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Taking a break in a LDR

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #337240

    MonaD
    Participant

    Hi all,

    My partner and I have been together almost a year and we are in a long distance relationship. Our communication is generally very open and regular and we understand each other quite well thanks to our similar personalities so we’ve been able to manage our LDR quite well.

    Recently he told me that he traveled to visit some of his family and saw then that they were really struggling to make ends meet. So he pitched in to help. We tried to stay in touch despite low signal connectivity were he was, both his busy schedule helping our with the family business and my own.

    About a week later, he mentioned to me that he would be sticking around for a while as his family expressed how hard things were and he decided to forget taking a vacation and focus on helping out 100%. However a while later I realized that this meant I would barely be able to talk or stay in contact with him at all and it would make me very sad. On the few times we did manage to speak to each other, he’d be exhausted and our conversations would be short. This started to affect me as my relationship with my family is struggling as well. They are not very affectionate and loving towards me and this combined with stress of working +university 7 days a week means that I have no time to rest and recover by myself.

    When I expressed this to him, he requested that we take a break as he was not able to be the person I needed and support me and our relationship on top the work he was in the middle of. And he didn’t want me feeling that it was my fault and hurting me constantly with his inability to keep up communication. He says he doesn’t have the emotional energy, time or cellular reliability to stay in touch and wanted a break so he doesn’t have to deal with the obligations of being in a relationship. I mentioned that I would not take a break very well at all, especially because for certain things, he chooses to not open up to me about what is happening and his frustrations and instead, go at it alone. I wound up feeling like I opened up too much to him and feeling like he doesn’t trust me enough to support him when things are tough.

    Logically, I understand his reasoning, and that sometimes people just need space. However sometimes, I wind up feeling very rejected, hurt and sad. I recently apologized for being so emotional. I explained that since we were doing long distance, communication was the only thing we really had and now that that is gone, it’s created a rift. I also told him I understood that I’d been putting too much on his plate and I will work at re-establishing myself apart from him and our relationship. However I’m worried as my feelings for him now encompass a lot of hurt and sadness and I’m afraid it may affect my interactions with him when we do get to pick up where we left off. I feel colder towards him and I don’t want to speak or interact with him when he does reply to my messages after days. Overall I feel more wary of him and of opening up towards him. I feel like my trust in him has broken a bit because of the rift that had formed due to this issue.

    How do I work on healing myself and changing my currently very negative view of the situation? I want to work through the hurt I’m feeling now so that I can respond in a more positive light whenever we do get the rare chance to communicate. Currently, I’m feeling rather petty in wanting to hurt him just as much as he has hurt me but I really want to get rid of those feelings and work on healing effectively. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    #337306

    anita
    Participant

    Dear MonaD:

    “How do I work on.. changing my currently very negative view of the situation?”

    – I will share with you my view of your situation based on your post and you can tell me if my view is realistic, that is, not negative or positive, just what it really is:

    He chose to leave you and unite with his family of origin for an unspecified amount of time, which may be years or decades.

    He didn’t leave you for another woman, he left you for his family of origin, but he left you nonetheless, choosing others over you, and that is why you feel hurt by him and angry at him (“the hurt I’m feeling now.. wanting to hurt him just as much as he has hurt me”).

    * “I really want to get rid of those feelings”- if the reality is that he left you so to be with other people for an unspecified amount of time, which can be years and longer, your feelings are valid and should be heard instead of trying to ignore them and get rid of them.

    anita

    #337310

    MonaD
    Participant

    Dear anita,

     

    thanks so so much for the quick response!

    so regarding the timeline, I didn’t specify the period of time, my mistake.

    – He is a very goal oriented person similar to me and will be starting university by April/May latest. His plan was to remain with his family of origin over the vacation (which currently isn’t a vacation really) before moving back to the States to start with university.

    – I suppose I could say yes here but let me clarify. More so than him choosing others over me, it’s the fact that he doesn’t seem to be able to make a  few minutes during the day to even send me a message that he was ok. I don’t expect long conversations as per our usual, I understand he is busy. It’s just being a busy person myself with a frequently packed schedule and juggling a lot at once, I don’t understand why a few minutes seem too much to ask for when I am able to make time for him regardless of how I am. I believe that if you really want to, a person can always make time for things they find important. I suppose though, that since I don’t really know what he is handling, I shouldn’t be judging.

    Regarding distance, we have been doing long distance for most part. So I would not say “he left me” as he left me physically. He is currently based in the States and I am currently working in India.

