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Walking away when you both still love each other (but just can't make it work)


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Starting Over In a Relationship - B...
Starting Over In a Relationship - Beginners Guide

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I just ended a relationship in which we both still love each other desperately, but we've been caught in an endless cycle of fights and reconciliations followed by promises to change behaviors (which then don't get changed) for over two years now. We've tried everything and we just seem to get sucked back into the same patterns where we both get hurt really badly over and over again. I'm not including many more details than that because I don't need advice, really--I know I made the right decision and that I need to stick to it.

 

What I could use is some support from people who have been in similar situations who are further down the road to healing than I am right now! It seems so bizarre to walk away from someone who loves me and whom I love, but I just don't see any hope of our situation getting better. Have you ever done something similar? Can you reassure me that sometimes it's the right thing to do?

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Here is a link to my a thread that encompasses most of my and my bf's relationship. It's pretty long, but a good read. There is so much between he and I and we were in the same break up/reconcile cycle. I am posting the link because there is some good advice in there too.

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Thanks for sharing your story, Catdancer, I really appreciate it!

 

Sure! It really sucks when you love each other, but you cant overcome the the communication problems and petty things that cause rifts and resentments. Maybe a little time apart and some self-reflection will do you both some good. Hang in there. I know it's hard.

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I'm in the same boat as you OP. I'm currently "on a break" with my guy who I've been dating for almost 4 years. Exactly the same situation. We love each other dearly but there's too many fights and "I'll change" situations that never change. I broke it off and am hoping time apart can mend all the damage in time and maybe we can get back together in the future when we've both grown individually...

 

I'm not too sure what my point is... just sharing with you and wanting you to know you're not alone...

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Thanks, just knowing I'm not alone does help! The idea that time apart might help us both figure out what we could do differently to make things better is very appealing--we've been a LDR for a long time and will be living in the same town again starting this fall, so part of me keeps thinking, "Well, maybe in a few months' time..." But in my more rational moments I know that's not likely to happen. Our styles of communication are just too different...

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i am wear you are..i was the one to break it off with my ex bf/ but he called, and then came to my home,,saying he wanted to kill me,,we fought big time,,i ended up backing down and ,,giving it another go...well we had a fight a week later..and now hes the one not wanting me,,ahhhh,, i know we are toxic together,,we love each other,,but we are also killing everything we ever had...now hes calling me again..to say it was my fault. and hes moving on and he misses me,,but i need to change before we will ever get back together..?

i cant do this no more..i cant keep trying to move on,,and then he calls,,again and again,,just to let me know hes moving on..last night he called put me down ,i was ,told to shut up..and then he said good buy? what... so i called him this morning and said please leave me alone,,get on with your life.im hurting..let me alone to heal..why is he calling he wants me to change knowing i will not,,so what is he doing..im trying so hard to get on with my life i have no friend or family, to talk to...he just keeps abusing my heart..:sad:

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I've definitely been there but won't do it again. Sometimes, people aren't meant to be together, due to all kinds of reasons, of which pride tends to factor heavily into it and also, how both of you view relationships in general.

 

If both of you go into relationships with heavy expectations of the other, if the other person can't meet those expectations naturally, it will always be a fight.

 

I could go on and on about this topic but I won't bore you with all the details, since there are so many reasons why certain people can't be together. Just realize that you've made the right decision, to get out of any recurring negative cycle.

 

It will take awhile to move on but if you're determined to do so, you'll be fine! Good luck and much sympathy and empathy. ((hugs))

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Thank you, Marie40 and absinthe, every bit of support or advice helps right now. We broke up on Sunday and heading into the holiday weekend is definitely making me second-guess myself and wonder if I should call him to talk (even though I know the answer is NO!). Though the break-up was fairly mutual, he contacted me shortly afterwards to say he thought we were giving up too soon--I told him we ought to live with our decision for a few days before reassessing things, and he sadly agreed. Now I'm wondering if he'll be hurt if I don't contact him now that the "few days" have passed, and yet, I have nothing new to say...so I assume I should let him be.

 

Marie, it sounds like you might need to stop taking your ex's calls for a bit, until his emotions calm down a bit--having hurtful conversation after hurtful conversation isn't helping either of you.

