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Thread: Should I give it a third chance?

  1. #1
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    Should I give it a third chance?

    Hello all. I'm new to this forum. Thanks in advance for your time and advice.

    My ex and I dated for 6 months when he suddenly sent me a text saying he wanted to break up. I was shocked as it came completely out of the blue. To me our relationship was mostly good, if not great; we had arguments, but I felt very much in love and loved at the time. Actually, only a couple of weeks ago we'd just had some candid conversation about our expectations and issues in the relationship and decided to work on those things together. He was somewhat unhappy with his job, but always told me how much he loved me and was happy to be with me. I didn't have the slightest inkling that he was planning on leaving me like this. That said, I respected his decision and let him go. His explanation was that our differences (I need emotional connection and closeness more than he does, we have different views on some political issues, etc.) had worn him out and that he had lost hope for our future.

    A few days later he reached out, and we met up to exchange our stuff the following weekend (we were staying at each other's place a lot) but ended up keeping them where they were. He admitted that he was acting cowardly and apologized. I let him know what he did hurt me, but I cared enough to give it another shot, with the condition that we take things slow and work on the issues he brought up.

    For better or worse, we didn't exactly "take things slow." It was partly because he was impatient (he was a bit upset once I stayed over but didn't want to have sex) and partly because I didn't have the resolve to know or do what was the best for us. We slipped back into the old rhythm pretty quickly. It was soon followed by my birthday and we had a nice vacation together. Since then things started to turn downhill. He became a bit distant and I was dissatisfied. After a seemingly trivial argument escalated to me telling him I don't feel loved and him saying he couldn't stand me accusing him of this and that, we sat down and had another long talk. I sensed that he might have "lost hope" again, but I tried to tell him it was normal to have ups and downs in a relationship, it doesn't mean we can't be happy together, that I still love him and I have not lost faith in him. He hugged me and said he loved me, and we fell asleep holding each other tight.

    The next morning he kissed me goodbye and went to work. In the afternoon I got another long text from him saying he was sorry but he didn't feel like he really wanted to stay in the relationship. I know it seems like a pattern by this point. We have dated a total of nine months. And it's been barely 2 months since he asked me for a second chance. I felt like an idiot.

    It was painful, but not too difficult to move on knowing he couldn't be the person I once thought he was. I returned a check for his gift. During the first 2 months after the breakup he texted me a few times, but it's been pretty brief and business like. He apologized again and said he had a good time with me. Other than that last argument, we have been pretty civil and never so much as said mean or hurtful things to each other. I had trouble eating or sleeping in the first few weeks, but by that time I have mostly recovered and started dating again.

    After those 2 months he started texting more frequently and eventually suggested to hang out and "catch up." We met up about 2.5 months after the breakup, first just hanging out "as friends" but within a couple of days he expressed that he still loved me and wanted to get back together. To me there was no longer much to "get back" to, which he understood, so he suggested we start dating anew and outlined a plan to build a different, stronger relationship. I realized I still liked him and enjoyed his company, more so than any of the guys I've met and dated since. I also acknowledged my own part in the breakup and felt it would be promising if we could both learn from our mistakes. So we started casually dating a few times a week.

    It's been another month since we started doing this. Things have been pretty decent so far - we had some great time together, and he was making an effort to change the things that lead to our breakup. I have decided not to put a "relationship" label on it and not to have sex until I am more certain about what I feel and want, and he has been supportive. We try to be open with each other and discuss every week or so about where we think things are going, what need to be addressed, etc. He is also making future plans regarding us and his career and appears committed to his effort.

    A couple days ago we brought up the topic of dating during the 2.5 months when we were broken up. It was not a pleasant topic, but I didn't expect it to bother me as much as it did. He admitted that he had a 6-week fling with someone that started 3 weeks after the breakup and ended 2 weeks before we reconnected again. I know he was free and single at the time and had every right to do what he did, but I couldn't help but feel what we had never meant much to him (which I should have already known) if it was that easy for him to walk away and move on. I also feel he never really had much time to experience being single and reflect on things, although he said he did and his mindset really changed. Worse still, I feel like I might be the backup plan he's turning to when his new relationship didn't work out. I know this is just my insecurities thinking, but it brings up all the feeling of hurt and betrayal during those two breakups. I gave him a second chance and only got myself a second heartbreak. Do I really want for a third? He was super apologetic and tried to reassure me, but we both knew no words could make me feel better about it right now.

