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'My GF of 6 years quit her job to travel the world. Now, she's considering ending things.' UPDATED

'My GF of 6 years quit her job to travel the world. Now, she's considering ending things.' UPDATED


It's truly painful when your partner wants to call it quits and you don't.

"My [31M] girlfriend [26F] of 6 years recently quit her job to travel the world. After 2 months of travelling, she's considering ending things. I'm blindsided. what now?"

For reference I will call myself Michael and her Lisa.

But for more info, we have had a truly wonderful relationship. We met 2 years before dating, and at the time I was dating someone else. Lisa was one of my flatmates at uni (I'm in the UK) and we bonded very quickly.

So we were friends for a while. My gf at the time broke up with me and I had a brief fling with Lisa, no s-x, but kissing etc. - we were very close as friends and this felt very natural. However, I moved out a week after and moved to the other side of the country. At the time, I was in a very bad place for a variety of reasons, and we slowed down talking as much.

Then a year later, she randomly reached out again, and we started talking. And we just reconnected completely. I was just graduating uni and she was just about to enter her final year after taking a gap year for work experience. She came to visit me at uni, and at this time I fully expected it was just a friendly visit, but it quickly became more.

Soon after, she was back home and we were chatting every day for literally up to like 12 hours on Facetime. We did it so so often. I fell completely in love with her, and soon after, we became official. We've lived together for the last 4 years, having moved in together about 6 months before C-vid.

We had an amazing time. We adored lockdown - so much time to just develop our relationship and love each-other. We have had such a wonderful relationship, always able to communicate with each-other about our feelings, understand each-other, and always insistent on not allowing ourselves to become too codependent.

We lived our own separate lives and we liked that. When together, in our flat, we lived in our own wonderful bubble full of in-jokes and words we ascribed our own meanings to. We always likened the strength of our relationship to the fact we were friends first. No jealousy ever, rarely ever arguments, and when there were arguments, we always managed to handle it well.

We've talked extensively about our future, we've said we want to be married to each-other (I have jokingly proposed to her dozens of times, always mortifying her) and have even picked out names for our future kids. We're not ready for anty of that yet, as we are building our careers, but it always felt like this was it.

So she's had a job for the past 4 years that she ended up hating. She quit earlier this year and has been saving up to go travelling. She did the Philippines and is now in Australia. She's been there for two months now. When she first went, I told her that she needs to fully embrace it, and not to worry about me.

The arrangement was simple really: our tenancy in our flat ended at the same time she planned to travel, so I've moved in with my friend, and she's away for 3 months. Our goal which we discussed a lot was that when she returns, she'd find a new job, we'd find a new place, and resume building our life together.

Slowly, we started talking less and less, and whilst at first I was happy, there were little things that were ringing alarm bells. Such little things, but when you know someone so well, and when you know your relationship so well, these small things stand out. She'd not reply for days at a time, but still post on her IG story. She'd post things, like feeding a Wallaby, but not share that with me.

I love animals and she loves how childlike I get around them, and she always said she feels sad seeing animals without me because she can't see my reactions to them. But now she's not sharing them with me. I brought this up 1 month into her travelling, firstly framed in a "I miss you" kind of way, and it landed well, and she said she'd try to talk to me a bit more.

But she just withdrew even more. I brought it up again two weeks later, this time with a bit more of a "maybe can we try to talk abit more?" I also mentioned at this stage that I regret telling her before she traveled that I would be fine with not talking much, and that whilst I truly meant it at the time, in action, it was hurting me more than I expected.

She understood and promised we'd talk more. But we talked less. A few days ago I bring it up again, and this time, it was different. Each time, she's always insisted that she is in a "bubble" and that she needs to just focus 100% on the travelling.

I asked her if she could just give me 5 minutes every few days, just to say hello, but she said she wasn't sure she could even do that. Thsi really upset me, because we are 6 years in, and we have always had such a strong relationship, that I was surprised at how unwilling she was.

I said we needed to talk about this properly over the phone, and she suggested the folowing night. Her time in Oz would make it around 8-10am my time. I was ready at that time, but she postponed it an hour as she was going for a sunset walk and then going out for dinner with her travelling friends.

