I ended my almost 4 year relationship earlier this week and I'm having a really difficult time dealing with the pain and sadness.
We're not young (early 40's) and both really felt like this was "it". We had a lot in common, fell in love hard, and moved in together about a year into the relationship. He had been struggling with finding work that was fulfilling and would pay the bills, and as a result started having major financial problems. He turned into a depressed and angry person, and started lashing out at me. We were fighting all time. He stopped wanting to be intimate. The list goes on and on. I really did my best to stand by him and support him. I love(d) him and wanted to help him get through the situation he was in. We went to couples counseling, I tried helping him with his job search, I didn't complain when we stayed home night after night just watching movies rather than going on dates like other couples.
The problem is that this never ended. It never got better. The situation never changed. In fact, it got worse. He got more and more depressed (and yes, he has seen a doctor this whole time to help with that) and I started feeling like crap. My self esteem plummeted and I stopped getting enjoyment out of life. I had friends and other interests, but I wanted this relationship to work so badly that it started to kill me that no matter what I did, I could not change the situation my boyfriend was in.
A couple of months ago, I started having trouble sleeping and having anxiety dreams about my future with this man. Instead of being excited about what lied ahead, I was filled with hopelessness and a sense a dread for what my life would be like if I stayed. I have thought about breaking up with him for over a year, but just could not bring myself to do it because I love him so incredibly much. Last weekend after months of fighting and both of us starting to resent one another, I went out of town to visit some friends. I had such a great weekend and was smiling and laughing the whole time. I felt like myself and felt alive for the first time in about 2 years. It was a major wake up call to me and made me realize that I needed to end things with my boyfriend when I got back. I broke up with him the day I after I got back home and he showed little emotion and said he understood. I have been super emotional, crying and sad all week. I definitely feel like I'm grieving. But I know this is what I have to do for myself. I realize that the only person responsible for my happiness and how my life turns out, is me. So, if I know all of this, why am I so sad? I really feel like he broke up with me. He finally broke down yesterday and showed some emotion. He is really upset and has been trying to convince me that we can work through this and things can get better. I've explained to him that this is the best thing for us right now because we have been miserable and our relationship right now, does not work. I honestly don't know what lies ahead for us. I am not completely closed to the idea of trying again with him some day if his situation changes, but in my heart of hearts I know that it would be best for me to move on, be alone for a while, and then try dating other people to find someone I can build a life with.
I don't know why I'm here. I guess I just don't know how to deal with how I'm feeling and I'm looking for some words of wisdom. I love this man with all my heart, but this break up is the only and the best option for us. I'm just so sad and the thought of not having him in my life anymore hurts so much. If I did the right thing, why is it so painful?