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LDR Breakup - I feel so gutted


ZenPhoenix

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Sorry, this is LONG…I've been reading here for a few days now, and the stories are so heartbreaking. Sometimes I feel like forgetting my own, in comparison, then the pain of what is happening rushes up again to find me. One minute I'll be fine, then another I'm in tears. I need a sounding board, need some ears to just listen, and maybe lend some thoughts…

 

I’m a separated man, who has been in a LDR for over a year. The woman I’ve been seeing (I’ll call her Anna) met me online and we started a friendship borne out of mutual interests in philosophy, the environment, religion, and others. We found delight in each other company, and the friendship grew to the point where we finally revealed to each other that we had fallen in love. The relationship grew to the point where we knew we wanted to be together, despite the many hurdles doing so would entail. We've been "together" for a little over a year, and were planning to meet this December or next June, depending on finances.

 

Most of our communication was through email, and of course Facebook, but there were many text messages, phone calls, and even good old fashioned letters. Sometimes it was difficult, as English is not her first language (though it's not really that bad, considering), and sometimes this, through miscommunication, led to arguments, through misunderstanding.

 

Of course any couple will argue from time to time but, unfortunately, issues from her past seem to keep complicating things. Her ex used to be verbally, mentally and from what I gather, at times physically abusive. She is very sensitive to conflict, and will cry at the drop of a hat. Then she'll go silent for anywhere from a few hours to a few days, not responding to texts, email, etc. Part of this may also be cultural, as women do not have the same status in her country. I have so many times tried to reassure her that I am not like those other men, yet she gets upset over conflict so easily. And when we have argued, I am never name calling or disrespectful. The worst that’s happened is through miscommunication, the intent of our messages is not always clear. Like I said, English is not her first language.

 

Anna is also a very happy-go-lucky gal, and on FB jokes around a lot. The other night, I took one of her wall comments as going too far (being jokey-flirty with a mutual friend). In hindsight, I see the innocence in it, but at the time, I overreacted, and went after her for not caring how it made me feel and that I thought it was disrespectful. I kept repeating that over and over, while she kept reassuring she loved me. I was like a dog on a bone, and then she abruptly told me that she has had enough tears and wants to break up.

 

After work, I emailed her, reaffirming that I was committed to the relationship, that these miscommunications are things a couple must work through. I received a text from her later saying she would not be a good wife to me, and I deserved better. I reassured her I loved her as she is, and want our relationship to work.

 

For a day, there was nothing from her, and I felt it may finally be over. I wanted closure, but as she will not respond to email, phone or text, I wrote a letter and posted it. It was a closure letter, apologizing for my part in the problem, and reassuring her I loved her. I left the door open to her. After posting it, I decided to go NC (of course that didn’t last long…)

 

I later see her pop up on FB, and message her. Her response back to me was that we shouldn’t say anything to each other until we are both not upset. I take that as a positive, as at the time, it implied it might not be over. I send her a reply that I’m not upset, that I loved her and was sorry for my part in the argument. I also reiterated that I wanted us to work. It was pretty much what was in the letter, albeit much shorter.

This morning, her reply was that it is she who accepts the blame for the misunderstanding, and that she has a fragile heart. She explains she is afraid of our arguments, as they remind her of when she was hurt by her exes. She goes on to say that she loves me but is afraid that she will come here and be hurt by me, as she’s been hurt before. Her message closes with, “I hope you could find someone better than me to seek your happiness life, don't worry about me...Perhaps you will say hello to me one day. I still loves you between this sadness.”

 

Here’s the thing…I am never verbally abusive, condescending or ignorant. I avoid personal attacks, and strongly believe in using “I feel” language. (that’s one thing I learned from trying to save a failed marriage). Yet it’s just the act of ANY conflict that hurts her. And the closer the person, the worse she feels.

 

Her decision to break up with me is borne of fear it seems, and I can’t get her to understand that it’s not my nature to treat people as she’d been treated before. My reply to her was that she has nothing to fear from me, that I will be more aware of her sensitivity, and that really, the root of our arguments has been (for the most part) more of miscommunication than any real disagreement. I closed with the statement that we can’t let the past imprison us, or prevent us from living our future. I assured her I loved her unconditionally, and want to continue our relationship.

 

So, she has my last message, and there’s a letter that should be reaching her side of the world in a few weeks. I’m so afraid I can’t pull this one from the fire. In so many ways, the loss of this relationship is harder than that of my marriage (maybe because I had been mourning that loss for years prior to leaving). I can’t believe how much this hurts. I feel gutted, to my core. This woman and I share so much in common, and in so many ways compliments who I am. I have loved other women in my life, but NEVER with the depth and passion as I love Anna.

