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kphil

Boyfriend broke up with me after dad died - Need advice

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Hi everyone. I've been reading these the past few days to help me, but I've decided to post my own because I really need some advice. Me and my boyfriend have been dating for 3 years now. I am 21 and my boyfriend is 20. On Valentine's Day of this year, my boyfriend's dad passed away completely out of the blue. It was entirely unexpected and it shocked us all. We were down at school (A little over 2 hours away from home) at the time, so we drove back home and spent 5 days there before coming right back to school. We both had to dive back into our studies ASAP. My boyfriend focused so intensely on his studies (ended up with a 4.0 for the semester) and I think he used that as a way of pushing off his grieving at the time.

Flash forward 3 months later, now we're back at home for the summer break. My boyfriend has realized being home this past week that he hasn't been able to fully grieve, because at school he's used to his dad not being there, but not at home. I think he's in shock all over again, and he's a complete mess, as expected. A few days ago he broke up with me. He was crying the entire time, telling me he loved me and he wasn't sure what he needs right now but that he thinks it's best for him to be on his own for now. He said he wasn't sure if he could handle a relationship right now. He said if we stayed together right now then he thinks it would probably ruin our chances of a future. He thinks this time apart will give us a better chance for our future together. Today is only day 3 of not speaking with him and I am a total mess. I understand and respect why he is doing this, but it's so hard because our relationship is so strong and so good. I hate how much he is hurting and I want him to be okay again, but I'm having a hard time understanding why he can't be in a relationship with me while going through this next part of grief. We've been through so much already, and I was by his side these past 3 months since his dad's passing. I want to be by his side during this time too, but he's made it clear that I can't be right now. He needs time and space on his own to learn how to be okay on his own, alone without his dad in his life.

He still wants me to be part of his life, but right now just as his friend. His 21st birthday is in 3 days. He wants me to come to his birthday dinner with his family and closest friends, still. I have all his gifts I made and bought for him. I want to go so badly, and he says he really wants me to come, as long as I feel comfortable enough going, but I'm worried I'll cry the whole time I'm there. I don't know how to just be his friend when he's been so much more than that for years now. He keeps saying he needs space and time and that he's so sorry and that he loves me. But I don't know how to give him space. He's my best friend, my true love, and my person.

I don't know who to talk to about this because not many people around me understand. He wants us to be together later on. It just scares me not knowing how long this will last, because it would break my heart even more if this ended up lasting forever. I love him more than anything in this world and I want him to heal properly. If that means me taking a step back from his life for a while then that's okay. I just don't know how to just be his best friend right now, without also being his girlfriend. I guess I'm posting on here because I just need some advice from you all going through similar situations. I need some advice on how to cope with this and how to give him space without overstepping these new, unfamiliar boundaries.

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There is no understanding this, not really, I doubt he understands it himself.  I'm sorry you're going through this, you are grieving your relationship and that's hard when you know it needn't be this way.  Those of us who've lost our partner to death, there was no choice, no one decided it, so what you are going through is pretty rough.  But neither did he choose it.  There's a certain segment of people, when grieving, don't seem to feel they can handle a relationship at the same time as grieving.  Not being one of those people, I can't understand it, but I have been where you are, my fiance of a year broke up with me when his mom was dying.  She passed away after we had a few months of no contact and we were able to resume contact as friends only, but that can only happen if one of you isn't secretly hoping for something else.  We can't control or manipulate the other person, it's important, no matter the relationship, that we respect their wishes.  It's too soon to tell if you can handle this or not.

It's up to you whether you can be there for his birthday or not, I would think that'd be really hard, especially so soon.  One thing that's important for both of you to keep in mind, he can't have it both ways.  You can't be on reserve for him to reel in whenever he decides to come to a resume a relationship.  He broke up with you.  Period.  There's no grey area here.  If he loses you because of it that is the result of his actions/decision.

