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sudden end to relationship, anything I can do?


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I'm new to this forum and hoping to get some guidance. I started seeing a guy a little over 2 months ago, we are both 27. We hit it off right away, and loved spending time together. When I had to go out of town, we would facetime nearly every day (most of the time he initiated) and he would make comments about how fast the time would go by and that he liked me. After about a month we slept together and it was great - we continued seeing each other. A couple of weeks ago I started to experience a bizarre pain issue in my face that turned out to be a root canal, and in trying to figure out the problem he even offered to go to a doctors appointment with me. This man was clearly very into me.

Then, we had a date planned for last week and unfortunately both had terrible days at work so went into the date probably not in the best headspace. I know I wasn't - it was all I could do to keep it together, and he knew it. Without going into a novel-long explanation, due to some offhand comments he'd made in the past and on the date, lack of physical affection on the date which was unlike him combined with my vulnerability due to my rough day, I got a bit insecure about him wanting me sexually and brought it up to him later that night in hopes of getting a little reassurance. Instead, he completely shut down and said he's not sure what to say and couldn't even really look at me. I was totally taken aback because he had been such a wonderful communicator in all other instances. 

Since then we've chatted via text and over the phone a few times. Initially he said the shutdown was possibly caused by not feeling good enough growing up, and my raising concern about how he feels about me when he had thought everything was going so well tapped into that on an emotional level. I've explained that it was nothing to do with him and all to do with my crappy headspace that day, but despite that he's now spiraled and said he can't get out of his own head. He's not even exactly sure of what triggered this response in him, only that he did like me before and might still but isn't sure that he can feel the same excitement/passion now. It's very hard to wrap my head around because things were going so well, and this seemed like such a small thing that is easily moved on from. 

Apparently this has happened occasionally his whole life where something happens and a switch flips in him and the only thing that's helped is to isolate from the person or situation which is what he's doing now- saying he doesn't feel he can keep seeing me without feeling uncomfortable. I asked him if he's ever considered dealing with this kind of situation in another way other than isolating, and the answer was no. That said, he doesn't feel confident that he's making the right decision, but doesn't know how else to deal with the problem and doesn't know if trying to work through it another way will work, so just walking away seems to be the easiest option rather than try and move past it but realize he can't after a few more weeks (or realize that it's actually that we aren't a good fit for each other). He seems to think that this won't really be an issue in the future with other potential people he dates. It seems like there's a deeper issue here but i'm not exactly sure what it is and it doesn't seem like he does either.

At this point i'm not even clear on what the problem was and he hasn't been able to pinpoint it either other than feeling anxiety about me now. I do wonder if it's because we were moving too fast, and my insecurity freaked him out - is there anything I could say that could help put him at ease if that is the case? I did suggest that slowing things down is an option but I have no idea if that resonated.

Otherwise maybe it's some type of psychological issue (maybe a combo of both) that nothing I say could help. But regardless i'd love some advice on what to do or say that could help pull him back from the edge. 

Each time we've talked he's commented on how supportive I am, that i'm a good communicator, and/or that i've made him feel he should re-think things. 

If I were an outsider looking in i'd probably tell me to just cut my losses, but coming here to see if anyone has dealt with a similar scenario and if there's anything else I could say that might get through to him and diffuse the situation?

 

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32 minutes ago, sarafina said:

I'm new to this forum and hoping to get some guidance. I started seeing a guy a little over 2 months ago, we are both 27

Sorry this is happening. Give him some space and time to reflect and process. Don't try to fix it, since it's not about you. Step back and let him miss you think about things and reach out.

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I've learned from past experience that the two-month mark is basically the end of the fairytale thinking. You can try to assign as many complicated reasons to it as you want, but bottom line, most relationships are just Mother Nature's endeavors to get you to reproduce. Once the initial hormones wear off, it's  over.

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Sarafina, honestly I do not see anything that you may have done wrong here. If the request for a little reassurance is all it takes for the guy to switch off his affection for you, well he has some soul searching to do. I am sorry you were exposed to his flip-flopping. 