 

I know you are only getting my side of the story, but can you see anything I've done wong, apart from what I freely admit? Is there something I should have done better, said, or not said? I know now I'm in a waiting mode, to see how she will reply to my last message. I don't want to drag this out into a situation where I'm begging, but at the same time, I want her to know under no uncertain terms that I love her deeply, will be more empathetic with respect to her past and how she responds, and that I still want to build a future with her.

 

I should also perhaps suggest she explore the possibility of counselling, so she can get past this. Whether with me or someone else, this is getting in the way of her happiness and healthy relationships. Like I said, I knew she had an abusive ex, but I never knew that it would affect our relationship, given I'm not that way. God, this is a nightmare...

 

Thanks for letting me vent, guys. I hope I can get some thoughts, guidance…anything as this all unfolds.

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Did you two videochat regularly? I just think that maybe she wasn't as invested in this since there was zero IRL component (which would also lead to a lot of misunderstandings since she has no context for your words/actions) and perhaps you are overly invested with someone that you never met bc of your separation. I'm not judging you or the sincerity of your feelings at all, I just think it's entirely possible that you didn't know her or her life as well as you thought you did and there could have been a lot of things going on with her that you'd have no clue about.

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We had a hard time even instant messaging sometimes as the wireless internet connection available in her apartment is very poor. We were actually working on options to be able to videochat somehow prior to all this happening. Misunderstandings came about because of not only her incomplete mastery of English, but because intonation and expression is impossible in regular texting/emails (and emoticons are a poor substitute). We did get to know each other well, and she explained her past issues with her ex. This is where I blame myself, as through complacency, I failed to keep that in mind - that she was sensitive to expressions of jealousy and conflict.

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Not trying to pick this apart, but it just seems odd to me that you never videochatted with her in a whole year. Surely she could have gone to a friend's house (if she lives in a country where people have internet at home) or an internet cafe (if she's in a more developing country) at an agreed upon hour to meet you "in person" as it were. And if money was the cause, you seem like you'd have helped her with that too. I don't know, it just doesn't sound like she was very serious about it - how do you have a relationship with someone and not try your very best to even see him virtually?? I think you are blaming yourself a lot here, but you should realize she wasn't putting 100% into this.

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Seriously, we tried to make this part work, and the logistics weren't there. We are also 12 hours apart, which made some blocks of time very difficult. I think you'll need to trust me on this - her commitment was there. If for a moment I thought it was half-assed, I would not have stayed with her.

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Ok, Zen, I trust your judgment, I just want you to see it from an outside perspective. Anyway, it sounds like there was a lot of scrambling on your part to smooth things over constantly and not a lot of giving you the benefit of the doubt on her end. Getting upset and not talking to your for days repeatedly is definitely a red flag, no? You did the best that you could do under the circumstances, but when all you have is text, that's just not very much. I'm really sorry about your breakup, but I think you shouldn't blame yourself. A year without seeing each other ever is pretty impossible to swing even under the best of circumstances.

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It was much more than texts of course - lengthy emails, FB, and of course many phone calls. The commitment was there on both parties until this "trigger" from her past comes up again.

One of the things I need in a relationship is a good communicator. This comes from terrible communication skills between my ex-wife and I. I always thought that once Anna and I were together, and we could interact on day to da matters in person, then that communication dynamic would allow our respective skills to grow.

 

More and more it becomes clear that it's as much a communication issue on our part, as it is lack of consideration on mine, and hypersensitivity on hers.

 

I refuse to believe their isn't a solution to this somehow...

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I mean text as in email/FB/etc not just texts. So much of communication is non-verbal, without a visual component it's really hard to get the whole picture.

 

If one of your main needs is that your partner is a good communicator, then it seems that unfortunately this woman isn't for you. Shutting down and going silent are not the marks of a good communicator and her not being willing to work on it speaks volumes about her and the likelihood that this would just continue on in the future. Regardless of how much you like her, she wasn't meeting one of your basic needs. It's disappointing for sure, but that is who she is.

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Yeah, this is one of the issues I wanted to work with her on. Hell, earlier on in my marriage I was a crappy communicator, and learned the skills later. I'm not justifying or anything, just aknoledging this biggie you described. I do understand, however, the cultural reason for the occasional silence, as well as how her exes abuse would cause that.

 

Knowing this doesn't ease the fact that my world feels turned upside down. The ache is unbearable - such a part of me seems missing, like a part has died.

