Jump to content

Learning to live for me

Recommended Posts

A 4-month long saga between me (37m) and my girlfriend of the past six years (28F) just came to an end last night.


I'll say up front that I appreciate any advice, and if you wanna beat up on me for whatever reason, go for it. I know I'm not blameless, but I also know I'm not solely to blame. I'm just looking to move forward and learn to love and value myself again.


There's a thread I started back in August that outlines the fight that started all of this, so you can read that if you want. I'll just pick this up from there because it helps me to write and work through it.


She and I had been in a fight for the past few days, avoiding one another, not speaking to one another, which is substantial because it was the weekend and we were both home. Monday I came home for lunch and she was there too. I asked if we could talk and she nodded.


"Before anything else, I just want to say I'm sorry for my part in all this. I was too hung up on why what I did shouldn't have hurt you that I didn't bother to think about the real issue: that you were hurt. No matter what I think, if something I did hurt you, then I was wrong. I see that now, and I'm sorry. I'll start being more mindful of your feelings, even when we're upset at each other."


She didn't look at me, but softly said "Thank you. I'm sorry too." I moved closer to hold her hand, but before I could she stopped me by speaking.


"I looked at apartments yesterday."


I looked down and nodded. "Yeah, me too. Seems like a good idea when I'm mad, but it always manages to snap me back to reality when I think about what it would mean."


She still didn't look at me. "I put a deposit down on an apartment."


I was in shock. "Okay... what does that mean? You're leaving?" She nodded, and I was silent for a long time. I assumed the relationship was over and my mind started going into survival mode.


"What about the house? I can't afford to pay for this place alone. I'll have to find an apartment, which is gonna be expensive, and we'll probably get charged for terminating our lease early."


"My parents are helping me" she said.


"That's great, but what about *me*? I don't have family that can just front me money, you know they're all poor."


"I don't know," she said.


I was panicking internally now. Thoughts about losing my home, trying to find an affordable apartment before the end of the month, how I was gonna afford to move even if I did find one, how to divvy up our belongings, etc. I looked at her and she just had a blank look on her face, and my heart sunk. She was making me leave my home without a place to go or time to make suitable arrangements. Granted, it was after a fight, but this was a more extreme response than I could have imagined.


"I guess we're breaking up then," I said with my head in my hands.


She stayed calm. "If that's what you want."


I was incredulous. "So you leave, thereby forcing me to leave my home without any care for what's going to happen after, but you assume we'll stay together? How does that work?"


"I think us living apart and starting to date would be a good thing."


I was still incredulous. "And you made this decision for our relationship unilaterally, without talking to me about it first? You put plans in motion already that I had no part in." She was silent.


My mind went back to the financial mountain facing me. "Do you know what it's going to cost to break the lease?" I asked.


"No. Where's our copy of the lease? It should be in there."


So we looked around the house until we found the lease, and the penalty was equal to all rents due until the end of the contract. Essentially we'd have to keep paying for the place whether we lived there or not.


"I can't," I said, shaking my head. "I can't afford to do this. Can we talk about this now? Can we find a way to work this out so that you're satisfied and I'm not financially screwed?"


At that point I looked down at my watch and realized I was gonna be late getting back to work if I didn't leave. "I've gotta go to work. Let's talk more about this tonight." And I left.


I was a wreck when I got back to work, nothing on my mind but how I was gonna make it through this, and why she made this decision, especially without talking to me first. I tried to look for apartments online, but they were all either too expensive, or full, or I was just too anxious and stressed to pay attention. Went and talked to my boss (who knows us both) and laid out what had happened. He told me to go home, get everything figured out, come back when and if I was able.


So I got home at around 2:00 and started making lists of what my options were, texting friends and family to see if, worst case, there was somewhere I could stay temporarily. Once I had my fallback plan in place, I started walking around the house mentally going through our stuff, trying to remember who bought what and how to divide up the things we bought together. I was in the bedroom when I heard the front door open. She had come home to take the dog out. I came out of the bedroom and she was at the kitchen sink washing her hands.


"Hey" I said from the hallway entrance.


She turned her head. "Hey."


"Which comforter do you want? I know you always used the blue one, but I don't know which one you preferred. I can take either one."


She sighed. "I don't know, baby. Pick whichever one you want."


I turned to walk away and she said "I'm sorry... for calling you baby."


I immediately teared up and felt the lump swell in my throat as I turned back toward her. "Its okay," I choked. "I'm not there yet either."


