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Ex Gave off Mixed Signals, Not sure what to do


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My ex and I broke up a month ago. It was very sudden, and she did not communicate that there was anything wrong until the day she broke up with me. It was a very emotional break up for both of us. She told me that she felt our relationship had become unhealthy and that I needed to learn to be happy on my own without using her as a crutch. Many things outside the relationship were plaguing my mental health, including a sibling attempting to take their own life. I was also really stressed from work and was stuck in a bad cycle with a toxic parent. She said she didnt say anything to me because she was afraid I'd attempt the same. She also told me that she didnt want to break up but she felt she had to for both her sake and my own. We never fought and we had a very loving serious relationship, but I'm sure the extreme stress I was under and my poor mental health prevented me from being fully present. I tried to convince her that we could work on this stuff together since it was the first time she had communicated that she felt that way, but she said she felt like I wasnt ready for a relationship, because I couldnt put all my effort into her if I couldnt love myself and take care of myself. I know I have a lot to work on and I definitely am in a better place than I was a month ago and have made some progress.

What I'm confused about is that several hours after the breakup, she texted me and told me I was the best boyfriend and that maybe now isnt the best time for us and that shed never stop loving me and that shed always be there for me. I didnt answer and after five days or so she texted me again asking to know if I was okay (presumably out of guilt). I answered this time and told her I was doing better, thanked her for the kind message, and told her I realized a lot and that I was going to work on myself. But I caved in and told her I love her so much and that Id always be there for her too. She told me she was proud of me but that it still hurt too much to talk. The next day she texted me again in the middle of the night. I was trembling in my bed because of the stress she was causing for me, but I answered only because I wanted to know why she would keep texting me after she broke up with me if she still didnt wanna be together. She told me again that she missed me and still loved me but we ended up just rehashing the same discussion as when the breakup first happened and eventually we reached the conclusion that she didnt want to be with me and we said goodnight. The next day I sent her a short message asking if she was willing to leave my sweatshirts and hat out on her porch so I could just swing by and grab them. She apologized for forgetting about them and subsequently offered to drop them off. Later that night she came by and I told her to just leave them outside. However, she was texting me hinting that she wanted to see me and eventually she just said that. So I caved in once again and went out to see her. I told her that her contacting me was causing me extreme stress and she seemed pretty upset she was hurting me in that way. I explained to her that all of the things she was saying to me gave off mixed signals and made it seem like she still wanted to be with me. She said that she didnt realize she was coming off that way (im not sure how), and she apologized and said she needs to learn how to communicate better all around. We ended up talking for a while longer and she said she wants to still be friends but it was hard for her to talk to me in that way because she still loved me. I told her that was fine because she really is a good person with great character, but we agreed not to communicate further until we moved on more. She texted me after she got home (it was late and the weather was bad) and thanked me again, told me she was proud of me for taking steps to work on myself and that she was glad we talked and still on good terms. We havent talked in three weeks since that night. We are still friends on social media and on each others personal stories and stuff like that but I'm not on social media for right now so I dont see her post and also to work on my own mental health and personal goals.

I'm just a little confused on what to think by all of this. I still am in love with her and all of those things she said has made it a lot harder for me to move on rather than if she had just not contacted me after the breakup. I know she said that she doesnt want to be with me, but I cant help but wondering whether she still loves me or holding out hope that theres a chance we'll get back together based on some of the other things she said. Besides my mental health and those issues, we had a good, loving relationship and she told me a lot that she felt I truly reciprocated her love. A huge part of me wants to reach out but I havent because I know that probably isnt for the best right now even though we are on good terms. Any opinions or advice on this matter is greatly appreciated.

 

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Sorry about all this—and all you've been dealing with in recent years. Breakups are always crushing, difficult, and rarely do they happen without a murky period like the one you two went through. 

That said, much as I realize this isn't what you want to hear, I don't think you've gotten mixed signals here. Since telling you she is done with the relationship she has held that line, and is now respecting that, for you both, by staying out of touch. Your urge to reach out is understandable, but you seem to equally understand that now is not the time. You've got healing to do.

What are you doing, these days, to facilitate that? 

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14 minutes ago, BillTheBull6 said:

She told me that she felt our relationship had become unhealthy and that I needed to learn to be happy on my own without using her as a crutch. Many things outside the relationship were plaguing my mental health, including a sibling attempting to take their own life.

Sorry this happened. How long were you dating? How old is she? Unfortunately it sounds like she felt suffocated and overwhelmed with all the things you were facing and leaning on her too much.

