Love Letters

How long is too long to wait for my ex to take me back?

He’s rejected my attempts to reconcile. But he didn’t completely close the door, and I’m left hanging.

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Q. I split with my ex three years ago and moved out of town, needing to dramatically change my life. A few weeks after, I called and tried to reconcile but he didn’t want to. Then he did a weird thing. He said, “Maybe in five years.”

What the hell is that? Some sort of five-year string pulley torture device? I haven’t been able to move on, and sometimes I honestly think I’m subconsciously waiting for the five years to be up. We were on good terms for maybe a year, when I found out he was dating a friend of mine. I sent him angry texts, and he promptly blocked me on every platform. (He and the friend later broke up.)

I know in my heart he never wants to get back together. I write letters every few months or so but never send them. I would love to just move on. What can I do about this five-year thing stuck in my head? Should I reach out over e-mail?

 — Three years in

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A. I see two possibilities here: One is that he said “maybe in five years” the way I say “maybe I’ll cut out dairy.” Not a real promise or plan — just talk. The second possibility is that it’s all about control. You dumped him and changed your mind. He responded by making it clear whatever happens next will be up to him, even if it takes him half a decade to get there.

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In both scenarios, it should be over.

If he’d wanted a short break  — maybe a few months to reevaluate — you’d have something to think about. Something to pine about. But after two years of no contact, you don’t even know him right now. You’ve both become different people, and that’s for the best.

You must understand that you’re the one operating the five-year pulley torture device. You’re the one who’s stringing yourself along. Stop doing that, and remove whatever hopeful mark you’ve made on your 2019 calendar. Believe the breakup is real — because it is.

 — Meredith

Readers Respond

Um, wait. You dumped him, moved, and then wanted to reconcile a short while later . . . but you’re questioning his actions and motives? MMNNEE

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If an ex texted me out of the blue, two years post breakup, screaming at me for a decision I made that has NOTHING to do with that person, then yeah, I would block every single possible means of contact I could imagine. Including smoke signals and carrier pigeons. MABBITTY.

You broke up with him. Write down the reasons why and look at that list any time you are thinking about contacting him. As for the “maybe in five years” comment, my read is:

1. You weren’t taking “no” for an answer, so he said “maybe later” to get you to back off. 2. He was being facetious. WINRYROCKBELL

Are you going to WASTE 3 good years of pining and hoping and suffering when you are SO close to actually getting back together for a few hours? Quitters NEVER win. KINDGUPPY

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.