Recently broke up with my boyfriend, feeling guilty and sad

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    I broke up with my boyfriend of a year a few weeks ago. He is such a great guy and he was so wonderful to me but I just felt that something was missing. I would see other couples being affectionate towards each other or watch my friends get married and I felt sad because I wanted to feel what they felt, and I just knew this wasn’t it. We had a lot in common, had a lot of fun together, and all my friends and family loved him, but I didn’t feel excited for a future together and I felt bad that I couldn’t be as committed to him as he was to me. I gave it time and had been wrestling with myself over this for several months. Now that I am a few weeks out I feel like why couldn’t I have just been happy with him? I really don’t know if I will ever find another guy who treats me as well as him and I really wanted to be happy with him. He is the type of guy I should feel thrilled to marry, and I know that he would be an amazing husband and father, but I just knew it wasn’t fair to him that I wasn’t feeling it 100%. Breaking up with him was the hardest thing I have ever done and he is devastated. The guilt of hurting him is really hard to deal with.

    Logically, I know that I did the right thing. I know that breaking up with him now will prevent more pain for both of us in the future, and as much as I wanted to be happy in a relationship, I just wasn’t. I started feeling claustrophobic and wanting freedom. I am also moving for grad school and obviously want/need to focus on that. He would have been willing to move with me; he wanted to, but I felt that I couldn’t in good conscious uproot him and move to a new city when I was feeling so uncertain and unenthusiastic about our relationship. Illogically, I find myself regretting that I ever broke it off with him, even though I actually felt empowered and really proud of myself immediately after, because it took me a while to find the courage to do it and it was SO HARD.

    He is an awesome guy and was my closest friend for close to a year, so having him cut me out of his life really hurt. Our breakup was not hostile at all, it was really amicable, but we aren’t speaking now because he is really sad. We tried to be friends for a few weeks because he said it was important to him; we talked and hung out once as friends and he said he was happy to see that he hadn’t lost me as a friend, but the next week he told me that he thought it was best if we didn’t talk anymore so that he could move on. That really hurt and I cried for several days after, though of course I understood. I also wished I had said something more when he said that to me via Facebook chat, like “I understand and I’ll be here if you want to talk in the future” or something but I was kind of taken aback so all I said was “ok, bye.” I knew that was something that might happen when I broke up with him, I was just surprised by the timing and that’s why it hurt so much. I guess in retrospect our breakup had been kind of too easy up to that point. It’s only been a week since this happened but now I really miss having him in my life as a friend and really regret not saying more during our last conversation.

    I realize now that for me, our relationship was more of a close friendship than romantic. By the end of our relationship I felt like I had no desire to be physical most nights and I couldn’t really reciprocate when he said I love you, both of which made me feel terrible. I am hopeful that we can reconnect as friends at some point in the future, but I know that this may not be possible because I really broke his heart.

    I would love to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation. I just want to reach out to him and tell him I’m sorry for hurting him and that I really miss having him in my life, but I know that wouldn’t be appropriate so I’m turning this over to the internet. Has anyone ever broken up with a really wonderful guy before? Was it really hard? Are you friends now? I know I need to just be patient right now but sometimes I feel so anxious and restless- is there anything I can do to make this situation less painful??


    Dear Broke up recently…sad;

    Hello my name is Erin, very nice to meet you and thank you for sharing your story. I hope you don’t mind if I share with you my experience ,strength, &hope and also please feel free to message me if you would like to talk in the future. I would like to add a disclaimer to please forgive any punctuation errors as my goal here is to simply help if I can. Congratulations on moving on to grad school that is going to take up a lot of your time. I can imagine I just went back to school and it’s been a long time since I’ve been out so that’s why I forgot a lot of the grammar and punctuation rules of thumb. I would like to be the devils advocate here and also inspire you to take a look deep inside within yourself take time to write down your daily thoughts, breakdown pros and cons of this fellow and also write down a list of things that you would want qualities that you would want to have in your future life partner, whether or not he is intelligent, family oriented , ect. First things first we must take care of you and your anxiety and unsettled heart you are the most important part of this equation, you matter!!! It sounds like you really do care for this person and he knows that whether or not you believe it he does, he just needs time to deal with the emotions of it.

