spent 3 months across the country. We weren't together during that time, because I didn't know when I would be back, but were texting and calling each other every single day.
We started dating again when I got back. It wasn't always perfect, we had some problems.
He was sacrificing his time to drive an hour one way to get me so we could spend the weekend together. He's a musician, he needs this time, but he was trying to make things work.
Have time for his work, for his music, for me.
I've let him down few times....some things were so small that I didn't even know that I did something wrong. We come from different cultures, he wasn't born in US either, he moved here when he was 17 years old. We doesn't share the same language except English.
The year passed, I moved even closer to his place. We were supposed to see each other more often during the week, after work, so he can have more time for music.
But we ended up seeing each other on weekends again.
I mean we were happy, we had an amazing summer, he told me he loves me, it was perfect. But then it started to change.
I always feel worse during fall/winter time. I thought maybe he feels that too.
We were good, he had some problems at work and since my time in the US is coming to an end (till next September, less than a year now) he started talking about the future.
He mentioned before about making some space in his closet, about buying us house in the future. That made me feel like he has some serious thoughts.
I didn't say a lot, because I knew I might have to leave; he knew that too.
I told him that I wanna be with him, but I can't talk about all of this when I don't know what's gonna happen. He said that he wanted to talk about it, because he doesn't wanna do it when my time is over (my visa.) He said I could get a new one (after September) and come, move in with him and see how it works.
I had different plan in my mind. Stay for college.
I wanted to do it in first place, but wanted to let him know when I'm ready and know the details. He thought that the only option for us is to get married or kinda long distance relationship, when I come and go back to Europe.
I opened up, about the future and......
That he wants to have his time to think this through, he needs space.
That it's the best option now to take this critical step instead of in 5 years. Like I said we had a few problems, we couldn't communicate lately, he started even thinking it's because I’m not from his home country, that we don’t speak the same language, what about our future kids, what about our families etc., etc., etc.
I feel like my world is falling apart. I didn't see it coming. I thought that we're having a hard time now, but it will get better.
We were fighting (or I was) all week. I needed more answers - how, why, what's the problem? Then I couldn't stand it anymore; one moment was good, the next one was terrible.
I told him to take a week without texting, calling, etc.
It was really hard. We were always in touch, every single day, even when we were busy, there was always time for a few words.
After 3 days I broke my rule and texted him.
I sent a very long message about what I think, how I see the future, what mistakes we made, about my love and more.
I know that it was not the best idea, but I couldn't stop. He said he appreciated every single word that I wrote, we were still not texting till Sunday, but he wanted to meet me on Sunday to talk about the trip.
We met on Sunday.
Almost all week I was great, but when I saw him I started to cry...It was so hard.
We were talking, he said again that he needs more space, that I need it. That this week without texting was a good idea.
He said he's not ready now for serious relationship...I mean, I don't wanna get married either. We were together for a year.
He wants to be friends and start slowly again, our feelings aren't going anywhere and that the core of every relationship is friendship and our wasn't that great lately.
He said he doesn't know how long it gonna take to take his space. I need my time too.
I think that it won't make things worse, it can only help, make us stronger...but is there any chance for us to be together again?
When he won't feel pressure, when we start slow again...
Should I have hope?
There are men who are ready, and there are men who aren’t, Jo.
And what we’re learning – all of us (and almost always the hard way) is that we need to make sure someone is ready from the start.
Can you ever know for sure?
Because someone who is ready doesn’t leave you guessing. Someone who’s ready doesn’t give you mixed messages. Someone who’s ready shows you by his actions, by his words, by his everyday behavior that he's ready for a commitment.
There's no doubt.
The problem you’re faced with – and it’s a problem for anyone who writes in asking the questions you're asking here, is that none of these men you’re asking about are ready.
None of them.
I can save you so much time and energy by having you ask yourself the one question you always know the answer to if you’re willing to honestly look at what you won’t be able to see objectively as long as you’re invested in a particular answer.
If you want him to be ready and you want to believe you and he are the exception in spite of all the subtle and not so subtle evidence to the contrary, you’re not going to see it.
Not with that kind of emotional investment in that specific answer.
But if you can let go of your need for this particular “him”, no matter how amazing he is, no matter how much potential he shows, no matter how much you believe he’s the one, then you’re going to have your answer yourself.
Why does someone change?
Because he was never ready in the first place. And to be clear, yes, that’s even if HE was the one coming on so strong and trying to convince YOU to give him a chance. In fact, especially then.
Because these are the men who believe in a fantasy.
They’re the men who believe all they need to make them commit is a woman who’s worth committing to. Whatever their version of this particular woman, one thing’s for sure – she’s a fantasy.
She doesn’t exist except in their own mind.
She’s everything he’s been told he wants and that’s especially why she can’t exist because he doesn’t know himself well enough to know what he actually wants.
He only wants what he’s supposed to want.
And the most tragic part of all, is that he’s oblivious to it all. He mistakenly believes it’s all about her, and in this case, you.
So, Jo, when you cease to be perfect, when you show him "real" instead of the illusion he was counting on, he becomes less sure he can do this. The doubt is within him. The lack of clarity is all about him, and if you ask him like you have, the majority of the time he won’t know why. He won’t know when. And he won’t know how to change it.
Your most important take away here is that you can’t be the only one trying to fix it, to get it back, to make it work the way it used to.
THAT was an illusion!
Because as sincere as it may have seemed, that beginning was just that, an illusion. That time in the first few months when everything is wonderful because you don’t actually know each other yet is almost always an illusion.
With someone who’s actually ready it doesn’t get worse, it doesn’t go downhill from there, it gets better, because he IS ready.
In fact, that’s your biggest indicator right there. You don’t have to write off the beginning as something that’s run its course and now you have to settle for so much less.
No, that’s not how a real relationship based on two real, imperfect, very "human" people works!
Relationships will always have ebb and flow, they’ll always have their messes and their less than desirable moments where you just want to go back and do it over again.
With someone who’s ready, he understands this and doesn’t hold you to something you later regret. There’s understanding and compassion and, yes, forgiveness because this is also a man who understands what it means to be a human being himself.
Is there any chance of the two of you being together again? Should you have hope?
I could answer that, Jo, because I’ve seen enough of these men both personally and professionally to be 99% sure of my answer, but that doesn’t help you to simply hear it from me without understanding your process of coming to your own answer yourself, in your own time, in your own way.
I want you to answer this one yourself.
You’re the one who’s gotten to know him. You’re the one who feels, who senses, who’s seen everything from him.
Tell me, do you think there’s a chance? Do you think you should have hope?
What I know for sure, Jo, is that waiting for someone doesn’t make it happen. Holding out hope for someone who isn’t ready, doesn’t make them ready.
You deserve someone who’s on the same page as you.
Not on some timeline he's unsure of and can’t commit to, but right now.
Ask anyone who’s waited, hoping for the change. We don’t regret getting on with our lives and living them out loud in the meantime. We ALWAYS regret waiting for someone who was never going to come back around to a place he was never really at before.
How about you, Gorgeous? Do you have any other words of encouragment or advice for our beautiful friend Jo? Share them with her and the rest of us down below in the comments!