    I hope that clarifies.

    I am wondering how to move forward from this situation and move forward into a positive place where we can both rebuild our bond.

     

    Kind Regards,

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by  MonaD.
    #337316

    anita
    Participant

    Dear MonaD:

    You are welcome. If I understand correctly,  most of this one year relationship with this man has been long distance. Currently you work and live in India and he is living with his family in another country but will be back to his studies in the US this Spring.

    You are not hurt about him leaving you, because you and him hardly ever spent time together in the same location. You are upset that he doesn’t take time from his busy day to communicate with you online/ phone. His explanation that he there is “low signal connectivity” where he is and that he is so very busy doesn’t satisfy you, and your trust in him is somewhat broken.

    Is it that you think that he is lying about the low signal connectivity and/ or being too busy, knowing that although you are very busy, you can make the time?

    I will be away from the computer for up to 17 hours from now. I hope other members answer you before I return. When I am back, I will read your answer to my question, if you answer me, as well as any more posts you may add and reply to you further.

    Please feel free to add any information that may be relevant to your struggle regarding this long term relationship, such as what are the practical plans you and him had for a future together, if any (not giving very specific details that will make you uncomfortable to share in a public forum, generalities will be fine), whether perhaps (?) you prefer a long term relationship over an in-person relationship, and whatever else may be relevant.

    I’ll be back in about 17 hours.

    anita

    #337324

    MonaD
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Yes the first two points are correct.

    as to whether he is lying, I do believe him about bad signal connectivity. Especially because during the times we have managed to call, the connection is very scratchy. I do not sense and dishonesty in anything he is saying. One of the main things we established at the start of our relationship is that we be honest with each other no matter how small or insignificant something may be. And that is something we have maintained and I still believe we maintain.

    we definitely do plan on working towards being together in the long run and have planned on a future together. However we both recognize that for the next few years, it is going to be a lot of hard work to get to a place where we can be together, especially because of the difference in our nationalities and locations of living. So there is definitely work to be done and we have established that we are both willing to put in the work.

    I believe what I am really struggling with right now is my inability to process my emotions. I don’t want to feel like a burden to him and dump more negativity and my troubles on him when he is already dealing with a lot.

    I miss him as he has become an important part of me life and sometimes it makes me very sad to not feel connected to him through our communication channel at the least. Especially since communication is really all we have to maintain a relationship.

    do you have any advice that may help me to cope?

     

    warm regards

     

     

    #337400

    anita
    Participant

    Dear MonaD:

    First, my current understanding, then my suggestions:

    You are working and studying in India, which is stressful, but you don’t have any relationship there that will lower that stress and allow you to rest and recover from one day to the next: “my relationship with my family is struggling as well. They are not very affectionate and loving towards me and this combined with stress of working+ university 7 days means that I have no time to rest and recover”-

    – your long distance communication with this man was your rest and recovery.  When you expressed to him that you need only a few minutes per day of his time while he is with his family, he “requested that we take a break”- the exact opposite of what you needed and wanted: you wanted more time with him and he offered none.

    He told you that “he doesn’t have the emotional energy, time or cellular reliability” for you, and that he wanted a break so that “he doesn’t have to deal with the obligations of being in a relationship”.

    While you need him so much, to share with him what is happening in your life, how you feel, frustrations included, he “chooses to not open up to (you) about what is happening and his frustrations and instead, go at it alone”.

    As a result of these recent developments, you feel “very rejected, hurt and sad… colder towards him.. wary of him and of opening up towards him.. my trust in him has broken a bit.. wanting to hurt him just as much as he has hurt me”.

    The reason he meant/ means so much to you is not because the two of you are actually dating, spending time together alone, with friends, hiking in nature etc., nor is it because he supports you financially or that you expect him to do so, and it is not that the two of you have any plans in the near future to date or live together. All that you ever wanted from him so far was his time and attention long distance.

    On paper, his position is understandable- his family is in financial distress and he is doing all he can do to save them from financial loss. Cellular connectivity is poor, understandable. He is scheduled to be back  in the U.S this spring so his stay there will not be forever. On paper this is understandable, but not in the context of your relationship with him because all that you had with him was that long distance daily communication and he took most of it away from you, and then expressed his motivation to take it all away from you.

    It will take years of hard work for the two of you to finally live together, to no longer be long-distance, but why put all that work, for what? The motivation to endure all the time and work required to be together was that there was something very special between the two of you. But isn’t that something-special gone now?

