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I just broke up with my boyfriend and I don’t know if I did the right thing

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice I just broke up with my boyfriend and I don’t know if I did the right thing

This topic contains 19 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by avatar peggy 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #693193 Reply
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    S

    We’ve been together for a year and 4 months. I’m over 30 and he’s almost 40. I met him initially 3 years ago, but at that time I was way too messed up to be in a relationship (mental and physical problems and a very hard break-up from a very dysfunctional relationship) and told him so. He dated other people and I dealt with my problems, 2 years passed and then we started dating.

    It was amazing for the first 9 months, as I had really forgotten what it feels like to date someone who’s actually genuinely interested in me. The sex was amazing and hands down the best sex I’ve ever had. Adventurous and kinky. I felt so incredibly good around him and his mere touch would make me purr inside. And not just in a sexual way, but also in an emotional way. And to this day, his touch has a power to simply make me feel really good. He makes me laugh and forget all the stupid little things that sometimes circle in my mind. He has treated me better than anyone ever has and just objectively been the best boyfriend I’ve ever had. But. There is always the but.

    I never felt that we truly connected mentally. We have the same values and the same lifestyle, but I’m extremely analytical (which can also be a bad thing) and he’s more practical. In the beginning of our relationship I tried talking with him in the ways I’ve talked with my previous boyfriends, and also just with friends in general, but he isn’t much of a conversationalist. He told me he isn’t used to talking about things in such depth and doesn’t really know how, and we were both a bit sad about that: him that he clearly couldn’t give me what I needed and me that I couldn’t connect to him in a level I was used to. Our conversations were often me talking and him listening, but not really offering much back. At some point I realized that I shouldn’t expect him to change who he is and just accepted the fact. During our relationship he did become better at conversations though, and he opened up about a lot of things he hadn’t opened up to anyone before. I was happy about that and he seemed to be really proud of that, as I was, but to be honest, our conversations still aren’t what I’d ideally like. But that’s ok, I thought. I can get my mental stimulation elsewhere, no one person can give me everything I need. He balances me out and tells me when I start to over analyse things, which is extremely important. He grounds me when I feel too anxious. Being with someone who is just as analytical as I am would be exhausting and it wouldn’t work. That’s also not what I want out of a relationship: to analyse everything to death. I need someone who tells me to stop when I overdo it and makes me live in the moment. And he does just that.

    There were other problems too, like our different ways of socializing, which is a whole other issue in itself and caused a great deal of stress when going out. Basically he doesn’t know how to socialize and feels sad and a bit jealous about the way I can, which has resulted into snide passive-aggressive comments in the past and really pissed me off which in turn has really distanced me emotionally. But he has recognized the problem and has really worked on his attitude and it has gotten better. All the problems we’ve had, we’ve been able to work on them and things have improved. It just has left me with one problem, which has resulted into this break-up. I don’t feel like I’m really truly deeply in love with him.

    I’m not as emotionally invested in this relationship as he is anymore. I’m fine if we see each other once a week, he wants to see me and talk to me more often. I feel guilty that I can’t seem to be able to give him what he needs in return. He has told me he loves me. I can’t seem to be able to tell him the same. I do really care about him and love him in a way and he really is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He tells me that as long as I feel something for him, we shouldn’t break up. He feels that we basically have no grounds on breaking up, because we still have feelings for each other. In my mind it isn’t as simple as that. I feel like the right thing for me to do is to let him go, so that he can have someone who loves him just as deeply as he seems to love me. He tells me he doesn’t want anybody else.

    These last few days have been really hard. I feel physically ill, I’ve cried my eyes out and all of this just feels very unreal. I’m scared beyond belief and the future just seems really grim and grey and lonely. I don’t want to be without him. I miss him. I feel like I just want to wake up from this nightmare, go to him and take it all back. That I must be out of my mind if I let someone as amazing as him go. I want to just hold him and have him hold me, cry with him and then laugh with him and that everything would be good again. This relationship has probably been the best thing that has ever happened to me. This year has been one of the best years of my life. And now I’m just throwing all that away.

    If I feel this shitty now, doesn’t it mean that I have more feelings towards him than I might have thought? My sister tells me that you can never know how someone feels really, and that no relationship is balanced in feelings all the time. That if both parties accept that fact, it doesn’t have to be the end. Both my sister and my boyfriend feel that I’m too concerned with “doing the right thing” and deciding what’s right for someone else. And at this point I’m just a mess and I don’t know what to think anymore.

    Did I do the right thing or am I out of my mind? Could this relationship ever really work out in the long term?

    #693206 Reply
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    Ange

    If you can only tolerate seeing him once a week and he wants an actual relationship where do you think you will end up realistically? He can say all the things about how any feelings you have mean you’re meant to be together but if he wants to move forward he’d be a fool to do it with someone who isn’t as excited to do so with him. To me that shows he either doesn’t listen to you or doesn’t know you at all and it’s a huge sign of incompatibility.

