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6 year relationship (3 years engaged) over


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Hi! I have been a member of this site for a very long time, but haven't posted anything until now. I'm 40 and I was with a 26 year old. We were together for 6 years (engaged for 3 years) and it all ended about a month ago. She moved out 2 weeks ago and took off with my other cat. Anyway, in the last year romance wasn't there and intimacy wasn't there either. I work 55 hours a week 1 FT job, 1 PT job) and she worked 25 or so hours, so I got tired quite a bit after work (we had different work schedules, but we were together a lot quite a bit after I got off work at 12:30pm. She has anxiety and depression which caused her to miss a lot of work. It took her time to process things and the right words to say when I asked her "what's wrong". Anyway. Here's comes August 30th. She had been hanging out at her moms place for quite a few days. I had my 3rd anniversary at my workplace (Aug 30th) then she came home that night and dropped a bombshell on me. She wrote this 2 page letter saying that she was unhappy in the relationship and she was breaking up with me. We talked and cried a lot, so 4 hours later she came back and wanted to work things out. She comes back crying and tells me things I should do to change or make things better for our relationship. My ex-fiancee stays at her moms house for a week, then the following Sunday she, once again, writes me a letter, saying that it's completely over, then tells me that she is taking my other cat Lucy. (We got 2 cats in the beginning of our relationship). On Monday she sends me a message on Facebook asking me if I am at work (which I was) and proceeds to tell me that she has a moving truck ready and is moving out. I get home to a nearly empty apartment. I have to say my good-byes to Lucy (bawling my eyes out). Her dad, sister and her come back to the apartment and I say my good-byes to all of them. (everyone is crying) Because in the 6 years that we were together I was VERY close to her family. My mom had come into town the following week so they said their good-byes to her as well. So here I am in a nearly empty apartment and my other cat just lost his sibling. I didn't sleep or eat for days. I have no bed or barely any furniture now and my cat is looking for his sibling. I am in the process of getting another cat right now. I am just so confused about everything. and trying to be civil with my ex. The thing is that she is a great, wonderful woman, we had a great relationship, barely fought or argued, I mean we had our little disagreements on things, but what couple doesn't? I have nothing bad to say to her and she has nothing bad to say about me. She said that she broke up with me because we are on two different paths. I want a family and kids right now and she's not ready. I am set in my ways and she has specific goals she wants to do. I dunno, I'm just pretty depressed and heartbroken for me and my cat and it sucks a lot. I haven't felt this way since I got dumped after my first relationship when I was 19. I am having a hard time healing.:icon_sad::icon_sad: Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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Sorry for all the hurt.

 

It'll take a while to get over, so my advice to you is to try to accept that, rather than react to it. You feel you need a new cat? Okay, fine. But if you're getting a new cat in order to get things back to where they were—well, then I'd just snuggle the cat you have for a bit. That's what I mean about accepting vs reacting.

 

Fourteen years is quite a gap. I'm about to turn 40, and the gap between me at 26 and who I am today is not a crack in the sidewalk but something more like the grand canyon. Heck, the gap between who I was at 20 (when she met you) and 26 is about the same size. I know it's not much consolation right now, but life stages are real things—those "paths" she mentioned—and no amount of love can bridge them. Maybe there's some lesson here along those lines, to be absorbed at some point.

 

You mentioned being civil to her, which is great. Make sure to also be civil to yourself. I've generally found, in breakups, that the only way I can do that is by giving myself some real time to process—asking an ex for privacy, while I heal. Most have been pretty understanding, as most of my exes have been really civil people. Civil people tend to have civil breakups. Doesn't make them less shattering, but does make them more manageable.

 

Sorry again, and know you're not alone. You've got ears here—and, I'm sure, elsewhere—that are hear to listen. Head up, deep breaths. Hard road ahead for a bit, but you can get through it.

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Sorry to hear that you're going through such a tough time.

 

The break up was inevitable. Too large an age gap and at some point, you were going to go in different directions. She hasn't had time to have a life on her own and to explore, etc.

You're in a place where you've done all that and want to settle down.

You're just in very different places in life right now.

