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4 year relationship, broke up after 4 months living together


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I've been lurking around on this forum for about a month since my break-up, and just wanted to put my story out there for some input. It's a little long - sorry... I'm a writer.


My ex and I met on a dating site 4 years ago and hit it off immediately. It was uncanny how much we had in common. Additionally, this is my first relationship... I'm a late bloomer, I met him at 25 (he's a year older). Now I'm 29, and he is turning 30 in a few months. He broke up with me in early February.


When we met, we basically fell head over heels. We went incredibly fast. We met in early February, I had to put off our first date because I had to work late, but we had a couple beers and soon he was asking for a 2nd date (on Valentine's day... but he didn't know this until we set the date). I felt so connected that I invited him to my birthday party to meet most of my friends and my brother a week later... then we became official a month later. He was very romantic and loving. And he was so for the first 2 years. We told each other our "I love you"s a couple months in. He is one of the kindest and empathetic people I've met. I started to get over my doubts to see what a great partner he is and how I would love to have a future with him. Additionally, his mom and friends love me and they're all very nice, sweet people. My family loves him too. It all seemed so great. We are both ambitious and driven people. I try to give him as much space as he needs to do his own stuff (admittedly I can be clingy sometimes but he would call me out on it and I would try to be better about it)


I started to have doubts as soon as the honeymoon phase started dying down. His romantic gestures became a little less frequent. We stopped making out like crazy. But we still showed affection for each other and did all the little things for each other that showed we cared. We became each other's best friend. We have very similar views on life. There was not a lot of fighting. Neither of us like conflict, so if we have a disagreement we resolve it fairly quickly.


But at a certain point, about 3 years in, he stopped initiating sex. We talked about it a few times, but never really in depth. I would ask him what he wanted to see more of. As it was my first relationship, I admit I can be a little vanilla but we made it better every now and then with some toys, lingerie, etc. Something in my mind always held back though. I think again, it's my first relationship and I grew up in a slightly conservative household. Eventually, it got to a point where I did all the initiating, and when we did do it, it seemed like he wasn't super into it and sometimes he couldn't even properly finish.


I admit I can see that I didn't react so well to those moments. But I didn't think it was affecting him so negatively because we never talked about it. Again we would talk about it in the spur of the moment, mostly in frustration. Our biggest fight in the relationship came from one of these moments. Again, we didn't fully talk about it in depth, and made up first thing in the morning.


We moved in together back in October. He asked me to move in a couple years back but I told him I wasn't ready... and now I finally was because I was so sure it was leading to an engagement. I asked him the reasons for living together. He said he was excited to come home to me. I never pressured him for an engagement, we maybe talked about it twice. He told me that he was working on it, and even told me his idea for a ring.


Fast forward to early February of this year. I decided to try again with the lingerie as I saw Valentine's day was approaching, so I bought something and tried it on him. It was the same, it didn't feel super connected or that he was that into it, and 2 days later he broke it off with me. He told me he appreciated me trying, but it has been bothering him for a while. He told me he tried (I still haven't figured out HOW exactly he tried but I figured it was a moot point at that point), that he really wanted it to work, but that he didn't think it was something that could be fixed. I asked him if this is not something that all long term relationships go through. He told me, he hasn't desired me, wanted me sexually for a while. That he didn't find me sexually attractive. He told me that he found other women sexually attractive. But re-iterated that there was no specific woman (he even told his mom this, as I called her a week later). I trust that there was no other woman.


Honestly the whole thing shocked me so much, that I sat there and told him I understood. Mind you, he had more tears than I did (probably because of the shock of it all), and kept apologizing the whole time, and telling me that he really had wanted it to work. I told him, that I had planned my whole life around him. Then, why did he let us move in together if he had been feeling this way for a while? He said he thought living together would "fix it". I looked at him like he was crazy. I asked him about the ring he told me about. He told me he found it, and couldn't bring himself to buy it. I told him I still loved him. He told me he loved me too, but that he couldn't give me what I deserved. He said he had lost the passion, the spark. He asked me if I noticed... I honestly didn't. How could I notice if he wasn't communicating this?


My world was completely shattered, as if a hole just opened up underneath me. I didn't beg that night. I packed up some clothes, we hugged each other, said it was a good 4 years, with no regrets. I said goodbye and left. He was going on a trip with his buddies that weekend, so I used that weekend to pack up all my stuff and move back to my parent's house. At that point I was obsessing over why I didn't fight harder, why he didn't communicate to me that it was quickly becoming a dealbreaker, why why why. The normal motions. I left him a letter telling him this, and that I still loved him.


