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Did I do the right thing?

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  • #368272
    Minnie
    Participant

    Hi guys,

    It’s been just over 3 months that my ex and I broke up. We dated for 2 years. It was a mutual break up but I guess it was more on his end that he wanted to break things off. His reasons were that we don’t have a lot in common and don’t know why all of a sudden the wheels have stopped turning. I respected that and did not beg him to give the relationship another go as I feel it will be forced to try work things out and we probably won’t be happy anyway. He was extremely emotional and did say he is scared he will regret his decision one day but said this decision would be fair for me.

    Overall our relationship is healthy enough and we hardly fight. More just small arguments. Due to Covid that his hours at work had cut down a lot meaning less in income so he was struggling financially. I tried to help and support where ever I can. In the end I felt he became distant towards our relationship and that’s when I initiated the ‘space/ break up’ talk.

    My ex does have a bit of a mood swing and likes to keep his problems to himself.

    I’ve been coping well but I still miss and love him. Overall I can see that I am improving.

    Anyways, out of the blue, he messaged me tonight and said that his been arguing with himself For weeks to whether to msg me or not and wanting to give me more space and ask me how I’ve been going.

    I responded a bit later. I kept the message short and sweet.

    He responded back and ended with ‘you probably wouldn’t want me to say this, but I miss you. Sorry.’

    I didn’t respond back because I don’t know how to and I’m not planning to.

    Part of me wants to go back to him but a bigger part of me doesn’t because it’s just too painful and no one can guarantee that this time round things will workout and we will live happily ever after.

    I want to stay friends with him but i’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do at this point as we both need time to heal…

    Is this the right approach?

    Thanks for reading this.

    #368275
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    I think that it is better for you to not be friends with him, and keep a distance from him for at least six months. Reads to me that he is confused and not well at this point. You are not and cannot be his therapist, so if you keep in touch with him while he is confused and unwell, you are likely to get hurt (and as you do, he will not get better).

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by anita.
    #368280
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    I want to give your thread a little more time and attention. You shared your boyfriend suffered “a bit of a mood swing and likes to keep his problems to himself”. Earlier this year, his working hours and income  were cut down a lot because of Covid. As a result, he struggled financially and became distant from you. At one point, he broke up with, “extremely emotional”, “Scared he will regret his decision one day”, and  saying that the two of you “don’t have a lot in common”.

    I am guessing that the break up was gradual/ not clear cut, and at one point, you “initiated the ‘space/ break up’ talk” with him.

    Following that talk and breakup three months ago, you’ve been “coping well… Overall.. improving”. Out of the blue, he messaged you most recently, saying that he’s been “arguing with himself for weeks” regarding messaging you vs giving you more space. You answered with a short and sweet message, and he responded back, ending with “you probably wouldn’t want me to say this, but I miss you. Sorry”.

    You didn’t respond back because you “don’t know how to”, or if to respond at all. Part of you wants to get back with him, but a bigger part of you “doesn’t because it’s just too painful” and there is no guarantee that it will work out. You want to stay friends with him but you are not sure if it’s the right thing to  do.

    My thoughts: let’s look at his message to you, it started with: “you probably wouldn’t want me to say this”- if he indeed believes that you probably wouldn’t want him to say this.. why did he continue to say it: “I miss you”. He said it, and then apologized, “sorry”.

    What this message tells me is that he is not direct and straightforward, he doesn’t come out with the truth as it is. Maybe he sent you this message wanting you to feel sorry for him, trying to motivate you to call him back with: please don’t be sorry! I miss you too!

    If you want to discuss this point further, please do.

    anita

     

    #368282
    Minnie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks so much for reading into my post.

    Yes, I initiated the talk to see what is going on with him. I made it clear during the talk that my intention is not to break up but to see why the distance, where can we try resolve the issue and if he needed some space to think.

    We had a one week space to ourselves which it was him that messaged me to have the second talk and which it was him that decided it’s best for us to break up.

    I agree with you, if he knows that I don’t want to hear (which he is correct) then why say it. I think he is testing the water to see if I would initiate another talk to see if there is a chance to get back together?

    I do feel sorry for him. He lives about an hour away from his family and 5min away from me. Because of Covid, we’re not allow to go around to other households for visits unless for compassionate reasons or to your intimate partner’s house.

    I feel like he got no one to talk to during these difficult times and I feel terrible about it. There were so many times i want to reach out to him to see if he needs help but i thought better not to.

     

    #368294
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    You are welcome. Let’s look at what happened, in order of time:

    1) About four months ago, or earlier, he acted distant from you.

    2) You initiated a talk “to see what is going on with him.. why the distance.. and if he needed some space to think”, letting him know that your intention is to resolve the issues in the relationship, not to break up.

