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Feel lost right now-I'm new here...LOOOONG post.


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I have just had my heart broken. I am a 39 year old woman that was involved with a slightly younger man for four years. I am divorced and have 2 teenage boys.


We never had a fight. We were extremely compatible and comfortable with great communication, deep intimacy, love, respect, attraction...he moved in with me about 1 1/2 years ago. We have great friends and they all get along. I have been embraced by his family and vice-versa with mine. Marriage and kids have been on the table for some time now. He wants children. He wants the family. Clearly I am getting close to an age that would make that all the more urgent to take the next step. The problems have been primarily outside, not inside the relationship.


I have a horrible ex-husband. The worst. He is controlling and truly disturbed. He has his claws deep into my sons, especially the older one. He has the unique ability to create chaos in everyone's life through his own behavior and that of the kids. Taking away visitation is not optional, unfortunately. This has created much doubt and fear in my now ex. My ex has very clear ideas of the fantasy family-the no baggage, no fighting, everything is loving and perfect kind. That is not my family, and that is not new information. He basically moved in not long after his father died suddenly which was a huge loss for him. We had already discussed moving forward at that time.


He has clearly told me for some time that my situation was hard and he didn't know if he "could do it" yet he continued to show up in every way, for my kids and for me...he really acted as stepfather to these kids and was great at it with tons of patience and compassion. In the last year, his work has suffered tremendously, he has had outside stressors with his family that lives out of state, and there has been a lot of drama here at my home. His mother came to visit over Thanksgiving, who I am close to, and the morning after she left he told me he needed to move out, which then through the conversation changed into "we should take some space, get some perspective". I was shocked and devastated. I thought we were very close to getting engaged. Unfortunately the night he left I saw emails from his VERY old girlfriend that started about a week before he left. He has not seen her in over a decade and they were together when he was quite young. She lives in another country. Needless to say, that added a new dimension to what was happening. Now I was contending with this as well, which was a huge betrayal considering the personal and also inappropriate nature of the emails, especially by him.


Anyway, I believed we were taking space. We had seen each other a few times and it was always difficult as there are tremendous feelings there. Last week though I told him it was too painful to see his things at my house, and that he should probably come and get them. He did the next day. Every interaction has been heart-wrenching with a lot of "I don't know what to do" and I'm sorrys and I feel horribles. Tears, hugs, talking about how much we loved each other, etc. No sex though, fortunately. And always me asking, is this when we stop talking? And him always with, no, I don't want to not talk to you. I don't want to never see you guys again.


So here I am. He has gone out of state to be with his family and I am here and freakin miserable. I have not spoken to him since he came by 3 days ago and we talked for 3 hours. I have been VERY CALM, loving and supportive of him all the way through. I'm old enough to know about love, and this was of the most serious kind. He knows how I feel about him, I have never played games with him. I expect to hear from him on Christmas and I don't know what to say. I can't shake the hope that this is salvageable. I don't want to be the fool over here, but I have not even begun to let go.



I'm stuck and feel powerfully lonely and depressed and don't know what to think about any of this.


Anyone? Please. Reading these posts have saved my a** the last 24 hours.

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I am very sorry to hear that? It sounds to me like the reality of the situation is hitting home and he needs some time away to reflect. The ex-girlfriend is his fantasy...his trip back in time to when life was simpler for him. You hear a lot about people dumping their marriages and going back to high school sweethearts...it is simply an escape from their life...hoping to relive the past when things were more innocent and less complicated. This explanation doesn't exactly change your situation but it can help you understand what was going through his mind when he was in contact with the ex. The only thing you can do is let him go...be the mature woman you have been all the way along and just let him go. He needs time to think. Guard your heart...everything is out in the open...he knows how you feel. If he contacts you at Christmas keep it as brief as possible. Show him that you are doing okay..that you will survive perfectly fine without him in your life. He needs to see a strong you. His emotional cheating was unacceptable...it is understandable that he is not sure if he can take on the responsibility and the difficulties that come with your life...but dealing with the uncertainty by emotional cheating is just not acceptable. Let him sort things out in his head. You will be fine no matter what they outcome.

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Could you clarify a few things for me?

1.) "Slightly Younger" = ?

2.) How far away does your ex-husband live?

3.) How did you discover the e-mails?

4.) Is it your ex-husband or your ex-boyfriend who has the misconception of "perfect family with no baggage, etc."?


Some things to consider are the following:

1.) It seems to me that both of you may have misconceptions. You say that "you two never fought / argued" and that he "has a clear idea of the perfect family existence" (given it is your ex-boyfriend who conveys this).


2.) You are an adult now. It's time to realize this and formulate a plan. One reason you might feel so insecure about all this is because you depend too much on the person you eventually fall in love with, and now that this person is gone, you feel similar to the way a lost child does when the parents are gone. You are in control of your life and if you feel sad or down about all this, then sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself is not helping your situation. I'm sure you can agree with that. I'm not saying that you're not entitled to those emotions, but that the physical act of moping and being depressed is taking away from your productivity.


3.) How do you see yourself? Do you look at yourself a lot in the mirror? Do you constantly analyze yourself in almost every aspect you can think of? If so, then try to lighten-up a bit and learn to appreciate what you have. Be happy you have the hair on your head, or the complexion, etc. The reason I say this is because I have had more than one person tell me before that I'm an attractive guy, but often times I see myself as quite the opposite. Take it from me: if this guy left you, then who cares. It just means that he's not into your "type" and that he has a different course in life to traverse. It has nothing to do with you, though, so try everything you can to remember that.


