Dear Bitter Single Guy: I’m destroyed. I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. I love him very much and for the most part he makes me very happy. I am 5 years older than him (30 and 25). Recently after my support and encouragement he applied to and was accepted to grad school in another state. I have been nothing but happy for him. We went and visited the school and city to get a vibe. We have openly discussed that this is a huge deal that is going to require a great deal of time, energy, money etc.
I am more than willing to give him the space this requires. I had been planning to go and take the time to refocus my own career. I just want to be supportive and do what’s right to keep this relationship moving forward. Lately he has grown very distant and stand-offish. I knew it was coming from anxiety about all the upcoming changes. I called him on it, said I wanted to clear the air so we could talk about the scary stuff and the exciting stuff.
He told me he doesn’t want me to come because moving our relationship to another state=marriage and babies. I try to reassure him that is not the case. That, yes, I hope for those things one day but that I see these next couple years as time to focus on our careers. That this is just moving our existing relationship to a different zip code. That true, nothing is a sure thing but he is worth the risk to me and I hope I am to him as well. Well, it seems that I am not. I am as good as dumped with the rug snatched right out from under me! A complete sucker punch! How did this happen? What is he thinking??? ~Sucker Punched~
Dear SP: Oh gracious, the Bitter Single Guy wants to give you a big jiggly hug right now, and not in that creepy way.
SP you know how this happened and you know what he’s thinking, it’s just the evil painful awful truth about being dumped. Sometimes relationships end even when everyone does everything right.
Your ex-boyfriend (get used to that term) might be too freaked out by grad school to be feel comfortable in a relationship and he’s not far off the mark; the interwebs are rife with stories of horrible relationships ending horribly because one person focused entirely on the academic process to the exclusion of her or his relationship. The BSG himself ended a relationship rather than move across the country to a cold new town. The BSG imagined himself buried in a strange apartment behind snow drifts the size of tractors while his significant other was attending festive late night study groups. The BSG’s imagination couldn’t keep him from picturing scenes from The Shining, so he decided it was time to pull the plug.
SP, of course the other possibility that you have to entertain is that your ex-boyfriend (it hurts each time for a while) just wasn’t invested enough in your relationship to stick it out through grad school. The BSG only points this out because if Scholarly Sammy gets to school and immediately starts dating someone you’ll feel like he told evil painful awful lies to you when in fact he may have just realized that going away to graduate school was the opportunity to end a relationship in which he didn’t see a future.
Either way, it’s what it seems to be. You’ve been dumped and it sucks. Once the sting starts to fade, the BSG recommends cutting Scholarly Sammy a tiny bit of slack as the BSG thinks it wasn’t easy for him to step away. Good luck healing, SP. ~BSG~