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Help! How do I move on from a break up i don't understand?


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We have been together for 6 years, mostly long distanced. After 12 months of being together, I moved to live near him whilst at university. During my degree, we encountered a bit of a bad patch and things weren't great between us, but we decided to stay together and got through it.

After my degree, I moved back to my home town and we continued happily for a further 3 years. Things were great between us and we were both happy. Until it came to moving in together. He always said that he would move to my home town permanently but I had reservations that he wanted this.

After months of house hunting and putting in offers he tells me that he doesn't want to move to my hometown and he doesn't know if he wants the relationship. He started to spiral and started to feel a lot of pressure, he believed there was no way around it other than to split up. I assumed he'd backed himself into a corner because he didn't want to move and didn't see a way out other than ending. He said he was putting things into his head which meant he couldn't move forward. So I offered to move to his home town which he said no too.

He has then spent months deliberating if he wanted to be with me. He said there was a conflict in his head and he didn't know what to do for the best. He loves me but doesn't think it will work because of the past (when I was at university). He says the relationship is great and there is nothing wrong with it but he can't move forward because of this feeling and therefore can't see a future.

I recommended speaking with a friends, for some advice, but he hasn't really told them anything, just that he had a feeling. I worry he has not got the support that he has needed and had tried to battle with his head alone.

After months of meeting in hotels and then a month break apart, he ended it. He believed that if he had spoken to me earlier about not wanting to move we would have got through it. Does that not show we ended for the wrong reasons?

He has said he wants to be friends as he still wants me in his life, but since the break up he hasn't spoken to me. 

I don't understand how the relationship can go from being so great to not having a future? Am I the issue and the past is just an excuse to end it? Are all of these reasons excuses and really he is done with the relationship and just didn't want to hurt me? Was it just the commitment he was scared of? Did the pressure get too much early on and he didn't see a way out? Could he get past that? Will time and space during this break up help him to commit?

I want to be hopeful that he will work out this conflict in his head and we will get through this, but maybe I'm just clinging on and being silly. I am so confused by it all. 

Thanks for any help. 

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3 hours ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

After months of house hunting and putting in offers he tells me that he doesn't want to move to my hometown and he doesn't know if he wants the relationship. 

Sorry this happened. LDRs are very difficult and he didn't want to uproot his life and move.

Who was house hunting and why when there was no commitment?

What were the difficulties and incompatibilities when you lived near him for university?

Unfortunately he seems to have lost interest due to the distance. He may also have met someone locally.

Don't be friends hoping he miraculously wants to move to you, buy a house together, get married and live happily ever after.

Sadly he's simply not invested and has had one foot out the door for a while but didn't have the courage to tell you.

Delete and block him and all his people from ALL your social media and messaging apps.

That way you can move forward in peace and start meeting local interested men who want what you want.

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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this happened. LDRs are very difficult and he didn't want to uproot his life and move.

Who was house hunting and why when there was no commitment?

What were the difficulties and incompatibilities when you lived near him for university?

Unfortunately he seems to have lost interest due to the distance. He may also have met someone locally.

Don't be friends hoping he miraculously wants to move to you, buy a house together, get married and live happily ever after.

Sadly he's simply not invested and has had one foot out the door for a while but didn't have the courage to tell you.

Delete and block him and all his people from ALL your social media and messaging apps.

That way you can move forward in peace and start meeting local interested men who want what you want.

Hi, thank you for your reply. 

When house hunting he didn't put in any effort, he wasn't enthusiastic about it and it was only me doing the searches and he just agreed. He would always make excuses why the houses weren't good enough, even when we had an offer accepted. This is when I started to think that he didn't want to move. I repeatedly asked him and he said that it was what he wanted. After about 12 months of searching, it eventually came out that he didn't want to move so I offered to move to him. I was willing to uproot my life. 

The commitment is really what I have deducted from the whole situation but its really hard to do as everything he says is contradictory.

