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Hi all, no idea how to format this as I’ve never posted here before so please bear with me if it’s a bit of a mess. This is also a pretty condensed version of events so that it’s not too long, feel free to ask for clarification on anything and I’ll happily explain further. I want as much help as I can get.

 

My boyfriend broke up with me just over a week ago because he claims he’s not sure he’s ready for a relationship because he feels like he can’t care about another person right now, and that he’s not sure if we’re right together. I haven’t been dealing with this very well at all because our relationship was absolutely perfect until quarantine. We had arguments of course but they were always constructive and ALWAYS resulted in us coming out stronger than before. We were so in love and he expressed multiple times right before the lockdown that he wouldn’t let me get away from him and he wouldn’t let the distance separate us. Neither of us were prepared for it.

 

We quarantined separately because we both still live with our parents and he was an essential worker while I was out of a job. I suffer from mental health issues but none so severe that I can’t function, unless I let them get the better of me. I’m a very social and independent person (as is he) so I get A LOT of my happiness from going out and seeing my friends or just doing things with people in general, it’s our escape from each other and it let us have space to do things we enjoyed. Because of everything closing and restrictions reigning in, I wasn’t able to see any of my friends nor was I able to really even leave the house besides to go grocery shopping. I don’t have my license so even getting out to do that was a problem for me. My friends barely spoke to each other during quarantine, which they apologised for, and we later talked and realised that we were all experiencing the same tension in our relationships because of quarantine. I was quarantined with my abusive mother 24/7, as mentioned I didn’t even have a job so I literally couldn’t get away from her, and my mental health really plummeted.

 

The pandemic had its own effects on both my boyfriend and I individually; he was constantly stressed about work and how his classes were being delivered online (he prefers going to class), along with not being able to see his friends and have fun. For me, I was quarantined with an abuser, out of money, starting my first year of university while also transitioning to online classes, couldn’t see or even speak to my friends, and couldn’t see a psychologist because everything was closed. My theory is that all of these external stressors completely independent of our relationship took so much of our own energy to deal with that we both couldn’t deal with the other persons stuff, like we normally do. So when he said “I don’t think I can care about another person right now” he was absolutely right, because I couldn’t either and I didn’t even realise. Whenever he was sad I didn’t really care as much as I normally did, and whenever I was sad he didn’t care as much either (though I will admit he was much better at it than I was). I think we were both so drained from everything going on that we literally had nothing left to give.

 

I also took a lot of things out on him and began attacking his personality, which again has never happened once in our relationship prior. I called him lazy and selfish specifically and I think he really took them to heart. I honestly do not believe he’s either of those things, I said them out of anger and stress though I know that doesn’t justify it. My point is that while he said he wasn’t ready for this and he couldn’t care about me, ive had time to reflect since being alone and I’ve realised that I was the one who wasn’t ready and I was the one who couldn’t care. He did genuinely try and I didn’t really do anything besides get angry and upset with him over something new or insignificant very often. I really want to reiterate that we have never had these issues before, and he acknowledges that these thoughts started right when quarantine did, but he refused to believe that it had anything to do with it when I tried to explain it during the breakup (granted I wasn’t as articulate as I am now). Since neither of us have ever experienced anything like this individually let alone as a couple, we had no idea how to handle it and I think it lead him to start convincing himself that he was a bad boyfriend and we weren’t a good fit. I can’t lie and say that I didn’t also have those thoughts during the quarantine, but both of us agreed to never having those thoughts before the lockdown. I thoroughly believe that the lockdown is the main reason for our breakup and his breakdown because we didn’t have the space from each other to recharge; we just kept trying to take energy and care and love from the other person when we both were completely depleted of anything.

