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Is it Time to Break Up or Is it Just Confusion?


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This is going to be quite a long post. I have a lot to get out, and I really appreciate you all taking the time to offer your advice. I've been nothing but tears these last several days, and I don't know what to do.


I've been dating my boyfriend for a little over six years now. We are both in our late 20s. As of last summer, we've become long distance, as I left for graduate school. I want to give you all a breakdown of our relationship based on time periods. I hope it makes sense.


The Honeymoon Phase

My initial feelings for my boyfriend were insane. I had been single for about eight months and not really looking for anyone or anything, but he popped up and stirred everything. He was coming back to town after graduating from college, and we met in a training program for our new job as teachers. We went on several dates until I got the courage to ask him out because he was going to be traveling abroad, and I wanted to "seal the deal." It was an awesome night, but things quickly changed the day after as soon as he left. Throughout his two week trip, we messaged, but most of it consisted of him telling me how "hot" everyone in Europe was and how the friend he was staying with kept on trying to get them to sleep together. I was an emotional mess back at home, and now think I should have seen this as a warning of what was to come.


Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and he's back in the US. This is when things get a little crazy. I was ecstatic to have him back, but it seemed he was not too thrilled to see me. The next several months in our relationship consisted of him ditching me to instead go out with friends, forgetting to cancel on our dates and instead calling in the middle of the night to apologize and to ask if I wanted to drop by at the club he had been at instead, and him simply preferring to be with other people in general. The times we did hangout were fine, but I shed many tears feeling unwanted, rejected, and genuinely hurt. It also didn't help that he was a bit of a jerk with several of my friends and my sister. Many of the people close to me disliked him and wondered why I was with him. After 5 months together and him ditching me one night, ignoring my calls, and not calling me back until about 5:30 AM to let me know I could drop by and visit, I decided to end it with him. We met up that night and I told him what I had to get out. He cried, and asked for a second chance, but I said no. It was now my turn to leave the country for winter break, and I figured I'd rather work on healing my heart than on fixing a relationship he ruined.


I returned from my trip a couple of weeks later, and he insisted on me giving him another chance. I eventually gave in and things were good for a while. Part of me, though, has always wondered if he was no longer blowing me off only because he had no one to hangout with. The two friends he usually ditched me for had moved out of state, and I was literally the only person other than his family that he had in the city. Although he was now being a "normal" partner, I could not help but notice it did not feel the same for me. The feelings I initially had for him have never truly come back. We both recognize this and have spoken about it. We both agree that we started off at different levels (me super in love and him being sort of meh) and now the roles have reversed.


The More Typical Phase

The next several years were a little more typical. Things were okay for the most part, but there were several bizarre moments including me asking for space, as he wanted to spend time together every single day for multiple hours and I felt I was distancing myself from family and friends. He would (and still does) get upset when I don't "prioritize" him as he says. We had a couple of short lived break-ups with the most significant including me catching him on a "hook-up" app we had both decided to mess around with only when together to see how creepy some people could be (I guess it was creepy that we were doing that, but it was all for fun in my eyes) and the other incident including him getting angry at me for being "flirty" with a really nice guy who seemed interested in me (There has been more of this throughout our relationship.)


Moving Out for School & In Together

After about four years together, I decided to apply to graduate school and got accepted to a really good program across the country. He had said we would become long distance, but I decided to ask him to come with me. Part of me wanted us together and part of me was just afraid of moving away by myself. He agreed to move and said he was doing it for us but also for himself. He thought this new place would give him some much needed fresh air, as he felt he had lost some of the drive for his job.


Living together for two years was okay, but it was then that I got to know some things about him I did not like. We had our share of tough situations but one thing that bothered me the most was his use of the "silent treatment." When he got upset at me for any reason, he would simply not talk until he felt ready. This could last for several hours to several days. This came up one time I decided to contact my ex, who is a good family friend, for help with a school project. My partner found out about this and did not talk to me for two weeks despite us being in the same one bedroom apartment. During these times, I also lost access to his car (our only form of transportation), which meant I was forced to take the city shuttle to go to school and to my internship site. During other times of conflict, he demanded I move out of the apartment, which was extremely frightening for me considering I did not have a job at the moment because of school. I never moved out although I did at some points look at places because he wanted me gone. What bothered me most during this time were his double standards. We both many times found ourselves in similar situations, but things were only truly troublesome in his eyes when I was the one in question. We eventually fixed the issues we had, but he did say he had lost all trust in me and figured we were bound to break up if I decided to leave to continue school in a new program after finishing my master's degree.


