This topic contains 8 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Maddie 1 month ago.
September 22, 2021 at 10:17 am #920498
I am 31F, my partner is 32M, and we were together for just over 4 years. Our relationship was SO GOOD for the majority of our time together, I only started noticing distance in the last 3-4 months. He blindsided me on Labor Day, and I keep thinking that I wish he had a conversation with me so we could lay all of our cards on the table. Instead he avoided and stonewalled, which only made my anxiety surface, and exacerbated his negative feelings towards me.
It’s been over 2 weeks and yesterday he reached out to schedule a time to give me back my stuff and “chat”. We never finished our breakup conversation 2 weeks ago, and I have things to say before dropping off the face of the earth and going no contact. I don’t plan on being emotional, just very matter of fact about how disappointed I am in how he chose to do this, and bringing attention to the unhealthy attachment cycle he started and we both perpetuated.
Another reason he ended it was because he knows I want to get married in the next few years and he is not there. Since things ended, I don’t give a damn about getting married soon and would happily wait a few years. The person is more important than the timeline. So I feel I need to make that clear to him as well.
I think things ended due to our unhealthy attachment cycle, him having relationship burnout, and our friends being overly involved in our relationship. How do I do this (both the conversation and just living through these feelings right now)? I feel like I’m dying. Things we so good for so long and I feel blindsided. I thought we were a team, us against the problem. But he checked out and abandoned me.September 22, 2021 at 12:42 pm #920531
This is going to be really hard, but it’s in your best interest to focus on the incompatibilities and try to process the emotions and eventually come to acceptance that it is over. This right here is why it needs to be over:
“Since things ended, I don’t give a damn about getting married soon and would happily wait a few years.”
You’re in your early 30s and presumably want to get married to have a family. Now you’re trying to twist into knots, bargain to get him back, convince yourself to give up something you want because you think you want him more. Which is compromising yourself. If he’s not comfortable with the idea and what he wants after *four years,* then you don’t want the same things and you certainly don’t want them on the same timeline. Waiting a few years, first of all, can be risky if you want a family because he may never get on the same page as you and then you’ve lost a few more years. Second of all, if he’s handled things this badly before you’re even married, why would his behavior in the future be any different??
People ready for serious relationships don’t get relationship burnout, so at least he’s honest about not being anywhere near ready to get married. But I don’t think giving him even more extra time will change his mind about marrying you, even though that’s hard to hear. The rest of what you said isn’t healthy. I can’t imagine my friends having an outsized impact on my romantic relationship, there are healthy boundary issues going on. And as you already identified, this was not a securely attached relationship, and he has no interest in addressing that which means it cannot and will not change.
So what do you do? You control what you can: you. You’ve admitted to having anxiety here, you use the word abandonment (anxious attachment is, at its core, acting out of fear of abandonment), you feel like you’re going to die (this is the normal response to a long-term breakup for someone with anxious attachment, for complicated reasons but basically because in early childhood if someone left you really could die and were conditioned to feel panicked as a motivator to try everything you could to reconnect), everything you’re feeling is painful and overwhelming but you’re not the only one to go through it which means there’s a lot of information available about how to deal with it. A therapist who specializes in this area can really help you, as can reading more about anxious attachment in breakups and how to rebuild your self-esteem and reclaim your own identity. No woman needs to rationalize giving up what she wants (marriage in early 30s after 4 years isn’t unreasonable expectations at all!) for an immature guy who doesn’t want the same things. There’s no compelling reason on his end here that waiting a few more years changes or addresses anything, so DO NOT abandon yourself trying to win him back. Not abandoning yourself period, learning to have your own back (perhaps with tools a therapist can help you learn), is the way to get through this no matter what he does.September 22, 2021 at 4:56 pm #920575
Its over, the more you bargain the more he will detachSeptember 22, 2021 at 6:42 pm #920595
Firstly, any man who was talking marriage at 2 years was never going to marry you. Secondly, if you go with your approach of telling him all about his communication failings, that will push him away more. Let him exchange your stuff, say… I understand why we broke up, I accept the breakup, i feel confused about what happened, I keep the door open to talk should it be useful, and I wish you well. Then assume it is over and let him walk away. That will be very very hard, but it leaves the most likely opening for reconciliation.September 22, 2021 at 6:42 pm #920596
Oops, who is not talking marriage by two yearsSeptember 22, 2021 at 9:14 pm #920617
Oh sweetie. You’ve lost yourself in this relationship.
You’ve acknowledged this relationship has major problems:” I think things ended due to our unhealthy attachment cycle, him having relationship burnout, and our friends being overly involved in our relationship.”
There’s a very good reason it’s over. What is “relationship burnout”??? I’ve never heard of that. Is that what he’s telling you?
There’s love and there’s attachment. If you are “desperate” to get back with him you are attached. When you love someone you don’t force them to do what they don’t want to do. He doesn’t want to be with you any longer. I know that is very hard to take and you’ve got some grieving to do. But trying to get him to come back isn’t the solution.
What Tallspicy said is perfect – tell him that and then get with a therapist and get yourself back. Do not give up your interest in marriage. Do not compromise yourself. There is a man out there who will want the same things you do.September 22, 2021 at 9:37 pm #920625
Also, you are only 31. That’s a lot of time to meet someone else, marry and have a family. If you keep hanging onto this guy, you’re going to burn up more of your precious time on someone who doesn’t want what you want. Forty sneaks up on you fast and as much as I hate to say it, from everything I’ve observed it gets much harder for women to marry and have babies after 40. Take the hit now, as much as it hurts. You will look back at this and be grateful he ended it. There is much better waiting for you.September 23, 2021 at 1:23 pm #920801
I actually don’t want kids. That is part of the bizarre thing. We matched up on that and were painting a picture in our mind of the future we want: Marriage, financial stability, dogs, traveling, and a loving and passionate companionship with one another. I think I wouldn’t have even brought up the marriage thing if I had felt more secure. I have known it would happen someday.
I don’t disagree there were some unhealthy friendship dynamics. By the time I realized it, it was too late. I have some people I need to address some things with and one particular person I need to cut out of my life.
He did say he’s not sure we should be together “right now” but I can’t help but think that even if he did come back, he would need to make some serious changes.
Things were so good for so long. We had our own separate lives, careers, goals, and we were partners through it all. Things just suddenly switched in April/May of this year. I wish I understood what it was.
I hope the door is still open for us, maybe in a year or so, but I do have to focus on myself and move on. I am sick of giving and giving and having nothing to show for it. If he’s putting himself above our relationship, I am going to do the same and move forward, with or without him.
Thank you all for your words. <3September 23, 2021 at 2:17 pm #920817
People can still change a lot into their 30s, and sometimes you grow together (which is what we all hope for) and sometimes you unfortunately don’t. It sounds like he’s going through stuff, which I still think existed long before he met you based on how crappy he’s dealt with the situation… perhaps exacerbated by the pandemic (I’ve seen that a lot with IRL friends, lots of shifted priorities or difficulty losing some access to healthier stress coping outlets), and maybe he was able to ignore and push that stuff down before and can’t do it anymore. Though he’s pushing you away instead of turning towards you, which is still not the kind of relationship partner it sounds like you want. There’s more timing flexibility if you don’t want kids, but that’s still no reason to sell yourself short on having a secure relationship (whether that becomes wanting marriage or not), so you’re doing the right thing in figuring out how to move yourself forward. Good luck, it’ll start feeling better little by little eventually.