We didn't fight for each other

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    I have just had (2 days ago) a peaceful mutual break up with my girlfriend of 16 months and I am struggling between pain and knowing, asking myself if this is right. I know this is normal, but I am being pretty hard on myself right now and I don’t know if it’s justified. She was my first serious girlfriend. I came out as a lesbian in my early-mid 30s (I am now 36), which was painful and soul-searching and ultimately so worth it. I finally understood what it was to be enthusiastic about dating and relationships.
    To me she is so beautiful, a lovely person and she liked me to. So we developed.
    Our relationship was sweet and respectful. We had a lot of fun, dinners, days out, trips away.
    We didn’t make it to the next level.
    She wanted a child (she is a few years older than me at 42) and this was a huge almost unspoken issue. Apart from one conversation 2 months into our relationship, instigated by her, we never discussed it but it was always there. We knew we disagreed. Perhaps I/we couldn’t fully relax in the relationship as a result of this. We only talked about it again when we broke up; she says she had partly given up on the idea of a child before she even met me but partly is still asking herself whether she can do it.
    I am not sure if I want to have a child, now or ever. I do have some days where I think it would be nice and I was even starting to think…maybe…but that is not enough, I know. I had done research into adoption and other options just to educate myself but never brought it up with her directly (though I did try to indirectly re-open the conversation) because I didn’t want to give her false hope. I wanted to be able to bring something definite and solid to the discussion and I did not feel definite or solid about this issue.
    Now I am thinking, why didn’t we have more of a discussion and arrived at something definite and solid together? But I don’t know if that would have been possible. We basically disagree. The love I have for her makes me want her to at least have that chance.
    Where I am beating myself up: why was I not able to be that woman for her? Why am I not ‘grown-up’ enough? Why don’t I have a maternal instinct? But if these are issues I have to get over, she doesn’t have time to wait. Hell, I barely do myself.
    But the thing is, I am grown-up. I run my own business, I am done with partying, I am a person who loves learning, philosophising and depth. I am also definitely someone who needs time alone to recharge. Having children scares the crap out of me in that respect.
    She, while sweet, kind, thoughtful and gentle, is also…scientific, logical, stoic, black and white to my grey, a ‘younger’ soul, if you will. I find our personality differences very hard to capture in words but very obvious to feel. She’s someone who would never enter into a conversation about soul ages, for example! In the relationship I found myself at times hiding my ‘weirdness’ from her. I stopped meditating because I knew she would have found it hard to understand. She would never have criticised me or ridiculed it, but something stopped me. This is my issue I know, not her fault.
    So aside from the child issue, our personality differences for me meant at times a lack of emotional intimacy. I sometimes felt I couldn’t ‘reach’ her or if there was anything to reach. She has a lot of intellectual depth, though. I learned a lot from her and at times it compensated.
    I think we were just different.
    But I miss her.
    I miss her sweetness and her beauty.
    I’m not sure anyone else will be as solid and trustworthy as her.
    This was not a dramatic relationship.
    More spark would have been nice at times, for sure.
    But I am so sad I was not able to be bolder. To say ‘let’s fight for this, let’s create a future even if we can’t see it right now’.
    But even writing this I see that’s ridiculous.
    Can anyone relate?


    Dear saskia:

    You read to me like a very reasonable and considerate person and partner to your now ex partner. I can relate to your sentiment about having children: “I do have some days where I think it would be nice and I was even starting to think…maybe…but that is not enough”- definitely, not even close to being enough. I don’t have children and never regretted that position.

    Other issues in the relationships don’t matter when THIS one is an issue. If she wants a child, through adoption or otherwise, and you don’t, there is nowhere to go from here.

    You are experiencing the loss of the woman you loved, the object-of-your emotional attachment. Part of you, still attached, does not want to let go. It is the emotional part trying to get the head/ the thinking brain to … do its bidding, so to speak. The heart wants her, so it stimulates you to think of why you should (even though, clearly, reasonably, you shouldn’t).


    Nina Sakura

    Dear Saskia

    Ask yourself three questions –

    1. 5 years from now, what kind of life would you want from every angle?

    2. What would you regret more?

    3. Isn’t life something that we plan for and then eventually find throwing a curb-ball at us? If I asked you 10 years ago that would you see yourself with a woman, what would u have said? Don’t be scared. Have more confidence in what you can take.



    1. Making a difference in my small part of the world. Helping others. Feeling at peace inside. A loving girlfriend. Perhaps a dog (she doesn’t like animals). Living by the sea (she doesn’t want to).
    2. I would regret not listening to myself, being ‘talked into’ something for the sake of not rocking the boat, for the sake of looking good, for the sake of how the story ‘should’ go, much as I lived when I was with men. I am not sure that I would regret never having a child.
    3. Sure life throws curve-balls! I would have been excited 10 years ago if someone told me I’d have a girlfriend as I was always aware of my attraction to women. I was just scared of what people would think if I did anything. I would have been in awe of the brave future me. And I am! So proud of myself for coming out. It has been amazing and I feel it in my heart 🙂 Incidentally, she was not the woman who catalysed my coming out, there were other involvements before her, the process started 3 years before we met.

    Now my questions for you: ‘Don’t be scared’…of what? Of having a child? I’m not sure that its fear, it’s just gut instinct that it’s not my path. I have never felt truly connected to the idea, just sort of obliged to think about it because of my age. I did face the issue, ask myself some questions, I’m grateful to her for guiding me to do so. I just can’t wholeheartedly enter into something so big, and she hasn’t actually asked me to.

