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Need advice on dealing with difficult ex

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  • #143817
    Maria
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I have come here to seek some friendly advice on dealing with an ex who has been behaving extremely difficultly and, well, not respecting me. To cut a long story short, he broke up with me by email after nine months of dating, blaming it on a stupid squabble we during our first holiday together. It was a difficult time for the both of us as we were both unemployed and anxious about our careers, which I think was the real, underlying reason for why he broke things off. What has really hurt me is how he handled the whole situation and how he is continuing to freeze me out of his life. It’s a bit of a long story, which I’ve broken down into bullet points below:

    – We had the argument but made up, everything was back to normal. He was like a complete gentleman e.g. telling me he loved me and making plans for our future. The next day, when we got back to the UK from our holiday, I received an email from him saying he didn’t see a future in our relationship, without explaining why. He also told me not to contact him at all, which I fully respected. It was literally a case of the I had fallen in love with, and was the perfect gentleman throughout our entire relationship, had suddenly morphed into a complete stranger overnight.

    – For the next two months I was in limbo, wondering what I had done wrong and why he broke things off. It got to the new year and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I sent him an email asking to meet up and have a mature adult conversation. He agreed.

    – We finally met up and the whole time he couldn’t look me in the eye. He said he had been feeling insecure about career stuff but didn’t want to elaborate any further. He simply gave me a bag of my stuff and told me he no longer loved me, that his feelings for me simply “switched off”…But minutes later he seemingly contradicted himself by saying we should wait x amount of months before meeting again as there were “obviously still strong feelings between us”. He then practically ran out of the cafe, leaving me behind in tears.
    – Later that night I sent him an email to say I was unhappy at how he had handled things, and that I felt completely disrespected by his actions over the last few months. He responded by lashing out at me and saying how sad it was that I didn’t see how I pushed him away during the aforementioned squabble, and that it was basically all my fault. He added that it would take “many months” before we could even thinking about being friends.
    – After being royally guilt-tripped,  I issued him a grovelling apology for my actions (which I sorely regret in hindsight) and once again respected his wishes for no contact.
    -So here we are two months later and I’ve had zero contact from him, bar a couple of ‘likes’ on Twitter and Instagram. I sent him one very brief email just asking how he was/saying I hoped he was okay, but no reply. He’s kept me on Facebook, which I find staggering as it seems he has no interest in me being in his life. It’s now at the stage where I’m considering deleting him as it’s the only thing that will give me peace of mind to move on and prompt him to realise how much his actions have hurt me.

    I understand that he’s been going through personal issues, and that this is his way of dealing with things. What upsets me is that I went through the exact same unemployment issues as him, and was nothing but supportive towards him, whereas he completely turned his back on me. I’ve fully respected his request for space but it’s now at the stage where I need to show myself more respect and decide whether this person is worth keeping in my life (albeit on social media). He is now in a new job, which he’s had for two months, while I am still unemployed, mainly due to the fact the stress and upset this break has caused me has made it impossible to focus on the job hunt.

    I would be really appreciate for any advice on how to deal with the situation. Should I confront him about his behaviour? The really sad thing is I have become so caught up in my feelings for/worrying about him that I’ve ended up neglecting my own needs.

    Many thanks,

    Maria

    #143845
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maria:

    The “stupid squabble” during the holiday, right before he broke up with you, that was the reason for him breaking up with you, wasn’t it? I assume so because later, he told you “how sad it was that I didn’t see how I pushed him away during the aforementioned squabble”-

    Can you elaborate on that squabble: did you call him names, insult him… what?

    anita

    #143873

    Hi Maria,

     

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. Breakups are never fun, and it can be really difficult to let go when you were in love with someone for so long. My advice to you, would be to let him go. If you feel he is mistreating or disrespecting you, there is no reason to continue contacting him. There are plenty of other men out there. Stop wasting precious moments of your life on someone who is not worth your time 🙂

    #143887
    Maria
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    The squabble was over the fact he suddenly stopped talking to me one afternoon when I went to buy a snack in the local shop. I asked him if he was okay/if I did something wrong and he said it was nothing and that he was just feeling tired. A few hours later he took me out for a walk and said he was disappointed at the fact I didn’t offer to buy groceries for the meal we were having with his family that evening (they cooked for us the night before). I was quite taken aback because he never mentioned this to me at the time, and of course I would have done so had he said it there and then in the supermarket. He continued to guilt-trip make me feel bad about it, to which I said I felt like I was a schoolkid being told off by their teacher. That was literally all that happened. I didn’t say anything horribly mean or rude. He just blew things way out of proportion. He also accused me post the break up of saying things I definitely did not say and would never ever say to my worst enemy, let alone the man I loved (e.g. that he “knew nothing”).

    Anyhow, following that disagreement we talked things through and everything went back to normal (or so I thought). I just find it baffling and vexing that he used this me and this ridiculous and trivial disagreement as the reason for our break up. I’ve tried everything to be civil and make amends but he just isn’t responding. I’m facing up to the fact now that it’s time to let go.

