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He wants to take a step back


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I have been with this man (38, I’m 52)

for 18 months. He has self esteem/communication/anxiety-depression  issues and I think an underlying mood disorder bipolar 2 or cyclothymia possibly? He had a 10 year relationship and married for the last 2 years of it, wife cheated multiple times and they divorced in fall of 2018– had a rebound relationship that ended shortly after the divorce was final but started when he and his wife had been separated for a year. We met online in March of 2019 and started dating steadily 2 months later. He frequently cuts off contact with me, friends, family and says he has always struggled to maintain communication and keep his plans/promises made.
He recently switched jobs and had to start working the night shift, totally opposite hours from me (early day shift.) I have never complained about his busy schedule, only expressed concern that he pushes himself too hard and have always been understanding that we can’t see each other often, but make it clear that I miss him and enjoy our time together. He recently stopped responding to my texts for nearly a month; I confronted him and told him how hurtful it was and he profusely apologized a day later, said he had been selfish and was trying to better himself and get good grades (he’s also attending school 3/4 time) asked to see me and of course I accepted. We made plans for the following night but both agreed jokingly when evening rolled around that we were both too tired. Fast forward to last Thursday- he sent me a text that said “Hi ______! I just wanted to reach out and let you know that you mean a lot to me and will always. Be kind to yourself and love the woman that you are. I will be taking a step back from this off and on relationship. And I’m truly working in myself and will need time to heal and process. I care for you very much// be well and stay healthy.

When I tried to respond a few minutes later my message was sent as a text instead of iMessage. I think he blocked my number.

I’m so confused, I thought he wanted to work things out. 

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Sounds like he can't handle it anymore.  He's tried for a while but is just too much.

As you said he's got a tonne of stressors going on - I think he just can't handle a relationship as well.

Plus you are aware of his mentality... adding to that expectations of a partner & another things that will set him off is that night shift.. and he has schooling as well?  Wow  😞 

So, I say to just respectfully back off now & work on accepting his choice in this.

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Thank you, I do understand all of the stress he is under. I just care about him so much and don’t want to lose him. 😞

I haven’t tried to contact him since the few texts I sent immediately, I know I need to respect his decision. I was just hoping at some point he would reach out to me when he has his life in order.

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When he has it in order 😞 ... how long do you think that will take?

Are you familiar with such mental health conditions?

 

He has self esteem/communication/anxiety-depression  issues and I think an underlying mood disorder bipolar 2 or cyclothymia possibly? He had a 10 year relationship and married for the last 2 years of it, wife cheated multiple times and they divorced in fall of 2018–

And, seeing all of this.. I feel he is still needing time to sort through this whole experience.. heal more, in order to feel he can move on - in a more 'stable' manner.

Edited by SooSad33
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I meant the other stressors in his life. I realize he needs therapy and possibly medication, he is in therapy now and has been on & off since before we met. It doesn’t stand to reason that a mental health challenge means that relationships are an impossible thing to have. Maybe he is just realizing that it is impossible for him right now 😞

 

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Sorry to hear this. What baffles me - you were together 18 months and he ended things via text? Honestly, as much as this situation stings right now and whatever his reasons for ending this, you deserved the courtesy of a phone call (if meeting in person isn't possible due to distance or the pandemic).

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42 minutes ago, Need to know why said:

 I’m truly working in myself and will need time to heal and process.

Yes, I think he's just not ready or able to be involved... it takes time & energy to succeed.  He needs to work on a few things. (eg. to not communicate wit partner..?).

Yeah, he needs to work on things & take care of himself.

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Yes, life can get to be too much sometimes.  Maybe, in time (a few mos at least) he will reach out again and be in a bettter place.

Is good actually IF he is backing out at this time, to work on himself & other expectations.. I had to do the same for a while... had ongoing therapy for a good while, to work through some issue's...etc.