 

He mentioned that he wanted to be “free in his 20s” to our mutual best friend. However, if you knew him you would understand how confusing this is, even our friend was super confused and said that it’s just not him. Before dating we were casual and I tried to encourage him to use tinder and other dating apps and he adamantly refused because he’s very against them. He doesn’t like hookups or one night stands. He can’t have a fwb situation because he just catches feelings. He doesn’t flirt even when given the opportunity. Not only this but I’m very open and understanding when it comes to things like that. Basically my only boundary was don’t do anything sexual or sexually suggestive with another person and I take no offence. I’m just struggling to understand what he means.

 

We have the same friend group so we will inevitably run into each other at some point, but he’s avoiding everyone in our group at the moment. Some of our friends that he’s closest to didn’t even know we had broken up at all, he just hasn’t mentioned it. He hasn’t deleted our anniversary post. He hasn’t asked me for any of his things back. He responded to my message asking to talk about all of this but he said he isn’t ready yet. I don’t want to believe this is the end because of how beautiful our relationship was prior to the pandemic. I’m giving him space at the moment and haven’t been in contact, other then yesterday to ask if he wanted to talk, but I’m really scared that he’s going to convince himself that we truly aren’t right for each other. The past two months together is not indicative of our relationship, but I know that he will be focusing on so much negativity because of how we left it. I want him back more than anything even though he’s clearly expressed that he doesn’t want me right now. Am I ridiculous for holding onto hope or is there logic and reason to what I’m saying? Should I just let him go or should I voice my concerns and fight for our relationship?

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Life always has moments of stress. Job layoffs. People you love dying. Poor health. Stressful job. People who really love each other work through problems together. People who don't care enough, bail, and know that breaking up normally means forever, and they are okay with that.

 

You don't know how to effectively argue. Never attack people with name calling. That's belittling and hurtful. It's possible you killed whatever love he had for you by doing that. Better to address the behavior, how it made you feel, and what you want improved. Read some books on couples communication so you'll do better in that area in any future relationship. If he chooses to speak to you in the future, at least you could tell him about reading the book, and taking any therapy you can to improve your psyche, to show how you've worked on yourself in the case he is thinking of reconciliation.

 

You never really fully know another human being or what goes on inside their brain. What you perceived might have been wrong, or it might have been right at the time but changed.

 

The only thing you can do is take what he said to you at face value. He wants to be single. So let him and go through your mourning stage, because healing can't come until that part is dealt with. I wouldn't hold out hope of reconciling, because it will hold you back from achieving closure. If fate has someone else in store for you, so be it, but do work on yourself in the meantime because you have to be a good partner to get and keep a good partner. Good luck.

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Take the separation and break up as a learning curve for now. Things are quite up in the air for a lot of people and emotions may change and the dust will settle. The words you used were hurtful and that type of language can snowball even between committed couples. It shouldn't get to that point but you've recognized it and now you know it's not good. Keep your chin up, learn from the lessons and keep moving.

 

You mentioned being a social butterfly or extroverted. I'm the opposite of you but I have chatted with neighbours throughout the quarantine and popped my head over the fence a few times. I still felt it was quite strange and missed seeing more people. Since you're a student and living with your mum, are there other alternatives or subsidized student housing closer to campus? Can you volunteer or work on campus and have your housing subsidized or paid? Try to check on campus and chat with counsellors and others in the community. Are you interested in living closer to school?

 

It's good to recharge and find new ways to cope and live, make new connections.

 

Slow down for now and don't 'fight' for anything as it appears futile and will only hurt you more or hurt the both of you even more. I think the best thing you can do is accept the end of the relationship with some grace and dignity and reflect on how things happened and what you can do for yourself to move yourself forwards. Letting go is extremely painful. Take one day at a time if that is too much to think about right now. One thing is clear - he's not in it and his heart isn't in it. You can't force someone to be a certain way and you shouldn't put your life on hold waiting indefinitely. You have to be the one to know when it's time to let go.

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I understand your first point but I truly think that in this case neither of us were prepared for what we were about to face. These times are unprecedented. He would try to care for me and I would push him away for it, i don’t believe he truly doesn’t care, I think he just got tired of me rejecting his hard work. It was my fault but I was not in the right headspace to recognise that at the time, and I’ve yet to be able to apologise for it.