She turned around to face me and looked like she was about to cry, with her hand over her mouth. It was the first emotion I'd seen from her all day. I completely lost it, I choked and sobbed harder than I ever have in my life as she crossed the room toward me. The only thing I could get out between the sobs was "How could you do this to me??" I remember her trying to touch my arm and I reflexively pulled away, because crying was always something I felt I should be ashamed of.


She stood there watching me, crying softly herself. When I calmed down enough, she laid out a plan. "What if I keep paying for the house until you find a place to go?"


I was confused. "What do you mean? How woul- why?"


"I talked to my parents and explained to them that I was putting you in a bad situation, and they agreed. They said they would pay whatever it ends up costing us to break the lease, which is equivalent to rent anyway. If you can pay the utilities, you can stay here, either until you find a place to go, or until the lease is up. Can you do that, and is that okay?"


I nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, that solves all of the financial problems."


"Good." She offered a weak smile and put her hand on my shoulder. "And besides, it'll be nice to have a place to take the dog so he can run around, and we can talk when I come over."


I felt better after that, knowing that at least I wouldn't be homeless and couch-surfing. Things still felt weird to me, though, because we still hadn't talked about what her plan was, and why she thought that moving out and destroying our living situation was the best option. But anyway, I gave her the bedroom until she moved into her apartment, and I took the spare bedroom. We had spats here and there, but things were mostly civil. The day before her move-in date, the apartment complex she was moving into changed her apartment number on her. The new one didn't have a fire extinguisher or a fridge like the once she had been shown and was supposed to receive. It also had dead and live roaches everywhere. She asked me to come with her and help her get out of the lease, which I did, and we were successful. Her plan now was to live in the house, with me, and still sleep in separate rooms until she could afford to buy a house. On her own.


I was skeptical about this. We had been looking at houses about a month earlier, and while I was on board with the idea, everything I had always heard indicated that you needed a lot in savings for down payment and closing costs. She kept referring to a friend from work who had just bought a house and paid no down payment and no closing costs, and said that he was going to put her in touch with his realtor. I was still skeptical, but told her cool, let's meet up with him and see what our options are, and what the catches are if any. I found out later that she took my skepticism as disinterest.


I'm gonna sidetrack here and address something that cuts to the heart of why I was so anxious and afraid during this whole time. I grew up poor, on a dirt road. My dad was a truck driver, barely made enough to support our five-person family, so we never had very much. I saw my parents struggle financially my whole life, and until I got my current job in 2013, I struggled as well. Then I started doing better, met Toni, and we built a life together. A very nice house (by my standards, but certainly an okay-house by any measure) in a super safe and quiet part of town, with a front yard, a back yard, two living rooms, and a dog. Yeah, we were renting, but I was proud of what we had. The main point is, I had security, something I'd wanted my whole life. However, that security depended on us both doing our part to maintain it. When she decided to leave, that security was shattered, and so was my trust. She couldn't understand that, I think because she never experienced that kind of long-term financial hardship. Her parents are very well off, they started their own company a while back and sold it last year for several million. She has them as a resource if she needs them. I don't have that. None of my family, on either side, are well off enough to help me like that if I ever needed it. I'm truly on my own, so trusting someone enough to live with them is a huge deal to me.


On the same note, I tend to get anxious about big purchases. About a week before she told me she was leaving, she and I went to the sporting goods store to get baseball mitts so we could play catch in the yard occasionally. We walked out with two mitts, a pair of shoes for me, and two pairs of shoes for her, which cost over $300. I could absorb it, but it was a lot, and would leave me short with no money for emergencies for the rest of the month if anything should come up. On the drive home, I was clenching my teeth and gripping the steering wheel subconsciously. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her big purchases give me anxiety, and why. She didn't understand why, because I either had the money or I didn't. I told her it doesn't work like that, because what if something comes up that I have to pay for? She said you've got me, and I can help. Well, turns out something big did come up, and I didn't have her. So all this to say that financial security is a big concern of mine, and it makes me extra cautious about frivolous spending and big purchases. And even still I don't have much left over typically to put in savings.


So anyway, she was looking to buy a house on her own, which sounded insane to me. I figured, okay, she'll go look at places and keep looking and not finding anything she can afford or be happy with until the lease is up in February. In the mean time, we'll keep living together (even though we're in separate bedrooms), we'll still see each other and be able to talk and work stuff out and keep going to couples therapy, and by February, maybe she'll be willing to either renew the lease and stay, or we'll move into a small apartment together and start saving for a house.


