She's Taking a Break but Really We've Broken Up

Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Male
Hi, I have recently broken up with my girlfriend of 13 months. We had such a great relationship but in the last month we both made some mistakes that made our relationship go downhill. Although we forgave eachother, things weren't quite the same. One day, to my suprise, on the phone she told me that she wanted a "break" to figure out if we are meant for eachother or not. She claims that her goal is to adventually get back together but I know she wants to experiment with other guys and that we are probably done for good.

She says she still loves me and I still love her too. She wants to be best friends but I don't think it's healthy for us. I tried the friendship thing since we broke up and she really treated me bad. She appologized but I have refused to have anything to do with her outside of school (university). I don't want to be the one dangling on the end of a string. I know that when she finds another guy, I will get pushed out of the picture, entirely. I am wondering if you think we need to talk about things? (either talk about them now, or spend time away from eachother first) or do you think I should stop wasting my time and move on??

One more thing.. I bought her a $500 ring a couple weeks before we broke up.. I asked for it back but she refuses to give it back. She says that it is hers and will always be hers. I know that I gave it to her as a gift but I feel like I was taken for.... I feel like she took the ring and ran.. (because she knew ahead of time that I was buying her a ring) ... everybody I have talked to think that she should give it back.. just for the fact that she dumped me. Everybody says that if I was the one that ended it with her or cheated on her or did something of that nature, that I would not be intitled to my ring back. I agree. Can I please have your opinion on what I should do? .. I have talked to her about i and she is strongly opposed to giving it back. I have talked to her parents (because they are my last hope in getting it back, but they don't really want to get involved... they claimed that their daughter is fair-minded and that we can work things out.... well.. right now, their daughter is anything but fair-minded.)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.. thank you very much! Advice
It definitely sounds like she wants to date other guys and not feel guilty about it. And that it's sort of an added bonus that you'll stay around as a safety net. If she was really happy with you she wouldn't have asked for a break. So I definitely would consider this a break-up.

It is good to stay friends with your ex - hopefully you were friends before you dated and still have things in common. However, it often takes weeks to months to get over a break-up and usually this period is really tough. So it might be best to stay clear of her for a while until you really recover for it. Seeing her with other guys or hearing her talk about them could really hinder the process.

If this ring was an engagement ring I'd say definitely, you should have it back. That would be a symbol of your marriage and something that is traditionally matched against the dowry that the woman's family gave to the husband. It was an equal exchange of wealth, not a "gift".

However, your ring was a free and clear gift. It was a present from you to her. Presents aren't things you give "expecting something". They're given as a sign of how you feel at that moment. It has nothing to do with anything that happens afterwards.

It sounds like you in essence want your "money back" and not the actual trinket of gold and gem. This is one of those lessons of life - if you can't afford to part with something, don't offer it away. If you weren't in a state that you could part with $500, you really shouldn't have bought the ring. Love isn't about money, and women aren't bought with shiny gems.

If you chose to give her a present worth $500, it doesn't matter if it was a trip for you two to Cancun that you took for a weekend, that ring you got or a fancy dinner at the most expensive restaurant. You chose to expend that cash on her, and she accepted it. If you guys had gone to dinner and you paid the $500 bill, would you now be asking her to reimburse you her $250 share, just because your relationship didn't last a lifetime?

Going to her parents sort of seals that your relationship had problems. Any issues between you and her should be resolved by you and her. The moment you have to drag in third parties to 'force her' into seeing your way, you've conceded that you are incapable of communicating with her, which is the foundation of any relationship.

Money can't buy love. The next time, I'd stay away from big shows of jewelry and concentrate on small, constant shows of affection.

-- from Jenn
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