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Absence Makes Suspicion Grow Stronger


why did he break up with me?

A reader writes:

I was hoping you could offer some words of wisdom.

8 years ago I met this guy named John through mutual friends. We reconnect in January and hit it off. We go on a couple dates the connection is just amazing. Too bad he’s only here for a week as he would be leaving due to military duties. Within that week we went on dates every single night and 3 dates in, he was upfront with me and told me that we could make this long distance relationship work he’ll come home when he can and he’ll fly me out where he is when his schedule isn’t busy as he was to be up and down the east coast for 9 months this year for training sessions etc. So I’m overjoyed and agreed to it. He tells me he loves me shortly after as I’m clearly in love with him, he wants me to be his wife, we’re getting married, we look at engagement rings and we set in some plans about me moving to California with him. We’re seeing each other every 4- 6 weeks on average throughout this year.I’m head over heels in love with him and I just knew that this was the man that I had been praying for. It wasn’t easy but it was working for us. Every time we see each other he has all these things planned out for us to do and spend time together and just spoiling me rotten going above and beyond. I do the same for him when he comes home as well.

He then finds out he‘s going to be deployed next year but we still want to go through with our plans we had before. Everything is still a challenge with the distance but it’s working, we’re still talking a lot, spending time when we can as he’s met most of my family, I’ve met most of his, I visit his parents when he’s not home etc. After July I start to notice a change in him such as not telling me he loves me like he used and basically just stops doing a lot of the things that he used to do earlier in the year. 8 months in he was finished with his trainings on the east coast and he comes home to see me for a week and spends lots of time with me- tells me that he doesn’t want me to move to California anymore, we need to take things slower, our differences with me being an extrovert and him being an introvert are questionable to him, and that he is questioning my religion as he’s Baptist and I’m Catholic and how could we possibly raise our children unless I conform to being Baptist as he doesn’t want Catholicism spoken of or taught to our children since he only wants one faith in our home (keep in mind, all of my family is catholic). No compromise, no discussion, just I want it this way or we can’t be together. So of course. He broke up with me. Haven’t heard from him since he moved back to California last month. Nor have I bothered to contact him.

I’m trying to understand, what I could have done differently and what the real problem is. Personally I think the religion thing is a lie and there’s another woman (since he does have exes in California) since he knew I was catholic from the beginning. Was this entire year just something for him to do? Did he get satisfaction from this entire charade this year? Was he that bored or am I just that gullible? Why was he spending unnecessary time and money on me meeting my fam and having me meet his spend time with his fam when he’s not even here, hang out with his sisters etc when he knew he was going to break up with me when he moved back to Cali?

I’m just trying to get a grasp to understand…Although… I understand, with the male mind, I’ll probably drive myself crazy trying to find an answer never to get one since guys don’t do closure.

Any words of advice?

SBM fam, I have my thoughts, but I wanted to help you help her. You guys are awesome at giving advice, so let’s help a fellow reader make sense of this situation. I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments too, but I want to get a proper consensus. Is this a open and shut case or is it deeper than that?

See Also:  The Friend Zone: Where Good Men Are Punished for Being Good Men

Let her know!



  1. i hate when women tend to pull at strings that arent there. even if you dont agree with his reasoning, its his reasoning, brushing off his concerns as excuses and going for the low hanging fruit he was never serious or he got someone else is very childish….

    the advice itself, just move on, be grateful this is happening now and not in california having picked up your life and moved it for this man. trying to deduce where it went wrong is keeping him on ya mind and in ya heart and that’s not healing. trying to paint him as a villain, to soften the blow, thats not healing.

    1. Yes to this! Sometimes we make the simple so complex and vice versa. Kudos Tristan on the "low-hanging fruit" analogy!

  2. "Was this entire year just something for him to do? Did he get satisfaction from this entire charade this year? Was he that bored or am I just that gullible? Why was he spending unnecessary time and money on me meeting my fam and having me meet his spend time with his fam when he’s not even here, hang out with his sisters etc when he knew he was going to break up with me when he moved back to Cali?"