    I used to be very codependent and that allowed me to stay in a relationship I wasn’t at all happy about,that is no way to live. So in your situation and instead of being upfront and honest (which is very commendable), I would’ve stayed in a relationship where I wasn’t happy and that’s not fair to either party.You can write him a letter just simply stating that you love him as a as a person that you’re just unsure right now and please don’t write you out of his life for good just give you time or you can send him a text message stating I just want you to know that I care about you and you hope one day you will connect again. I don’t know about you but I always thought that love would be this amazing feeling something magical where you just knew without a shadow of a doubt like it hits you and all of a sudden you cannot live without this person,? that, is love right? I want you to know that that feeling does exist,I have it now for my boyfriend but it took almost 2 years I don’t know why I stayed I liked the way he treated me, he was kind of more like a friend I wasn’t extremely attracted to him and now I’m madly in love with him and it’s exciting and I want to spend the rest my life with him. Is much older than me I never expected it to go this far but it did. The funny thing is I don’t even desire another man and haven’t, we been together for years.

    I guess my point is be good to yourself and give this time,if you’ve already let me know that you care and hope you can talk again then just give him some time and be good to yourself. Exercise,take care of that anxiety ,right down your feelings-what you want and what you don’t one or prosing cons list and also know that sometimes that magical feeling takes time. And sometimes some of us might feel like we don’t deserve it and or look past what is right in front of us you know the difference. WhenI don’t know something I just have to do my research (soul search) you didn’t do anything wrong my dear you were just simply trying to prevent the catastrophe please don’t be yourself up. Everything will turn out alright. Take time to get to what you want out of life and what you want out of life partner, these things aren’t always easy to figure out but you’re smart ,I know you’ll do great. Feel free to contact me if you wish and thank you for letting me share my opinions and experiences…Best of luck and take care

    Yours Truly,



    Hi, @chicken636. First of all, and no offence because I’m coming somewhat from his side of things, you need to respect him enough to let him move on. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. You might be legitimately upset about what’s happened and I find that in and of itself honourable but you can’t remove him from the category you’ve both defined together and then be shocked he’s not fine with being revised under a completely different one. He obviously wanted to continue that relationship in the personal, romantic way it had been established and advanced (over a year) whereas you came to the conclusion that it just didn’t work for you anymore. There is nothing wrong with that and, in fact, you did the right thing by approaching the situation maturely and making him aware of it; there is nothing worse than getting strung along because of someone’s reluctance to be open and honest about where they’re at. In the short-term you want him to know how bad you feel and just how sorry you are but apologising is only going to make you feel better, in a way it’s actually quite selfish. In the long-term, however, letting him go and not pursuing this any further is going to be more beneficial for both of you, especially him. In the future you might be able to talk again and have the friendship you want now but that can only happen once he is absolutely, utterly free from the hurt the relationship has caused him. I speak from my most recent relationship where my ex led me on for a period of time before just suddenly deleting me from her life… and she dumped me! That’s where the difference comes in and that’s why I think it can be different for you two, but you need to trust this decision to be friends with him enough to allow him the time to go away and heal.

    In all honesty, @butterflynurse78 is typically right. If you were older, perhaps you could continue the relationship as a friendship until you were both a little more confident in its finality. I don’t know, I’m just going off what you’ve provided here. In all cases, I’ve championed the ‘dumpee’ over the ‘dumper’, so I have little time and little experience for trying to comprehend why someone would feel sad when they are initiating a breakup. Sorry if this advice is too subjective for you. I hope you can sort your feelings out and communicate these with him when appropriate.




    I’ve been on both side of your situation, and can say that distance and time does a lot to heal us. Its tough to go from romance to friendship… too many blurry boundaries and vibrant memories. As they fade, such as he gets a few relationships behind him, and so do you, perhaps it will be easier. For now though, its seems like its time to focus on you, cry your tears, put yourself back together as “Single M”, re-calibrate where you want to take your life. The “pull” to his side is well intentioned, wanting him to be happy, to feel better, and whatnot, but consider saying “not mine”, and letting those thoughts go. For now. Too seductive, too ripe with romantic attachment/aversion/habit.

    This is a great big world, dear sister, what’s next? What horizon calls to your heart?

    With warmth,


    Thank you both @blaice and @butterflynurse78 for your perspectives. I don’t really have any intention of reaching out to him and telling him I’m sorry, etc. because I do recognize that that is not beneficial to either of us (even though it would make me feel better in the short term.) I just am having a hard time with this and needed to vent. It’s also been difficult because I don’t have much of a social life in my hometown, which is where I currently live. I didn’t have many friends when I moved back and easily transitioned into hanging out with him and our mutual friends, whom I would consider more of his friends than mine, so it’s weird to go from an active social life to nothing. I know that will be a lot easier to deal with when I move.

