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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Breaking Up and Motives

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.


Breaking Up and Motives

I met someone online (a random person on Facebook), we weren’t looking for a relationship or anything, just chatting occasionally. Well, the thing started to grow, occasionally became every day and chatting became skyping and text messaging. However, I could never see his whole Facebook-only profile pics and he created an email to talk to me…he´s German, 32 years old and works in banking and likes to go out and party.

After two months in this process, he offered to meet me up offline and fly to my country to meet me and spend the holiday with me. However, for work reasons (we both work in finance) I couldn´t meet him right away, and we decided to reschedule.

I fully explained my situation in a very detailed way, and he understood and no hurt feelings about it. We carried on talking normally and grew even closer. He became even more open and told me he loved me, and I was more and more involved in his life. One month afterwards, he was supposed to come here. However, it was his turn not to be able to. We were ok with that. I also offered to go, and to help in everything regarding the logistics and tried to send the message that I’m also a part of this thus I feel responsible too, and that I know that things are not so easy to us to meet.  He kept his position of coming here, instead of meeting me up somewhere or letting me go to his country. Ok.

We were closer and closer, and it started to bother me: why is he not able to make a plan and chose a date so we can meet? He was active at first, we were much closer than in the beginning, he said all the time he wanted to see me, that I’d be sad if we "break-up" without ever meeting and that I´m very special to him. He was still having problems with his work (trial period in his country is 6 months) and he couldn’t make a decision now.

So, I broke up with him by email and I said that I´m tired for the reasons above mentioned and that I like him and wanted to see him. I don´t understand how he wants to keep on talking to me everyday considering that he doesn´t want to see me (we never talked about sex though! I tried to test him once and he didn´t let the conversation go further) - so, I felt like he was using me for distraction whatever....then I said that I´d rather keep the memories and move on.

He replied:

Dear Camila,

Don’t know what to say... I am sorry you got this impression. I hope you at least know that I really, really like you and that I am very sad that things go this direction now...

I know I cannot request more patience from you anymore. You have been very understanding all the time given that you don’t know me so well. You’re an amazing person and I’m glad I met you. Despite the distance and circumstances, I felt very close to you all the time and you became very special to me. 

Unfortunately, timing was not on our side... My project is moving slowly and I can’t make any travelling plans at the moment. Unfortunately my job doesn’t give me a lot of flexibility sometimes. I’m sorry you got a wrong impression and I wasn’t able to prove you differently... The only way I could’ve done that, I guess, would’ve been to board a plane, but I just can’t do that right now.  

FYI ...Attached the news releases I promised you so that you know at least who I’m spending my weekends with at the moment.

p.s. (the news are really reliable and truth)

So, here are my doubts and questions:

  1. Is his email, really a goodbye?
  1. What do you think about this whole story and his probable reactions? Is he telling the truth or he never wants to see me?
  1. If he wants to see me, what´s holding him back? Work is not the main reason, do you agree? We can schedule when things are calmer.

  2. I didn´t reply and blocked him from all my contacts, but I miss him, and wanted to see him
  1. General comments and advice, please!

 Thanks for the therapy Dr Jim! Really! I feel relieved just to write to you now!


This is a very poignant situation, and it’s easy to ruminate on every little step, every word exchanged and every scenario about “what if…”   I, myself, struggled with how to respond. My dilemma is that I want to answer your questions but not in a way that encourages you to ruminate over the little details. I believe it’s more constructive in this instance to focus on the big picture of what happened. To assist with this, let me quickly answer the outstanding issues in your mind:

Is his email, really a goodbye? 
No, the email comes across to me as his way of saving face while leaving the ball in your court. He’s trying to convince you that he’s been truthful so that perhaps you’ll carry on the way the things have been between you two.

What do you think about this whole story and his probable reactions? Is he telling the truth or he never wants to see me? 
Work may have been a factor, but there seems to be something much more behind the scenes here. More below.

If he wants to see me, what´s holding him back? Work is not the main reason, do you agree? We can schedule when things are calmer.
I agree that his work is probably not the sole reason. But I doubt it’ll get calmer. I sense he has ties that prevent him from being a relationship with you. More below.

I didn´t reply and blocked him from all my contacts, but I miss him, and wanted to see him.
You did the right thing. Forget about him and move on to someone else who is physically and emotionally available to you. Resist any temptation to reconnect with him. More below.

General comments and advice, please!
Okay, let’s get into the nitty gritty, so you can find closure and move on to someone who can give you what you need and want. This guy can’t for whatever reason, and that’s all that matters. That’s the big picture conclusion.

That said, I know you need to hear more about why it didn’t work out. My general impression is that you’re right -- it’s not merely work that has prevented a meeting. If he couldn’t leave a work situation, it sounds as though you could’ve gone to him, however brief your first encounter may have had to be (as an aside, I don't think it would have been wise on your part). There’s very little that can keep two people falling in love apart from one another for long -- normally they find excuses to be together.

He could be in another predicament that is preventing him from seeing you -- one related to finances, personal insecurity, living situation or current relationship status. My sense is that he’s in another relationship of some kind, and was trying to “have his cake and eat it too.”  I’ve no direct evidence of this, but I find it incredibly suspicious that you could never see his full Facebook profile, even though he professed his love to you. It would have given her an idea of who his friends were, his family life if they were included there, and the obvious… if he was already involved. Even if he wasn’t in a serious relationship, his reluctance to allow someone to connect to his "real" life beyond the profile pictures is a clue that part of him was at least emotionally unavailable.

The fact that you wanted this relationship to move offline and into the "real world" tells me that you’ve grown to a place where a real companionship and connection are important. I would say it is a good sign you’re ready to share herself with someone who’s obtainable. But stay away from this guy now and in the future. He’s not obtainable by his own choice.


Dr. James Houran's "Office Hours with Dr. Jim" column is published every Monday.

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