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Thread: Struggling whether to try and move on or save a relationship

  1. #1

    Struggling whether to try and move on or save a relationship

    I met someone 12 years ago who started off as a casual friend, became a close friend and eventually we entered into an extremely intense relationship after knowing each other for about 3 years. It would be fair to say I never fell in love that deeply before and we had a wonderful time for about a year together. Throughout the relationship there were factors that led me to believe it wasn't sustainable long term. To a large extent this had to do with us heading in different directions in life along with problems where people close to us on both sides didn't think we should be together.

    We ended up splitting up due to frustration with the external circumstances that were starting to overpower the connection between us. I would have been willing to leave my friends and family behind to be with this person and although she may have felt that way at first it became clear she valued the stability in other parts of her life too much to risk losing them. I understood that from brain point of view but my heart had a hard time accepting it. I went through a very dark period of depression and risky behaviors which of course did not help at all.

    After about two years of only speaking once or twice we were able to reconnect enough to forget about the problems and start to rekindle our relationship based on an agreement that we could only be friends and not in a relationship. That was the only way to keep each other in our lives and I was happy to do it. During the last 5 or 6 years we have been close friends. I've moved on to dating other girls, some casually others more officially, but deep down I kept loving this girl the most. Ironically I wasn't too sad about it, I just felt good we were friends and that was enough for me b.c I was getting my other needs met elsewhere.

    During the last 5 years we did a lot together including taking vacations, staying over at each others houses etc. For the vast majority of this time she had a boyfriend who she still dates to this day. Out of fear he wouldn't understand, she never let him or most of her friends or family know we were still spending time with each other. I don't think either of us liked sneaking around but it was ultimately up to her in that I would encourage her to be honest about our relationship and she just did not feel she could be honest. In retrospect it sort of felt like she was cheating b/c of sneaking around, lying, and making excuses to see me. We were basically in a side relationship that did not involve hooking up. I think we never hooked up again b/c it allowed us to feel like we weren't doing anything wrong even though we had a very intimate friendship that may have felt more like dating at times.

    The tug of war in her heart between staying in a close relationship with me and having to be dishonest to her BF and friends was tearing her apart but she kept doing it b/c she didn't want to let go. Then about two years ago she decided she would have to be honest about everything. That led to some hard times for her but her boyfriend didn't break up with her or anything like that. What did start to change at that time was we spent less time talking, seeing each other and over the last year our connection has basically fizzled out. She hasn't come right out and said it but it seems pretty clear from what she has said that her BF and friends are telling her to stay away from me.

    As the months have gone by it has triggered some conflicting emotions and thoughts in me. On one hand I just want her to do what she needs to do to be happy and on the other I want her to stand up for herself and not let her BF or friends tell her how she has to live and who she can see. I am also having a hard time thinking we aren't going to have any relationship at all any longer and that makes me fear a relapse into depression and god knows what else. b/c we haven't kept up our friendship I started to get sad about it and to some extent angry that she would abandon me after all this time. So very recently after not talking in over a year I bumped into her and just kept walking after saying hey. I wasn't expecting to see her but I had prepared myself to not act excited b/c of the perception I had that she was neglecting me. After I got home I felt like a real jerk and realized I should accept her on whatever terms she sets if I want to keep any connection and truly love her. I tried writing her to apologize and she said it was ok, no big deal. Then I said how I still felt bad and wanted to meet up to apologize and see if we could catch up to which she didn't reply.

    summary:
    -I really am ok with just being friends even though I am still in love with this girl
    -Loving her hasn't stopped me from hooking up or even dating others I just don't think I can get into anything too serious. I don't really care about having a relationship with anyone right now
    -There has been a clear withdrawing on her part although she hasn't ever ignored a text from me until this year. It is clear to me other people in her life have been telling her to stay away from me and frankly my friends tell me to stay away from her too.

    I have read it all when it comes down to "how to get over a girl" etc. but that's not really my issue. I don't think I want to get over her b/c it has been too long and it means too much to me. I am also aware it is probably not normal to stay in love with someone for so many years when you know they have moved on to another serious relationship.

    My general confusion right now is whether I should stop contacting her and respect the hints she has been sending recently or if something like this is too important to give up on. I don't think we would ever go back to sneaking around etc and that is ok. Really I just want to be able to see her now and then and stay in touch somewhat but I don't know if she would be interested without forcing a heavy conversation about it.... and to do that will require repeat texting or calling. Part of me may be too nervous to risk hearing her explicitly say "we can't talk and you need to leave me alone" although I think I rather know that if it is the truth. Knowing this person as well as I do though, I think she is simply taking the path of least resistance to avoid drama but that she is sad about it too.