    The first thing you wrote about this relationship, second sentence in your original post is: “Our communication is generally very open and regular and we understand each other quite well”, and sentence before last in your most recent post is “communication is really all we have to maintain a relationship”-

    – take away that communication, what is left?

    – in every relationship there are times when communication breaks and then restores, but when communication is all you have with a man, then it shouldn’t take days to restore it, it should be restored the same day, I figure.

    It just occurred to me that I don’t understand this sentence: “he requested that we take a break”, and can’t suggest anything until I understand it:

    – did he request a temporary or a permanent break?

    – is it that you didn’t honor his request and therefore the two of you are not on a break?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  anita.
    #337420

    MonaD
    Participant

    Hi anita, good to hear from you and once again thank you for lending a listening ear 🙂

    To summarize, yes my rest and recovery has indeed been spending time communicating with him. It was something we both looked forward to each day.

    Last year we have only been able to meet for a week in June and it was a very fulfilling time for the both of us since meetings are rare. He has planned to visit me and my family around April this year but he recently expressed how the situation he is facing has pushed his own plans back and expressed a lot of frustration at the possibility that he will not be able to follow through with the plans. These being spend some time with his family and then travel around a bit on vacation and then visit me for around two weeks during the festival season before heading back to focus fully on university. We hoped to sit down together and figure out where we were going to go with moving our relationship forward, goals and future plans when we were able to have a sit down chat about those important topics instead of over phone.

    he does drop a message once in a while when he gets a chance despite asking for a break, and so do I. I suppose the situation is more along the lines of keeping in touch when we can instead of a true break. I feel like his mentality behind requesting a break was that he believed that if we were not “officially” in an active relationship, that is, a break, it would be easier to manage feelings of hurt and sadness due to not being able to keep in touch as per our usual” I explained to him that just because we say “break”, it doesn’t mean that those feelings are going to stop or be easier to justify by thinking that we weren’t on an active relationship. At least my feelings for him don’t work that way, im not just able to shut them off and back on at will and at convenience.

    Unfortunately the most recent conversation stopped short as I was quite blunt and cruel in saying that I didn’t want to speak with him much. I do regret that.

    With clarifying his request to take a break, the following is part of his message relating to that:

    “Maybe we should take a break. I know it hurts, but I can’t keep hurting you with my absence. Yesterday my brother cried to me about all the stress of starting a new business from nothing and how he can’t go home yet. I have to be here for him.I can’t stand the idea of hurting you too. It’s like the world is pulling me in so many different ways, I can’t do everything.”

    “Please do what you need to in order to succeed. And if everything works out on my end, I’ll be back.”

    “….at this moment, I can’t really maintain a personal relationship outside of the one with my brother. I don’t have the time, energy, or even cellular reliability to keep it up. I don’t want you to feel like it is because I don’t want you or that it’s because it’s something that you did. Just understand that I have to be here, right now.”

    When I asked what “taking a break” would encompass, his was his response:

    “Well, for me it means that I need a friend now more than I need a lover. I can’t handle certain obligations and I need to go without them for a while. And when everything is done and the feelings are still there we can pick up from where we left off. Until then I will be focusing on the more pressing things in my life as you should be too.”

    My apologies for the long long essays! I’m quite terrible at explaining in short! Do you have any helpful advice?

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  MonaD.
    #337424

    anita
    Participant

    Dear MonaD:

    “We hoped to sit down together and figure out where we were going”- so it was not done yet, a plan was not made regarding the future of this long distance relationship.

    “Yesterday my brother cried to me about all the stress.. I have to be here for him”- he cares about his brother way more than he cares about you. He feels that he has to be there for his brother, but he does not feel that he has to be there for you.

    “It’s like the world is pulling me in so many different ways.. I can’t do everything”- his pull toward his brother is way stronger than his pull toward you. He can’t do everything, so he let go  of the less important person in his life.

    “if everything works out on my end, I’ll be back”- everything is a tall order: if one thing doesn’t work, then he won’t be back.

    “when everything is done and the feelings are still there we can pick up from where we left off”- not a very promising proposition: it requires everything to be done, and it requires his feelings being there and your feelings and then the two of you can go back to … not yet making plans for a future together.

    “until then I will be focusing on the more pressing things in my life as you should too”-

    My suggestion: let it go. Let him focus on the more important person or people in his life. You need a man who will think you are important in his life. What this man is offering you is a possible re-consideration if everything goes well and if, and if.

