Brokenhearted and utterly confused

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    My boyfriend of 5 months and I just broke up yesterday. I wrote about how I wanted to tell him “I love you” in another post and everyone suggested waiting and they were partly right, but then again we broke up for different reasons.

    He came over to my apartment and we had a normal visit like usual, but somehow got on the topic of marriage and how he doesn’t see it for himself. He thinks his parents have an unhappy marriage and bicker and that it just breeds contempt. I asked if he had any issue with our relationship and he brought up petty things. I don’t finish my coffee or my plate of food often and I asked him for more but he couldn’t think of anything. I said that this worried me that he seemed so against long-term relationships and what was he doing with me then? He said he felt that we were having a good relationship but if he was going to be honest he doesn’t see it long-term. He says we’re too different, but the ways he described were not true values, they were just more petty things. I use plastic bags (I actually use them for things, don’t just throw them away), our sleep schedules are too different (he wakes up at 4am though and doesn’t sleep well alone at home either), and other ridiculous things. He said he get along really well and that’s why things would likely build up in time, because neither of us would want to rock the boat and bring up issues. He says he doesn’t likely see himself with anyone long-term and marriage has always just been a fantasy.

    I asked him if he was afraid and had had other bad experiences in past relationships, and asked if there was cheating but he wont talk about it. I told him then that I can’t believe I was trying to find a time to tell him I love him, and here he was having no inclination of having a longterm relationship with me. He said he never planned to have this conversation and thought we could go on having a good time together. But he knew I was looking for long-term. He said he did love me in a way, but it’s not a one and only kind of love. He also doesn’t think he’ll find that and will likely stay alone for life. None of it makes sense based on his actions and the way he pursued things with me. He acted like a boyfriend and the day before this he was with me and my family for a birthday party. He was extremely loving and affection and generous with time and everything else. He never pulled back in any way and never mentioned these issues before. He said he’d like to keep seeing me casually, but that is up to me. Nothing about our relationship has been casual and I highly doubt there is another person he’s seeing. We’ve been exclusive this entire time, I don’t think that is an issue. He said he hoped for stronger feelings, but I guess he doesn’t have them. He was hoping for the best outcome, but then he also sees all these “differences” between us. I’ve been introduced to his family and him mine, but he never introduced me to friends. I told him now I see why, because you never intended for me to be permanent. I cried and he felt uncomfortable eventually and left. He said sorry for making you cry. That’s what I get after almost six months of thinking we were headed down a similar path, with no indication that he felt weirdly. Everyone says at least I found out sooner rather than later. He probably would’ve continued on seeing me. He wants all the benefits of a relationship, all the good parts, but he isn’t really strong enough to have one.

    I just feel so disheartened and played for a fool. I can’t believe he doesn’t have strong feelings, because of how loving he acted. Our relationship was full and did not just involve sex.

    I keep trying to think myself out of it, telling myself he’s just not the one for me, he’s not capable of a real healthy relationship and doesn’t value what I was giving, but it’s sooo hard for me right now.


    It sounds like he is really sort of emotionally available and commitment phobic. He can behave in the way people do in relationships, loving, attentive, etc… but his beliefs aren’t going to allow him to accept a long-term relationship, and something will have to change those beliefs before he will see himself with anyone long-term.  This really is something he should mention to people up front, especially if he knows the person he’s dating is looking for something long-term.

    He seems to be blaming his parents’ relationship on marriage itself, as if they wouldn’t be fighting just the same without it, which is misguided, but he has to figure that out for himself. I also know some people don’t believe in life-long relationships because they think everyone gets sick of each other eventually so they want to leave themselves free to break up whenever they’re sick of the person (even if it’s 8 years later) rather than commit to marriage…. which is fine if they believe that way, but they really need to make sure the person they’re dating has the same belief and is NOT looking to eventually marry.

    I agree with your friends that it’s better you found out now. The belief he has is a strong one, and it’s not likely to change by dating longer. He would’ve just found more and more things to nitpick you over (looking for basically any excuse to end things once he felt your relationship was getting a little too long-term for him) and eventually would’ve broken up with you the same way, but your feelings would’ve been deeper and it would’ve hurt you much, much more. The one for you will have the same beliefs about marriage that you do.


    Dear Michelle:

    Welcome back, I am sorry you are back with a broken heart though!

    Here is my input based on your posts in your previous thread and your original post in this thread.