Doctorate & Long Distance

While finishing my masters, I was lucky enough to get into several doctoral programs including the one where I was completing my master's degree. My partner and I spoke about my options, and while we both agreed that I had better options outside of my then current school, he said he was sure we would break up if I moved. I eventually decided to leave after completing my masters to start a new program across the country. This is when my mixed feelings began because I felt sad about leaving him but also a little relieved. I felt bad for leaving him behind because he had moved across the country for me. He did however decide to stay once I left despite the possibility of moving with me again. What made all this even more confusing was how awesome our last months together were. We spent a lot of time traveling and getting to know the new state we were in, which we hadn't been able to do because I was so busy with school. Before I left, he asked if I would be up for getting "promise rings," which he said for our age would be more like engagement rings, just to make sure people knew I was a taken man. I agreed.


Our time apart has been okay for the most part. We "talk" daily but I believe that lost some excitement once my "new" life became more routine. He's been supportive with most of my struggles in school but has also at times had a hard time understanding why I can't do Skype dates or dinners as often as I was once able to. The other issues that have come up have been him becoming upset about me deciding to hangout with new friends instead of staying at home to talk to him and things like that. Major problems have included him demanding that I visit him for Christmas despite him knowing of my family tradition of visiting my grandmother in South America every winter break. I broke that tradition last year, as he threatened to end our relationship if I didn't visit for his favorite holiday. The other issue is him demanding that I come out to my dad, who still remains unaware of our relationship. Although this has not come up recently, he was very insistent on this during our first few months apart, as he felt an "engaged" couple should not remain hidden. While most of my family knows about us, I have not told my dad because of a fear of rejection on his end; he is very traditional. My partner came out to his family a couple of years back, and his parents have practically cut him off since then. I've always felt bad about this, but he made it really clear that he came out only for his peace of mind and not for us. He has, however, used this to tell me that I should not be afraid of being rejected by my dad, as I am an adult. I am very close to my family, and while I see his point, the thought of being rejected by my father is too hurtful. I will tell him when I feel ready. For some time, my partner insisted that I come out to my dad within my first year in the doctoral program or else he'd break up with me. I am now starting my second year and have yet to do so.


Now that we've been apart, things are great when we visit each other. There has only been one "fight" during our visits, and while he did go back to not talking to me for a day during my four day stay with him, it was not as bad as other times. I do know it still sucks, though.


This has all gotten way worse these last couple of weeks, as I have met a graduate student who reminds me a lot of myself. We share similar values relationship-wise (hate the idea of hooking-up and are only interested in long-term relationships) and have similar taste in many things. I don't know him too well yet, but he has really made me question my relationship. During this short time, we have become really close, and I am certain we both sense our attraction to each other. He knows I am taken, and I believe that's why he has kept physical distance from me. I have done the same. I believe my boyfriend senses something is going on, as he recently told me I was not allowed to go to the gym with this guy. His words were, "I forbid you from going." This ticked me off, and I purposely went if anything out of spite, but also because I enjoy spending time with this new found friend. I told my boyfriend I had gone with my friend to the gym, and he told me he could not believe I had "defied" him and hung up on me. I tried calling back, but he did not pick up. A couple of hours later, my friend called asking if I wanted to go to the movies with him, and I agreed. On my way to get him, a really heavy rain kicked in and he said we could watch a movie at his place instead if I wanted to to avoid driving in the crazy weather. I was hesitant but agreed, and we sat on his living room floor, watched a movie, and ate pizza. After we were done eating, he laid on the floor and progressively inched towards me until his head was close to where I had my hand. Almost as if out of habit, my hand reached over and I started scratching his head for a bit until I stopped because I felt guilty. He giggled when I did this but said nothing else. I left his place a while after, sat down with my roommate, told her all this, and burst into this. I have had a sleepless night thinking about this, and I don't know what to do. All of this happened this weekend. At the moment, I am confused about my feelings for my new friend. I feel the excitement I felt when I started my current relationship over six years ago, and I am frightened by this. I have never cheated, and I don't plan to. I have seen how hurtful that this, and I don't want to be that person.


