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Thread: Breakup after 7 years on and off

  1. #1
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    Breakup after 7 years on and off

    Hello everyone I hope you're doing well,

    I'm currently a month into a breakup with a man who used to talk about our future and wanted to marry me. We met in high school and dated on and off up to college. The breakups before were initiated by me--most being from my insecurities and depression; the usual "he can do better than me". The last breakup I initiated I had felt unhappy in the relationship and broke up with him and dated a mutual friend of ours for one day before I didn't feel right. Within the week I had gone back to check up on him and he was doing awful. He was having self-identity issues and thinking about dying (though not trying to actively commit suicide or anything.) The dude I had left him for manipulated me and guilt tripped me for months along with other terrible things and I had a hard time cutting him out but I eventually did as my ex-boyfriend wanted. We got back together after a while of that and fast-forward two years to now. He ended it saying he didn't feel like he loved me anymore and that what had happened two years ago made him lose everything.

    I know I hurt him deeply and for the past two years I'd done all I can to help heal his hurt and trust. He said after a while that he did trust me and he believes me. During the breakup, he said I did nothing wrong and I did everything I could, but I disagree. Looking back on the last few months after the breakup I can say we definitely fell into complacency and negativity. The day before the breakup he sent me encouraging messages and told me how proud of me he was for getting over my past insecurities, how much he appreciated all the things I've done, and how I always tried my best in everything I put my mind to.

    We initially kept low contact for the first few weeks and met up twice to discuss the relationship (which was a no from him) and giving him his birthday presents I had gotten him before the breakup. When we discussed the relationship and breakup he said he felt unhappy that he couldn't feel anything for me anymore and it got to the point where he was drinking to try to feel anything. I agreed with him that it was unhealthy and I wished he had told me what was going on. I asked him if there would be a chance in the future, after he feels better with himself, for us to try again and gave me an "I don't know". He doesn't want a relationship right now and I understand and respect that.

    Currently, I'm trying to give him space and not contact him. He told me while he does not mind talking to me, he has no interest in doing so. Yet a few days ago he initiated contact by sending me a couple messages and pictures but the conversation wouldn't last too long and I left him alone after he stopped responding. As much as I hate the breakup, I understand why he did it--he was unhappy and that's all he really needs to make this decision. He's improving and finding hobbies to do and reaching out to old friends again (this was something I suggested while we were in the relationship, but he said he couldn't do it while in the relationship). He told me he would always put me first in the relationship and he did that to himself. That was never what I wanted and I told him that, that I wanted a relationship where we both focus on ourselves and each other.

    There's not much I can do other than focus on myself and my happiness and it's coming along. I'm finding the parts of me that I lost in the relationship: my self-confidence and independence. He told me in the end I was being really dependent on him and he's right. I'm sure that made it much more difficult for him during the relationship. I still think of him all the time and miss him dearly, but I know I can be happy with myself. I was happy with myself before but he filled my heart and after that left I felt so lost. I still have hope that there is a chance for us, as we've been through so much already and always came back together. However, I don't want to bank on that. Instead, I'm hopeful in the time we spend apart becoming better versions of ourselves.

    Anyways, this is terribly long but I was wondering if anyone has experienced a similar situation and how it turned out for you? What is the possibility that his unresolved issues from two years ago affected his feelings? Maybe he put up an emotional wall from it all? Advice would be greatly appreciated too. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Please do not contact him again. That is what you need to do to move on from this. Emotional wall? The times you broke up with him hurt, obviously. I mean, you broke up with him twice - leave the poor guy alone, now. He broke up with you probably deep down he was spent. I had an ex who broke up with me a few times and it took a lot out of me and finally *I* called it quits and like you, he tried to figure out 'what was wrong with me' what was wrong? He broke up with me more than once and i just could not do it anymore.

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    A little harsh don't you think? Yes, I'm aware I've hurt him and he's hurt me plenty of times, but we always worked through it and got over it. That's relationships you know? Not justifying anything bad that happened but we've been dating since we were teenagers and we're still growing up. Mistakes happen and he's told me time and time again that he trusts me.

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    Yes, it's possible he never felt as secure in the relationship again.

    It's likely a combination of several things - you two having a rocky past and him consequently not feeling as secure in the relationship, and getting together as teens. Those young relationships tend to have an expiration date, as both parties grow and change and move in different directions.

    I dated a now long-ago ex of mine for about 7-ish years as well. A few years into it, he told me he was having doubts about us and we nearly broke up. I was very surprised to hear this revelation from him, but we wound up staying together and trying to work through things. However, it most certainly affected my sense of confidence in the relationship and my trust in him in general. A few years later, we split for good. It was best for both of us to go our separate ways; I realized my feelings were no longer the same for him, either. Sometimes the damage is just too significant to "get over", so to speak. It worked out well for me in the end (and I think for him, too) as I was free to move on to date someone who was more seriously invested. You will be okay too, OP. It will feel strange moving forward without him as you've known each other a long time, but I suspect you will be better off for it as well.

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    Platinum Member Keyman's Avatar
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    On and off relationships never work out well. They are more addictions than actual relationships. It is something that comes up fairly regularly on this forum.

    On and off relationships usually stem from issues within ourselves, and as you stated, your insecurities and depression. You are using relationships as a means to try and heal these things, but it never works. That is why people leapt on to someone else straight away.

    You need to deal with your issues outside of a relationship. Work on yourself and find your own happiness, don't seek it in someone else. There is only one person who is responsible for your happiness, and that is you. And a happy relationship can never be sustained on drawing happiness from the other partner.