It's going to be important for you to focus on YOU, not him, right now.  Keep busy with YOUR life, your friends, your family.  You haven't said if you're working this summer, but that might be a good idea too.

I realize you may not heed my advice, but I'm giving it in the hopes that you will for your own sake.  I've not only been through it myself, but I've read each and every thread, every post, in this section.  When you sit down and read them all, you see a pattern emerge, you see the commonality, you see what happens.  

Honestly, I wouldn't want to pin my future with someone who could break up with me at any given moment when life got tough.  I know you think he's your person, but this is about as huge a red flag as you can get.  I know you haven't had time to reach acceptance that it's over and you're still hoping...for that reason I lean towards not going to his birthday celebration.  You need to think of YOU and how this will affect you.  You just haven't had time to adjust to anything yet.  I'm sorry, I know how bad this hurts and there's no way through it but straight through it, pain and all.

You say no one understands, there IS no understanding this, your friends want better for you, so does your family, anyone who knows you doesn't want to see you treated with disregard.  He's asking too much of you, more than humanly okay, to invite you to a birthday celebration for himself three days after breaking up with you.

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Hi Kphil,

I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation. But thank you for sharing your story and seeking advice here. I wasn't much older than you when my boyfriend of 14 months broke up with me after his father died suddenly. He did something very similar as yours is, in expecting you to still be his "friend," so he can pick you back up when he feels up to it. Do not do this to yourself, and do not allow him to string you along with endearing words and false hope. The fact of the matter is, he broke up with you. And in his breaking up, he released you of any further obligation to him or his needs.

I echo everything that KayC has said, focus on YOU and YOUR needs going forward. I know it is hard and that you are hurting, confused and lost, as is he. But please, do not allow him to pull you into the hole he is falling into with him. Misery loves company, and so does confusion. It is wrong of him and unfair to you to expect you wait around for him to come back after he's ended the relationship. The truth is, there's no guarantee he will come back because he left you. And, even if he does come back, it could be months, even years. Don't wait around for him because he may come to resent you, think you are pressuring him and/or move on himself while you're still waiting for him. Aside from that, as KayC said, it is a major red flag that he randomly dumped you because he doesn't know how to handle life's happenings.

My ex did the same. And over the course of 6 months, he went back and forth, ghosted me twice, once after he told me loved me and didnt want to break up, and the second after we tried to work things out, strung me along in his confusion and treated me like I didn't matter because he was hurting. I made the mistake of failing to assess what he had done and forgave his terrible behavior and disregard for my feelings because I loved him and truly believed his words. But when all was said and done, I was left heartbroken twice with nothing but his words. This was 2.5 years ago and we haven't spoken since. I've learned many harsh lessons from that experience, but I've forged meaning from them. It was so hard for me to accept that his "I love you"s and words meant nothing, they were just words, afterall. He failed to show up, treated me like garbage, expected me to wait around (and I did because he said to me the same things your ex has to you) and blamed his grief for his poor behavior, when truthfully his grief only revealed who he truly was.

If you feel you can handle the dinner, go to it. If you don't feel up to it, don't go. You need to do what's best for yourself, and as I said, he broke up with you, meaning that you have no further obligation to oblige his requests or continue any sort of relationship or contact. As KayC said, you cannot be friends with someone when one wants more than friendship, it's disingenuous and will cause you more harm than good. It seems like he wants you to stay friends so he has access to you when he wants it, but that doesn't mean he will ever get back together with you. While I could be wrong, I am only speaking from personal experience and that of those I've seen this happen to. Once a relationship is severed, neither party has any obligation to the other, and it's wrong to expect otherwise. 

I mean no disrespect to you or him, just speaking objectively and from personal experience and that of others, especially in these unfortunate circumstances. 

--Rae 

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Whatever you decide, please let us know, okay?  We care.

