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Breaking up. Logic and common sense vs fear and uncertainty


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I'm reposting this here, now with better formatting, from the originial post in "Was breaking up with her a huge mistake?"


Thank you everyone for sharing their experiences and insights here, especially Anonymous. I've been debating whether or not to chime in with my current situation, but I do know that just writing it out can be healing and cathartic. I've been in a break up situation before; about 5 years ago, and I spent a good deal of time learning about the process. I know what I am experiencing now is normal, especially how the mind plays tricks on you to only look at the good of the ending relationship, causing you to desire to return to it despite you knowing intellectually and analytically that it is not right. In my first major break up, I was the dumpee and the ending came out of left field for me. This happened a few months after my dad passed away, so to say I was put in a bad place would be a grievous understatement. I went through the healing processes, got my **** together finally, and moved on slowly. I finished grad school and moved to a new region to start my postdoc, leading to my now current position. Which brings me to my current situation, which will be long, arduous, and possibly illogical.

I'll start at the beginning, providing as much details as necessary. This might seem rambling and nonsensical at times, but this will help me to write it all out. I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice, sympathy, support, or confirmation of my decision.



To begin, after about a year of being in my new city, and after a couple 2-5 date experiences with a couple of girls, I met my new girl. When I met her, I was floored by how beautiful she was. She was everything I wanted physically in an ideal mate. To this day, I still find her just extremely attractive. Our first date was good, and I was impressed with her. To seal the deal for me, she shared the same national heritage as me, something that my immediate and extended family is very proud of. She didn't just share our heritage; she was FROM there and moved to the US when she was 11. I walked away thinking she could be "the one". I pursued her heavily and we went on numerous dates and after about 3-4 months of casual dating we had fallen for each other and knew we wanted to be together exclusively. The next 4-6 months were generally great; we went on small trips together and just enjoyed being together. The first crack of doubt, however, appeared when we went to her friend's wedding, where she was the maid-of-honor. At the reception after-party, she had been drinking (like everyone) and she slipped and knocked over a table of drinks. She then FLIPPED OUT at me, calling me all kinds of names and acting like it was my fault. When we got back to the room, she was still ridiculously upset, still calling me awful things, and I ended up sleeping on the floor. Come morning, she was hungover but no longer so upset. I remember thinking that this girl might be crazy, but I shrugged it off as being too drunk. I was probably ensconced with her and the relationship that I was letting unacceptable behavior slide without addressing it. There was another example of this at a football game later, when she was too drunk and got mad at me for not being able to find our seats. I walked ahead of her to get away from the angry barrage, but when I went back to find her she was not there. I scoured for a while searching for her. When I did find her, she again FLIPPED OUT in the concourse of the stadium. Again, I passed it of as being too drunk, but yet another seed of doubt about her was planted.



Fast forward to the end of our first year together, she brought up the idea of us moving in together. Prior to this, I lived in my own apartment in a great part of the city that I really loved. My friends and other important amenities were in walking distance. I was truly happy there. She lived on the 2nd floor of a multi-family house in the next town over, which is much less desirable than my location was. Her parents owned the house, and were moving from the first floor to a new house the next town over. So, realistically, she had never truly lived on her own. She lived in that apartment above her parents for six years after graduating college. She also worked in the same town; basically she never left her comfort zone. I contemplated her suggestion to move in with her, and I was hesitant. I loved my old apartment, specifically the location, and I knew I wouldn’t like the new location nearly as much. However, I really wanted my relationship with her to work out long term, and I convinced myself that moving in with her would be the best option to have that happen. So, despite my reservations, I made the move, at this point about 27 months ago. At that point is where things started to go noticeably downhill, however I was too ensconced to see it.



We started to bicker and fight about almost everything. I think it stemmed from a combination of her expecting me to treat the house like she did, that being the house she grew up in still owned by her parents and me seeing it as just another apartment. She also expected me to immediately change from being independent and living alone to sharing a house that wasn’t mine. It was a difficult adjustment for me, but over time I feel like I did become much more like she wanted me too. Even with that, she never seemed satisfied with me. I will admit that I can be selfish at times and egotistic, things that she more recently has no problem telling me. I started to resent her bit by bit for being so consistently unhappy with me about seemingly everything. She’d act like she was ok and past things, but then they’d all come back out during our next argument. During this first year, we still tried and spent time together. Sex was regular as were other relationship things like always eating together and just doing almost everything together. But over the last year, and especially the last few months, things just fell off the cliff.



