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Need help, making all the wrong decisions on my own...


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Hi all,


I'm writing as I could really do with some advice regarding my breakup. My head's all over the place and I'm in a unique situation where I don't really have any family or friends around me, and I feel like I just want to talk to people and get their opinions on how I should be handling all this.


Background: My boyfriend (or ex now, I suppose) have been together for five and a half years, four of which have been spent living together. A couple of years ago we had an immigration application accepted to move to North America, for which we applied as common-law husband and wife; this isn't really relevant to anything of course, but I just want to stress the extent to which our lives are--and have always been--entwined. We met at University together and have gone from being penniless students to getting our first 'career' jobs, our first home, moving to another country, to now having a perfect, strong, loving and committed relationship--or so I thought. It was his plan to propose, for us to get married, and we'd both started saving for a house together. It was just a 'given' that we would end up together.


Just before Christmas (I can actually pinpoint the exact day, it was Saturday 14th December), he started acting a little off, but I didn't really think much of it. We were both incredibly stressed before the holidays as the company he works for had just been bought out and he knew he'd be having to take a pay cut, start a new job and work in a new place with different people in the new year. He's a creature of habit, always has been, and doesn't respond well to change, so I put his quietness down to that. I was also very stressed as I had an enormous workload before Christmas, and we were both going on vacation to our home country for two weeks over Christmas and so had to get all our work, affairs and Christmas shopping tied up before we left on the 18th December.


Long story short, he carried on being distant over the holidays. For the most part, we were both staying at our respective family homes for the duration of the vacation, but had plans to meet every other day or so. We were spending the 23rd, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day together, but during the other days we were both catching up with family and friends separately.


He carried on acting strangely over Christmas, only answering my calls or texts every so often when usually he'd answer every single one--in fact, usually he'd be the one texting me all the time. I won't go into too much detail, but basically we flew back to the country we live in together on the 27th December, and while I'd hoped that things would go back to normal when we were together and in our usual environment, they didn't. New Years Day, we had a serious conversation and I told him that he had to give me a reason as to why he was acting so cold and distant. He told me there were 'fundamental flaws' in our relationship that he didn't believe could be fixed. He's never been the best communicator; whenever we have issues and I bring them up, he more than often just apologizes and says its his fault, not because it is, but because he doesn't like confrontation. We both ended up crying and when talk came up of us breaking up and him moving out, while crying he said: 'this isn't going to happen is it, look how much we love each other. Let's just try and make things work."


The 'fundamental flaws' he was referring to were and are--I now completely admit--my fault, and did need to be addressed. He was absolutely right. They were our sex life (which has deteriorated a lot over the last couple of years, to be frank, mainly due to laziness on my part) and the fact that we have a tendency to 'cocoon' ourselves, which also is true and mainly down to me. Ever since we met, we've both kind of created a bubble around ourselves. We're both fairly insular which is great (or not so great, apparently), but the trouble with that is that we're both quite happy pottering along and going for meals out on our own rather than making a point of spending a night out with friends and going to a night club or something. Neither of us pushes the other outside of our respective comfort zones, we end up just settling into a routine and not spending much time away from each other.


Anyway, the 'trying to make it work' didn't happen, as when he got home from work in the evenings he would basically just want to retreat to the bedroom, not talk and go on his iPad. At first I tried to be 'Miss Perfect' by making nice meals, being overly cheery and asking how his day went, but when I realized that wasn't working, I decided to give him space. I was completely devastated this whole time and had no idea how to stop my seemingly perfect relationship slipping away from me.


After a few more days, he started to go out more with his boss (who's a 37 year old playboy bachelor) and didn't text me saying where he was, who he was with, or when he was coming back. I was devastated as we always remain in communication and would always say if we're going out, and especially when we'd be coming home. He'd be doing this on work nights (for both him and I) which I thought was selfish and very out of character for him.


About a week later, he said that he didn't think the flaws could be addressed, and said that in the lead up to Christmas he realized that he didn't feel the same way about me. He used an example like the fact that he wasn't excited for us to get a Christmas tree together, when he feels like he should have been excited. I thought that was stupid because we've been together so long--things like Christmas are now far from 'firsts', so to not get as excited as we once did five years ago is to be expected. He said there was no hope, and he was unhappy for a long time but just didn't realize it, and he didn't want us to be together. Over the last two weeks or so, he's also not come home at all--all night, no phone calls--about four times.


Needless to say, I'm devastated. I can't function at work, I can't go without crying for more than five minutes, and I feel a constant sense of impending doom. My family is generally useless at being there for me when I need them, my dad only answers my calls once every three weeks or so, and my mum passed away when I was 14, and my friends (who I'm too devastated to tell about the breakup because they'll be just as shocked and sad as me) are all in another country. All in all, I'm in a foreign country--which was fine when I had him--and have no one to help me through this or offer advice.


