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Thread: Waiting for partner to recover from mental breakdown...

  1. #1
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    Waiting for partner to recover from mental breakdown...

    Hey everyone, ENA has given me so much comfort while I'm recovering from fresh BU (11 days ago. I'm still in the beginning stages of this nightmare. Ugh).

    I'm having trouble discerning some emotions and I'd like to share specifics. This is a long one...
    I've had breakups before, from idiots and nice guys, they hurt, but this one is different. An almost 2 year love and a partnership so strong and compatible that totally became overcomplicated and messy in the last 2 months due to individual extreme stress and life changes, and miscommunications over such things. I experienced a pretty sudden breakup decided in a fit of panic and anger by my ex, who is notorious for compartmentalizing big emotions, especially during a big turning point in life. I'm a pusher and grew up seeing my parents have some earth shattering arguments but always coming back together, his parents never loved one another in a very patriarchal relationship and NEVER do any gritty talking about feelings. So he is an avoidant for sure. We both have things to grow from and work on. He is 31 and I'm 25. Just things I'm noting.

    Anyway, 2 weeks before breaking up he called my dad (he and my family often talked) to profess his love and commitment for me because I was afraid of moving across the country with him without a sign of marriage/financial security (moving for his career, not mine, so I didn't have anything lined up). He broke up with me 2 days later in a panic after I was hurtful and withdrawn during a time of relief for his job demands. A tortuous week of NC that ended in him drunkenly calling me home and saying he was hurt by me and needs time to recover but he is afraid of life without me, but he feels pressure to marry, he's never loved anyone like me, I'm the only person he wants to be with, he wants our life together and babies like we so often dreamed of, etc. A few days of awkward reconciliation, going to the grocery together, dog park, normal stuff. We love each other but are both hurt. This is all the same week as his upcomimg huge 7 year PhD defense, btw. Extreme stress for a guy that typically swallows hard feelings.

    He needs time and space to celebrate after his presentation with people from out of town and that need wasnt communicated like, AT ALL. So I get paranoid and call/text like a crazy person with no response for 3 days. He comes home and says he is still extremely stressed from work and celebrating didn't help, he feels I didn't respect his time and space. I wake him up from a nap to tell him when it comes down to it I love him and am willing to work through this tough time, to compromise, heal my own problems and work to grow our relationship again. He flips out and flat out tells me to move. Back home. Across the country to my family. That he loves me deeply, I'm the love of his life but it won't work and even of it could work, he wouldn't want it to. He never wants to see or hear from me again. He drives off, leaving me to pack what I can in my car. I throw up from shock and am the biggest mess I've ever been.

    I stay at a friend's place and the next AM come home before I drive. I tell him he owes it to me to talk before I drive 2000 miles distraught. He is eerily calm and cold and the person I love is GONE. He sits on the opposite end of the porch while I calmly but sternly say that I see right through him, that he is scared as hell for things in his life and things got hard with the layers of our lives but I know he just needs time and space to heal, travel and recover for a couple months before his postdoc move (which is only 7 hours away from where I left for, back home with my family). I tell him I love him, I know he loves me, but he is acting like his dad (who he does not like) and shutting himself down out of survival and fear. He is almost snidely laughing at me (COMPLETELY out of character for him to do with anyone). I told him I'm leaving for myself but also for our relationship, and I'll contact him in a few months. He said he will just say he agrees with that just so I'll leave. He told me 'this is a breakup. Not a break. You should leave before you say more bad things. I'm not my dad. I'm not my dad. I don't know how I'll feel in a couple months. I think we should have very limited contact at some point because we were best friends for 2 years.' He is like, repeating these things, like he is clinging to not having a nervous breakdown. He tries to hug me. I try to kiss his neck and he dramatically pulls away and turns to go inside.

    Guys, at this point I'm still so shocked. But I keep my composure and leave, saying 'ok, well I love you and know you love me so I'll be in touch.' Get in my car and drive 2000 miles in 2 days. The worst thing I have ever experienced. The day I left as I drove I did call him a bunch and he answered once, saying 'this isn't what I signed up for. I need time and space to close my heart off to you and to think about our future.' What a contradiction!