Then, it was postponed further, but I could no longer make the call as I had a client meeting. I told her how upset I was that she prioritised a sunset walk over our relationship, and that she had already had 2 months of them, and that I was only asking for one evening so we could talk about the future of our relationship.

She agreed we needed to talk about the future of our relationship but said she couldn't do that until she returned home in 5 weeks. I said I couldn't wait that long and quickly called her (my client was late, luckily). Essentially, she said she's so confused right now because she's in a bubble of travelling, but she's just not sure if this is what she wants anymore.

She floated the idea of wanting to move out to Australia. She clearly doesn't see me in her future anymore. I am just so blindsided, because we were so so close and strong and happy before, and now she's traveled it's just totally changed everything. I asked her if she still loves me, and she wasn't sure she could answer that.

She was very much "down the middle" about everything - clearly confused about the situation, but not wanting to cause too much of an interference to her bubble right now.

My impression was that she wanted to just ignore this was happening until she came back. So where do I go now? I am so lost, so confused, so hurt. :( I want to be with her, and spend my life with her, but she just might not want that now.

TL;DR: Girlfriend of six years is currently travelling, and has decided she's not sure she wants to stay together. This is very blindsided and I'm confused AF.

The comments kept coming in.

wotsname123 wrote:

I mean, you guys managed to put a wonderful gloss on how great extended solo travel was going to be for both of you, but that I’m afraid was never realistic.

If one person feels the need to disappear for a long period after 6 years then the relationship just wasn’t that strong in her mind. I couldn’t imagine leaving my so behind. That she could makes me think things weren’t as rosy in her mind as they were in yours.

High chance that she wanted some space from an intense relationship to think about if she was building the life she really wanted and it seems like her answer is edging towards no. Unfortunately it looks like heartbreak. Even if she comes back now, I am not sure that her behaviour is consistent with just getting back to normal.

OP responded:

This is certainly a possibility. She has always been passionate about travelling, and did so before we met too. She lost two close grandparents 2 years ago, and has been extraordinarily stressed about her shitty job she had. If things weren't as rosy, I trust she will tell me when she's home and out of her bubble.

I think that there's certainly credence to this for several reasons too - the life she was living with me may be marred by her job, by the general depressing dullness of England etc. - and living such a different life whilst travelling in beautiful places will only reinforce that, and make her associate it all with me.

unpopular_dave wrote:

It sucks for you man. It sounds like she’s getting a lot of life experience and growing as a person. And unfortunately when that happens, sometimes people make dramatic changes to their life. There’s nothing you can do. if you want to have a chance continuing relationship, you need to be 100% supportive and give her space.

MusicalMerlin1973 wrote:

Sorry, man. At this point it sounds like its done. We all have relationship lines we need to draw in the sand. For me it used to be at the beginning of dating if I made 3 calls that went to voicemail with no response it was pretty clear not interested and moved on. That was 25 years ago. Now... if I'm ever looking again I'd do one and call it a day.

This clearly sounds like she's done. If I were you I'd tell her: Please don't interrupt me. I loved you. I wish you the best. I'm clearly a hinderance to you. Continuing this farce is hurting me. Good luck, but I am done. Bye.

And then cut contact. Be single awhile, heal, move on. Yeah, the end of relationships hurt. Even when ending it is the right thing to do. When I broke up with my ex-fiancee, gosh, 26+ years ago, after struggling with trying to stay in the relationship after finding her cheating - it still HURT.

For months. I mourned the death of the relationship. I hurt because I had hurt her in ending the relationship (yeah, I know, she cheated, blah blah blah.). It gets better over time. But you have to end it, let yourself mourn it a bit and then move on.

aboogieee wrote:

She decided to go solo traveling the world.. The relationship was over when that happened.She should have broke up with you then and I'm sorry she didn't.

The best thing for you to do is let her go and if it were meant to be she will come back around. Anything more than that and you would be forcing it and that's not true love. It sucks, but your just gonna have to let her see this through. All the best.