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Hi kphil, 

I'm sorry you're going through this. A lot of us on this forum know how difficult it is. I lost my mother very suddenly at the end of last year so I understand, to a degree, what your boyfriend may be going through. Right after my mother's death, once I got over the shock of it, I reached out for love and support and started a relationship. I felt very vulnerable and needed someone there. That relationship ended and, to my dismay, he was the one that suddenly cut contact with me. (I still don't know why. Maybe my grief was too much for him to handle.) 

It's been months since my mom died and now I feel like I'm not ready for a relationship and I don't know when I ever will be. It's a strange offset of grief, at least in my experience. At first, I felt like I needed to invest in all my relationships and make the most out of them. In time, it's begun to feel like I need to protect myself and those I love from loss like I experienced. Deep down, sometimes it feels like I'm too broken to love or be loved. 

I am not saying for certain that this is how your boyfriend feels or why he decided to do what he did, but perhaps it gives you a little comfort to know that it really isn't you. He is dealing with his own issues. Grief is difficult -- perhaps the most difficult thing in life to deal with. It hurts that he can't be with you right now and it's going to continue to hurt. I don't want to make excuses for that kind of pain, but I do want to express that in the initial months after a huge loss like a parent passing away, it's hard to even grasp your own emotions. 

KayC and Rae1991 have already made excellent points as to how this break up is about his issues and not you. And that you should focus on your own journey now. 

Coming from a person who was in your boyfriend's position, I know how difficult it is to expend emotional energy on a relationship when all you feel inside is broken and lost. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry he may feel that way. I'm sorry his way of coping with his grief is to distance himself from the relationships that means the most to him. I'm sorry grief has worked this way in his life. I wish it wasn't so difficult for you and for him. 

I understand how much you're hurting. A lot of us here do. It feels almost impossible the first few days. It's been two months since I broke up with the guy I dated after my mom died. Our relationship wasn't long but it held so much emotional weight. It's been two months and I still think about him. I still miss him. And that's okay. 

In terms of coping with the break up now, I would say to respect his wishes. He needs space and time to figure out the mess of emotions inside of him. It's going to feel impossible and it's going to hurt on most days, but it's healthier to respect his boundaries. 

Also respect your limits. If it'll hurt too much to see him at his birthday party, don't go. Look out for your own emotional well-being. Protect your energy. 

It helps to focus on yourself, your hobbies, your friends, your journey. It helps to try new things, to keep yourself occupied, to journal your feelings to get them out. It helps to let yourself be sad when you're sad. It helps to feel all your emotions so you can process them, work through them, and let them go. It helps to talk to people -- your friends, your parents, maybe a professional who can help you through the really difficult days. Don't keep your emotions bottled up. Write them out or tell someone. Tell us.

This all helps. But it doesn't make it easier. Break ups are always hard, especially if you aren't the one who made the decision to end the relationship. It hurts even more when you just want to be there for that person because you love them and you can see that they're struggling. 

Perhaps when he has started to heal and he's ready, you two will reconnect but I wouldn't place all my hopes on that possibility. It's not fair to you to be held in this grey zone. It's harder to heal when you don't know for certain where the relationship is (or isn't). If it's possible, I hope you can honestly communicate to him that it hurts to not be certain where the relationship is. Please do not let him place the relationship on hold indefinitely. That would be too painful for the both of you. If it's possible to have an open, honest discussion on his intentions for the relationship and your intentions maybe you can outline a timeline. Say, "For the next three months we will be separated. We won't contact each other and we will give each other space. In three months, we will reconnect and decide whether or not we are both invested and committed to continuing the relationship." Place limits and boundaries on this 'break' if he wants to be with you later, after he's healed. That would depend on whether he is open to a discussion like this. Sometimes this puts too much pressure on someone in grief. 

In any case, I wish you the best. I'm sorry it's so painful. During the most difficult days, I like to remind myself that all I have to do is make it through the next second. Second after second. Just breathe and keep going.

Remember that you always have a place to express yourself here. 