There is nothing you can do at this point. Just sit tight and give him 2-3 days piece and quiet for him to have his space. Beyond 2-3 days if he does not take contact with you, please move on. You cannot allow yourself to wait for weeks, or months for this man to find in himself the desire to be with you. I am saying this, because usually men with this erratic behavior, if you do not chase them after they withdraw, after a few weeks, or a month they get back to you with a random message. This is extremely rude, as if a woman is expected to be available to a flaky man at all time. It can seriously mess up with a woman's mind and self esteem too. Usually after the random contact, this type of men disappear again.

So this is why I would suggest to give him 2-3 days, and after that just block and delete. If not, are you willing to walk on egg shells around this man, always afraid of triggering his switch-off of affection.

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Give him space and think about whether this is someone you want to keep in your life. I think that your reaction sparked fear and doubt in him and he's not confident or able enough to maintain stability in a relationship. He has to work that out in his own time. Running from one relationship to another will compound problems and create more of a crisis later on in life. This is a tsunami building. 

Just take it as a life lesson and warning sign when dating and chalk this one up to experience. You are a bit wiser now. Take that with you but I agree with the others. This is not about you. 

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I know you're all right, thanks for the kind notes! it's just such a hard pill to swallow when things were going so well and it feels like it ended over nothing. I can of course logically recognize that if it's turned into this kind of mess it's not nothing and maybe for the best, but it doesn't the change the fact that I miss him like crazy and feel so much pain inside. I just wish there were something I could do to get things back to how they were. I've not spoken to him for 2 days now and it feels like a year. My thoughts keep wandering to whether he's thinking about me too and if he'll realize he made a mistake in his reaction and reach out... squashing that hope has been really difficult.

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1 hour ago, sarafina said:

I've not spoken to him for 2 days now and it feels like a year. 

Try to relax a bit. Just use the time and space to reflect what you really want in a relationship.

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2 hours ago, sarafina said:

I know you're all right, thanks for the kind notes! it's just such a hard pill to swallow when things were going so well and it feels like it ended over nothing. I can of course logically recognize that if it's turned into this kind of mess it's not nothing and maybe for the best, but it doesn't the change the fact that I miss him like crazy and feel so much pain inside. I just wish there were something I could do to get things back to how they were. I've not spoken to him for 2 days now and it feels like a year. My thoughts keep wandering to whether he's thinking about me too and if he'll realize he made a mistake in his reaction and reach out... squashing that hope has been really difficult.

I know where you're coming from. I went through something similar 12 years ago. I rarely think about it anymore except to say, Holy crap, I can't believe I was floored by that stupid little relationship! And I actually like to think about it now, because it gives me a lot of perspective.

But at the time, it was absolutely horrible. I just shut myself away and cried and cried. It's all I could do. It's the only time I ever cut off all contact with an ex. And he didn't really do anything wrong. He didn't use me for sex or cheat on me. He just flaked out. Two months, and I was a wreck. It was ridiculous. 

But it got better. I took a month off of social media, spent time with friends--turns out I'm a much better friend to people when I am in pain, lol! I am so much more sympathetic than I am when things are going well..... When things are going good, I can't commiserate worth sht. 

I gave myself a month of maudlin self-pity. I knew that more than that would be insane. Then, I opened up a dating profile and got myself out there. Met a few frogs. But eventually ended up in a happy, loving relationship.

So, don't worry. You don't have to be stuck here. It can definitely get better.

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Emotions are fleeting. Stay the course and move forwards. Hot/cold reactions and fleeting emotions or emotional rollercoasters/reactions can be contagious and really unhealthy patterns of making sense of the world or processing. Don't follow his pattern of thinking and processing. Stop it right there and start thinking for yourself. I second giving yourself room to feel like Jibralta is mentioning but don't second guess yourself or what you want out of this life. There's room for better and there's room for more. Room for more growth. Give yourself that space.

Sooner or later if you train yourself where you want to be the heart will follow and everything else with it. You don't need to keep feeling bad about things or that they didn't work out. There are other plans in store for you. Be patient and see what else life unfolds. 