Two weeks later, OP shared an update.

UPDATE: So, it was a gruelling 2 weeks, in which I took everyone's advice, as well as my own judgment, and didn't contact her at all. It was insanely difficult, because I didn't really know anything about her perspective at all. I felt like I was in limbo: I didn't know where I stood, and didn't know where she stood. Every day was "day 1" of grieving, and the longer time went, the more difficult it became.

She had acted so coldly with me with regards to talking to me about what was happening, and as I said in my original post, she had prioritised her travelling over my wellbeing and/or the wellbeing of the relationship. It was really hurting me, because she knows me well and I felt very confused and frankly traumatised that she was refusing to give me any answers.

It really was driving me insane. I wasn't eating or sleeping. I wasn't working (self-employed) and couldn't concentrate on anything. I cried a lot. After a certain point, I decided that I couldn't continue this any longer, and although I tried to respect her need for space, I needed to respect my own need for answers, so I reached out to her again.

Two days ago, we had a long, 2 hour video chat. She's currently in Vietnam. She sat in the hall of a hostel and we talked openly, warmly, honestly, and in-depth about both of our feelings. There were a lot of tears. It was a very emotionally draining conversation, but it gave me a lot of answers and resolved a lot of the turbulence that I had experienced.

I had written her a letter on the morning of the scheduled call, and I read it out to her. I explained how she had made me feel, and how unempathetic I felt she was. She took this on-board on a profound level, deeply apologised, and I could tell she was truly hurt with herself that she had behaved like that.

She acknowledged that she had buried her head in the sand from the feelings. It was truly powerful to hear her be so candid. This was the girl I had fallen in love with. She was usually so empathetic, smart, sensitive, so her behaviour in the past few weeks being so the opposite of that created such strange feelings in me.

I was glad that we were talking back on the level we were usually so good at. But long story short: it is over. You see, I am her first boyfriend. Sure, she has slept with her fair share of lads, but I'm her first relationship. We met when I was 22 and she was 18. I was really the only man in her life for a long time.

She's now travelling, and just feels a deep sense within herself that she needs to explore herself and her life without a partner. She needs to be alone to do this. I completely understand this. It's not what I wanted to hear, but it's something I obviously understand and won't at all stand in the way of. She's planning to move to Australia for a while and continue her soul search.

Right now, she just doesn't see a place for me in what she needs from her life. It's heartbreaking. I'm heartbroken. I love her deeply. She still loves me. But somtimes that just isn't enough, and that's all there really is to it. A lot of you suggested - sometimes with quite a cruel snarkiness - that she was cheating. She wasn't. I'm sure some of you will still believe that, but that's fine.

Maybe you just haven't been in a real, adult relationship where there is honesty and transparency. This is not about another man, this is just about her recalibrating what she wants from her future. Now I need to figure out how to recalibrate my future. We had talked extensively about marriage. I was ready to spend my life with her.

We had already named our future kids. Everything about the future that we had envisioned is now gone. It is really difficult right now to imagine being with anyon else, because the depth of our relationship was so strong. Every night, I am awoken by the isms of our relationship - the small quirks, the in-jokes, the made-up language we used, the tone of voice we would speak to each-other in.

The food we'd eat together, the things we'd do together, the songs we'd sing together, our touch, the warmth of her body against mine, the smell of her perfume, the way she'd say my name in a cute way when I'd done something many things that are littering my mind right now.

I'm struggling to see through it right now. I have no idea how I will make it through. If anyone can share any advice that can help me, please do. I know the obvious stuff: gym, focus on yourself, rebuild your life... but they are all intangible to me. How do I repair my soul? How do I move on from someone I am still actively in love with? She returns to the UK at the start of July and I will be spending a few days with her.

A goodbye, if you will. It will be hard, and every fibre of my being wants to beg her to find a way to include me in her future, or to finds ways to entertain the notion that, in the future, we will find our way back to each-other in some grandiose fatalistic stroke. I had truly defined her as my soulmate, and my best friend - and she had done the same for me.

