Part Three | What not to do when you are planning to break up with someone

Part One | Part Two

Tony couldn’t come back to my place with me. He didn’t have a car and had to take his son to school the next morning. So the conversation was pretty much over when we left the bar. Being in public the whole time, we barely even kissed on our date.

My heart was yelling at me to not break it off with him, and my head was yelling that nothing would change in the short term. But his comment about being “everything he’d ever wanted” was what I kept coming back to. Of course – it was what I wanted to hear. I also kept replaying his comment about his ex – thinking for crying out loud, could he not just make that decision?!

I forget when it happened, but at some point he was telling me that he still hadn’t gone to pick up some packages that were delivered to a town about 90 minutes away from where we live – and his accountant said he was “retarded” (yes, knowing that was a terrible word to use) for not even getting that done. I had only one meeting the next day so asked him what he was doing… 

…and the non-breaking-up plan was hatched. Should he be able to get some key things done the next morning, after my meeting we were going to take my car and go on a mini-escape, perhaps overnight, to get his things.

And that’s exactly what we did.

I got a “good morning gorgeous” text message.

It was a glorious spring day. I picked him up in the early afternoon and we drove to our destination. He had to make some work phone calls but in between, we chatted, and he kept me laughing almost non-stop with stories of friends and work.

Long-overdue task accomplished, we went to a local pub for snacks and drinks. More fun. Easy conversation. Flirting. That great balance of comfort and then an occasional dirty comment that wet my lace panties. The town we were in was once known for seedy motels and strip clubs. We joked about the plan for the night. At one point, it included finding a hotel with mirrors on the ceilings and preferably a bed with magic fingers vibration (and no bed bugs), some sex, maybe some shopping, back out for drinking and playing roulette, maybe a strip club, more sex, and an early morning drive back home.

We drove around aimlessly – deliberately – and admired both the good and bad areas of town. He and I both love road trips and finding cool places. We went to a shoe store and he crossed another thing off his list of things to do.

Not finding a perfectly seedy motel (which makes me think there’s a business to be built) he booked a hotel – sadly mirror-on-the-ceiling free – and we checked in. By then we’d spent 8 hours together and it was pretty late. With each passing hour, I became less convinced my plan of attack was going to be possible.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After our date the night before, and that morning, I’d been thinking about what the hell I was going to do. I had landed on the following:

A month of no-contact.

No texts or phone calls. No “call me if you miss me”. No “let’s just see how we do”. Nothing. Booking a date a month from now, giving him a kiss goodbye, and I’ll see him in 30 days.


For me, I need to know that the things I think are rare and special about him, really are. I may only need to think about it, but more likely, I will meet some new people and see how I feel about them. I also want to know how badly I miss him. Is there a hole in my life when he’s not there?

For him, he has shit he has to sort out – some not related to me. A deadline to get that stuff sorted out could help. He needs to decide once and for all to not get back with his ex. He needs to know how special I am, and what we have together. He might need to do that by going on some dates (I will also be telling him if he sleeps with anyone he’d better wear a condom or get tested before he sees me again).

I recognize that a month may do nothing for him. He may have made no progress whatsoever. And if that’s the case, then it’s a sign I could be waiting forever.

And why no contact? Why not just open our relationship?

I can’t go halfway backwards with him. I know myself well enough to know that if he suddenly can’t see me on a Friday night, I will get pissy and possessive. But, if there’s no contact, while I certainly will be wondering what he’s doing, I also can be doing my own thing. There won’t be the opportunity for me to feel like he’s choosing someone over me. No contact is the only way I can make it work.

If he meets someone else that captivates him more (or I do), then I know it wasn’t meant to be anyway. I’m pretty confident he won’t…but one never knows. It’s easy to say in theory, but will be very hard in practice.

So going into our date, this is what I was planning.

But the date was amazing. Comfortable and fun. I could travel with this guy, which is saying a lot. He referred to me as his girlfriend a couple of times in conversation. He was affectionate and attentive.

We got an upgraded hotel room due to my premier standing with the hotel chain. The view was stunning and there was a king size bed.

Tony was still sore and tired from the move the prior day. But when we started kissing, that insane chemistry kicked in and I could feel his growing desire – he makes these great guttural noises and starts to grab me even harder. The natural Dom in him comes out. After we had sex, he needed a nap – it was 10:30 at night. I insisted I would let him sleep, and he insisted equally that I wake him up so he could get more “Ann time”.

I went to get some food and of course, as I expected, he just couldn’t be roused after his sleep (he told me later I was very close to getting him up again). Which was fine. He was exhausted, and I wanted to sleep as well.