I feel like when things got real about buying a house, he used excuses not to buy them but then when he had ran out of excuses he needed a way out because he didn't want to uproot his life and move. So he brought up things up from the past that hadn't really bothered him since we sorted them. He claims he has "put things into his head and they won't go" which I think is the issue of our history and they have manifested into something more than intended. When actually, if he had spoken to me and told me he didn't want to move none of this would have happened (which he believes).

Which leads me to think that he was just scared of moving and committing and its gone horribly wrong as he didn't see an alternative way. But there was a way, I would have moved to him but I feel like he let this spiral get too far. Therefore I'm hoping space apart will help him to see that now that he has removed the pressure, these thoughts from his head can settle and we could get through it based on how happy we were.

The difficulties at university were from us both. Being young and silly I suppose. I struggled to deal with things when I was upset and would ignore him and turn away from him when he came to see me. And he got upset with that behaviour and it made him feel really low but he didn't tell me about it. He spoke to a female friend about my behaviour  which resulted in them both slagging me and my family off for a year and a half on and off. I only found out this by chance, I saw a text on his phone. When all of this came out I changed the way I acted and when things upset me I spoke to him about them and we were much happier. It was a lack of communication overall, something which I still think he needs to work on.

When we did split up, he said it was either because of our history or a commitment issue. I just can't see it being our history as we were happy for 2 years after that and there weren't any issues. If commitment, i'm not sure if it is an overall settling down issue or he just didn't want to commit to me. He says I wasn't the issue and if it was, we would have ended years ago. 

I wish he could give me a straight answer. I've asked him to be honest and if he doesn't love me anymore I would rather know then at least I would understand, but he says he does still love me. The relationship is not the problem. Its either the history or commitment and that I just don't understand.

Surely if you love someone and are in a happy relationship you try to make it work? 

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For someone to do that: turn to a female friend and run you down, he had serious issues with you as a person.

It sounds like he had one foot out the door by then and he lost respect for you. Perhaps he’s also eaten by guilt. 

This is progressing too fast and things were not happy. I think you’re mistaken. I would be grateful that you dodged a bullet. It’s horrible experiencing a break up but this limped along for months. Don’t bend over backwards or keep waiting for someone who shows you that you are clearly an option. 

He is not afraid to lose you. Move on.

 

 

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House hunting is inappropriate when there is no engagement, commitment or marriage on the horizon. 

He was being passive aggressive, letting you run the show (for yourself and by yourself) while he ran the other way.

He was too much of a putz to end it. However it was quite obvious he was not on board with you mapping out his life and future.

Delete and block him and all his people from ALL your social media and messaging apps.

Have you read the book 📚 "He's Just Not That Into You"?

It may help you identify timewasters and uninterested men much sooner, so you can cut your losses and move on.

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6 hours ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

Surely if you love someone and are in a happy relationship you try to make it work? 

Yes.  Which means you have to conclude he was not in a happy relationship.  At least not from his perspective.

"Why" doesn't change anything.  Bottom line, he bailed on the relationship.

I'm sorry this happened.  But better now than after purchasing the house.  That would have made for a very messy and inconvenient legal issue.

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21 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Yes.  Which means you have to conclude he was not in a happy relationship.  At least not from his perspective.

"Why" doesn't change anything.  Bottom line, he bailed on the relationship.

I'm sorry this happened.  But better now than after purchasing the house.  That would have made for a very messy and inconvenient legal issue.

I agree with what you entirely.

But why would he continue to tell me that he loves me; continue to tell me that he is confused and doesn't want to lose me from his life; continue to say that the relationship is not the issue and that everything was great between us. Those are his words, even on the day that we split up.

So should I conclude that he is a liar?

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7 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

For someone to do that: turn to a female friend and run you down, he had serious issues with you as a person.

It sounds like he had one foot out the door by then and he lost respect for you. Perhaps he’s also eaten by guilt. 

This is progressing too fast and things were not happy. I think you’re mistaken. I would be grateful that you dodged a bullet. It’s horrible experiencing a break up but this limped along for months. Don’t bend over backwards or keep waiting for someone who shows you that you are clearly an option. 

He is not afraid to lose you. Move on.