Right now, whilst she's still travelling, she's not able to sit in any of these feelings, but I know they'll come for her too once she returns to her parents and lives there for 6 months as she saves for her future travelling. I don't know what the future looks like now. If anyone has any advice, please do let me know.

TL;DR - it's over, but in a somewhat beautiful and amicable way. I'm heartbroken and sad. How do I heal?

The comments quickly rushed in.

limbo_eyes wrote:

My ex of 6 years blindsided me and broke up with me, he said he needed time and that he needed to explore himself and get to know himself. I was completely destroyed at the time because we spent so much and so long together (we met at 15 ended things at 22).

TBH, that was the best gift in disguise for me. I truly didn’t know who I was anymore without him. the lines between me and him were completely blurred and him breaking up with me meant the beginning of me, or who I truly was, who I am and who I am yet to become.

It was hard, it took me months to get over it, especially cause I didn’t see it coming at all, I mean it, AT ALL. All I can say is focus on yourself, reconnect with your friends, go out, meet people, explore new hobbies, journal, meditate and really get to know yourself and who you truly are (without her).

These goals and future projects that you mentioned were shared with her but now you have a full blank canvas of potentials for YOU. What do you want? What do you wish for? And can you still do it without her? Only time will heal you but you have to be patient with yourself. My advice? be patient. Healing isn’t linear, so don’t be harsh on yourself and impatient like I was with myself at the time. Best of luck!

Milled_Oats wrote:

You poor bastard. I would be tempted to snot to see her in July. Just move on anyway you can positively. Hit the gym, catch up with old friends, go see some Live music or whatever tickles your fancy. Go live there best life you can and be the best man you can.

nobonesjones91 wrote:

I would honestly spend a good bit of time reflecting if it’s even a good idea to spend a few days with her at the start of July. It may be better to just make the clean cut and jump in to healing from the heartbreak. It’s a long and arduous process. It really is just a matter of time, and putting yourself back out there into the world. Not just romantically speaking, but to seek things that bring you joy.

Tasty_Doughnut_9226 wrote:

Do not spend time with her when she gets back, it will do you no good whatsoever. And sorry but she was most likely having sex with others, most definitely after you broke up. She didn't contact you when she was in Australia because she was with someone and she's thinking about moving there because she's got him lined up. Take your rose tinted glasses off.

smrdibuby wrote:

I cannot tell you what you should do, but I can tell you what I would do in your situation. Accept the situation as it is. You don't have to like it, but you need to accept it. All the plans, potentials, ideas, need to go away - because they were never bound to happen.

I usually projected my own desires on other people and when they did not act in the way I wanted I was broken. That is very unfair, isn't it? Desire is the root of all suffering and once you let go, the pain is gone.

Reconnect with myself. Who am I? What do I like? What do I dislike? What I want in life? What I do not want? What needs have been unmet and how can I give that to myself? It is easy to go down that rabbit hole where we get attached to other people and, sometimes unconciously, we use them to fullfill our unmet needs.

Reflect on the moments from the past that you miss and understand what those moments gave you emotionally. Find a way how you can give that to yourself. Reconnect with others. Friends! Make the existing bonds with people stronger. That helped me a lot with my self-everything.

Being surounded with people who love me and want me in their lives helped me heal in all ways, shapes and forms. Completely go NC. This is the most sane, mature and healthiest thing you can do. No good will come out of meeting with her. It will only prolong the suffering. Why would you do that to yourself?

Therapy - if needed. I did it. It was amazing for me. So many implanted beliefs, by others and by me, that contradicted who I am and how I wanted to live. I had a messy childhood and upbringing, but I was able to sort it out. Go through it - it is the only way out. Hermit, reflect, assess the situation and the reality of it and use the tools to help your present self.

Awesome book that I used for selfwork: 'The Presence Process', by Michael Brown. It is a process that lasts for 10 weeks. Very intense, but damn.. at the end I felt like I won a war. One day you will wake up happy that you have the rest of your life. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone and we only have one life. I wish you all the best on your journey, I promise that you will be good.

Sources: Reddit
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