    Really you guys were only together just over a year and it sounds like you never really meshed on the basics so I’d let it go. I mean if even the best sex you’ve ever had can’t get you out the door more than once a week well….

    #693209 Reply
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    Kate

    No, having feelings for someone is absolutely NOT a reason to stick with a relationship and not break up. Your gut said this isn’t your long-term/forever guy. He’s a great guy but he’s not THAT guy.

    I strongly recommend this book, which will make you see what you need in a relationship and what was missing in this one.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000GCFWPK/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1499686364&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=is+the+mr+right

    Also, you feeling really sad and upset right now and second guessing your choice is totally normal and doesn’t mean you’re meant to be with him. I used to get fooled by that and keep letting a guy pull me back into a relationship that wasn’t right for either of us and kept getting worse. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

    #693219 Reply
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    Ron

    I can’t decide from the write-up whether S is a lot more intelligent than her ex, which could be a serious problem for a long-term relationship or whether she just gets lost in her head and thinks everything to death, which might be her thinking herself out of a relationship which could be good. Is ‘very analytical’ really, truly analytical, as in directly attacking problems with logic, facts, and tight analogy to past experience, or is it mentally dithering and an inability to make a decision? Is ex’s ‘practical’ approach to issues correct: does he very directly make a correct decision, or at least one which, if not truly optimal, is close enough to satisfactorily get the job done. Or does the ex make snap decisions, based almost wholly on gut emotion, and have these decisions proven seriously wrong, perhaps with negative consequences to LW?

    It sounds like LW is more socially adept than ex, but that ex has been trying to improve, actually improving, and moving away from the jealous.

    I ask these questions, because LW says that she waited two years to start this relationship, because she had mental issues to resolve and also was just out of a dysfunctional relationship. I wonder if the ‘overly analytical’ relates to this. I also wonder if she was truly ready for a serious relationship. It sounds like the honeymoon period passed and with it her interest. Things about ex which didn’t seem to bother her, now did, even though her objective assessment is that improvement was occurring in these areas.

    I guess this could be, in many ways, her best relationship ever and still not a good enough relationship. Or she could just have over-thought herself out of what could have been a good relationship. It really all depends upon exactly what she means by ‘overly analytical’ and in exactly what way her prior relationship was dysfunctional.

    #693221 Reply
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    Kate

    Maybe, Ron, but her gut told her to get out, and I think you do have to trust your gut when it says you’re not in the right relationship. I think that book is incredibly helpful in terms of figuring out what might have been missing. Even if his practical approach is more “correct,” and she’s overthinking everything to death and needs a lot of openness and sharing and deep talks to feel close, the issue remains that there’s not enough closeness for her. And/or maybe not enough respect for his intellect.

    #693229 Reply
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    Ron

    Or she just isn’t ready/equipped for a relationship with anyone. Her gut told her that when she was initially strongly attracted to this guy but decided she had to wait, and ended waiting two years. She should read the book that you recommended, but probably still needs more work on herself.

    I think a lot of her sadness/grief over the ending of this relationship is that at some gut level she realizes that she isn’t presently ready to have a serious relationship with anyone. Also very possible she has never learned to transition from honeymoon period to long-term relationship.

    #693231 Reply
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    Kate

    Yeah, she definitely may have more work to do. She’s only reached the point that she realizes she can be treated well instead of like crap. That’s great progress, but…

    #693241 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    A relationship is made up of multiple facets and components. A good relationship has the right balance of the things you need. Physical, emotional, mental, social, etc are facets. You dated him and you found that some of the elements weren’t what you needed. You need to be able to talk, you need to be able to socialize, you need things that he can’t give you. And what he can give you doesn’t make up for the areas in which he lacks.

    Just because you have feelings for him, doesn’t mean that you have to stay in a relationship. That’s not how it works. You don’t have to wish the other person dead before you end a relationship. It’s healthier to say “you know I can’t quite put my finger on it but my gut is saying this isn’t right” than stay until you hate one another.

    #693244 Reply
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    S

    Many good points, thank you.

    @ange: I don’t think it’s as simple as that, but your made me laugh a little, so thank you for that. Seeing him once a week has a lot to do with basic scheduling conflicts due to our different work schedules and me having to study on top of that, plus needing time to unwind by myself. We did usually see each other twice a week, but lately have ended up seeing only once. And yes, I do have to admit that if I wasn’t feeling the emotional distance that I do, I’d most likely make more effort to see him more often, despite the scheduling conflicts and even at the expense of my studying, like it was in the beginning.

    @kate: I’ve seen you recommend that book many times on this forum, but I have a tendency to avoid self-help books like the plague. I just realized that maybe my aversion to self-help books is a bit unfounded (these forums are kinda the same thing after all) and went and bought it on Kindle. Let’s see if it really helps.