    3) He took your offer for space, and maintained it for a week.

    4) He messaged you suggesting a second talk; within that talk he told you that “it’s best for us to break up” because “we don’t have a lot in common”.

    5) After more than 3 months he messaged you, asking “how (you’ve) been doing”?

    6) You answered him a bit later with a “short and sweet” message.

    7) He messaged you that he misses you (“I miss you”), preceded with “you probably wouldn’t want me to say this”, and followed with “sorry”.

    My understanding today:

    He asked you how you’ve been going and you answered his question with a short and sweet message, not including details, which would have made the message long, and it was not a bitter message. Next, he didn’t ask you for details about how you are doing/ your life in the last three months. So, I am thinking he didn’t care to know. What he wanted was to tell you that he misses you– that’s the core of his message.

    I agree with you that his motivation in telling you that he misses you is this: “he is testing the water to see if I would initiate another talk to see if there is a chance to get back together”. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that he wanted to get back together with you, or that he would have, if you responded positively with I-miss-you-too.

    It could be that he just wanted to  know if you were unhappy without him and if you wanted him back.

    It is possible, as it is often the case when breakups are concerned, that he broke up with you because he was angry at you. After all, when person A becomes distant from person B, it is often because A is angry at B. Fast forward more than three months after he broke up with you, he may be angry still, at least at times.

    Before and after his core message, he told you: “you probably wouldn’t want me to say this… sorry”- when a person apologizes, it is because the person believes he did something wrong/ hurtful (“sorry”). He knew that you didn’t want him to tell you that he misses you, but he proceeded to tell you that anyway. He know that by telling you this, he will displease you, or hurt you somewhat.

    Next, I ask myself why was he willing to displease/ hurt you in that message, and why has he been angry at you otherwise, leading to him becoming distant from you and then breaking up with you. The reason for his anger couldn’t have been that the two  of you “don’t have a lot in common” because you had enough in common to keep you engaged in a two year relationship prior to the breakup.

    Maybe what you do not have in common is that you are mentally healthier than him and he envies you for that: he has “a bit of a mood swing and likes to keep his problems to himself”, he spends time “arguing with himself for weeks”, while your life is easier- your mood is significantly more balanced, you share your problems and feel better for it, you are “coping well… improving” after the breakup.. while he still argues with himself for weeks.

    When a person is troubled, is not well, it often makes them envious/ angry to be around a person who is not troubled, or does not appear troubled.

    You can look back at your relationship with him looking for his anger. If I am correct, beware- while you “feel sorry for him”, he may feel angry at you, and as angry people do, he may be trying to hurt you.

    anita

    #368369
    Minnie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks so much for your detailed comments.

    I rarely see him as an angry person. I probably seen him angry maybe 2 to 3 times during the 2 years that were together.

    You are right, i am the mentally healthier and happier one in the relationship. I like to be transparent but whereas he likes to keep things to himself.

    Thank you once again.

    Minnie

    #368372
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    You are very welcome and thank you for your gratitude.

    “I like to be transparent but whereas he likes to keep things to himself”-> “I rarely see him as an angry person”- he keeps his anger to himself then, not being transparent with it, so you don’t see it. I am not saying he should be aggressive when angry, but being passive-aggressive (ex. becoming distant for a long time, breaking up with you instead of discussing issues and feelings), that’s unhealthy in the context of relationships.

    Mental health is a precious, precious thing and not that common, do protect it and promote yours- this is the right thing for you to do (“.. the right thing”, in the title of your thread).

    anita

    #368735
    Minnie
    Participant

    Hi guys,

    I posted here about a few weeks ago.

    My ex reached out again this week and asked if we could go for a walk for a catch up. I agreed and we met up last night.

    It was a nice catch up as both of us were curious as to what we’ve been up to these days.

    Obviously the main question came up. He wanted to know if we can try dating again. He said he will give me time to think about it and he will fully respect my decision if I choose to not wanting to try again.

    I’ve been rehearsing for this scene for so long. I keep telling myself that the answer will be ‘no, I do not want to get back’ but obviously I didn’t say it in the end. I still love this guy.

    He now realized that he need to mature up and made a mistake.

    He was definitely committed in our relationship but I guess out of all his past relationships our one is the more serious one so it got to him a bit full on. He never moved in with anyone in his previous relationships.

    I told him my concern is what if later on if he feels it’s too much again and we might break up bc he can’t handle it. I told him I’m not convinced yet.

    I need to see some actions to be convinced but I don’t know how he can prove it?

    Should I give it another go and see if this will work again. I understand this will be decision at the end of the day. Just a bit lost now.

    Thanks.