    I have had this feeling of sadness in the back of my mind for the past 2 days. I feel letting him any further into my life will open those old wounds and undo all the healing I had struggled through, though I also see a future of us if things could really change for the better. I appreciate what he did for me in the past month and don't want to punish him for telling me the truth. I believe him that there was no cheating or micro cheating involved, or I wouldn't be so torn. My therapist suggested me hold off making a decision now and see how things go. I don't know how long it will take for me to get over these feelings, if at all possible. What do I do?

  2. #2
    Bronze Member Skeptic76's Avatar
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    What I’m hearing, and please tell me if I’m way off base, is that you really do want to give a third chance but the fling with the other woman is bothering you?

    It would probably trigger my own insecurity buttons too if I’m honest but I can tell you that a lot of men I know (myself included) have thrown themselves into new relationships immediately after leaving meaningful ones in an attempt to avoid processing their feelings. It’s a bad strategy because the new relationship is usually doomed from the get-go and then when it ends the feelings from the meaningful one are still there waiting to be faced, haha. BUT, an exciting “fling” is definitely an effective way to distract oneself and deny the loss of the last relationship *in the beginning* so people turn to it like a drug. Doesn’t necessarily mean he moved on that easily, could be quite the opposite.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck to you and I hope you are gentle with yourself!

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I agree with your therapist and hold off making any decisions. This relationship seems fraught with issues. For a period of less than one year, this man cannot agree to be in committed relationship with you for any number of reasons. You should be reading the signs by now but you're at the height of your emotions and neither of you have had adequate time to heal and look back in hindsight at how poorly you've both been doing.

    I don't like the nature of or the transition and morphing that this relationship seems to have changed into either. It's heavy, dark and still full of issues. Each week you're reconvening only to hash out issues and check in with each other on your deep thoughts and fears. Perhaps there was a void previously (not enough sharing) or lost time you're catching up on but it shouldn't be this dark and heavy. Neither of you seem to have suffered severe losses, there were no giant breaches of trust, there are no in-laws, kids, famines and natural disasters. Why is it so necessary to check in with each other so heavily each week? Maybe I'm perceiving it as weighty from the tone in your words but it's really not. Maybe you can clarify. If you do feel that the darkness in the relationship is growing and there is more doubt and uncertainty than lightless (lightheartedness), love and natural joy, this is not right.

    I hope you feel better soon.

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    Skeptic and Rose Mosse, thank you for your responses. I do feel a bit better today after talking with my therapist and posting here.

    Skeptic76 - Such was what he tried to explain. He said whatever short relationships (or non-relationships) during those 2.5 months were completely different from what we had and have now (I asked him if he was sad when breaking off with this girl. He said maybe for a day or two but it was too short to be really sad over. I reminded him that we have just started dating again for a shorter amount of time. I know I was pestering with no possibly satisfactory answer, but those were my intuitive thoughts.) He said he wanted to be with me permanently if I would let him. I trust him to be sincere at the moment but I don't know how consistent we can be over time. As you can see there was a bad track record.

    Rose Mosse - Indeed. I should have been more clear, though. It is not always dark and heavy since we reconnected. It was mostly lighthearted fun until this past weekend. He has been making himself very available, attentive to my needs and constantly telling me he loves me although I've made it clear I'm not on the same page right now. From what he said he had learned what went wrong and was confident and determined to fix them. Therefore I was open to the idea of a third chance. I have my doubts and reservations for obvious reasons but until this recent conversation I saw no reason of calling it off for good.

    We talked about the breakup and the past before but mostly in calm and mature manners, and it didn't make me feel sad like this. Actually, I thought I was prepared for any answer when the question came up - it was him that was somewhat dreading the answer. I have met and dated other people, one of which I kept seeing for a month or so, but I did not get intimate with any of them. Not because of my ex, I just didn't feel like it when I was so fresh out of a relationship. But those are my own boundaries and I do not expect my ex to act accordingly. I just didn't know hearing him saying it would make me feel so sad.