 

And thanks for the hug, Izzy! I really appreciate it, hope your reconciliation is still going well.

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I think I am going to have to contact him this weekend, one of my friends pointed out to me that if the roles were reversed, I'd be devastated if I told him I still wanted to work on things and he told me we should think about it for a few days and then never contacted me again.

 

Trying to figure out how to get back in touch without giving him false hope--the fact is, if he got really serious about changing some of his behaviors, I might be tempted into giving him another chance once we're in the same town again this fall (we've been long-distance for the majority of our relationship, which has definitely been a big cause of our problems). But I also know from past experience that the chance of him getting that serious and changing his behavior is slim to none, and I don't want to end up in this same position even farther down the road...Ugh.

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I don't like to be doing this but I think you really need to ask yourself some questions.

 

Firstly, and most importantly: did you really love him. you keep saying he needs to change his behaviours but isn't part of loving someone accepting them for who they are, even if you don't necessarily like or can't accept his actions. Visa versa too...if he can't compromise and accept some of your behaviours then does he love you back?

Love is about caring too. If you cared deeply for each other, then wouldn't you work on yourself for them. If you care about making each other happy then you would work as hard as you can, and try and better each other.

 

Secondly: (If you answered yes to the above) Why are you fighting? Does he mostly start it, do you, or does is it fairly even? Or is it something that one of you does that just keeps coming up. Big fights? Little fights? Fights that can be resolved with compromise? Seriously look at it. Maybe you'll even find a way to avoid it (some friends of mine for example are in a relationship where one is very anti-drugs and socially does pills. they are in love and she's learning to accept that it's something he does, just as he is cutting back and not going out into those situations as much. it still causes dramas but I think they will pull through.)

 

Thirdly (though this is equal with second): What do you both need to change, and how worth it is it?

If he, for example says that you're too uptight, but everyone else in your life thinks you're the most easy going, relaxed person they know then is there really something wrong with you?

My point: how big is the issue to the rest of the world. Is it something that really needs to change for him or you to better yourselves, or is it something you/him would only change to make the other happy. If it's the latter then its not worth it, because theres probably a lot more people who like you just the way you are and you'll be hurting or angering them if you change it.

 

This is basically an accumulation of advice I've given and recieved in similar situations. Breakups, I've found are the best time for self reflection, to assess how you really feel about yourself, what you want to change and what you want to achieve in life. Questions are very important right now, so if in doubt, with anything at all, just ask questions! (This is a big hint by the way...you want to get back in touch with him, stick to the 5W's and the H. How's he doing? Why's he feeling that way? Where is he at the moment? Who's he with? What are his plans for the next couple of days? When is a good time to call again? You get the idea...)

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Thank you for that...Part of it made me feel very defensive, because when you tell me that loving someone means accepting him for who he is (and not wanting him to change his behaviors), you are telling me to accept him being emotionally abusive to me. I cannot accept that and stay psychologically healthy myself. But yes, I can in fact love him despite that.

 

And we have both tried to change for each other, you don't stay together for as long as we did if neither of you is making any effort at all. Our fights are caused by having very different communication styles. We both try and just keep running into the same walls.

 

But I do appreciate how much detail you went into, I'll give your questions some thought today as I try to figure out what to do.

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Well, I didn't really want this to be a thread where I talked about my ex's shortcomings, and I think it will turn into that if I go into too much detail. (Because yes, it was a fairly mutual break-up, but of course both of us must think the other one could have stepped up a little bit more...that's only human!)

 

In short, we were in a LDR and had very different ideas about how we should spend the short amount of time we got to spend talking to each other each day--I'm more of a recapping the day/being affectionate person, whereas he wanted to have lots of deep conversations about world events and that kind of thing. When we're together in person, we have BOTH these kinds of conversations and things are great, but when we're apart, one or both of us ends up feeling like we're not getting the kind of interaction we want.

 

I'm sure this sounds really minor, but it led to both of us feeling distant from each other / unappreciated, which then leads to all kinds of other problems. He also feels comfortable being EXTREMELY blunt when discussing the ways in which he feels unhappy in the relationship, whereas I tend to be more tactful/diplomatic, so he felt like I was never direct enough and I felt like he was incredibly insensitive/cruel. Etc., etc...