4.) Love changes. This is a painful lesson, but one I just recently learned. Some people, I fear, never learn this. It's because of this that you cannot try to ever change someone because in essense, you would be changing the person whom you were originally attracted to. Might it be possible that you mistakingly fell in love with someone that lacked maturity and long-term commitment? Throughout the love-wake, maybe you chose not to acknowledge this in him causing a pressure-cooker effect or pink elephant...?


5.) Try not to be afraid or reserved about being on your own. It's always sad and lonely after a breakup, but sooner than you realize you'll come to terms with the fact that this guy was obviously not what you needed. You'll wake up tomorrow or the day after with a mallet hitting your thick skull, and that catalyst will make you wonder why you ever really felt so much for someone whom not only had obvious commitment issues, but who also maintained communication with an ex-romantic behind your back. It sucks that this "man" took four years of your life to suddenly decide that he now requires "space". I'm sorry, but why are you missing this guy again?


6.) Focus on you and stop balling about this. I'm sure you have things that you've always wanted to do. I'm willing to guess that you have few friends, after all, if you did, you wouldn't be posting messages on this forum. Get out and make some more friends--real-world friends. Get a "girls night out" thing going, have fun, and learn how to live again.


You're so much better then the way you've been treated here. It's time to live up to that and realize that it's okay to deserve better. Put all the crapola away that reminds you of him and move on. Let him go and get out there and find that next special someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.



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Thank you for the response. I believe there is a ton of truth in what you said. I know that I keep hoping (especially since this is all less than a few weeks old) that we are the exception rather than the rule, that he will "get it", that his desire to not "sever contact" is real and not something said out of guilt. It just makes me question everything, all the way through. Clearly stuck still in the fantasy of it.

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1. He is 4 years younger, 35.

2. Ex-husband lives in the same city.

3. I went on our computer to retrieve my email and he hadn't logged out. I have since logged him out.

4. Those are the ex-boyfriend's ideals.



I actually have many girlfriends here and am close to my family, though they live on the other side of the country. Most of my people are out of town right now, because it's the holidays. I am in a ton of pain...he moved out only a week ago...and I am looking for outside, practical feedback because all of my friends and family have their own opinions about everything, and they all feel completely shocked that this has happened. I just started the grieving process, so getting back out there and all of that isn't where I am yet.

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A few practical questions I would appreciate help with. He plans to sit down with each of my children and talk to them about him leaving, etc. This won't happen until he gets back in early January. Do I just let him try to get in touch with them and stay out of it? I also fully expect to hear from him on Christmas. We are not "technically" on NC but after 3 days now of not hearing from him I think maybe that has begun. Do I respond? Answer the phone? What the heck do I say???

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Have you not talked to your children about this yet? I think they need to hear it from you first before him. They need to know that you are okay and that they will be okay...that you are looking out for them. In the final analysis he is the outsider and thereforee it is better for you to hear it from your children. Let them decide whether or not they want to talk to him when he calls. You can be neutral about it so that you are not slamming him or giving out that he emotionally cheated. Your children don't need to hear that. All they need to know is that he has decided that it is time to end things. I think you should answer the phone but say very little. Let him do any talking. The less you say the better...and don't stay on the phone very long.

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Oh, of course they know. They were at their dad's house when he moved out, and they haven't seen him since then, and this is a man they thought of as a stepfather. He was the one that said he wanted to sit down with each of them individually, and I think that he should face them-they already asked if it was because of them and of course I want to dispel that...they are 13 and 17, not babies. I would never give them all the details about what happened, or speak badly of him...I just told them that people have the right to make choices about their lives.


So, just answer the phone, say hello, and let him talk? And if he asks how everything is? Don't say, "it sucks because you ruined my holidays and broke my heart, how the h*ll do you think it's going"??? Just kidding.

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wow! I'm sure this is very difficult to explain to the kids


First thing is living with your partner without being married is a red flag.


unfortunately, the kids will believe it's ok for a man to walk out of their lives


without any explanation...that is so wrong for your ex to do that, but you're


not married, he had no obligation to you or your kids...from a man point of view,


it's an easy walk #1. not married #2 kids are not mines = easy walk...whatever


he was going through, those 2 things in his mind daily were super easy


scapegoats to leave at anytime.



I understand you guys were planning to get married, but moving in together was a bad move in my opinion.


It will be ok, just learn from it...don't agree to move in until a ring is


on your finger and that can provide some security for yourself.


other than that,


good luck


kind regards

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You know, it's interesting. We actually had a conversation about a year before he moved in where he brought it up and I said I was NOT willing to do that without being married or a plan to do so...that I didn't need to practice things being hard. Of course it will be hard-there are kids involved! Unfortunately, after his dad died suddenly 1 1/2 years ago, the moving in process started and we just woke up one day and he lived there. It wasn't even a plan. He owns his own home which was too small for all of us and it just sat empty, making things all that much easier to leave-he had somewhere to go! So, you are right and I knew better and am just as responsible for that, if not more, than he is. Thank you for the reply.

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Well, at least the conversation will be over the phone so he won't see you rolling your eyes as he innocently asks how you are doing! Given everything you have had to deal with, you are tough and you will make it through. I am sure it will be difficult to bite your tongue but the high road is the best road because then you can look in the mirror and feel proud.

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