I know it probably sounds quite cut-and-dry and like he doesn't want to be with me, but there are some discrepancies to this. For starters, when he stopped coming home at night a few times and not letting me know, I told him that if he wanted to behave like that and wants to break up with me, he has to move out. He said okay, but never even bothered to so much as look into getting his own apartment. He also hasn't told ANY of his family--who are as good as my family too--his boss, his friends, or his colleagues that we've split up. When I said I was going to tell my parents, he asked me not to several times, and when I finally did, he said 'You just don't have any foresight do you?' which I can only take to mean that he didn't want to burn bridges with my parents in case this is all just a blip and we end up not breaking up.


Last week I had one last ditch attempt at trying to get back together. My argument all along has been that relationships are all about communication, and if he felt that those so-called 'fundamental flaws' were big issues, he should have told me that he was bothered a long time ago to give me a chance to make things right. In a serious relationship, you can't just not tell the other person that something's bothering you, then turn around one day, start acting aloof, and then two weeks later end things for good. You have to give the other person a chance to address the issues and repair things, and THEN if it doesn't work, end things. I was sobbing hysterically and he basically said that there was no hope--for the moment at least. Whatever that means. Then as soon as I stopped crying and he noticed that, he just said 'he can't predict the future' but for now it's over.


Ever since then, I've realized that I can't go on living in this country without him, in the apartment we shared, with all our memories and the pet (sounds pathetic, I know, but it makes me sad) we got together without him. It'd just be too painful. So as of last week, I've been telling him that I'm going back to our home country. He's been begging--literally begging--me not to go, but won't say it's because he still wants to be with me. He just says 'Please, I don't want you to go'. I first told him I was going to leave last Friday, and ever since he's been quite attentive, put his hand over me while I was sleeping on Saturday morning (I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a 'hug'), and has been being a lot warmer than he has over the last few weeks.


On Saturday, I told him I had a date (which I did, but pathetically I only went on it to get to my boyfriend/ex-boyfriend) and he spent the whole day on Saturday texting me non-stop. I didn't reply to any of the messages. He stayed out all night on Saturday and then came home first thing on Sunday, but first texted me asking I wanted him to make us a nice lunch. I didn't respond to that either. When he got home, we had a nice lazy day in our apartment and things were beginning to feel slightly more like how they used to--just minus the physical interaction and hugging. I could tell that he was making a big effort and kept asking how I was, I think because for the first time I was *acting* like I was fine, and also because he knew I'd been on a date the night before which clearly bothered him. When probing me about the date, he also referred to the guy as an 'idiot', so he'd say, 'so what did this idiot talk to you about then?'. Don't know if that's even significant, but it made me feel warm for a moment that he was jealous.


This morning I left for work, and due to my non-functioning mid-breakup daze, I made a major screw-up. My boss was angry, so my immediate reaction, in spite of what's going on, is to text my boyfriend/ex. As always, he's caring and attentive whenever I'm upset or stressed, and he was talking me through it and making me feel better. Then I got more irate, said I was glad I was leaving the country and said I was just going to walk out of my job there and then. As usual, he started begging me not to, which in a weird way just spurs me on--because he's actually showing some emotion. I said I was going, I didn't care what he said, and said I have no one here. He then said he'll always be here for me if I do stay and always on the end of the phone, but then that just wound me up even more because he's basically saying he'll just be my 'friend', which just devastates me even further. I then stupidly told him I slept with the guy from Saturday night (which I absolutely did not, we just had a couple of drinks), and he kept saying 'I don't believe you', 'you're lying', 'are you just trying to hurt me?', until he asked: 'Please just tell me the truth and don't play games, did you sleep with him or not?'.


As he was showing emotion...I stupidly said yes, I did. He was very affected by this and replied: 'I don't know what to say', and then bizarrely, 'I hope you're okay'.


So basically, now I feel terrible as it seems to have hurt his feelings. He hasn't cared over the last few weeks that he's treated me badly by disappearing all the time with no word and just generally being cold, but I can't bear to think that I've hurt him. On the one hand, I want to tell him I just said it to hurt him, partly because I don't want him to be sad about something that's not true, and partly because I don't want him to go and sleep with someone else to get back at me. I honestly think that would destroy me.


On the other hand, what if it works? What if him thinking I've gotten over him, have moved on and have given up hope on us spurs him on to rethink his decision?


I have no idea how to handle this, and as you can see, I'm making all the wrong decisions on my own. If anybody can offer any insights into what's happened I will be so grateful...I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I just want him back.