    But maybe that's just the trigger - what really bothers me also includes the way he handled those two breakups. Those memories weren't hurting me a month ago as I have mentally moved on and accepted the loss as a fact of life, looking forward to a future without him. But I just realized that as my affection grows again those memories have become once again hurtful, as they contradict the profound love that he claimed he's always had for me (he said he loved me when he left but didn't feel we could be happy together, and now he sees it differently and wants to do what it takes to make it work.)

    To further put things into perspective, he did give me a pass on something similar earlier, about 3 months into our first relationship. I "kicked him out of my apartment" (in his words) after an argument and reached out a few days later when I calmed down and realized I still wanted him. To me I was just requesting a break but he took it as a breakup. It was also clear that I was angry and emotional at the time, although it might still have been a shock to him (the argument itself was sudden and progressed quickly). We got back together right away, and I have not broken up with him since.

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  6. #5
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    Do you enjoy having this guy dump you repeatedly? Girl, where is your self respect.

    Block and delete this clown, and find someone you can have a future with. It will NEVER be him!

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. Doesn't this sound like a lot of drama and volatility to you in a relatively brief time? On/off, in/out, too much too soon, etc? Why not step back and reflect what all the chaos is about?
    Originally Posted by SophiaG
    about 3 months into our first relationship. I "kicked him out of my apartment" (in his words) after an argument and reached out a few days later when I calmed down and realized I still wanted him. To me I was just requesting a break but he took it as a breakup. It was also clear that I was angry and emotional at the time, although it might still have been a shock to him (the argument itself was sudden and progressed quickly). We got back together right away, and I have not broken up with him since.
    Last edited by Wiseman2; 10-23-2019 at 04:14 PM.

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    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Sorry for the hurt and confusion.

    You're going to make whatever choice works for you—and it seems you're looking at it all quite consciously—but I can't help but detect an awful lot of tension, drama, and disconnect between two people who have, in the scheme of things, just met. At least from your two posts, it's a bit like you skipped over the relationship part to the "can we save this" part, with each of you reacting from a place that might be driven by more than curiosity, joy, and affection.

    The impression I'm getting of him (which is to say the impression I'm getting from your words) is that he's petty vague, wishy-washy, not super capable of sitting alone in his own skin. And all that makes him someone you can't quite respect and trust. I can't say I blame you, given the track record, though I wonder if "seeing" if you can trust and respect him is connected to some larger goal and identity you've been wrestling with—if "making this work" represents something to you that is bigger than the hard math of what you plus him equals.

    I suppose, in your shoes, I'd be asking the question of whether you truly feel, in your gut, that you guys are compatible. That doesn't mean just having good times and hard talks, but a kind of calmness to the spirit. There can be a lot of comfort and "safety" in imagining the potential of a relationship, and trying to realize that potential with and alongside someone. But if the "potential" is being leaned on as a salve to a turbulent "actual," I think it's always wise to try to step back with clear eyes, since in the end the potential is always unknown while the actual is what is always, and only, real.

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    Can you be OK if you do reconcile and end up with a third breakup?

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    Certainly not :(

    Fortunately I think my self respect is mostly intact, which helped me recover from the last breakup and look at this potential reconciliation with more than a vengeful, "now is my chance to dump you" perspective. He did hurt my pride, but I don't think I'm the only one whose ego was hurt in the process. If I do take him back, it will be because I am confident that we love each other and can create a future together, not because I cannot imagine living without him or can't let go of the past. I will not sacrifice my happiness just to be with him.
    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Do you enjoy having this guy dump you repeatedly? Girl, where is your self respect.
    You are right. That's probably exactly what happened, too much too soon. We were strongly attracted to each other and got into a relationship within a couple of weeks. In two months he introduced me to his friends and family and was basically spending 6 days a week at my place (not moving in, just staying over). Of course we both enjoyed it and was madly happy at first, which made the later clashes all the more painful. He did feel moving too fast didn't do too well for us the first time and propose to take things slow (which I asked for after the previous breakup but we didn't follow through) and allow us more time and space to ease into each other's life this time. I don't know how much time will be enough though; it just felt so natural at the time.
    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Sorry to hear this. Doesn't this sound like a lot of drama and volatility to you in a relatively brief time? On/off, in/out, too much too soon, etc? Why not step back and reflect what all the chaos is about?

