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You Asked: He Broke Up With Me Out of the Blue

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend's mother died two weeks ago, and almost immediately thereafter he broke up with me. He had been taking care of her for the past six months and I know this whole ordeal has been really hard on him. He is the most loving, affectionate, and kind boyfriend I have ever had, and this has been really difficult for me to cope with. We were a very happy couple, and extremely close even while he was caring for his mom. I am just so confused about what happened to cause this break up. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

— Shocked and Sad Serena

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Shocked and Sad Serena,

While I can't speak to your boyfriend's thought process, I'm sure he's just struggling to cope right now. The best, though not easiest thing to do is give him space. Let all of your very valid questions stay unanswered — for now. It's very possible that he just needs time to work out his own personal issues before committing to your relationship, or it might be that this painful experience has caused him to reevaluate his life.

Whatever the reason, it's best to give him time to figure it out for himself. Once you feel less emotionally invested (this could take months by the way), give him a phone call to check up on how he's doing. From there, let the conversation steer naturally to your time together, and calmly inquire as to what changed. If nothing else it might be nice just to get some real closure. Good luck.

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jill37 jill37 8 years
As painful as this is for you right now, remember that he's probably too consumed with grief to invest the same amount of emotion in the breakup. Be careful not to press him into talking about your breakup because he may just not have the emotional resources to worry about your feelings. I know that's harsh, and it probably doesn't feel fair, but when my ex-boyfriend wanted to talk about our relationship when I was going through a serious loss, I felt really angry at him. I even felt like he was using my tragedy by showing concern and then turning the conversation back to "us" when I was most vulnerable. Looking back, I think he was probably being very caring, but grief doesn't always make us rational. Maybe you should let him know you're there for him and then stay far away until he initiates more contact. If you try too hard to support him, you may be misinterpreted as having an ulterior motive, even if you don't. If he does turn to you for support, just be there as a friend until he specifically tells you he wants more again.
jill37 jill37 8 years
As painful as this is for you right now, remember that he's probably too consumed with grief to invest the same amount of emotion in the breakup. Be careful not to press him into talking about your breakup because he may just not have the emotional resources to worry about your feelings. I know that's harsh, and it probably doesn't feel fair, but when my ex-boyfriend wanted to talk about our relationship when I was going through a serious loss, I felt really angry at him. I even felt like he was using my tragedy by showing concern and then turning the conversation back to "us" when I was most vulnerable. Looking back, I think he was probably being very caring, but grief doesn't always make us rational.Maybe you should let him know you're there for him and then stay far away until he initiates more contact. If you try too hard to support him, you may be misinterpreted as having an ulterior motive, even if you don't. If he does turn to you for support, just be there as a friend until he specifically tells you he wants more again.
Marci Marci 8 years
I agree with Glowing Moon.
Marci Marci 8 years
I agree with Glowing Moon.
plasticapple plasticapple 8 years
Men have strange ways of dealing with intense emotions I've come to find out. Don't completely lose touch with him. There might be a chance to try again down the road.
plasticapple plasticapple 8 years
Men have strange ways of dealing with intense emotions I've come to find out. Don't completely lose touch with him. There might be a chance to try again down the road.
Lovaajn Lovaajn 8 years
After I lost my mom, I didn't want to be around anyone. Not my friends, not my family, and especially not my boyfriend. What he is going through is one of the most horrible things someone can go through. Let him grieve, let him be alone, let him surround himself with whatever comforts him right now. Send him a text message, leave him a voicemail, or whatever - and just tell him, simply, and with love, "I know it's hard. I'm so sorry you have to experience this. I am here for you when you're ready." Just let him grieve.
Lovaajn Lovaajn 8 years
After I lost my mom, I didn't want to be around anyone. Not my friends, not my family, and especially not my boyfriend. What he is going through is one of the most horrible things someone can go through. Let him grieve, let him be alone, let him surround himself with whatever comforts him right now. Send him a text message, leave him a voicemail, or whatever - and just tell him, simply, and with love, "I know it's hard. I'm so sorry you have to experience this. I am here for you when you're ready."Just let him grieve.
ccsugar ccsugar 8 years
He sounds very upset and confused, I would be too. Take Dear's advice and just give him some space/time.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I say move on and close the door on that chapter. Nothing more to do.
mlen mlen 8 years
