Q. My junior year of college I started dating this guy, “Jack.” Jack had previously been in a three-year relationship and it had been a couple months since that breakup. When we first started talking, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, if we were going to become friends-with-benefits or have a relationship. Jack told me over those first few weeks that after school was over, he wanted to join the Navy. He also reassured me time and time again that he was over his ex and had stopped talking to her.
After talking about him joining the Navy and what we were, we both realized we wanted to start dating. I didn’t know if I was up for the long-distance/hardship of dating a man in the military, but, to me, it was worth seeing where this was going. Once we were official, I brought him home to meet my parents. This was something I had never done before. My parents loved him. My mom was in the Navy so she got so excited talking to him about his upcoming adventures. After that, I was starting to fall in love with him. A few months go by and we’d just finished talking on the phone after saying goodnight. I stayed up a little later, scrolling through social media when I got this text. Jack had sent me this long message about how he really wasn’t over the girl he dated before me and was still in contact with her. I was sobbing. Jack had broken up with me over text.
Two months went by and I didn’t know why he did that. I felt like I needed closure because I was still thinking about him. It was a few weeks before he left for the Navy and we started hanging out again. I was on vacation when he got the call that he was going to be leaving early and I wouldn’t be seeing him before he left. Now he returns home in a week and I’m wondering if he will call me when he gets out. Should I answer? Is it a good idea to see him? I think a part of me will always have feelings for him, but is it smart to put myself back in that position?
A. There’s no reason to see him. Mainly because you’re still in love with him and need time to get over it.
Jack wasn’t interested in any kind of commitment. He saw you right before he left for the Navy because he didn’t have to make any promises.
Please know there’s a real chance he will want to see you when he returns. He does enjoy your company. But you must remember that he’s not planning a future with you. You started to wonder whether you could handle long-distance and a life with him, but he was already letting go. Now you have to follow his lead.
You don’t have to ignore his calls and messages, but if/when he reaches out, you can explain that it would be confusing for you to see him right now, and that you need time and space to move on from your romantic relationship. If he weren’t in the Navy — if he were right down the street and wanted to hang out at a socially distant picnic — you would say no, right? It would be clear that you aren’t in a place to be casual about quality time for no reason.
The Navy and his return shouldn’t change your needs and priorities. Staying away and letting go is your closure. Put that first.
You DID get closure, when he broke up with you over text and admitted he’d been talking to another girl behind your back for months.
When someone disrespects you — example, breaking up over text — you call on your self-respect and dignity and never give them the time of day again. Move on and find someone who cares about you.
Close those doors that don’t lead anywhere, letter writer.
I’m afraid this ship has sailed.
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