The best thing you can do for yourself is see a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health.  Be frank about the family history of mental health problems and suicide attempt. Get some tests done. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

You also need to address the 'toxic parent' situation by distancing yourself and moving out if you are old enough.

Even though she wants to stay friends, it's giving you false hope for reconciling. First, work on the issues above.

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As hard as it is, you need to work on accepting that she really truly meant to break up with you. She didn't discuss what was wrong with the relationship because from her perspective it was nothing that you or her could fix. She simply judged the two of you as incompatible for the long run and that's that. It was not a decision she made lightly and the fact that you feel differently won't change her reality.

As for the back and forth after the break up, it's quite normal unfortunately. Partly it's guilt, partly it's the dumper questioning their decision and genuinely missing you. However, none of that means that they want to date you anymore. Again, ending a long term relationship is not a decision people make lightly, which means that once they make it, they mean it. It doesn't mean that they can just turn off caring about you, however they can care and not want to be in a relationship.

Do not reach out. Keep healing and keep on moving on. If she ever changes her mind, she knows how to reach you and you know that she is not shy about doing so. I think you've done very well to tell her honestly that her contact and behavior have been difficult and confusing for you and equally she is respecting that. That said, she has not been confusing in terms of not wanting to date you anymore. She has actually been steadfast in her decision and her actions.

Three weeks post break up things are still very raw. So be kind to yourself, but don't rip open those wounds that are barely just starting to heal. Stay no contact and focus on yourself.

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4 hours ago, BillTheBull6 said:

My ex and I broke up a month ago. It was very sudden, and she did not communicate that there was anything wrong until the day she broke up with me. It was a very emotional break up for both of us.

This was extremely unfair to you and I'm so sorry that she handled it this way.

You have every right to feel shell-shocked and devastated over the way that she handled it.

 

4 hours ago, BillTheBull6 said:

Many things outside the relationship were plaguing my mental health, including a sibling attempting to take their own life. I was also really stressed from work and was stuck in a bad cycle with a toxic parent.

I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this.

 

4 hours ago, BillTheBull6 said:

The next day she texted me again in the middle of the night. I was trembling in my bed because of the stress she was causing for me, but I answered only because I wanted to know why she would keep texting me after she broke up with me if she still didnt wanna be together.

THIS is the part that stood out for me, that I really wanted to address.

PLEASE protect your mental health. If someone's text messages are causing you so much stress that you're physically trembling, please do NOT feel that you HAVE to respond to them.

I understand that you responded this time because you understandably wanted answers over her confusing behaviour, but, going forward, please remember that you don't owe her ANYTHING anymore.

SHE broke up with YOU. Regardless if her reasons were completely legitimate or not, that doesn't mean that you have to keep sacrificing your mental health in order to appease her guilt, her loneliness, her desire to reach out, or whatever else is motivating her to keep contacting you.

Unfortunately, it sounds like she's made her decision and my advice to you would be to completely focus on taking care of YOURSELF right now.

And that includes ignoring any more attempts on her part to contact you out of guilt or whatever else is driving her.

I know that you probably don't want to do this, because you still have deep feelings for her and hope for reconciliation, but you MAY have to end up blocking her on all forms of social media and through all methods of communication, so that she can't continue to derail your healing process.

Remember: PRIORITIZE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. Take good care of yourself.

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This is in one ear and out the other, all the things she’s saying. She doesn’t have enough boundaries so you’ll have to be strong for yourself and put those boundaries in place.

Friendship is off the table and not an option. It’s also none of her business going forward how you live or what you do with your life or whether you’re “working” on yourself. That’s quite patronizing that she’d keep harping on that even though I’m sure she thinks she’s encouraging. Let her go. She may have been a big part of your life once but she isn’t any longer. She needs to move on and not keep checking in on you to feed her ego. 

Hang in there and keep on top of your other commitments. This means work, family, anything else you have going on. There are a lot of exes who do this. You just move on and have appropriate boundaries. 

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Thank you for the constructive answers. I've definitely thought a lot of what you all have said, at random points I just get these huge waves of missing her and thinking about all that happened.

18 hours ago, bluecastle said:

You've got healing to do.

What are you doing, these days, to facilitate that? 