    If your story as written is all true then it seems clear to me that he has fallen for another woman. Plain and simple. I don't see ANY man spending airfare money like that over the course of a year on a woman he didn't really care for. Especially when you factor in talks of marriage and spending time with each others families.
    The absence and distance between y'all probably made it easy for some other woman in his area or unit to nab his attention. Especially in a job I imagine to be as stressful as the military. The talks about it moving too fast and the religion stuff was likely just an excuse to break it off. Probably thought that was much easier than saying "I'm sorry but I've fallen for someone else".

  3. He cared at some point but i think he found someone who was…..more in tune with what he wanted. Sometimes, I will admit as women we think because we feel a certain way he will feel a certain way. The distance may have been a strain for him and frankly he may not have matured at the point where he could have done the distance. I'm sorry I am a person who likes closure, i know some people are like just get over it, but when your feelings are involved it's hard to just get over it. So, if you want ask him to be honest and call him out on the b.s. and have him explain what it really is about. However, just because you want the closure doesnt mean you are going to get it.
    My recent post Keep on using me until you use me up: Why women stay with jerks

    1. But that's why I think she should have cut him off. He is unclear and she read too much into simple gestures. I think we have all or most been there before. The key is just don't let it happen again. Move on, cut contact, and take responsibility for the part you played in the whole situation.

      I agree with Tristan also, can't blame the entire situation all on him.

  4. She is a seat filler—a person to have fun with until something better comes along. He made the decision to not commit to her before he left home. She missed this because she failed to ask the pertinent questions 1. What are you looking for? Find out if you guys want the same things. Men have convinced women that asking these questions is insecure and pushy. Well, because she didn't in this case, she has wasted time and now her heart is broken when it could have been avoided from the start. Ask the questions!
    She assumed he wanted something serious when he told her he was leaving but will come to visit. He was coming back home anyway as they live in the same town. I'm sure if we ask her, she paid to fly to see him, no sweat off of him as he's in training and probably didn't have $ like that. Again, he liked her enough to keep smashing and she was allowing it. Did he introduce her to his family as his 'girlfriend/fiance' or did she introduce herself?
    Also, he bought himself more time by saying he wanted to marry her, shopping for rings and made faux plans to move to Cali because that is what she wanted to hear to continue sleeping with her. Rule of thumb, if a man wants to marry a woman he will ask her straight up, give her a ring and set a date!. Military men, especially, do not hesitate handcuffing, especially if they are going to be deployed. This is a clear sign he never intended to commit to her like that. The religion thing sounded like a good reason to dump her so he could sever all ties.

    1. I agree that some women don’t ask the right questions but it seems that in this case it seems she did but just got duped. Whether he meant the answers or not, he gave the right ones. Shopping for rings, meeting parents, visiting them on her own, are usually signs of someone being into you. It’s a shame that you can’t take these actions at face value anymore. I guess you don’t know it’s real till you walking down the aisle.

      1. Some men are just that good at trying to get some continuous P%$$y. They are so used to running game in their teens and twenties that they never really grow out of it. Sometimes we women aren’t even looking for a long term relationship but some men will force u into wanting this off of their behavior . But at the end of the day we women get blamed for not seeing the *signs* when clearly this person intentions were to deceive you from the get go.

      2. "It's a shame that you can't take these actions at face value anymore."

        I agree, @tylisa06. It's sad that you still can't fall even though his words and his actions seemed to say that he was serious about her. I don't believe she did anything wrong either, she just got played and dumped for another woman, which is unfortunate. It's also sad that these days you can't "give" too much so as not to let the other person know how much you like them. Now, I know why I'm still single; because I REFUSE to play THIS game. I feel bad for her and guys don't leave one woman unless they have another one waiting in the wings. They NEVER leave, so there's definitely another woman in the picture.

        As for him, I have one word…KARMA.

        To the woman who wrote the letter, be strong and don't allow this unfortunate situation to keep you from trusting other men in the future.