    Maria

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Maria.
    #143889
    Maria
    Participant

    Hi,

     

    Thanks so much for your feedback and kind words. It’s so hard coming to terms with the fact this seemingly perfect person has turned their back on me in the coldest way possible. He knows he’s hurt me badly (even said he hates himself for it) yet continues to behave this way. I think the social media thing is also messing with my head. He mentioned when we met up that he saw what I’d been up to on my Facebook, which I find absolutely laughable. Evidently he has time to stalk me but no time to actually initiate contact. It’s just all so mentally and emotionally exhausting. You’re right, I do need to let go. It’s going to be a long and painful journey, but I hope I will come out stronger and wiser by the end of it.

    Maria

    #143893
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Maria,

    This sounds strange, but I would consider the squabble that ended it a blessing. If he could break up with you over what is essentially a non-issue, then who needs him? And it had to do with you not offering to pay for some groceries for his family who were hosting, correct? I wonder if he heard his mom or dad complain about that and he freaked out. Some people can’t meld their sub-worlds well (e.g. GFs with family).

    Listen, you are still connected on Instagram and Twitter, so I would leave those. For now. But definitely drop him from FaceBook. Believe me, nothing will make him contact you more. But first I would post some glorious vacation photos and a handsome man and leave them up for a few days before you unceremoniously and suddenly pull the plug.

    Blessings,

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Inky.
    #143897
    Inky
    Participant

    Edit: “Nothing will make him contact you more”… I also mean that in a mystical sense. The Universe abhors a vacuum. I Unfriended someone once who I hadn’t talked to or interacted with in years and years. The NEXT DAY I run into the person who went to the same event I was at… staring meaningfully at me. Awkward!

     

    #143899
    AnchoredPeace
    Participant

    Hi Maria,

    Unfortunately, I had the same problem with my boyfriend a couple of years ago.

    From what you said, it is obvious that your ex is experiencing extreme anxiety and stress in his life currently – you had mentioned he was undergoing anxiety regarding his job. Mental illness is often something that isolates us from our loved ones, whether we intend for it to or not. When me and my boyfriend parted ways, it was primarily because he was anxious, depressed, and unhappy with who he was. As a result of such feelings, one usually pushes the ones closest to them away, in order to protect themselves from further damage, or perhaps to protect their loved ones from suffering the same fate. I don’t know if this is the case with your ex, but (and you can read several articles about it online), it is often very common for these type of sufferers to blame others for their feelings – it is simply easier than owning, acknowledging, and sorting through themselves. Lashing out is the short-term coping mechanism that takes the self-hatred off themselves, even if it is for just a millisecond. I guess, The hardest part for us bystanders, is to not take all this personally, and to not let it decrease our self worth.

    It can become so easy to investigate ourselves so deeply, to wonder where we went wrong…to constantly go back and forth in our minds, replaying situations, wondering why we didn’t do something differently. This thought pattern is dangerous, and will only negatively impact your future relationships – as you will set on a path of perfection that is both emotionally debilitating and unrealistic.

    You may love this man, but if he is sending you on such self questioning – I think it is worth considering letting go. Like the saying goes…

    “When someone is drowning, you can try to save them, but not if they’re going to drag you down with them.”

    #143925
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maria:

    So the holiday included visit with his family, his parents- was that your first visit with his parents? If so, I agree, as suggested above, that his parents’ input caused him to withdraw from you.

    His parents may have disapproved of you, complained to him that you didn’t buy groceries, and he was greatly affected by their disapproval and complaints, leading to his guilt-tripping episode.

    When he accused you for saying that he knew nothing, I am thinking he “heard” his parents speak through you (inaccurate projection, common). I am thinking his parents disapprove of him independently of you. When they disapproved of his choice of his girlfriend, it triggered the history of their disapproval of him otherwise.

    The unemployment may have contributed to his distress, but their disapproval would have been distressing to him no matter his employment status then or since, I am thinking.

    When you wrote: “I issued him a grovelling apology for my actions (which I sorely regret in hindsight) and once again”- you meant you regret apologizing to him, not your actions during what you referred to as squabble, correct?

    anita

    #143939
    John
    Participant

    From the topic title I was expecting to read that he is being abusive to you and/or not leaving you alone. From the content it reads to me like you want to keep contact with him, but he is being dismissive and disrespectful and that the real difficulty is your lack of closure.

    I am so sorry that it ended this way for you and I can’t imagine how awful it must feel, but I am afraid that you are not going to get the closure you seek from him. It sounds like you are sceptical of his reason for breaking up with you and rightly so, for it really sounds like he is being dishonest about the real reason.

    It is also possible that he is being dishonest with himself and actually believes the story he is telling you because he is unable or unwilling to examine his feelings. Either way, sadly it seems like he has made up his mind and you wont get any satisfaction from confronting him or any further contact with him.

    I know it must be hard to let go without proper closure but unfortunately it seems he is not willing to indulge you so I would recommend no further contact with him. I’m sure it’s of small consolation right now but I truly believe you are better off in the long run without without such a person in your life, whether as a lover or a friend.

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