    And let’s say the current financial crisis regarding his brother resolves this time and he returns to the U.S- how long will it be before the next time his brother (or someone else in his family) needs him yet again?

    If I was you, I would end this relationship today. There has to be a better option for you than this.

    anita

     

     

    #337554

    MonaD
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    many thanks for your response.

    it seems there is a lot to think about and some important decisions to make.

    i actually went ahead and had a chance to discuss this with him today as he finally had a heave to sit down after a week.

    his responses as follows. Please let me know what you think of them?

    “Welp… I don’t know what to say. I’m not upset you went looking for help, or even that you put it online since it was anonymous, but I do feel unhappy. I see how you tried to defend my purpose and how you voiced yours with equal respect since you are looking for help. The fact is that I do love my brother, and he does need me more than you do. Maybe they’re right. I don’t know. I have to think on this.”

    “I’m upset actually. I have been open and communicative with you from the start. It hasn’t gone anywhere. Our communication skills haven’t suffered it’s the ability to actually talk that has. I feel like I explained that pretty well when I said that it’s not us, or our relationship that needs help, but it’s my brother. That I am putting us on hold while I help him out. Sure I’m stressed, and sure I’m angry sometimes now, but it honestly has nothing to do with us, it’s between my brother and I and what’s going on here. I’m not going to go out of the way to complain to you about the issues I have when I can barely talk to you in the first place. That’s why we had to take a break, so I could focus on him and this without having to worry about what you’re doing. So I can put my attention where it is needed, not where it is wanted on my part”

    ”I feel like you missed what I intended and took it way too personally. I understand you’re feelings are hurt because I had to put my end of the love rope down, in this little tug of war, but I did it because I had to put both hands here on my brothers rope to keep my brother from drowning, because he was being carried into the ocean. It’s like I put you down on the ground for a second to save someone from falling off of a building and you got upset about it. It actually makes me pretty upset.”

    “I love you. I do, but you’re taking this whole thing way too personally. Maybe I didn’t explain it properly, but now I feel pretty alienated by this whole thing. Like, my brother needs my help, so I’m helping him. Every time I get a minute to really sit down you’re upset about it, and tbh, it upsets me more.”

    “I get it, I do. You want to be together, so do I. However, it’s not in the cards on my part, and it sounds like the idea of us taking a break is way too unfair in your eyes here, and that is stressing me out equal to or even more than before.The only thing I can think of now to even out the stressors is a more permanent solution. I didn’t want to consider it, but now I have to for the sake of my own sanity.”

    Thoughts?

    regards

    MonaD

     

    #337612

    anita
    Participant

    Dear MonaD:

    You are very welcome. I will respond to his words part by part:

    “I don’t know what to say.. I see how you tried to defend my purpose and how you voiced yours with equal respect.. Maybe they’re right.. I have to think on this”-

    – here he reads like a very reasonable, logical, intelligent man who is also empathetic, respectful and honest.

    “The fact is that I do love my brother, and he does need me more than you do”- if he means that his brother needs him financially more than you do, he may very well be correct. But remove the financial factor, it may be that you need him more than his brother needs him. He doesn’t consider the latter, he is blind to your need of him.

    “I have been open and communicative with you from the start. It hasn’t gone anywhere. Our communication skills haven’t suffered… I feel like I explained that pretty well when I said that it’s not us, or our relationship that needs help, but it’s my brother. That I am putting us on hold while I help him out”-

    – yes, he has been open and communicative except that in his mind your feelings and needs are irrelevant to his choice: “I explained.. that it’s not us, or our relationship“- it is not fair for him to explain to you that his choice which affects you significantly, is not about you. You are not a third party to his choice, you are a second party to a relationship between two people, one of two that make an “us” and an “our”.

    “it honestly has nothing to do with us. It’s between my brother and I”- there is a term to his thinking here: convenient thinking. It is convenient for him to decide that his choice to severely limit his communication with you, all the way to breaking it altogether for a while, is between him and his brother.

    “That’s why we had to take a break, so I could focus on him.. So I can put my attention where it is needed, not where it is wanted on my part”- not where it is wanted-  he means to say that he doesn’t want to put his attention with his brother? Not true, he very much wants to be there for his brother, this is why he is there.

    “I feel like you missed what I intended and took it way too personally“- an intimate relationship between two people is very personal.