Well, that didn't happen. A few weeks later, first or second week in September, she told me she was closing on a three-bedroom house by the end of the month. I was devastated, granted due to my own assumptions and ignorance about what was possible for one person to do when buying a house, but devastated nonetheless. I would now have to truly face the prospect of living in that house without her, and after a short time thinking about it, I decided I didn't want to. It wouldn't be home without her.


So the next day I immediately started looking for apartments. I quickly found one that was cheaper than my half of our rent, and it had a full-size washer and dryer. Best deal in our small college town by far. I put a deposit down and set a move-in date for the 19th.


This turned the tables a bit. Now she was facing the prospect of living in the house alone for two weeks without me after I moved into my apartment. I assured her I'd still be over nearly every day, as we still had stuff to pack and cleaning to do, and for the most part I was. If nothing else I would come by to say goodnight to her and make sure all the doors were locked.


She even came over to my apartment, stayed most of Saturday, slept in my bed with me on Saturday night, and we hung out for quite a while on Sunday. It was nice, the nicest time we had (or would) spend together since she told me she was leaving. It was like she was her old self, unafraid to be naked around me, cuddling with me in bed and on the couch, cracking jokes, etc. I noticed and asked her why she seemed so happy, and she said "Just seeing you in this place, your place, you've got a confidence about you. It's attractive."


She was able to move into her house a few days before the end of the month. That week, we went by the realtor's office (the ones we were renting from) and they explained that we would be responsible for the rent only until they found another tenant, so to just let them know when we were all moved out, and they'd put the place back on the market.


I should state here that I viewed any cleaning or other help with the house as me doing her a favor. I didn't want to leave, after all, but I wasn't given a choice. If it were up to me, we'd still be living there. It was her decision to leave.


I had moved the week and weekend before that, and she had moved during the week that week. We were both exhausted, and still had cleaning to do, but because we were going to be paying October rent regardless, and I was taking on the cost of the utilities in my name that were still on at the house, I told her that I was going to take the coming weekend off to rest and get settled in my new apartment, and recommended she do the same and we could both tackle it the following weekend. But instead, she went to the house that weekend and cleaned without me. I didn't mind, it was her choice, but I knew that if I put myself in that situation, as mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted as I was, it would almost certainly turn into a fight, and that was the last thing I wanted since things had been smooth between us for the most part.


She held that against me, and thought that instead of taking care of myself I should have come over and helped her when she wanted me to. She showed it the following weekend.


I arrived at the house at about 10:00 on Saturday morning. She was there already when I got there, but hadn't started cleaning yet. I had been actually looking forward to this, seeing her, helping her, us doing things together as a team. I was in a good mood. So I started by helping her do the big things that she couldn't do by herself, and then went into the living room to start cleaning the carpet. I don't know if she did it intentionally, but every time she'd walk by me, she would let out this heavy sigh. I finally asked her what was wrong, and she said that she had either been here working or at work every day for the last two weeks and she just wanted a day to herself. I agreed, said I would much rather us still be living here than having to clean it and then leave. She said I still didn't understand why she did this, and I said no, I guess I don't understand, please explain to me why we have to be apart to work on a relationship that requires us to be together. We were both pretty heated at that point, and it turned into an argument. After some really pointed comments from her, I just got tired of arguing and told her to go home, take her day off to herself, and I'd finish up here. She resisted at first, but I pressed. "Seriously, I don't want you here right now, this is stressful," I said. Finally she relented. However, on her way out the door, she started giving me instructions about how to clean what, and where to leave everything. Looking back, I think this was totally her right, since even in my view she was responsible for the house, but in the moment it kinda flew all over me. I told her I wasn't gonna do everything she asked, but not to worry about it, the place would be clean, just go. She refused, started yelling at me that if I wasn't gonna do things the way she wanted, she wasn't going to leave. "Fine!" I said. "Then I'll leave!" She chased me out the door screaming at me to give her my key. I declined, said I'd return it to the realtor's office on Monday. She kept yelling after me that she was financially responsible and I had to give it to her. I just got in my car and got outta there.


When I got back to my apartment, I sat in the parking lot and texted her. "Look, we need to talk. We can't keep doing this. If I came back over can we just have a conversation and not a screaming match?"


