Adapted from a recent online discussion.
When he wants to 'talk,' she braces for breakup
Washington: My boyfriend is going to break up with me today. I'm pretty sure of it, even though he hasn't said so. He wants to talk this afternoon about "where we are," and my experience tells me that's always a bad thing. So how do I get through the day with this terrible thing looming over me?
Carolyn: Get a head start on your sense of relief?
I can imagine three possible scenarios that would explain your certainty a breakup is coming.
(1) It hasn't been going too well, and you know it, but you haven't wanted to face it. In that case, the relief would be for ending the suspense.
(2) It was just the "where we are" phrasing and nothing more, which means everything has been going great and you had no idea he was thinking breakup. In that case, either he's not breaking up with you after all (cause for immediate relief), or he's going to dump you completely out of the blue, indicating he isn't someone you wanted to invest in any more deeply than you already have. Delayed relief, but relief nonetheless.
(3) You have Eeyore tendencies, and a breakup will validate your world view?
Maybe I'm off on all three. But whatever the case may be, your jumping to the breakup conclusion suggests that you realize you're more into the relationship than he is. If so, that's a situation best relegated to the past. Painful as it may be.
Anonymous: Re: Relegated to the past:
To spin off the first question, what happens when you're more into it than the other person, they break it off, but then they say they still want to be super-close to you (and attempt to do so)?
I want this, too, but more because I still love this person. I know I'd just hope there's still a chance we could work out. I swore I knew this was the right person for me, which adds to the pain, I guess.
Carolyn: To quote the estimable Pretty Woman, you "want the fairy tale." If anything less would devastate you, then be fierce about holding out for what you want and need. Tell the person you're sorry, but you're not interested in anything less than his/her whole heart. The only way it's going to "work out" is if this person falls naturally for you just as hard as you've fallen.
While that sometimes happens gradually between two close friends, I have yet to see it happen between two people who are trying to stay friends post-breakup when one of the two is still pining.
I know there's an example of everything out there, but this is something I genuinely have not witnessed, firsthand or in column form, and that has to be good for something. I'm sorry.
Anonymous 2: Re: "This was the right person for me":
With extremely rare exceptions, there is no single "right person" for anyone. There are people whose views and personalities work exceptionally well with yours. If you think you work exceptionally well together and s/he doesn't agree, then you're not the "right person" for each other. Unless you're a masochist.
Carolyn: An important endnote, thanks. Al- though, how can you prove the "rare exceptions"?