Q. A reader writes, “I just got home from a five day vacation with a few college friends. It was the first vacation that I have gone on without her since we started dating. The vacation was a snowboard trip out west. I went with several other friends, two of whom are married, the others single. One of the men was a friend from my college days and the other was my brother. Two of the others I met for the first time on the trip.
When I was on the vacation, we talked everyday. She expressed how much she missed me and couldn’t wait for me to get back home. She even asked me to change my flight to come home a day early. When our plane landed, I got a call from her telling me she hoped I was home before she went to work so she could see me. My ski trip friends and I hit some rush hour traffic and I didn’t make it home in time before she left for work. So, she called me on her lunch break telling me we need to talk.
My girlfriend of nine years came home, and told me she wanted to end our relationship of nine years. All this came out of the blue, the day before Valentine’s day. Nothing leading up to the day she left indicated there was a problem in our relationship. You might think that she walked out because she was tired of waiting around for a ring, but we had many talks leading up to that day about getting married and the day was coming sooner rather than later. The explanation she gave me for her decision was that she has not loved me for months or more, and felt it was the best time to walk away from the relationship. She felt that we had grown apart over the past year and didn’t share any of the same interests. Her examples were comical to say the least. I was crushed, and it took me almost three months to get over the fact she wanted nothing to do with me. I have never seen this part of her before in all the years I have known her. She acted cold-hearted and was very clear she wanted nothing to do with me.
The very first thing that popped into my head, was that another man must have been showing her some attention at home or perhaps when she was out with her girlfriends. She insists that’s not the case, but who really knows? I would have liked to believe her because I really would have never thought she was the type of woman to cheat. However, I know better than to never say never.
I know relationships are a two-way street and I’m not completely innocent. Something had to drive her to do this and I’m sure I had to play some kind role on her decision. I tried everything I could to get her back and even asked if she was will to go to counseling with me. She responded with, “You should go alone, it would help you to move on if you were able to talk to someone to get things off your chest”. After about three or four weeks of begging her to take me back and getting nowhere I gave up.
Six months later she calls me, crying about how she made the worst mistake of her life, and about how she wants me back now. Yet, I’m a very loyal also stubborn person so I just can’t get over the fact that you can just walk out on someone like she did. I also, at times, have no problems biting my nose off to spite my face. Even if I really wanted to get back together with her, I wouldn’t just on principle alone. I really have found out over the years that I have no problem cutting someone out of my life without blinking an eye. However, she really would like to talk about things and how she handled the whole situation, so I agreed and we will be meeting for coffee tomorrow.
Yet I’m hurting, just thinking about how upset she is. I feel bad for her because she is financially struggling and doesn’t have any family support her at all. It really upsets me knowing she is going through the same thing I was just six months ago even though back then, I couldn’t wait for this day to come so she could get a taste of her own medicine. It turns out that’s not the case. Deep down I’m hurting just thinking about the pain she is feeling right now, but I want to make it clear that even though I agreed to meet her to talk doesn’t mean I’m even thinking about taking her back.
I guess I’m just confused because I also question why she wants me back. Do people genuinely fall back in love with someone?”
A. When you say this breakup came out of the blue, it really did not. You just never saw the signs. Don’t beat yourself up too much over this, most men never notice when their lover is falling out of love. This is because men don’t typically have the good intuition women do. Perhaps this is why they call it women’s intuition. They don’t just come up to you and tell you they are falling out of love. When she said, “we grew apart”, that was code for, “I’m not in love with you anymore”. It’s a funny thing, but when people are in love, they will claim they are very much alike. In contrast, when they have no interest in you, they will claim you two have nothing in common. People make up excuses to fit their own desires.
When she told you she had not loved you for months, she was correct. It takes time for love to die out. During that time, a woman will go through the motions of a relationship. Still, there will be signs. There will be more arguing, and she will be more moody. Only by using his intuition, by watching her general demeanor and actions, can a man perceive this change in mannerisms. Intuition, sometimes called gut feelings, is how we gauge whether someone likes us or not and to what degree, by their body language, facial expressions, voice inflection, mannerisms, and eyes. We do this every day with everyone we interact with and meet. This is all learned in our formative years. Actions don’t speak louder than words, actions scream.
When she said, “We need to talk”, that was code for, “I am going to dump you now”.
When you went on vacation, that week was the time she needed away from you to ween herself off of you, to prepare to finally let you go, to shed the final bit of love she had left for you. However, it had been coming for many months. Love levels don’t just drop instantly and turn off like a light switch. Something you did or did not do in the past year was probably the culprit.
Women need four main things to stay deeply in love with a man:
1) Trust is one. Don’t lie to her or cheat, and don’t look at other women unless you are wearing mirrored sunglasses. A woman can only love a man as much as she can trust him. Furthermore, the more she loves you, the more enjoyable the relationship will be. Do you smell what I’m cooking?
2) Respect – It’s good to be a humorous gentleman with an edge, and respect yourself. However, many men make the mistake of taking a good woman for granted. Just because she is in love with you and submits to you does not mean you can treat her poorly, that she will love you no matter what you do. Always be respectful and don’t be a control-freak Drill Sargent, don’t put her down. Indulge her interests and projects, even if they seem silly to you. The two most important theme songs of women from Tennessee to Timbuktu are “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. They will only love you as much as you respect them and yourself. If you have a happy wife, you’ll have a happy life.
3) Affection – Always give your main squeeze affection whenever they want it, rain or shine. If she reaches for you or touches you, don’t ever pull away. Give her a long, searching kiss on date night (and just because you have been a couple for years or are married does not mean you should ever stop dating. A relationship is an ongoing series of dates), as if it was the first kiss. Women need ongoing affection in a relationship like flowers need the rain.
4) Romance – Do your chores without whining. Would you like some cheese to go with that whine? When she goes shopping or has a girls’ night out, clean the house. Buy her surprise gifts, and take her on trips. Leave a love-note on her phone or under her pillow. Put your hands around her waist without warning wherever you are, in the parking lot or in the driveway and dance with her. Dance in the middle of the street like everyone is watching and you just don’t give a hoot!
Your original feelings of never going back and cutting her out of your life are correct. You are now heading into a trap. The fact is, she was telling the truth and fell out of love with you when you left six months ago. This is called ghostly lover syndrome. It’s not very well known, but very common. Oftentimes, people start having thoughts about a past lover for a time, where they temporarily remember only the good times, but not the bad… then they want to get back together again. However, this feeling is only temporary. I’m sorry, but this is not the fantasy-land of television and movies. Relationships can be fragile. In real life, when the flame of love is extinguished between two people, it can almost never be relighted again. Once the love is gone past the point of no return, it almost never comes back again between those two people. In fact, if you went back, you both would probably soon discover you don’t love each other anymore, and it would just start the cycle of pain and breakup all over again, so why relive it? We call them breakups because they are broken. Chalk this one up as a learning experience. You will know what to do with the next one. You have been living in a dreamworld Neo.