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Relationships and Dating Ask here for advice on dates, break-ups and other relationship concerns.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
BlackSheep Offline
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Unhappy A Difficult Break-up - August 30th 2014, 02:20 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of suicide, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread therefore might not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I'm not really new, I was a member several years ago and forgot the email I registered with.

Anyway, I'm in a tough situation, and I don't know anybody personally who has the knowledge or experience to advise me on it, so I decided to come here. I'll try to keep this as short and concise as I can.

I started dating this guy last year. Our anniversary is in two weeks. He's broken, and messed up, and quirky, and I used to be sure I loved those things. But now his quirks and problems are becoming more problematic than I thought they would be. I used to call him whimsical, but now I see he's just immature. I used to think he was fixable, but his depression is out of anyone's control. I used to think he was edgy, but now he's just lazy and socially inept. I used to think we were nearly identical, which is why I thought he would last. If I could live with anyone forever, it would be me. But now I see that he's my exact opposite. I'm responsible, accountable, and mature. I have several jobs, manage my own finances, and do the right thing. He is completely irresponsible. I let him borrow my car twice to attend job interviews (he's unemployed at 21), and both times he drove it to the skate park in the next town. The first time, the battery died, and I had to call my dad to drive in from an hour away to get me a new battery. The second time, months later, he was pulled over by the police who arrested him on a bench warrant (for an unpaid speeding ticket he received for speeding while driving my car the last time), and he spent a week in jail. He broke my skate board early in the relationship and never fixed it because he claimed he didn't have enough money, but he bought himself two brand new boards in the meantime. I can't pretend to understand this any more.
For some more background: He was my first boyfriend. I bought him a $130 Christmas present last year, and got on birth control shortly after that, for an only slightly lesser expense. We fooled around a lot, but only did "the deed" once, which really wasn't what I'd been dreaming of. He's never put any effort into "satisfying" me (if you will) during our endeavors, despite my great efforts to do well at it. He's been prone to jealousy when I mention my male friends, and particularly (perhaps understandably) when I had to kiss another guy for a scene in my acting class (I'm pursuing acting in college presently, and as a career). However, he thinks it's perfectly acceptable for him to spend the night at a female friend's house with two other girls as well, and then not mention it to me. I'm not the jealous type by any means, and have always encouraged him to seek better opportunities should they arise, but I don't think he should be sleeping in a bed with another girl and getting upset with me for a platonic scene kiss. At the very least, I told him what I would be doing.
Over the summer, when we weren't seeing each other very much, I discontinued birth control. Since then, I've fallen out of love. I'm not attracted to him like I used to be. I don't even like to kiss him or hold his hand any more. I still care about him and his well-being, but I don't have any romantic feelings for him. I've caught myself on several occasions letting my thoughts wander to having relationships with other guys. I guess that's the sign that it's really over, and he's noticed me growing distant over the past several weeks. Normally, I would sort this out by myself, but this situation is particularly tricky.
He swears he loves me more that any woman he has ever met or ever will meet. I wants to get married, and he only wants to be married to me. He wants to have our anniversary tattooed over his heart as a memory of the day his life turned around for the better, and a memory of the day I saved him from suicide. Early in the relationship, he explained he'd been edging closer to taking his life for that whole week, until I told him I was interested in dating him. He told me he'd attempted suicide twice in the past, but someone found him before he could end it altogether. Once he stole his uncle's gun to shoot himself in the head, and another time he stole his uncle's knife to cut his neck. He said I'm the only thing he can think of that's worth living for. And I used to think I loved him just as much, but now I know I didn't. I've always known that this relationship was riddled with holes, but I chose to ignore them and try to mend it, but it kept falling further apart. He's never made any effort to improve the things I've asked him to improve on, like not flaking on our plans and learning how to be responsible with his money and his obligations. But at the same time, he swears our relationship is the most important thing in the world to him.

Essentially, I just need to know how two deliver the news without killing him. He's very fragile, and often falls into a dark depression when he feels he's done something wrong, and I'm afraid of this being the ultimate wrong that he cannot redeem. I don't want it to end. I love what our relationship used to be during the good times, when we could go out at night and just laugh forever, enjoying each other's company and feeling that spark off each other's skin. That's gone now, and it hurts more than I can handle to acknowledge that as I sit here sobbing at my computer screen, but I'll always remember when we had our good times, and I'll always care about him. I don't know if I can be, but I still want to be his friend. I still want to support him and hang out with him, but I don't want to feel tethered to a relationship I don't enjoy. He lives with his mom and his verbally abusive grandmother, but he often goes on long walks when he's upset, and isn't bothered by a sleepless night, so I'm afraid that nobody will be there when I break it off.
I know nobody here is an expert, but I hope somebody has some experience with this, or at least has some smart advice for where I can turn with my questions. I'm really terrified, but I know it's for the best that I don't trap either of us in a loveless relationship. If there's any way to salvage a non-romantic relationship from this, I'd really appreciate advice on that as well.

