My ex and I were together for nearly six years. We got engaged a year ago and, like many others, saw our wedding plans delayed by COVID-19. He was devastated, but I found myself somewhat relieved. I’m Black, and the pandemic, subsequent Black-led protests, and the racist backlash, along with some unrelated family issues, have been hard on my mental health. My partner’s white, and while he’s not racist, he tends to “move on” quickly after making decisions, and I don’t find much refuge in our partnership over such things.
For the last few years, he has had multiple unexpected medical emergencies, and I stuck through every one of them, even though they stressed me out as well. Recently, I let him know that I would like a month’s break from our relationship, just for a mental respite. I had hoped that he would want to be my friend during this time because we always talked about our relationship being so strong that it could survive anything. Instead, he flipped out and told me that he could not reconcile his romantic feelings for me and did not want to be my friend. He has since apologized but he did pack up and head to his parents’ house to “give me space.” Which was kind of the last thing I needed right now. When I called him out on leaving me during a mental health crisis, he insisted that his heart was in the right place when he left. However, I feel like he was taking a break from me by going to his parents. He also said that he “never would’ve left if [he] had known” that this would prompt a permanent end to our relationship. To me, that implies that he was leaving for his own purposes. He thought he could come back and everything would be fine after I got it out of my system. That’s why I’m sad.
Now I’m alone in our old apartment. He wants to come back, but I told him to stay with his parents because he didn’t give the appropriate response initially: He let me down. I can’t tell if I’m overreacting or had a miscommunication with him during a stressful time. He now wants to see a couple’s therapist and is sorry about how he responded. But I don’t feel like being in a relationship right now, and I really wish he had wanted to be my friend when I had first asked. He’s trying now, but it feels disingenuous. Should I see the therapist with him, or is this a normal end to a relationship that’s not the best for me right now anyway?
—Broken Up or Not?