    2. So true — military men wanting to be cuffed even married before deployment!!

      First of all it means more coins in his guvment check plus other benefits as a married spouse. Me personally I would wait until he came home to make any big relocations or marriage decisions because people CHANGE.

  5. This! Yup, he was going to come to the city anyway. Why not solidify a warm bed to sleep in and a warm woman to sleep with while there. Easier than finding a new one.

    Even if he flew her out. What’s 300 or 500 to someone that has savings? It’s money but not a huge sacrifice.

    He definitely didn’t introduce her as the girlfriend or fiancé. The family knows what’s up.
    Us women have to stop creating these fairy tales in our minds. That dude is “with” you because it’s convenient and he knows you really like him.

    Saying he will visit is throwing you crumbs, you are better than that! You deserve the full pie.

    A man that wants to marry you will show you off, clearly stating that this is my GIRLFRIEND. He will probably mention marriage before you. He won’t throw out code phrases to keep you guessing. You don’t want to marry a man like that even if he is willing.

    IMHO, black women are so used to these crumbs that it seems “real”. That shit ain’t real. He doesn’t want to be with you for the rest of your life. Sorry Hun.

    1. savings or not, 300-500 is still money that you can not spend if you don't have too. Now if he was a millionaire I can roll with that point. Some guys truly do care about ladies, and then down the road something changes that turned them off (something she did, said, etc etc). At that point they start to re-think about forever, and changed their mind. I think that's probably what happened. She met the family, and from what i understand, guys dont just take some sidepiece to the family all the time.
      My recent post Keep on using me until you use me up: Why women stay with jerks

  6. Honestly? I think for whatever reason he wasn't feeling you anymore and decided to try something else. The bad part on his end was that he wasn't a man about it and hid behind false pretenses (the baptist v catholic thing). The religion thing is a super cop-out because your child would still end up being Christian as your difference is in denomination not religion (a common misconception).

    Maybe the distance was easy for him to manage but when push came to shove he wasnt as into it as he thought. I think the only thing you couldve done differently was find someone else. he just took a place in your life and now you have lessons learned.

    Don't beat yourself up about this. Shit happens, unfortunately.

    Hope me and the readers can help!


    1. Co-sign. Sometimes people who initiate relationships aren't ready for them and don't KNOW that they aren't ready. Sucks, but it's in the game.

      1. Exactly. ..

        People on the rebound and fresh out of a relationship tend to do this, so maybe he was on the rebound (his exes lived in same state as well) and hadn't fully healed yet so at the time he thought this is what he wanted (needed) and he went through the necessary steps but in the end he realized he wasn't ready.

  7. The point is he threw in the bait and you took it. You can’t entirely blame him for the demise of your relationship, probably the signs were there but you just didn’t want to believe them because you wanted it so much. He is not interested anymore, grieve but accept it and move on. Some things just don’t make sense no matter how much you dissect them.

  8. He probably was sincere in what he was saying at the time he was saying it. Even after all that time, if he came back and said, "you know what ive come to the conclusion that you are not the woman i want to be with" and thats it, that would of been good enough. People change, feelings change, and sometimes just not in your favor. Dont make him out to be the enemy, and create false assumptions because of his decision to not be with you. Also, dont dont let this close your heart so that the next guy has to suffer because of him. Live, learn, and love again. Easier said than done tho i know.

  9. He definitely fell for someone else, or was keeping her as a distraction while deep in with someone else.
    He tried to put the blame on something trivial as religious denomination but in the end, the reasoning really doesn't matter. He wasn't down for this woman. Move forward. YOU BE AIIGHT.

  10. I'm kind of dissapointed in the amount of people saying it was her fault for being dilusional, she should have seen the signs, she was imagining stuff that wasn't there, he was just throwing her crumbs, etc. etc.
    Like..can EYE get some crumbs like that? Who does that? What universe does a guy fly out, buy gifts for, plans and pays for activities, gets familiar with family members, AND discusses marriage with a person he wasn't at least THINKING of being serious about? And can I move there? WTH?
    I'm with Streetz, at some point something/someone changed his mind and he took the coward's way out. It isn't much closure, but it is what it is. We all wish we didn't have a relationship or two where you see not one upside to the time you spent in it but try whatever you can to move on as quickly as possible and not give this guy one more SECOND of your time.
    My recent post Looks I’m Loving: The Jumpsuit!

