We never communicate

Dear Edahn,

I am 21 years old and recently ended a 5 year relationship. We were engaged for about a year. Long story short: I lost passion for him. We rarely had conversations. We spend most of our time watching TV or something else keeping us busy. I always talked about work or what I did recently, but he said he didn't want to hear about my problems anymore. I mean, I respected that, I was really negative all the time. But all that was left in the conversation was nothing. Life became routine.

I decided to tell him about the problem one month before the relationship ended. He didn't really take it seriously and kept pushing the problem aside. Saying that it would resolve later. I also tried hard not to make it so obvious that I was unhappy since he was having problems with work, I didn't want to burden him. After a while I brought it up with him seriously and then next thing you know, we were broken up two days later! How did it go from 10 to 0? (10 being madly, passionately in love to 0 being incredibly dull.) Am I making a mistake? 

I should have tried harder, but I don't miss him. The right decisions seems like I should have put more effort, but I don't feel like I want to give that effort. I felt so anxious, like I was a sitting duck and nothing was going on in the relationship. Its difficult to gather up my emotions in words but it didn't feel genuine, it felt unnatural, it felt like something was missing. I didn't feel complete with him, like I was still searching for something to tame my soul. My mind was floating away and I needed to find something that directed my focus. I mean, we went on a 8 hour road trip and it was dead silent! I don't know exactly what I'm searching for, but I know that what I had was not right. Or do I really know?

Most relationships start with passion but need intimacy to stabilize. Your relationship is/was missing intimacy. While you may have been comfortable on the outside, you weren't really comfortable on the inside. Neither of you felt like it was safe to be yourselves and you probably both assumed certain relationship roles, like actors would. Maybe you took on the role of the negative person who complains about her work but eventually realized how unfulfilling and unnatural it was. Who knows what role he played. Maybe the role of a mime. :)

Intimacy, humor, creativity, spontaneity -- all the good stuff -- is built on trust. You know that it's okay to be yourself, as lame, boring, weird, or confused as you currently are. That trust, in my unprofessional opinion, has a lot to do with speech. On one level, the words you both use (semantics) evoke certain images and feelings that you find agreeable or not, comforting or distressing. Someone who keeps talking about "nucular bombs" will probably not get along well with a hippie who uses scarves as a substitute for real clothing. (You've seen these people, right? WTF?)

While semantics form the surface level of compatibility, deeper compatibility is built upon prosodics: the volume, intensity, tempo, and tone of speech. Some people talk fast and intensely, some people talk quietly and calmly, others are relaxed and flowing in their delivery. Whatever your style is, you broadcast a certain feeling and mood that either resonates with others or doesn't. My guess is that you both need someone who dances to a slightly different, complimentary rhythm. No one's fault, just not a good match. For instance, right now I'm sitting at Starbucks and I can hear this lady complaining about her son's little league drama. I can hear each word even though there's music playing in the background, other people are chatting, the Frappaccino maker is hard at work, and I'm partly deaf in my right ear. I wouldn't last 2 minutes with her, and for once I'm not talking about intercourse.

I know you want to be friends to help him through this and make sure he "lands" safely. He will. If you know that this is not for you and really want to move on, for your sake and for his, then you can't be friend yet. I'd prescribe 7 months of no communication. It might seem like a long time, but you both need time to get closure and move on before you can think about starting a healthy relationship free of codependency and unconscious resentment. You made a tough decision and you should be proud of yourself for being honest and having guts. Now don't go fucking it up by questioning yourself to death and caving in. Stick with what you know is true and make yourself available for new, more fulfilling relationships.