    Erin, I appreciate your perspective of feelings of love growing over time, which is not something that I heard about too often. I’m actually a little surprised myself by the intensity of my feelings surrounding this because initially I wasn’t having a hard time when we were acting as friends… though yes, I recognize the “having your cake and eating it too” part of that. I totally left it up to him and that was what he wanted to do, and I guess I didn’t have enough experience just then to recognize that that doesn’t really work right away. For now I just sent him a box of his stuff with a note saying that if he ever wants to talk in the future, I’d be here (I was going to do this when I moved but he actually did contact me to ask for his stuff yesterday.)


    Hey M-

    I loved reading your story because I was in a similar situation a few months ago. Hopefully from my perspective (a guy) you’ll find some comfort moving forward. Just like you, I was preparing to move away and started to question the future of my relationship. I thought about what was best for the both of us moving forward and knew the answer in my heart. Basically, I am moving away into a professional career and she still has a few years left at college. We both talked about the long-term, but I knew if I moved away things would be difficult. I knew we’d remain in the relationship for the wrong reasons. I felt guilty staying in a relationship where we’d both eventually find difficulties being away from one another. My gut feeling was things wouldn’t work out even though I wanted them to.

    I knew in my heart this girl would be a great wife, mother, and had a very bright future ahead. You said, “I know that breaking up with him now will prevent more pain for both of us in the future, and as much as I wanted to be happy in a relationship, I just wasn’t. I started feeling claustrophobic and wanting freedom,” and I want you to know that I felt the exact same way!!!! After the break-up I had alot of regret and still do at times. It’s hard because just like you, I’ve moved home where there isn’t a big social group I connect with. I wanted to remain friends, but the truth is, I hurt the other person by telling them we’d be better of friends and going separate ways. We were best friends and it was that hardest decision I ever made. We traveled across the country together last summer and I fell in love with this girl during my last two years at college. However, I knew what was best going forward. Like you said, I saved both us more pain down the road. I think its natural for us to question our decisions after the fact. We idealize the future if we hadn’t made the decision to move on. I find myself saying, “What if things would have worked out” or thinking I jumped the gun on this situation. I know what that feeling of guilt feels like and you’re not alone! Don’t say sorry, you made this decision because you realized what was best.

    The important thing is, you did what was right by not staying in a relationship unhappy or uncertain. Sometimes we love someone, but its not the right time for us. You have a new chapter in life where you’ll go to grad school and establish new relationships. You’ll realize that this feeling is in the moment and it will overcome with time. You can’t fix anything now because both of you are hurt. Just like you did, I cut the other person out of my life and its very hard to deal with. You’ll only hurt each other more by reconnecting, so let go of any type of communication. I like to remind myself that if things are meant to be, God always has a plan. I’m not very religious, but I believe things happen for certain reasons. With time, he’ll remember the good memories and get past your decision to move on. He may feel betrayed right now, but that’s only temporary. I know its very painful now, but focus on improving yourself. Stay busy and be happy with your decision. You made the right decision. Remaining in a relationship for the wrong reasons would have only led to a similar scenario or much worse. If things were meant to be, you’ll appreciate one another more down the road. Right now, enjoy this time and freedom you have. Things can always be worse and you need to remind yourself everyday is special. We never know when our time is up on this earth, so don’t live in regret. Make the most of every day and just remember things will get better in time.

    I hope this helps some! Thank you again for your story and I’m glad I could relate with someone else. I know this is hard, but I promise things become less painful with time. Don’t live in regret!!!!


    Dear M,

    I get where you’re coming from and I’ve been in the same situation. I did experience the pain that comes from breaking up with someone you love. Hurting a friend like that can be a traumatic experience. Just because you’re the one who decided to end it, doesn’t mean your heart isn’t broken too.

    When I broke up with my ex, I tried very hard to ease his pain. I tried to be his friend when we both needed the time apart and it only made things worse. You can’t mourn the loss of a relationship when you’re still in one, even if it is just some sort of ‘let’s stay friends’ kind of thing. Things only got better for the both of us when I decided to end all contact. It’s been two years and we’re on good terms now.

    As hard as it may be, you are not the one who can help him right now and he is not the one who can help you. If he wants space, give it to him. It may be the best thing for both of you. You need to focus on yourself right now and work through to your own grief and guilt. Both the grief and guilt will pass eventually, I know it may not feel like it now, but as all things in life, it will pass and something new will come along. Your ex will be fine and so will you. There are no right or wrong decisions to be made. You are not a bad person. You actually sound very caring. You did what you thought was best for both yourself and your ex-boyfriend. That is all that you can do in life. I wish you all the best and strength to get through this very difficult period.