About a year ago, I decided that I was going to start focusing my life in more positive directions. I knew the relationship was causing me stress and not providing me the satisfaction it should, however nothing I did seemed to help steer it in the direction I wanted. I said if I can’t fix her or us, I can fix myself. I decided to get in better physical condition, because care of your body is the linchpin to caring for your mind, and a healthy mind is the home of a healthy emotional state. So I started and completed P9, doing it full bore, the nutrition plan and all. The results were fantastic; I looked good, I felt good, and I was much happier. I used this improvement to do other things I wanted. I finally found a softball team to join and played from last spring until the fall; usually 2 nights a week. I also planted and tended a garden for the first time last year. I was just in a much happier and active state as I felt like I finally discovered how much good exercise and healthy eating can bring to your life. I always wanted my gf to get on board the wellness train with me. I thought she’d see all the positive benefits this provided me and would want them herself. I thought that if she felt as good as I did, then we’d both be bringing healthy attitudes and positive energy to our relationship. None of that happened, however. She never got the motivation to do much of anything and acted generally miserable and unhappy. When started my garden, she planted flowers. They subsequently died because she stopped caring about them. I wanted her to help me with the garden; she never did. I invited her to softball games; she went twice out of 30+ games. I put myself in a much better physical, mental, and emotional state, yet she seemed to go in the opposite direction. I think this became a big deal for me.



At the end of this past year, things were still overall bad with us with some interspersion of good. I asked her to come with me to my home state for Christmas with my family. It took her forever to agree, but she did. I looked at it as a last hope for our relationship; if Christmas was good, then perhaps we did have a chance. The Christmas trip was fantastic; she was happy, caring, loving; everything I originally loved about her was back. I felt really good about our future after that trip. However, that was not the case. I spent an additional week home after she had to travel back for work. I got back on New Year’s Eve before she got home from work. I took a nap in the basement so I would not be a zombie that evening due to early travel. She got home from work and I expected she’d be excited to see me since I had been gone a week and based on how good our time together at home was. This didn’t happen. She didn’t even bother coming down to say hi. I came upstairs when I woke up and she greeted me in the same semi-interested way she did lately when I’d come home from work. That was a big blow to me because my hopes were high for the relationship. This was a huge seed of doubt for me.



Fast forward to Valentine’s Day. Despite the fact we’re again in a bad place and being very distant, I still had flowers sent to her work and got a few other things for her at home. She got me a few small things and it ended up being a nice night. The next day, the very next day, without any incident or provocation, she was back to being cold, distant, and disinterested in anything. I was very upset by this at it was yet another sign that things were not going to change. I had also started P92 after New Year’s to again get myself in a good place wellness wise. She again had no interest in doing it with me, or doing anything for that matter to change her unhappiness. After Valentine’s Day, and for a bit before, I started sleeping in the basement and spending most of my time there. She had become very unpleasant to be around. I tried my best to understand why and to figure out how to fix our relationship. We had had very many candid talks and heartfelt discussion about our relationship. After every impasse, we always decided we would try to make it work. Yet, every time, eventually we’d end up in the same pit of ambivalence and unhappiness. On Valentine’s Day, I decided to try one last thing; I bought the materials from Couples Therapy Exposed and presented them to her. I said if we are going to do this, we need to learn new skills. I absorbed everything in the material and consciously started making positive mental outlook changes in myself. I decided to become more understanding, more patient, and not allowing my temper to turn into rage any more. I truly applied these changes, yet she did not spend any time at all looking at the material. Yet another seed planted for leaving the relationship.



About two weeks ago, she suggested we go skiing. I said sure, but since I had never skied, I wanted to get a lesson first. The closest ski resort offered lessons, equipment, and a lift ticket for a good price. So I said let’s go at the 1:00 lesson, with us needing to be there by noon. I said just be ready by 10:30 the next morning so we can go. And of course, the next morning, she wasn’t ready until 11:30. I was upset because she is ALWAYS late, and I hate that. This time especially, I was upset because it told me she didn’t care enough about me to be ready on time. We ended up spending the rest of the day apart, and late in the day she told me she wanted me to move out…again. There had been many times in the past that she asked me to leave, but never followed through with her threats. We’d reach a resolution and move on, but the situation repeated itself over and over. This time though, after she asked me to leave, I looked at available apartments. I had done this every time she asked me to move out, yet I never pursued any of them. This time though, I found an apartment in my old neighborhood I lived in prior to moving in with her that would work with my situation. I contacted the guy, found out it was available, and visited it the next day. It was PERFECT. Everything I wanted in a place; good location, modern amenities, and more importantly, willing to work with my lease requirements, which I will explain shortly. After a few days of thinking about it, I signed the lease and am scheduled to move at the end of this month. Right now, after being proud of myself for actually doing it and putting in motion moving out, I’m going through extreme anguish about this decision. I’m second guessing myself left and right despite the fact that I KNOW it is the right call. It’s killing me.



