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Eight months ago, my girlfriend broke up with me. The reason we separated was because she felt the more we talked and the closer we grew, the stronger and stronger her feelings were becoming. But because of our age gap (she’s 24 and I’m 38), the relationship couldn't work. Whilst we were together, she told me she’d never had feelings for someone like she had for me, she allowed herself to be more vulnerable with me than she ever has with others, even saying she could see herself spending the rest of her life with me.

 

Near the end of the relationship, I hurt her deeply by breaking things off due to a misunderstanding. We stayed together but I believe her feeling extremely vulnerable and close enough to me to get hurt affected her and was the core reason she ended the relationship, out of a fear of rejection.

 

 After that period, we had six months of hot and cold behaviour from her, where at times she would be friendly and she would occasionally reach out, and at other times she would be cold and detached and withdrawn.

 

Two months ago, we had a long conversation, but we both put our cards on the table. She told me she thought I was an amazing person and she wanted to be close friends because she felt we had a real connection with each other, and both of us felt that the pressure had been taken off. About a month into our new friendship, she started withdrawing again, and stopped viewing my Instagram stories, becoming withdrawn and awkward at times where we'd see each other. 

 

I recently confessed that I find her treatment of me being different to our mutual friends and her avoidance of me confusing and hurtful, but I’m in love with her. We both agreed to be friends. Her specificity was a normal friendship without intensity or feelings.

 

There have been several occasions recently where she takes small steps forwards. The other week she complained to a friend when she thought I’d ignored her. Last week she had been extremely awkward around me, but then asked a question she already knew the answer to. Recently she’s unblocked one of my social media accounts all of a sudden. This week however, she has made sure to avoid seeing me completely because it would have been her and I alone together.

She has a lot of the traits demonstrated in fearful avoidants.

Others I’ve spoken to about this have given the opinion that she’s still got feelings for me, but that she’s terrified of getting close again in case she gets hurt.

Any opinions on here would be greatly appreciated!

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Tell her it's time to end the friendship because the dynamic between both of you is unhealthy and draining.  Wish her all the best and go your separate ways.  Disconnect social media with her as well so both of you can move on and heal.  Go completely NC (no contact) permanently.  Be sensible and practical.

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She's not mature enough/not experienced enough to handle a mature relationship with you. You don't see it because you are in love with her and full of hope. Back down to realty, she can't handle it. Being just friends? nah better cut that out, it would be for the best. She's just gonna keep flip floppin. Her behavior isn't making small steps...she's being insecure about herself. 

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Aren't you a bit too old for all this drama?

You love her, but an on and off relationship/friendship means you have deep incompatibilities together. It's not sustainable and it's bound to fail over and over again.

I would start by waking up from your denial of the situation and accepting it for what it is and moving on. There's nothing to "talk about". You are not her therapist. Go NC for a long time.

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So many cons.

She's not 100 percent confident of continuing because of the large age gap. 

Hot and Cold behavior

On again, off again

Emotional baggage

The brain doesn't achieve its full maturation until about age 25, particularly in the decision-making pre-frontal cortex, so it's no surprise she's now having second thoughts and flip-flopping thoughts about a lot of things.

You have to use your brain in conjunction with your heart when it comes to choosing a longterm partner. You're ignoring what your brain is likely trying to convince you of--that this isn't the right relationship for you.

Go no contact, heal and move on. No new woman in your life will accept you being "buddies" with an ex you badly wanted to reconcile with.

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3 hours ago, JurassicPT said:

She has a lot of the traits demonstrated in fearful avoidants.

 

I would avoid getting psychological about it. She could be any number of things, but that isnt what matters. What matters is that she doesnt want to be with you right now and that she plays hot and cold with you. Do you really want somebody like that?

I avoided getting too analytical about age gap relationship but I have some time so here it goes. I read a while ago that, for example, every 7 years, generations get very different experience growing up. Let alone 14 years age gap. If we take your example, you grew up in 90s. That means, lets see, VHS tapes, Pokemon(though they do have them now too lol) and childhood where you spent it at the mall. While she grew up in 2000s, even 2010s. That means full blown internet and youtube, social networks, and spending your childhood and teen years on the phone. Are you really surprised it really doesnt work? You practically led very different lives so you cant connect on that level. She probably thinks Jurassic Park is a movie with Crisp Rat. Which it is but you have very different idea what Jurassic Park movies are. That is why most big age gap relationships just dont work. Different lives and different experiences. It works when it is transactional. For example with gold-diggers and SugarDaddys. Because both have something other side needs. It doesnt work on other relationship level. Because genuine connection is hard to accomplish. 

