Breakups and Recovery

What To Do When Your Relationship Boat Capsizes

Have you ever felt like your relationship was rushing madly toward some important turning point or obstacle, and you screwed up your approach and wrecked the entire thing without meaning to?

Ugh. Yeah.

I used to canoe a fair amount, and even when you could see, hear, and feel the rapids coming, that didn’t always mean your plans to navigate them safely were solid. I’ve dumped over MANY a time and been forced to drag myself dripping and gasping from the river…

Every relationship is going to hit those rapids at some point. And maybe YOU are creating the turbulence yourself… What do you do then? Is it too late for recovery?

Hang in there, this may be a wild ride…

“Hello Claire – I have been dating a man for about 5 months. He was preparing to go on an overseas vacation so a week before he was to leave we spoke on the phone, and at the end, he said, “Good night sweetheart, I love you” Then there was silence from both of us. I could hear the shaking in his breathing. I said his name twice, no response. Then I asked if he was ok..

He then began to tell me that he does not use those words, he had not used those words in years and promised himself he would never use those words. I told him it was ok. He said he needed to go. I understand he was emotionally overwhelmed – I asked him only to please communicate with me the next day and to not shut me out. He promised he would.

The next day I received a text message that said: “I am totally blown away by my actions. I know you understand what I’m feeling. My concern is for you and your feelings. I have no resolutions to my actions. Please be patient as we both work through what has happened!” I did respond back telling him I understood.

Before he was scheduled to leave I sent him a text asking him to please respect me enough to let me know if this was goodbye because I just do not want to leave things hanging. No response.

I didn’t sleep a wink. With him leaving early Saturday morning, I sent him a brief text: I just want to wish you a safe trip. I assure you will not hear from me again. I truly hope your dad enjoys the fulfillment of teaching again. l wish you great fishing and a fantastic time. It will be good for you. Just know that this was real for me, and I truly care for you. I thank you for all that you have brought forth in me. I still believe you are an incredible man. I am sorry you are afraid to let someone love you and allow yourself to as well. The heart knows things that the mind does not. Goodbye….my love to you….

I still have heard nothing from him. How could he cut off all contact like that? I miss him terribly. I miss his laughter. Please help me make sense of this Claire.” – Marianne

Hi, Marianne. I know this is tough for you, but I also think it’s 98% about him, not you. He slipped and passed some mysterious marker in his own head and heart by saying he loved you, and while I agree those are powerful words, they’re also… Just words.

They have no real power until you make someone believe them.

And that takes months, years.


He’s got issues, and he told you he was going to work on them. Good for him.

Here’s where YOU could have handled this better

This is your 2%. You ready to hear it? I’ll totally understand if you flare off on me, but I promised I’d tell you the Gospel Girlfriend Truth, and I will.

He said he needed some time to figure this out. Why did you then press the issue – and even prophesy a negative future – by asking him (essentially) “Is this goodbye? Tell me if this is goodbye.”

I know those are my words, not yours exactly, but I guarantee you that’s what he heard.

you can figure it outHe asked for time, you didn’t let him have any. Instead, you essentially pressed him to name the end of your relationship. Immediately.

And then you kinda made it worse, with your long goodbye letter. It was as if you thought, Well, if HE won’t say “goodbye” then I will.

I know you were desperate to know the answers (which is never a good place to be), but here’s the truth of what that amounts to: drama. What were you thinking, girlfriend??

Here’s the hope I see in this…and here’s what you should do

1. He doesn’t know what he wants yet

Here’s the BIGGEST good thing. He didn’t reply to your first “Is this goodbye?!” text, so I think that means he really, really didn’t want to call it “goodbye” – he just doesn’t know WHAT to call it. That will work in your favor.

2. Give him 2 weeks

He asked you for time. He can still have that, obviously. So your job now is to allow that. And I don’t mean for a day or so, I mean for a couple of weeks. If HE contacts you, answer simply. No lengthy monologues. No desperate pledges. No demands for commitments of any kind. Simple, warm, affectionate. If you have the opportunity, before the 2 weeks is up, do #3 below.

3. Initiate a gentle recovery

The two of you seemed to have something good going. After he has some time to think, he may want to taste that again and see if it was really just that awesome. 🙂 So YOUR job is to give him that opportunity.

After two weeks, text him back. Let him know you over-reacted earlier, and you’re sorry about that. Keep that simple. Don’t over-apologize. And invite him to join you in something really easy and low-profile. Coffee. Or a group outing of some kind.

The BEST possible resource for you now

text him backMichael Fiore’s Text Your Ex Back practically works miracles in this area, so if you’re really serious and want to get this RIGHT, check out his program. You can get all you need out of it before it’s too late.

–> Get him back with text messages

If you think you have a sense of the right direction already, go for it. All is not lost! He’s interested, you’re interested, and believe me, relationships GOTTA figure out how to get through major bumps like this if they’re going to survive for the long term.

