I am a male 28yo, my SO is a girl 25yo. We've been together two years and a half.

We've each compenetrated the other's lives, we think similar about a lot of things and in some other things we have different postures wich makes our conversations pretty stimulating. We've also did a lot of things together through all this years that are totally remarkable and special for both of us. More than we did with previous couples, making this relationship pretty rewarding.

Last weekend suddenly she wanted to give ourselves a time, to see if she can deal with being alone. The reason was that she has this thought about travelling to Germany and spend a year living alone, or doing a EVS (European Volunteering Service), not for the sake of volunteering but to be alone in another country, I think it this way because she doesn't do any volunteering here to help poors or animal rights associations or even some volunteering in events teaching kids.

My point of view is that if she want to go live abroad we as a couple can manage to do it, she is going star a PhD program this september, and we don't have to be in the country. But she doesn't care, her point is that she want to be alone abroad.

I think it's kind of unfair because if you are with somebody you want to be with that person, even though you need your loneliness moments, which I need too. So this means that we can move abroad an she will have freedom to meet people and to do what she wants, and share that experience like every couple living together. However I love her, and I don't want her to be forced to abandon her dreams for me. So I told her her do what he wanted with our relationship.

Two hours after we both went home and me saying that she has to do what she feels she has to do, regarding leaving me or stay appart a time until she decides to leaving me, aka "giving us a time". After that decission, she called me and said she wanted to be with me and see me at that moment, that she loves me. We met, everything went great. We met two more days and it went ok but something was blocking her, therefore blocking us. So I asked her "you love me?" She answered "Yes", "Do you want to be with me?" she answered "Yes", "Are you allright with your decission?" then she answered "Ummmm.... well yes". This doubt is what is making me afraid.

I feel like she really loves me and thinks only great things about this relationship, but right now she is with me trying to reevaluate the relationship, maybe searching for things that can justify breaking up, while, conciously or not, taking decissions that she knows won't allow us to have much time to see us. It's just speculation, as it can be that she only feels bad for all of this and is still stressed about the situation, or worse, that she doesn't want to lose the money we spend on buying a trip to Sicily for this september. Where she confessed she wanted to give me a proposal ring, wich curiously was what I wanted to do too, I've already preordered it.

So my question is. What is the best course of action, to communicate her that she has to fully commit to my decission, whatever decission it is, but without stressing her out or forcing to decide out of pressure.

What I thought was not going out together this week and saying clearly that if she is going to go out with me and will be constantly reevaluating the relationship searching for a reason to break, I preffer to wait until she is totally decided. Doing this will probably stress her a lot more, and can be a reason to break since I can seem a bit unreasonable, and also we won't be doing anything about the trip probably losing all that money. The other thing is to keep meeting with her and being good and happy, the same guy as if nothing had happened. This brings me some issues, because in my last relationship my ex broke with me, then we continued being together and I chose this option, being the good boy as if nothing happened, and then she broke up with me just before going on a Erasmus. So this will mentally be hard for me, but maybe it's the best option.

Things to take into account:

  • We both like to travel, we even opened a travel blog.

  • Right now officially she decided to be with me, just after two hours of saying me that she wanted a break.

-The reasons that lead me to think about her reevaluating the relationship are a few comments that came out of nowhere in conversation. Like "You are really beautiful", "You are very good to me", "You always take me to gorgeours places".

  • Since we met we traveled (counting only 3 or more days stays) to two cities in the region, to one city in another region, to a camping in some coastal area, to London, and Milano. This year we wanted to go Sicily as I said before and maybe Scotland or Belgium.

  • She also traveled alone or with other people, to Liverpool where two sisters of her live, to South Spain since she did there a Masters degree (we are from the north of Spain, and Germany that was a present of her sisters for Christmas.

  • I work full time with lunch break, wich means working from 8:30 to 18:30, which means that most of the year except summer we mostly hang out together in weekends. Due to responsibilities it's hard to meet in the week regularly.

  • Since this year she works when they call her in a farm where schools organize excursions to learn about farm work. In may and june she works most of times five days a week 8 hours per day, plus 2 hours of commuting. Most of the year maybe it's one or two days of work by month in average, not pretty well paid, but she goes, because that way she is occupied and can earn some money for the weekends.

  • We were planning to go together abroad on a work grant next year.

  • She doesn't want to go living UK to search some better job and be near her sisters, because her mother will be alone in her house, and also has some debts to pay and a restaurant that isn't going too well.

  • She admitted that she loves me. That she thinks I'm beautiful and all of that. I believe her, since she repeated and showed affection in concordance. Even now she says that she loves me and that I'm the best person in her life. That she feels bad for putting me in this situation. Also recognized that she has too much pride against me for being a man and that he isn't too constant with what she starts.