    Our family and friends are in shock. His sister says she believes in true love and second chances and that he is mentally suffering, that she doesn't think he is trashing our relationship but he is 'demolished'. His mom doesn't know if it's over. My family thinks he had a nervous breakdown and will come to his senses at some point (they are pretty pissed though). I've been NC for 10 days. We were supposed to grow old together. We loved each other and our families. We were the absolute best of friends and I cannot emphasize enough how this side of him came out of NOWHERE. Our roommate told me he changed the sheets immediately and took our photos down and seems to be doing 'really well'. Going out (he NEVER goes out), going on camping trips, working a ton.

    So much of my personal belongings are still there. I couldn't fit it all in my car. He is living in our space with my things, my bed, and I'm not there. And I haven't heard anything from him. Nothing to see if I made it home. My parents sent him an email (out of my control) that said he needs to mail some things back that have been in the family, they are disappointed he didn't even check my car to make sure it was safe to drive that distance with the weight, he responded 'thank you for the support and kindness while we were together. Please don't contact me. This is the last you will hear from me.' And he later responded with 'I'll send the things to Kate, but it won't be for a few weeks until I'm completely moved out'. They responded with a kind message saying they were sorry this is how things turned out, that love takes work and is not for the faint hearted, and they hope time and space to recover and heal will allow us to reevaluate our lives, whether to come together or part ways for good'. No response.

    I'm a mess. I wish a truck would hit me. This pain is indescribable. I go through times of feeling that of course we will be back together and forgive, work through this, because of what we had and what we were planning and what he said just a few days prior to this all happening. That he is experiencing a deeply terrible personal time and is desperately avoiding utter breakdown, and he will realize what he has done in a matter of weeks/months and reach out to me. We had a beautiful and solid partnership with 'normal' bumps in the road, but a shared vision for our lives and mutual respect, trust, and values. Other times I feel like I will never hear from him again. And I grieve, and sometimes throw up.

    I micro analyze. If he hates me so much, why are our shared google albums, some of them intimate, still up? He doesn't have social media but he hasn't blocked me on google. Why has he not thrown our household mementos and photos away (according to our roommate)? Why isn't he sending my things back now? I am beside myself. Am I looking into the throes of a mental breakdown in my most loved person? What the hell is going on? Or do I move forward but trust my gut that he is freaking the out and will come back to me? I also don't know how I'd handle contact if he did reach out. I figured the only thing I can do for my own sake is NC. If he hasn't contacted me yet, will he ever? I've enrolled in the program I wanted to pursue and I'm interviewing for jobs. Going to see a therapist. But I'm just going through the motions. I want to heal sober, release anger and instead have compassion, and work on myself. At this point, I can't drop the memory and imprint of the amazing person he was.

    People who have the 'move on, you'll love again, you're better than him' mindset - not here, please. No one knows what it was like to share our relationship. And who knows if I'll want reconciliation after a few months. I just need help processing right now. I'm looking for thoughtful, mature responses.
    Last edited by Swbymid; 04-20-2019 at 04:54 PM.

  2. #2
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    Break this into paragraphs.

  3. #3
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    Ah, thanks for that. I typed it on my phone and didn't think of that. Fixed, although I know it's still quite long.

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    Thanks. You will get more responses this way.

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  6. #5
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    Originally Posted by Swbymid
    I've had breakups before, from idiots and nice guys, they hurt, but this one is different. An almost 2 year love and a partnership so strong and compatible that totally became overcomplicated and messy in the last 2 months due to individual extreme stress and life changes, and miscommunications over such things.
    What was going on in these two months, exactly?

    I'm a little confused - was he already living in this city before you moved to join him? And where were you when he went out to celebrate with his friends after presenting his PhD? You say he came home after 3 days; does that mean you were at your shared home and didn't know where he was that entire time?