She responded with "At this point, we have nothing to talk about."


I sat there for a second and wrote back "Okay, then that means there is no 'we'."




I took a minute to process and wrote back "I really didn't want us to end up doing this via text. Can we at least say goodbye in person?"


No response.


After a couple minutes, I texted again: "Look, I know you're busy, but please answer me."


No response.


Waited another couple minutes. "Fine, I'm coming back to the house. We can at least say goodbye in our empty home, the last time we'll both be there."


By the time I got back to the house, it looked like she was in the process of backing out of the driveway, then remembered she forgot to take the trash can to the curb, because her driver-side door was open and she was pulling the trash can down the driveway. I pulled in behind her, not to black her from leaving if she wanted to, because she still had room to back out around me. I got out and felt tears in my eyes when I saw her face. She was angry, angrier than I'd ever seen her.


"Can we go inside for a bit?" I asked as she walked by.


She gave me a really disappointed look and yelled "This is the LAST time you ever hurt me!"


"You're right about that," I said, as I followed her inside.


What happened inside was awful, but probably what I should have expected, since she clearly didn't want to say goodbye to me in person. I apologized for my part in everything, expressed hope that maybe one day we could work things out. Told her I loved her, and probably always would. Cried when I brought up the issues I had with trust and my recent covid-induced depression, and promised to work on myself for myself in the future. She just stood there the whole time glaring at me with her arms crossed. After there wasn't anything left to say, I didn't know what to do or how to close out our six year relationship, so I asked her if I could have a hug. She wrapped her arms around me in a very mechanical way, left them there for three seconds, pulled away and said "There. You got a hug." I felt incredibly small, disappointed that we had come to this, and just walked out the door, got in my car, and broke down crying as I pulled out of our driveway for the last time.


Surprisingly, that's not the end. I went to my brother's place about 30 minutes away to drown my sorrows with a sympathetic ear. I couldn't sleep that night, so I spent most of it thinking. I knew I had issues, and I knew she had issues. I knew we both had to resolve those issues and make ourselves happy before we could be happy again together. At the same time, the bulk of our issues with each other lately stemmed from two decisions we made to try and save the relationship: my emotional withdrawal to reduce expectations on her while she dealt with her history of sexual abuse in therapy, and her unilateral decision to leave and force us apart while we deal with our own individual issues. Both were well-intended, but both caused problems for the other. In my mind, if we could forgive each other for those failed attempts at saving the relationship, we would have a foundation of mutual trust and respect again and could work from there. I texted her as much the following morning, and she replied that she wasn't sure about anything, she just wanted to talk to her therapist.


That happened the following Monday. I texted her after to ask how it went, and she called me. We talked, and it was a good conversation. I had my session that same day, and I went over some of what we discussed in my session about self-worth, feeling taken advantage of, and how to be mindful of the difference between a fear-based thought and a genuine emotional reaction. This helped me better understand where she was coming from dealing with my recent depression, and less recent emotional withdrawal, and she was happy to hear that. I told her that I forgive her for the way she decided to leave. She forgave me for the emotional withdrawal. We both agreed that something like this probably needed to happen before we could move on, either with or without each other. I thanked her for the call, and we hung up.


A few days later she texted me to ask if she could call me. I agreed, and she called me worried about the dog's foot because he was limping pretty bad. She said she couldn't take off work to take him to the vet and asked if I'd take him. I reluctantly agreed, and since she was worried, I helped her do some research into what might be going on. Everything we both found pointed to a sprain or a bruise (he's a Corgi, btw) and the recommendation was just to restrict movement for a day or two to allow it to heal and prevent reinjury. I suggested she do that tonight, and I'd call in the morning before work. If he wasn't any better, I'd take him then. She thanked me, then said she felt bad for relying on me. I wasn't sure what to say to that, so just told her I loved the dog too and didn't want him to suffer.


Turns out he was fine. The next day he barely had a limp, and the day after it was gone completely.


Since our interactions had been so positive and it seemed we were on friendly terms, I asked her if she'd like to join me for a walk in the park on Saturday morning. She said she wanted to keep an eye on the dog, but maybe next time. I was happy to receive a non-negative response, so I texted her some pictures from the park, and she texted me some pictures of the dog and her plants. The following week we texted a few times, nothing big or deep, just sharing things we found funny.