I am currently at a loss and have been crying for hours nonstop because I don't now what to do.


Should I end my current relationship? Part of me thinks I should mainly because I know how messed up it has been, but another part of me is afraid of not being able to find someone who is as committed to being a couple as my current boyfriend is. Despite our flaws and the issues in our relationship, we have stuck by each other, and unfortunately, it is rare to find gay men our age who have been together for so long (I'm sorry if this sounds offensive; this is just a generalization based on what I have seen with friends and acquaintances). I'm afraid of not finding someone like him again. I also think I should not be feeling this confused if my boyfriend is, in fact, the one for me. It may sound dumb, but I believe that there is that one person out there for each of us.


Any help or advise is greatly appreciated.


Thank you all again!


Much love.

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Your partner sounds incredibly controlling. The fights, the stonewalling, the "I forbid you," the "spend Christmas with me and not your grandma," the defying him comment, almost forcing you to move out when you didn't have a job, leaving you without a car, the "you WILL tell your father or I'll break up with you" crap. This is not love; it's abuse. The fact that you get along better when you live across the country than when you are together is another sign that the relationship has run its course.


You could hold on and keep trying to make it work, but you'll continue to get more of what you've been getting. Being alone isn't the best, but if the alternative is emotional abuse then perhaps it's better to be alone.


Don't end the relationship because you've met someone new; end the relationship because you deserve better.

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I think you need to really decide what's in your heart and what means most to you. He has treated you badly a times and I am not sure if it has gone both ways, but couples do have problems. It just depends now how bad of problems you feel they are.

It is difficult to let go of someone that you have built something with for this long of time, there is a definite mourning with it all.

But are you crying now because of this loss and knowing you need to move on, or are you crying because you felt in someway you betrayed him and don't want to hurt him?

Neither of you has cheated and you definitely have established a relationship that has lasted many years.But can you really see yourself with him for many more years to come? Answer that truthfully to yourself.

This new man brings you excitement and new relationships always do so this may be clouding your judgement as well. Though there is nothing wrong with being happy about it if you are ready to move on.

I think you need to ask yourself some really tough questions and be honest with yourself.

Are you truly ready to let go of this long term relationship? Do you feel that it has run it's course and has too many problems? Are you willing to see how things are now with this new man knowing that it might not work out and you could lose both of them?

I know this is incredibly hard, and I am sorry that you are feeling so much confusion and upset over it. Just reading your story I can see how much you care.

I hope you do whats right for you and for your heart. Don't base your choice on what someone else wants...base it on what YOU want.

Picture yourself in both situations. You being with your boyfriend and never seeing or hearing from this new man ever again. Also picture yourself with the new man and never seeing or hearing from your boyfriend again. Which is more painful?

I wish you the best of luck with it all.

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Wow, that was a pretty long post! Luckily for you one reason for me being a regular on this forum is that I enjoy reading all the long stories lol I need to be honest with you just as a non biased third party looking in on your relationship that right from the start of your post and all the way through it, your boyfriend sounded like a controlling, manipulative narcissist. Also I know you will hate me saying this but it also comes across like your six year relationship is mainly a relationship of convenience, for the both of you. From the way your boyfriend was treating you from the very beginning, it really does sound like he wasn't very into you and didn't want to commit. Then when you dumped him, it sounded like his ego was hurt and he was thinking the whole time he had you wrapped around his little finger, but then he lost you. It seemed like he wanted to "own" you, so he begged you to come back. The only thing is though is you did say your feelings for him were never ever the same and at the end of the post admitted that you're just scared to be alone basically. I'm actually very surprised to hear you were in a six year relationship considering those two things.


I think your boyfriend basically thinks he owns you and he's extremely manipulative. He basically orders you what to do (even if it's unreasonable) and threatens that if you don't do it he will break up with you, kick you out of the apartment, or gives you two weeks of silent treatment. I can't believe he actually literally did tell you to move out of the apartment just over an argument! And the silent treatment is not only manipulative but it's also extremely immature and petty. I think even if anyone did use silent treatment it would only be for a few hours or a day tops, but TWO WEEKS?! And we do need to keep in mind that this is a man in his late 20's, not a child.


