Is It Over?
Q: I was exclusively with a woman for 10 years as of eight months ago. Our relationship was rocky but the passion and chemistry were always there and always brought us back together. (Can passion alone fuel a relationship for 10 years?) Then suddenly last fall she walked out on me after a silly argument and I have not seen her for the past 8 months. Is this a long time in the face of 10 years? We have spoken during this period and she sent a lot of mixed signals during these intermittent phone calls. I still have a lot of feelings for her, though they may not be reciprocated and/or she has moved on. But why am I having such a hard time in doing the same? -- Albert, 55
Dr. Susan: The silly argument you had must have been the straw that broke the camel's back, Albert. Your partner apparently got tired of the rockiness and all the back-and-forthing and made a decision to call it quits. Passion is great, and it can sustain a relationship for a long time, but eventually, the balance tips so that it's all too much trouble for the payoff. She probably figures it's time for her to find someone to grow old with, someone she can count on beyond the bedroom. I would say that, yes, eight months is a long time, even though you were together for 10 years. It doesn't sound like she's in any hurry to be with you again, and the mixed signals could be all in your head. Otherwise, she'd be ringing your doorbell already. You're having a hard time because, one, she initiated this probably permanent break-up, and two, because for you the passion made it all worthwhile. And it's hard to get that out of your system. If she means all that much to you, I suggest you talk to her about trying again, this time with a focus on working out the compatibility issues between you.
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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.