    So what say you, should I work to try and save this connection or just let it go? If I let it go I won't be able to fully let her go from my mind, but I could have the discipline to cut off contact unless she instigates it. Right now I just can't stop debating myself of whether to make it clear how much it's hurting me or just to be more of a "man" and not force her to engage in something she may not have the desire or strength to deal with right now.

  2. #2
    Gold Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    It really disheartens me to know that there are men out there like you who actively partake in behaviours or actions like this. I'm not going to tell you what to do. You already seem to know what you should do. I think you're just looking for new answers and are grasping at straws, clinging for dear life to an idea that is fast becoming very old with everyone around you and looking for bleeding heart type of supportive answers which tell you should hang on. You've taken the time to write so I'll take the time to respond to you.

    1) There is no confusion in what you should do. You just want there to be confusion. You love the confusion because it means by living in the dusty storm, you get what you want (a secret friendship with someone who doesn't want to talk to you and whom all the people in your life disagree with). In the dust, you're invisible and you can disguise yourself in the same way she's disguised herself for so long. The difference is that she came clean and she's no longer in the dust. She left you in the dust. You just love the dust though because without it you feel naked and nervous.

    2) Avoiding drama seems to be something you have difficulty doing. I don't blame you. Some people just don't know how to wrangle it. The moment D comes out, all the ramas stick their heads out. You're one of them and you complete that word "Drama" because it fulfills you in the same way that you like confusion because it conceals you.

    3) Because you like being concealed and not coming to terms with your insecurities, you've not learned how to be honest with yourself or others. I say this with respect. Yes, and you have a sneaking suspicion yourself, this is definitely not normal. You keep sabotaging your own life again and again and again and labeling it 'love'. This isn't love. It's obsession and it's unhealthy. She bought into it for awhile too and got caught up, maybe even ran the show with you but she's not doing it anymore.

    4) Your second last paragraph is alarming to me: Don't denigrate women or their choices in rejection(rejecting men). She doesn't want to have anything to do with you. If she's sad, she may be sad for a number of things and not entirely sad that you're out of her life. She may be completely relieved you're gone but sad at the state things had to come to and regretful of the shoddy choices she's made in the past and how much she nearly lost in her life because of your "friendship".

    I'd suggest you really take a step back and start asking yourself why you feel you have such rights over anyone or that right to a friendship that has been deemed so unhealthy and reckless. Maybe see a therapist if it helps, if you aren't already in the process of seeing one. You do have severe issues, very deep insecurities. I hope for your sake you find peace. I mean this with compassion and respect. Your behaviour is not ok and speaking to her again is also not ok.

  3. #3
    Thanks for your feedback Rose. Maybe that's all I needed to hear. I disagree with a lot of your characterization but I'm here for honest feedback, not arguments so thank you for responding with your perspective

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Is this a same sex relationship? Why all the cloak and dagger with regard to being open about things?

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  6. #5
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    Sorry but you are beating a dead horse here. Even if we put aside the fact that your and your "friend's" behaviour is wrong and unfair towards her boyfriend, this whole thing is a huge waste of time for you. She didn't want to be in a relationship with you and she found another guy. She was still enjoying your attention and admiration and hanging out with you behind her boyfriend's back. Now she doesn't even want to be your friend really because she's avoiding you. If you're in love with her then why torture yourself like this and keep spending time with someone who doesn't feel the same and never will? I'm sure if you get over her you can find a woman who loves you back. You are acting like a complete doormat and clutching at straws here.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    After about two years of only speaking once or twice we were able to reconnect enough to forget about the problems and start to rekindle our relationship based on an agreement that we could only be friends and not in a relationship.
    You seriously need to get yourself into therapy and learn about the codependent nature you have so that you can break free of your dysfunctional relationship with this woman and to help you to quit using women in the manner you have been.

    That was the only way to keep each other in our lives and I was happy to do it.
    Codependent addiction at its finest (for both of you... she'd needs just as much therapy to get over herself as you do) and your attachment to one another is actually an addiction and not love. Have either of you any other addictions? (drugs/alcohol/gambling?)

    During the last 5 or 6 years we have been close friends. I've moved on to dating other girls, some casually others more officially, but deep down I kept loving this girl the most.
    How self-absorbed and unconscionable of you to be using women the way you have been. Did you even once take into consideration how using women in that manner would emotionally take its toll on them?