      1. Right? All these people trying so hard to pat themselves on the back like "I wouldn't have EVER fallen for that, you gotta be smarter!" Lissen here I am telling you right now, YES. YES I'd have fallen for it. That is one he*l of an elaborate ruse and completely unnecessary as when we "want" a guy we would fall for much less. We're so concerned about getting played and looking like a fool we never go all in for anything. Who lost more, the girl who tried and "failed"? At least she knows she did what she could and can move on.
        My recent post Looks I’m Loving: The Jumpsuit!

        1. Amaris, the same people "saying" how could she have fell for that, have fell for way less.

          The things he did were "actions" that most of us deem as things a guy that "into" does. He said he wanted to marry her and went ring shopping… I mean come on people, maybe this guy is the issue. Maybe he rushed becaue of something he was lacking. The only thing we can do is tell her to "take her time" and don't get excited to fast.

          Women write this site all the time, women who have fallen for men who don't put in half the effort the man in this letter did. Heck I'm sure of the people leaving comments have fell for the okie doke for less.

        2. "We're so concerned about getting played and looking like a fool we never go all in for anything. Who lost more, the girl who tried and "failed"?"

          High Five!!!

    1. RIGHT!!!! I'm tired of people saying she played a part in the demise of the relationship. HOW? If what he was doing doesn't say I'm serious about YOU, I don't know what DOES!!

  11. I think it's totally possible that feelings change…for whatever reason or maybe for no reason at all. While it's easy to say get over it, love just isn't that simple. I don't know but based on some of the previous responses, I must have missed something. It seems pretty clear to me when he said "I want you to be my wife" he wanted a long term relationship so it seems redundant to have to ask "what are you looking for". Granted, there are probably some details that have been left out but to assume she paid for her own ticket or she wasn't introduced as his girlfriend is a bit presumptuous. Not only was he saying what she wanted to hear, his actions matched his words. These are my observations based solely on what is stated in the letter. What else should she have him do to prove his love? Long distance relationships are hard and if you're ok with pursuing that situation, you have to be willing to trust that the other person is doing what they are supposed to do if they aren't giving you any reason to believe otherwise.

    1. People like closure, so to be in a relationship that was going so well (from her perspective) to suddenly end can be a bit devastating. To minimize the whole situation and say he never loved her is a bit rash and judgmental, in my opinion. At this point, the relationship is over so there’s no choice but to move on. There are any reason to question yourself because it’s not going to do any good other than perpetuate heartache.

  12. I can see from reading comments the reason why only 42% of black women will ever get married.
    Some women do not want the truth. I'm out

  13. I'll have to side with Streetz and Tristan on this. Having done LDRs, a guy isn't gonna spend money on flights and activities for a seat filler relationship; savings or not. Dude genuinely liked her, likely saw a future with her in the beginning, and things changed. You can't try to rationalize or get closure on someone else's feelings, it'll drive you crazy. Keep it pushing

    The problem with LDRs is sometimes you have to decipher whether it's a really deep like-borderline lust or if it's love. The former is fleeting and subject to change at any moment. The latter takes continuous work and effort from both parties' at the same time. I mean, it might not be that he met someone else. LDRs are expensive. Maybe he figured he could be saving that money towards something else.
    My recent post NFL 2013 Midseason Report – What Happened To…?

  14. Men really are simple creature. He could have in fact just changed his mind. It doesn't necessarily mean there's another woman…it just means he changed his mind. Likely he started REALLY thinking about it and your moving to CALI with him and it got REAL. He wasn't ready. Its just that simple. It doesn't make it hurt any less on your end but it is what it is at this point.

    Like many others above have said be thankful it happened when it did and not once you moved your ENTIRE life to be with him and he just ended it a month into your stay. Blessing in disguise.