Get back in the water, girlfriend!

Relationship RAPIDS come and go. But a good RELATIONSHIP goes the distance. Maybe your canoe gets a bit battered and you get dunked a time or two or ten. 

But I hope you’ll get back in and keep working on this particular relationship. Don’t spend all your time looking back. Keep riding the river.

Keep learning, with each turbulent passage, how to do it better next time. Because there WILL be a next time. It’s the nature of the river! Maybe it won’t be with this particular guy (although don’t rule that out at all yet), but it will be with someone wonderful.

Someone worth getting dunked for over and over again. Someone to ride the rapids with. 🙂

xoxo Claire

6 comments on “What To Do When Your Relationship Boat Capsizes

  1. Marianne


    Thank you for your insight. It is so difficult when your emotions take control and over ride your senses. I know I made an error in contacting him just as you’ve said. But sadly once that SEND is pushed there is no retrieve.

    I appreciate your candor and honesty. And I am so hopeful that this can be salvaged. He truly is just an amazing person that I am so thankful to have or have had him in my life – whichever comes to pass.

    I have my patient cap on, and am using your recommendations and insight. I know that you are right. Waiting and hoping he contacts me, or I will make an attempt in a few weeks. I will keep you up to date. I have also purchased Michaels program….such insight. I have started his worksheet in preparation so I can tweak it as my emotions continue to settle.

    My highest regards and thank you again. I am so greatful to you for this. I hope this helps other woman that dump their canoes as well. Lessons learned. Blessings to you.

    Best regards,

    • Claire Casey

      With a heart as open and willing as yours I just don’t see how you *wouldn’t* manage to turn this around, Marianne. You loved hard, wrecked hard, asked for help, took in some painful words, and still remain gracious and ready to tackle it again. You amaze me. No wonder this guy said he loved you. I know he has some issues of his own, but I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t want to try again with you… Much love, and thank you for the kind words (I really, really appreciate them). xoxo

  2. Hey Claire , wow you go girl. Unfortunately I’ve been a snoopy troll ,but was trying to find out what goes on in a woman’s mind? I’m a true gentlemen and screwed shit up good and made my girl loose respect , but I don’t care what anyone thinks but her she is that one …Amazing , not talking sexual ,but she is that to in my eyes.where is the men’s section.

    • Claire Casey

      Thanks for the cheer, shocked. (And you’re allowed to “snoop” as much as you like.)

      Sorry to hear you wrecked it with your woman… Hope you are working your way back into a good place with her.

      And you’re right! I need a Men’s section, huh? So tell me, what kinda stuff do guys wanna know from us ladies? Maybe you’ll give me something to write a post about… 🙂

      • Do you have any advice I can use to attempt to salvage my relationship? I’m tough and may not like it but I’ll listen! Do relationships ever turn around? Why won’t she even try,? My friends say she wants me to go find her and fight for our love? Seems like doing that I would be forcing her to love me. I think God controls a lot of stuff ,just not our free will. I love her so mucb

      • Hey Claire wanted to give you an update. Up until yesterday it was two weeks sense she invited me to come hang out and spend the night. She looks amazing as ever and of course after the 45 min drive to her house she wasn’t there and made me wait, plus she was dressed to kill. Everything new. If there is one valuable lesson I learned through our last time being together is my insecurities wrecked our relationship. So I kept everything in the present. I hurried to her car opened her door and gave her a nice kiss which she enjoyed. I have one regretthat, as we were laying there watching a movie I was rubbing her back ,kissing her kneck, just letting her relax and feel special .(because I told you she is.) And the next thing I new she was suggesting a shower. And you can use your imagination from tbere . for the next few hours we were lost in the moment. At one point though during a break ,I caught this blank stare at nothing and I imeadetly started trying yo read her mind, (he just came here for sex) but even though figured that was a possibility I would of been fine if she would of said ,let’s just finish the movie and go to sleep. I should of been the one to shut it Down I’m thinking because I had already planned if things heated up I would find something to do instead. I ask her if that’s what she was thinking and she just nodded yes. My flesh is weak when I am with her. She called once she got off work and told me she started and my second mistake ( acting like immature kids, thinking I was being funny) was to say well call me she your cycle is finished… But then explained I did not go for that and explained I went because of her beauty, her smile, that feeling I get when we laugh together , just to be close and bond. I am trying to not be so neurotic , and text several times in a row like I usually do, but I get board and will send several text with no response? Anyway after we had our moment making love, we enjoyed the next hour talking and she said she has never been this independent ? (Red flag maybe ?) And I told her I was very independent myself. Can you tell me if I’m correct. If you have two independent people that it can turn into interdependent and be amazing? She wants a good life she said and she even said she loves me, but independent thing scares me. I suppose because a man wants to feel needed.hope she sees my motive is to enjoy and love ,not control anything.Is it weird that after all this time together 4 years then separate a year , that she still don’t wanna introduce me to her friends? (Red flag)

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