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Marianne

Boyfriend’s father died. Not broken up yet but he plans to! - help!

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My boyfriend of a year has had a very long and trying year.  We started dating March 17th of 2017 (yes, tomorrow will be our anniversary).  He pursued me and we very much have enjoyed our time together.  It hasn’t been without trials as we got to know each other and have come to love one another.

his father was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive cancer a month after we started dating and his father fought very hard!  But, in August he was fine.  He was put on Hospice and slowly began the process of letting go.  My boyfriend and I talked about his depression and his need to spend his time with his family and that he just wasn’t going to be able to spend much time with me and I completely understood.  I made sure to be patient and understanding and to always stand by his side through the whole thing.  He did continue to date me and we had some amazing times together.  The day his father died was the day he told me he loved me for the first time.  He’s affectionate and calls me babe, and tells me he loves me even now.  Also during that time, he started formulating a plan to quit his six figure income position and to start his own company.  He doesn’t know what yet.  Just that he wanted out of his corporate job.  He also had this idea that he would buy a travel camper and travel for a few weeks at a time and then come home and then go back out.  The purpose was to market his product idea and to see some of the country.  At first I was all for it.  But the day before he intended to quit, I asked him to wait.  I asked him to join some counseling and to just give himself time to grieve.  I asked him to consider applying for some other jobs rather than quitting without a parachute right now while he tried to figure out what he wanted to do for a startup.  I was too emotional and he felt blindsided and unsupported, I’m sure.  Well, a week later we’re trying to decide if we want to stay together and he informs me that he is now going for a month and that he wants to break up when he leaves.  (He’s planning to leave May 15th).

I begged and pleaded and he was upset about that as well.  He told me in no uncertain terms that he would not hear anymore talk trying to change his mind and o promised him I wouldn’t say anything more and that I support everything but that decision.

that was about three weeks ago.  He has started counseling and he had two sessions and I have as well.  I don’t know where his heart is at right now, but I feel like I’m in the fight of my life!

I want to be here for him through this journey.  Why can’t he see that I’m his partner and I can and will be strong for both of us right now?  How can he have me in his heart and want me near for two months before he leaves, and then just think to drop me?  He told me it’s because he needs to be free and needs to not have someone to “answer to”.  He didn’t even talk to me about my wishes or expectations.  He just decided that our relationship was doomed and gave me notice!

Truly I think it’s because when we had our disagreement, I walked away.  I was ready to call it quits.  He didn’t fight it.  I think that was the point when he decided he just couldn’t take the emotional strain.  That was the point he gave up on us.

I made a mistake on doing that to him.  I’m so sorry I made him doubt our relationship and my support and commitment to him.  I love this man and I want nothing more than for him to be happy when he’s near me or talks to me.  I want to be a strong shoulder for him and I want to be patient and understanding.  I want to be able to give him the space he needs and be okay with it.

my anxiety is through the roof now though since he basically gave me an expiration date.

Is there anything I can do to salvage this?  We are still together and he’s still trying.  And I’m thankful for that.

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I'm sorry you're in pain...that said, no, there is no roadmap back to how things were.  One thing I can say NOT to do is put pressure on him, that is a surefire way to drive him away.  BUT, you are very right that it's not fair to you to "give you notice", spend time with you, and then ditch you!  What is he thinking!  He's not...not with any clarity.  His emotions are all over the place...how they are when we're grieving.  He needs time and space to grieve.  That alone is a lot to deal with, but add into the mix his unhappiness with his job...perhaps this IS the time for him to explore other avenues of work, whether self-employed or otherwise.  You aren't married, this is up to him, and you may have gone a little far in giving him advice...that may be what he's needing to break from.  He's still single and wanting to go into business, this concerns him alone, and is his decision, sink or swim.  You say you want to be patient and understanding, but that's not how he's seeing it, he's seeing it as unsupportive and perhaps a bit controlling.  I understand your reaction, I really do.  Not everyone is cut out for the instability and uncertainty of starting their own business...especially since he isn't sure what he wants to do just yet and has yet to develop a business plan.  I'm one of those people that likes to have a predictable income and a budget to match...you may be like that also.  I get that.  But this is his life, his decision.  All you can do is respect his decision.