Thank you for reading this mess.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: A Difficult Break-up - September 1st 2014, 09:47 AM

Hello there Astrid,

I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties that you're going through with this guy. I understand how hard this must be for you in coping with all this, and figuring out what to do from here. Hmm, from what I understand in reading your post, it seems that you don't really love this guy like you used to anymore. It's difficult to tell someone that you don't have feelings for them any longer, but you still want to be a supportive, caring friend to him/her. The way that I'm seeing it is once you tell him the truth that you don't have any romantic feelings for him any longer, that's going to shatter him, no matter what way you say that to him, even in the most kind way possible as well. This guy saw you as basically not only the future love of his life, but more importantly, the savior of his life when he was on the verge of committing suicide. All of this is implying that you are basically his source of happiness since he doesn't know how to find happiness in other things. Now, with that in mind, there's one thing that I have to question: when he mentioned that he was on the verge of taking his own life one week until you mentioned that you wanted to date him, at that time, were you aware of the fact that he was suicide-prone? The only reason why I ask is if you were interested in dating him just so he won't commit suicide, then that's not such a good decision you made on your part (not that I'm faulting you in any way). If it was because you really had interest at heart in him at that time, then it's all good.

So, it seems that since he hasn't made any effort to improve upon the things in his life and your relationship with him, that's what caused your feelings of love for him to go down the drain. However, here's the thing: since he has insecurities and low self-esteem, you have to understand that it's not easy for him to deal with his own life, especially since he has someone in his family that's verbally abusive, and several other things that's happened in his life recently, and in the past. I know you still care about him and his well-being, and that's great, but you should really use that to understand the things that he's gone through, both in the present and the past. Once you come to an understanding of that, only then will you know how to handle this situation at hand.

Though, no matter what way you express the news to him, it's going to hurt him, possibly even shatter his whole world too. This is where making a decision, a choice comes into play here. Do you want to hide the news from him and pretend that you really love him when really, you don't at all, or just tell him the truth, and live with the consequences that'll come with that? All in honesty, you're the only one who knows your situation the best, and only you can answer that question. I can only tell you so much as to what you should be doing in terms of how to handle this situation, and so can others, but ultimately, it's up to you to decide how you want to handle this. You have two choices, and there are no in-betweens. Whatever choice you come to, you can't go wrong. You'll be making the best, necessary choice possible for the better. Just be prepared to live with the consequences of that choice, whether it'd be positive or negative.

If you do decide to tell him that you want to break off the relationship, keep a watchful eye on him afterwards. Check on him constantly, but if he does something rash, you won't have any control over that. Not that I'm trying to imply that this will happen, but it is possible that this could be the outcome. Should this be the case, do everything you can in your well-being to make sure he's okay. Though, keep in mind that if he does harm to himself, or even attempt to kill himself, the best thing that you can do is notify someone on a suicide hotline (hotline phone numbers can be found here on the TH website), but there won't be much that you can do at that point.

I understand that you're probably on the verge of tears as you're reading this, but know that if the situation comes down to that, and you've done everything you can to ensure the safety of his well-being, don't blame yourself if all comes down to the worst. It sounds easy saying this, but it's the real truth. You can't really protect someone if they can't even protect themselves from their own self. It's unfortunate to say, but that's the reality of it. Be aware of that.

I wish you the best in this situation. Take care of yourself Astrid. I know you'll make the right choice, and you will endure through all this. Remember not to take it hard on yourself, and I'm sure you'll be okay.

All the best from your friendly guy,

“The main thing is realizing that even if you feel terrible for a while, that’s not how you’re going to feel the whole time. . . . Things change if you just keep moving.” - Gary Vaynerchuk
  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: A Difficult Break-up - September 3rd 2014, 03:07 AM

Thanks for the response!

In reply to your question about the beginnings of the relationship, no, I didn't know anything about his struggles with depression or suicide. He actually seemed like a cool, cheerful guy as far as I could tell, but we both started to reveal our problems as the relationship continued. It wasn't until five or six months in that he told me about that week before we started dating. And I wouldn't consider it a case that I don't love him. I hate to use that word because I really hate to confess my emotions. But I think this situation would hurt a great deal less if I no longer loved him. Rather, it is intensely painful to leave him, because I love him so much that I can't bear to leave him under any circumstances. But it may be a dilemma in the different types of love.

It's not that I don't understand his problems. I understand his problems full well - I've even attended some sessions with his therapist to talk about our relationship and how his problems affected it, and what effects the relationship had on his problems. He struggles with decision making and thinking before he acts, and tends to let his emotions get the best of him. He doesn't know how to make plans to obtain something, and gets discouraged if he can't get what he wants immediately. For the most part, his issues can be described as struggling to transition from childhood to adulthood. I know he has an incredible difficulty dealing with his own life, and tends to run away from his problems. But, I also think he has not demonstrated that he is capable of maintaining an adult relationship, as I've explained. I don't wish to be rude, but I'm more than slightly offended by the notion that I fail to understand where he's coming from, as if I'm some insensitive, selfish brute. (If I'm misreading you, sorry. That's what social anxiety tells me you're implying.)

In any case, I decided to rip the bandage earlier this evening. It went better than expected, which is concerning. He's usually the one that cries, when it comes to matters of our relationship. In fact, he's always the one that cries. Our conversation was brief, and I simply explained to him that I felt he wasn't happy with me, and that I was unhappy with the way he's ignored me and broken our plans repeatedly for the past several weeks, and then explained that, because we both know that our future plans don't match up, it will only cause more pain to stay together longer and ignore the future. He agreed, though he was displeased, that I was probably right, and expressed that his feelings for me would never change. Then he left without even a proper goodbye, though I was still crying. So, I'm not sure if he was really okay with it, or if he was just pretending to be. But I guess if anything happens, I'll get a call from his mom.
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Re: A Difficult Break-up - September 3rd 2014, 10:12 PM

I think you did the right thing. At this point in time, it sounds like you want two different things and are at two different points in your life. You went through a "honeymoon" phase and then learned that the guy you were dating wasn't the type of guy you wanted to date.
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