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Thank you guys for the advice! It's been very helpful. I'm feeling much better. I've been reminding myself constantly that if we are meant to be, then we will be. And if not, the world keeps spinning and as much as that would hurt to be without him, I would be okay. I've been hanging out with my friends constantly, going on long walks in my neighborhood and exercising more. I even got a haircut today and gave myself some new coloring, as well! It's all been helping me keep my mind off of it and feel good about myself!

I still haven't decided about his dinner, which is tomorrow night. I went over and brought him his birthday gifts today because I had already bought and made them, and I wanted him to have them in case I don't end up going tomorrow to his birthday dinner. It was really nice seeing him for a little bit, and we were able to discuss more about how he's feeling. We have a dog together as well, so it was great seeing our sweet girl. He still would really like for me to come tomorrow but he understands that it's a lot to ask of me. I'm going to see how I'm feeling tomorrow before I make a final decision to go or not.

I just feel so sad for him because he is so confused about what is best for him right now. He wants to be with me but he knows that right now he has to learn how to be okay alone. He told me today that he'll be starting to see a therapist this upcoming week because he really wants to help himself heal and figure out how to cope better with his dad's passing. I am so proud of him for taking that step all on his own.

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It's a good sign that he's going to a therapist...I just hope it's someone who is actually trained in grief, many are not.

I'm glad you'll be doing what is best for YOU.  He's doing what he thinks is right for him.  

I'm glad you've been going on walks, got your hair done, spending time with friends.  All you can do is give it time along with the positive things you are doing for yourself.

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I did end up going to his birthday dinner last night. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it was weird between us. When I left he walked me out and we sat on his front porch for a bit talking, and he said it was too weird between us. He said it wasn't us, and he didn't like it. He said that if this is what us being friends looks like then he can't just be my friend, and that last night made him realize he really has a lot of thinking to do in these next days, because he just really is lost and doesn't know what to do.

We've been "broken up" for a week today, but we've talked every day, both texting and on the phone. We decided today that to be fair to me, because it's so confusing right now as to what we really are, and what he's wanting/needing, we're cutting all contact for a little. Because even though we've been "broken up" for a whole week now, he still hasn't even had time and space away from me because we've talked daily (and when we've been talking it's like nothing is different, we talk/joke/flirt like we normally do) and he's seen me now two nights in the last week (once when i brought him his gifts, then again last night at his dinner). I realize he needs to see what space and time away from me is for him to even know if that's what he needs or not. So I told him today before I went to work this afternoon that we need to just cut contact for a bit so he can understand what being broken up really is, and what life really would feel like without me in it.

We couldn't even make it a week without talking with each other, so I KNOW it will be hard for us both not to reach out to each other for a bit. We decided that for now we're going to just take tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday without speaking definitely, then reconnect at some point next week just to see what this little glimpse made him feel like. The we're going to go from there. Baby steps I guess?

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It's a good sign you both recognized the awkwardness of the situation and it became clear that you truly need to sever contact to be broken up. He needs time and space away so he can truly understand the gravity and consequences of his decision to end the relationship, and you need it so you can work to regain your clarity and learn to be without him. It is a great thing that he is seeing a professional and recognized that he needed one.

Baby steps are a good thing, but again be wary of this as you could be (even if unintentionally) allowing him to still string you along, and he could be doing the same because it's comforting to the both of you to maintain contact to some degree. Try it once, sure, but if you find this cycle repeating itself, stop, and explain to him that you need to be without contact for good or an extended period of time so you both have room to hash out your feelings and move on. You guys cannot have your cake and eat it too, that isn't fair. While I do understand it is really hard to sever all contact from someone you love, remember that breaking up is uncomfortable because the comfort of the relationship is gone. Being uncomfortable is how you grow and learn to move on from your past and things that pain you. Remember, he broke up with you and he needs to understand the consequences of that. Comfort to a degree is a good thing, but being open to discomfort, growth and adversity is too. You are a whole person, with or without him, as is he. If continuing contact with him leaves you feeling confused, upset, awkward or like you are being guilted into maintaining a "friendship" to spare him or yourself the painful reality of breaking up and moving on, the contact needs to end, at least for a while until you both get right with yourselves again.

