Why did she break up with me?

Dear Alice,

I don't know what I did wrong. My girlfriend of one and a half years broke up with me out of the blue. We never fought or argued. I asked her why, she said "I don't know." I asked her what did I do wrong and she said "nothing." She was my first ever girlfriend and I was planning to ask her to marry me. I don't understand what I did wrong. There has to be a reason. Why won't she tell me?

Dear Reader,

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you’re the one left wondering what went wrong. Going through this split can be tough, particularly as you were hoping to make a serious long-term commitment. It may seem daunting to start over when you thought you had your life all squared away, but this may be an opportunity for a new beginning. With time, the pain and heartache you’re feeling will make way for a renewed sense of confidence and perhaps a new fulfilling relationship in the future.

Relationships are often complicated. Not only are you learning how to balance each other’s needs and wants, but you’re also trying to figure all of that out as you’re both growing and evolving. Breakups don't necessarily happen because there's a glaring problem with the relationship, it could just be that you've grown apart. All this to say, Reader, if you’ve already asked your ex if you had anything to do with the breakup, and she said no, it’s likely you couldn’t have prevented it. However, it may help to have some closure about why it did end. Even if it has nothing to do with you, it may clear up any doubts you have about the relationship and yourself.

Do you feel comfortable letting your ex-girlfriend know that an explanation, or reason, for breaking up will help give you some closure? Perhaps she needs some space and time to reflect on her needs and desires. While it can be unpleasant to think about, it’s good to have a back-up plan in case she still doesn’t have an answer or doesn't wish to talk about it further. How about seeking support from your family or friends? Maybe they’ll be able to lift your spirits and help you to reaffirm your self-confidence and start to move beyond this tough time. For many, knowing that people in your life love, support, and care about you can be comforting.

It’s critical that you take the time you need to grieve for this loss, but be mindful of how it may be impacting the rest of your life. Consider participating in activities that you enjoy or try new hobbies you've always thought about. Take a friend up on an offer to hang out. Catch up with a family member you’ve not contacted in a while. Not only will these keep your mind off of your lost love, but they may also prevent the grief from consuming you. Who knows, you might even meet some new and exciting people!

Though it may seem easier said than done, you’ll find a way to be okay on your own in time, and likely sometime in the future, you’ll meet that special someone who will feel the same way as you do about sharing your lives together.

Last updated May 12, 2017
Originally published Feb 14, 1997