I’ve had doubts about this relationship for a long time, and all the evidence says that splitting up is the right call. I haven’t been happy with the relationship in a long time, and neither has she. I read the ‘Too Bad To Stay, Too Good To Leave’ book, and roughly 75% of the criteria point to it being ‘Too Bad To Stay’. It is the right logical call, yet I still find myself second guessing, and it sucks. The things I struggle with now are:

• Remembering the good times. While I listed a huge list of bad things, it wasn’t 100% bad.

• Wondering if I’ll ever be with someone as physically attractive as her.

• Missing the nationality tie. That meant a lot to me during the relationship.

• Missing her family. They were really good to me and I enjoyed spending time with them.

• Fear of being alone, despite the fact the only time I was happy lately in the relationship was when I wasn’t around her.

• Having to delay settling down yet again. I do want to get married and have a family, but I want it to be with the right person. I want a future wife that will still care about me, not just future children.

• Personal guilt for the times I screwed up, wishing I would have done more to help make things work.

• Guilt for not being what she wanted. She wants to settle down and have a family soon too, but now she has to start over again.

• Anger at myself for knowing deep down it wasn’t right for a life time commitment, yet letting it go this long.



I’ll close with a list of reasons I think we have ended up being incompatible:

1. I’m an outgoing person and I like to be social. Not all of the time, but it is something I like to do. In my relationship with her, I started rarely seeing my friends, and I hated that. She’s a more introverted person, even with me. I need someone I can talk and joke with easily about anything. Since my job is quite solo, I need to get that social aspect from somewhere, and it wasn’t happening by being with her.

2. I love sports, playing and watching them, and she’s not even close to as passionate about them as I am. She’d watch games here and there with me, but did so seemingly as a favor to me.

3. I took initiative to make my life better by getting in shape, leading to a better outlook on my life. She went in the opposite direction and began drinking and smoking more.

4. She is an only child and is still treated as such by her mom. Tied to this, she has never lived on her own and hasn’t ever become truly independent whereas I have.

5. She handled her issues with me with angry, sometimes violent tempermental explosions. I reacted back in the same way until recently. I need someone with less of a temper.

6. I’ve become a more focused, active person. I’m more focused on my work now than I have been recently and I strive to be more active and involved. I’m bored with mostly passive activities and she doesn’t act like she wants to be more active, at least not on the level that I do.

7. In addition to the many other seeds of doubt I described, another big one is the fact that she did not support me during my job crisis. Last month, I came within 4 days of not having a job. I work as contractor for the Army, and the sequestration has put my job in jeopardy. I was renewed through September at least now, but until that came, I was seriously stressed out. She did not support me during this, in fact, she insisted she tell me how unhappy she was and asked me to move out while I was within a week of possibly not having a job!

8. She always thought I had ulterior motives in the relationship. She thought I lived with her just to save money on rent, which was never true. Yes, I did save rent money, but probably spent more money on the relationship than what I saved. She never understood that, ever.

9. She questioned almost everything I did as not being genuine. It got to the point where I felt guilty about doing almost everything, from seeing friends to even working out on my own. I had the ‘walking on eggshells’ feeling.

10. She got upset if I spent my own money on myself rather than spending it on things with her, like vacations. Yet, she never wanted to have a joint savings method, whether it be a savings account or even a piggy bank.


As you can see, there are many reasons that this was not right (and more that I didn’t list). So why the hell am I second guessing myself still? Stupid brain, why won’t you listen to yourself? I’m like Jerry Seinfeld in the episode where he battles between his penis and his brain.

If you read this far, I thank you. It felt good to write this and I hope others can offer encouragement, insight, or any other helpful comments.

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I spent the time to read your entire post, and I feel a bit at ends that my response may seem a bit short.


What I've gathered from your situation is that you attempted several times to make things work to the point that you started doubting yourself. Even through physical and nutritional gains, the relationship made you question your own capabilities like a poison. I do not believe this alone makes her a bad person, but I do believe it points to an unhealthy relationship.


I do believe that you made the right decision. I am of the understanding that you are currently feeling regretful because of a combination of two things: attachment and self doubt. Your relationship had a lot of time to grow seeds of doubt in your mental greenhouse, and now you are going through trying to pick out all of the weeds. Believe in yourself. Believe in who you are. All that's left is letting the chemical attachment run it's course.


I'm a firm believer that people can and do change, but a genuine change comes from within and takes time. You will never be able to make her into someone she isn't - only she has that power.


Best of luck to both of you!

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