My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 8 years. The first 7 years were great. The last year has been a little rocky. We have been having some problems and have been on and off for a few months now. He comes and goes. Maybe 2 or 3 weeks will go by without us talking and then he shows up one day, we talk and get along fine like nothing has changed and then he disappears again. Sometimes he sends a short text message but doesn’t call. Sometimes I call him but he doesn’t answer his phone and then other times I call and he does answer. Sometimes he responds to me and sometimes he ignores me completely. I am currently on “ignore”. I guess my question is should I ignore him in return or keep responding to him when he tries to contact me or see me. We are not children and have never played games with each other, our relationship has always been open and honest, so this new behavior is confusing for me. I am not ready to let him go and I am assuming on some level he must not be entirely ready to let me go either although the break-up was initiated by him. He has always been open and honest with me and I don’t have any reason not to trust him. I am working really hard at respecting his wishes and not pressuring him, he said he needs space and isn’t sure how he feels about me anymore. I can respect that and I want to give him what he needs but it’s killing me. When he ignores me I refrain from contacting him and I have started seeing a therapist to help with handling the hurt, anger and frustration that all of this has caused. I am very careful when I speak with him or when I do attempt to contact him, to not say things out of anger and frustration and to show him the love and respect that he deserves. I’m just confused about the “ignore” issue. Why does he do it? How long should I let him do it, and should I ignore him in return when he does contact me? I don’t want to ignore him, I want to see him and talk to him and spend time with him. I want our relationship back and I don’t want to play childish games, I don’t think that’s what he’s doing, but there is a part of me that wants him to know how it feels. Can you please help me figure out the best way to handle this situation? I am okay, I just really want to make sure I do what is best for him right now. Thank you.
A: The person to talk to about all this is your therapist. He or she knows the whole story. I only have what you can put in a letter. No one except your boyfriend knows what he is up to. After almost 8 years together, I’d think he would want to see a therapist with you to talk about what has gone wrong and whether it can be fixed. Please confer with your therapist about whether it is time you stopped being so understanding and respectful and maybe told him exactly how you feel. Perhaps your therapist can suggest whether inviting him into couples therapy would be helpful at this point.
I wish you well.