Is He Gone or Not?
Q: This guy and I had been dating a little over four years. The relationship was on and off the first year, though over the years we've grown together. I had problems with him cheating, and then after a while the cheating and the not trusting stopped. It was like love from a fairy tale. And now, just this year, three days before our anniversary, he decided that he wants to take a break. The break came out of nowhere. My question is where did this come from? We are still not together today, yet he hangs out with me and my family, we still have somewhat of a sex life, and we talk though emails. But still no relationship. Is he really over me? I don't understand how you cannot stand someone and still be around them so often. Can you please explain this to me? -- Dani, 20
Dr. Susan: Who said he can't stand you? And who said you have no relationship? I think you very much have a relationship. He changed the terms on you without your permission, but he's apparently got your consent to keep on going this way indefinitely. What I mean is that you still communicate, hang out with family, and have sex. He's got what he wants, with no strings attached. He doesn't have to be "over you." Four years is a long time to be with someone, especially starting in your mid-teens. He got tired of things the way they were and untied the strings by suggesting a so-called "break." Of course, he may very well have someone else, someone he also communicates with, hangs out with, and has sex with. He may or may not tell her he loves her. She probably has no idea he spends time with you. You may be sharing him, without either of you catching on. If he's also seeing other women, that's risky for you. So be smart and stop having sex with him. The next step is up to you. Do you want half a guy? If not, it's time to regain your self-respect and tell him to get all the way out of your life or all the way back in.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.