    So, leave this relationship alone and NEVER go back to it. Cut ties and do not engage, as like any addiction, you will get roped back in and in another year or two, will be back at the same situation.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. Give him space and go no contact to reflect in peace. The best way to become "a better version of yourself", is to get to a doctor for an evaluation and a referral to a therapist to address your depression and coexisting issues.

    Also spend less time on social media reading relationship platitudes. It would be better to develop yourself as a person through groups, clubs, classes, courses and volunteering in real life. Make friends with good people involved in healthy intelligent pursuits. Focus on your career and education.

    Do not accept blame and nonsense form this exbf such as his drinking, etc has to do with the bad relationship. Be glad you are rid of someone like this. Any who claims their drinking is due to you is a loser.
    Originally Posted by softbunny
    The breakups before were initiated by me--most being from my insecurities and depression

    he said he felt unhappy that he couldn't feel anything for me anymore and it got to the point where he was drinking to try to feel anything.

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    Originally Posted by Keyman
    On and off relationships never work out well. They are more addictions than actual relationships. It is something that comes up fairly regularly on this forum.

    On and off relationships usually stem from issues within ourselves, and as you stated, your insecurities and depression. You are using relationships as a means to try and heal these things, but it never works. That is why people leapt on to someone else straight away.

    You need to deal with your issues outside of a relationship. Work on yourself and find your own happiness, don't seek it in someone else. There is only one person who is responsible for your happiness, and that is you. And a happy relationship can never be sustained on drawing happiness from the other partner.

    So, leave this relationship alone and NEVER go back to it. Cut ties and do not engage, as like any addiction, you will get roped back in and in another year or two, will be back at the same situation.
    Yes, I agree using a relationship to try to heal those things never works. This was something I resolved years ago. As I said, he even mentioned it during the breakup and he said he was so proud of me. These past few years we were together it wasn't from a place of looking to be fixed or helped--it was from a place of unconditional love.

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    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    Yes, it's possible he never felt as secure in the relationship again.

    It's likely a combination of several things - you two having a rocky past and him consequently not feeling as secure in the relationship, and getting together as teens. Those young relationships tend to have an expiration date, as both parties grow and change and move in different directions.

    I dated a now long-ago ex of mine for about 7-ish years as well. A few years into it, he told me he was having doubts about us and we nearly broke up. I was very surprised to hear this revelation from him, but we wound up staying together and trying to work through things. However, it most certainly affected my sense of confidence in the relationship and my trust in him in general. A few years later, we split for good. It was best for both of us to go our separate ways; I realized my feelings were no longer the same for him, either. Sometimes the damage is just too significant to "get over", so to speak. It worked out well for me in the end (and I think for him, too) as I was free to move on to date someone who was more seriously invested. You will be okay too, OP. It will feel strange moving forward without him as you've known each other a long time, but I suspect you will be better off for it as well.
    Thank you for sharing your story. You mentioned people grow and move in different directions--I can understand that part for sure. The thing is though, we've consistently held very similar opinions of what we wanted in life. We've both wanted to move to the same places, visit the same parts of the world, and still enjoy similar things. We've always clicked and got along well; never really argued either except for whether or not the dog could sleep in the bed.

    I know I probably sound stubborn and for that I'm sorry. I just find it hard to give up on someone who I've been able to be completely open and comfortable around and vice versa. Someone who wanted to support me and someone I wanted to support as well.

    I know it'll be easier in time, but I know he's always going to have a special place in my heart.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Sorry to hear this. Give him space and go no contact to reflect in peace. The best way to become "a better version of yourself", is to get to a doctor for an evaluation and a referral to a therapist to address your depression and coexisting issues.

    Also spend less time on social media reading relationship platitudes. It would be better to develop yourself as a person through groups, clubs, classes, courses and volunteering in real life. Make friends with good people involved in healthy intelligent pursuits. Focus on your career and education.

    Do not accept blame and nonsense form this exbf such as his drinking, etc has to do with the bad relationship. Be glad you are rid of someone like this. Any who claims their drinking is due to you is a loser.
    I'm working my hardest on giving him space right now. I don't initiate anything but sometimes he does and I respond politely. Though he had something important come in the mail and he's stopping by tomorrow to pick it up. As for a therapist, I visited my doctor for other issues but they also recommended me to someone to talk to and I'm working on that right now. I'm not as affected by my anxiety and depression as much as I used to be but still getting help wouldn't hurt.

    I'm focusing on friends and school as well--I've got a year left to graduate with my degree. After that, who knows where I'll go.

    However, he never blamed me for his drinking. He was drinking because he felt guilty that he couldn't feel anything anymore. I think he's having problems feeling due to unresolved personal issues he has that he never faced. He talked to me about them before we got back together last time, but I don't think he ever focused on himself enough to settle it. The best I can do right now is wish him the best and try to support him from a distance.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    High school romances are meant to end and need to. You met as children just barely sorting out what this dating and romance thing is about. From there you do grow and change a lot. When you stick together, you actually hinder that growth and hold each other back. Problem is that eventually it does catch up with you. This is where you are at now. Don't confuse length of time being together and hard times with healthy relationships. Learning to let go is a huge part of personal growth.

    Anyway, you sound like you do have a good head on your shoulders and that you do very much recognize the issues and the fact that you both really do need to grow as people, develop your own lives, hobbies, etc. Be single and learn how to do that and be happy. So I think you'll be OK. Easier said than done, but just do it. Close this chapter for good and focus on actually doing in that last year of college what you should have been doing for the past 3 years - learning who you are as an individual rather than 1/2 of a couple.

    These kinds of on/off long term relationships are more about breaking a bad habit than what love looks like. At some point, once you truly move on, you'll know exactly what I mean by that.

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