The next morning, we had two rounds of sex, then had to leave to get back on the highway for me to get home in time for Liam to be dropped off by my Mom.

I let him drive my car – he likes speed as much as I do – and it made him happy. I was content. I felt reconnected to him, and we’d really had a great time. But as much as that was good, it also makes my decision on what to do next very difficult. I know there’s unlikely to be any real change. I think I need to invoke my no-contact for a month. But I’m scared of what that will mean.

Never mind that there is someone else literally planning to knock on my door tomorrow, with only one purpose. I had planned on being single by now.

I am utterly torn.

0 thoughts on “Part Three | What not to do when you are planning to break up with someone

  1. I think the one month no contact is a good idea. It’s a little space to figure things out without being too long. It is specific and has a limit. I like it.

  2. Ah! Yes, tough decisions, I can see…
    Though I’m glad for you for the good time had together 🙂

    I think your no contact for a month sounds good to me, but I’m me, and you’re you and you deal with it with much more passion (hopefully 😉 ).

    Good luck!

  3. When you have such a great time with someone, it’s really hard to think about losing that! You have us all on the edge of our seats here waiting to see how things will develop…

  4. Are you familiar with Grover from Sesame Street? The blue furry excitable guy who sometimes runs around flailing his scrawny arms screaming? That is what you have done to me with these 3 posts Ann. You turned me into Grover.

    You know what to do. Trust yourself…..

    • Julie, when I read this comment earlier I almost spit coffee onto my clean white sheets, I laughed so hard. I needed that; thank you.

      You think I should say goodbye? At least temporarily?

      • Whew! I’m glad that was your reaction! I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to go that route, but then I decided to go with it, especially after reading the first 2 installments and found myself going “GAHHHHHHHHH!”

        You know what I think. And you agree with me. You just have to dig a little deeper into that bag of patience I gave you! It seems like a no brainer to me. You like each other, you enjoy being together. Maybe I have been alone for too long. I think if you find someone you genuinely enjoy, you should make every attempt to keep that person in your life. That said, you can’t keep someone who doesn’t want to stay. Think about that last sentence from both points of view. Yours and Tony’s.

          • I was once told I was the most patient person alive. That may be. Or it may be I am the WORST decision maker alive. Like you I am so worried about making a wrong choice that I avoid them. Perhaps that just masquerades as patience??

          • I’m usually pretty good at making decisions. This is the exception and I think it’s because he and I have qualities together I haven’t found in anyone else…yet…

  5. I think the “no contact” is kind of silly…I thought one of the main issues with him was that he wasn’t contacting you in the first place?!?! So why don’t you find out in this next month if he starts reaching out to you more?? That’s what I would do if it was bothering me…but hey, I guess you need to do what you need to do. =)

    • Thanks for your honesty. I guess I’m trying to balance his need to have some space / time to sort some things out, with not also backing him into a corner because I’m so frustrated.

      Granted, it may take a lot longer. I also know that I can’t do something halfway and try to open up the relationship to dating others at this point. AND, I think not seeing him for a bit (and not expecting to hear from him) will help me really distance myself and think about whether I am over-emphasizing the qualities he has.

      I’m not sure how else to get to a place where he’s got a chance to make a final decision about his ex, dealt with some of the stuff he needs to do, know that what we have is special (by comparing to others), know I’m serious about things needing to change, and also for me to see whether he’s able to move anything forward in his life.

      All alternate suggestions are welcome!

      • I think Will says it nicely below that you have to figure out if the two of you can grow together…and that can only happen if you two are together…not avoiding each other. It could take him a couple months or 6 months or even longer for Tony to deal with all that he needs to deal with…One month is such a small time frame in the big picture (it really is if you think about it). If you can make it through this time and keep learning about each other, and see things that you want to change in the relationship, then that is when you know you are meant to be together. But if things don’t change, then he’s not meant for you because you need to be happy.

      • “not seeing him for a bit (and not expecting to hear from him) will help me really distance myself and think about whether I am over-emphasizing the qualities he has”

        wait. Isn’t that just about what happened during the vacations?? You didn’t really expect to hear from him did you? The phone rings both ways Ann. I know it is really nice when he reaches out to you. I know that, but it’s even nicer when it’s solely his idea. He’s human too, and I bet he likes it when you reach out to him unexpectedly as well. Sorry, I can’t remember the noise I made when I shook your shoulders…. but I’m doing it again.

        • Okay, okay 🙂

          I don’t always wait for him to contact me. This morning I called him just to say hi. I’m not expecting things only one way. But yes, I did think I would hear from him when he was gone, and yes, I did think he should have responded to my email when I asked for his help.