While I do not regret resuming contact with Tim after he ghosted me the first time, I DO regret allowing him to keep me hanging on, confused and reeling me back in with his words and excuses with the hope of a relationship that was never going to be again. It was almost like he knew what he was doing, but for the sake of sparing his own feelings and refusal to face his reality, kept me around because I was familiar, he wasn't ready to move on just yet (and neither was I), he was chasing that "honeymoon phase" feeling, and it was comforting to him during his time of need to have company in his suffering. Don't let yourself fall into that trap, it's easier than you think; love can make a fool of even the most intelligent people. "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." :)

--Rae

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I'm glad you made it through, even though awkward.  It can feel weird to just be friends after having had a relationship.  Jim broke up with me in 2010 and after a few months no contact, we resumed contact as friends.  I did have to protect my heart as he was confused, grief can really do a number and it takes a while to wend through it.  Somewhere along the way I've realized that things probably worked out for the best for us, but I care about him, I enjoy his company, we'll always be friends, but I just don't see it ever being anything else.  I see it as a win/win for us though and I think he does too.  But not everyone can do that, in fact I'd venture to say that very few could successfully have a friend relationship with their ex.

I agree with what Rae cautioned you about, not letting him string you along.  You ARE broken up, you are free to date, free to move on, should you desire to at some point.  This is the risk someone takes when they break up with someone, they risk losing them for good.  A person can't have it both ways.  He can't put you on reserve but call it broken up too.

I realize that his words to you have a stronger pull than two strangers on the internet but Rae and I have both been through this, we have your best interests at heart.  All we ask is that you consider what is best for YOU.

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We've decided to cut contact indefinitely. He said he is so sorry and he loves me so much but he just really needs this space and time away from me. I told him I won't reach out anymore, and I won't contact him. I told him that he can contact me when he needs me and/or when he's ready to. I don't know how to not talk to him and I'm so scared because now this feels real. How do I not talk to him? It's scary not knowing the next time I will see him, or hear from him. It breaks my heart.

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I'm sorry, I really am.  I always hold my breath when I see a new thread here, hoping this one will be different and make it through this, but that doesn't materialize.  I think it's best to cut contact though being as he has decided to break things off.  It's little consolation when they declare they still love us...it doesn't FEEL very loving!  A few months ago my ex-fiance told me things would have gone very differently if his mom hadn't died.  Really?  Unless/until something else came along.  I care about him, like him, but honestly, I couldn't put my faith in him as a partner after being broken up with, I mean, we were ENGAGED!  Does that not mean anything?

I don't claim to understand it.  Except I do know it really is them and not us, not to personalize (although it sure as heck FEELS personal!), and that it's grief at its finest.

You say you don't know how to NOT talk to him...hone your relationships with your friends and family, talk to them.  Be your own best friend.  Take really good care of yourself, pay attention to what matters to YOU, be there for yourself.  You'll make it through this.  If I did, I know anyone can.  It's hard, I know.

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50 minutes ago, kphil said:

We've decided to cut contact indefinitely. He said he is so sorry and he loves me so much but he just really needs this space and time away from me. I told him I won't reach out anymore, and I won't contact him. I told him that he can contact me when he needs me and/or when he's ready to. I don't know how to not talk to him and I'm so scared because now this feels real. How do I not talk to him? It's scary not knowing the next time I will see him, or hear from him. It breaks my heart.

