“I started to feel like I was making every effort.” I broke off our relationship.

A few weeks ago, I started to feel like I was making every effort, while he wasn’t making any at all. I started noticing his ambivalence about our relationship, so I called and broke it off. It was heartbreaking. His answer was really confusing; he accepted my reasons and said he couldn’t change jobs and his family would miss me. And that was it.

The next day he was back on an online dating site. Obviously, he wasn’t as invested as me. I feel like he was too cowardly to break off on his own. Was it just a case of He’s Just Not That Into You, or work and lifestyle incompatibilities? I don’t like feeling like a jerk, so I’d like some advice on how to get a good pulse on a budding relationship.

– What happened?

A. Sounds like you know it all: he liked the relationship, but not enough to keep it going; he thought you were awesome, but won’t change his life to make it work.

He probably knew it was over a little before you called him. Maybe it was cowardice, maybe it was laziness, maybe he thought the status quo was enough for you two, at least for now. Anyway, when you expressed a desire for more, he let you go. It doesn’t have to be malicious.

How do you get a reading on a relationship? There is excitement. Kindness. There is also the intention, especially to continue to show up, even when the schedules are difficult. Work and lifestyle compatibilities were part of the problem, but so was his lack of motivation to join you. It was great for a few months…and then it wasn’t.

I’m not sure you could have hastened the breakup, by the way. You needed time to understand. But next time, after six or eight months, you might wonder if the relationship seems as stable – and won over on both sides – as it was when it started.

I think you are asking how to avoid having relationships that could end. There is no way around the risk and possible loss. The good news is that you can admit something is wrong.

–Meredith

READERS RESPOND

No one can clearly assess a relationship in the first six months due to the honeymoon period. Important clues begin to surface in the nine to 15 month period. AUNTTIGGYWINK

Many people are unable to honestly express their feelings, regardless of gender. EACB

Men are notoriously bad at delivering news that women don’t want to hear. Bottom line: If they’re not actively pursuing you, they’re just not interested. SEENITTOO


Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your questions and relationship issues to [email protected] Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Find the new season of the Love Letters podcast on loveletters.show.

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