    Ironically I wasn't too sad about it,
    Again its all about you and how you feel emotionally, not once taken into account how playing women can screw them up.

    I just felt good we were friends and that was enough for me b.c I was getting my other needs met elsewhere.
    Seriously. Please read that quote and tell me that you aren't someone who is totally self-interested and sociopathic with regards to others. You lack empathy if nothing else.

    Get yourself the help to get this woman out of your life so that you stop being who you have become due to your obsession with her.

  8. #7
    Gold Member Gary Snyder's Avatar
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    It's a classic mismatch - Unrequited love - you love her, but she does not love you (she may have for a couple of years in the past, but that's never coming back).

    At least you have been dating other women, that's the best thing to do - you have to find a replacement.

    But since that alone is not working, some people cut contact. Sometimes, only when you cut contact will the love finally die - and it can still take time.

  9. #8
    Thank you to everyone else who replied.

    @wiseman2: It was not a same sex relationship. There was nothing secret about it when we were first seeing each other. Later on she felt she had to keep it secret b/c no one would believe we could just be friends. I always wanted everything in the open but she couldn't do it. Most of my friends and family wanted me to move on b/c they saw it wrecking me and sadly b/c we come from quite different backgrounds a lot of them didn't think she was "good enough" for me after things started to slip away.

    @tinydance: I tend to agree with you. To me it seems worse, much worse, to have no contact as opposed to some contact. I might have to want to get over her before I really can get over her. Maybe it's too late. not sure.

    @thatwasthen: yes there was 100% a codependant thing going on for a least a large part of it and it does feel like an addiction. We are both borderline alcoholics but neither of us let drinking stop us from other things. I guess they call it functional alcoholism. With respect to the others in my life, what I wrote was about me not the other people. When I date women I am 100% up front with what I am going to provide and what I am going to expect. If it ends up simply being let's have a good time with no commitments, I say that. When it ends up being a connection that goes past that, I am honest and say I am in love with someone else but perhaps with time we can move past that. In some cases that conversation ended the relationship and in others we tried to move fwd with various levels of success. The general point of the part of the post you are referencing to was to show that I was ok letting the romantic relationship go if I could hang on to a friendship. I never did and never do lie or lead on other women to believe I am interested in something deeper than I really am.

    @Gary Snyder: Pretty much a classic mismatch. What I thought made this different was who long it went on in the grey area. I am thankful it didn't permanently stop me from dating other women and yes that absolutely helped me avoid constantly thinking about one person all day. It looks like we are on the way to cutting contact. Maybe that will work.

    Overall I am agreeing that this is going nowhere. What I don't see b/c of an admitted clouded perspective is how people can walk away from relationships that lasted for over ten years. Even though it's going poorly I still care deeply about this person and would not be able to cut contact completely unless that is what she want, which it seems like it is. So I think what I am going to try is have one short but honest conversation to hear her explicitly say she wants to cut contact. When I hear that I should be able to focus on the future more than the past even though it is going to sting.

    Best regards

  10. #9
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Overall I am agreeing that this is going nowhere. What I don't see b/c of an admitted clouded perspective is how people can walk away from relationships that lasted for over ten years. Even though it's going poorly I still care deeply about this person and would not be able to cut contact completely unless that is what she want, which it seems like it is. So I think what I am going to try is have one short but honest conversation to hear her explicitly say she wants to cut contact. When I hear that I should be able to focus on the future more than the past even though it is going to sting.
    Get yourself the help you need with a good therapist who is proficient in codependency issues. You have learned a whole lifetime of dysfunctional relating and hanging on to no good relationships out of some sort of misplaced obligation and an inability to function without your drug(s) of choice (her and your alcohol) You don't "love" her, you are addicted to her just like you are addicted to drink. Time to face the reality that you two are wasting your lives in this addiction. You have likely lost some pretty decent women worth being with because of your addiction to her.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    OK, then it seems you are in the friendzone and she sees you as a male-girlfriend. Spare your heart and energy and do not waste more time on this. Rebels without a cause just end up screwing themselves and usually fail to make any defiant statement about what "they" think.
    Originally Posted by griffin93
    It was not a same sex relationship. Later on she felt she had to keep it secret b/c no one would believe we could just be friends. I always wanted everything in the open but she couldn't do it. Most of my friends and family wanted me to move on b/c they saw it wrecking me and sadly b/c we come from quite different backgrounds.


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