    “I had to put both hands here on my brother’s rope to keep my brother from drowning, because he was being carried into the ocean… It’s like I put you down on the ground for a second to save someone from falling off of a building and you got upset about it. It actually makes me pretty upset”-

    – if his brother (or any person) really was carried into the ocean.. or just about to fall off of a building, of course you would be okay with him not paying attention to you for a few seconds, or minutes, so to save the life of another person. These are impressive and convincing visuals, no wonder these visuals made him “pretty upset”. But these are imagined visuals, not the reality of what happened, or is happening.

    His brother’s life was not in danger and his brother has other family members where he lives, doesn’t he? Was the financial crisis sudden, having nothing to do with a neglect or irresponsibility toward the business.. I don’t know. But I wonder how one person, your boyfriend (possibly ex boyfriend) can save a business single handedly, in a similar way of saving a person from drowning. What is it that he does that no  other family member is capable of doing?

    – I wonder if he discussed these things with you: why is it that his brother’s business is in trouble, why is it that other family members (it being a family business) can’t help the business or won’t, what skills does he have that others members don’t have, and how can it be that he can single handedly save the business, or if he thought.. it was none of your business.

    “I love you. I do, but you’re taking this whole thing way too personally”-

    – I think he is correct here- he is not taking his relationship with you personally, but you do. And you shouldn’t, because he doesn’t. The intimacy you did share with him was mostly long distance and perhaps it was not that intimate to him.

    “I get it, I do.. The only thing I can think of now to even out the stressors is a more permanent solution”- he is a very logic oriented man, looking for solutions. Problem is people are naturally emotional beings where logic is a secondary feature, not primary. Logic should be used, of course, but emotions are valuable factors to consider when using logic. He bypasses the emotions when it is convenient for him to do so.

    “I get it”- in a two dimensional (strictly logical), he does. But he doesn’t get it because emotional understanding of most situations is necessary for adequate, correct understanding.

    In summary: you can expect him to be empathetic, respectful and intelligent and all the good things as long as it is convenient for him to be these things. When he is inconvenienced, he will put down the relationship and then tell you about it, after the fact, explaining to you why he put down the relationship, as if he was explaining it to a third party who doesn’t have a say in his significant life choices.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  anita.
    #337728

    MonaD
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you very much for your guidance.

    So long story short, we decided to break up. It was too much to handle for both of us.

    A significant  part of this issue that I should mention from my side is that my trigger for emotional upheaval was the idea of this “break”. I did not like the feeling that I was in a grey area. This was when I asked for his help in making a clear cut decision as to what we were so I could adjust accordingly and move forward depending on the decision.  I believe this concept of “break” grew into a monster in my mind, through my own fault, until I was drowing in emotion and unable to function in daily life. Perhaps things would have gone better if I had avoided overthinking it and let it be.

    However what’s done is done and I take this as a lesson for the future. This experience has taught me the importance of maintaining a life outside the relationship. I realize I had stopped giving my attention there, which was a big failure on my part.

    I have replied to him with gratefulness for being an important part of my life and taking care of me, looking out for my happiness and I have said that although we are not together anymore, I still want the world for him and for him to achieve all his dreams and goals. I genuinely do and I really hope things look up for the both of us from here on out.

    Thank you for all of your input. Your objective third opinion was a valuable guidepost for me to be able to sort through my emotions when I felt I was drowning in them.

    Warm Regards,

    MonaD

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  MonaD.
    #337770

    anita
    Participant

    Dear MonaD:

    You are welcome and thank you for being as gracious as you are. “I asked for his help… I was drowning in emotion and unable to function”. I couldn’t help see the parallel to what he told you: “I had to put both hands here on my brother’s rope to keep my brother from drowning”.

    “this concept of ‘break’ grew into a monster in my mind, through my own fault”- I don’t like the word fault. The concept of a break and to pick things up later, if his brother’s situation resolves, if his feelings are the same.. that’s too much for anyone to endure, anyone who is very attached to the person suggesting the break.

    It is not that the break he suggested was within a stable relationship where the two of you were living together, owning a home together, your practical lives intertwined, committed for a lifetime, and he left (his stuff, his car, his life still in your home) for a couple of weeks, or a month. All you had of him was the long distance communication, and he suggesting taking that away.

    “This experience has taught me the importance of maintaining a life outside the relationship”- I hope you learn other things too, maximize your learning from this experience, learn all that you can learn.

    I imagine you felt/ will be feeling relief, then sadness, anger, different emotions at different times, possibly regret and (undeserved) guilt, reignited hope perhaps, and so forth. Feel free to post here anytime you would like and I will be glad to reply to you if and when you do.

    anita

     

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