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Love Letters

Was the break a good idea?

Q. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 2½ years. We’ve broken up twice during that time. We’ve been back together for a little over five months now.

I love him dearly. I have given a great deal of time to this relationship, as he is still in school and lives a few hours away. Up until last month, things were going great, but there has always been a feeling of doubt in my mind following our last breakup.

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Recently I’ve felt like he doesn’t want to spend time with just me. He also lied to me about hanging out with another girl, and that really crushed me. I brought this up to him and it seems like it has pushed him further away from me. After I talked to him more, he said he doesn’t know what he wants anymore. I want to move forward and continue to have a happy and loving relationship together, but I don’t know how to make him happy. I have a sinking feeling that he is starting to develop feelings for this other girl.

I talked to him yesterday about taking a break. I said I wouldn’t contact him at all for a month, until his birthday, and then we can move forward from there. He seemed like he was OK with this and it seemed like in a month, he and I could move forward as a couple because that’s what he wanted, too. But I could be wrong.

I wouldn’t say that it is a huge weight off my shoulders to take a break, but I think we needed it. I continue to worry about this other girl and that he won’t want a relationship with me again, given how rocky things have gotten recently.

I’m not sure if this was the right move, or what’s in store. Any insight or help would be appreciated.

Setting Love Free, St. Cloud

A. The break wasn’t a terrible idea, but please understand that it will probably lead to a breakup. And that’s OK.

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I’m not sure how a monthlong break is supposed to fix all of your problems. If anything, it’ll just remind you that you can live without him. It’ll give you a taste of freedom.

My guess is that in a month, you’ll end things for good and feel more confident about the decision. You’re both unhappy, and you’re getting to the point where you don’t trust him. You say that he doesn’t want to spend time with you. That’s no good. And keep in mind — this is your third timeout.

Take this time to remind yourself that you can go it alone. Spend the month considering what life would be like as a single person and whether your routine is more pleasant when you don’t have to worry about trying so hard to make someone happy.

This month off is basically a set of training wheels that will get you to a real breakup. And with all of these issues, isn’t that what you need?

Column is edited and reprinted from www.boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.com.

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