          The subtle change for me recently is that I’ve been SO focussed on his side of things…what he would get out of me giving him space for a month…that I didn’t really think about whether I needed to also validate where my head was at. But that need is driven out of fear of making a mistake. The same mistake I made with my ex…. so I also know I’m hyper sensitive about it.

  6. Hmm, while I agree, that for you, no contact may be the way to go. Certainly until Tony can make a decision one way or another when it comes to the ex and the mother of his son. However, putting a specific 30-days on it is what I question from the perspective of “performance management”. As an executive, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say: We no longer have time specific performance improvement plans (pip’s) for many reasons but one key reason is because most people can focus and work on something for a month or six weeks, but to be able to do it consistently and sustained on their own will prove out one way or another. More often than not, it proves out that the individual cannot sustain improvements and or consist behaviors on their own. What I’m saying is Tony’s decision making process and how he executes upon said decisions is uniquely his. Forcing a timeline can backfire, or worse, he might not sort out everything he needs to (or that are the most important to you). At the end of the 30-days, if all of the great/good remains and yet he still hasn’t made a decision about the ex, are you prepared to make the call? Everything you’ve written about him, how you feel et al. leads me to believe he is someone you have deep feelings for and it is enlightening and hard at the same time. Maybe, it’s not a 30-day no contact plan but a “no contact” until….plan. Both are a form of an ultimatum- be prepared to not only honor the ultimatum but the behavior(s) it might bring out. My heart hurts for where you are at and I wonder if everything that’s happening right now, that you don’t have control of, is driving your need to take action where you have control. Right now, that’s with your relationship with Tony. You aren’t in control of your career right now given the redundancy restructuring at your company & they’ve indicated they want to retain you and find the right opportunity. Hence you aren’t in control. Will is back and you’re adjusting to time without Liam. No way would you tell Will you want to change the agreement but your feeling of “loss” and working through that is also out of your control. I guess this is my long winded way of saying please consider acting upon your plan only after you meet with your therapist; as making a decision with your head that has such an impact on your heart might not be best right now. However, if your heart is simply too hurt and needs to move on, well…Either way, sending you nothing but healing, positive thoughts your way {hugs}

    • Very nicely said….I also thought about how Tony’s decision process is different from Ann’s after I wrote my little thought…

    • How’d you get so wise??

      I’ve been thinking about your comment since I read it hours ago. You are totally right about this being a PIP situation…and even more right about it potentially not working, or backfiring, and definitely right about my loss of control in many arenas.

      My heart isn’t too hurt right now. I’m frustrated and a little hurt. But less hurt, honestly, since the conversation we had last week. I truly believe in how he feels about me. I think his intentions are good, but the actions are falling short.

      Perhaps as an alternative, I need to see whether I can be okay with no longer being exclusive. He said he doesn’t need to date others, but I’m also not sure he knows how great we are together. I’m also not sure I can really articulate why I would want to date others…so that could be painful.

      Or I could just leave things as they are. But not having resentment build is difficult.

  7. I actually think no-contact for a month, after him (at least it seems) having had a wonderful day/night with you, would be really good for him. Now he’ll know what it could be if he puts in effort, after getting his shit together. I say go with your initial instinct and don’t let this weekend’s dopamine rush thanks to good sex rule your decision.
    But hey, good for you, having some fun and good sex. 😀

  8. I understand your thoughts on the no-contact idea and while I agree based upon all of the points you make, it really doesn’t take into consideration, Tony’s needs. It is a one-sided decision. The more that I am left to think about this, I return to the fact that you both are a couple and walking through this challenge and learning to grow as two people in a relationship is impossible while you are apart – especially with the self-imposed no contact.

    As a man who has has been deployed in the military, the no contact was a fact of life and it was entirely difficult. However, once I came to terms that the endless months of the occasional letter and 2-3 phone calls (during the entire deployment) was all that I would have. I sucked. But then I remember that our minds were occupied during every waking hour leaving little time to think about home and our significant others (wondering about an enemy engagement does wonders for relational separation).

    But, this no-contact isn’t the same as what I dealt with. If only one of you wants this and is willing to work through it to see where they stand with the other, it seems that it will be a failure. Honestly, I think that you are truly learning how to be in a relationship with a person who is far different from some of your expectations yet is completely wowing you in some very key areas that you weren’t expecting him to. You have to ask yourself if you BOTH can grow together.

    Lining up the door-knock was a bit premature, eh, Ann? Sheesh!

    • Does this really feel like a relationship to you, where we are a couple? Would a guy who thinks that way not get in touch for two weeks, after a major (bad) life event?