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But look at it this way. You are evolving and improving. Communication used to be a huge issue with your ex-wife. And you worked hard on yourself to improve and you did. Some woman will appreciate all of your efforts in the future, it's just that this woman can't and won't. You can't fix things if she's not willing to, but at least you can know that you are committed to improving yourself.

 

You'll be sad, but in time you will move on and meet someone closer, someone that doesn't present as many hurdles to a relationship and you'll find happiness. Hang in there!!!!

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In fairness, I don't think it's that she won't improve herself, but that she has no idea HOW to do that. No man has treated her with respect before, and she doesn't know what good communication even is.

 

The challenge has been how to do this in the context of a LDR.

 

I do appreciate, by the way, the encouraging words...

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I think you need to step back from psychoanalyzing her. Yes, maybe her background was a factor, but maybe it wasn't. There's no way to really know and it doesn't help you to focus on that. You can't save her or this relationship by yourself. You did your best.

 

The encouraging words are the truth. Many people have to wonder 'what if', and have regrets for their failings. You are quite lucky and should try your best to walk away with your head held high. Write here whenever you need to, I know how hard it can be.

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Have to agree with magnoliatree. Written communication and some verbal communication is great. But face-to-face communication can help both of you 'really' understand what each other is feeling at the time. It is easy to hide your 'true' feelings from someone when you don't have to look at them. I'm not saying this is the case with you and your lady, BUT you have to be a little weary. A year without face-to-face communication in this day and age is a little strange?

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Oh God...psychoanalyzing and overanalyzing - two things I am prone too. I hear where yoyu are coming from. It takes two to make a relationship work. The hellof it is, we both had the same goals, dream, wow...so much we have in common. I know it's not up to me to "fix" her, but as a fellow human being, I care and want her to be happy.

 

Despite my own contributions to the problems, I know I did work hard to keep things moving forward. It's so hard to look back at the plans we had made, and see them dashed by something that is so fixable. I mean, the language this is what it is, but the whole issue of her being so repulsed by conflict, even verbal. Every couple fights, and it can be good if done in a healthy, respecting manner, using the "I feel" approach, and avoiding personal attacks and yelling. If I could do it, anyone could, but I just wanted that chance to show her that conflict doesn't need to lead to tears, nor does it mean I'm going to hit her, verbally or mentally abuse her.

 

Is that what I'm dealing with here? I mean, if this was soemone without that past, we would have the odd argument, and work through it, right?

 

Given the context of this situation, is that even possible?

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Is that what I'm dealing with here? I mean, if this was soemone without that past, we would have the odd argument, and work through it, right?

 

Given the context of this situation, is that even possible?

 

Not necessarily because some people just don't want to work through things, some people don't want to change themselves, some people want to never have fights, regardless of their past experiences. That's what sucks and that's the hard thing, when problems are so clearly fixable or should be fixable but they aren't because the other person just isn't willing to put in the effort to do it. Sometimes it's a reflection of their past, but oftentimes it's a reflection of their investment in the relationship (as in, why bother putting in so much work for this person? I'd rather just find someone else that I don't have to work so hard with). It's not right or wrong, but it certainly does stink when you encounter it especially when you are more invested in the relationship.

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Long distance relationships have difficulty in surviving because the close up interaction is missing such as you would have if you were living with the person. In your case, you never had that kind of communication with her, so you really don't know her. I would just let this one go and avoid LDRs in the future....chi...

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^ Have to agree.

 

Let's forget for the moment all the issues present in your OP and just stick with the logistics of this relationship.

 

So it's been a full year and you still haven't physically visited one another. Where do you honestly see this relationship going? Are you going to eventually move to be with her? Her with you?

 

I guess I just don't understand why people pursue these types of situations when the odds are so very low that they will ever truly develop into a "real" relationship. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it hasn't happened yet in the year you've been with her.

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Wow guys...there were financial reasons we didn't meet right away. We recently had plans to meet in December, then the following June again, and so on as much as we could afford. The plan was that once we met and got to spend some time physically together, then we could make sure we felt comfortable taking it to the next step, which would be her coming here.

 

As for why did we pursue this type of relationship...simple. Love happened. It's a feeling, and the emotional intimacy we have shared has been nothing short of amazing. Of course it would have been nice to fall in love with someone local, but the fact is...that didn't happen! I fell in love with HER, and she, I.

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You fell in love with your idea of her. I still maintain that you really did not know each other....chi

 

Possibly - yet that was also the point of setting up the meetings. And we discussed this, that if our "in person" was not like who we had got to know, then we couldn't expect the relationship to last, let alone thrive.

 

Regardless, the feelings we each have felt are real none the less, and correspondingly, the pain is just as real.

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