Also he treats you as his possession because he just orders you around and he most likely only wanted you to wear the engagement ring to show that you belong to him, as you said "a taken man". Plus he didn't want you to have any new friends. Also forced you to spend Christmas with him or threatened break-up. Sorry but this man takes drama queen to a whole new level!


In terms of your new friend that you're crushing on, I can't believe your boyfriend didn't allow you to go to the gym with him. I mean I know you're attracted to the friend but your boyfriend doesn't exactly know that so is he seriously just going to forbid you to hang out with any friends? I hope you see that you're in an emotionally abusive relationship because it really sounds like that.


As far as coming out to your Dad...Well it actually is understandable that your boyfriend doesn't want to a secret to your parent anymore after six years. But on the other hand threatening break-up once again (surprise surprise) if you didn't do it is also manipulative and immature.


I think whether you end up dating this new friend or not, the answer about your boyfriend is staring you in the face. I mean, if you only want to stay with him because of practical reasons and not to be alone, is there a point? Why stay in an unhappy relationship and close yourself off from other guys, when you could find someone who would make you happy instead? Also just curious to note that you not once said that you loved him.

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So, I read this whole thing, and honestly you sound like a pretty brilliant and successful person. Your boyfriend sounds like a codependent.


Your relationship reminds me of mine. What strikes me the most is your description of your Honeymoon Phase, mostly because it didn't sound like a typical honeymoon phase (where both people are so in love and everything's great). This is also how my current relationship started. We had a honeymoon phase that lasted about a week, when we both ended up in the same town (me for Spring Break from college and he was returning to the states after 2 years in Japan with the military). I had come out of a relationship very recently, and he was interesting and kind. My feelings were insane, and I clung to him. After that, we went long distance, I finished college in FL and he went to his stateside duty station in CA. We fought a lot over similar things. He demanded my time every night, we had to Skype all the time, text all day long, I had to (and still do) report to him when I'm leaving, where I'm going, who I'll be with, when I leave to return home, when I get home, etc. When we first got in the routine of doing this, I thought it was cute because I thought he just wanted to know where I was and when to be sure I was safe. He had very bad trust issues as well. Constantly accusing me of cheating or trying to cheat if I dressed up to go somewhere.


After I graduated, we thought it might be a good idea to live together, so I moved to CA. Things were fine for a while. Then he got overly controlling again (this is after I got a job and made some friends and started to want to hang out with other people besides him and his friends). I put lipstick on one night to go out for drinks with a few girlfriends, he flipped out. It was embarrassing. Eventually, I caught him on a hook-up app, and then on several other mediums looking for other women. At this point, I sort of withdrew from the relationship emotionally and sexually and became very passive because he was so controlling and I was depressed.


We stayed together through both of us losing our jobs, getting new jobs, etc. He is in school now getting his BA on the G.I. Bill and I'm at a fantastic job. He's only recently changed, after he broke up with me but we remained living together for months and months until I decided to move on. When I decided to move on, he decided to beg for me back and try very hard. It was a lot of crying, begging, and literally changing 100% into someone else. I've given in over the weeks, and put myself back into the position where if I want to leave, I have to break up with him again. He's done the same kind of ultimatums, I tried to compromise asking if I move out, could we continue dating and see how it goes? He says if I move out, we have to break up and he will cut me out of his life. This, of course, makes me feel absolutely terrible. I do still love him very much.


It's worth it to note that I have all but given up my aspirations to graduate school, because moving to CA put me in terrible financial trouble for the first 1.5 years, which I have only been able to begin remedying over the last 1.5 years. I did it with very little money, no job, and without much prior thought or planning. I eventually became the caretaker and now the breadwinner. At that point, I felt I had wasted so much time just trying to make ends meet. I definitely commend you for continuing your education as far as you've gotten now regardless of your relationship.


I have also met someone else who has the same interests and seems to be a better fit, he also knows I'm in a relationship that is very complicated. I'm sort of stuck in the same position. To leave or to stay? I'm terrified of making the wrong decision, and it sounds like you are, too. My advice would be to probably leave your current boyfriend, it's been 6 years and it doesn't seem like you were truly happy during any of them. This is the same advice I give myself over and over but can never seem to bring myself to take. Good luck.

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