    The second-guessing is a very common thing for me, in all areas. Ron touched on a very good point in asking what I mean by analytical and yes, I probably should have made it more clear, but I do think it’s a little bit of both. I tend to look and analyse things from all possible perspectives, some rational and some not so, and I sometimes get a bit lost in what the actual rational truth might be. That really does effect on my ability to make decisions, and I’ve never really been good at that, since early childhood, because of the second-guessing and all the “but on the other hand”. So yes, I do tend to analyse things to death and I often need someone to tell me when I go overboard. My boyfriend (ex?) was good at that.

    After reading what Ron wrote, I think that my ex-boyfriend (wow, it really fucking hurts to write that) is perhaps not really that rational after all. He does live more in the moment though, not worrying too much about the future and definitely not second-guessing himself as much as I do. So perhaps more the gut feeling kinda guy.

    The dysfunctional relationship was in some ways like a reverse situation: I was more emotionally invested than he was, which resulted into me totally losing myself in it and not see what was clearly best for me. It was a year long on-off relationship with a guy who was emotionally unavailable and who yes, treated me like shit. Even though I would never treat anyone like he treated me, I have been concerned if it plays out a bit the same way. That my now current ex doesn’t really realise what is actually best for him either, because he’s too emotionally invested and doesn’t want to lose me. And that this relationship would end up breaking him the same way my previous relationship broke me, and I would never ever want that on anybody. And I’m not sure if I feel too responsible for someone else in this regard (also a common thing for me) or if my concern is valid.

    I do believe that I’m ready for a serious relationship. I went to therapy for 2 years and even though there’s still probably a lot of work to do (when is anyone ever truly ready?), I have learned a lot. Before this, I’ve been in 2 serious relationships (the dysfunctional one doesn’t count) which both lasted for 4 years. In all honesty, they should have ended much sooner, like years sooner. In them I had the mental connection, but the sexual connection was missing, so they developed into more like friendships and I eventually broke them off. My inability to make decisions resulted in them dragging on much longer than they should have. In all honesty, I never really felt like I was truly deeply in love in them either.

    All relationships I have ever been in have felt kind of temporary, that they are good for now, but eventually will end. That’s the gut feeling that I have. And I’m not sure if it’s just because I haven’t met the right person, or because I’m in some way unable to really truly be there and accept people and relationships as they are and just analyse everything to death so that I have no way of knowing what’s really real and important and what’s not. What if I’m just not able to be really truly in love? In the way that people always say, when they tell you they just know. I have felt a deep and sometimes inexplicaple connection yes, but I have never known.

    #693245 Reply
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    Kate

    I’m glad you bought it! It’s not really a self-help book so much as a tutorial on what a relationship must have in order to work. Sure, you invest a little time in reading it, but then it should save you lots of time later.

    #693253 Reply
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    S

    And oh yeah, I should probably also address the respect and the intelligence issue, although I’m not really quite sure how. I don’t want to say we’re not a match intellectually, because what is intellect anyway. I don’t need to talk to him about the complex theories I might read about for my studies, but Kate touched on a very important point. I feel like I do need a lot of deep talks and openness and sharing to feel close, and even though there’s openness and sharing now, there isn’t much of the deep. We don’t meet on the same level on that, and I think that it might really affect the way I feel emotionally.

    It has never affected on my respect towards him though. In the beginning I even felt like I respected him a lot more than I ever respected my previous partners (with whom I could have those deep talks) simply because of the way he is. He is kind and caring and giving and does something for a living that I could never do myself, but I have the utmost respect towards him in that. He is a really good person and on top of that sort of twisted in just the right kind of way that keeps things exciting and not dull. I also respect him for the way he has treated me overall.

    However, I have lost some respect towars him though because of the way he has acted in social situations and the way he has acted towards me during them. Those times really distanced me emotinally and they scared me, because they resulted in me getting really cold and distant. I realised (and told him that) I don’t want to be in a relationship where I can’t socialize with others the way I need to and his childish behaviour really got to me. We have talked through those problems though and like I said, it did improve, although it hasn’t resolved completely. But overall, I have been really happy about the way we’ve been able to talk about our relationship and the problems in it openly and to actually do some work to make it better. He takes what I say seriously and clearly does work on them, even though it’s a complicated process.

    I do get what you guys are saying, and on alot of levels I do agree. But at the same time, my feelings shift from yes to no from one minute to the next. I feel like I don’t want to let him go and I can’t let him go even though I know it’s most likely for the best. I feel like I’m not ready yet. Even thouogh this break-up has been on my mind for some time and we’ve talked about our problems, it still sort of came as a surprise even to me, that it happened now, that I made it happen now, that I said it now in a way that makes it more definite. And I am still really truely terrified of the outcome and am second-guessing if I’ve made the right choise. But everything is a process and I guess I just have to go through this to see what happens.

    #693254 Reply
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    Kate

    Why don’t you take a little time to reflect before you boomerang back and tell him you’ll give it another shot? You probably need to get clearer about what wasn’t working and be honest with yourself about whether anything has changed or whether you can look at anything differently.

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