He got back from his trip and acknowledged that he read the letter. He said he was sorry but still didn't know what to say. This was a week after the breakup. My birthday was a week later, he texted me happy birthday, hope you have a great day... I texted him back, thank you. The next day I asked for February's rent money back. He agreed, and I told him I wouldn't bother him again after this. I have been on NC since... that was 20 days ago now.


Since then I've been trying to get myself together as best I can. I buried myself in work for the first couple weeks. I joined a gym, started seeing a therapist for the anxiety, insecurity, and sex issues (why I had been holding myself back during the relationship), and went on a trip to New York to get away for a bit. My life hasn't stopped because of the breakup. I was single for 25 years, I know I don't need a man to get through life. Although it still comes in waves. He was my first love and best friend. It's been 5 weeks now since we've broken up, and I still can't get rid of hope. It's definitely easier to resist the urge to talk to him, but I still have moments of deep despair everyday. I think my hope is that I work on myself the best I can, and if he can deal with his issues, then if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. Right now I'm still in a state of arguing with myself 90% of the day. That we'll be together ... no, I need to get over him.


I've been slowly realizing that the break-up was definitely for the best and a wake-up call. I got so lost in looking forward to a proposal that I didn't see how my actions were affecting him. Honestly both of our communication sucked. But I don't think our issues are "unfixable" as he said. I am willing to work on these issues together with him. I just need him to wake up and be willing to work on them with me. This is why I keep having this argument with myself...


... anyway, there's the long story. Any advice or even just consoling or uplifting messages would be appreciated.

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When a man isn't that interested in sex anymore, something is wrong, and that wrong usually is another woman. I'm just sayin'. He's fallen out of love with you for a reason. Unless you suddenly became a monster, there's something going on with him that you don't know about. Is he taking any drugs like blood pressure pills or anti-depressants? That would be a medical reason for it.


But I don't think it's you, and you obviously didn't lose interest in sex. There's just something that you don't know about.

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I have lost sexual interest in my partners, and I have had partners lose interest in me. And ultimately I think staying interested involves a bit of mindfulness too but you have to lose a few relationships before you learn that probably.


Point is this is a totally natural thing, and it sucks, being left, but it means he isn’t your forever person. (I don’t think many people are forever). Now is a time to be very kind to yourself, and spend time with people who love your face (and if you feel like you haven’t any of those then it’s time to under take the slow gentle process of friend making)

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But OP, you did notice he was losing interest. You yourself said he stopped initiating sex and that it felt disconnected and unfulfilling. I agree that he didn't communicate why it was happening, but you at least need to acknowledge to yourself that you felt something wasn't right a little while ago. That realization doesn't change anything, I know, but you can take some comfort in the fact that your gut is reliable when it's trying to send you a message.


I give you credit for trying, and I understand why it hurts so much. He shouldn't have moved you in on the premise that he was trying to "fix" the disconnect, nor should he have told you he was ring shopping if he had such serious doubts. Something was going on in his mind and people who want to salvage their relationships don't bottle everything up. This is why hoping he will wake up and realize it could be fixed is probably futile - he's a big boy. If he'd wanted to save it, he knew what he needed to do in terms of communicating. He opted not to.


I'm really sorry you're experiencing this. Break-ups are awful, and the first one stings a lot because it's totally new territory for you. As 1a1a says, be kind to yourself and give yourself plenty of time to heal.

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Thanks for the replies all. Its going to take me a while to get back into the dating scene, but I think my mind has accepted being single for the time being.


MissCanuck: I agree. I knew it deep down which is why I think I accepted the breakup was happening right away. But I think it was fixable, but my lack of relationship experience really shined in the last year. I think his did too - this was his longest relationship. Again, we talked about the problem but didn't take real steps to fix it - rather, I was doing most of the trying, that I was seeing, at least. I think my mind thought that if he wasn't turned on, that zero sex would happen at all (I mean, it's true) and so we both stopped focusing on how my own wants and needs would help the situation.


It sucks because we were compatible in every other way and I think we could have worked through this rut if we both took the right steps together. But the what ifs are just that, what ifs. It doesn't make it any easier to deal with.


In my mind I still want to fight, in my heart it still feels like that wasn't the last time I'd see him. But with every passing week it gets easier to just let us both have space for the time being. It's still fresh and I know the more space we have right now, the better off we will be. I went from waiting for a month to now being ok with waiting for 2. Maybe at 2, 3 months will be easier to swallow. But he hasn't contacted me yet. Knowing him, I think he's also taking it hard - but who knows what he's thinking. I do know that for it to lead into a breakup he must have been stewing on it for a while.

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