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Hi all! I'd really love some advice on a confusing situation so here's what happened:

Ex and I dated for five great years, doing distance the last year and a half. We're both moving soon to new cities and were excited to make that jump together. Then last year, COVID hit, he lost his job, and started struggling with mental health. I've known before that when he gets stressed or overwhelmed he retreats from everything. I think when we were doing distance he'd take that lack of feeling and just assume it meant he doubted our relationship or that we were a bad fit.

He ends things last summer (on the PHONE) saying he felt like he needed to be alone. We didn't talk for about a month, met up again, and had a big emotional reunion. I started going to visit him every 3-4 weeks and it was always great.

However, I noticed some signs of trouble. When I was there he was extremely happy. But the second I left he'd go back and forth mentally with this push/pull of sometimes being really into it and sometimes pushing me away completely. I knew he was still struggling with mental health so did my best to be patient and talk through things with him. 

I knew he was struggling but I was still hopeful we were getting on the path to moving to the same place and that the distance/covid was the only reason we were in limbo. He FaceTimed me again about a month ago (after a great weekend and ~4 months after we reconnected) saying it was too hard and that we should stop talking. I'm not trying to minimize his feelings at all, but it really felt like a slap in the face to me after we had been rebuilding our relationship and looking at cities together. I feel like I've been discarded like it was nothing so he can live the single life with his guy friends and try to distract himself from his problems.

He also has some commitment-phobic tendencies I've always known about, but I can't help but feeling t was his recent struggle with mental health that's caused all this to happen? I'm having a tough time moving on because I'm not sure if this is the kind of situation where he will eventually "wake up" and realize he was treating the person he claimed to love really unfairly and pushing me away. And I do know I deserve better at this point I don't even know what to think.

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36 minutes ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

doing distance the last year and a half. 

He ends things last summer (on the PHONE) saying he felt like he needed to be alone. We didn't talk for about a month, met up again, and had a big emotional reunion.

He FaceTimed me again about a month ago (after a great weekend and ~4 months after we reconnected) saying it was too hard and that we should stop talking.

Sorry this is happening. What created the distance? Who moved and why? School? Work?

How was your relationship prior to the distance?

How old is he? Did he have mental health problems before covid and the distance? Does he seek treatment for it? Does he party with his friends, use drugs or drink heavily?

Unfortunately it sounds like he found someone locally and has been trying hard to back out of the relationship for at least the last 6 mos. 

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4 hours ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

I feel like I've been discarded like it was nothing so he can live the single life with his guy friends and try to distract himself from his problems.

This could be very well what he is doing - to minimalize the stressors he's being dealt.

But, when a couple breaks up once.. the hard feelings can linger and affect another attempt- causing that stress and more.. like did the problems that caused the BU the first time, ever get corrected in order for things to be successful the second time? In this case, no.... right?

- His mentality is challenged, plus stress from job loss.. and you two are not any closer at this time...

4 hours ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

I can't help but feeling t was his recent struggle with mental health that's caused all this to happen? I'm having a tough time moving on because I'm not sure if this is the kind of situation where he will eventually "wake up" and realize he was treating the person he claimed to love really unfairly and pushing me away.

 You've been hurt before by him, the same way.. this will not change, imo. .  He just can't do it.. So, respect that choice he's made (again) and work on accepting and healing.. Time to focus on YOU now.

He has issue's you know this.  Leave him be.

Take some down time & heal.. and carry on about YOUR life.

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He ended it so it's best to close yourself off to any more thoughts of why he is this way or that way. You'll drive yourself up the wall. I understand why there's the need to figure it out but in time, this strong need will pass and it'll fade. Give it time. Don't presume to know everything about why a person is the way they are. Step back, take a good look at the situation and start focusing all that precious energy and thoughts on yourself. 

If you're planning your move, do it. Do it without him and do it without anyone. This may be a blessing in disguise as it's cut you loose to now find freedom in this new city and pursue your dream job or work the way you intended to from the beginning. Take your time and enjoy being single now. 

There is nothing worse than planning for the future with your head facing backwards looking at the past. He may have done you the biggest favour yet. 

 

 

 

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Has he seen any therapists?

I think that you need to accept that this is who he is, he will not suddenly "wake up" after 5 years.  Please don't waste anymore of your precious life on this. You don't want to go through this again. 

Block him.

Edited by Hollyj
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11 hours ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

He also has some commitment-phobic tendencies I've always known about, but I can't help but feeling t was his recent struggle with mental health that's caused all this to happen? 

It's probably a combination of all the above, plus the distance and possibly just really not feeling it anymore. 

