She Wanted a Break, Broke Up, Slept with the guy, then Wants me Back

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Male
My girlfriend and I have been going out for almost three years. I felt everything was fine until about a month ago when she started saying she needed to "find herself". She was enrolled in an internship in Orlando FL and left a few weeks ago for a five months. We agreed that we could make it work, but said that if we wanted to date someone just as a simple date as friends, we could.

Well last week she called to end our relationship because she had found someone else. In only three weeks??? I was hurt.

Two days later she called me wanting me back. However itís not so simple. The few days we were "officially" broken up she had sex with the guy she thought she liked. Now she says she had made a big mistake and hopes I take her back. What do I do??? Please help, I'm so lost and devastated. Advice
You know, the more I hear about these 'breaks', the more I think they're a bad idea. Either you're dating or you're not dating. People don't take breaks when the relationship is happy, and if they don't feel it's happy, they should actively work on solving the problem. If they don't feel like solving it, they should break up. But it seems like the person asking for the break usually doesn't feel happy, wants to look around and make sure there isn't anything better before "settling" for what they have.

I'm not saying it's your fault - you can't make her stay if she is asking for time off, and if you care for her you probably don't want to say "Sorry either stay or go away". I'm saying it wasn't fair for her to do to you. She said in essence "This relationship isn't going the way I want it to go. But I don't feel like working on it. I'm going to go explore Florida and feel free to date other guys. You just hang around until I make sure there aren't any better ones." She's dating only as friends? As if that isn't a way to 'try them out'? And obviously if she found one she DID like, she could then just tell you sorry, it's over. Which she did. So she dated him right up to the sex part, until she felt she "had a chance" with the new guy and could safely drop her safety net (i.e. you).

But then she slept with him and realized, "Hey the grass isn't always greener, doh!" And here she'd already tossed away her safety net. So she comes back and asks for you back again. Because of course you hung around for her 'just in case' before, so it's likely you'd do it again.

Here's the thing. Relationships are always fun at the beginning. And then after a few months or years, they get to be "normal". You settle into a routine, you realize you both have flaws, that you aren't going to change, that life isn't perfect. And at this point some people accept this, work on the relationship and have many, many years of best-friendship together. But other people say, "Hey, where's my weekly flowers! Where's that spark! You mean this is *work*? I wanna see what my options are." And that causes the 7 year itch and the 3 year break and all those other problems.

After three years with you, she should have been pretty settled with what you were and what you were together. You'd survived ups and downs, you had a rhythm. You had some flaws, she had some flaws, that's how life is! You accept them and work on them, and love and tolerate. But you don't run away. Relationships are about honesty and dependability, not about running away to Florida because it's easier than dealing with real issues.

So anyway, maybe she learned her lesson and has grown up a bit. Maybe she's learned that relationships are about trusting someone to be there for you, not about the next conquest or new flirt. If she kept her old attitude about life, she'll never be happy - because there will ALWAYS be someone more handsome or richer or better dresser or whatever you want to count as "important". Love isn't about constantly ditching old lovers when someone better comes along. Love is about STANDING BY the love you have, appreciating his or her SPECIAL UNIQUE qualities and working on the relationship. It won't be perfect! But it will be your special love for each other, that nobody else has.

I would try to talk to her about all of that. If she keeps the mindset of "I won't work on the relationship, I'll run off when I want instead of talking about issues, I'll keep an eye out for something better" it simply will NOT work. It might be hard for her to change. It might be good to talk to a therapist about how relationships work and how to talk with each other better. But it will definitely take *effort* on both of your parts if you want to attempt to try the relationship again.

Good luck!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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