The next weekend I invited her out to the park again, as I'd been making Saturday morning walks in the park a routine thing for me since the breakup. Her response this time was curt, simply "I have plans with Rebecca." I tried not to read too much into it, but there wasn't any indication that she wanted to this time. I just responded "Cool, have fun."


I started to wonder what kind of terms we were on, but didn't text her Monday night because I didn't want to put too much pressure on her. Tuesday night I did text her, to ask if she was busy and if I could call. A few minutes alter, she called me. I told her the reason I was calling was to see if she would be interested in seeing me, spending some time together and talking. She said that she didn't think that was a good idea. I asked her why, and she said that we broke up for a reason. I assured her I wasn't trying to get back together with her right now, that I knew neither of us were much good for anybody right now. She again said she just didn't think it was a good idea, and that she was busy playing Overwatch with a friend. I didn't keep her told her that I was sorry to bother her and I'd let her get back to it.


I was devastated all over again. Why would she have a problem with that? Did I do or say something to make her upset recently? I looked over our recent texts and couldn't find anything. Then I had the thought that maybe she was just stringing me along to use if she needed anything because she knew I'd be there. I thought a long time, and came to the conclusion that if she only wanted to talk to me when she needed something, then that's not something I need in my life.


The following is that text exchange after the phone call, mine first, alternating:



"It's probably best you don't rely on me for anything anymore, including the dog. If you're in a place where you don't want to see me or talk to me, then I don't need to be your fallback. I don't say this to be mean or vengeful. It really breaks my heart to not be there for him, and for you by extension. But he's got you, and you love him enough for both of us. Until today, the interactions we've had led me to believe we were on friendlier terms than we apparently are. Looking back on how willing I was to help makes me feel used now, and I don't need the possibility of repeating that hanging over my future with the work I'm doing on myself. I'm sorry if anything I did or said caused you to feel this way."



"You didn't I just think its better we take some time apart. I believe it will help us work on ourselves. That way we're not trying to make those improvements for anyone but ourselves is all."


"Again, wasn't talking about getting back together, just seeing each other and talking. I'm doing okay living for myself, and I'm making these changes for myself. Doesn't mean I don't miss you. I do. But I know why I'm making changes, and it sounds like you do too. Seeing and talking to you won't change that, at least not for me. If it will for you, I understand. That was part of why I wanted to talk anyway, so I'm not wondering where we stand. I'm not wondering anymore. Still, because of where you're at right now and the fact that I'm working on my confidence and self-worth, I don't think it's a good idea to be someone you rely on right now. That's all."



"So you keep using "talking" what is it you want us talking about. Thats what has got me worried."



"You always said you wanted to get to know me better. It's something I've been thinking more about since I've started working on getting my confidence back. Rather than worrying about boring you or potentially being judged, I've started to come around to the idea that someone cares enough to want to get to know me. I also started to realize a lot of my attitude toward you while we were together was dismissive for the same reason. If I wasn't good enough to get to know, no one was. Sounds crazy, and it is. I realize that now. I also just enjoy your company. And having never lived alone, I've found it's easy to start feeling very alone. I get up in my head a lot, sometimes for days at a time. It doesn't feel healthy, and you're one of the only people I really trust. So it would be nice to break it up every now and then. But your worry is also worth talking about, because if you're worried about talking, then something we could potentially talk about is out of bounds. I'd like to set those ground rules for communication so I don't overstep."


"Idk let me think about it. Honestly."



"You've got time. My expectations are basically zero at this point."



After that, I didn't contact her again for over a week. Yesterday I got a call about one of the bills she was supposed to take care of related to the old house. It was past due and was about to accrue a late penalty. I texted her to let her know, and she said she'd see if she could pay it, but mentioned that her water bill was higher than usual this month for some reason. I just told her thanks, and to let me know if she has trouble, I'd help if I could.


I texted her before going over to my brother's place to work on his computer. When I got there he was on the phone for about 20 minutes. When he finally got off, we went and sat on the porch for a bit like we usually do to just talk and catch up. He asked me how me and her were doing, and I said I had asked her last week if she would be interested in seeing each other and talking, but hadn't heard anything back yet. I wondered aloud how it takes a week to decide whether or not you want to see someone. He asked me if I suspected that maybe she was looking for someone else. I said I really don't see that being the case, for several reasons: first, the sexual abuse she's still dealing with would make her uncomfortable around other men, I think. Second, I don't think she would be looking for someone else while "thinking" about talking to me again. But finally, and most importantly, she told me she wanted to work on herself for herself, and that's why she left in the first place. I don't see her just replacing me that. And she's always been honest with me if nothing else, so I think I can believe what she says.