Since then I've committed once again to my workout routine and I've been trying to spend more time with friends. I've sought professional help for my mental health and I started doing some meditations on my phone to help clear my mind. I've been reading a book a family member got me which is aimed at loving the self and changing mindset to be more in the present, and not to dwell on the negative things that have already happened. I've realized lately I have never really known how to do either of those things. I found myself surprised by how much truth there is to it, and it's definitely been a good read so far. I used to smoke a lot too but since all of this happened I realized I needed to quit, and with the exception of doing it with the guys I have done so and that's also made a difference. I also removed myself from social media, not only to avoid her posts but also because social media isn't necessarily good for anyone's mental health to begin with and I've regained a lot of time during the day as a consequence.

18 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

You also need to address the 'toxic parent' situation by distancing yourself and moving out if you are old enough.

I've also moved in with my other parent since my parents are divorced. I was unable to do so before due to the situation with my sibling.

18 hours ago, DancingFool said:

Three weeks post break up things are still very raw. So be kind to yourself, but don't rip open those wounds that are barely just starting to heal. Stay no contact and focus on yourself.

I guess I've probably had unrealistic expectations of how long it would take to move on from this. My brain knows that this breakup was definitely for the best, and I've been doing better for myself since then and will keep striving to do so. Like I mentioned before I just get random waves of missing her, thinking about her, and wondering how she is or what she's up to. Do you guys have any tips on how to mitigate this or move on more easily? Thanks again

 

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4 minutes ago, BillTheBull6 said:

Like I mentioned before I just get random waves of missing her, thinking about her, and wondering how she is or what she's up to. Do you guys have any tips on how to mitigate this or move on more easily? Thanks again

 

Yes. Ride the waves. Don’t fight it. This means if you know you’re more emotional at night or any time of the day you ride it. Do things that bring you peace, go to bed early, take care of yourself. Avoid smokes, alcohol, crappy foods and indigestion. Eat well and cruise on. You’ll pass through this. My thoughts are with you and sending you strength and courage.

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5 hours ago, BillTheBull6 said:

I guess I've probably had unrealistic expectations of how long it would take to move on from this. My brain knows that this breakup was definitely for the best, and I've been doing better for myself since then and will keep striving to do so. Like I mentioned before I just get random waves of missing her, thinking about her, and wondering how she is or what she's up to. Do you guys have any tips on how to mitigate this or move on more easily? Thanks again

Glad to read all of the wonderful things you've been doing to take care of yourself, especially addressing the smoking. Great job! You are taking your grief recovery seriously, and it's important to adopt a "One day at a time..." motto to inspire patience.

As for your question above, many great suggestions coming from many sources can sound as though you must try everything and stay on top of all your best behaviors to avoid the waves you're asking about, but really? An occasional bout of the boo-hoos with a tissue box can be one of the most healthy, cleansing, toxin-removing and stress-reducing acts you can indulge--even though it's a double edges sword that also feels lousy.

There's a big difference between constant rumination that spins you into a deeper hole to climb out of versus some reminiscing that turns painful and is a natural part of grief. 

You'll have some good days followed by some terrible days. Those are not setbacks, they just feel that way. You're cycling through stages of grief, and the good days will start outweighing the bad days over time.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/9/2022 at 3:56 PM, catfeeder said:

There's a big difference between constant rumination that spins you into a deeper hole to climb out of versus some reminiscing that turns painful and is a natural part of grief.

This might be the thing I’m concerned with the most right now. I can’t tell whether my thinking about her is normal or putting me in a deeper hole. I’ve been especially preoccupied these last few days. I miss her a lot and still care about her deeply and I’ve had a strong urge to reach out. I haven’t because I’m sure there probably aren’t any feelings left there on her end. I’m probably just spinning myself into a deeper hole. Most of the time I’m okay and I’ve been spending time with friends and family but somehow she finds a way to creep back into my mind.

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17 hours ago, BillTheBull6 said:

This might be the thing I’m concerned with the most right now. I can’t tell whether my thinking about her is normal or putting me in a deeper hole. I’ve been especially preoccupied these last few days. I miss her a lot and still care about her deeply and I’ve had a strong urge to reach out. I haven’t because I’m sure there probably aren’t any feelings left there on her end. I’m probably just spinning myself into a deeper hole. Most of the time I’m okay and I’ve been spending time with friends and family but somehow she finds a way to creep back into my mind.

It's normal.  Just let that feeling exist just like if -let's say you craved a cupcake but knew you shouldn't have one for whatever reason -you wouldn't try to stop yourself from thinking about cupcakes you'd simply acknowledge the craving, react by deciding not to give it attention -and let it exist on the periphery until it faded away.

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All I Ever Wanted Was to Love You
All I Ever Wanted Was to Love You

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