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Broke up, Ex wants space but is confused, what can I do?


JT159

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Hi, Prep for long story, I'm detailed:

 

My ex (F/26) of 6 years and I (M/31) broke up 2 months ago. First several year relationship for both of us (been in them before but only lasted months not years). She took time away to travel for 4 months. She's not the cheater type, I believe she was faithful 100% and I can overthink at times so for me to say that I truly believe it. The alone time forced her to think a lot and distance hurt us. We lived together for a year. Half way through the trip she calls and said she loves me but doesn't love me romantically, our goals are different and hopes we can be friends. Then tells me she doesn't know what she wants, confused, and she needs space. She doesn't want a relationship and she even pushes guys away who try to flirt. The pressure of caring for someone else is overwhelming (even parents who she's been taking care of her whole life) and she wants to focus on her and go back to school. She wants to move out of the state she grew up in (3-4 months from now), live on her own and she thinks differently now. But my name is not mentioned in coming along. She doesn't say "I don't want you in my future" because she truly doesn't know and says maybe but we have to see, she doesn't want me waiting or getting my hopes up for it but if it works out in the future then ok.

 

2 weeks ago she came home. I try to show some positive signs and see if being in person would change things. But I also unconsciously tried to convince or "sell" the relationship back to her and my feelings at times. We have fun and she texts me daily and visits every 2-3 days but then at times says I don't want to lead you on, I want to respect your time to heal if us seeing each other bothers you. She slowly starts moving things out but leaves some clothes/furniture behind. The hugs are not as passionate as they were when she came back. She said she got slightly jealous when a good looking girl added me on facebook and once I mentioned I did things because I "loved" her and the past tense of love made her respond like "oh..." so I corrected it. Sometimes she says, "we" should get a new (item) other times it's "you" should do what you want for your (item). She sometimes spends the night in the same bed but nothing happens and she doesn't make any advances or hints even when I simply try to hold her or rub her arm to see if there is any response not necessarily sexually but even cuddling etc so I respect her space. I slipped and said I love you once and she said it back but not sure if she's just being nice and helping me move through this because she knows I'm upset. When she stays I will sometimes kiss her on the cheek before leaving but nothing in return, just lets me do it. Mixed signals.

 

I'm sure she still loves me, but she's so lost and confused and needs space to figure it out. Maybe even getting outside influences. I don't want to dip into the friend zone. If she moves away I'm done for. Everyone says to cut her off, it helps me heal and gives her to chance to experience life without me (although I don't like the manipulation tactic). I tried to ignore her once and she got mad because she wanted to do something for my birthday and that's not who I am. Is NC necessary or am I being impatient and should wait longer? Other's say recreate spark and be there for her but I also know the longer I wait the further I could be pushed into a friend zone. Thoughts/Advice?

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Hey OP, I am sorry to hear this is happening.

 

Just to clarify, did she end your relationship? She said she doesn't want a relationship, so does that mean you two are currently broken up?

 

I know that it hurts to consider, but have you actually asked her if anything happened during her travels that she needs to tell you? Believe me when I say nearly all of us who have been betrayed also believed our partners were not the cheating type - until it happened. That might not be the case here, but it's a little odd she essentially ended it during her travels. How had the relationship been leading up to that point? How was contact thereafter until she came home?

 

Also, she cited having different goals. Which goals is she referring to?

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Hey OP, I am sorry to hear this is happening.

 

Just to clarify, did she end your relationship? She said she doesn't want a relationship, so does that mean you two are currently broken up?

 

I know that it hurts to consider, but have you actually asked her if anything happened during her travels that she needs to tell you? Believe me when I say nearly all of us who have been betrayed also believed our partners were not the cheating type - until it happened. That might not be the case here, but it's a little odd she essentially ended it during her travels. How had the relationship been leading up to that point? How was contact thereafter until she came home?

 

Also, she cited having different goals. Which goals is she referring to?

 

Hey yeah she did end it and yup we currently are and have been for a couple months.

 

I have asked her about anything happening and I got a no. Just the way she spoke and how well I know here and how she talks when she's lying etc, I believe her. I think this was something she has considered for a little while and decided to follow through with.

 

When she mentione goals I think she's lost so she wants to travel and be young and do those things she never got a chance to do before she settles down. The thought scares her. By that I don't mean sleep around, I just mean travel and be free because she was away for so long so her reality was very different for the time she was gone.

 

Since she's come back contact has been good. I mean she calls and visits. The only thing that gets awkward is if I bring up the relationship in any way or try to get answers. Even then it's not as awkward as I expected. She's clearly confused and pushing back and it's not just on me. But we have fun I try to keep her smiling. She never responds to any intimate (not sexual) advances even when we are laughing the whole day. It's weird it's like she's battling something inside her and Idk if there's other people telling her to stay broken up or what. I'm not sure if that's me falling into the friend zone or if the signs I talked about in my original post tell a different story, the tough to say. She needs space she says yet she has no problem talking to me daily especially if I respond to her texts, And she stays over sometimes. I thought things were making some progress but there are times she says she doesn't want to lead me on. Not sure brcause she's confused and it seems her mind changes often. But I don't hear it change about the relationship. Who knows it might be and she's just not telling me so I don't get my hopes up. I'm just as confused trying to make sense and come up with a solution for it.

