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This is a really long post. If anyone gets through it, they deserve a medal. There are some thoughts and questions at the end. It's mainly just to vent and try to get things clear in my mind, but I would appreciate any comments.


MY STORY: (names have been changed)


I don't really know where to start with this, but I need to get it out and maybe hear some advice.


In 2008 I was in my final year at university. I had been single for most of the time there and was generally pretty happy - I didn't have set plans for after university, but I was doing well academically and had a good group of friends.


It was January and I'd just got back after the Christmas break. I'd been reading some of those lame attraction ebooks - people like David DeAngelo - and decided I wanted to try some of the 'moves' out. I saw an attractive girl (let's call her Maria) accross the room and went to chat to her. We hit it off and I persuaded her to come home with me.


We slept together and the next morning I walked her to the station and she went home. She was living with a boyfriend, but he was emotionally abusive and the relationship was already over - separate beds, etc - but she couldn't physically move out due to financial issues.


This girl was beautiful, funny, etc. Although I wasn't looking for a relationship, we sort of slipped into one. She moved out of her ex-bf's house with my support (helping her collect her stuff, helping her find uni accommodation, etc). After about three months we ended up all but living together in her new room as everyone else was leaving uni. I remember, with hindsight, always feeling slight doubts, but I put that down to having been single for so long and being in a state of flux with uni about to end. She had no family in the UK and only a few close friends - she had emigrated from the other side of the world aged 17 after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.


About three months into seeing each other, I told her I loved her. I can't remember if I thought I did or if I just really wanted to, but that fact that I am not sure is probably quite telling. She told me she loved me too. We went on holiday, then moved in together in a nearby town before moving to London. I was meant to be living with friends - which I really, really wanted to do - but the place wasn't ready and she said she wanted to move in with me. I had doubts about it - I felt like I would lose a lot of independence. But I did it anyway. As I say, she is a truly amazing girl - and she cared for me so much (and equally I cared greatly for her and felt protective, etc).


For almost two years we lived together. She wasn't perfect; acting a bit possessive at times. But I was pretty bad. I often chose to spend time with friends rather than her, telling her that we lived together so she couldn't really complain. There was a girl who had liked me at university who I stayed in touch with, insisting that it was my right to be friends with her (despite the fact that I wasn't really that bothered about being her friend and simply liked the attention).


I started to feel really, really trapped. There was one evening I remember when I literally had to run out of our flat because I felt like I was suffocating. She went home for a month to see her mum and I felt free. I saw different friends every evening, didn't have to worry about calling her to tell her what I was doing. I did miss her, but mainly I enjoyed feeling free. I should add: I really wasn't enjoying my job at the time - it didn't seem to be going anywhere much and I was usually bored. I think that was making me feel even worse, like I was sliding into this boring, middle class existence without choosing it.


I kept thinking about breaking up with her, but I couldn't understand why I didn't love her fully. I thought things like: if I can't love this girl, who can I love? Why, when she is so good to me, can't I commit myself properly? I knew she wanted marriage, family, etc - we didn't ever talk about it directly, but that was because she could sense my reservations about even living together. Pretty soon we were arguing a lot, largely probably my fault to be honest.


Then - in mid-2010 - I was sitting at my desk at work when a new starter (Laura) appeared at a desk in my eyeline. She was (is) the most attractive girl I've seen in my life. Not the 'type' I thought I had, but stunning. I had to speak to her. So I did and we hit it off like I've never done with anyone else, ever. She made me laugh so hard and she was so damn sexy. I kept going for lunch with her, but never made a move because I was living with Maria. Laura and I had nothing in common - I'm quite into books, arts, culture, etc while she liked crappy music and TV shows. It just didn’t matter though – her sense of humour, her looks, etc… I have never been so attracted to someone.