 

As for the name calling, I completely agree. That was also something that I couldn’t recognise was wrong at the time because he would simply agree with me instead of standing up for himself and unfortunately I took that to mean that I was right in what I was saying. Another thing I haven’t gotten the chance to apologise to him for or even talk about with him. I have never acted this way towards him before, which is why I’m still hopeful about getting our relationship back.

 

The first time he expressed his concerns to me about the relationship he suggested I go back to therapy, which I agreed to do. The only problem was that this was when the lockdown was about a week in so nothing was open and I just haven’t had the chance until now. He has always fought for me and told me that I wasn’t getting away from him so easily, and I feel that I haven’t done the same for him. I want him to know that he’s enough the way that he is because my self reflection has also lead me to realise how much I do love his perceived “flaws” because of who that makes him. I am using this time to work on myself but I don’t want to let him walk out of my life completely, we were incredible together. We both lost ourselves during quarantine so I’m giving him the chance to find himself again but I don’t know if I can just give up and walk away from it. Thank you for your kind words.

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Unfortunately it sounds like you were mentally abusive to him. Abuse is often learned at home. You were far from "perfect together" if he suggested you get therapy. Abusers often think things are fine until their partner leaves. Abusers make excuses for themselves. Get to a doctor. Research abuse and get help. Leave him alone.

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He has always fought for me and told me that I wasn’t getting away from him so easily,

 

This isn't something that happens in functional relationships. This statement spells out the total dysfunction in your relationship. He was likely enamored at the beginning, taken in by your good looks and other good traits. But once that initial high wears off, attractiveness, etc., can no longer override the negativity of dealbreakers.

 

Sometimes it's the straw that breaks the camel's back, and even if everything wrong is made right, many people don't give second chances. In fact, my advice is usually that past behavior is the best predictor of future in these cases. It usually takes years of therapy to change one's major behavioral issues, so if you two reconcile quickly, you'll probably end up repeating recent behavior. Don't always think you have to have a partner to enjoy life. You will soon be very busy with university work, so it'll be good to keep your mind focused on that instead of romance issues. Good luck.

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I still think you need to get out on your own away from your abusive living situation. Why do you feel or think your mother is abusive towards you? I am just asking curiously - what has she done? How do you see yourself in relation to her or in that relationship with her? How does she contribute to your schooling? Are you able to live on your own?

 

I don't think it's a good idea to rekindle anything with him at this time. He's too hurt, confused, depleted for personal reasons and reasons having to do with you also. This person tapped out. He's not ok due to a combination of things. Take a big step back. When someone shows you he/she is not ok, really believe it.

 

The trick is to work on yourself but don't take it so hard that you feel you're the cause of every terrible thing that ever happened in the relationship. Don't swing to extremes.

 

Practice being still and feeling ok in the silences and the quiet, not having anyone to speak with or anything to do. It's hard but not impossible.

 

I feel so much pain and helplessness coming from you. Keep taking care of yourself. Try and move out if you can. Don't stay in unhealthy situations.

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I see lots of excuses in your posts.

 

To start with quarantine.

Quarantine will either make or break couples.

The ones who break were going to at some point.

 

He suggested you go back to therapy. Your excuse was that nothing was open. However , psychologists have continued to work through quarantine and even busier than they were before. Via online FaceTime sessions.

You had all the time to do this.

 

I think you have tested your bf before by suggesting he go on tinder but that you had a rule , nothing sexual or sexually suggestive? What did you expect from that? That he talk to random girls about the weather???

No! Instead he passed your test by not going on tinder.

 

You haven’t said how your mother is abusive? Just that she is.

Can you please clarify?

 

You are an adult and can move out of your mothers. You have chosen to stay!

 

You have not provided any evidence to suggest you had a perfect relationship, so I’m very sceptical.

 

Yes this is the end to what seems like a relationship that had an expiry date anyway.

