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Thread: Taking a Break vs Breaking Up

  1. #1
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    Taking a Break vs Breaking Up

    Alright.

    So this is about the dawning realization that a conversation I had with my I guess now ex girlfriend about a week ago was not so much about a “taking a break” as she said it then, but about actually breaking up.

    You’d think I’d have known that by now, but I guess sometimes you turn a blind eye to evidence that is right in front of your face when you don’t want to see it.

    The reasons behind us splitting up were really not hard to see. We were fighting a lot. We are at radically different points in our lives. Intimacy was suffering. All those things.

    We loved each other, like you do, and the notion of taking a break would come up now and then and we had each broached the subject of breaking up, but never could quite separate.

    So last week she texted me that we really had to talk

    We sat down to talk and she was crying and told me she loved me but said she was not getting everything she needed from the relationship and that she was starting to turn to “all these new people I’m meeting” for some of what she was not getting and that maybe we needed to take a break.

    I agreed. I mean, the problems we had been having were getting worse and I could tell she was not happy and neither was I, but of course I still loved her. I kind of knew this conversation was getting closer because we had both been moving the needle towards it over the course of several weeks.

    During those times, when I felt us pulling apart, I realized that it was going to be harder to get over her than I thought. I felt like I was going to need to take some significant time to myself before I started dating anyone, because I was in love and my heart was breaking.

    So when she and I had that conversation, I listened to the words she was saying, but I heard what I was thinking, which was taking a break from dating altogether. What I didn’t start to process until a few days had passed was that she said she was turning to other people for what she was not getting in the relationship, and the conversation about what she was not getting in the relationship included intimacy.

    After we left each other that evening, we both sent text messages back and forth about how we already missed each other and loved each other and etc . . . she even wrote something like “I feel like I could love you forever.”

    But she also wrote. “This is hard. I’m sorry. This is hard.”

    I didn’t really process the “I’m sorry.” I am starting to now.

    Since that evening, now one week ago, we have had no communication whatsoever. The last thing we each said were more or less these words, “I love you. I want you to know that.” But then . . . nothing.

    And here is the thing.

    I think I needed (or maybe still need) to have the actual “break up” conversation, not the “taking a break” conversation, in order for me not to feel betrayed if I find out she is sleeping with someone else.

    In all likelihood it is too late for that. I mean, I find it unlikely that she did not intend to sleep with someone else. Why say those things otherwise?

    There is a part of me that think what I need to do is text her something along the lines of, “I don’t think I heard what you were saying when we talked last. If you were saying you needed to be with other people then this was never a break. It is a breakup. I wish we would have had that conversation instead. I find a lot of negative thoughts creeping into my head as it dawns on my what you were saying.
    I know I said you could reach out to me, but as I think it through now, I think it is better we cut this tie completely. If our paths cross again, then they do, but for now this needs to be a real goodbye.”

    Or whatever.

    What do you think? Should I do something like that? Or should I just let this silence between us be the message. What I suspect might happen is a few more weeks will go by, then she will get in touch to say she has been thinking and it is best we both moved on and etc . . . and then she will emerge as suddenly in a new relationship, having used this “break” as a buffer for her feelings of guilt for overlapping someone new with our coming to an end.

    Then I will go from just being sad about things to feeling burned. I can already feel that switch starting to happen.

    I know that it is necessary to cut all contact with someone when you are breaking up with them. I am wondering if that is already begun or if I have to re-begin it.

    I say all of this as someone who is still very much in love with someone, but who also sees the scope of the difficulties we were having and realizes this is probably the right thing in the long run.

    Though in the short run, it hurts like a %&$#?@!

    It really does. What would you do?

  2. #2
    Gold Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I agree with you that you need better closure than that. It was a half-hearted way to break up and that's fine if you both didn't know what to say at the time but it's not inappropriate in my mind to speak on the phone and clear your mind one last time. If you're on good terms(civil), there is nothing wrong with that. You should be very clear the reason why you're calling her or on the phone and also make up your mind about what you're going to do(boundaries). Think about what you can and can't do going forwards. For example, if that means no more small talk or updates on each others' lives, then you're going to have to be clear about that with her.

