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What to do when He/She Leaves? — 744 Comments

  1. Dear Al,
    This is a great article! My partner left several days ago and I have read your words numerous times.
    We have been together almost 15 years and living together and engaged almost 6. Since living together, I have experienced a downward spiral (weight gain, depression, etc.). It didn’t help that a close family member took their life one month before our scheduled wedding. We postponed the marriage, but I later found out that my partner had wanted to call it off anyway.
    I have struggled with these issues (weight, depression) throughout our relationship, though the year before my partner proposed, I had found a good balance through changing my job and diet/exercise. Once I moved into his place, I found myself quickly falling back into old habits.
    Now, after 6 years of living together and not seeing the person he wanted to marry, he thinks it is best if I move out. He is currently away for work for a few months. I was supposed to go with him, but he didn’t think it would be a good idea.
    I cannot say that I am shocked about his decision. In fact, I felt it coming for months. So, since he left, I have looked at apartments, started therapy and gone back to the gym. I am almost too motivated and feel I will crash at any minute.
    He doesn’t want me to tell our family or friends anything. I’m not sure what that means. I did receive an email from him today. He said he was sorry, but his feelings haven’t changed and he would like me to move out by the time he returns. He also says that he has little faith that I will change. He didn’t directly break up with me. Am I naive to be hopeful?
    My response to his message was that I agreed that I should move out and I briefly mentioned the progress I’ve made. Maybe that wasn’t a good idea.
    Right now I am hopeful, but sometimes I feel a sinking feeling in my chest. I would appreciate any insights you have on my situation.
    Thanks again for your article,

    • Hello Maria, and good wishes to you. Well, it sounds as if you are at what I call the Choice Point in your relationship. Do you give up and walk away? Do you just give in and do whatever he wants? Do you work to find a great relationship with him? This point is characterized by a sense of hopelessness. You mention he feels hopeless that “you’ll change,” whatever the heck that means to him. And you wander in and out of depression, which I always think of as a kind of sinking into helpless/hopelessness.

      But hopelessness is a fragile thing, broken easily by progress. I’m glad you found a therapist and exercise. I’d focus on learning about yourself and growing yourself and making events that show progress. Don’t make promises. Follow the four steps in this article and read on more. I think it and you and he are worth it.

      • Good morning Al,
        Thank you so so much for responding to my post!
        Your words “helpless” and “hopeless” really struck a cord with me. I need to figure out why I keep falling into those feelings.
        And the fact that you asked about me “just giv[ing] in” to him has made me think about what it is I really want. You are right. If I keep making progress, I should be able to feel less and less hopelessness. The time and space apart has already made some things clearer.
        Thanks again for your kind and encouraging words.
        Very best wishes,

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