If he leaves you, I would not count on him coming back into your open arms.  There's no guarantee of anything.  If he can leave, knowing he's breaking your heart, maybe he's not the one for you.  That's selfish.  But then when we're grieving, we have a need to be selfish for a time.  It's all about us when we're grieving, what we're going through, where we go from here.

Honestly, my best advice to you is to focus on YOU right now.  Spend time with family and friends, take a class, join a gym, something, anything.  But the less you pine away for him the better.  You will grieve the loss of your relationship, yes, you will cry, perhaps for months.  But believe it or not, broken hearts mend.  The cruelest thing he is doing is planning his breakup, giving you an expiration date, who does that?!  He should have just broken up with you on the spot if that's what he wanted, let you start the healing process, away from him, but to do this to you??  That's unacceptable!  I would cut off contact with him right now since it's inevitable anyway.  What he is doing is beyond cruel.  

I'm sure you don't like my response.  It's matter of fact but honest, I don't sugar coat things, I call them as I see them.  I've read every thread, every post in this section.  I recall only one couple who made it intact after breakup due to grief.  All of the others (over a hundred) did not make it.  I consider mine a success story because we made it as friends, following a period of no contact, and we had been engaged for a year prior to his breaking up with me.  His mom was dying, he was her 24/7 caregiver, and he was grieving anticipatory and couldn't handle doing a relationship at the same time.  Had he talked with me about it, I would have voluntarily taken a break and been supportive, but I wasn't given that opportunity...he broke up with me by FedEx...while I was working no less.  

Do what is best for YOU, he will find his own way.

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Marianne,

This makes me so sad...I've been through the EXACT situation...we were together for 1 year, dad (whom he'd had abandonment issues with from childhood) diagnosed with cancer, my BF reached out and bridged the gap between them, he helped his dad through a lot of his battle, which was also very short (aggressive lung cancer.) I was his rock. I was there through it all! I flew to Colorado with him twice for support. His father took a turn for the worst and he flew there to be with him...he saw his father take his last breath. I flew back to be with him for the funeral and to help clean his father's home. When we got back home, it was 2 days before Christmas...this is when I saw him begin to change before my eyes...he started shutting down. By New Year's Eve, he was a different person...he felt so distant. He decided to quit smoking 3 days after Christmas (b/c his dad died of lung cancer) which made things a million times worse. On Jan 1, we went on a date, held hands, he stayed the night, told me he loved me and kissed me before I went to work and then the next day, broke up with me. I've never been more shattered in MY LIFE. It was absolutely devastating....and I certainly feel your pain. I'm so sorry. Once he shut down...he never came back around. He closed himself to me. It was almost as though I was somehow associated with that pain and those memories and he wanted to shut it down. He was shut down. I haven't spoken to him since. It was too difficult. I still feel sad sadness when I think about it and we broke up 4 years ago.... The advice KayC gave is so spot on...focus on you in the meantime. Heal. Talk to a therapist (helped me A LOT), surround yourself with people who love you. I've heard this story so many times and think that people who are battling depression and have something as traumatic and painful as a parent die generally aren't capable of bouncing back like we can, especially if there is buried pain from their childhoods. I'm so sorry for this <3 Sending hugs! Please feel free to message me anytime! Talking to people who'd been through this really helped me a lot. nettieboop@gmail.com

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Thank you so much, nettieboop, for sharing your story ~ and for making yourself available to others who are hurting this way. Deeply appreciated 

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@nettieboop  I'm sorry you went through this too, it's very hard.  I went through it about 7 1/2 years ago.

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It happened to me twice in a row. My ex-husband up and left me one day after 10 years - depression is the culprit.

Shortly thereafter (1 year or so) I met the man I spoke of in my story. That was 4 years ago.  I still feel pain from that...I've completely moved and and am so happy now, married, etc. but those feelings never go away. They do get better as time goes on, but you can't help but wonder...

Thanks for reaching out. 