 

 

I suppose you're right, by the point that everything had come out into the open he had lost respect for me and the damage to the relationship had already been done.

If that was the case, why continue with the relationship for another 3 years. A few weeks or months I could go with, but isn't 3 years a bit excessive to stay with someone that you didn't want to be with?

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5 minutes ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

I agree with what you entirely.

But why would he continue to tell me that he loves me; continue to tell me that he is confused and doesn't want to lose me from his life; continue to say that the relationship is not the issue and that everything was great between us. Those are his words, even on the day that we split up.

So should I conclude that he is a liar?

I'm sure he does care about you.  In his own way he's trying to be less hurtful.  He probably doesn't realize you'll interpret his words as a hopeful sign he still wants to be with you and that someday you two will reconcile.

It's a version of the old "it's not you, it's me" routine.

Instead of concluding he's a "liar", conclude that he's made the decision to end the relationship for good and accept that he's not the right man for you.

Good news is, you have a lot to offer the right man.  You'll likely meet someone who is right for you once you get to acceptance and peace.

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There has been some great advice offered. Thank you.

Can I ask... how would be best to tackle regret? In the sense, I sit here blaming myself. "If I hadn't behaved that way this wouldn't have happened" "if I had dealt with that situation a little better things could have been different" "if I had said that sooner it may have helped" 

I know it can't solely have been on me. But being the person I am, I know I will torture myself into thinking its all my fault and if it wasn't for the things I did we would have worked out. 

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OP, there comes a point where you really do need to stop telling yourself that this was a great relationship that ended abruptly and start looking at reality. For example, for an entire year, you were hunting for houses while he was refusing to participate. This is not how people act when they actually want a future with you. 

Basically, he was being 100% passive aggressive with you and only happy to linger in this arrangement as long as he didn't have to do anything for real. It's also known as placeholder relationship. Once it reached a point where he really had to move or tell you the truth that he is not that into you, he finally spoke up and ended things, but he pretty much had to be cornered for that to happen. 

Going forward, pay more attention not to what you want, but rather does the guy reciprocate roughly equally? If you find yourself pulling and pushing and doing most of the work, stop and reflect on what's going on. If your partner doesn't step up, probably time to leave. Learn to be more aware of passive aggressive people and their language as the world is full of them and you'll end up dealing with them often and they are a total nightmare.

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15 minutes ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

There has been some great advice offered. Thank you.

Can I ask... how would be best to tackle regret? In the sense, I sit here blaming myself. "If I hadn't behaved that way this wouldn't have happened" "if I had dealt with that situation a little better things could have been different" "if I had said that sooner it may have helped" 

I know it can't solely have been on me. But being the person I am, I know I will torture myself into thinking its all my fault and if it wasn't for the things I did we would have worked out. 

Ask yourself if your regret changes anything about how things are NOW.  Sure, you could have done things differently but the end result would be the same because he didn't want the same things you want.

Why choose to torture yourself?  How does that make things any better?  Love yourself, don't torture yourself.

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2 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

OP, there comes a point where you really do need to stop telling yourself that this was a great relationship that ended abruptly and start looking at reality. For example, for an entire year, you were hunting for houses while he was refusing to participate. This is not how people act when they actually want a future with you. 

Basically, he was being 100% passive aggressive with you and only happy to linger in this arrangement as long as he didn't have to do anything for real. It's also known as placeholder relationship. Once it reached a point where he really had to move or tell you the truth that he is not that into you, he finally spoke up and ended things, but he pretty much had to be cornered for that to happen. 

Going forward, pay more attention not to what you want, but rather does the guy reciprocate roughly equally? If you find yourself pulling and pushing and doing most of the work, stop and reflect on what's going on. If your partner doesn't step up, probably time to leave. Learn to be more aware of passive aggressive people and their language as the world is full of them and you'll end up dealing with them often and they are a total nightmare.

Thank you for reply. 

I think that's what makes it worse. I knew that his behaviour wasn't right but I just accepted and believed whatever he told me. Even though my gut was telling me it was wrong. 

I am a loyal and trusting person and therefore find it really difficult to accept that the last few years have been a complete facade. But like you say, that is the reality of it.

