Time out usually means goodbye

Good day, dr. Neuman. I have been following your blog for a while now, I admire your work, it’s nice to finally write to you (I have been wanting to for a long time, but did not dare to). I finally did it, because I am in a long-term relationship, and my girlfriend has just asked me for time out. Our relationship had been cooling for a long time, we both got uninterested on each others business, we both wanted to be together, but at the same time wanted to party and meet new people and so on… I did it. I went out with a friend (a guy), and went to party and then realized that none of it had any positive effects on me, for the future, I mean. We had some fights with my girl, and I found out that I truly love her and that didn’t want to lose her.The problem is, things didn’t work the same for her, she went out with some guy and I think she likes him, I feel she’s hiding something from me. The guy likes her back, that’s a fact. Now, she’s all weird with me and she says she loves me, but that she feels weird, different. Now she’s asked me from some time out to “think and clarify her feelings”, but I need to forget her, it hurts too much. I love her, I’ve never loved somebody like this. Before she asked me for time out, I had been doing everything in my power to win her back, everything she always asked me to do, but I had ignored before.I think she misses me because of some things I’ve seen, but not sure if it’s because she’s feeling my absence and she’s not used to it yet or because she loves me.

When someone wants time out I would say that person is about 82% out of the relationship already. More or less. It is impossible to know what your girl will feel a few months down the road. (She doesn’t know either.) The longer a couple are apart, the more likely it is that they will stay apart; but there are exceptions. Sometimes they get together again a year later. It is possible that she will want to get together with you down the road at a time when you will no longer be interested. This happens all the time. The issue is not how either one of you will feel as time goes on. The issue for you is -what should you do now. What you should not do is easier to describe. Do not call her up every few days “just to see” how she is. It will come across as clinging. If you wish, you can contact here a month later, briefly. Try to present yourself as an independent–but as a caring person. Do not pretend to indifference; but you have to wait for her to make up her mind. How she will feel about her relationship with you may depend on what happens with her relationship to the man she is seeing currently. However, you should not wait around to find out. The right thing to do is go ahead with your life. Be busy. Start seeing other women. There is nothing more direct you can do to influence someone who is not with you.

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Fred Neuman, M.D. is the Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center. After serving as Associate Director for 21 years, Dr. Neuman assumed the directorship in 1994. Educated at Princeton University and the NYU College of Medicine, Dr. Neuman specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. He is the author of the following books: Caring: Home Treatment for the Emotionally Disturbed, Fighting Fear: An Eight Week Guide to Treating Your Own Phobias, Worried Sick?: The Exaggerated Fear of Physical Illness, and Worried Sick? The Workbook. Dr. Neuman is also the author of numerous magazine and newspaper articles on the efficacy of Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Dr. Neuman is a member of the American Psychiatric Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Science. Dr. Neuman is also the author of the following novels: "The Seclusion Room," Viking Press. "Maneuvers" Dial Press "Come One, Come All," "The Wicked Son," "Detroit Tom and His Gang" "Superpowers." All these books are available from Amazon.