Eventually I realised that I was crazy about this girl. We had such chemistry. So, I finally broke it off with Maria, moved out and started seeing this girl. For a couple of weeks I felt great - sure I'd done the right thing, etc. Then the guilt hit. I felt terrible about Maria and started having serious doubts about whether I'd done the right thing. I wept like a baby when I moved my stuff out of our shared flat. I actively hid the new relationship from her to protect her feelings. I also came very close to breaking things off with Laura and I told her that it could only be a 'casual' relationship because of the situation with my ex. She also told me that's what she wanted, and I believed her, so everything seemed OK.


The guilty feeling faded, but I still cared deeply for Maria. We met up a few times and I ended up crying, while she was the strong one. I started to miss her terribly. But I remembered my doubts while we were together and never tried to reconcile. We stopped seeing each other for a few months and she had a quick fling with a mutual friend.


Meanwhile, Laura asked me if we could have anything more serious. I said no. This was partly because I wanted to protect Maria – we had a close-knit friendship circle and I thought that bringing Laura into it would hurt Maria (bear in mind her friends were all she had here, no family, etc). But Laura was also attracted by my being like that – she loved the challenge of it, despite herself.


With hindsight, my relationship with Laura was doomed from that moment onwards. We stayed together and I started to fall for her in quite a big way, but had got into this pattern of saying it was casual, etc. I never told her how I felt and neither did she. I loved the power of it – having this stunning girl on my arm and it feeling like she was totally devoted to me. In fact, far from being the ice queen she often pretended to be, I think she wanted me to love her. But I told her I didn’t and wouldn’t. That said, I treated her well in other ways – I would make loads of time for her, take her out, look after her if she was ill, was affectionate, etc.


Maria and I stayed friends. We were too close for Laura’s comfort, but I genuinely never had any desire for more than friendship. That was bad enough though, especially as I didn’t introduce Laura to my friends. I told myself I was doing it to protect Maria – and on one level I was – but there was also real cowardice on my part, having to face up to jumping from one relationship to another so fast. I regret it all so much now.


About two months ago, Maria had to leave the country for good (deported). She told me, before she left, that she still loved me. I told her I loved her, but that it was not in a romantic sense. I cried when she left, but still didn’t feel romantic attachment at all – just friendship and a deep, deep sense of caring and wanting her to be happy. I broke down at the airport when she left – it was so sad.


Then – just over a month ago – Laura did the inevitable and broke up with me. I was absolutely destroyed by it. I realised immediately how much I loved her, how much I wanted her, how badly I had treated her by keeping my ex so close and by playing it so cool. But it was too late. She had started to detach emotionally a few months earlier she told me. And now she is with a co-worker. I tried to get her back, told her I love her and how sorry I am for the way I treated her. Too little, too late – clearly. She is still attracted to me, I think. But emotionally she is gone. We went on one ‘date’ after the break-up and it was great. She told me it had been so good to see me and that she was looking forward to seeing me again soon. But her new bf found out and told her she can’t see me again. So she cut all contact with me and ignored one text I sent her since. It’s been two weeks NC. She wants to settle down and this guy is telling her all the right things.


Meanwhile I have spoken to Maria, who is now the other side of the world, and she told me that she still loves me so much. That she can’t meet anyone else because I am the yardstick by which she measures other guys.




So… right now I feel like total * * * * .


I have lost a girl I love because I didn’t communicate my feelings and the girl I thought I was protecting from hurt is still in love with me – probably because I was being ‘good’ to her and protecting her!


And I feel like I should be with Maria, a girl who loves me so much and is everything I should want in a wife. But I don’t feel that I love her. Meanwhile, I am cut to the core because I have lost Laura, the girl I do love. I feel like I will never have that connection again with anyone again.


How could I sabotage myself so much? How could I not see what was happening to me? Why did I bury my true feelings for Laura?


What can I learn from this for the future?


How will I find that same bond with someone again?