    Those are very wise words, bluecastle. My description certainly painted him a certain way which perhaps didn't do him justice, but I was focusing on the dysfunctional parts of our relationship. Do you mean we "just met" in the a little over a year we've known each other, or the past month since we "met" again?
    Also I'm not sure I understand "some larger goal and identity you've been wrestling with" correctly... Are you thinking of goals like marriage, kids, or simply wanting to be in a relationship?
    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Sorry for the hurt and confusion.

    You're going to make whatever choice works for you—and it seems you're looking at it all quite consciously—but I can't help but detect an awful lot of tension, drama, and disconnect between two people who have, in the scheme of things, just met. At least from your two posts, it's a bit like you skipped over the relationship part to the "can we save this" part, with each of you reacting from a place that might be driven by more than curiosity, joy, and affection.

    The impression I'm getting of him (which is to say the impression I'm getting from your words) is that he's petty vague, wishy-washy, not super capable of sitting alone in his own skin. And all that makes him someone you can't quite respect and trust. I can't say I blame you, given the track record, though I wonder if "seeing" if you can trust and respect him is connected to some larger goal and identity you've been wrestling with—if "making this work" represents something to you that is bigger than the hard math of what you plus him equals.

    I suppose, in your shoes, I'd be asking the question of whether you truly feel, in your gut, that you guys are compatible. That doesn't mean just having good times and hard talks, but a kind of calmness to the spirit. There can be a lot of comfort and "safety" in imagining the potential of a relationship, and trying to realize that potential with and alongside someone. But if the "potential" is being leaned on as a salve to a turbulent "actual," I think it's always wise to try to step back with clear eyes, since in the end the potential is always unknown while the actual is what is always, and only, real.

    Great question. I think in the long run most of us (if not all) will be okay with any kind of breakup, although some takes a bigger toll than others. In the best scenario, if we stay together for the rest of our lives, we'll still lose one another to accidental or eventual death. To love is to take the risk of loss, but I think many people will be willing to take that risk if the odds seem to be in their favor. I think I'll be fine either way, but I don't fancy the hurt and disappointment should I trust him prematurely and nothing really changed. Of course, I realize those can also come with any new person I choose to become involved in...
    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    Can you be OK if you do reconcile and end up with a third breakup?

  11. #10
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SophiaG
    Do you mean we "just met" in the a little over a year we've known each other, or the past month since we "met" again?
    Also I'm not sure I understand "some larger goal and identity you've been wrestling with" correctly... Are you thinking of goals like marriage, kids, or simply wanting to be in a relationship?
    Yes, I meant "just met" in that you are very new people in each other's lives—and, in a very short time, you have experienced a pretty staggering level of emotional turbulence. We all have different scales to measure the worth of romance, and different needs. While I'm personally prone to explore just about every emotional/psychological rabbit hole that humanity can devise, I'm someone who does not want relationships to feel like psychological experiments or endurance tests, especially off the bat. Just me, showing my bias.

    To the other question: I think you kind of answered it, in your reply to bolt, if perhaps also to me. Were I to stab in the dark, I'd say that being in a functional relationship, and being someone who can make a relationship function, is of high conscious value to you—a value that predated your meeting him. So now he is a variable in seeing if that "you" can be realized. Guess I'm just saying to make sure to have a clear eye on the variable as well as the general experiment.

    This is a guy you've had a pretty rocky year with, all in all. He's great, kind, the chemistry is astounding, you laugh a lot—I get it. Not negating it. Still, two breakups in a year is rocky. Fear is a third is rocky. I'd be looking at it though that prism, rather than the forever prism that ends with accident or death and in which love does not blossom without risk. That is the potential stuff—too far on the horizon, right now, to factor in, at least in what I'm seeing here.

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