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1 minute ago, Need to know why said:

@greendots thank you. We have been on & off— not dating anyone else but his frequent vanishing acts have been in place from the beginning. It is hurtful and disrespectful that he not only ended things with a text, but he won’t allow me to respond.

I'm generally all for making it work between people. But this guy, didn't even have the decency to at least call you when ending this on and off thing. Do you really want to be part of someone's life who couldn't be bothered to personally tell you?

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21 minutes ago, Need to know why said:

@greendots you have a great point, it’s true he didn’t handle this with respect or kindness. I am still so blindsided by the breakup and my feelings for him run deep, partly because he is so broken 😞

Understandably, you still care and I guess you'd like to be there for him. I don't doubt he's got some nice qualities, but do you really think he deserves your time after having chosen to handle this situation in a lousy way?

You genuinely deserve to be with a guy who treats you with respect and kindness, in good and bad circumstances. 🙂

Edited by greendots
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His words say you mean a lot but his actions scream different. 
 

He’s done you a kindness cutting you loose though, I would counsel working on letting this love fade. Love yourself instead and when someone who’s a better fit crosses your path your heart will have space to fit them in.

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53 minutes ago, Need to know why said:

We have been on & off— not dating anyone else but his frequent vanishing acts have been in place from the beginning. It is hurtful and disrespectful that he not only ended things with a text, but he won’t allow me to respond.

I think this is very telling.  Right from the get-go he showed you a "not so nice side" of him.  You really should take heed because this is part of his make-up. It is who he is and it won't change.  Could you really live a life like that with a man who frequently vanishes, is disrespectful and hurts you all the time?  What do you get out of it?  The very least he could have done was end it face-to-face with you and explained but he didn't even have the decency to do that.  That says a lot too.  You need to take note of all the red warning flags all over the place.

I also found this part rather interesting:  ......... "I am still so blindsided by the breakup and my feelings for him run deep, partly because he is so broken" .  This almost comes across like you are drawn to broken men and want to fix them.  Like a project.  I may of course be way off base, but that's how I saw it.  Could there be any truth in it?

That said, I think he did you a great favor.  I'm sorry you're hurting and it's not easy, but this  just could be a blessing in disguise.

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4 hours ago, Need to know why said:

Thank you, I do understand all of the stress he is under. I just care about him so much and don’t want to lose him. 😞

He's already long gone, OP. And it doesn't sound like you ever really "had" him to begin with. 

Disappearing for a month was your cue that this was over. You need to ask yourself why you attached to someone who vanishes all the time. You cannot have a healthy, sustainable relationship with someone like this. 

Whether or not his mental health is behind this is irrelevant at this point. He has never been fully invested in you, and it's time for you to realize that. You're selling yourself way too short by hanging around for a man who doesn't reciprocate your interest and feelings. 

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My heart goes out to you. You used the term 'rebound,' so you're familiar with it. That's not just a one-time thing. Some people are serial rebounders. This guy leapfrogged from his marriage to someone else, then within 2 months he took up with you.

The guy has never taken the time to stabilize solo, and that's ultimately what rebounders recognize that they need to do.

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There's nothing to be confused about. He doesn't have time for a relationship, especially when he is busy rebuilding his life. It's just bad timing. You have went way above and beyond with your patience with this guy. You deserve better than this. I say date those who treat you the way you expect to be treated. You should have walked ages ago is what I am saying. When you focus too much on the wrong person, you miss better opportunities that are out there waiting to be discovered.

Edited by smackie9
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I think that you need to address why you signed up for any of this.  The “relationship” sounds, lonely, frustrating,  devaluing, and one-sided.  What kept you attached to all of this dysfunction, as it certainly was not fulfilling or in your best interest.  
 

be thankful this guy blocked you, and try to understand why you accepted and pursued so little. Do you usually get involved in these types of situations? 
 

block him!  You should not want this in your life!  Time to value yourself.  I would also suggest some counseling .

Edited by Hollyj
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