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Thread: How to minimize harm when breaking up with somebody dependent on you?

  1. #1
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    How to minimize harm when breaking up with somebody dependent on you?

    I have posted about my relationship issues previously... I have more or less thought through my options and the bottom line is that both my girlfriend and I are unhappy at the status quo, but she is unwilling to let go of me because she is terrified of being alone, having never been truly independent all her life. She readily admits that she is my "limpet" and does not know what she will do if I force her off.

    I am terrified of how much I will hurt her when I cut the cord. My chest literally hurts and I get emotional whenever I just think about the hurt I will put her through. She knows something is up, she is grasping, trying to get me to make commitments and promises that I cannot... But I don't think it is fair for me to force myself to stay in an unhappy relationship, to be her carer, get married and have children out of responsibility, when I know that we are not compatible and our relationship has been a drain on my mental health since her sister's drama began...

    So what can I do to minimize the pain? I plan to let her stay in my house for the time being, help her get a lawyer to get a fair settlement with her sister. I am dreadfully worried that without me, her sister is going to walk all over her and rip her off even more. But I am also hesitant to stay too involved in her life, as that will probably make it very hard for her to move on. I also think she is going to hate my house even more now...

  2. #2
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    It makes no sense to break up and allow a person to stay in your home. If you want to subsidize her rent and security somewhere else, fine, but breaking up before you're ready to cut the cord is messy and far more damaging to both of you than a clean break.

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    You sound very co dependent. You are not her father, and are doing her a disservice by continuing this pattern- you need to address what you get out of this dynamic.

    Does she have a job?

    You need to end this. Now!

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    This woman is about 40 and you are treating her like a child. Why doesn't she seek a lawyer, who is more qualified?

    Mirror, you give a lot of great advice. How would you answer your own question?

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    You sound like a caring person but sometimes it's cruel to be kind. By continuing to "help" her you are telling her that she's incapable of helping herself.

    It's hard to break up when one person allegedly has no where to go. I had to do it once. I gave him 1 week to get out. He negotiated for 2 weeks which I gave him & I gave him $500 cash in moving expenses. He told me it was a loan but I knew he'd never pay me back & that was OK. $500 was a small price to pay to have the relationship be over.

    Set a hard deadline & get her out. The best thing you can do is make a clean break. Do not give her false hope. Give her an actual break point from which she can begin her healing.

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    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    I mean.....it's quite arrogant on your part to place such value and power in yourself that breaking up and not having you in her life will just destroy a 40 year old ADULT. That's some serious hubris you've got going on disguised as caring. Breaking up isn't going to emotionally destroy a grown woman her age.

    That said, if you want to be a decent human being, then be honest, be clear and deal fairly with her in terms of the living situation. As in offer reasonable time for her to find other accommodations and help financially if necessary to facilitate that faster. As another poster pointed out - money well spent. Do not promise to be friends, do not string her along, do not give her hope of getting back together, be very very clear that it's over and it's permanent. This means that you do not stay involved in her life, her sister issues, her living with you, etc. Clean break, clear break. That's really the kindest thing you can do.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Mirror, you give a lot of great advice. How would you answer your own question?
    This.

    You're razor-sharp, Mirror, but it seems you're reluctant to look at your own situation through the same lens you use to see others. Totally human, all that. But also limiting. With a little distance, or a little more humility, I think you'll see that your portrayal of her says as much about your own fragility as it does hers, and that some of your hesitancy right now is connected, at least subconsciously, to you not being ready to make eye contact with those fragile corners of yourself. You're seeing too much ego reflected back in that "mirror," in short.

    So I don't sound preachy: I've been in a version of your shoes, in my last relationship. I played the role as the one who had the business of life figured out, while she played the role as the one for whom the business of living was walking through quicksand. There was some truth to all that. There was also plenty of truth to me liking the very role I bemoaned, because with the costume off I'd have to confront my own quicksand, my own hubris, my own fragility.

    She is an adult. Treat her like one, because that's what she deserves and because, odds are, you want to be a man who can learn to treat, view, and connect with women as fellow adults, not broken birds. Whatever hurt she feels is hers to feel, not yours to minimize or mitigate. So come up with a plan that you believe is fair, and execute it. I don't know how long you're in Singapore, but maybe it's giving her one month in your home while you're still away. With a reasonable amount of financial assistance that comes in one gesture, not a trickle that extends things under the guise of softening the pain. Or something.

    It's not easy, I know. Life is not always easy, and this is a hard juncture for you both. But it's time to stop finding validation by being someone's crutch and start finding it by treating peopleóher, yourself, whoever is to cross your path in the futureóas the full-fledged adults they are.

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    The way to minimize harm is honesty, and to not drag it out. Making her wonder, Her saying "i love you" and hearing silence on the phone, etc.
    Be honest, tell her that while you love her, the relationship is making you both unhappy. Sell the place that you don't live in and inform her it will be for sale or give her a timeframe to move out. You would give a tenant at least 30 days. Give her a few months, and stick to it. Not "a few months" but an actual deadline that is fair. Does she pay rent?

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    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Firstly, I suggest you get your own therapy to help you with your White Knight Syndrome. Then, once you realize how selfish that you enabling her is (to be the child that she appears to be) you will be able to sever the cord that attaches YOU to her.

    If she gets herself a lawyer to help her with the the problems with her sister, she will be taken care of without you being involved or having to worry about her.

    If she lives in your home then you can give her the standard (in most places) 60 day vacate notice and by doing so, you'll allow her to grow into the independent adult she should be by now. Currently you help her stagnate in her adult child-like state.

    Bottom line: This is about you and your addiction/attachment and enabling character. Anyone not codependent would get her out of their life (even by kindly giving her first and last months deposit on her own place if that's what it took) wish her luck with her lawyer and her therapist (hopefully she's seeing one) and then go zero contact so that she can grow from the needy, "broken bird" (as Blue so aptly opined) that she is.

  11. #10
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    Mirror, where are you?

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