And that's when the self torture comes in and I begin to completely blame myself. 

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3 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Ask yourself if your regret changes anything about how things are NOW.  Sure, you could have done things differently but the end result would be the same because he didn't want the same things you want.

Why choose to torture yourself?  How does that make things any better?  Love yourself, don't torture yourself.

Thats my worry, that the end result would have been different. I convince myself that I killed the relationship because of this difficulty we had and that's what he claims is the reason he can't move forward, 3 years later... 

With that said, I suppose you're right, nothing will change what has already happened. 

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1 minute ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

Thank you for reply. 

I think that's what makes it worse. I knew that his behaviour wasn't right but I just accepted and believed whatever he told me. Even though my gut was telling me it was wrong. 

I am a loyal and trusting person and therefore find it really difficult to accept that the last few years have been a complete facade. But like you say, that is the reality of it.

And that's when the self torture comes in and I begin to completely blame myself. 

Blame yourself for what exactly? If there is anything to regret here is that you didn't listen to yourself and walk away faster. That's kind of the nasty thing about passive aggressive people - they will not give you a straight answer until they are so cornered that there is no other option left and even then.... You cannot depend on their word and do have to learn to read their behavior and then be strong enough to make decisions for yourself without someone else having to spell things out for you.

Instead of wasting time and energy on regrets, learn from this so you know better and can recognize what's going on faster in the future. Regrets are worthless, lessons are valuable.

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1 minute ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

Thank you for reply. 

I think that's what makes it worse. I knew that his behaviour wasn't right but I just accepted and believed whatever he told me. Even though my gut was telling me it was wrong. 

I am a loyal and trusting person and therefore find it really difficult to accept that the last few years have been a complete facade. But like you say, that is the reality of it.

And that's when the self torture comes in and I begin to completely blame myself. 

But your actions weren't loyal or trusting as much as they were passive and self-deceptive.  It wasn't a facade- please don't assume that. People change and he may very well love you and not want to be in a serious relationship with you. My sense is you were far more focused on the outer trappings of playing house -by looking at houses -and telling yourself the heart-emotional commitment would follow.  My husband and I didn't live together officially till we were married.  Neither of us saw the point of sharing physical space before that -on a practical level.  You decided he would relocate and you'd house hunt? Why? Was there a reason he couldn't move to your town and rent for awhile, his own place? Why the rush to buy a house together with someone you had no wedding plans with? 

Sure people do that but it sure can be complicated and even more so if someone is relocating.  (I relocated and we were long distance on and off for a long time -it's a big deal!). My sense is you were engrossed in the activity of house hunting/house buying -"adulting" but ignoring his feet dragging and his distance -not just physical.  Again -not a facade -he might simply have changed how he felt about committing to you.  

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1 minute ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

I killed the relationship because of this difficulty we had and that's what he claims is the reason he can't move forward, 3 years later... 

See, this is really unkind.  He knows darn well he checked out of the relationship and that it had nothing to do with something you did years ago.

This just is another example of him demonstrating he's not the wonderful guy you thought he was.

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17 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

But your actions weren't loyal or trusting as much as they were passive and self-deceptive.  It wasn't a facade- please don't assume that. People change and he may very well love you and not want to be in a serious relationship with you. My sense is you were far more focused on the outer trappings of playing house -by looking at houses -and telling yourself the heart-emotional commitment would follow.  My husband and I didn't live together officially till we were married.  Neither of us saw the point of sharing physical space before that -on a practical level.  You decided he would relocate and you'd house hunt? Why? Was there a reason he couldn't move to your town and rent for awhile, his own place? Why the rush to buy a house together with someone you had no wedding plans with? 

Sure people do that but it sure can be complicated and even more so if someone is relocating.  (I relocated and we were long distance on and off for a long time -it's a big deal!). My sense is you were engrossed in the activity of house hunting/house buying -"adulting" but ignoring his feet dragging and his distance -not just physical.  Again -not a facade -he might simply have changed how he felt about committing to you.  

May I ask why my actions weren't loyal or trusting? 

