My ex-boyfriend say we're finished but still acts like we aren't

I've been with a man for four years. For the last year, he has said he is done, but he still talks, texts, visits, and has not moved on with anyone else. His words do not match his actions. I love this man, but it's hurting so much.

Pamela Suraci
Pamela Suraci
Build on your strengths, grow in your challenge areas and improve your life!

If I understand you correctly, this "maybe-boyfriend" has done a partial break up, and wants to maintain a partial relationship.  Is that ok with you?  And, if it is, what does it cost you?  He says he's "done" but still wants the connection.  That seems to leave him free to explore other options, but it doesn't allow you to do the same.  

Break ups are painful, and I know you'd like to avoid that.  I get it that you feel attached to him - you have been in a relationship with him for 4 years, so that makes sense.  However, loving him appears to be costing you a lot, without much in return. 

If you wait for him to define what he wants, you could be on hold for a long time.

Please don't wait another year to advocate for yourself.  See a therapist who can help you figure out what you need out of relationships and why you have allowed yourself to be on "pause".   It is possible that once you get clear, you will be able to have a true relationship with him.  If not, please don't settle for this.  

Take good care of yourself.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

That does sound very confusing...and hurtful.  You do not have to tolerate someone treating you in a way that hurts you.  It may be helpful to decide where the boundaries are for you and to stay true to them in your interactions with him.  You teach other people how they are allowed to treat you.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Have you brought up the topic as to the way you're feeling?

The best way for someone to understand us or to understand someone, is to directly talk about  the specific problem.

To start the discussion w your partner, understand your own reasons for continuing the relationship.

Given his stated disinterest in the relationship, your mood is probably affected by this.

Once you are clear on how the range of your feelings, especially any fears on being alone, suggesting you may be staying w this guy simply to avoid such fears, then you'll be ready w your self-knowledge, to start a conversation w your partner about your relationship. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

This can be difficult and confusing.

If you think your boyfriend would be open to having a discussion, try asking him for a time when he is willing to have an important discussion. When that time matches with a time that is good for you, try discussing the type of relationship that you each want to have and what you can start and stop doing to get there. He may want to be really good friends. He may also be trying to figure out what he is feeling. 

If you end up talking over one another, try letting one person be the one who is talking about their feelings for about five minutes and during that time, try having the other person asked questions to gain more understanding of their experience. Then you can switch. Also consider asking questions that cannot be answered with yes or no, but lead to more explanations.

Questions that start with the words how, what, when, who are usually better than questions starting with "why" because they can be emotional triggers for some people.

If this is difficult to do between the two of you, consider seeing a therapist who specializes in couples.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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