 

Get back to therapy and discuss with your mother what it is that upsets you and why you think you should continue living with her.

 

Good luck!

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Thank you for the reply! I agree that I had the time to do it, but for personal reasons I was not comfortable calling a counsellor from home. In retrospect I could’ve left the house for a while, but I prefer to release in a safe environment and I didn’t really have one at the time. These may be excuses but at the time it truly didnt feel like an option to me, that’s my own fault.

 

I should’ve made this more clear before, but I encouraged him to get tinder before we were official because I wanted him to go out and experience other things while we were casual. That was way before I wanted to get into a relationship with him and we were just fwb. What I meant by my boundaries being nothing sexual or sexually suggestive with other women came as a result of us getting together and was a boundary of our relationship. Sorry that I didn’t make that very clear, but I wasn’t testing him.

 

I would prefer not to detail my home life so much because it’s personal to me and would be very lengthy, so I’ll just briefly explain a small part of it. My mother is in a relationship with a man who has made very disturbing comments about my body in front of her and she neglects her younger kids. I’m forced to take care of them while she goes to see him at his house an hour away for multiple nights a week since I was 16. She is very manipulative and targets one kid at a time when she’s emotional. I understand that I’m an adult and I can leave whenever I choose to, but I‘m scared of the way that my siblings would be treated if I were not there to protect them. My ex and I actually spoke about how it was weird how we fought more at my house and never really fought anywhere else, which I explained that I think is because of the constant tension in my home.

 

As for my relationship prior to my breakdown during quarantine, we were both incredibly happy. Someone referred to a point I made earlier about him telling me he didn’t want to lose me and saying that meant we were doomed from the start, but again I should’ve made clear that those issues were also while we were fwb and NOT in a relationship. That was my bad, I’m sorry. Every disagreement that we had we always came out stronger as a result of, nothing ever went swept under the rug or left us worse off. We never had arguments about big things such as money or lifestyle choices and we were incredibly in sync with our goals and aspirations for our futures. We would talk for hours about nothing and everything seemingly at once. We never fought destructively (until quarantine) and were always gentle with the other persons feelings, but honest and blunt where it mattered. We had the perfect balance, and we were equal on every front especially when it came to money and paying for things likes dates, gifts, etc. We didn’t put the other person on a pedestal because we knew our worth. We were both very independent and loved to spend time with our friends, which was something we both did very often. There was no jealousy on his part EVER and there was very little on mine, besides the occasional insecurity that I can’t help but it never got to a point where I accused him of anything. We both expressed how comfortable we were with each other and how we aren’t even that comfortable around best friends or some family.

 

I llost myself during quarantine and truly believe that I was not the person he fell in love with during that time. Being locked up with my mom 24/7 made me hate myself and my life in general, and I unfortunately took out all of the negative emotion I didn’t know how to deal with on him. I am finding myself again through the breakup and I am getting help, but I’m hopeful that we can rekindle things once the pandemic is over. I will not get into a relationship with him (or anyone) until I am moved out of the house so that I am in a stable environment.

To whoever called me mentally abusive, I appreciate the honesty and understand where you’re coming from especially with the very little insight I gave, but as someone who has never engaged in anything like this before and was suffering from what I’ve now been told by a professional was a nervous breakdown, it really hurt. I realise now that I should’ve been a lot more clear in what I was saying so I apologise if I confused anyone.

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Excellent. See a doctor, get a complete evaluation and discuss mood disorders, anxiety, family history, etc. Remember that 'nervous breakdown' is not a medical term or diagnosis per se but does warrant medical attention if you feel this distressed..

 

Get a referral to a therapist for supportive care and follow up closely. Keep in mind many things run in families as well as some learned behaviors so you'll need to assure that your health a priority. Either way do not use poor mental health as an excuse to be cruel to others. Get help rather than paying anger and abuse forward.

I’ve now been told by a professional was a nervous breakdown.
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