My brother kind of hung his head. He finally looked up and said, "Man, I gotta tell you. That was Quinton (one of our best friends since elementary school) on the phone. He was on Tinder checking the dating prospects around here since he's thinking about moving back to Texas. Hers was the third profile he saw in this area."


I didn't know what to say. My face and ears got hot. I felt like the biggest fool in the world. Finally I uttered "What the ..."


I got my phone out and kept it direct. Here's the text exchange from last night, me first, alternating:



"Heard you were on Tinder. Why?"



"I don't see why that's any of your business."



"Because you tell me one thing and do another."



"I don't want to talk about this, don't worry about the bills they will be paid tonight."



"What happened to working on yourself for yourself? Wasn't that the reason you gave? But nah, you're already looking for somebody else. I didn't mean anything to you. No wonder this all didn't add up."


"I am working on myself, I'm not getting into anything serious but honestly that's none of your damn business."



"I'm done, as in blocking your number done. Your honesty was the last thing I held on to about you. But that's gone now. Have a nice life."

(Before I could block her, she got this last text in:)


"Please because your f***ing obsessed with me, never contact me again good bye."



I spent the rest of the night varying levels of pissed off and just hurt. Got my brother's computer fixed, came home, and purged my apartment of anything that reminded me of her. Took a while after six years of cohabitation, because everything is basically a reminder now, but I got rid of the worst offenders at least.


Read over that last text several times, and it bugged me, so I figured I'd send one last one in case she hadn't blocked me. It delivered, so she hadn't:



"Not obsessed. Still in love with you, sure, guilty on that one. Amazing that you can't tell the difference. Even more amazing that after six years it doesn't even take you a month to start trying to fill the void I left.


In case there's any doubt, because I don't know where else this 'obsessed' nonsense is coming from: I found out the you were on Tinder from Quinton. He's looking into possibly moving back to Texas, so he figured he'd see what the dating pool was like. Yours was the third profile he got from this area. He told my brother because he wasn't sure whether or not to tell me. And before my brother told me, he asked how you and I were doing.


I told him I'd reached out to you about spending some time together and you hadn't made up your mind. He asked if I thought you might be interested in someone else, and I told him I can't see that being the case because you told me you were working on yourself and needed space to do that. After that, he told me.


You're still blocked, and I've blocked and removed you as a friend from every platform I can think of. I came home and threw away all the pictures I had of you, and purging my phone is next. I still held out hope that we would solve our problems individually and eventually be better together for it, because that's what you insisted you wanted. But I wasn't going to push for anything other than friendly contact in good faith until we were both ready. And now that can't happen. Six years wasted.


I took you at your word every step of the way throughout our relationship. When you told me you loved me, but your actions showed you had no passion for me, I believed you. When you told me you enjoyed being intimate with me, but never seemed to want to do it for reasons you didn't know how to explain, I believed you. When you destroyed our home and told me it was because you loved me and wanted us to work on ourselves and our relationship, it was hard, but I eventually accepted that you were telling me the truth. And just last week, I asked you if we could start slowly spending some time together to see where we're at, and you said you'd think about it, 'honestly', and once again I believed you. But you were probably already looking for someone else at that point.


So I'm through believing you, and because belief in you was all I had left for you until tonight, there's nothing left but bitterness and a love that will inevitably fade. Make no mistake: you ed this whole thing up, and one day you're gonna realize that. You'll realize that I wasn't obsessed with you, but that I loved you. You'll realize how patient and caring I was for you, and how cold and impatient you were with me. You'll realize all the people whispering in your ear, while they do care about you, weren't doing you any favors by meddling in your life, and you'll wish you hadn't listened. And you might want to reach out to me and see if that love is still there. But it won't be, and I won't be.


Just wanted to set the record straight, so there's no confusion on your part. Good luck in the future. I hope you grow from this."



That's where things have been left. Now I just ache and hurt. And I have to somehow learn how to live for me when I feel like the gum on someone's shoe. It's been really messing with me that *anybody*, in her opinion, is preferable to me. She's open to all comers, but not to the guy that stood by her side for five years while she got to this point. Nope, because I got a little depressed and started doubting myself for a few months, she was done with me.