He seems to know deep-down that the relationship isn't working for him, though. The exact reasons aren't terribly important, as it doesn't change the end result for you. 

It hurts a lot, but try not to pin your hopes on this just being a mental health issue (which could thus be resolved with the right attention) It might not be that at all, and then where will you be?

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Hey everyone! Thanks for the advice so far it's been so helpful. I'm trying my best to just move on, but it's still hard because I guess I hope he does think he made a mistake. 

On 3/14/2021 at 12:28 AM, MissCanuck said:

It's probably a combination of all the above, plus the distance and possibly just really not feeling it anymore. 

He seems to know deep-down that the relationship isn't working for him, though. The exact reasons aren't terribly important, as it doesn't change the end result for you. 

I agree with this, his default when he's stressed is to shut down and push everyone else away. He's always done that since I've known him. I think whats messing with me most is when he did this the first time we stopped talking for a month or so. Then we reunited and he was remorseful about what happened and how he handled things. I know I should move on but I feel so stuck based on how hastily he flipped the switch again...

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On 3/13/2021 at 1:09 PM, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this is happening. What created the distance? Who moved and why? School? Work?

How was your relationship prior to the distance?

How old is he? Did he have mental health problems before covid and the distance? Does he seek treatment for it? Does he party with his friends, use drugs or drink heavily?

Unfortunately it sounds like he found someone locally and has been trying hard to back out of the relationship for at least the last 6 mos. 

We're both 25 years old. We both lived in different places to pursue our careers and had planned since our college graduation we'd be moving to the same place in this spring. Our relationship was PERFECT prior to the distance and was honestly fine while doing distance. It's just been during COVID when we could barely see each other that things became terrible.

He's struggled with mental health issues in the past as have many members of his immediate family. He has admitted to having some cyclical depression but always calls it "being in the hole." He won't go see a therapist it's very frustrating to me. 

Him and his friends moved to a city for 4 months during the pandemic to work from home together and now he's back living at his parents house, so I don't think he found anyone else. I think there's definitely a high possibility he wanted to "live the single life" and thats it.

I think my struggle is, because I do think a lot of this is distance/mental health/covid related I just keep trying to give him the benefit of the doubt...I guess because I would want someone to do that for me. 

I keep thinking maybe he'll contact me, or maybe I should contact him to see if he really was just that ok with discarding us. I don't know... I know the man made his choice. I guess I just feel like he got depressive, shut off his emotions towards everything, and then sent that apathy towards me. I want to just hold up a mirror to him and make him see this never had anything to do with us.

And I know he doesn't HAVE to date me. I'm fully aware he can choose not to. But to watch someone who was always so into it change his mind during this big personality shift is hard.

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On 3/13/2021 at 7:31 PM, Rose Mosse said:

If you're planning your move, do it. Do it without him and do it without anyone. This may be a blessing in disguise as it's cut you loose to now find freedom in this new city and pursue your dream job or work the way you intended to from the beginning. Take your time and enjoy being single now. 

This made me feel a lot better actually :) 

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One other thing I guess I would add for clarity is that, whenever I did go and visit him the spark was absolutely still there on both sides. He would clearly look very pained and apologetic saying he's sorry he's acting like this now and that he's really struggling. He said he knew he wanted to be alone while he dealt with all this but still did have strong feelings for me. He described it as a push/pull. Then when I would leave he would just look SO sad and get pretty panicky. Then he would stonewall me for a few days after. There's so much about the whole situation that was extremely abnormal.

I wasn't trying to make him date me but I did want to slowly work towards it as he was continuing his personal growth. I guess my ideal scenario was we would have talked about moving to the same place and dated then under more normal circumstances.

Dating at 25 isn't supposed to be seeing each other every 5 months and wearing masks...it's supposed to be movies and cooking dinner and dancing in bars. We never really got that chance. Idk...Not sure if any of this makes sense.

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To put it very simply, you've invested yourself in a fixer upper type relationship. There is just one catch....you can fix up a house, but you can never ever ever fix up people. Unlike houses, people have free will and so if someone has issues, it's on them and only on them to fix themselves. No amount of trying, pushing, pulling, helping, being patient, or advising on your end is ever going to fix up someone else. This is really a very harsh lesson for you going forward to keep away from those who are unstable and seek out partners who are stable and know what they want. Your job is to judge if what they want lines up with that you want.

Also, I second everything that Rose said. You need to focus on your life, your future, your success on your own. Period. 

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19 minutes ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

Hey everyone! Thanks for the advice so far it's been so helpful. I'm trying my best to just move on, but it's still hard because I guess I hope he does think he made a mistake. 

