My childhood sweetheart and I rekindled after 33 years apart, but now he has left me again – how do I live without him?

I’m a 52 year old single mom of 4 kids with 2 granddaughters.

I’m still in love with my ex. We were a great couple, we never argued, and I think he is my soul mate. But he broke up with me after 5 years together because of commitment issues. He’s 53 and was a bachelor until he found me again after 33 years apart. We were childhood friends.
I’d like to know what the chances of us getting back together in the future. We’ve stayed good friends since our breakup.

Thank you for sending this in.

I can only imagine the mix of emotions you’re going through right now. Five years with your soulmate, after a lifetime of knowing each other – that’s a bond most people only dream of and the sort of tale that romcoms gush over.
However, it does sound like his commitment issues are weighing heavily on the relationship. His decision to take a step back must be incredibly difficult for you to navigate after such a long-awaited reunion.

While it’s understandable that you wish to hold on to the hope of a shared future, I want to gently urge you to reflect on the bigger picture for a moment. It sounds like he has been honest with you about his commitment struggles, and respecting that honesty is important. Sometimes, pushing for something that isn’t fully there (or pushing someone to commit when their heart isn’t fully in it) can cause far more pain in the long run.

Right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on you.

You’ve built an incredible life, with children and grandkids who no doubt love you dearly. Now’s the time to really pour into those relationships and rediscover the things that light you up beyond romance.

You deserve all that joy, but by focusing your attention on the wrong recipient, you might be losing sight of the relationships you already have, who love you dearly.
I know it might sound strange, but maintaining the good friendship you’ve mentioned with your ex could actually be a positive sign.

That being said, try to avoid clinging to the friendship with the secret hope that someday he’ll change his mind. One-sided friendships after romantic relationships can often prevent the person (or people) who still have romantic feelings from truly moving on and finding a reciprocated and secure love.

As for your question, will you two get back together in the future?

Honestly, it’s impossible to say. People do change, and maybe down the road, he’ll work through his fears and be ready for commitment. If that happens, and if that spark between you is still there, well… maybe then there’s a chance.

But don’t put your own life on pause waiting for that “maybe.” If he hasn’t worked through his commitment issues in the 33 years you two were apart, it’s unlikely that he will suddenly discover his ability to commit to a stable, long-term relationship anytime soon, unless he chooses to put in the effort and action needed to implement that change.

Unfortunately, we cannot force people to change, but can only accept them as they are.

So live fully, be open to whatever life throws your way, and know that you deserve a love that meets you with the same commitment and joy you’re ready to give.

Sending you strength and a whole lot of warmth.

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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