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Relationship

I've been dating a guy for 6 months, and he...

Resolved • Response time 53 minutes

5 Dec 2012

I've been dating a guy for 6 months, and he broke up with me about 5 days ago. I didn't see it coming - I thought we had a good relationship, not perfect but good and no issues that we couldnt work on. He just got out of a divorce back in January (married for 1 year, with the girl for 5 years total), and his reasons for breaking up were: - He cares about me, but is not 100% sure that I am the one for him, and he feels he needs to have space or be single or date more after his divorce to find out what else is out there. He also says he doesn't not want to be with me, but that he's just not completely sure, and wants to be sure before it goes further. - He thinks that it's important in a relationship to always want to be with the person and feel passion for them, and he said he doesn't feel that with me all the time - He also said there are parts of my behavior that bother him, and he knows he has been critical of me at times, and he doesn't want to treat me badly like that anymore. He did that with his ex-wife and it drove her away and caused them to fight. He is not sure if we are 100% compatible. He came back to me yesterday and said that he thinks he made a big mistake and that he's not ready to lose me yet. I said i do want him back, but I am afraid that his need to have space may just come up again and we'll have to go through this all over again. Part of me feels like I should tell him to take his time and his space, and if he still wants to come back to me, we can talk about it then. But at the same time I fear that means I could lose him. On his end, he is saying now that maybe he was being selfish by wanting space, but part of him does feels he does need that space to think, but fears that I will be the one to not want him if he comes back. When we talked yesterday I also said that I might be willing to work on those behavioral things if he is, and he said he would be as well. We are meeting this Friday to talk in person and either to end things for good or to reconcile. So I guess my questions for you are: Is the fear of losing someone a good enough reason to stay together? Or is that too emotional a decision? Or are emotions actually the best way to know what you really want? And should I give him space? Is it true that if you care about something, sometimes you have to let it go, and if it comes back it means its yours? Or, should we try and work on things now, and if his need for space comes back, just end things then?
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5 Dec 2012

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Counselor's response
5 Dec 2012
Dr-Cari
Dr-Cari
I think you know that "fear of losing someone" is not going to sustain a relationship properly for any "real" length of time. What exactly does he want?? A "shot" at finding something "Better" and if he can't he wants a guarantee from you that you will take him back without prejudice????
5 Dec 2012
Counselor's response
5 Dec 2012
Adjunct Professor
Dear friend, The man you have been dating for the past six months does not show sufficient enthusiasm for you, nor certainty for the viability of your relationship. When he tells you that there are parts of your personality (he said behavior) that he doesn't like, and that he doesn't always feel passion for you, he is not showing a great sense of commitment to you or to the relationship. Adding that he needs more space tells you that he wants to be away from you, and he certainly underlined it by breaking up with you. Now, perhaps feeling alone, he says he is not ready to lose you YET. That is not anything like saying that he loves you and cherishes you, and desperately wants you back. He just wants more time to be indecisive. He has not extolled your virtues nor says he cannot be without you. Rather he has "damned you with faint praise", not the basis for much optimism. Everyone needs some space, but this doesn't seem to be the real issue. It is lack of emotional commitment to you. Emotions ARE the chief positive factor in other than an arranged marriage. Other intellectual factors can contribute to remaining in a relationship such as: staying together for the children, desiring the wealth and financial stability or prestige that the partnership will bring, or having nowhere to go or being physically dependent on the caregiver for living assistance. None of these are factors here. Losing someone is not a good reason to stay together, but if it is HIS reason, this shows that he is emotionally dependent on SOMEONE and does not want to be alone. He is afraid that you might not want him IF he decides to come back. Evidently, is is all about HIS needs. He has already been emotionally abusive to you, an perhaps his behavior is a pattern that helped to destroy his marriage; yet he wants you to modify YOUR behavior. A relationship should not be this difficult. If you have authentic issues that you must change (and you did not indicate any), then you should work on yourself, possibly with counseling or therapy. If these issues are so great a roadblock, then you are not ready for a relationship. (I don't really think that this is YOUR issue, but he says it is.) You should ask yourself if you are so fault-ridden in his eyes, if it is worth going forward? I don't believe that he will ever find you or anyone else "perfect" enough to have a good relationship. I believe that he will always criticize you and it will lead to disputes and him going off to "have some space to himself". That is the one gift you can give him. If you truly believe in your heart that things will change and get better, then give it a chance. If you think that you both will not change enough to make a difference, then let it go. Right now he is not the one for you, nor you for him. If you truly believe that you can both readily become the people you would prefer, then work on it. If you think that you are not a good match, then let him go. He already broke up with you for stated reasons. What do you think is going to change? If he comes back to you, a changed man, transformed, then you will have him back. It won't hurt to try. Perhaps he can undergo this metamorphosis simply by leaving him to work out his destiny. In any case, I wish you strength, insight, and courage. Warm regards
5 Dec 2012
Customer reply
5 Dec 2012
Hi Elliott - I have a few followup questions/responses for you. - Would it have made a difference if he had said, "I'm not ready to lose you" vs "I'm not ready to lose you YET"? Or is that still not the same as saying that he loves me (as background we had never said the "L-word" to each other). - He did say that there are many of my traits that he admires and respects, namely that I am a kind person with a big heart and that I am not a selfish person. He said he knows how good I am to him and that he wants to work on treating me better and work on not criticizing (as he recognizes that is one of his flaws in other areas of his life as well). Does that make a difference? Or is working on those things only something he can do on his own and only if we are apart? - You're right, I truly don't believe it is me that has issues preventing me from being in a relationship - If on Friday we decide to end things, which is the right thing to do: Make it a clean break, no talking to each other whatsoever? Take a break for a specific amount of time, and meet up in 1 month or 3 months or whatever and see where we are at? Or try and be friends? Anyway, if this doesn't change what you said to me originally, I appreciate your insights and your thoughtful response.
5 Dec 2012
Counselor's response
5 Dec 2012
Hello, Thank you for getting back to me with your follow-up. To respond to the first comment: It would have been worse to say "I'm not ready to lose you YET" then to say "I'm not ready to lose you". Since this is not a presidential election there are other options. The most desirable and meaningful would be, "I don't want to lose you." THAT is positive and encouraging and meaningful. I agree. It is not you who is preventing this relationship from blossoming. As far as HOW to end the relationship, that is, deciding what would be the best terms, I would hesitate to decide in advance on creating rules which could or would be broken by either party if they desired. Instead, I recommend that you make a rule to yourself using one of your guidelines: Clean break, temporary break, etc. I would recommend that you move on with your life and say so. This will prevent you from being in a state of limbo and NOT being able to move forward. This is more like the clean break. You can always change your mind if something occurs that makes a big difference. Reverting back to friendship is too clumsy and ambiguous, and putting a time limit on it stops the process of moving forward. Moving on the the next chapter of you life is the best approach in my estimation. You never know. He may have a cameo role in the future, or more, but getting your total freedom without encumbrances will serve you the best. Thank you for your kind words. I wish you great success and ease in coming to grips with your meeting on Friday. Warm regards, Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
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Adjunct Professor
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5 Dec 2012
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