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New Member, New Dumper - did I mess up?

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I am the dumper in this case, but I am miserable. Please let me know if I'm in the wrong here.


This guy is amazing: he's smart, he has a good heart, he's athletic. I've known him for years as an acquaintance (friends with his sister in college) but things just sparked up this year.


We bonded really fast, we've shared things and opened up to each other. He's confided in me about his family stuff and things he's never felt comfortable telling anyone else in his life. Same for me. I know my feelings and I fell for him (you know how there's always your last love in the back of your mind until you find the next one? This is a perfect example). I'm also the first "serious" gf he has had since college.


The issue is that he's not happy. He needs to figure out what to do with his life. He endured serious family issues and got into hard core drugs during college and after. He is better, but has a long way to go. He smokes pot and drinks right now but that's it. He just got certified to be a personal trainer but has no income right now. He can't drive for another year from his second DUI. He think he's wants to try and be an athlete one day, then he's thinking about getting his MBA; he is all over the place and in a rut.


The thing is I know him and know his potential (I hate that word but it fits). He got a 780 on SAT math alone. He majored in physics in college until he got into trouble. He was a D1 swimmer and always placed in the national lifeguard tournaments. He was that kid in high school that went to all the proms. Anyway, right now he feels defeated. Plus he hates that I'm "established" with a successful career, etc and he's not. We are so similar (as far as interests and core values), but we had different paths that led us to different places.


I have all the faith in the world that he can do whatever he wants to do, but I can't convince him, he needs to do it himself. I've gone through my own introspection so I know if I met the right guy, I'm ready to have the conversation: "I'm here, you're there. How do we make it work?". But he's not even close to understanding where he is. The other piece is that it was long distance (norcal to socal) and I know other people that have done that successfully but it started to stress us out. I did it because he's not even sure where he will be. I did it because I love him. But the truth is that I think I could handle the distance, or handle his uncertainty in life, but it's too much to handle both.


So anyway, I brought this all up to him. I said anything that's more of a stress (which our LD was) than something that helps should be evaluated and talked about. I said he needs to be happy with himself before it would ever work out with us. I said I'm totally supportive of him and glad he can confide in me but he needs to work out his past issues before anything.


He totally shut down. He won't talk to me. In general he avoids anything difficult by either shutting down, going in a different direction or pushing through without dealing. He calls me dramatic but I said there is a difference between being dramatic and bringing up an adult conversation that is uncomfortable but necessary.


Anyway, we've talked maybe twice on the phone since and it's been frustrating for both of us. He goes between "I have so much to say to you" to "I have nothing to say and talking makes things worse, write me an e-mail" (which is the worst!)


Truth is, feelings are feelings and I fell for this guy. I know he still cares about me so much too. When I initially brought this stuff up he said "the attraction is just a bonus. I respect you, I admire you, etc etc". Because we have this crazy connection, I hope to be friends someday at minimum.


But I am letting him go. I don't know how to make it work if he won't talk to me or deal with it. I let him know that I would always be there for him as a friend if he needed it, but that was it. Also it's a tricky situation because I can never say have a nice life. His sister is one of my good friends and she loves us both so he'll be around forever to some extent.


I cry everyday because I do care about him so much. I worry for him. I hope that someday he can straighten things out and it would work for us. But it's not fair to me to wait around until he may or may not.


Did I do the right thing? Is there something else I can do to help the situation?


Thanks for reading, it's long I know.

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You absolutely did the right thing. I just broke up with my bf yesterday for almost the same reasons. No direction, no motivation, but TONS of potential.


We broke up earlier in the year, 6 months later he had 'straightened out' and 'knows what he wants and how to get it' etc etc. Well, in 4 months of trying again, NOTHING has changed. I know that i deserve better in life. I love him and this is killing me but i don't want a life where i have to spend every last ounce of energy on him.


It hurts now but it will get better. I have to take my own advice. Welcome the pain and then get over it. Life will go one, without him. I am focusing on 2008 being ssssoooooo much better then this. It HAS to be...

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I have to agree in this case. It's weird as the dumpee (most recently) to say that you did the right thing, but he isn't at a place where he can have the type of relationship that you deserve. He proved it when he completely shut down during a "serious" conversation. If you can't learn how to communicate as a couple during those conversations, you'll never make it. He sounds like he has a lot of great things going for him and a lot of potential, but he isn't at the right place. Bad timing! I would support him as a friend (if he wants that) and you never know what the future could bring. In the meantime, you need to be open to meeting someone that can really be there for you. In this case, you are only there for him... you're a rescuer.

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You did the right thing. He has to get himself together before he is ready for any kind of relationship with someone. You may love him, but he has to be able to love himself...you can't help him if he doesn't want to help himself. You can't drag yourself down with him. One day, if he gets his act together, then maybe the two of you can try again.

