Why Did She Leave and What Does She Want

Question: Dear Luise: My girlfriend of three years just broke up with me. Then in the conversations we had through email, she said she needed time to think, that she still has strong feelings for me and misses me. She says she still thinks of the future. Upon completion of our chat, she told me to not give up on her yet and that what we talked about changes things but leaves her sad and confused and that she needs time. I am more confused then ever and don’t know what to think. I don’t understand what she is trying to tell me. I want to give her time and not bug her or look like I’m begging to get back together. What does this all mean? What should I do? Is there a way to reunite with each other? J.

Answer: Dear J.: My guess, and that’s all it is, would be that the two of you were not able to establish the level of communication that is needed in a successful relationship. If you had, she would have been able to know what was going on with her and share that with you, long before she gave up and left…and you would have heard her, loud and clear, and responded.

She needs something. She may not even be sure what it is or be able to give it to you in return…but she left because it wasn’t there and she couldn’t stay without it. I have no way of knowing whether or not she asked you, repeatedly and without success, to hear her out and to respond. Maybe she didn’t know how.

In your email interaction, you offered something to her that she saw as change. It might have been that you listened in a new way and/or that you shared your feelings in a new way. I don’t know…but she experienced something different.

She may be fearful that it’s not enough, or that you won’t maintain it if she returns. Her confusion probably stems from her thinking you were not capable of it or interested in developing it and she is still probably trying to sort everything out.

Mutual, heartfelt communication is, in some ways, an art form. It has to be valued, developed and practiced. It carries risks because it entails getting to know your self on a deeper level before it can be honest and sincere. If that’s the problem, your girlfriend may need to learn the same thing; you might not be the only one. Her leaving in despair only proves that she felt it was hopeless, for whatever reason.

If you are to go on, you both have to agree that you want to, of course. Then, if communication is the problem, you have a lot of work to do. People can live their entire lives without getting in touch with their feelings, much less learning to express and share them. Listening to another plus getting where they are coming from is part of the whole process and is also a skill that needs to be developed.

Remember, everything I have written is only a guess, based on my personal experience. All I know for sure is that your girlfriend left you and you’re both unhappy. Blessings, Luise

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