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On 1/27/2021 at 8:39 AM, East4 said:

Sarafina, honestly I do not see anything that you may have done wrong here. If the request for a little reassurance is all it takes for the guy to switch off his affection for you, well he has some soul searching to do. I am sorry you were exposed to his flip-flopping. 

There is nothing you can do at this point. Just sit tight and give him 2-3 days piece and quiet for him to have his space. Beyond 2-3 days if he does not take contact with you, please move on. You cannot allow yourself to wait for weeks, or months for this man to find in himself the desire to be with you. I am saying this, because usually men with this erratic behavior, if you do not chase them after they withdraw, after a few weeks, or a month they get back to you with a random message. This is extremely rude, as if a woman is expected to be available to a flaky man at all time. It can seriously mess up with a woman's mind and self esteem too. Usually after the random contact, this type of men disappear again.

So this is why I would suggest to give him 2-3 days, and after that just block and delete. If not, are you willing to walk on egg shells around this man, always afraid of triggering his switch-off of affection.

This post covers it all. Great, great post! 👍

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10 hours ago, sarafina said:

I know you're all right, thanks for the kind notes! it's just such a hard pill to swallow when things were going so well and it feels like it ended over nothing. I can of course logically recognize that if it's turned into this kind of mess it's not nothing and maybe for the best, but it doesn't the change the fact that I miss him like crazy and feel so much pain inside. I just wish there were something I could do to get things back to how they were. I've not spoken to him for 2 days now and it feels like a year. My thoughts keep wandering to whether he's thinking about me too and if he'll realize he made a mistake in his reaction and reach out... squashing that hope has been really difficult.

Sorry that you are feeling sad. Hang in there, this too shall pass. 

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10 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I know where you're coming from. I went through something similar 12 years ago. I rarely think about it anymore except to say, Holy crap, I can't believe I was floored by that stupid little relationship! And I actually like to think about it now, because it gives me a lot of perspective.

But at the time, it was absolutely horrible. I just shut myself away and cried and cried. It's all I could do. It's the only time I ever cut off all contact with an ex. And he didn't really do anything wrong. He didn't use me for sex or cheat on me. He just flaked out. Two months, and I was a wreck. It was ridiculous. 

But it got better. I took a month off of social media, spent time with friends--turns out I'm a much better friend to people when I am in pain, lol! I am so much more sympathetic than I am when things are going well..... When things are going good, I can't commiserate worth sht. 

I gave myself a month of maudlin self-pity. I knew that more than that would be insane. Then, I opened up a dating profile and got myself out there. Met a few frogs. But eventually ended up in a happy, loving relationship.

So, don't worry. You don't have to be stuck here. It can definitely get better.

Thanks for sharing all that! I know you're totally right. Nice to hear about your similar experience. Helps me not to feel crazy for being such a mess after just a few months! I've always been someone that puts my whole heart into it when I really like someone. It doesn't happen all that often but when it does it is just so crushing when it doesn't work out. This one being particularly jarring since I didn't see it coming and I can't relate to people who can switch their opinion/emotions on a dime like he did. Happy to hear it worked out for you in the end 🙂 

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He's going to be way too much work, OP. 

This is your cue that this is not going to work. If something this minor could apparently trigger this reaction in him, what the heck is he going to do when a more serious issue comes up? 

I would not be eager to continue seeing him anyway. He's showing you that he is not an easy person to date on a serious level. 

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On 1/26/2021 at 10:00 PM, sarafina said:

Apparently this has happened occasionally his whole life where something happens and a switch flips in him and the only thing that's helped is to isolate from the person or situation which is what he's doing now- saying he doesn't feel he can keep seeing me without feeling uncomfortable. I asked him if he's ever considered dealing with this kind of situation in another way other than isolating, and the answer was no. That said, he doesn't feel confident that he's making the right decision, but doesn't know how else to deal with the problem and doesn't know if trying to work through it another way will work, so just walking away seems to be the easiest option rather than try and move past it but realize he can't after a few more weeks (or realize that it's actually that we aren't a good fit for each other). He seems to think that this won't really be an issue in the future with other potential people he dates. It seems like there's a deeper issue here but i'm not exactly sure what it is and it doesn't seem like he does either

The fable of the stinky pigeon fully applies here. It goes like that: a male pigeon wanted to nest with a female pigeon and he found himself a female companion. Over time the nest started to smell unpleasantly, the male pigeon got unhappy because of the stench and left the nest and his mate, blaming her for the bad smell. Then he formed a nest with another female pigeon and again he blamed his companion when the nest started to smell. He left and again found another female to nest with. At the sixth smelly nest, he realised that the stench was coming from him...