No not at all, I didn't make the decisions. Early on in our relationship we had a discussion about where we would eventually live as we agreed that being in a long distanced relationship was not what we wanted permanently. I said that my preference would have been my home town and he went a long with that. Throughout the relationship, we had further discussions about this and he continued to confirm that he wanted to do this move... until he then couldn't. When he couldn't do the move I reassured him that it was OK and that I would move to his home town. 

After being in a long distanced relationship on and off, though there were no plans to be married, we both felt it was time for the next stages.

He did not want to rent and was set on buying as he believed it was more value for money.

 

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23 minutes ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

I knew that his behaviour wasn't right but I just accepted and believed whatever he told me. Even though my gut was telling me it was wrong.

This is really the only thing that you have to blame yourself for. Whatever happened three years ago is water under the bridge. He stayed for three years afterwards, so it's absurd for him to now use that as an excuse. 

My bet is that he prefers a long distance relationship because he can do whatever he wants most of the time. And 'whatever he wants' probably translates into something he'll have to stop doing when he lives with you. 

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14 hours ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

So I offered to move to his home town which he said no too.

He has then spent months deliberating if he wanted to be with me. He said there was a conflict in his head and he didn't know what to do for the best. He loves me but doesn't think it will work because of the past (when I was at university). He says the relationship is great and there is nothing wrong with it but he can't move forward because of this feeling and therefore can't see a future.

To me, it sounds like, as he said, he let it go on for too long 😕 ... So, maybe he should have spoken up before all of this house hunting, but didn't.

And something happened during your university days?

Yeah, he's let this go on for way too long, if he felt things just weren't right for him.

Could be a mix of things eg. distance, you wanting to do this.. or that.. When he was maybe just going along for the ride. but did not have both feet in it all.

As for being 'friends'? I say No.

We can't be friends unless or until those feelings are gone... or it won't let YOU accept/ heal & move on properly.. So, he can't expect something like this.  Is best for your own well being to just cut all off now.

 

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17 minutes ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

May I ask why my actions weren't loyal or trusting? 

No not at all, I didn't make the decisions. Early on in our relationship we had a discussion about where we would eventually live as we agreed that being in a long distanced relationship was not what we wanted permanently. I said that my preference would have been my home town and he went a long with that. Throughout the relationship, we had further discussions about this and he continued to confirm that he wanted to do this move... until he then couldn't. When he couldn't do the move I reassured him that it was OK and that I would move to his home town. 

After being in a long distanced relationship on and off, though there were no plans to be married, we both felt it was time for the next stages.

He did not want to rent and was set on buying as he believed it was more value for money.

 

I didn't say you weren't - you were that, as well, but I advise you not to focus on "oh I'm such a loyal person" because then you'll be tempted to repeat the passivity and hiding your head in the sand kind of thing and waste more time. How is that buying a house was the "next stage"  - next stage financially for you?

How does becoming co-owners of a home make you closer emotionally or have anything to do with a future romantic commitment? I understand he changed his mind.  I think you knew way before he expressed it that he had.  Each time he put up roadblocks to buying a home - he didn't say "you know I'd rather we rent, or I'd rather we each rent our own places till we're married" - he put up obstacles because he didn't feel like relocating.  Yes he should have been more direct earlier on. Of course. And you should have been less passive and been bluntly honest with yourself - hard to do but essential IMO.  

My husband and I were long distance the second time around we dated.  Because it was the second time we knew each other well.  We had a three minute conversation about our goals:  marriage, family and that I would be the one to relocate somewhere given his career-needs. 

Thing is -no further discussions were needed -because when you're emotionally committed to each other you don't need to further discuss the ultimate decision -just the practicalities -and I had no idea where in the US we'd end up -I agreed to that too with certain limitations geographically.  You had to have him confirm what he wanted -because you weren't sure he actually wanted it.  If you had been, no need to confirm.