this is his mother- of course its going to be a struggle for him. i'd let him grieve and i'd let him know you are there for him as a friend. he probably needs that. i was starting to date one of my exes when his step-dad died and i know what it was like, and he never truely got over it. your bf needs time to grieve and he needs friends and support. put aside your relationship and be there for him, if you love him. you can't worry about the status of your relationship in the future. just try to put youself in his shoes and do what you think is best for him.
kaenai kaenai 8 years
Be supportive, but you have to respect his decision, whatever the reasoning is behind it. Be there if he needs you, as friends do, but I wouldn't wait around.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
A lot of you are a lot more compassionate than I would be. I would just respect his wish to break-up, and leave him alone. Yes, there are unaswered questions, but sadly, that's how some relationships (and some friendships) end sometimes. Besides, I learned that you don't need another person's explanation. Just pay attention to THEIR ACTIONS. Their actions reveal how they truly feel about you. Sadly, right now, your ex-boyfriend does not want you in his life. As painful as this may be for you, accept it, and disconnect yourself emotionally from him. This may sound harsh of me, but if I were you, I wouldn't contact him anymore either. You gave him your heart, and he broke it. It's time to put some boundaries between you and him. (Yes, yes, I know he was going through a hard time, but that is NOT a license to hurt you. JMHO).
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
A lot of you are a lot more compassionate than I would be.I would just respect his wish to break-up, and leave him alone. Yes, there are unaswered questions, but sadly, that's how some relationships (and some friendships) end sometimes. Besides, I learned that you don't need another person's explanation. Just pay attention to THEIR ACTIONS. Their actions reveal how they truly feel about you. Sadly, right now, your ex-boyfriend does not want you in his life. As painful as this may be for you, accept it, and disconnect yourself emotionally from him. This may sound harsh of me, but if I were you, I wouldn't contact him anymore either. You gave him your heart, and he broke it. It's time to put some boundaries between you and him. (Yes, yes, I know he was going through a hard time, but that is NOT a license to hurt you. JMHO).
Asia84 Asia84 8 years
hmmm . . . i see what everyone's point is . . .but it makes you wonder. THIS is how he deals with life's troubles. when someone else close dies, he's gonna dump you again???ok, give him space. let him grieve, blah blah blah. but are you just there whenever he CAN deal, and not there when he's going through it??this is his mother, so he's gonna be screwed up about this for a long while.in the meantime, are you suppose to sit hoping he'll need your love and support???i would give him a call, and show love, but i wouldn't wait around too long for him.
Asia84 Asia84 8 years
hmmm . . . i see what everyone's point is . . .but it makes you wonder. THIS is how he deals with life's troubles. when someone else close dies, he's gonna dump you again??? ok, give him space. let him grieve, blah blah blah. but are you just there whenever he CAN deal, and not there when he's going through it?? this is his mother, so he's gonna be screwed up about this for a long while. in the meantime, are you suppose to sit hoping he'll need your love and support??? i would give him a call, and show love, but i wouldn't wait around too long for him.
JessNess JessNess 8 years
I agree. Give him his space and let him grieve. If it is meant to be he will realize what he did and come back
girlfriday girlfriday 8 years
I concur with the above - he might be feeling guilty to be happy with you - and so he's punishing himself because he somehow feels responsible for her death. Or maybe he doesn't want to love you and then be left (in a way, like his mother did). There are a lot of possibilities here - greiving is a very strange process. I would also give him space and time. I know this is really tough on you, but look to your other support systems during this time. You can let him know you're there if he needs you, but don't push him to share anything or quiz him about your relationship.
girlfriday girlfriday 8 years
I concur with the above - he might be feeling guilty to be happy with you - and so he's punishing himself because he somehow feels responsible for her death. Or maybe he doesn't want to love you and then be left (in a way, like his mother did). There are a lot of possibilities here - greiving is a very strange process. I would also give him space and time. I know this is really tough on you, but look to your other support systems during this time. You can let him know you're there if he needs you, but don't push him to share anything or quiz him about your relationship.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
he'll be back. he's focusing his emotion on his mom right now but grief is something he'll work through eventually. leave things as they are and try to focus on yourself and doing things that bring you joy. this is out of your control but i doubt it's over. after you have time to reflect on the relationship you might have a change of heart. i'm sure the past 6 months have been draining for you too. some "you" time might be just what you need after all the drama :)
caryatid caryatid 8 years
Yeah, it's hard to say this is 'out of the blue'. I agree with Dear, give him some space and let him know you're there for him. It seems like it might just take him a little bit to cover from his mom's gradual death. Seems like since he must be hurting a lot he may feel guilty about feeling happy with you, or something like that. =(
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