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Love Letters

She broke things off, but can’t seem to move on

Looking back, she finds it hard to say why she ended things.

I am a 21-year-old girl recovering from COVID and heartbreak. I’m grateful the former is manageable, but the latter, not so much. My time in isolation has left me insatiably bored, so what better to do than stalk through my ex-boyfriend’s mother’s Facebook account in search of old photos of him?

We met when I was 16. It took us a few years to admit our feelings for each other and when we finally did, he was stationed with the Air Force, and I had moved back home, almost across the country. We tried long distance, but it only took a little over seven months before the distance got to me. I broke things off. Looking back, it’s hard to put into words why it ended, even though I was the one who did it. Was it because I was scared of doing long distance for an unforeseeable amount of time when it was already so hard? Was it because I thought we were different people who wanted different futures?

Is it bad that I’m still in this space where my heart is hopelessly devoted to him? I’m asking because I really don’t know.


– Not Over It

A. “Was it because I was scared of doing long distance for an unforeseeable amount of time when it was already so hard? Was it because I thought we were different people who wanted different futures?”


Those are two very good reasons two break up with someone, even if you think they might be your soul mate. Luckily, we can have many soul mates throughout our lives. You want yours to be local, which makes a lot of sense.

The trick is to appreciate the memories of this man without second-guessing the decision to let him go. Call this man a very important first love. Appreciate him. Then make a choice to move on. It’s useless to imagine what might have happened had you kept the relationship going. You ended it because you weren’t happy.


Be patient as you seek out new experiences. Not every date will feel as epic as this slow-burn, formative relationship, but that doesn’t mean a person isn’t worth knowing. Understand that love might feel different now that you’ve learned to admit feelings and ask for what you want. It might feel less fraught, but that’s a good thing.

For the record, here are some things I did when I was quarantining—because no, I never looked up my the mothers of any of my exes (although I do hope they’re all doing well. If those moms are reading this column, this is me saying hi!):

1. I started to play online mah-jongg. I’m terrible at it, but it’s fun.

2. I watched Alias, which is a good TV show to lose yourself in.

3. I made turkey chili with cannellini beans and kale.

4. I did Google an ex or two and saw that they were pursing paths many miles from my own. So I went back to Alias, which was way more interesting.

Feel better soon.

– Meredith


Breakups are hard. They can be scary. I’m sure the pandemic hasn’t helped. But this is what friends are for. You don’t really have to isolate that long, so now you can go out and see some friends again and talk this through with them. ASH


You’re 21. When you’re healthy, go out and be 21, with way less drama. CUPPAJOESEATTLE

Your normal obsession is due to him being your first love. The pandemic has prevented you from finding a replacement. Use the alone time to upgrade your future goals of job, education, savings, and volunteering. Mature goals need to replace puppy love stagnation. AUNTTIGGYWINK

Find the new season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.