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Dear Wendy

Military boyfriend & I broke up and I’m feeling extremely hurt

Home Forums Advice & Chat Military boyfriend & I broke up and I’m feeling extremely hurt

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  • #1109979 Reply

    My boyfriend and I have been together since we were in high school. Two years ago, he joined the army and we decided to do a long distance type of relationship. Everything was going well up until this year. I started noticing he was becoming more emotionally unavailable. I didn’t feel supported or cared about but I just chalked it up to be because he was going through a lot up there and couldn’t relate to my issues.

    Recently we got into an argument and I decided to end things because I thought he was being extremely rude about the entire ordeal. He didn’t even fight for the relationship.’However, I ended up reflecting on my actions and apologized for not respecting his decision. He then apologized & once that was over, he proceeded to ask me a question he already knew the answer to (the answer is a breakup). So, I caught the hint and asked him if he really wanted to break up?

    The basic answer was yes. He felt “guilty” that I was here and he was away enjoying his time in the military. He doesn’t see himself coming back to his hometown (or home-continent) and settling down. He wants to take full advantage of the military…which is completely fine. I want him to be happy and seek fulfillment but it hurts so much.

    The whole reason I waited was because I was under the impression he’d come back and we could start our lives (I’d be finishing up an MBA degree by the time) only to find out that wasn’t the case. It was probably never the case yet he strung me along…why? I truly feel like my time and feelings were wasted. He said he loves me but I find that extremely hard to believe by the way he ended things and dragged the relationship out the way he did. He ended up hurting me way more than if he were just honest the moment he came to his realization. He didn’t even communicate any of this with me until I asked him if he wanted to break up. Two years of my life young-adult life wasted and my heart is broken.

    I could use anything right now…insight, words of encouragement, etc.

    #1109980 Reply

    We’ve all been through a tough break up. And it feels like your life is over. Like you’ll never trust or love anyone again. But life marches on and it gets easier. And most of us end up with a partner that’s better suited to us. Sounds like you’re early 20’s or younger. You’re going to change so much in a few years. The guy you love at 20 probably wouldn’t be the guy you love at 30. Priorities change with you. You’ll get through this. Exercise and change up your hair. Both excellent at helping a breakup

    #1109982 Reply

    Some guys are cowards and like to feel like they are not “The Bad Guy” and do this stupid thing of treating women horribly to get you to instigate the breakup essentially, and allowing him to feel like he didn’t break your heart. That’s my sense.

    I also know this is very, very common with military guys. They also often push for marriage first, so count yourself lucky that you aren’t getting divorced right now. He either enjoyed fantasizing about that stuff with you but maybe even at that time he thought that’s what he wanted, too. People grow and experience new things and change what they think they want, it does happen. Especially when you all are pretty young.

    I agree that it may feel like everything and the whole world has just ended but he will fade and be a blip in your memory in time. And you’ll laugh about it. The life you build will be better, although you may not see how now.

    Treat yourself well right now. Indulge, do something that makes you really happy, but also hydrate, sleep, eat well and exercise if you can. Call your friends.

    Don’t respond to him.

    Hot girl summer 2.0. You can move on from this. Being single can be fun.

    #1109985 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    Break-ups suck and I’m sorry you’re hurting, but you will come out the other side of the pain eventually.

    I don’t think speculating why he treated you the way he did is going to make you feel better. I think people will chase the “why” looking for closure, but that’s something that actually comes from within.

    My worst breakup was in my mid-20s. My now-ex was online dating and I found out he’d been seeing someone else when pictures of them at a wedding surfaced on Facebook even though he’d tried to tweak some privacy settings so that I’d not see. I was NOT okay for a long while after this, honestly. I was heartbroken, angry, and even jealous. Like you, I felt strung along and like he’d intentionally wasted my time. A non-exhaustive list of things that made me feel better include:
    – Cutting off contact… because this guy, in his attempts to diminish his own guilt, did not go quietly into the night. Your ex might be similar. If he is, highly recommend not giving him the time of day. Block and delete!
    – Giving it time and riding out the ups and downs of healing. Time and distance can really do wonders.
    – Writing out a list of qualities this guy had that I didn’t want in my life… it helped me to view our relationship not as a waste of time, but as a learning experience.
    – I redirected all the energy that used to go into him into making my life one I was proud of. I got a job in a new state and got to live out my dream of living in a big city. I said “yes” to every invite that came my way and made new friends. I volunteered for causes I cared about. I started running and have now run four half marathons under my belt… and I’m signed up for my first full.
    – I got into therapy because I realized I’d sacrificed many of my own needs for this guy and didn’t want to repeat that.