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Thanks everyone. I guess it's so weird being this painful on this side of the fence. I guess the good thing is that I've endured a really rough past breakup and thought there was no way I'd ever feel better but I eventually did (years later lol). Hopefully this one will pass more quickly.


Merrick - it's crazy how you feel like you are the only one going through something but so many people are in the same boat. I'm sorry that you had to go through a rough year but we have the new year to look forward to!


BK - I totally agree about the communication piece. I am always one to brings things up rather than let it fester. I just had to think, what would happen when there were any future issues? Would I have to have an e-mail conversation with him for every one of them? It's also hard to think of myself as the rescuer. I have had my share of hardships and probably ruined other past relationships because I didn't take care of myself first. I finally did, just in time to see someone where I was 4 years ago. Frustrating.


Crazy - My friend said to me, "At least you can just move onto another guy. He would have this problem with any other girl". Also, it's hard to think about "one day"!!!!


Also, it's good that my friend isn't taking sides. I'm supposed to hang out with her soon.

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To be honest, I am extremely impressed with how you handled yourself in this relationship. You can tell how much you care for this guy, but you can also see how skilled you are at caring for yourself.


You are right in the fact that you cannot have a relationship with this guy. Like you said he has a lot of potential. It is important in all relationships to love and appreciate the potential in our partners because their growth should be a main concern. However, it is important for the person to also have tools that can promote growth. Like you also said, he doesnt have a lot going on right now that is aiding his life. Furthermore, you tried to speak to him about all of this stuff, and his reaction was severely underdeveloped. How do you think you would have reacted to someone talking about the stuff you were trying to bring up? I imagine you would have reacted to the conversation in a positive way. It doesnt seem (from just how you seemed to be from your post) that you would have ignorned the issues. His reaction is not behavior that helps facilitate any sort of deep relationship.


I am not trying to speak poorly about your ex. We are all here because we loved someone, including their faults. This is such a vital thing to the act of loving. In your situation though, it seems as if some of these faults will forever limit his ability to successfully love someone. You could wait for him to change, but like you said, I dont think thats a good idea.


It seems like you have a lot going for yourself. You were upfront about specific problems. You accepted an imperfect person. You have faith in his ability to grow. These are ingredients to a healthy relationship that are hard for some to find. It seems that at this time, your ex is lacking some of these things. If I were to suggest something to you, I would say to attempt to heal from this relationship. Give yourself an indefinite amount of time to feel healed before getting into a new relationship. When that time comes, probe a little further in potential boyfriends and determine if they can be on a similar level with you in terms of intelligence and care towards a relationship. Like your friend said, you can exsist in a loving relationship whereas your ex has some growing to do. All you have to do is heal, and all that takes is time.

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Nice. Well, I'm sorry again that you had such a rough run with this. It might be tougher to be the dumpee, but that doesn't mean it's easy to be the dumper. And it shows many of us just how much pain our dumper might actually be going through. I think it shows very strong character that you were able to look at the bigger picture and make a decision for both of you.

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  • 7 months later...

So he moved to San Diego, we talked maybe 3 times over e-mail previously, but the past month has been pretty active, we have been e-mailing and now I am seeing him on Saturday.


He has a real job, is studying for GMATs and seems really happy.


All this time I have casually seen other people but my feelings for him have never gone away. I told him if I see him that we should talk before we see each other in person just so the actual time together is relatively laid back. We haven't addressed "us" since the end of last year.


Anyway he agreed to talk to me but wrote an e-mail and prefaced it with the fact that he still has strong feelings for me (I never told him how I feel now) but he still can't do long distance.


The weird thing? I really love this guy, like a whole different love than I've ever had before. I truly care more about him being happy down there and getting his life together than me being with him. When I used to love guys in the past it was more of a selfish love in comparison, I needed them, I needed them to want to be with me. Maybe I'm older but it's so much more important for me for him to be okay, with or without me. It pains me to think he's not in any way.


Don't get me wrong, it's killing me that we can't be together right now.


So anyway this weekend we will see each other, agree we have strong feelings for each other, and then what? Should I try to be friends with him moving forward?

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This story mirrors exactly what happened to me, except I was the dumped at one point. Once I found out she cheated on me, I turned the tables and dumped her. Ths story even is the same for the GMAT, and the SAT score, to the recent break up, even to the moving! LOL Are you talking about me?!


You can try to be friends, but the person you loved will be different. Let him grow. Let him become the man you want him to be before you allow the attraction to work. Otherwise, he will lean on you again and you don't need that right now. You need to lean on someone else and support each other equally.


Maybe one day it can work out again, but take it slowly. Let him really change.

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