    I just need a bit of clarification on the above before giving my thoughts.

  7. #6
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    To start, I understand you don't want to be told to let go of this person or breakup (because you equate him with your happiness and desired future) but that is an unfair request to make. You came to an online public forum to seek
    "thoughtful, mature responses" and some of those responders may genuinely feel they cannot condone you continuing to pursue this relationship. I am one of them.

    He has treated you with enormous disrespect. He laughed in your face when you said that you "know" he loves you (I would maybe have had a reaction to that as well, because there is no way to discern another person's feelings), and convinced you to uproot yourself 2000 miles just to break it off and send you right back. These are not the actions of a reliable, loving partner regardless of what the rest of your relationship is like! This isn't about being "better" than him, I promise you that. Chasing a guy around who is communicating in every way he can that he thinks so little of you places you beneath him, at least it always will in his eyes.

    I also think it was a big mistake to say he is like his father. No one wants to be seen as their parents, whether they share traits with them or not. He probably finalized his decision in his mind with that comment. What was the intention of the comment anyway? It sounds like you are trying to manipulate this person into giving you the future you so desperately imagined with them and they are practically screaming at you that they don't see it the way you do.

    My comment may seem cold, and I apologize for that. I know it's a lot of tough love, but I think it's time to stop beating the dead horse and focus on moving forward. He is going to start his healing process and become acclimated to his new home 2000 miles away from you. You will regret staying in the same emotional space based on denial months from now. He may not even pick up the phone when that arbitrarily set time (by you) comes.

    I'm sorry for your loss. There's no quick solution to the pain. Take it one day at a time.

  8. #7
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    Sure. Thanks for asking.
    I initially lived with him as he finished school. His new job is across the country. So is where I just moved to back home. Right now he is wrapping up his work in our old city, and he is moving to his new job in July.

    2 months of me having a quarter life crisis and feeling sad that my needs were getting in the way of supporting him in the final months of his PhD. I was keeping the house tidy, cooking every night, grocery shopping, throwing random celebrations for his progress. And then I stopped because I was freaked out about this person I love choosing a career where it's so stressful he can't take care of himself and can't 'be there' in a relationship, let alone having children someday. He began seeing a therapist when I got real with him and said it's his responsibility to take care of his well-being at a certain point (he mentioned wanting to die). He had his own stressors going on that he wouldn't talk about.

    He didn't want me celebrating with his family and friends. He said it would cause too much stress because he was still hurt and just wanted to relax. He was staying in an air bnb with everyone. I didn't even know what day he was coming home.

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    @ SGH, Thanks for your response. I think the biggest thing I am dealing with is the shock of seeing this unknown side of my partner of 2 years having emerged seemingly overnight. The only explanation I want to give myself is a mental breakdown because I am not at the point of accepting that someone can just... be this way to someone they insisted they loved more than anything the day before.

  10. #9
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    I think that you need to stop excusing his behaviour. This was cruel and completely unacceptable.

    You need to see this as done. Do not reach out to him.

    I am certain that other things that were off, have occurred.

    I'm sorry, that someone has treated you so disgracefully.
    Last edited by Hollyj; 04-20-2019 at 05:40 PM.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by Swbymid
    @ SGH, Thanks for your response. I think the biggest thing I am dealing with is the shock of seeing this unknown side of my partner of 2 years having emerged seemingly overnight. The only explanation I want to give myself is a mental breakdown because I am not at the point of accepting that someone can just... be this way to someone they insisted they loved more than anything the day before.
    I understand your shock. I had a very similar occurrence with my last partner. It's terrifying to accept that the person you thought you could trust above everyone else is capable of the cruelty you experienced firsthand. It will take awhile for you to adjust your perception and look back and identify the signs, but you will eventually resolve the seeming suddenness in your mind. You said it yourself that he is "avoidant" which translates to cut-off emotionally and weary about bit commitments. One day this will make more sense to you, when you're ready to accept the reality of the situation.

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