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    Hi umbrium, and welcome to IPS. Unfortunaltely, you ask "What can I do, to not make her angry, and keep the relationship going on properly?", and it seems to be very broad and opinion based. Do you mind editing your OP to narrow down to a single goal? Thanks. – OldPadawan Aug 6 '18 at 8:13
  • Thank you OldPadawan! I have edited my question. Maybe this way it is clearier the objective of the question? – umbium Aug 6 '18 at 8:32
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    I'm not really sure what you mean when you say "compenetrate"? I looked up the definition but still not clear to me. – DaveG Aug 6 '18 at 11:41
  • @DaveG It essentially means that they shared their private thoughts and everything else in their lives with each other. They each "penetrated" all aspects of the other persons life. – Jesse Aug 7 '18 at 7:24
  • That said, it is a verb and wasn't used properly which may have caused the confusion. If I've changed what you meant please feel free to roll it back OP – Jesse Aug 7 '18 at 7:31

This is a situation a lot of couples find themselves in today. I feel that there is a "gap" between the youthful desire to express your individuality, experience freedom, go traveling etc - and the natural desire to "settle down", start a family etc. Most people want both - to enjoy their freedom while they are young and then find time to experience the joy of having a family etc later in life. Even though you have done some traveling together and it sounds like you could have a good life enjoying your shared interests together, most people do still see their life in two halves and find it hard to draw a line and decide when is the right time to cross from one to the other.

It sounds to me like your SO, who is a bit younger than you, is stuck in this "gap". She has spent two and a half years with you, so deep down she probably wants the stability comes with a relationship, but she also seems to want some more time doing something independently, to do some traveling on her own.

Don't assume that she is re-evaluating your relationship unless she has actually said that. What she has actually said is that she wants a specific time apart to see if she can "deal with being alone". It sounds more like she is re-evaluating herself.

Although it might hurt to be apart from her, you are going to have to accept it. If she has some doubts about being in the relationship then you wont help that by being controlling, or trying to talk her out of going traveling alone. Even if she were talked out of it, she'd probably regret it forever and that would put a strain on your relationship.

You are right - being in a relationship with someone should mean stability, that is being together, building a life together, enjoying life and experiences together. I'm not saying that this is normal, to suddenly leave your partner for a year with the possibility that they may never return. But you are both young, and if she's suddenly thought to herself "oh no - I'm 25 years old, I've never done this, or that, or the other, and my boyfriend is about to give me a proposal ring, I've wasted my youth" then you've got to let her work this out otherwise it will only come back again.

Your question:

"What is the best course of action, to communicate her that she has to fully commit to my decision, whatever decision it is, but without stressing her out or forcing to decide out of pressure?"

If you really love her and believe you have a future then your best chance of that happening is to show her that you are the best option, not not tell her.

Your best approach is to:

  1. Be supportive. Couples support each other in a relationship, so by being supportive in this you are showing a good quality that could win her back. Say you'll support her in her decision.
  2. Set reasonable limits. Without being paranoid or clingy, you need to state your expectations. You don't want to be left for a year wondering if you are still together, or if you are free to see other people. She says she is going off to be alone, but you should show her that you will not wait around forever by setting a limit, not for her to come back, but to make a decision on your relationship.
  3. Don't try any emotional tactics. Your natural inclination might be to say you support her but perhaps still play the "wounded" card in the hope she'll change her mind. Don't. It isn't an attractive quality and it wont win her back. If anything, emotionally charging the situation will only force her to make a decision on your relationship that you might not like.

You could try this approach, or similar:

Okay, if you really want to go to Europe for a year, I'll support you doing that. Make your arrangements. All I ask is that you tell me straight if we are breaking up, or just having time apart. I love you, and I'm prepared to wait for you, but not forever.

If she says it is over, be strong, but continue to be supportive. Remember, she seems to be torn. When she realises that she can't keep you hanging she may re-think, although don't count on that.

If she says you are just on a break, then just make your expectations clear. You decide what is acceptable or not, but I would say:

Okay. I will wait for you. For me that means being loyal, too. I couldn't get back to how we are now if you'd been with anybody else. If that changes, you need to tell me immediately so I can move on with my life.

If you think a year is too long to waste without knowing, you could perhaps say:

I know you'll be away for a year, but after [6 months] I'd like us to talk and decide on the state of our relationship.

It may be that after only a few months in Europe she could "re-evaluate" and realise she misses you. In which case you could maybe go visit her, get things back on track, and break up the year wait?

There are lots of possibilities that could come from this. Don't try to control or change what she wants - just be clear about what you want, and be the good guy. I hope things work out for the best.

  • Thank you for your response Astralbee!! Probably you are right recommending to be suportive to her. But I will say some things that maybe didn't write them clearly in my question: She didn't wanted a time to be with other guys I think, seemed more that she just wanted to be alone. Also we can see that she rethough already the moment after when we talked about this. Just that I don't want to think that she is with me not because she really wants. But still I will wait for some answers and until closing the question. Thanks for your time! – umbium Aug 6 '18 at 11:48
  • @umbium No problem, sorry your question got put on hold, I thought it was a valid question really - you had your feelings sorted out, you just wanted to know how to put that across. Good news that she isn't wanting to be with anyone else! But a year is a long time, and I included that because if you are going to be apart you need to be really, really clear with her about what you expect, and what conditions you are prepared to wait under. – Astralbee Aug 6 '18 at 15:01

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