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 8 months ago by TinyLi.

    Do you miss him or do you miss the companion aspect of the relationship? You said you don’t have many friends in the area, and now you have lost your best friend. I was fortunate enough to be best friends with the woman I love, so when the relationship just ended suddenly two months ago I also lost my best friend. And even though I love her with every fiber of my being, she does not feel the same, and unfortunately, reason and logic cannot change what the heart feels.


    Thank you all for your kind words! I miss both the companionship aspect of the relationship and him, I think, but I’m sure it would be easier if I had more to do to keep busy on weekends (well, at least I am fortunate to have a great relationship with my family so I can keep semi-busy.) I don’t think it’s a cop out to say “I love you but…” as I do feel like I loved him as a friend (and I do love my friends!) but obviously there are different kinds of love, and sometimes that is just not enough.

    , it’s so strange immediately going through this phase of regret, wondering whether I did the wrong thing or acted too soon because really, I’ve spent so much time thinking about this and was so sure that it was the right thing to do. And really, I do know that it was. Best of luck to you in the future and I hope you also are able to find peace after your breakup! I’m feeling a lot more settled about it today and after just sending him his things and telling him that I’d be there in the future if he ever wanted to reconnect. Nothing has changed but I feel like that was what I needed to do to be able to let it go. It does really help hearing from and reading about people who have made similar decisions, so thank you for sharing your story.


    I want to thank everyone for their posts on this. I’m going through a situation very similar.

    I am 26 and he is 36 and, while I want to get married, I know that’s something closer on the horizon for him. As time when on I had to debate whether I could truly stay with him if I couldn’t even see a future.

    But as soon as we broke up and since then I’ve been having thoughts of whether I made the right decision or if I was giving up something because I might be afraid of commitment.

    I’ve also heard the “you know instantly” story and I have to say that the one thing I’m holding on to is the idea that with the same situation and a different person, I would make the same decision to end it.

    I miss him and I’ve certainly cried more than a few times over not having him (or his dog) in my life anymore. But I realized I miss him as my best friend but not as a lifetime companion.

    Anyways, I stumbled across this thread and wanted to thank you all for sharing your experiences. I know with my mind that I’ve made the right decision, I’ll just have to manage emotionally until I come to terms with it.

    Ariana M

    i know EXACTLY how you feel. i just broke with him yesterday and the pain is atrocious. we were together for almost a year, having good times and bad. he, as well, an amazing person who loved everything about me, and i was always the one trying to change him. but no matter how hard he tried to make me happy, i was still not.

    i thought about breaking up with him for a long long time but could never get the guts to do it until yesterday, when something in me just clicked, i felt like such a chicken sh*t for not being able to say that i did not want him anymore, so i just said it and it was horrible. i feel like the worst person ever, especially because it was also a holiday and he brought me a gift and flowers. but i am pretty sure i am a good person, because i have also tried, i have suffered a lot during this time, putting up with not being happy for the sake of the relationship, hoping that one day, all will be good. but it never was good. the fighting became worst and worst, our patience grew thin and even he admitted at one point that something was wrong about us.

    being friends is not an option, no matter how much one would want that. sure, we will help each other if needed, but i cant bring myself to hurt him by being there everyday not as his girlfriend. it would be of no help to me as well. you cant just go back from being in love to being friends, there is too much history, too much resentment and one of the two will always want more (it will hurt if they dont get more). so its time to just let go and move on.

    i pray to God that he is alright. i hope he gets everything he wants from a girl that will treat him and love him more and better than i ever could. he deserves that so so much.

    i tried every day to care more, to like him more, but failed miserably every time. of course, now i feel like calling him and begging him to take me back… but it is better to give it time. at least a couple of weeks or months. because there is no point is getting back together with him, then doing this all over again, feeling unhappy all over again. if a few months pass, and i still feel this way, then i will beg for his forgiveness and we will hopefully get married. but if this bad horrible feeling of loss passes, and i am happier after, then i will know i made the right choice. only time will tell.

    please give an update on your situation. i see that months have passed since you`ve posted your story. what happened? how are you?


