“My Girlfriend Blindsided Me with a Breakup”

I’m a 59-year-old divorced man with two grown kids, and my girlfriend is 38 and divorced with two kids who are 10 and 12. We have been in a committed relationship for about a year and a half, and about six months ago she and her two kids moved in with me and the kids enrolled in nearby schools.

I have been very fortunate financially, and I have worried at times that she would not be interested in me if I were not as financially well-off as I am. She is incredibly beautiful with a knock-out figure. She takes great care of me, constantly bringing me food at my office while I work, always writing me love notes, always doing thoughtful things for me, and being very aggressive sexually, etc. I, in turn, take care of her and her kids very well. We are madly in love and had an incredible relationship—-until about a month ago.

We were on vacation in Italy for 10 days. She thought I was going to propose to her to get married on that trip, but I did not. When we got back home, she was not acting the same, so I asked her what was wrong. She said: “I love you, but I am not in love with you anymore.” I was TOTALLY blindsided. Until a few days earlier, she had been telling me that I was the love of her life, and now she was telling me that she was not in love with me anymore. I was TOTALLY devastated!!!

I asked her why she felt like this and what I had done wrong, and she said I had not done anything wrong and she did not know why she felt this way. After that, the relationship got VERY bad for two days. I was extremely hurt, mad, confused, etc. After two days of sheer hell where she screamed every insult imaginable at me at the top of her lungs, I was able to calm her down and she remained civil until she and her two kids moved out a week later.

Now she says that she has made a terrible mistake and wants me back. She is saying now that she is madly in love with me and never wants to be apart from me. She is trying with ever ounce of her body to do whatever it takes to get me back and she says she will not quit trying until the day she dies. My problem: I love her SO much! My heart is saying “take her back,” but my brain is saying “hold up, dummy.” I would love to hear your thoughts. — Still Madly in Love

Well, what is it you want with her? It sounds like she wanted marriage – she thought you were going to propose and you didn’t and she was deeply upset about it. So, being madly in love with her and knowing she wants marriage and that she believed you were going to propose on this vacation, why didn’t you? Are you concerned that the love isn’t real on her end and that she’s only interested in you for your money? And, if that’s the case, I have to ask you honestly: Is that such a big problem?

Prior to your vacation, it sounds like you were getting everything you wanted from your girlfriend. And it sounds like her needs were being met, too, except for the commitment of marriage. If YOUR needs were being met, why hold back on meeting all of hers? If your romantic idea of love wasn’t fulfilled with the love notes, the hand-delivered meals to work, the good sex, and the constant care from your girlfriend, what would fulfill you? Or maybe you were/are afraid that once there was a commitment of marriage, your girlfriend would no longer feel motivated to prove herself as marriage material?

Obviously, something was holding you back from making the proposal you knew your girlfriend was hoping for and expecting on this vacation. And I’m not sure if your fears were realized by her reaction after you returned from your vacation, and how her change of heart now has affected your feelings, but you really need to unpack why your head is telling you to “hold up, dummy.”

I would make a list for yourself of the worst-case and best-case scenarios that you can imagine if you were to take your girlfriend back. Assuming the best-case scenario is the relationship you were enjoying with your girlfriend minus the nagging feeling she wouldn’t be interested in you if you weren’t well-off, can you be happy with that if the nagging feeling doesn’t go away? Can you accept that, yeah, your financial success might be as attractive to her as her beautiful face and knock-out figure are to you? And can you accept that those things about her are going to change as she ages?

If even the best case scenario with her leaves you unsatisfied, I don’t see how you have a future together. And even if you are good with the best case scenario, what about her screaming fit after your vacation? If that’s a side of her you’ve never seen before, does it change your feelings about her? Is her temper – or the threat of her temper – something you feel comfortable living with for the rest of your life?

Bottom line: It sounds like the power in this situation is mostly yours. If you want your girlfriend back, say the word and she’ll be back. Maybe she won’t even care about ever marrying you if she can simply enjoy a comfortable and loving life with you for a while longer. On the other hand, your power dynamic is likely to change at some point, and that might not be something you’re comfortable with. I do think that as long as you have financial comfort and she has two kids she’s raising, you probably don’t have to worry about her leaving you for good. But you might find yourself weighing all the good stuff against periodic fights and the threat of her leaving you if you find your financial situation suddenly changes. Is that enough for you?

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.