So, are you really surprised she plays games and blocks and unblocks you? That is literally her generation thing. She is at the age where she is allowed to do whatever she wants, including not commit and not finding herself as she is still 24. You at 38 want somebody to commit and perhaps even build a future. See how even priorities are way different? So again, why cling on somebody who perhaps wont ever give you what you want? 

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4 hours ago, JurassicPT said:

Near the end of the relationship, I hurt her deeply by breaking things off due to a misunderstanding.

Can you share what the misunderstanding^ was about?  Big enough that you felt you had to break things off?   

My read is that you breaking things off hurt her deeply...  and her on/off, withdrawals and otherwise passive/aggressive behavior NOW is her still struggling with that hurt. Try as she might she cannot quite shake it.

I agree she may be 'fearful/avoidant' due to you breaking things off suddenly and her not fully trusting you will not do it again.  She loves you but at the same time, does not fully trust you and fears you or fears that you may hurt her deeply again. 

I mean was she "fearful/avoidant" before this misunderstanding and you breaking things off?  Or is this a new behavior since getting back together?

Speaking for myself, I could be madly in love with a man but once he hurts me deeply (in this case you breaking things off and it would be helpful if you explained why you did), it's difficult getting back to that place where I can fully trust that he won't hurt me again AND to the place where I am able to fully love him as I once did.

I don't typically back together with a man who did this however IF I did, I can imagine my behavior would be very much like hers -- uncertain, ambivalent, back and forth, off and on, passive/aggressive.

I am not suggesting it's right.  It's not and IMO you two should not be together.

Just my understanding of it without more context and something for you to consider.

 

 

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7 hours ago, rainbowsandroses said:

Can you share what the misunderstanding^ was about?  Big enough that you felt you had to break things off?   

My read is that you breaking things off hurt her deeply...  and her on/off, withdrawals and otherwise passive/aggressive behavior NOW is her still struggling with that hurt. Try as she might she cannot quite shake it.

I agree she may be 'fearful/avoidant' due to you breaking things off suddenly and her not fully trusting you will not do it again.  She loves you but at the same time, does not fully trust you and fears you or fears that you may hurt her deeply again. 

I mean was she "fearful/avoidant" before this misunderstanding and you breaking things off?  Or is this a new behavior since getting back together?

Speaking for myself, I could be madly in love with a man but once he hurts me deeply (in this case you breaking things off and it would be helpful if you explained why you did), it's difficult getting back to that place where I can fully trust that he won't hurt me again AND to the place where I am able to fully love him as I once did.

I don't typically back together with a man who did this however IF I did, I can imagine my behavior would be very much like hers -- uncertain, ambivalent, back and forth, off and on, passive/aggressive.

I am not suggesting it's right.  It's not and IMO you two should not be together.

Just my understanding of it without more context and something for you to consider.

 

 

Yeah, sure thing. Simply put, jealousy on my part. Because of rough experiences in previous relationships, I used to find it very hard to trust my partners. Despite having a much better handle on things now, a moment of jealous insecurity took over regarding a mutual male friend of ours and I abruptly pulled the plug.

I was deeply apologetic the next day and after a few days we did patch things up, but she was very open about how much it had broken her heart, she told me it destroyed her. I always felt she was really quick to forgive me, but 2 weeks later she broke things off by suddenly blocking me on everything. A few weeks later I bumped into her, we talked, she unblocked me and we started talking again. That’s when the hot and cold behaviour started.

She’s always dealt with problems by essentially trying to ignore them, family issues etc.
I’ve since apologised in more depth for what happened, I’ve had therapy to deal with my own issues, but I feel her lack of trust in me stems from that incident.

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1 hour ago, JurassicPT said:

I’ve since apologised in more depth for what happened, I’ve had therapy to deal with my own issues, but I feel her lack of trust in me stems from that incident.

Trust is like a mirror. When it's broken, it can't be put back the same wat it was.

Why are you still hung up on her?

Let me take a wild guess; Is she that hot?

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