    If I understand this correctly, your needs weren’t being met but you figured you could go without until you closed the distance between you. If that’s correct, now is a great time to learn that having needs doesn’t make you needy. And also understand why you did that. LDRs are hard, but you should at a bare minimum feel cared about despite the distance.

    Anyway, take it one day at a time — you’ll be okay!

    #1110001 Reply

    I don’t really understand the situation.
    You said that you decided to end things, but then it sounds like he broke up with you?

    #1110003 Reply

    We got into an argument in which I ended things. He didn’t fight for the relationship and didn’t even respond to my breakup message for three days. I went back and apologized because I realized I was being a bit irrational after I reread everything. He also apologized for his part in the argument but then asked me a question that led me to wonder if he actually wanted to break up. We spoke about it and both realized things needed to end.

    So technically, I broke up with him and he didn’t protest. However, he’s the one who wanted things to end so we just stayed broken up. He claimed he didn’t think he could make me happy, we have two different values, etc. etc.

    #1110004 Reply

    Thanks for the clarification.
    No real advice, just a virtual hug.

    #1110005 Reply

    Don’t feel like you wasted time! You learned a lot, got important relationship experience, figured out that you two grew apart and are not the right match, and those are all good things. Most relationships don’t work out. Now you’re free to be open to the next one.

    Btw, I actually did marry my HS boyfriend who joined the military, and we ended up divorced after a total of 10 years together (no kids)… I don’t regret it or see it as wasted time. It was an important foundational experience for me in so many ways. And now I’m 9 years into a healthy and happy marriage.

    I know how bad this must hurt, but you are going to be just fine.

    #1110007 Reply

    Oh and as far as some insight… Guys will almost never tell you they’re unhappy and want to break up. They either can’t or won’t articulate it, don’t want to be the bad guy, etc. It’s very common that they act like an ass and make YOU break up with them. Sometimes they even get involved with someone else without breaking up with you first, because they can’t deal with ending it, can compartmentalize, idk. I’m not saying that’s what he did here, but it’s possible. It might explain his “feeling guilty” comment. But who knows, who cares, you’ll never really understand all the whys and that’s okay.

    #1110009 Reply

    It is pretty particular to guys isn’t it – guys will want to avoid being a heartbreaker and instead will emotionally torture someone so that they get angry and fed up. Once fed up enough, the partner will break up and the guy can then go about his merry way.

    I think it’s because guys are taught that being sad is bad and being angry isn’t bad. Nonetheless, it’s still shitty and manipulative behavior.

    Women do it too – but mostly in the workplace, being a crappy manager to make someone fed up enough to quit instead of being fired.

    #1110010 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    Here’s my “I want better than this” list for you based on what I know about this relationship, LW:

    – He was emotionally unavailable.
    – He made you feel unsupported.
    – He did not make you feel cared about.
    – He’s a poor communicator. He’d sooner you feel emotional distress than have hard but necessary conversations with you.
    – You see different futures for yourselves.

    These are the kinds of things I’d repeat to myself when I’d feel down after a break-up. Sometimes a reminder of what you don’t miss is helpful, as are reminders that you’re two different people meant for two different paths. It sounds like you’re young, in an MBA program, and have a nice future ahead of you. When you are ready, I’m sure you can find a nice, emotionally available, supportive, loving, communicative guy who is on a path more closely aligned with yours.

    #1110012 Reply

    Thank you for this list and your previous reply. It was comforting. I’m feeling better than yesterday and keep reminding myself why I should just move on. One day at a time.

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