I’ve been dating this guy for the last six months. We’ve said “I love you” and things were great during the first 3 months of the relationship. After that, things started to go downhill. He started becoming paranoid and thinking that I was flirting with other guys, that I didn’t like him as much as he liked me, etc.
I have been faithful the whole time and have not been “shopping around”, but after that three month mark he became clingy and desperate. I don’t want to sound heartless, but I started to lose my attraction to him.
He’s a good guy, I care for him, but I’ve made up my mind that we should no longer be dating. Can you give me some advice on the best way to break up with my boyfriend?
Breaking up is never clean, but there are definitely good and bad ways to do it.
I can understand where you’re coming from though. In the same way that I caution women against being needy, the type of behavior you are describing here is the male equivalent (the paranoia, accusations, need for reassurance that you like him, etc.)
I’m going to tell you a story. Bear with me, I promise that I’m going somewhere with this.
As a guy, I can say I’ve been there – it sucks. A long time ago, I had a girlfriend who I started dating “accidentally” I guess you could say. I met her at a time in my life when I really wasn’t looking to date anyone.
When we met, I didn’t have much feeling for her either way. She was good and all, but I didn’t really see a future. Still, we saw each other a few times, hooked up and spent some really amazing time together. Then we both went home for the holidays.
We sent a couple messages back and forth over break, then out of the blue, she called me and asked for my thoughts on us being exclusive. If it were today, I would have said “not at the moment” (in the nicest way possible), but for some reason I said, “Sure. Let’s be exclusive and see where it goes.”
So I committed myself into an exclusive relationship that I wasn’t 100% into. From that point on, everything changed.
It wasn’t readily apparent at first, but after about 3 months I felt like I was putting in all the energy to try and keep the relationship together. I felt as though I didn’t really know what she was thinking or how she was feeling – it was almost like I was dating someone I didn’t really even know.
Still, I had this overpowering feeling that if I didn’t keep the relationship together that it somehow meant I was a failure. I began getting wrapped up in my own fears, worries and what it meant about me.
If I had looked at the relationship itself clearly, I would have seen that it was a mediocre relationship that had some good moments at the beginning, but there was no future. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be that honest with myself.
Long story short (too late), she left for the summer that year and then dumped me one week before she came back over the phone.
She said she loved me, but it just wasn’t working anymore. She said that I was a great guy, but she really didn’t see any saving the relationship. And she said that she would love to be friends if that could be possible.
The truth is, that was the best way she could have possibly dumped me.
And how did I respond? Well… First I was shocked. Then I was depressed and self-pitying. Then I went out, got drunk with my buds and hooked up with the first girl I could find.
Now maybe you’re thinking that hooking up with the first girl I could find was a taking the low road, but the fact was that I felt so worthless, ineffective and unwanted that I guess I just needed to know that someone out there found me desirable.
The way I responded was my problem. It came up from my own issues. In fact, it had almost nothing to do with my ex or the relationship and everything to do with how I thought of myself.
I lacked the confidence back then to know that how others respond to me is secondary to how I see myself. I lacked the experience back then to realize that the relationship didn’t have anything I really valued to begin with. And I lacked the perspective back then to see that regardless of what my ex was like during our relationship, it meant nothing about me or who I was as a person (although it may have meant something about my approach…)
My point in all of this is that her breaking up with me was painful, but it lead me to learn some very valuable lessons. Dragging out the relationship any longer would have done neither of us any good. I needed to learn these life lessons and she wanted a different type of guy in her life.
So in your situation, I would recommend the same thing: A frank, to-the-point conversation – it’s not working anymore, I don’t see it getting better, you’re great, but I want to break up. If we can be friends, that would be great.