    In terms of my experience, it’s been three months and I can confidently say that the feeling passed after 1-2 weeks. Of course, I was lucky that I broke up with my ex-partner before x-mas so I had my family with me. But even on the second month, I was sleeping soundly, knowing that I made the right decision and turning my concerns to other important issues. We’ve contacted since and everything is quite pleasant and, while I have my regrets here and there, it’s easier for me to look back and agree with myself “yes, I missed the best friend, but as a partner it wasn’t right”.

    His life is not your responsibility, Aryanna. Only your life is.

    Just remember “this too, shall pass” Take the time, cry a bit and continue living. You’ll feel better before you realize it 🙂


    I would love to hear an update. I just broke up with my boyfriend of almost two years and I had the same feelings as M. It’s been so hard and I am struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


    hi all… I also want to share my experience. I m from asia 28
    my relationship was of a 6 years and broke up, she calls it
    through the years it was bumpy but one quality both we had are sincerity, hardworking, ( to me accepted that nothing is perfect including me) but college years were tough bogged down by financial constraint however for studies and better future life goes on.. we eat, we study, we pass uni together, we step into working world earning monies enough to go through middle class. and i thought we had been through the hard times and now is reaping profit time would not pose problems

    pondering the past financial situation, now is definitely better in many terms, … family members are all in touch and good just like a big family

    now since broke up, and her call, I knew it will never be easy for her to make such a decision, here I am just had my family worried about me.. like most thinking about the past how we should had done better, tolerate, be more communication and etc.. to me we had been worse… I am still thinking and worried over her in her future like will she regret ? and things we do , she is dependent and was very insecure in the past, but we live through it and see her changes.

    now I am keeping imagining and had dreams of her being alone when she is old.. I am regretting now to have imagine her doing things alone taking long travels with no one to cover blanket and speak to ( and then regret and think of it)

    I just cant imagine and live on with such memories and future regrets to happen

    just sharing my insight


    Hi all,

    I’m on the receiving end of the break up under similar circumstances and I would like to shed some light as well as get any input from you.

    I’m freshly out of a 5 year relationship with my ex. By freshly I mean less than a week. And that was the first time I’ve actually called him that. Sigh.

    I am currently completing my final year of law school and he is starting his first job as a post graduate next week. He will be working in my hometown, and I am studying in his hometown.

    We met at the university in his hometown, and we’ve been growing together since. I thought we were happy and just experiencing those uphill battles of love, only to find that our relationship had met its demise.

    For the past 6 months, he has been detached and passive about the relationship. I tried everything in my power to revive him from what I thought was a phase. I asked him numerous times whether he knew why he was acting that way and if there was anything I needed to know, or that I could do to which he always replied that he didn’t/there isn’t.

    I eventually couldn’t stand fighting for us to work on my own and confronted him about it. I confronted him about not wanting to be in the relationship and that although he hasn’t expressly told me, his actions show me so. He couldn’t pretend anymore and finally admitted it. He said that he hadn’t known how to tell me but he doesn’t want to be in any relationship right now; that he really was still in love with me but he just wanted to be on his own.
    It turns out that he’s known that he did not want to be in the relationship any longer for 6 months but could not communicate that to me out of fear of disappointing me. I am devastated.

    Saying we have had the greatest relationship is an understatement. Our friends and family have idolized our love. I have been grateful to God everyday that I have known him. I love him with all of me, and I have no doubt that his love was genuine as well. I’m hurt that he couldn’t be honest about how he was feeling from the start, but I do understand that letting go of us was extremely hard for him as well. He was the kind to endure pain in order to avoid disappointing me. But my disappointment resonates more from the fact that he wasn’t brave enough to tell me. He did no one any favors. He simply withdrew emotionally from the relationship and left me to connect the dots on my own.

    I truly do still love this man. We’ve been through so much together, and I’m sad that it didn’t work out. I have not only lost my best friend, but an entire family as well. His mother was my mother. His sister my own . We are all deeply upset by all of this.

    What I do take from the situation however is that we are both still really young, our lives are just beginning, and although I had hopes of going through that together, he felt stifled by the idea of commitment of that nature at such a young age. He feared losing his freedom. And although I feel that was at the expense of something truly amazing, I can’t expect him to give me what he’s not yet ready to. He chose himself over me. That is what gave him peace. I can’t be mad at him for that.

    I may never be able to bring myself to speak to him again, I’m still a mess right now and I don’t think I can JUST be his friend. But I wish him all the desires of his heart. He is an incredible man and although the way he went about ending things was undesirable, there’s no love lost.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 9 months ago by Bonni_mor.
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