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Boyfriend ended relationship with his mother’s passing

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My now ex boyfriend’s mother recently passed. With the worsening of her cancer, he became more and more detached and asked for a break from the relationship with intentions on getting back together soon. We dated for 2 years and were on the break for a few months but were still talking and seeing each other. Our relationship started when we were in high school and continued on through college. Towards the end of her life, we would visit his mom together in hospice and the hospital. His mom and I were very close, and she always said I would be her daughter no matter what happened with our relationship. She was the best listener and always had comforting words when her son and I were at odds. When she passed, he said that he couldn’t be in any type of relationship anymore. I was obviously heartbroken but understood the situation. He apologized for it causing me any pain and said that he hoped we would be together when he is ready. We have clicked from the beginning and truly had a great friendship beyond the romantic aspect of dating. We have always talked about marriage and even looked at rings together. When he ended things, he said that he knows deep down I’m the one he needs to be with but that he just can’t be with me right now. The same day he told me this, he started seeing someone else. She and I were acquaintances and they went to high school together. I found out through him posting her on his social media, knowing that I would see it. I gave the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe they were just friends catching up. He and I live a street apart and I see her car there. He continues to make it known on social media that he’s spending time with her. I have to wonder if this is personal to me, or if he’s trying to distract himself from grieving his mother’s passing. I know it’s not uncommon for SO’s to shut people out during a time like this, but I have to wonder if he is serious about her and was just appeasing me when he said we are supposed to be together. His mom and I were very similar so it’s possible being with me is a bad reminder of his loss. I just don’t know what to do because this is very hard for me to sit back and watch happen when we had such a deep relationship before. I am heartbroken from the loss of the woman who was my second mother, but just crushed by him moving on so quickly. 

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I am sorry for the loss of his mother, and for his breakup with you.  We can suppose all kinds of things and be right on...or totally wrong, bottom line is, it's hard to tell what's going on in him.  We only know that he has stated he wanted broken up and have to respect his decision, like it or not.  As to his "seeing you two together" on down the road, that remains to be seen.  With him dating someone else so quickly, that's not looking promising.

I do know that my fiance of a year broke off with me when his mom was dying, I didn't even get the benefit of a discussion about it but he broke up with me by Fed Ex.  I was blindsided.  I got the Fed Ex package at work, which was awkward to say the least, how do you NOT cry under the circumstances!  I was asked to leave the office, which was further embarrassing. 

Breakups due to grief are common, unfortunately.  The person feels they have nothing to invest in a close relationship, but they can still carry on with their friends, lots of times it's because nothing is expected in those friendships whereas they feel bankrupt with nothing to give a romantic close relationship.  I think it also makes them question everything.  AND I know from talking with my ex since, he felt guilty for all the time he spent with me when he could have been with his mother.  I know, it doesn't make sense, but feelings don't have to make sense!  She wasn't the greatest mother in the world, but she was HIS mother.  Feelings can be so complicated.  In the time since, we have resumed contact as friends.  He's never tried to reconcile.  Odd maybe, but it's how it is.

My advice at this point would be to focus on your family and friends and interests, busy yourself with working on yourself, activities, etc.  You can't change him, may not even be able to figure him out, but the more you focus on YOU and the less you focus on HIM the better off you will be.  Something could change in the future, but don't count on it.  Of the 100 or so threads in this topic, only one has actually made it through this situation with their relationship fully intact.  I am of the few that actually survived as friends.  And for that to happen I had to lay aside any hope of reconciling, accept and respect his decision, and realize that sometimes we don't get answers.  We can drive ourselves nuts trying to figure it out and still not get "closure".  I've learned we can accept it even without the benefit of closure, which might have made it easier.  We all want answers but sometimes we don't get them.  The truth is, he may not have any answer!  He may not understand any of this himself!   In the years since Jim and I broke up, he has said to me, and this is possibly the closest answer I can get into why he never attempted to resume our relationship, that he no longer trusts himself...if he could break up with me when something came along in life, how could he guarantee it wouldn't happen again if something else happened?  He doesn't want to ever hurt anyone again like that.  I did have to put a wall around my heart that he couldn't yank me around emotionally because I realized he didn't know his own mind, he was vulnerable and confused after his mom's death, he didn't know what he wanted!  And it led to his giving me mixed messages.  I learned to let them go in one ear and out the other.  If it was to be, there would have been follow up and consistency, and there wasn't.

