I need your help in helping my daughter understand what is going on. She has been in a relationship for almost two years. (Plus another ten months that he kept asking her out.)
Everything was great until a week ago. He is away at college only 45 minutes from here. She is here in college. It is hard on her being away from him. Anyway, they fight a lot about trust and she gets angry and screams at him on the phone. So he told her that he needed to take a break, and for her to give him his space. That was three weeks ago. Then he texted me and said he wanted to give her a promise ring for their two year anniversary and that it was time to take it to the next level.
They got back together that day, and he told her he was sorry and that he loves her and misses her. That week he came home for fall break and they had and wonderful time. He went back to school late that Sunday and all was well. (Oh and he ask if he could have his class ring back because he missed wearing it. She gave it back since it was too big for her to wear and it just lay there on her dresser.)
Monday morning he didn’t answer her text and so she continued to text and text blowing up his phone. He finally answered and said his phone battery was low and that he would call her when he charged it. Well by this time she was thinking all kinds of things and when they did talk they had a fight. Anyway, come last Saturday he told her that he need to let go of stresses in his life and that she was the one he could let go of. He needed to find where he was going with his future, and that he was breaking up with her as he didn’t need to be in a relationship at this time. He said he loved her, and his head was telling him to stay, but his heart wasn’t in it. But since then he has not gone a day without texting her, mostly joking around. He doesn’t say he loves her or misses her. She wants him back, and is trying to let him come to her. She doesn’t text or call him. Now we are at the weekend it has been like this for a week.
I just don’t know what to tell her. One week he is talking promise ring, then they have the best fall break together ever, then he breaks up with her, but continues to text her everyday. I just don’t understand this at all. He tells her there is nobody else, and that if she wants to see others during this time he understands. She pulled herself together (keep in mind this is all over the phone) and told him that she loves him and that she will wait til he tells her he is no longer in love with her and to move on.
Her heart is breaking. Yes she has trust issues, and may not always handle it well, but this? I feel like it was all planned from the beginning about the promise ring to get his class ring back. I just don’t know what to tell her and I want to help her. Please help if you can.
Thanks for your question. We know you mean well and want this to work out for your daughter. And we get it, truly we do. But you’re too close to the situation. Our first suggestion is to take a step back and remove yourself from the equation. We know your daughter and boyfriend are young, but if they’re old enough to be in a serious relationship they’re old enough to work things out for themselves. Your job—and we know you know this— is to support your daughter, listen to her when she needs someone to listen to, and provide her a shoulder to cry on. As painful as it may be, you can’t solve this for her, and nor you should. One way or another things will work themselves out.
While we can’t get inside this guy’s head, what’s going on is pretty typical, especially since he is young—they both are—and in a long distance relationship while in college. He’s confused. On the one hand he loves your daughter—or at least cares for her a lot—and on the other hand he’s in college and he’s wanting to experience that fully. He should, and so should your daughter. College is a time where young people are exposed to new and exciting things. It’s a time of self-discovery and self-actualization. It also can be a lot of fun, but not when you’re tied to a relationship that is weighing on you. And so, while we’re not mind-readers we’ll take a gander at reading his. What we see is a confused young man who doesn’t know what to do. Part of him wants to be with your daughter, and the other part wants to be free to experience college to the fullest.
So what this all comes down to is timing. Or rather, bad timing. While he’s not necessarily handling this very maturely—we don’t like his flip-flopping—he’s doing the best he can with his limited experience and grace. Trying to transition a high school relationship to college is a very difficult thing to do. (We’re assuming they met in high school, but even meeting early on in college is tricky.) Sure, some people marry their high school sweethearts, but these days it’s rare. What CAN happen is that high school sweethearts break up, explore and live on their own for a time, and then get back together. But when this happens—which is also rare—it happens organically. There’s no plan, it just becomes clear to them that they should be together, usually because they live in the same town and keep running in to each other, or they’re keeping in touch casually and then they realize they want to be together again. But frankly, the high school relationships that do work, only work because the people have experienced what they need to experience on their own, and then choose to come back together. (Choose is the operative word.)
So support your daughter, but let the chips fall where they may. If these two are destined to be together, it will happen. But right now he’s choosing to live his life, and she should try to do the same. There are a lot of great experiences to be had in college, but they both have to have their eyes open in order for that to happen.
Good luck and keep us posted. Feel free to ask as many follow-up questions as you’d like. (Or have your daughter ask as well.)
ps. We hope you’ll share our site with all of your friends. Daughter. Whomever. Thanks. We appreciate it. We’re relaunching our new site any day now.