I can sit here and tell myself I deserve better, and I can even know that's true. But it's hard to imagine, at my age and in this area, finding anyone nearly as compatible with me as she was. Not to mention how I even go about trusting someone again. Any semblance of returning to that security is probably gonna make me paranoid.


Anyway, I imagine very few people made it this far, because this is a massive post that took nearly five hours to type out. It did give me some closure to go through and experience the whole thing again, though. If you did make it here, thanks. You've earned the right to bash me, help me, or do whatever you like in the comments. But If I could ask a favor from the folks who are happy with themselves: could you share some tips?


Thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



My heart goes out to you it truly does. The ending to a relationship is very painful and you go through various stages of grieving. I am going to be single for a year before I start looking to date seriously. I am learning to be happy and content with myself by being single right now and I know you can too.


I think the first few weeks will be the hardest to deal with loneliness. I know they were rough for me. It gets easier the more time you immerse yourself in hobbies, work and spending time with friends and family.


You start to feel freedom a weight lifted from your shoulders. Just think you don’t have to deal with constantly trying to work on a relationship with someone else. So you now have free time for yourself.


You will start to find you day dream about what you really want for yourself and I personally find daydreaming of such things eases the loneliness.


I wish you the best of luck,


It gets better!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But If I could ask a favor from the folks who are happy with themselves: could you share some tips?


You have to stop underestimating her and just respect that this person knows what she wants. She is done with this relationship. Period.


In a couple months or a year, go back and reread everything you wrote. Even read through the lens of your narrative, she was completely clear about her intentions from the beginning. You ran right over what she wanted, time and time again, insisting that you know her better than she knows herself.


Well, you were wrong. She is not a child. She doesn't defer to you. She is allowed to plot a course for her own future and she is going to do it.


Seriously, respect that. You don't own her. You never did. She was plenty respectful in this break up and she doesn't owe you more than that.


You have to stop being so worried about knowing what's best for this other person and start figuring out what's best for you. "Father figure" is not a good role to play in a relationship unless you are actually parenting a child.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Father figure" is not a good role to play in a relationship unless you are actually parenting a child.


The age difference here, while not ridiculous, is still significant. I would be really surprised if there were not some sort of parent-child dynamics going on here, especially when you rewind six years to when they met--he was in his 30s and she was early 20s.


Chewy, how did you meet this person? Have you dated women closer to your own age before? How have those relationships gone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My heart goes out to you. Good job on your focus to learn how to live for yourself. This doesn't mean you'll be able to bypass-right-by grief, so don't be hard on yourself when you have not-so-good days.


Sometimes relationships just run their course. This doesn't make anyone a villain, but it's hard to move forward and 'decathect' from an ex without turning them into one.


Head high, and write more if it helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chewy, how did you meet this person? Have you dated women closer to your own age before? How have those relationships gone?


She's the youngest person I've ever dated by far. My other relationships have all been women within 3 years of my age.


I met her at work and we hit it off based on shared interests and mutual attraction. We didn't work together for most of our relationship, though.


My other relationships, as you can tell, ended. Some amicably, some messily.


There actually were no parent-child things going on here. Contrary to what another poster also had to say, it was often the exact opposite. I always stressed that I wanted us to be equal partners. She even came to me at one point to ask if I would take on a "more traditional gender role": making decisions for the both of us, driving whenever we went somewhere, etc. I expressed discomfort with the idea because i viewed her as an equal. I didn't think I should be the defacto decision maker because what she thought and wanted mattered to me. But I tried it for a while because that's what she wanted. And the first time she resisted a decision I attempted to make for her, I told her I had to stop because it felt wrong.


Also, when her friend was staying with us the last two weeks before she decided to move out, she apparently was making comments to my girlfriend when I wasn't around. The only one she shared with me was that her friend told her "it's like you're his mother." Because my girlfriend had recently got really into cooking and would bring me dinner while i was doing other things like watching TV, playing video games, talking on the phone. But this was something i also did, and enjoyed, when i cooked. We had talked about it before and she said she enjoyed cooking for me.


So while I agree that the age gap was considerable, I disagree that there was any kind of hierarchy based on age. I didn't treat her like I knew what was best, and I didn't expect deference or obedience at all. I think people see the age gap and make assumptions. She was mature when we met. She likely continued to mature and age, maybe to the point that she grew out of our relationship, and maybe that's what blindsided and confused me about the whole thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There actually were no parent-child things going on here. Contrary to what another poster also had to say, it was often the exact opposite.