My ex was also Aspergers and I do think that played heavily into it.  He is a focus on one thing at a time kind of person to start with.  

Sometimes we wonder, would this have happened if their mom hadn't died?  But we'll never know because that's not how life played out.

It's hard.  I remember the months following, crying buckets of tears.  When we go through this kind of breakup, WE are grieving, the loss of our relationship, the loss of hopes and dreams, the future we had planned together.  Be extra patient and understanding of yourself.  I highly recommend no contact for a few months, it gives your emotions a chance to die down and for you to see with more clarity.  It can prolong your pain if you continue to see him.  Shut him off your social media.  Box up any reminders you have from the relationship, relegate them to the garage or attic where you don't have to see them.  You can deal with them "someday" when it's less excruciating.

I know how painful this is right now, give it time, it won't always feel this intense.  

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On 3/7/2018 at 7:50 PM, Halle said:

he said that he couldn’t be in any type of relationship anymore. I was obviously heartbroken but understood the situation. He apologized for it causing me any pain and said that he hoped we would be together when he is ready. We have clicked from the beginning and truly had a great friendship beyond the romantic aspect of dating. We have always talked about marriage and even looked at rings together. When he ended things, he said that he knows deep down I’m the one he needs to be with but that he just can’t be with me right now. 

Hi Halle,

I am sorry this has happened to you too, but as KayC said it is common. Again, it is nothing you did to make him act this way and even though you mentioned his siblings didn't eave their spouses, that is because they reacted differently than he has. When my ex ghosted me twice after his father passed, none of his 4 siblings left their partners either, it was only him. It is just how he, even unknowingly reacted to tragedy. It is not age, gender, relationship length or situation specific, it just happens. However as it seems, there are always commonalities among our stories. There are red flags, secrets and behavior we have missed or overlook and misconstrued as something else (though it is not our fault necessarily as we all have flaws and it is only human to see the best in someone we love and easy to explain away their behavior, even when its less than appropriate). I echo everything that KayC has already said, be patient with yourself as you move forward and understand that it is okay and normal to cry and be upset. My ex too did not know what he wanted after his dad passed, which made me wonder if he ever truly was the person he led me to believe he was and the person I fell in love with when I began to find out from his siblings about their abusive parents and his habit of ghosting women and avoiding any sort of proper communication/confrontation and his apparent deep seated struggles with emotional availability and health. Mind you, these were things I would've laughed over had I been told he acted as such prior to his dad's death as he seemed to be the opposite of a person who'd act in such a way.

My ex and I dated for 14 months before his dad's death and then took an unannounced "break" when he failed to even tell me his father passed, he just disappeared and I had to track him down and force him to tell me what happened. He then said he didn't want to break up, but at random went no contact for 3 months before attempting to reconcile, where we then lasted another 3 months or so before he ghosted me again and I had to force myself to walk away. That was a very hard 6 months for me, even after he came back because I was always fearing he'd do it again....and he did. I was left heartbroken, confused and devastated not once, but twice by the same person who said he'd never do anything to compromise us. We had an amazing connection, chemistry and love, but even that couldn't save us from the problems he refused to confront about his own life and feelings. I cried for months afterward, as KayC did and many others here have too.

All I can say is, do not wait for him to come back, because the truth is he may not. Do not make it known to him that you are waiting, pining or hoping he will return to you as that may have the opposite effect you desire. I was 24 when my now ex dumped me and I am 26, almost 27 now. I have not heard from him since the day I asked for my stuff back at the beginning of 2016. Take the time to grieve and give yourself the space to remove your memories at your own pace if you cannot do it all right now. Forge meaning, learn from this experience and once you are a year or so removed from this situation you will come to see it as a lesson for yourself and way to form a new identity and rebuild a stronger heart for yourself. When someone shows you who they truly are, don't just believe them, act accordingly and show them the door. Also, Please ask yourself: Why would you want to be with someone who so willingly and easily throws you away when life gets hard? You deserve better than that. You will come out of this in the end a better person. Don't focus on getting over him, just focus on being a better you for the future.

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