I understand your pain, fear, the heartbreak and the uncertainty, as many of us here do too. I personally would not recommend allowing him to contact you on his own free will, at least not for a few months to a year or until the pain has subsided. He made the choice to end the relationship, the consequence of that is he no longer has free access to you and you need to separate yourself from the feeling that you're obligated to appease him if he does contact you. It will only bring you back to square 1 in your healing, especially the first 6-12 months. I know what it feels like to have to force yourself to move forward, even when you don't want to and are holding out hope he'll change his mind. He made a conscious choice and that is his burden to bear, your relationship is a casualty of his decision. You cannot wait around and ask "why?" and look for closure thinking that you'll get it by keeping the option of contact open, all it will do is make you hold out hope that he will come back eventually. Please don't do that to yourself, its not fair to you and you don't deserve to be someone's "sometimes, when I feel like it when things are good and happy."

He let go of you, and you need to understand that and change your perspective about that. He let go of the future, the love, the relationship, everything that you came with and could be in the future, he let go of willingly. Yes, he said he loved you and (probably) does still love you, but he still broke up with you. He may be doing it out of love, or that he truly believes you two can't be together because of what happened, unless he tells you directly (as it seems, he isn't going to) why he ended things, you are going to spend weeks wondering "what if," and that isn't fair to you, don't do that to yourself. Focus on yourself, your needs and consider going to therapy just to get some perspective and aid you in moving forward.

It is going to hurt, it's confusing, sad, you are going to feel alone for a while, you are going to miss him and you are going to cry for a while, but that is what breaking up is. My ex-fiance Joe and I were together for 7 years, it took me over a year to fully move on from him and be okay with even trying to date again. Going back to him, waiting on him and hoping he contacts you eventually won't fix the heartbreak he caused, it will only prolong it and stop you from moving forward. Your only job now is to deal with the heartbreak and work to rectify yourself and move forward with your life. Even if he does come back in the distant future, you can't spend your time between now and then hoping he will. And, IF he does return don't just blindly give yourself back to him, you'll need to do some assessing as to the risk you'd be taking in resuming your relationship considering he's already left you once. 

You will eventually get to a point where you have reconciled with yourself and put to rest the notion that you need him to survive, to be/find love or to ever be happy, but you need to do the work, face the heartbreak and the grief that comes with it. Joe and I broke up 5 years ago now and he has since tried to reconcile our relationship twice and attempted to get back together, I said no because it's not what I want anymore. We grew up and as such, began to want different things and went in different directions, I didn't see it at the time, but I do now. I used to wish that more than anything in the world Joe and I would be together again, he was my best friend; but in the years since I have experienced love, hobbies, career goals, happiness and friendships that make me grateful he ended our relationship. I will always have love for Joe and care for his well being and happiness, but these days, it's only as an acquaintance/friend. I harbor no ill will toward Tim either and I no longer love him, but for my own sake, will not be open to a friendship or contact any time soon, not because I think he is a bad person, simply because he leeched my soul of happiness for a short while, and I realized that I don't want emotional tourists or energy leeches in my life. Things will get better in time, but you do need to put in the work. :)

 

--Rae

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Hi, Thanks for reaching out. I extend my condolences for your beloved dad. I know that your ex cares and you care for him. It is difficult to explain someone's actions. I know this was not fair to you. I believe working on coping will help such as, meditation, breathing exercises,  journaling and even activities to keep you occupied. Also, taking to others will help. Also, talking or counsel from a pastor to help the grief. I wish you the Best! 

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Today marks 3 weeks being broken up, and it's felt so much longer than that. We've talked a few times here and there, but it's mainly been radio silence. It hurts more than anything being apart from him. He's my best friend and I feel empty and alone without him. Distracting myself is really hard. I can enjoy whatever I'm doing, and whoever I'm hanging with, but afterwards when I'm alone I just break down, and it's hard to think about anything other than him. I've decided I need to try and let him go. Not move on, but let go. If we're meant to be, we will be. We'll be together again one day if that's what's supposed to happen.

I'm not sure I even know how to let him go, but I know that I need to for my mental and emotional sake, because I can't keep breaking down day after day. We're both going through this break up, but he has a lot more on his plate. I'm just healing from our break up, but he's healing from the death of his father, and trying to do it without the girl he loves, his best friend.

