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How do you get him to see that you've changed?


grieving
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Hi,

 

This is my situation.

 

I was travelling in Cuba in July for a month when I received a series of emails indicating that my boyfriend at the time was doubting our relationship. We'd been dating for 2.5 years, most of it long-distance and he supported me through the death of my father, which happened only a few months after we'd been dating.

 

Anyway, I panicked when I got the emails and when I got home, he was at the airport waiting to break up with me. I persuaded him to try to work things out but now, 4 months later, he's broken up with me saying he can't get over the fact that he felt that we weren't right for each other while I was travelling.

 

The problem is is that I've changed so much after travelling and all the things that were wrong with our relationship (my father dying, long distance, demanding jobs) are not there anymore. I'm moving back to the city he lives in, I've managed to make peace with my dad's death and I can be the woman he wants. But he's so jaded, he can't bring himself to believe that it's true and has given up on this relationship without really trying. During these past 4 months, he's had major surgery in a different city, we took a break without contact to figure things out and we haven't been in the same place at all. He hasn't even tried to understand this new person I've become - we haven't spent any time together at all.

 

How can he walk away from what he says is the most wonderful relationship of his life? He says I'm his best friend and he can't understand his world properly without me. He says he still misses me acutely, even now, after 4 months of distance and space. He wants to be friends and is willing to give me all the time and space I need to try to do that. He said he doesn't want to accept that this wonderful thing can come to an end but that he has to try to and that he is 100% sure that being in this relationship is not what he wants.

 

How can I still be at the center of his life and how can he walk away?

 

What should I do? I am devastated and I have no idea how to feel.

 

Thanks for your advice.

 

- Grieving

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Hi,

 

Perhaps you can just make sure you can try to understand what he is looking for by asking questions and trying not to be too emotional in responding. And try to communicate your feelings to him thoroughly.

 

And once you have made your stand clear and explained everything to each other, it may take time for him to be able to reverse his decision again. So you would have to wait, I guess, to see what he finally decided.

 

He probably also had to wait a lot waiting for those adverse conditions in th relationship to disappear before making the decision at the easiest time for himself (when you were away).

 

So maybe its just your turn to be a bit patient with him? Whatever happens take heart because we care. Guys find it easier to do what they feel is the right thing even when their emotions say otherwise. So the way i see it once he has all the information he needs to change his mind the ball is in his court and patience is yours to practise.

 

Regards, and please don't feel devastated just yet!

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Hi,

 

It's me again.

 

I guess after reading Osewa's encouraging words, I realized I need to write more. As I wrote earlier, my ex boyfriend broke up with me after a very difficult 2.5 years of family deaths, distance, depression and illness. He thinks we don't work because I can't give him the intimacy and openenss he needs in a relationship. I think I am capable of these things now. I think that he can't see that my depression, insecurities and fears following my dad's death were normal and hard on any couple, especially one who'd been dating for only 2 months before he died.

 

My friends are amazed that we lasted through our crazy adverse conditions as long as we did. He even wanted to marry me, spend the rest of his life with me a year ago. I couldn't reciprocate because of all I was going through. I knew I would want to one day, and I'm ready now, but he says it's just too late - he says he can't come back from all the frustrations of loving someone and them not feeling secured and loved in return.

 

He says he is trying to reconcile still loving me with the fact that we don't work as a couple. After 1.5 months post-breakup, he is still trying to accept that it's over. He says he'll be happier this way. He wants to remain friends but he's not sure how. He says he can't allow our friendship to die. I asked him if he still meant these things, if these were just guilty words or real feelings. He said they were real.

 

He's never attempted to be friends with an ex before. When I asked him about our chances of getting back together, he said that for right now absolutely not but that he can't predict how feelings morph and change over time.

 

We're both regrouping and taking time to heal before attempting contact again. But we're both very dedicated to remaining friends.

 

So this is very confusing for me.

 

I guess if anyone has any perspective on the situation, would you mind sharing - do I sound crazy when I say that it seems like there might be a chance of us getting back together? What are people's thoughts on this story?

 

Thank you so much for this forum. I can't believe how much calmer I feel after typing this our.

 

-Grieving

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You don't sound crazy.

 

Right now, it seems he's determined being friends is the only solution to feeling strongly about you, and yet being sure you're not compatible as a couple. I don't think anything you can say in words will change his mind, rather, it might make him all the more subconsciously determined to "prove" his stance is the right one. After all, he's going to be understandably wary of jumping back into something he felt wasn't ever going to work. I agree with Osewa on that point - it's not just guys either, if people think their feelings are at odds with what they think is "right" for them, it takes a while to accept that it might not be so "right" after all.

 

You said you're not in contact at the moment while you regroup? I'd take this time to worry less about him, and more about yourself, so when you do resume contact, you can handle being friends, knowing that may be all it stays at. Your actions are going to speak louder than anything you can say, and your true feelings are going to come accross to him - if you want him to really see you've changed, you've got to be in a position where you have, to the point that you're open to more than being friends, and yet not relying on that chance. And be prepared to be just that - a good friend he can really depend on, if you accept his offer of friendship, don't go into it before that won't hurt you.

 

Make sure you take time to do things that are just for you, things that will make you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in them and yourself, and be doing that for yourself, not for him. If you've grown and changed - he has to see it for himself, not just hear the words, and that has to come from inside you.

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Thank you Morrigan.

 

As time is going on now (we broke up about 2.5 weeks ago now), I'm realizing that there were a lot of problems with our relationship that weren't just mine - he had many difficulties in opening up to me as well. He's stubborn and rigid and quite inflexible when he makes up his mind about things. And when we last spoke, he admitted that he hadn't fully revealed to me how unhappy he'd been for so long and that he didn't really try to get to know me again after I came back from Cuba and convinced him to wait before breaking up.

 

Some of my friends think that he got hurt while I was depressed and that by breaking up with me he is striking back at me. He's not a man that deals well with disappointment - he leads a charmed life with very few obstacles. I feel as though he's convinced himself that we can't make each other happy just so he can avoid admitting that he got hurt and was angry with me for not being what he wanted me to be when he wanted it.

 

It's just hard to understand whether or not the relationship could have worked. Maybe we would have grown and changed each other had all those crazy external circumstances not been in the way. And this very real "what if" is what is making it so hard to move on - I am finding it difficult to accept that time could play such a big role in us ending.

 

So I guess you're right - he is very determined to pour his feelings for me into a friendship. When we last spoke, when we decided to regroup before trying to be friends again, he said he also feels very destructive and guilty. He said he felt guilt for not being able to try again. He said he just needs to turn this page and walk away.

 

It just seems like he was caught in a struggle between trying again and ending it and he chose the former. It's almost as though both options were viable and for him and his stoic, rigid character, walking away was just easier, not necessarily right. It is so disappointing to me that this man I admired so much, that I saw as a strong, able and supportive man, collapsed at this moment of truth. I don't want to believe that he was weak.

 

I don't know why I'm writing this, exactly. Maybe I'm moving on to the anger stage of grief. I'm not sure really. Every time I find myself thinking, "Yeah. It wasn't what I wanted either. I had to convince myself to really fall in love with him and if he was the one I would have known it right off the bat," I get really sad and try to hang on harder.

 

The mornings are the worst - I guess waking up in bed alone is about as alone as it gets.

 

Do you guys have anything to say about all this stuff. It's so complex and I need to focus on school and family and well, I just need help coming to terms with this weird, uncertain ending to a relationship.

 

Thanks and sorry this is so long.

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