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I think you need to be a lot firmer in your boundaries, OP.

 

You are letting her have all the benefits of a relationship after she dumped you. This is never a smart approach, as it lends itself to you being used while she detaches enough to let go altogether. I did this myself in my younger and immature years, so believe me, it happens.

 

Tell her that if she wishes to be broken up, you both need to act accordingly. The sleepovers have to stop. The daily chats have to stop. She needs to understand that if she wanted out of the relationship, she doesn't get to stick her hand in the cookie jar whenever she feels like it. That's relationship territory, not ex territory. It's not meant to be punitive to her, but you need to practice more self-preservation here too.

 

When you mention her goals, you said "I think she's lost so she wants to travel and be young, etc" - but what did she say? What are her future goals that conflict with yours?

 

She knows you well. She obviously enjoys your company. You're familiar and safe, and letting go completely is sometimes scary even for dumpers. But I have a feeling she's not as confused as you think. I think she knows she's going to move on, but is weaning herself off and shying away from intimacy for a reason. I asked before, but perhaps my question got buried among the others: how was your relationship leading up to her departure? You say the distance was hard on you - how so? How was contact until the point she ended it? And how was it after she broke up with you until she arrived back?

 

For what it's worth, I also once asked an ex if there was someone else in the months leading up to our break-up. I knew him well too; we'd lived together for nearly 7 years. He insisted there wasn't. But wouldn't you know, he married his affair partner a year after we split. My point is not to insist that she found someone else on her travels, but that we sometimes really don't know our partners as well as we think we do. Even if she didn't cheat or break up with you to have her fun on the rest of her trip, did you have any sense she was was checking out of the relationship? Losing interest?

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I think you need to be a lot firmer in your boundaries, OP.

 

You are letting her have all the benefits of a relationship after she dumped you. This is never a smart approach, as it lends itself to you being used while she detaches enough to let go altogether. I did this myself in my younger and immature years, so believe me, it happens.

 

Tell her that if she wishes to be broken up, you both need to act accordingly. The sleepovers have to stop. The daily chats have to stop. She needs to understand that if she wanted out of the relationship, she doesn't get to stick her hand in the cookie jar whenever she feels like it. That's relationship territory, not ex territory. It's not meant to be punitive to her, but you need to practice more self-preservation here too.

 

When you mention her goals, you said "I think she's lost so she wants to travel and be young, etc" - but what did she say? What are her future goals that conflict with yours?

 

She knows you well. She obviously enjoys your company. You're familiar and safe, and letting go completely is sometimes scary even for dumpers. But I have a feeling she's not as confused as you think. I think she knows she's going to move on, but is weaning herself off and shying away from intimacy for a reason. I asked before, but perhaps my question got buried among the others: how was your relationship leading up to her departure? You say the distance was hard on you - how so? How was contact until the point she ended it? And how was it after she broke up with you until she arrived back?

 

For what it's worth, I also once asked an ex if there was someone else in the months leading up to our break-up. I knew him well too; we'd lived together for nearly 7 years. He insisted there wasn't. But wouldn't you know, he married his affair partner a year after we split. My point is not to insist that she found someone else on her travels, but that we sometimes really don't know our partners as well as we think we do. Even if she didn't cheat or break up with you to have her fun on the rest of her trip, did you have any sense she was was checking out of the relationship? Losing interest?

You're right. I do need to be firmer. Because she has been in a very unique situation traveling and is pushing back on even her family and sending mixed signals I'm just being patient for a few weeks to see if anything changes as she readapts to life. When she ended it there was no fight, we both stayed calm and respectful bc fighting never got us anywhere and we both would shut down so I was trying to understand.

 

By goals she wasn't specific. Just said she wants to travel, our politics are different and therefore maybe our ideals are too. She thinks we would continue to divide. But nothing specific was said. Which makes no sense because it's not like I want a house and she doesn't or something. I'm pretty much laid back and not picky so I think this could be even someone else talking not her. But I can't assume that.

 

Leading up to the trip it was fine. Some minor arguments but really not much. Nothing out of the ordinary. She started to get more confidence in her beliefs recently as she was deciding to travel but that's it. Not like she was avoiding me or softening down on sex or getting attitudes with me. During her travels it was very limited talk because service was complete garbage. The distance killed is because we could talk, couldn't see each other, couldn't calm one another down and couldn't be intimate or have fun or do anything that would remind us why we have been together so long. When she came back it was somewhat awkward but not really because i was trying to make her smile and reignite a feeling since it was the first time in months that we saw each other. We had fun together, we enjoyed each other's company but we also wanted to talk and I'm sure clear some air. My feeling is she wanted to let me get closure more than her but I don't know.

 

I'm told to cut her off by many people. Others say to observe as she adapts and see if anything changes because she's stressed and pushing back at everyone in confusion. So maybe as her mind clears she might see through it and if not then I have to get the courage to say goodbye.

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