 

Honestly though, we've tried everything we could think of to overcome these differences. We tried everything our friends and family could think of, too. No one can accuse us of not giving it 100%, but for whatever reason we just don't quite mesh as a long-distance couple no matter how hard we try, and while we'll be living the same city for the next year or so, I'll hopefully be off to a PhD program after that. So the future is far from clear.

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Great advice, I think it is imperative for all relationships, especially long distance ones to place their roots somewhere and ignore the little things that make us different from one another. Advice that I wish I had before.

 

 

 

You know, I am in that situation... and while you don't to take his mental or verbal abuse, you do have the opportunity to work on it or end it. Either way, you shouldn't string him along. False hope is probably one of the worst things that could happen. Talk to him, set up a time once you are willing to speak openly and honestly.

 

All the best

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Thanks, I will definitely be sure not to string him along. I'm not sure how serious he was about wanting to keep trying, if that was just a sort of reflex (he sent that sentiment via text about two hours after the break-up), or if he's still going to be feeling that way a week later. I ended up sending him an e-mail last night being honest about the way I've been feeling as the reality of the break-up has sunk in. I think it's soon enough that it's still better to be upfront about things, even if I'm saying, "I'm conflicted," than to start pretending I've come to terms with a decision I'm still struggling with...We'll see what he says, though, maybe he's found the peace with our decision that I haven't!

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I just ended a relationship in which we both still love each other desperately, but we've been caught in an endless cycle of fights and reconciliations followed by promises to change behaviors (which then don't get changed) for over two years now. We've tried everything and we just seem to get sucked back into the same patterns where we both get hurt really badly over and over again.

 

I might be on my own here but if both people truly love each other then you would sort out the fights and issues. I mean i loved my ex and was prepared to sort out the issues no matter what but the ex just wasnt because they lost interest in me. isnt a lot of breakups down to that one person likes the other a lot more than they like them back or both people are just not into each other that much.

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I think this is probably something you can't understand until you're actually in the situation--that's why I was looking for support from people who had been there. I know everyone who's replied means well, and I appreciate their good intentions, but I feel like this thread is becoming about beating me up for my decision, which is just what I didn't need...

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No one is beating you up, you need to realize that many have been on your bf/ex's side. What you do of course is up to you and him. No matter what your friends or family recommend, or even people here, it is your relationship with him, not anyone elses.

 

If you truly have had enough, then you have had enough. But if you two really do love each other, wouldn't it be beneficial to have some space, work out the real issues? (I know it is very hard to do via long distance...trust me)

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I'm sure this sounds really minor, but it led to both of us feeling distant from each other / unappreciated, which then leads to all kinds of other problems. He also feels comfortable being EXTREMELY blunt when discussing the ways in which he feels unhappy in the relationship, whereas I tend to be more tactful/diplomatic, so he felt like I was never direct enough and I felt like he was incredibly insensitive/cruel. Etc., etc...
This isn't minor. I would rank it way up there, in that a difference this substantial with how the two of you express and process negative emotions, is a relationship breaker.

 

Maybe this can be fixed but over time, each time the two of you fight, it cuts deeper and deeper, particularly for the more sensitive, which is you.

 

Unless the two of you have been together for 5 years or more, or are married, this kind of change takes some serious commitment from both of you. It's up to you but I'm uncertain if it's worth the pain.

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Most people on this forum believe that "love" means you should put up with darn near everything just to stay with someone.

 

I disagree completely.

 

I love my wife dearly, but we have fundamental differences in how we live and want to live our lives. She is a "no no no" person who finds the negative first and foremost in everything she does.

I am the polar opposite. I find wonder and amazement in something as simple as a freeway overpass. I love the world and my life and I cherish every day that I am not dying of cancer. She just worries she will get it, and yet does nothing to prevent it (eating right exercising etc)

 

What I am getting at is sometimes no matter what you say or do, a relationship is doomed from the beginning. Just because that word "love" is involved isn't enough sometimes.

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  • 3 years later...

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