 

It won't change your loss or make the pain any easier, but maybe it will give you better insight when you choose your next partner.

I hope you can heal and find your footing again. It will take time, but you can be happy again.

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Exactly. What everyone said above. Age gap. She changed from 20 to 26. You need to find a woman who already has found herself.

 

True... A woman in her 20s is on a journey of finding herself. She is not like you, "set in her ways." She needs to find herself so she can stand on her own two feet. Sorry but from what you said, it sounds like this was a very much one-sided party when it came down to who was bringing in the bread.

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Sorry for you're situation! I know how painful it feels right now but know that it will get easier as time goes by. I see others have given you some good advice which I hope helps you somehow.

What I am wondering is why SHE got to just take your second cat Lucy without a second thought about you actually wanting to keep her...or the effects it had on your other cat!

I'm also wondering why on earth your ex-fiancé just took most of your shared furniture leaving you with a mostly empty apartment???? That doesn't sound fair!

I wish you would have said NO to her taking the second cat, as well as not just let her take everything from you - as if she was entitled to it all. What makes her think it was all hers to take

That irks me a lot for some reason! (I'm female).

Keep your chin up and stay strong through this! Someone better suited to you will come along and make all of this pain go away!

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I'm sorry you're in so much pain, OP.

 

She was just 20 when you two started dating. That's very young, in terms of where she was at in life. The growing and exploring you likely had already done when you met her? She's just dipping her toes into that now. It's not the time for her to settle down forever yet, and it appears she has told you this herself. It stings a lot, but she's just not where you are in life.

 

Even if you two didn't argue much, it doesn't necessarily mean the relationship was healthy. Intimacy and emotional connection can suffer when life gets busy and the couple lets it slip, and interest in a relationship can fade. It sounds as though perhaps you both became complacent, but also that she has issues all on her own, with depression and anxiety. You say you were engaged for 3 years - what is the reason you two hadn't married yet? Was there resistance on her end? Yours?

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Your cat is missing his sibling and it was very ill-considered of your ex to take only one of them. I think you need to have a conversation with her whereby either she has both cats or you do.

 

Cats are generally solitary creatures and while they may well get on fine with a sibling it doesn't mean your poor, bewildered cat will welcome a new, strange cat into his home. In fact, it has the potential to massively stress him out. I'd hold off on that and do what you can to get the siblings reunited.

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Sorry to hear this. What did she state in these letters? It sounds like there has been a lot of issues shoved under the rug. It seems she's been unhappy and dissatisfied for quite some time and hoped you or your situation would change. Did she want kids? marriage? Some type of commitment?

 

When people resort to writing letters to someone they live with it means that's the only way they can feel heard. Not much you can do because it seems her departure has come after giving you a lot of chances and giving it a lot of thought.

I'm 40 and I was with a 26 year old. We were together for 6 years (engaged for 3 years)

 

She wrote this 2 page letter saying that she was unhappy in the relationship and she was breaking up with me. She comes back crying and tells me things I should do to change or make things better for our relationship. the following Sunday she, once again, writes me a letter, saying that it's completely over.

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Why would she have the right to just clean out the apartment? I mean - all this crying and all the hugs are great and all - but where is your spine -- you let her walk all over you -- she can't just take all the furniture and a cat like that. its one thing to take her personal belongings and then discuss what else later. I mean, maybe she is young and hot, but you really are letting her walk all over you

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the reason why we weren't married yet was because of money. Her parents are kinda crappy when it comes to money whereas my parents are good with their money (atleast my dad is) I guess the thought of marriage and a family stressed her out

Edited by musicguy
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Sorry to hear this. What did she state in these letters? It sounds like there has been a lot of issues shoved under the rug. It seems she's been unhappy and dissatisfied for quite some time and hoped you or your situation would change. Did she want kids? marriage? Some type of commitment?

 

When people resort to writing letters to someone they live with it means that's the only way they can feel heard. Not much you can do because it seems her departure has come after giving you a lot of chances and giving it a lot of thought.