    ‘have more confidence’…in what? My ability to be a mother, to build a family? I am not at the stage where confidence is even relevant (see above)
    ‘have more confidence’…in my/our decision to split? Yes, I am trying to. Hence this post…


    Thank you Anita.
    I appreciate the perspective of someone who hasn’t had children and doesn’t regret it. May I ask your age range? If you don’t want to answer that’s fine! I owed it to myself and to her to think about it, ask myself the questions. I do want a meaningful life and I don’t just mean travel and leisure, though they are great things. It will be about being my best, healthiest self so that I can make a meaningful contribution to the world in professional and creative projects.
    Yes what you say about my heart trying to convince my head makes sense.
    There was love there, and that is not to be taken lightly. But perhaps not love of the depth that we both deserve. Perhaps we didn’t make that deep a mark on each other. Though a mark nonetheless.
    I know at the moment we can’t move forward in our lives together.
    I think my main issue is appearances. Why couldn’t I have been ‘proper’, to give the ‘right’ news to our friends etc that we are moving forward as a couple should? This has been a lifelong issue of mine.
    I could go on…I won’t right now 🙂


    Dear saskia:

    You are welcome. I knew I didn’t need to or want to have children in my twenties, thirties, forties, and now in my fifties. I figured, if I was every to raise a child, it would be someone who already had the misfortune of being here (adoption of a young child). Life as I knew it was too painful to consider bringing a person into it.

    I re-read your original post. You wrote that there was, in the relationship,”a lack of emotional intimacy. I sometimes felt I couldn’t ‘reach’ her or if there was anything to reach.” You wrote that she told you that she partly gave up having children before the relationship. Even the issue of children wasn’t talked about. Reads to me that the communication was very limited.

    I didn’t understand the last part of your recent post: “I think my main issue is appearances. Why couldn’t I have been ‘proper’, to give the ‘right’ news to our friends etc that we are moving forward as a couple should? This has been a lifelong issue of mine.”- would you like to explain it to me?

    * And congratulations for coming out!


    Nina Sakura

    Dear Saskia,

    You want a loving girlfriend and you don’t want a child. Your vision and view of life is different from hers. These can differ to some extent in a couple but there needs to some basic meeting point and some minor adjustment from both ends to make it work.

    However, I believe that these differences shouldn’t happen on big life issues like raising a child or not. Otherwise there is resentment and a feeling of being sitfled over time. Don’t raise a child if you dont want to and are absolutely certain of this. Don’t do it just for her.

    When I say be brave and have more confidence, see the person who you have evolved from 10 years ago. Be brave like you have been. Be confident that life will go on despite anything and you will be alright.

    Honor your own wishes even though ending things hurts and it’s scary to feel alone. I know you have feelings for her still but you gotta see eye to eye on the big stuff in life. Sometimes, love isn’t enough to make a relationship last. It’s not fair for her to change herself in such a major way for you and vice versa.

    I hope that clears things up a bit.



    Thank you Nina. Yes I do need to be braver in owning my choices. There is no way to be unscathed and ‘perfect’ in this. I am feeling stronger already… Yes ‘a feeling of being stifled over time’, that is something I wouldn’t want to end up happening, to either of us.


    Thank you Anita.
    You are so right, our communication was shockingly awful, in that it didn’t exist, about the big stuff at least.
    I think we both knew that as soon as we started communicating honestly about the big stuff, we would realise we couldn’t make it and we both appreciated and enjoyed each other so that was scary.
    In a way I am sort of glad we didn’t have this conversation very early in the relationship as we created some beautiful memories which I am grateful to have. I would always rather create memories than have nothing.
    I think we were sent to each other to help each other reframe our futures. We are both a little stuck in our professional lives too right now so need this space to push forwards in whichever projects have our hearts’ desires. Separately.

    Oh and the ‘appearances’ thing? Well, sort of the same habit from my younger days, the thing that kept me in the closet so long really: wanting to give people the ‘right’ answer, not to rock the boat, be seen ad perfect an un-erring. So ridiculous written down. I am working on it 🙂

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by saskia.

    Dear saskia:

    I think the key sentence in your original post is: “But I am so sad I was not able to be bolder.”

    Being bolder would have meant to dare to not appear “proper”, to not be “right” and “un-erring”, to not be “solid”. But instead, be spontaneous, free, to dare to rock the boat, to be passionate about you, about her, about life.

    You wrote: “I wanted to be able to bring something definite and solid to the discussion and I did not feel definite or solid about this issue. Now I am thinking, why didn’t we have more of a discussion and arrived at something definite and solid together?”- exactly. Your need to be solid is so … not to be penetrated, so to speak, via emotional intimacy, like a solid surface, not allowing another to walk through, to get to know you.

    You wrote that you couldn’t “fully relax in the relationship” and “”I am also definitely someone who needs time alone to recharge”- it takes effort to keep yourself solid, proper, un-erring…you have to stay alert, in control. No wonder you need to relax when alone.

    “the same habit from my younger days”- didn’t change because you came out, because you were in a relationship with a woman, not a man. The challenge would be just that, to dare to break through those barriers, these limitations, to be careless, free, not cautious, in a relationship; to talk about anything, to practice your meditation even if she does not; to ask her any question that comes to your mind, open ended questions, both of you in a liquid/ flowing state (not solid)- emotional intimacy.

    What do you think?


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