I agree with this, his default when he's stressed is to shut down and push everyone else away. He's always done that since I've known him. I think whats messing with me most is when he did this the first time we stopped talking for a month or so. Then we reunited and he was remorseful about what happened and how he handled things. I know I should move on but I feel so stuck based on how hastily he flipped the switch again...

But wasn’t it a temporary switch?  He cannot maintain it for too long, as it isn’t who he is.  Can you imagine having a family with this guy, when things get uncomfortable he disappears for a month . 
 

Get off the hamster wheel . 

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1 minute ago, Hollyj said:

But wasn’t it a temporary switch?  He cannot maintain it for too long, as it isn’t who he is.  Can you imagine having a family with this guy, when things get uncomfortable he disappears for a month 

The "flip switch" being everything is fine and then he panics. I guess it's because I never saw signs of that during the first 5 years we were dating that I'm so thrown off. But again, covid and him losing his job is by far the most stressful thing I've seen him go through.

That's exactly what my mom said as well.. that he could just leave whenever things get tough and that's a bad partner.

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4 minutes ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

The "flip switch" being everything is fine and then he panics. I guess it's because I never saw signs of that during the first 5 years we were dating that I'm so thrown off. But again, covid and him losing his job is by far the most stressful thing I've seen him go through.

That's exactly what my mom said as well.. that he could just leave whenever things get tough and that's a bad partner.

That's the thing....you can never determine a person's character when things are going well. They only show their true face, their true worth when life gets hard. You are learning that he is not in any way a reliable partner because these rough waters is not the only storm you'll face in life. Many more ahead of you. Your mother is actually spot on and she is speaking from life experience. You need a partner who can weather the worst of life's storms and stay strong and constant. You cannot deal with someone who will fall apart on you. You'll just drown.

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I know it's illogical, but in my mind if we actually WERE to end up in the same city we would rekindle this naturally. Wishful thinking, but if you saw how he looked at me even post break up you would want to try everything too. I think what I'm seeking more than anything is closure my brain can wrap itself around.

I'm doing no contact for at least 60 days (i think I'm on day 40 something now and it's been fine I've been focusing on myself.) But I've been thinking about maybe sending him a message afterwards. Once we move to separate places it's a sealed door and I don't want the "what if" hanging over my head. I think the only reason I've found it so hard is because the decision I'm about to make could determine if this sparks back up.

I'm going to pick the city thats best for me, but I almost want to tell him about it before I know he's going to make his choice. That's maybe the closure I need, that it all could have lined up and now the ball is in his court.

Does anyone think this is a good/bad idea or have any idea what I could say? I know the advice might be "forget and move on" but I think this would help me even if the answer from him is no.

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On 3/13/2021 at 12:26 PM, KiwiFriends404 said:

I feel like I've been discarded like it was nothing so he can live the single life with his guy friends and try to distract himself from his problems.

Change that last word to 'promises'. He doesn't want to make any of those, but he hasn't just discarded you--he tried again. And he just doesn't want to do it.

He wants to be single, pal with his friends and do whatever he wants. He doesn't want to be accountable to anyone, and he doesn't want to invest in the same future that you do.

No breakup feels 'fair,' but there are no judges or juries, and nobody needs to build a good enough 'case' for wanting out. It only takes one person to want to exit a relationship, and their reasons don't need to pass muster with anyone else--and they don't require anyone's agreement or approval.

I understand that this isn't what you want to hear, and if being angry serves you in some way, it's a natural part of healing. But don't make the mistake of viewing yourself as victimized, or it will harm your ability to bounce back with confidence in your resilience.

Adopting resilience and opting to surprise everyone, including yourself, with your willingness and ability to push yourself forward toward building a fabulous future for yourself is the best possible gift you can give to yourself, and you will thank yourself later. Otherwise, you'll just drill yourself into a deeper hole to climb out of, and you'll rob yourself of the ability to trust your own judgment and skills for recovery from life's hard knocks. 

Please don't set yourself up badly by going that way. It won't get him back, and it won't serve you--it will work against your own best interests.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

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2 minutes ago, catfeeder said:

Change that last word to 'promises'. He doesn't want to make any of those, but he hasn't just discarded you--he tried again. And he just doesn't want to do it.

He wants to be single, pal with his friends and do whatever he wants. He doesn't want to be accountable to anyone, and he doesn't want to invest in the same future that you do.

Yeah I agree with this it's just the toughest part...being like well...was it me where did this go wrong? Was it just a fear of commitment? 

I guess at this point the problem is really with me and having a tough time swallowing the unknowns. And also having the man who I thought was the love of my life walk out.