How are you doing Marianne?  

xoxo

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Thanks all for your responses.  I’m heartbroken to report that he’s broken up with me.  He began pulling away last week and now he feels that he doesn’t want a significant relationship and I do, so he is done.  Then he became angry with me for how upset/angry I was on the 10 minute breakup call.  Says I was “acting weird” and that it was crazy and it reinforced his decision.

I think he was looking for any reason at all to be angry at me so that it would be easier for him.  I was NOT crazy in any way.

Regardles, he’s ended it.  He told me he loved me and he didn’t want to see me anymore.  He told me it was hurting us both too much when he knew he planned on ending it in May.

So, now it is with a broken heart that I have to accept that I can’t be with the man I love right now.  I hope he finds peace and answers and closure.  I hope our paths cross in the future, but now I have to let go and try to move forward.

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@Marianne  You're too kind to him.  I'm sorry, that was so wrong and unfair of him to get angry with you or refer to you as acting weird or crazy.  When someone betrays you they can expect you to be upset, period!  No easy way about it.  It only reinforced his decision because that was what he was bent on anyway.

I do hope you'll be able to let go and move forward and I pray you WILL someday have what you're wanting and looking for, that is, someone who would not throw you away for any reason.  I can't help but feel anger that someone would do this, but I'm not them and can't pretend to know what they're thinking/feeling.  I get that they want a "break" and can't "do a relationship at the same time as they are grieving", but no reason to make it any harder than it already is.  I'm sorry for everything you're going through, it's really rough, I know, but you will get over him...been there!

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@Marianne I am so sorry for you! How awful. Who plans a breakup like that? He 'planned' to break up with you, told you of his plans and then had the audacity to call YOU crazy for simply reacting to him "pre-maturely breaking up with you before May." Okay, WHAT?! You dodged a bullet.

I am so sorry your heart hurts and that you have the task of moving forward after such a callous, heartless happening. He was going to break up with you regardless, so as you and KayC said, I too think he was just using your reaction as an excuse by inflating it in his own head to validate his reasoning to break up. Anyone who is being broken up with is going to react in some way. So his calling you crazy is nothing short of childish. How rude. It may be his grief talking, but that does not excuse his behavior toward you whatsoever. But, consider his "plan" to throw you away a silver lining in that you realized who he was and how he reacts to bad happenings before you got too deep in and any further along. Grief has a funny way of exposing people's true colors/selves. When someone shows you who they truly are, don't just believe them, act accordingly and show them the door. 

It will hurt for a while, the first few months will be the hardest. You will get through this and come out on the other side, whether or not you choose to reconnect in the future if it ever becomes an option is your choice alone, however, do re-evaluate how he ended things and how he treated you this time around. I made that mistake in my last relationship of forgiving behavior I shouldn't have and ended up experiencing the same heartbreak twice in a matter of months.

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@Marianne  42 years ago I was in love and engaged.  My fiance broke up with me, no reason given.  A friend of his had warned me that he always does that, that he has commitment phobia, but I'd thought things would be different, we were so in love.  (barf)  Fast forward 30 years...our paths crossed after my husband died.  He made the move on me...totally unwelcome!  We drifted in and out of each other's lives a bit as "friends".  The things that drew us together in the first place are still there, the things that came between us are still there too.  Every once in a while he "tries again", unsuccessfully, to get to me, nope, doesn't work.  I talked to him about what happened so long ago and he said "that was a long time ago!" and "I'm not the same person!".  To me, he is, and unless and until he can explain his behavior to my satisfaction (can never happen) I haven't forgotten what he did oh so long ago.  That and I'm no longer a young girl so in love.  The one I love died, and he never would have done that to me, not in a million years.

What I'm trying to say is, once you've seen someone's true colors, it's pretty hard to forget...and in my estimation, one shouldn't forget.  It's a huge red flag, couldn't be any brighter, of how they are, and that is something to not forget. 

Right now you're heartbroken, but that will mend in time.   I hope you find one that will be "the one" to you, one that would never break up with you, one that would never break your heart.  You will go through the storms of life together and weather them together.  You will love and be loved...completely.  Right now, you are enough, I have learned that also.  Hugs!

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