 

It takes her awhile to "process" stuff when it comes to questions that I ask her. What was stated were things I needed to do to change or feelings that she had been having while I was giving her her space. Communication was a big problem for us. She wanted marriage and kids, just not right now.

She thought I was pushing the kid deal because I'm in my 40's. Her family was unaware of the break up until after we did

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Why would she have the right to just clean out the apartment? I mean - all this crying and all the hugs are great and all - but where is your spine -- you let her walk all over you -- she can't just take all the furniture and a cat like that. its one thing to take her personal belongings and then discuss what else later. I mean, maybe she is young and hot, but you really are letting her walk all over you

 

thorough my confusion and shock she said that I told her she could take one of the cats and that I could have the other one

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I'm sorry you're in so much pain, OP.

 

She was just 20 when you two started dating. That's very young, in terms of where she was at in life. The growing and exploring you likely had already done when you met her? She's just dipping her toes into that now. It's not the time for her to settle down forever yet, and it appears she has told you this herself. It stings a lot, but she's just not where you are in life.

 

Even if you two didn't argue much, it doesn't necessarily mean the relationship was healthy. Intimacy and emotional connection can suffer when life gets busy and the couple lets it slip, and interest in a relationship can fade. It sounds as though perhaps you both became complacent, but also that she has issues all on her own, with depression and anxiety. You say you were engaged for 3 years - what is the reason you two hadn't married yet? Was there resistance on her end? Yours?

 

the reason why we weren't married yet was because of money. Her parents are kinda crappy when it comes to money whereas my parents are good with their money (atleast my dad is) I guess the thought of marriage and a family stressed her out

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Your cat is missing his sibling and it was very ill-considered of your ex to take only one of them. I think you need to have a conversation with her whereby either she has both cats or you do.

 

Cats are generally solitary creatures and while they may well get on fine with a sibling it doesn't mean your poor, bewildered cat will welcome a new, strange cat into his home. In fact, it has the potential to massively stress him out. I'd hold off on that and do what you can to get the siblings reunited.

 

I tried and she isn't budging at all.

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when we started dating the age gap didn't bother us

 

Nothing bothers anyone during the honeymoon phase. That's why major decisions should never be made during this time such as getting married, moving in together, having children, etc.

 

Other than ignoring the age gap, it doesn't seem like you rushed. She just grew into the adult she is now and decided she wanted to make changes. It sucks, but unfortunately all of us have had to go through some form of this.

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the reason why we weren't married yet was because of money. Her parents are kinda crappy when it comes to money whereas my parents are good with their money (atleast my dad is) I guess the thought of marriage and a family stressed her out

 

She wasn't too stressed out about money when she said "yes" to the ring. It could be that she really just doesn't want to get married yet in life and the fact that she moved from mom and dad's house to yours and back to theirs also speaks volumes. I do think at 40 if someone you are dating doesn't want kids or is not sure yet, you should not waste your time. I would take time to heal, and then explore in your heart why you did not pursue women closer to your own age? A lot of guys that chase women that are so young (she was 20/21 when you met, right?) usually were rejected by women their own age because of maturity, partying or something.

 

I would take time to heal. Its not too late to meet someone and have kids. I met my guy a few days after his 41st birthday. Women 30+ only, though. Don't even give the time of day to anyone younger than that.

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She wasn't too stressed out about money when she said "yes" to the ring. It could be that she really just doesn't want to get married yet in life and the fact that she moved from mom and dad's house to yours and back to theirs also speaks volumes. I do think at 40 if someone you are dating doesn't want kids or is not sure yet, you should not waste your time. I would take time to heal, and then explore in your heart why you did not pursue women closer to your own age? A lot of guys that chase women that are so young (she was 20/21 when you met, right?) usually were rejected by women their own age because of maturity, partying or something.

 

I would take time to heal. Its not too late to meet someone and have kids. I met my guy a few days after his 41st birthday. Women 30+ only, though. Don't even give the time of day to anyone younger than that.

 

Yeah, I don't get that whole "need much younger woman to procreate with". I know several absolutely lovely never married early to mid 30s women. They can't find men to date for whatever reason. Of course, lots of people would say "something must be wrong with them then!!", but seriously, other than a bit of desperation from one of them the remainder are truly lovely.