    #368740
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    “I told him I’m not convinced yet”- neither am I. I am not focused enough to answer you thoroughly at this time of the afternoon, and I will be back to you tomorrow morning (in about 15 hours from now) to re-read your recent post and anything you may add before I return.

    For now this is what I think: if you decide to date him again, see to it that the dating does not include sex. That way, you will be hurt way less if he disappoints you once again and break up with you.

    “I need to see some actions to be convinced but I don’t know how he can prove it?”- if he dates you without enjoying the sexual part of it, and if he shows you in (non-sexual) actions that he indeed cares for you and that he cares about you, wanting the best for you- that may be the proof that you need (?)

    anita

    #368741
    Minnie
    Participant

    Thanks, Anita.

    I don’t believe he is the type that is after sex.

    I did ask him how is he going to prove to me this time around? He said that he didn’t want to ruin the surprise but because he can see that I need an answer he said he would like to propose to me to show his commitment. Once again that’s of course just the talk for the time being.

    I do want to try again but will be scared and I think my friends and my family might be disappointed with my decision.

    #368744
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    “He would like to propose to me”- Is it anything that is practically possible/  What are your thoughts about that ??

    I will be back to your thread when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #368749
    Minnie
    Participant

    I think it can be possible. I’m in my mid 30s he is 40. We’re both not getting young and it’s time to really settle down.

    I was touched I must admit but I’m still not convinced, only time can tell if this promise will be actioned.

    Thanks, Anita. Appreciate your input.

    #368757
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    I did this morning what I didn’t do yesterday: I re-read your previous posts.

    You asked: “Should I give it another go and see if this will work again”- my suggested answer is: Yes, give it another go, but do it wisely.

    As to why I wrote Yes: reads to me that he is a decent man, but somewhat troubled since childhood, that his childhood was unpleasant enough to lead to his mood swings and keeping his feelings to himself. His childhood-born emotional difficulties were then exacerbated by Covid, particularly, the resulting change in his work hours and income. When he broke up with you, he was “extremely emotional”- he was probably overwhelmed, felt out of control of his emotions, so he did what felt like the solution: withdraw from you/ break away from you, so to calm down and gather a sense of control over his extreme emotions.

    You read to me (and you agreed with my assessment) as the mentally healthier one of the two. But he is not that mentally unwell, in my understanding, that a healthy relationship and marriage is impossible or unlikely. After all, the relationship before the breakup was overall healthy (“Overall our relationship is healthy enough and we hardly fight”, Oct 26)

    I suggested that you give it a go, but do it wisely. By wisely I mean the following:

    1. Because his emotional troubles originated in his childhood home, and because contact with parents, in adulthood, keep emotional injuries of childhood alive- do not encourage him to have closer (or any kind of) relationships with his parents. Let him have his relationships with them, of course, but don’t encourage it. Don’t be close to his parents yourself. Healing for him can only be in a context separate from his parents; hopefully it is in the context of his relationship with you.

    2. Let him know that it is very much okay with you that in the context of his relationship with you, he can have  his alone-time when he gets overwhelmed. He needs to know that he has the option to withdraw= to not communicate with you while in the relationship, so that in the future,  he doesn’t feel that he has to choose between a relationship and a breakup. He can choose time-alone instead.

    3. Let him know more that the two of you must be a team- that you are all for him, and not against him, and that you expect the same from him. Seems to me that in the context of his family, when he expressed dissatisfaction or distress, he was punished/ treated badly because he expressed emotions his parents did not approve of. It is probably difficult for him to express to you his dissatisfaction because he is afraid of disapproval/ punishment coming from you, and that’s why he tends to keep his feelings to himself. Gradually and gently, show him/ continue to show him by example, how to express dissatisfaction in the context of a loving relationship without hurting the relationship.

    anita

     

    #368797
    Minnie
    Participant

    Thank you Anita.

    Personally i really want to get back with him and hope this time round we can make it work and that he’ll be more matured in dealing with situations like this.

    I will take some time to think about it and get back to him. If i do want to try again, i will go through our issues as i don’t want history to repeat again.

    I’m also is upset that if i do go back to this guy, my family & friends will be disappointed in me. I know this is my relationship but i just feel sad that all their support all these 3 months is wasted.

    I have days where i think i can let go and be happier with him and i have days where i think i will be happier if i get back with him.

    Honestly, i don’t have any intention or interest in meeting someone new.

    Anyways, I hope i will make a good decision that i won’t regret.

    #368801
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Minnie:

    I will need to reply to you further when  I am back to the computer in about 16 hours from now. Before I return, can you tell me a bit about your fear of disappointing your family and friends: why are they against you going back to him/ what are their thoughts and feelings about it, and whose opinions in your family matter to you most?

    anita

     

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