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You're basing your future on past tense. This man is past tense, completely over. Don't ever do that to yourself. I think you are in shock. You're a very sensible and ambitious young lady. Don't let your curiosity be your downfall. Let this guy go. 

First you said you will go no contact for 60 days and then you are saying you're depending on him for closure. Real closure comes from your own heart's conviction that no matter what anyone says or does, you move forward for yourself based on everything you know about the past and everything that you want for yourself in the future. 

It's good that you are writing things out here and thinking things through. I'd urge you to keep thinking this over and asking yourself what benefit would it bring ever putting the ball in his court again. Your future is in your hands, not his. That sealed door? You haven't walked through it yet. Open it first and walk through it. Don't be afraid of the door itself. Walk right through.

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9 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

This man is past tense, completely over. Don't ever do that to yourself. I think you are in shock. You're a very sensible and ambitious young lady. Don't let your curiosity be your downfall. Let this guy go. 

Thats exactly right I am in shock. I really loved this man and saw a full and bright future with him. I'm scared I'll never be as close to anyone as I was with him. I'm horrified at how he could leave me so easily. And I'm absolutely broken about it even though I put on a brave front. 

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31 minutes ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

The best advice I received is one I'll also give to you. It's ok to love someone with your whole heart. To think they were truly absolutely your soul mate. But to still know you want to be with someone else. Because as much as you love her, your person just wouldn't do this to you. And that's absolutely fine. There's someone out there who won't ever give you a reason to doubt. At this point if you got back together, you'd always have the doubt lingering.

 

Beautiful, poignant, and exactly the advice you need to listen to...... It's spot on. There is someone else out there for you and just as you gave this advice to someone else on these boards, you need to believe it yourself.

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16 minutes ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

Thats exactly right I am in shock. I really loved this man and saw a full and bright future with him. I'm scared I'll never be as close to anyone as I was with him. I'm horrified at how he could leave me so easily. And I'm absolutely broken about it even though I put on a brave front. 

It sounds cliche but learning to put yourself out there and love again will take time. I agree with the comment that it is ok to love someone with your whole heart. What you felt with him is a testament to what you can feel for someone else and that is nothing to shy away from or feel shameful about. The relationship was a mixture of the both of you but the way you felt about him is all you so whatever you felt or whatever you did in that relationship and all the energy that you poured into it (are still pouring into it) are all a complete testament to how much you are able to care for someone. If you accept that part about you, I think you'll also be able to carry that forward no matter where you are, what you're doing or who you are with. 

The shock will wear off.. when it does you'll be ready to meet people again and when that comes you'll know better what matches are more compatible with you. You have lots to do and places to be. Don't let this stop you.

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8 hours ago, KiwiFriends404 said:

The "flip switch" being everything is fine and then he panics. I guess it's because I never saw signs of that during the first 5 years we were dating that I'm so thrown off. But again, covid and him losing his job is by far the most stressful thing I've seen him go through.

That's exactly what my mom said as well.. that he could just leave whenever things get tough and that's a bad partner.

Your mom is right. 

People who do this are not partner material. Not for long-term, adult, committed relationships. He flipped the switch and bailed. Then flipped it again and came back. Then yet again and bailed. This is a man who doesn't want what you want, regardless of the reason, and who would be nearly guaranteed to leave again. 

You already know he is okay with his decision to end this (you'd know by now if he weren't) so I don't see the value in asking him that question. You're going to get the same response and it will hurt to have him re-affirm his choice to stay broken up. 

It hurts, but a relationship cannot exist on what-ifs. What if Covid hadn't erupted, what if he hadn't lost his job..life is full of what-ifs, everyday. You cannot hinge hopes on that. Instead, we have to deal with what is, even if it hurts and isn't what we envisioned.  

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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

Your mom is right.

Agree.

Follow what is right for you. The real "what ifs" would be if you go backwards into a difficult situation and were too afraid to live your own life moving forward.

'No contact' is not a diet plan for x number of days. To accomplish abc,etc.

It's to heal in peace and clarity.

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Thanks everyone for your help so far. I know the hope I have right now that he realizes what went wrong and come in to be the knight in shining armor is just that: hope and not my present reality. I guess it's  hard to hurt so badly and then think maybe the other person is just fine.

Maybe that hope will go away with time?

I know nothing I've said is revolutionary for a break-up and he doesn't need any reason to not want to be with me. The abruptness is just tough to swallow. The external world collapsing is tough to swallow. And i guess the hardest part is knowing I wouldn't do this to my enemy, so having someone I trust completely do this is difficult.

Reading this stuff helps a lot.

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