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Healing When You’re The One Who Left


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It’s been my experience that leaving a relationship is so difficult whether you’re the dumper or dumpee, whether the relationship was toxic or healthy and whether or not you saw it coming.

 

This one was no different. I’m on day 4 of leaving a great woman and what was a good relationship of about five years. Problem was I was beginning to really notice the age difference (her 49, me 42) and feel sexually unfulfilled due to a “medium distance” situation that neither one of us was willing to move from (1.5 hour drive with no traffic.)

 

I began seriously entertaining the idea of cheating and realized that I had to break it off because nobody deserves that. Especially somebody who’s trusted you so intimately.

 

Her kids and I bonded a good deal over our time together. During the very sad, but calm and reasonable break up she expressed a desire for me to remain a friend and continue to interact with her two boys as a positive male influence in their lives. I’m all for it but we have both been NC for the past several days immediately after “the talk.”

 

My gut is telling me to let her make that approach if she decides that she really would like for us to try to be friends, but I’m always open to your insight....what do you all suggest?

 

Thanks for your comment!

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I would not stay involved with her sons because it will be too confusing for them if/when you meet someone else and likely unfair when she meets someone else and then wants that new person to be important to them. Keep your distance IMO. I think you can be friends once there is little to no attraction, no interest in getting back together, you both have moved on plus your new partners, if any, are comfortable with it.

 

I agree it is difficult to leave a long term relationship.

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I would not stay involved with her sons because it will be too confusing for them if/when you meet someone else and likely unfair when she meets someone else and then wants that new person to be important to them. Keep your distance IMO. I think you can be friends once there is little to no attraction, no interest in getting back together, you both have moved on plus your new partners, if any, are comfortable with it.

 

I agree entirely.

 

I just don't think it's in the best interest of the kids, and it will likely only complicate her ability to move on from you, too.

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Age difference is minimal! I can't believe that 7 years would have anything to do with this. And the distance - are you serious? 1 1/2 hours is really nothing. And how does that make her feel sexually unfulfilled? Does she want it every night of the week?

 

I suspect there is some underlying reason here.

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I also think you made the right decision. It has more to do with the idea of cheating or realizing your needs aren't being fulfilled by your partner. I'd definitely encourage you to look into that a bit more and figure out what makes you happy, what you're looking for in an ideal partner. Revisit the notion that you aren't being fulfilled in ways that help you feel nourished or engaged in your relationship and how you can change your ideas or your perceptions or your choices so that you learn from this experience.

 

The other issues (age and distance) just make the real problem of not feeling fulfilled or happy seem worse. It's up to you to decide what types of people you want in your life. It's not fair to either of you to place burdens or ongoing commitments. I'm speaking about ongoing relationships with her sons.

 

If she's looking for a father figure for them, that's really an agreement that the both of you have to be comfortable with but I think what she's really doing is subversive and unhealthy. She's not letting go and she's looking for reasons to keep you in their lives to make up for her own inadequacies she may feel as a parent. She may even pity you and that you may be lonely without them. I hope that I am wrong in all this and that her heart is in the right place. Both of you will have to figure it out over the coming weeks. It may be a good idea in textbook format and a very bad idea in reality.

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I don't really have any advice other than to offer sympathy to you both. Relationships that end where kids are involved are very difficult. My daughter still talks about my ex and her son at least once a week and its been nearly two years since we broke up. I was also a father figure to her son.

 

I think its possible to maintain some type of relationship for the sake of the kids but it will eventually lead to the same point when one of you starts to date someone else. I think that the relationship with the kids would then fall apart and maybe be even more painful for you or your ex.

 

Its just a sad situation all around. I hope you can find a path that offers peace to all of you.

 

I am a bit surprised at the comment about age difference. In your 40s, it seems that that kind of age gap is minimal, particularly if you share the same values, commitments to family and work, etc. There was a larger age gap with my ex but she was in her late 20s and was a stereotypical millennial, for what that's worth. The gap was extremely noticeable but not as much in the beginning. It's when the going gets tough that maturity starts to reveal itself.

 

Anyway, good luck man

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Wow, thanks to each and every one of you for posting. Good stuff here!

 

I can see I’m not popular for becoming very conscious of her age, and I will agree that could be interpreted as very shallow of me. I’m doing my best to be real with you guys, warts and all here. I’m definitely not perfect, just human. It’s something to be aware of moving forward for me to avoid leading anybody down a dead end street.

 

There was another post that said an hour and a half drive is nothing, and though that may be true for you (i get it, it was true for me when the infatuation and rush of new love was upon us) it certainly did create an additional hurdle for seeing one another when I work full time and we are both single parents. She was fulfilled sexually with once or twice a month, I was not @camber. What I am taking away here is that my sex drive requires more frequent intimacy in my next relationship...I admired my recent ex so much I sacrificed my own sexual fulfillment to be with her, and it ended up hurting both of us. Bad move on my part.

 

As far as her kids go, I am definitely not going to pursue any attempt to hold my place in their lives. I’m guessing after reading some of the comments that it probably will not come up again, but if she DOES bring it up I have some questions for her based on some of the thoughtful replies I got from you guys.

 

I’m not a big believer in trying to be friends with exes (although my ex wife and I are very friend-LY, it was born from the necessity of co-parenting and we aren’t hanging out together or sharing many personal details of our lives outside of kid-related stuff with one another.) If it somehow gets past the attraction and awkward post break up phase organically with my recent ex girlfriend I won’t be opposed, but I’m not actively going to steer in that direction.

 

Thanks for listening and chiming in, I appreciate you guys!

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Wow, thanks to each and every one of you for posting. Good stuff here!