What do I do about Maria? She won’t go NC on me because we’re friends, but I don’t want her to pine for me forever. I still occasionally (especially after my BU with Laura) wonder whether breaking up with her was the right thing. It’s not every day that a beautiful, amazing, talented girl loves you so much…


Part of me wants to throw the kitchen sink at the Laura situation one more time. Tell her how much I love her, how much I want her to come back. The other part of me knows it’s over, that she stopped loving me because she had to (if she ever even really did) and that asking her again would simply kill any lingering attraction she feels for me and that I should simply cut all contact and get over her.

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So right now you feel like the southern end of a northern facing donkey.


From the sounds of things, you pretty much know what would be best, you're just having a hard time both dealing with it, and coming to terms with the necessity.


You need to break off or minimize contact with Maria. Even though it will hurt her, do your best to explain to her that she's too nice and deserving a girl to be kept in limbo by being friends when she still feels more.


As for Laura - all chemistry aside - you had a major communication breakdown with her - it's not really clear if she was trying to fit what she felt you needed her to be (casual and easy about everything) or if she really felt that way. The ONLY way you'd have any option left with her, IMO, is to pretty much go NC - and if she does come back your way, make sure it's been long enough that it would be a brand new relationship, without bringing in any dregs of the old one.


This all means yes, you'll be alone for a while - but you've learned some lessons about relationships, and hopefully, more than a few about yourself along the way.

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Thank you for reading / replying!


Yeah, that donkey analogy captures actually exactly how I feel!


The thing is, I told Maria that - she wants to be friends and insists that she isn't sitting around waiting for me.


Agree that there was no communication with Laura. That's why I am so tempted to keep trying now, to communicate how I feel and listen to her talk. The thing is, I don't think she will ever come back - her new guy is giving her everything I didn't (official r'ship, meeting friends / family... and that's just after a month or so). He knows what she wants because they were friends beforehand and I am sure that she told him her grievances with our relationship.


I'm happy to be alone for a bit, but in my heart I am carrying hope that Laura will come back... but I know that the reality is different. My heart believes (or wants to believe) one thing, but my head (much more accurate, normally!) believes another. I think they will get married - or at least be together for years and years.

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I see this differently....


I see that perhaps you are now feeling like you are about Laura, because she dumped you - rejection mode at it's best. You had a chemical attraction to her whilst you were in a relationship with someone else.....it was a rebound situation, you had nothing in common and perhaps it would've fizzled out anyway. It's easy to see all the good points when you've been dumped....but if you were still with her, I'm not sure anything would change. She was so attractive to you because you were in a relationship you were not sure about....in another time and another place, would you have been so keen?


Re Maria, I'm not sure why you still maintain contact....it benefits no one.


These are just my thoughts, I'm no expert....but I think you need to be single now, get yourself together and stop bringing girls into the equasion. Laura has moved on, leave her that way....if she comes back, then it was meant to be....but if she doesn't, understand that you didn't give her what she needed.

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I have thought that maybe it's just the whole 'rejection mode' thing. But actually I really do love her. I was just too scared to admit it to myself (and to her). We didn't have things in common, but then I've never felt so strongly about any girl I have got things in common with. She also started to develop interests in things that interested me; I gave her some of my favourite novels to read and she loved them and even ended up buying a bookcase to fill! I know she has moved on and will probably fall in love with this new boy, but... well... although I am doing the NC thing, I can't help but want her back. I know I will feel the same way six months down the line, even a year. I also don't quite buy the 'if it was meant to be...' thing - relationships, love, etc all need work. She probably things I just reached out to her in the end out of fear of being rejected. I don't even know that she knows how much I love her. In my mind I know it's over, but I keep thinking that I will try to reach out to her in six months and see where she's at. I am almost certain she will still be with this guy though and it breaks my heart, even though I do want her to be happy.


RE: Maria - well, we have a tonne of mutual friends. She speaks to me quite a lot. It would be weird for me now to insist on NC with her wouldn't it? I am glad to have her as a friend.

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