 

But don't worry about that now, OP. You can take some time to yourself for now.

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I understand the age difference wasn't a big deal at the start. Oh, do I.

 

But she was a literal teenager a few minutes before you met her, while you'd been a teenager a million years ago. That's the mental gap between 20 and 34, and love doesn't shrink it; in ways it kind of freezes it in place. So, yeah, it can all be super fun and feel like equals—you like the same stuff, have a blast talking, and probably both have fun with the gap in different ways—but as years pass the difference very likely becomes more pronounced. It's not even about obvious stuff like one person wanting to be "settled" and another longing to be "free," but about how we grow into ourselves as adults.

 

When she met you, "adulthood" was basically an abstraction—a distant thing on the horizon that she was walking toward. Now she's taken some steps, and being with you is all she knows. That can feel constrictive, especially when it's felt alongside someone you know had loads of experience in the world before you. Went through something with my ex—with, ugh, two exes, actually. I remember her saying, "You just got to do so much before me and I can't help but be jealous." Made me sad. Also made sense. I remember what cool 37-year-olds looked like when I was 24. I wanted to be them, not with them, and as a dude that's generally our only option, as super cool 37-year-old women don't tend to show us much interest in us during the tadpole stage.

 

It's hard, I know. These moments, whatever the dynamic, just suck. But like abitbroken said, take time to heal and, once healed, set your sights a little more narrowly. You don't want someone who hears "40" and hears "serious adult" but simply "fellow human." It really makes a world of difference.

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I understand the age difference wasn't a big deal at the start. Oh, do I.

 

But she was a literal teenager a few minutes before you met her, while you'd been a teenager a million years ago. That's the mental gap between 20 and 34, and love doesn't shrink it; in ways it kind of freezes it in place. .

 

I speak from experience being in my early 20s dating a man in his 30s -- you don't take the opportunities the growth opportunities you need to in your early 20s while in the relationship. Being with a man your own age is different because you are in the same spot. If you met her when she was already 25, she would be a different woman than she is today at 25.

 

Also, i get that she owned most of the furniture, but when she met you 5 years ago, why weren't you "launched", with your own place and furniture? I can see if you were engaged you started to buy things that were yours jointly perhaps, but it should not have been the case where she brought all the furniture with her and you didn't have any. I get if her couch was better, you got rid of yours or whatever, but still....

 

I also think that unless there is a good reason for a long engagement (18 year olds are told by parents they are too young and won't support a wedding before 22, military service or finishing college), if someone is engaged to you for multiple years with no date, they aren't ready to marry anyone - or just not you.

 

Also, did you get engaged to sort of to "take her off the market" vs to get married?

 

Just some things to reflect on.

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You've had a very long time together. Unfortunately when push comes to shove all the inevitable incompatibilities start to seep through. You can have all these problems at any age. However in this situation it's not about age as much as life-stage and priorities.

 

The fact that she sat down not once, but twice to write you these dissertations about her unhappiness/feeling etc. should make you aware that this has been going on for some time until it simply hit critical mass.

 

Perhaps you were too obsessed with peripheral things like pets and furniture to even listen to her. When that becomes more important than the person you're with you have some thinking to do. In the end it worked out. She's back at her parents and you both have time to reflect on what you want and what's important.

Communication was a big problem for us. She wanted marriage and kids, just not right now.

She thought I was pushing the kid deal because I'm in my 40's.

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Perhaps you were too obsessed with peripheral things like pets and furniture to even listen to her. When that becomes more important than the person you're with you have some thinking to do. In the end it worked out. She's back at her parents and you both have time to reflect on what you want and what's important.

 

When i was very young, it was easy to speak on intellectual manners, but it was hard to express my heart. I also imagine that she wanted to say it "right" and didn't want to hurt him or didn't want to just say it outloud for fear that she would cave, cry or beg. I agree -- time to reflect but also time to decide to negotiate about the cats if need be and to stop communicating with her family and move on. If he needs to move to a new apartment at the end of the lease, so be it.

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