 

I can see I’m not popular for becoming very conscious of her age, and I will agree that could be interpreted as very shallow of me. I’m doing my best to be real with you guys, warts and all here. I’m definitely not perfect, just human. It’s something to be aware of moving forward for me to avoid leading anybody down a dead end street.

 

There was another post that said an hour and a half drive is nothing, and though that may be true for you (i get it, it was true for me when the infatuation and rush of new love was upon us) it certainly did create an additional hurdle for seeing one another when I work full time and we are both single parents. She was fulfilled sexually with once or twice a month, I was not @camber. What I am taking away here is that my sex drive requires more frequent intimacy in my next relationship...I admired my recent ex so much I sacrificed my own sexual fulfillment to be with her, and it ended up hurting both of us. Bad move on my part.

 

As far as her kids go, I am definitely not going to pursue any attempt to hold my place in their lives. I’m guessing after reading some of the comments that it probably will not come up again, but if she DOES bring it up I have some questions for her based on some of the thoughtful replies I got from you guys.

 

I’m not a big believer in trying to be friends with exes (although my ex wife and I are very friend-LY, it was born from the necessity of co-parenting and we aren’t hanging out together or sharing many personal details of our lives outside of kid-related stuff with one another.) If it somehow gets past the attraction and awkward post break up phase organically with my recent ex girlfriend I won’t be opposed, but I’m not actively going to steer in that direction.

 

Thanks for listening and chiming in, I appreciate you guys!

 

Thanks for the update and thoughts. This is all very difficult considering you're dealing with a break up and letting go of not one person but a family. Do what you have to do to keep yourself healthy (eating well, hydrated and mentally nourished and going). You sound very level and you'll be fine. I too am not a fan of the commute, by the way. (Been there, done that and very glad for the end too.)

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I believe we can sum up thusly:

 

Breakups BLOW!!

 

Yes and sometimes later on a blessing in disguise. Despite being the one to "pull the trigger" it was so hard to end the 7 year on again off again relationship with a lovely guy who just wasn't right for me. The on again off again was also so painful. It wasn't till a couple of months later that I had the "a ha" moment as to precisely why he was not right for me -and I still to this day hold him in high esteem. The blessing part - we each met our person, we each got married in the same year, we each had a son. I hope he is still happily married and we each became parents in our early 40s so I'm glad he had the opportunity too -I am sure he makes a great dad. No regrets and yes before I felt internal closure and completely at peace of course I wondered after if I'd done the right thing. We stayed in touch as friends for about two years and when he started dating his future wife I completely backed off and he let me "fade" -not in a rude way at all -but I thought it was best.

 

I did see him again right after his wedding -because his new wife who I had never met emailed me via my ex's work email to ask if we could meet in person. My then boyfriend/future husband and I agreed - it was awkward but positive. I share the minutae because life is strange that way - so ending on good terms, honoring her need for space and to move on (even if she does not know it herself), respecting her child's need to detach from you - this way in the future when you're both settled maybe you can be in contact or maybe you will cross paths and it will be ok.

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Yes and sometimes later on a blessing in disguise. Despite being the one to "pull the trigger" it was so hard to end the 7 year on again off again relationship with a lovely guy who just wasn't right for me. The on again off again was also so painful. It wasn't till a couple of months later that I had the "a ha" moment as to precisely why he was not right for me -and I still to this day hold him in high esteem. The blessing part - we each met our person, we each got married in the same year, we each had a son. I hope he is still happily married and we each became parents in our early 40s so I'm glad he had the opportunity too -I am sure he makes a great dad. No regrets and yes before I felt internal closure and completely at peace of course I wondered after if I'd done the right thing. We stayed in touch as friends for about two years and when he started dating his future wife I completely backed off and he let me "fade" -not in a rude way at all -but I thought it was best.

 

I did see him again right after his wedding -because his new wife who I had never met emailed me via my ex's work email to ask if we could meet in person. My then boyfriend/future husband and I agreed - it was awkward but positive. I share the minutae because life is strange that way - so ending on good terms, honoring her need for space and to move on (even if she does not know it herself), respecting her child's need to detach from you - this way in the future when you're both settled maybe you can be in contact or maybe you will cross paths and it will be ok.

 

I needed to hear this right when I read it. Perfect timing and thank you for sharing - it means a lot to me!

 

I knew before I left that I would be filled with second guesses and doubt because, like you, I hold her in high regard and enjoyed what time we did have together immensely...but in the midst of those feelings it can be an intense emotional ride. Your post helped me get grounded again. 🙏🏻

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  • 3 weeks later...
I’m posting here again rather than contact. At this point it will be best to let everyone’s feelings stabilize and move on but holy sh*t do I miss her.

 

If you don't intend to fully reconcile and have it be for good this time...please leave her alone. Contacting her, telling her you miss her, maybe getting together and having sex or even reconciling then realizing you really don't want to be with her after all...that would be especially hurtful.

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Ugh this morning I was stupid and went and looked at her blog and it’s all about her broken heart. I feel so stupid and lonely. In my heart of hearts I do believe that it’s best to let go now, but leaving in the first place was a huge mistake. I haven’t had the time travel wish since I was a young man...but boy do I wish I could go back now and do it all over. This one is going to take a looooong time to heal. Oof

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I was looking for exactly what I found. I wanted to see if she was hurting too, to find out if/what she was thinking of me.

 

It’s weird being so intimate and in love and entwined in somebody’s life, and then suddenly completely out (as anybody who is on this forum already knows, lol.) I knew better but my loneliness got the best of me this morning! I’m not mad at myself. I deleted my account on the service the blog is posted on and I didn’t comment or make contact in any way. Just another step in the process. The long, sad process.

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