I just want us both to be okay. And if being without me for a while, or even forever, means that he can find himself again and be okay again, then that's alright with me.

I love him more than anything and I just want what's best for him. So I've got to let him go.

"Sometimes love is the same as letting go."

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I just hope you want what's best for YOU even more.  Yes, it's important to let him go, for YOUR sake so you can heal, so you can do what's best for you.  

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23 hours ago, kphil said:

Today marks 3 weeks being broken up, and it's felt so much longer than that. We've talked a few times here and there, but it's mainly been radio silence. It hurts more than anything being apart from him. He's my best friend and I feel empty and alone without him. Distracting myself is really hard. I can enjoy whatever I'm doing, and whoever I'm hanging with, but afterwards when I'm alone I just break down, and it's hard to think about anything other than him. I've decided I need to try and let him go. Not move on, but let go. If we're meant to be, we will be. We'll be together again one day if that's what's supposed to happen.

I'm not sure I even know how to let him go, but I know that I need to for my mental and emotional sake, because I can't keep breaking down day after day. We're both going through this break up, but he has a lot more on his plate. I'm just healing from our break up, but he's healing from the death of his father, and trying to do it without the girl he loves, his best friend.

I just want us both to be okay. And if being without me for a while, or even forever, means that he can find himself again and be okay again, then that's alright with me.

I love him more than anything and I just want what's best for him. So I've got to let him go.

"Sometimes love is the same as letting go."

Hi kphil,

I am sorry you hurt so badly. It will hurt immensely for the first 3-6 months. This has happened to me twice now and both of these guys were my best friend too. When Joe and I broke up, I couldn't even get out of bed some days for the first few months and no matter what I did I was ALWAYS thinking/talking about him. When Tim and I broke up for the final time, I cried almost daily for 2 months. Until one day I just decided that I wasn't going to cry over him anymore. What Tim did was callous, unfair and nothing I could have said/done for him would've changed his mind. It is really, really hard to force yourself to let go, especially when you don't want to. You fight with yourself mentally and emotionally and fight the urge to reach out, knowing they'll either ignore your attempt leaving you feeling even worse or you'll just embarrass yourself and regret it after.

While I understand you're trying your best to reconcile the situation, I'd suggest NOT trying to sympathize with his feelings and the break-up in "comparison" to your post-relationship feelings and emotional load. It's hard, I know. But its unfair to you and in a way undermines your feelings as if his somehow mean more than yours (even if you're doing so unintentionally). His father dying and any grief he feels from the break up is not your fault. Even though his father's death is neither of yours fault; his breaking up with you IS his fault. You need to get past the thought that you have any obligation to him or his feelings or that his matter more than yours. It's not fun to have to do because you love, and want whats best for them, but if hes going to leave and abandon you in such a lurch as he has, its quite clear he already is putting his needs ahead of yours, and you need to do the same and put your needs, healing and mental health ahead of his. You need to want whats best for yourself. But yes, YOU DO need to let him go for your own well being, NOT his. Change your perspective about this, please. He willingly walked away from you, and that's his loss, not yours. Yes, its fine to want him to be okay again and wish him well out of love for him, but (I don't mean this to be offensive or accusatory) it seems you're talking as if he means more to you than you mean to you, and that's not healthy. After Joe and I split, I realized I no longer knew who I was because I had spent all my time pining my happiness, time and future into him and our relationship that I no longer had an identity or a life without him, and that's part of the reason it was so hard for me to let go, because in losing him, I was also losing myself (even though I had lost 'me' long before then).

You will find a way to let him go that is unique to you, a counselor perhaps could help you along the journey, because it is really hard. You shouldn't have to suffer so someone else can be happy, that isn't love. In a few years' time you will come to understand the lesson and silver lining in this experience, as hindsight will be 20/20, it always is. And who knows, by then you may only see him as an acquaintance or even just a stranger. I do have to say though, that feeling is liberating, at least it was for me. Being able to look Joe in the face some years later and say "No, this isn't what I want anymore." You will find a way to let him go, you just have to want to and so far it seems, you're doing everything you need to be in order to achieve that. 