    I don’t think that it is true that “He wants all the benefits of a relationship, all the good parts.. doesn’t have strong feelings.. doesn’t value what I was giving”- it is not that he was a cold hearted man who knew ahead of time that he wanted a casual relationship and led you on, suggesting that he wants a long term relationship so to take advantage of you sexually.

    What I think happened is that like he said, he experienced much of this life the bad relationship between his parents, and that affected him negatively. This can very well be why at 35 his few long term relationships didn’t last more than about a year each. Recently he moved back home, he viewed it as a step back, and was somewhat depressed. So when you met him he was in a low point in his life, and therefore, not likely to be more receptive to the idea of a marriage than he was before, at better times. But reads like he did feel for you and doesn’t read to me that he intended to not have a long  term relationship with you.

    In your previous thread you wrote: “I am already programmed to express the worst most of the time.. I’m always prepared”, and I wrote to you: “when we are prepared for the worst (in this case it would be the ending of this new relationship), we tend to make the worst happen sooner than later, so that we are no longer anxiously waiting for it to happen”.

    I think this is exactly what you did a few weeks later, you made the ending of the relationship happen during that very visit, so to no longer be anxious about it ending sometime in the future: “He came over to my apartment and we had a normal visit like usual”, and you turned the visit to a very unusual and last visit by asking him too many questions, interrogating him and accusing him of “having no inclination of having a long term relationship with me… never intended for me to be permanent”, and throwing a fit of some sort, crying “and he felt uncomfortable eventually and left”-

    -mission accomplished, relationship ended.

    It is not that the situation was ideal: he has a history of witnessing and experiencing by proxy his parent’s bad marriage, a history of not having relationships longer than a year, a setback of him moving back to his parents’ home at 35- but the relationship had a chance of working out if you accepted his history and his life circumstances, and if you were okay with allowing the relationship to unfold patiently, over a longer time, and if you were capable to have that kind of patience and interest.

    What he needed was acceptance, not an interrogation and more upset in his life. Not that you owed him that acceptance, not that you don’t have the right to look for what you need in another man, one with a better relationship record and mental health- what I am saying is that you ended this relationship because you were anxious, created a breakup visit and then you accuse him of what he is not guilty of, so to feel like you did the right thing.

    I imagine it is not pleasant for you to read my reply, but I am going to submit it anyway because potentially it can help you.

    * I suppose that with your anxiety, better meet a man who states clearly that he wants to get married and that he is ready to get married following six months of dating or so.





    Hi Valora and Anita. Thank you both for your responses.

    Valora, yes he did admit that he believes people get sick of each other in long term relationships and he thinks our differences with small things would eventually add up and we’d drive each other crazy. He seems to have a big need for control in his own way and wants his relationships to be perfect in many ways. He definitely does have an ideal in mind and I was not likely to change it or become it. He might find someone that better suits that idea, but it seems like so far no one has measured up. One of my friends did suggest that perhaps he has proposed to someone in the past and they turned him down. This could account for some of his hostility towards marriage. Also it could simply be that someone hurt him greatly and thus he is resigned to thinking he will never find anyone as good and ultimately compares anyone new to this person, or idea in his head of what they were like.

    He seemed so enthusiastic about our relationship throughout that it is still hard to see that he felt this way the whole time.

    Anita, I do agree he is depressed and I feel that a lot of that is clouding his thinking about this relationship with me. I do not agree that more patience and time might’ve changed the outcome. Despite what you may believe, I didn’t initiate this conversation and didn’t interrogate him, just asked him questions gently as he seemed to feel guilt and wanted to express the things he was feeling about us and a long-term potential. I did not go into a crying fit, I tried not to cry at all but it streamed out silently and slowly. In the end I don’t think he knew what to say so he left, and I became a little angry and sarcastic, because I was hurt, but I didn’t have the conversation hoping to end the relationship, I just liked that we were getting some truths out in the open.

    If anything waiting longer would have likely ended in the same result and i would’ve been more hurt. He was already not having feelings for me and I couldn’t have changed that with time.


    Dear Michelle:

    You are welcome. Reads like indeed “he  is depressed and .. a lot of that is clouding his thinking about this relationship” with you, and I agree with you that if you gave this relationship more patience and time it most likely wouldn’t have made a difference, simply because his relationship history (his own and his parents’).


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