Also because you did things sorta backwards  -from a traditional perspective - he knew he could walk away any time -he had an out -it's quite different if you have a wedding date and you might close on the house before the actual ceremony but you both know you're legally committed. Or at least common law before buying a house (!).  We did things backwards too -because of our ages we tried to conceive before marriage. But before we tried we agreed we'd move up our wedding plans if we were successful.  We didn't have to confirm that either.  Because again if you have a real commitment to each other you're not confirming these life changing decisions.  

So yes -loyal and trusting.  No, thinking of yourself as the loyal and trusting victim here won't do you any good to avoid repeating the passive/ignorance is bliss mindset.  You are a victim, too. My suggestion is growth won't come from a pity party.

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15 hours ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

I suppose you're right, by the point that everything had come out into the open he had lost respect for me and the damage to the relationship had already been done.

If that was the case, why continue with the relationship for another 3 years. A few weeks or months I could go with, but isn't 3 years a bit excessive to stay with someone that you didn't want to be with?

Why not? He has every reason to keep this going if it meant doing as he pleases as and when he wants where he lives and having you in another town. He has his freedom and also an anchor, someone to defer to when he’s feeling lonely. 

He wasn’t invested in this as much as you were. That’s the hard truth to swallow.

I’d question why you are considering waiting around some more for a man who’s shown you several times that he doesn’t want to move forward or see a future with you. I wouldn’t bother about how he feels in terms of loving you. Talk is cheap. Real love is demonstrative and shown with actions. Follow his actions. 

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14 hours ago, Dragonfly19915 said:

After being in a long distanced relationship on and off, though there were no plans to be married, we both felt it was time for the next stages.

Unfortunately this logic makes no sense. You were not in a stable or committed relationship, so moving and getting stuck in a real estate deal is unwise.

Sadly you were in this relationship alone for a while and he simply used the "yes,dear" line rather than have the courage to be honest and end it.

Unfortunately you were charging ahead full steam to put a Ken doll in your dream Barbie house and hoping commitment would follow.

His lassitude toward your house hunting efforts was a crystal clear sign that you needed to pull back and stop chasing an uninterested man.

Delete and block him and all his people from ALL your social media and messaging apps.

Next time slow down and stop steering a relationship this hard. Make sure you are Both involved fully in the same goals.

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On 12/31/2021 at 12:15 PM, Dragonfly7654 said:

But being the person I am, I know I will torture myself into thinking its all my fault and if it wasn't for the things I did we would have worked out. 

I'm so sorry you're hurting, and my heart goes out to you.

Be careful how you frame things, as you have the power to determine exactly how difficult this 'must' be for yourself. "I will torture myself..." is a self-fulfilling decision--but you have the power to make a better choice.

Sure, a certain amount of regret is a natural part of the 'bargaining' stage of grief. (Reference '5 stages of grief', Elisabeth Kubler Ross.) If only I could change this one thing, the rest would have been perfect... but that's not even accurate.

Most of us find a need to step into a 'bad guy' role to exit a relationship that no longer works for us. But rather than just saying that, this guy believed that he 'must' build a case to justify his position. So he reached for old stuff that you wouldn't dispute.

Bottom line: all relationships being voluntary, nobody who wants to exit 'must' give an acceptable reason. The fact that he wants out is really all you need to know, because whatever his excuse, it doesn't change the fact that he wants out.

On 12/31/2021 at 12:35 PM, Dragonfly7654 said:

I knew that his behaviour wasn't right but I just accepted and believed whatever he told me. Even though my gut was telling me it was wrong. 

I am a loyal and trusting person and therefore find it really difficult to accept that the last few years have been a complete facade. But like you say, that is the reality of it.

Again, I'd caution how you frame this. Deciding that happier times were a facade is not likely accurate. He could have bolted years ago when the distance would have made it easier to do so.

Long distance rarely works for couples who actually want to be together unless a solution to resolve the distance is relatively imminent. But some people are unaware that they don't actually want the resolution. The distance works for them, because they can keep telling themselves whatever story pacifies them even while they enjoy the freedom of living however they really want to live.

The guy may have believed that the two of you would be together someday, but as long as that goal was beyond reach, he didn't need to challenge himself on whether he really wanted that outcome.

Write more if it helps.

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