      I don’t think Tony is really considering me in any of his decisions right now. At least, not that I can see. Sure, he’s perhaps moving some work stuff around to be able to see me, but that’s not exactly a major thing in my opinion.

      So while I get you, I don’t feel like a couple with this man, who can barely get around to calling me his girlfriend, let alone acting like it. And haven’t I been taking his needs and wants into consideration from the very start, at the expense of my own?

      Please don’t scold me for booking Jason. I thought it might help me do what I thought I needed to do with Tony…

      • Ann,

        First of all, I am NOT scolding you. Period. I care very much about you and I know how much you have been considering Tony at your expense. Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with how this feels. I also know how it is to be waiting on someone else to sort things out. No, I am not scolding you.

        It would be wonderful for everything to come together and not just with the mutual feelings and communication, but also with commitment.

        You know that I agree with you regarding what you have been going through with Tony, and no, this isn’t what would seem to be a relationship – two people relating to each other. I suppose that I might be more hopeful based upon what you experience when you both are together. Maybe I am blind? Maybe I am incapable of seeing beyond my own relationship difficulties and, instead am projecting my situation towards you?

        Yeah…don’t listen to me.

  9. The get-away date sounds like it was so much fun. It’s only natural that after an event like that you would feel torn as to what to do.

    I don’t know that a month break is really going to accomplish anything. Of course he will miss you. Of course after the month he will be excited to see you and I bet there will be an amazing reunion. Will he suddenly be able to meet your relationship needs? I am not so sure. No right now anyway and maybe not in a month.

    It really feels like he wants you as a girlfriend, he just doesn’t have the ability to behave like a boyfriend.

    (and I am super worried about his lack of movement on making a decision re:his ex. It is sounding like he is waiting on her to make a move in this regard and then he will just follow her direction….I worry this could leave you out in the cold if in a few weeks or months she decides they are reuniting after all)

  10. DTMFA *laugh*.

    You’ve been waiting for him to step for for how many months now? And now another month, and then another? And another…? I think your expectation of another month will just leave you in a ‘wait state’ of anxiety and hopefulness. I am 99.9% sure that at the end of the month, he will come running back, joyful reunion, nothing will really have changed, and you will be back on the treadmill of frustration and dissatisfaction. Why? Because he doesn’t HAVE to change anything here. Still.

    Easy to be outside of it and play hardball, but here goes:

    End it with a VERY clear communication about what you need from him (sort out crap with his ex, get his shit out of her house, better communication, ED attention (if that’s still an issue), commitment to the ‘girlfriend’ thing, readiness to be ‘all in’ etc) and say that you are completely open to him getting in touch with you WHEN that shit is sorted and not before.

    Then move on and expect nothing more. That is, genuinely consider it ‘the end’ and actually move on.

    Ugh. So easy to say from here *hugs*.


    • I had to look up the acronym and it made me laugh. Thank you.

      If I go the route of taking / giving space, I agree with you on how it needs to go down. I’ve realized that one month is probably unlikely to do anything.

      I guess I’m afraid when I say goodbye that it will truly be over. He won’t come back or won’t ever be ready. Which right now feels worse than have some moments with him that are good. But I also know that the feeling is transitory.

  11. I’m not sure a month of no contact is going to help anything.

    Of course you’re going to miss him. And he’ll miss you. However I don’t see him using that time to deal with his shit. He’s just had a holiday, without contacting you for how long? How much longer does he need on his own to sort his shit out?

    I honestly don’t know the answers here Ann.

    All I know is that you like the guy and when he is giving you his attention, it’s obvious he feels something for you too.

    It’s easy to keep giving another month another month and before you know it, its been a year and you’re still giving him another month.

    If it was me, instead of having a month off, I’d be giving him a list of things that I need from him. From sorting his shit out with his ex to everything else that’s bothering you. And once he’s sorted all that out and has let you know where you stand, where he stands and where you both are heading… then I’d be asking him why I would be bothered to stay when I’m feeling like I’m not important to him.

    • I like the idea of what needs to be sorted and I’ve been thinking about that. I think it’s a relatively short list, but they are big items. I should write them down.

  12. Wow very interesting to read so many different opinions in the comment section.

    I am not sure if you are even looking for advice, but I have found that scheming or coming up with very finite strategies for solving an issue of the heart are typically not effective. While 30 days of ab exercises may very well lead to more defined abdominal muscles, 30 days of no contact in a relationship may not necessarily lead to anything. It may just be that, 30 days.

    It is a difficult position you are in. Sometimes when we are capable of understanding someone’s motives/intentions, rather than being fair, we end up being endlessly forgiving and selflessly compromising.

    Have you already presented the idea to Tony? Or is it still in the works?

What do you think?