Sarafina, from your account of events it seems this is not the first time your boyfriend flips like that. He does not explore where this strange reaction is coming from. He just leaves and leaves behind a wake of confused and hurt women. It is a pity that you met a "stinky pigeon", but take heart, because the smell is his, not yours. Guy got smell, good riddance.

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My impression about this is that he hasn't been totally honest with you and suffers from some kind of metal issue...he down plays it as only happening a few times in his life...I doubt that. If he is such a great guy/stable, he wouldn't be single.

This guy needs professional help. Some people are in denial or afraid to get help, and in this situation at the age of 27, blowing off his problem...he's done nothing to deal with it. I bet money on it, you are not the only GF that has experienced this with him. Sorry but there is nothing you can do to fix this. I would be tapping out if I were you.

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1 hour ago, smackie9 said:

My impression about this is that he hasn't been totally honest with you and suffers from some kind of metal issue...he down plays it as only happening a few times in his life...I doubt that. If he is such a great guy/stable, he wouldn't be single.

This guy needs professional help. Some people are in denial or afraid to get help, and in this situation at the age of 27, blowing off his problem...he's done nothing to deal with it. I bet money on it, you are not the only GF that has experienced this with him. Sorry but there is nothing you can do to fix this. I would be tapping out if I were you.

I did think about that... when I asked him if he'd experience this in previous romantic relationships he said no. But he's also not had a girlfriend for the last 6 years so maybe it has happened but there was less of a spotlight on it so he didn't notice. I don't think he's the type to lie, he seemed genuinely at a loss in trying to explain himself. It sounded like the only time that it has happened in the past and he was able to get past it was when it happened with family - but because he has no other choice. 

When I asked why he wouldn't think to approach things differently since running away hasn't worked in the past and since it's likely this will happen again in the future when he dates other people he said "he's not concerned about that".

Seems he thinks that it's something about me that triggered this and that he'll eventually find someone that doesn't. A bit illogical since he admitted this has even happened with family who he loves, but if I know anything it's the power of how much negative emotions can make someone ignore logic and stick their head in the sand for the sake of making those feelings go away as fast as possible. Or maybe he's right and he will find someone like that. It's not like he doesn't have good friends that he's managed to keep strong relationships with.

Regardless, appreciate all of you in this thread for your thoughts and input - reading each of these new messages has been so helpful in helping me process.

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There's also a chance that he's not being honest about the real reason he wants to stop seeing each other, so I wouldn't put a lot of thought in trying to sort it out or encourage him to. 

For all we know, an ex came back or he's been seeing someone else. 

Whatever it is, I would not proceed with him, or wait around for him. 

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1 hour ago, sarafina said:

When I asked why he wouldn't think to approach things differently since running away hasn't worked in the past and since it's likely this will happen again in the future when he dates other people he said "he's not concerned about that".

Seems he thinks that it's something about me that triggered this and that he'll eventually find someone that doesn't.

This is way over your paygrade for 8 weeks dating. He needs to figure himself out his own way. You don't need to help him with that. Dating is to observe if there's a good fit and compatibility, it's not social work.

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When you think of your ideal relationship for your future, how does walking on eggshells over someone's else's minefield fit with that?

Either you enjoy simpatico with someone, or you don't.

Sure, the start of something can seem great, but when someone demo's that he's willing to blow you out of the water over a minor conversation, what does that tell you?

Head high, 'next' this guy, and grasp that most people are NOT our match. Either recognize bad matches early, or waste valuable time that you'll never get back to live over again trying to renovate another person. (Hint: That won't 'work'.)

Allow bad matches to pass early. You'll thank yourself later.

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