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The non-breakup break up

Posted Mar 31 2013 7:46pm

They’d been dating regularly for 4 months, even taking a 4-day vacation together. My gal pal kept telling me what a nice guy he was — very thoughtful bringing her little presents every time he saw her. They became intimate early on. She liked him and enjoyed his company, but wasn’t smitten by him.

But in the last month she’s been questioning his long-term potential. She doesn’t really like some of his decisions, which she considers short sighted and if they were to be together in a few years, the outcomes of these decisions would have an effect on their life together. A few days ago they had a date — with him sleeping over — but she hasn’t said anything to him about her concerns. She asked about seeing him this weekend before she goes abroad for two weeks and he said he’s too busy.

Today in her mail was a travel journal from him for her trip. Accompanying the book was a note, “These last few months I’ve enjoyed the privilege of getting to know you. Have a fabulous trip.”

When she showed it to me, we agreed what it was — a non-breakup breakup. We debated whether it was or not, but decided that since there was nothing suggesting a future rendezvous, it was his way of saying goodbye. If he had any desire to see her again, he would have included something like, “I want to hear all about it when you return” or “I look forward to your safe return” or “I don’t know how I’ll go 2 weeks without seeing you.”

But there was none of that. The absence was glaring.

We discussed that this is a coward’s way out — he didn’t want to risk potential drama by sharing his feelings on the phone or in person, so this was his way of saying, “Have a nice life.”

Or could he be leaving the door open so when she returned, if he felt like seeing her he could give her a call? I’ve experienced men going poof then a few weeks (or months) later they were lonely or missed me and made contact. She said this note was the death knell and she wasn’t interested in seeing him again. She needed a man who was more straightforward and not nebulous.

You may think we were overreacting in our interpretation of the note. Since there was nothing explicitly breaking up, the meaning was up to us. Maybe he was just trying to be nice? Wouldn’t a mature man be more forthcoming if he’d intended to break up? One would hope. But unfortunately in my experience, most aren’t.

What non-breakup break ups have you experienced? Share your stories and examples with us.

Dating Over 40: Moving On Gracefully Want to know more about how to break up maturely and respectfully? Get your copy of Moving On Gracefully: Break Up Without Heartache.

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