    The relationship is over so don't leave room for it to stay open and keep up small talk. You don't need to be there to hold her hand through her guilt. Let her take care of herself and don't reply to any of her messages or phone calls going forward after this last conversation.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member EternalOptimis's Avatar
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    I knew someone who was in exactly the same situation. Very much in love but aware there are major, almost certainly insurmountable, issues.
    The relationship is over ("starting to turn to all these new people I’m meeting.." is not a good way to leave it) but it's important, to you and to her, that this is clear before you move to closure (and NC).
    Good luck

  4. #4
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    I agree that this line - "she was starting to turn to “all these new people I’m meeting” for some of what she was not getting" - strongly suggests there is someone else on her radar and she knew she needed to end it with you before acting on anything.

    As such, and given how you two left it, I would clarify with her that the relationship is indeed over and you two are best to go your separate ways entirely.

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  6. #5
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    Oof. Thanks so much you guys.

    I hear you all. It's a bitter, bitter pill, but I hear you.

    Things between us are civil, but I don't know if they will stay that way if this conversation is not handled correctly.

    I mean, am I supposed to ask directly if someone else is already involved?

    I find the prospect of talking over the phone more difficult that meeting up and talking in person one last time. I do suppose I am starting to feel some urgency behind it.

    Of course, as I begin to picture her with someone else, the desire to reverse the situation kicks in, nostalgia shines a light on everything that was good and I struggle to remember the many things that caused us trouble.

    How would you frame the conversation, or how would you go about it?

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by jackofmany
    I mean, am I supposed to ask directly if someone else is already involved?
    I don't see what you stand to gain by asking, to be honest.

    Chances are that if she is interested in somebody else, she will not be forthcoming with you about it. Most who leave and do have another option are not going to openly admit it to the person they've just broken up with, both because they know it looks bad and because they don't want to further hurt their ex.

    But let's imagine she reveals there is another guy on the scene - how will that knowledge help you?

  8. #7
    Gold Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Post was too long! Edited for conciseness:
    Just take care of you and be honest with each other.
    Last edited by Rose Mosse; 04-12-2019 at 04:39 PM.

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    I don't see what you stand to gain by asking, to be honest.

    Chances are that if she is interested in somebody else, she will not be forthcoming with you about it. Most who leave and do have another option are not going to openly admit it to the person they've just broken up with, both because they know it looks bad and because they don't want to further hurt their ex.

    But let's imagine she reveals there is another guy on the scene - how will that knowledge help you?
    Right. Exactly. That's probably what I needed to hear.

    I can't see how it would help me either. I wish I understood better why I feel like I need to know. I'm sure its just pride or something. Or maybe wanting her to say no there isn't and this is all really just a stepping back. But try as I might I can't quite get myself to believe that.

    It's funny. I was really coming to get in clear in my head that we had to split up. But now that we are, my head is spinning. I usually make a bit more sense.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Post was too long! Edited for conciseness:
    Just take care of you and be honest with each other.
    Thanks! Though i wouldn't have minded the length! It is hurting a lot, and this helps.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you. I wouldn't be so quick to torture yourself with the idea that 'everyone' who wants to move on to see other people will necessarily jump right onto someone else they've lined up. I've done what your ex did in terms of calling a breakup 'a break' when I was not mature enough to handle calling it done. While I'd been dazzled by all of the potential dating I could have been doing if only I wasn't mired in a relationship that wasn't working, I did NOT jump straight into the arms of someone else. I was at least shrewd enough to know that trying to position someone while I was still with a partner would make me disloyal, and worse, it would make me LOOK disloyal to anyone I would hope to impress.

    So in your shoes, I'd do my best to take assumptions off the table. You admit that the breakup would have come sooner or later, and nobody is ever truly prepared for that. But messaging to ask her intimacy status is a useless exercise, because she'd be foolish to answer that. I'd reconsider the value in messaging anything at all when your only source of control is to focus on where YOU stand on moving forward. Since you're not interested in taking up with anyone from the gate, which is a wise choice, you can begin instead to chart your own course without trying to manipulate answers from her about hers.

    Your percentage play is to trust that if the two of you were ever a meant-to-be deal, you'll both meet again on higher ground someday, but you'll both need to climb to that place on your own. This frees you to focus on a goal of surprising everyone, including yourself, with your resilience and ability to bounce back from this to invest in self development and healing. Then, regardless of whether this woman ever wants to reconcile or not, you'll be better positioned to handle that choice for yourself.

    Head high, you can do this.

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