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I got together with my boyfriend shortly after he got divorced. Now he wants to be alone.

The Question

I was blind-sided 2 months ago by a very loving boyfriend who suddenly turned into a monster. After a year in a profound and very loving relationship, he says he's unhappy with his life and needs to learn to "love himself" and says I'm better off moving on.

He's always been struggling with financial issues, job issues and a typical "on the verge of teenage" son. He divorced just before we met and didn't really have time to himself much, I thought - but when I asked him in the beginning if that was an issue, he stated that he had been "alone" enough in the marriage and that he was ready to be in a relationship at that point.

Immediately though, he wanted to remain friends. I don't believe ex's can be "friends" after being in a very bonded and intimate relationship, and I told him I cannot 'just be friends' because I am still very much "in love" with him.

Basically I got the feeling that:
A) he broke it off so that I couldn't hurt him by breaking up first, and
B) he pitted the relationship against all the other things to work on in his life and cut me loose because he didn't want to worry about my feelings while he went through this.

Any insight on whether a man can go through a transition and come out improved and wanting to be back with the woman he broke up with?

Noel's answer

Some men do get back with the women they broke up with, and some don't.

In your case, there is an extra force at work.

Your boyfriend went through a divorce, and immediately got together with you. I was widowed in 1973, and within a year had got married again. I found out too late that I should have waited at least three years, as it can take that long to completely recover from a loving relationship that is lost. It can also take that long to recover from an intense bad relationship!

Psychologists call a relationship that is quickly gotten into after a divorce or being widowed a 'throw away relationship' because under the circumstances, people are usually feeling emotionally raw and vulnerable, and thus are often open to a caring (or maybe care-giving) partner. When they recover from the emotional pain, they sometimes find the person they got together with is not a good fit. Or, they just need some time alone. In my case, my second marriage ended by mutual agreement after thirteen years of struggle.

Your boyfriend most likely does need to take time to learn to live with/by himself. There is no way to predict whether he will come back to you when he is 'done'.

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