Is this a maturity thing and should I even try to be just friends?

Background: My now ex boyfriend and I started dating when he was 17 and I was 19. Six months into the relationship he had to move to Texas and lived there for a little over a year because that’s where his mom’s job moved to. He managed to get a job through his best friend while he was visiting me (he telecommuted from Texas for that job), which led to the job he currently has now and has moved back to my general area roughly 8 months ago for it. He lives on his own now and in comparison to most people he is doing great. In contrast, I am a college student (graduating in spring) and live with my parents who support me.

During the time he has moved back we discovered some key problems, not that everything has been perfect since day one or anything. I tend to have some negative and he wanted me to do more complimenting etc. to build up his self-esteem, which is not a natural thing for me. Also, he and I come from extremely different backgrounds so that was always a struggle. I am direct and expect others to be so with me and he subscribes to mid-western manners of “offering the last cookie to someone else before you can have it" which was an entirely foreign concept to me before him. I think this has caused some issues with his family who is not close and don’t talk to one another often. This is strange for me who comes from a close family who is always helping one another out.

The problem: How he indicated to me that we needed to break up was by not extending me an invitation to his family's Thanksgiving with the explanation of his sister and aunt having financial difficulties. I called bullshit on that excuse and he later admitted that it had been his decision. I was stunned because after nearly three years you would think that he would be comfortable to tell me ahead of time.

His logic was that he wasn't happy with our relationship and didn't want to hurt me (what is this guy logic?). He still loves and cares about me , but he doesn't know what he wants out of life and wants to build the foundation of a friendship that we didn't build before we got together (we moved rather quickly and have a strong attraction to one another). I thought we had been improving on our communication and other problems, but I guess he felt that we needed to have time and space for ourselves to grow individually. However, he has seemingly been taking the break up harder than I have, which I find rather strange since he was the one who initiated it in the first place. Is this more of a maturity issue or a personal characteristic that he has? We run in the same social circles so we will inevitably cross paths, but as of right now he tends to avoid me and told me that he hasn’t been able to work through the fact we’ve broken up. (granted its only been a week or two)


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  • I'm not sure how to advice you. You seem to have a measure of peace with how things ended so I imagine you are capable of changing gears to friendship. But it doesn't sound like he is in a place to do that yet. He seems confused as to what he wants. That makes your choices rather muddled. There are advantages to learning how to communicate with him, which a simple friendship would enable. However, if he is torn about whether he wants friendship, a restored relationship or distance, that communication will be harder than ever.

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