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Just read this through and wanted to add that he's behaved pretty poorly. He's told me repeatedly he 'doesn't want me', barely ever responds to my texts anymore, never answers my calls, says he'll be home for dinner when I make a nice meal for him and then just never shows up--with no warning--and doesn't come home all night. I've also made it sound as thought I've acted a lot stronger than I actually have, but I've been a blubbering mess who's basically told him repeatedly that I'll wait forever for him...


I just felt like the way I'd worded it came accross as though I've been quite strong and defiant throughout all this, but in all honesty, I haven't. I even had a panic attack just over a week ago in front of him where I basically couldn't breathe and he was really freaked out by it.


Now I sound slightly pathetic but at least it shows that the balance of power is purely with him, and why this weekend, when I felt like I had a bit of control for the first time in weeks, I ran with it by (stupidly) saying I slept with the guy from the date...

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Honestly.. I think it's done.....


I think he's grown tired of the relationship- so his attitude is adjusting to his own preferences.. going out & staying out, going cold etc.


As for what you did (lying about sleeping with someone), was a no-no. Will it help anything? NO.

Did it help you? do you feel better?


It just sounds like he's grown out of the relationship & is out testing the waters, but in the meantime is still holding onto you as a back-up... his security blanket.

YOU have to cut away now. You have to let it be. As hard as it is.. you have to face 'reality'.


I am sorry you are hurting. I KNOW exactly how painful it can be to lose someone you came to love, but, we have no choice bot to accept it.

I suggest you no longer play these head games with him. Admit the truth and admit it is over.

You can never 'make' anyone love you... or make them stay.


He's shown his true colours now.. and I'd get down & durty with him now and get things straight. IF he is no longer into this relationship & feelings are faded.. then yes, look at moving back home, to where your family etc are. So you are not alone.

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*Sigh*, I know, I'm beginning to think you're right. Thank you so much for the response (as difficult as it is to hear it).


As a quick update on the situation, he's continued to be very communicative today--almost back to normal levels of communication--after hearing about the totally-made-up-sleeping-with-date-guy fiasco I created (desperate times...I honestly don't know what I was thinking). He's called me a few times today and is speaking in more of a normal tone; he used to speak to me in a couple-style baby voice type way (embarrassing, sorry), but since all this has happened, he speaks in a very to the point, monotone way. It's hard to explain, but today he's strangely reverted more to his old tone of voice when speaking to me.


He's also still refusing to let me leave the country--he's saying he physically won't let me--and when I told him that my cousin invited us out for brunch yesterday morning but that I replied we'd broken up, he was really angry and asked 'what the hell I did that for'. He seems adamant that no one finds out what's going on between us at the moment, which gives me a sense of hope (whether it's false hope or not, I don't know). But it's important to add come context: at the very beginning of our relationship, five years ago or more, we started out very rocky, and there were a couple of times where he randomly got scared, shut off, told me he 'didn't have feelings' for me, disappeared for three weeks or so and then came back with a vengeance. After the last time that happened, which was about six months into our relationship, he admitted he just 'said' all those things and he didn't know why, and was completely perfect--literally the object of envy for all of my friends for over five years.


He's spent years saying to me and texting me: "I will never, ever split up with you" to the point where it was a running joke and I'd invent crazy scenarios and ask him if he'd split up with me if I did that, and he'd obviously say no, never. Sounds like cutesy-lovey-dovey rhetoric, but I genuinely believed it. I was always the pragmatic one who said you can never say never, and we may split up one day. Anyway, the only thing that makes this time different is that five years ago when we had a three week hiccup, I *pretended* I had moved on, and then he came back full-force. In fact, as he recalls it, he was crumpled in a heap on the floor shaking and crying when he initiated contact and I didn't answer. It's difficult now because we live together so I can't really do the whole no contact thing, but I wish I could...


Leaving the country without him and saying goodbye to my job, the few friends I have made, our apartment, everything, seems a drastic way to initiate no contact. I just wish there was a way to make him realize what's at stake


I just think he's settled into the not-quite-together-but-not-quite-broken-up stage of our relationship, and I don't know how to get us out of it

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I think you need to find your own apartment, or make him go and find one for himself. You need to do this because living together like you are, you're only going to prolong the agony. Once you've got that settled, give yourself some time to really think about what you want for your life. You've started to build a life for yourself away from your home country. Can your home country offer you the kind of opportunity you've found? Will you be able to get a job back there? Sure, all your family is back there, but you left for a reason. If that reason was only to be with your boyfriend and you hate where you are now, then go home. Just don't do it as a snap decision or an ultimatum to keep someone who has decided they don't want to stay.

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