    Move on and next time try to move so fast. I know its hard when you think you have a "good one" but this sometimes clouds our judgement on decisions we make.

  15. Be mindful of your feelings, for they betray you! Let the force be your guide. Don't give in to fear. Fear leads to anger, anger lead to hate, hate leads to suffering. This is a path to the dark-side. I sense much fear in you!!! I'm so jokingly serious…lol.

  16. I'm military. Its hard on relationships. I got engaged just before deploying. One of many sad expereinces. Didn't work out. As for this story…..If there's blame to be had, then both should blame themselves for not placing more emphasis on communication. Planning is fun… execution takes communication.

    My dear lady friend… try using the "Feellings Wheel" with your next partnership. Its a way of identifying eachother's feelings, and then talk about them. Also… play a game called 21 questions. You can even make the latter game sexy by taking off clothes which each question. Hopefully its winter and yall are wearing alot of layers cuz that's alot of questions. These are tricks to get to know a person deeper.

    Lastly, don't shy away from serious questions. I knew to stay away from my ex when I asked her about me being a father to her current child. Being a single Mom for so long she was not happy with that idea but wanted to get married (?) I couldn't ignore that. Well, even that would've been workable but she refused to communicate… to talk about it and how not letting me be both a husband and father figure would make me feel.

    Communication is key. Its not about asking tough questions, but about learning who that person is. If you knew him well enough, you would know why he stopped communicating. And the same with him concerning you. But next time, you'll know what to do. @laurellbay
    My recent post Leadership… who the h**k cares?

  17. As hurtful as it sounds, I'm not sure if the reason matters. He changed his mind. Maybe it was because of a woman, or the distance, or a combo…but the fact is he changed his mind. And, unfortunately, he's allowed to…as are you at any point in a relationship. I don't think anyone's at fault…although I find his "reasons" questionable. He woulda got more respect from me by just saying, "I just don't want to do this anymore".

    I think its best to focus on the fact that you want someone who's sure about being with you. So, regardless of his reasoning, his departure frees you up to meet the person who will be sure about his relationship with you. Take a minute to hurt and regroup…then wait for the right relationship to enter your life. It'll happen…

  18. I appreciate most of the comments basically saying “girl, get over yourself”,

    Because you d@mn sure would not give the sympathy card 2 many men.

    I actually feel @Maris (elaborate ruse) & @PayneWell as far as closure.

    But chances are, once you get it, you wish you didn’t waste all that time on it.

  19. Yeah,dat’z just it. I dnt knw y rings freak us? I dnt really bliv in knowing his families wil makes him love me more. Reading this kind of articles makes me feel lyk takin a nap. Just Move on

  20. He definitely changed his mind. No man does all that for a woman without having some feelings for her. Im sorry that just doesn't happen and if it does than I really need to re-evaluate how I measure a man's affection. Now the why is the big question that you believe will bring you closure. Unfortunately, it won't. More than likely more pain but I can understand your need to understand. It truthfully sounds like to me that he met someone else. In an LDR its really hard to completely know the person 100% because you are missing those day to day moments that couples in the same city get everyday. He probably meet someone that he really liked and unfortunately she had the one up on you because she lived down the street. You just need to do your best to move on and whatever you do don't go back because this type of hurt is hard to shake and even harder the next time around.

  21. I agree with others that a change must have happened. I don't feel like you were duped. His actions matched his words. I personally feel like the whole relationship should have gone a bit slower. Talking marriage in the first year sounds to too soon for me. A guy that quick to choose is likely to be that quick to change. I say purge your feelings whatever they are, you are entitled to your feelings so be mad, be sad eventually be glad but don't turn this on yourself. You did nothing wrong and there was nothing you could do. And yeah I do feel that whole religion thing is a cop out, if it was that serious to him your relationship wouldn't have gotten as far as it did. He would have been upfront right away that he wants a good Baptist girl and you made no mention about how he had you in church every Sunday so….But when you're looking for a way out, any flaw will do. So ultimately feel whatever you feel and try to let go.


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