I can see that you're very closed off to this idea, so there's probably no reason to attempt to discuss it further. I've read both of your recent posts now, and I'm definitely not the only one who detected this dynamic. You've shut down the idea each time. I guess you probably find it embarrassing, which is understandable. And copping to it is not going to bring this relationship back. But I'd really consider it if I were you because you could get outgrown again in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can see that you're very closed off to this idea, so there's probably no reason to attempt to discuss it further. I've read both of your recent posts now, and I'm definitely not the only one who detected this dynamic. You've shut down the idea each time. I guess you probably find it embarrassing, which is understandable. And copping to it is not going to bring this relationship back. But I'd really consider it if I were you because you could get outgrown again in the future.


Are you claiming to know me better than I know myself?


As I said, many people see the age difference and jump to conclusions. They see what they want to see at that point. I was in the relationship, and I know myself. I'm not looking to control anyone. An equal partnership is the goal for me.


You can believe what you like. But to say there's no reason to discuss it further, then go on to do just that, and end your reply with a comment using my own admission as a jab seems like you've got an agenda to push here.


I appreciate you taking the time to read my threads, but I'd caution you to avoid letting your own pre-conceived notions and/or personal history with age differences inform your judgement when providing advice.


If there's truly no need to discuss anything further, our discussion will end here. I'm not looking to bring the relationship back anymore. I'm here to share my story and look for advice on how to value and love myself again, not have people push their own narrative about who I am and what my relationship dynamics were. There's a reason I replied to the quoted poster and not your post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Chewy,


I really feel for you here. I don't feel like some of the responses you have received have been fair to you, or respected how you must be feeling. In fact, I am very disappointed by the lack of empathy and understanding some people have shown, I can only assume they have their own personal problems that impacted their input.


I am not about to write an essay about myself, or detract from your story. I simply wanted to say that I went through an almost identical situation in 2018, even down to the words you mentioned had been said by her when things first changed. Word for word what my ex said, and funnily enough the behavior from my ex was identical to that of your partner. I found it bizarre reading, as it could have been my own life I was reading about. So I empathize totally.


I just want to say that the future will be better. As much as you love her now and feel all the emotions of heartbreak, betrayal, pain etc. it does and will pass and improve. It is so tough learning to live for you. It took me over a year after my breakup, and before I reached the point of change, I was super self-destructive first, nearly all the time. There is no switch to flick that suddenly makes you change the way you live and behave. It takes time to heal, experiences (good and bad) along the way, and again, TIME. That's the only way you learn about you. Time and a lot of thinking with it. Just don't forget to live amongst the thinking and the waiting. Keep living. Just got to get going my friend.


I know you can make it through and DEFINITELY find better and brighter days when you are truly living for yourself. Form new habits, new hobbies. Be more sociable, approach people you never would have before. All these things sounded so cliche when I read them on here 2 years ago, but, out of desperation I tried them and they do work. Even if they don't, what matters is that you can tell yourself you tried, and right now it's not about climbing mountains, it's about taking small steps towards them.


Apologies, in the end I guess I wrote an essay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey man, damn sorry to hear all this, you are a worthy person with alot to live for... I'm sorry to say but from how things sound she is looking too move on quite swiftly (which doesn't always work)...


Her family and herself are not going to worry over you, here is where you will start learning to cope without her


She is buying a 3 bedroom house on her own but cant pay the bills? Come on man.... Stop asking her to meet up for walks etc, she isn't interested man, she is on tinder, meeting up with friends etc, apartment water bill is high for no reason, signs that you must look at that could indicate there is some one else involved even though she doesn't seem like that the person to do that but her age yeah think about that again...


She seem to have blind sided you, looking for houses despite the fees involved that could put you in a financial strain ( consider this red flag), the bills not being paid and water higher than usual? Keep an eye on that otherwise you can land in a legal battle...


Don't worry with your age, I'm 35, divorced with a daughter which I share joint custody so I'm forced to interact with my ex lol


No one is here to bash to you, in fact I know how you feel bro, I been there (look at my posts), take some time out to grieve and start making logical decisions instead of emotional ones going forward...


Speak to your boss if they have counselors that can provide counseling if you need to speak, your boss sounds very understanding in this matter and doesn't want you loose your job due to poor work performance...


Good luck on your journey... and congrats on the apartment! It's a start....

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...