"Walking away doesn't equate to letting them down. You walk away to spare yourself anymore hurt, and because its the right thing to do for them. Walking away is in itself an act of love." Ron, a user on this forum left this comment in a post on a woman named Miri's thread. I came across it now almost 3 years ago and its stuck with me since. :)

--Rae

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23 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

I cried almost daily for 2 months. Until one day I just decided that I wasn't going to cry over him anymore.

That's the epiphany I had too after about 4 months.  I cried all the way home from work (50 miles) and then I said, "That's the LAST time I'm going to cry over him!"  and it was.  I know getting over them is a process, it reaches our brain first but it takes our heart more time to catch up.  We can see the things our friends and family are telling us, we can hear what we're told here, but our hearts want what our hearts want, besides, old habits die hard.  We have to really make that effort to get over the person and we have to put our own needs first.

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Well unfortunately I have an update for you all... I found out yesterday that he's been lying to me since we broke up. He still had been telling me every few days that he loved me so much and that we'd be together again after he took this time to himself, but I found out that a week after he broke up with me because he "wanted to be alone for a while," he started talking to another girl. And not just another random girl, but a girl we go to school with, and girl who is my sorority sister. She slept over at his house 12 days after we broke up... Not even 2 weeks after. And he had all of our friends who knew keep this from me, and he was continuously lying to me. I had asked him so many times if there was another reason for this, and if there was anyone else, and he would swear on his DAD'S GRAVE that there was nothing going on with anybody else. How could someone do that? How could someone swear on their recently departed dad's grave, and be lying about it?

Was he lying to me to protect me and my feelings? Was he lying to me because he wanted to be single and do whatever the hell he wanted but still string me along until he was ready to be tied down in a relationship again after a few months? I'm sitting here now wondering what else was lies. He couldn't even respect me enough to wait a month until after we broke up to move on and try and be with someone else. And he lied straight to my face about it this entire time, too. How could you do that to someone you love? I don't doubt that he loves me, that's one thing I know is true. But I don't understand how somebody could do that to someone. He told me just two days ago that he doesn't want me to have hope and wait for him, but he also doesn't want me to move on because he doesn't want us to be over, and he doesn't want to lose me...

Getting with somebody else just a WEEK after breaking up to "have some time to heal and be alone for a while" is one hell of a way to guarantee that he'll lose me.

I could never trust him again after this, after all these lies. I don't think I could forgive him for this, and I definitely don't think I could ever be even friends with him after being disrespected in this way... I can't believe he would do this to me.

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Kphil,

Wow. I am so sorry. How awful of him to do such a thing! You're right to not trust him. Grief or otherwise that just isn't fair to you. Cut all contact immediately and focus on healing yourself. That is nothing more than him being immature and playing games. Try your best not to over think things and let him go. I beg of you, DO NOT GO BACK TO HIM. EVER. And, DO NOT allow him to keep playing games with you, because now that you believed his lies, he isn't going to stop lying to you. He may love you, but he clearly doesn't respect you. And love means nothing without trust and respect. That is a major red flag and an absolute violation of trust. That should be the last straw for you, and I hope that it is. It also goes back to what I mentioned about his breaking up with you releases you (and him) of any obligation to wait or continue a friendship. Clearly, he's well aware of what he's doing, grief or not. Grief is not an excuse to treat your loved ones like trash. It's blatantly clear he never had any intention of sticking around, he just didn't want to see you move on before he did and in his grief and confusion just played games to keep you from moving. I wouldn't trust anything he says going forward now that you're fully aware he actually conspired with your close friends to keep you in the dark about what he was doing. If you can, I'd suggest finding new friends and, I wouldn't trust your sorority sisters much either, especially considering it's one of them he's seeing. Be friendly and civil, but do not trust that they have your best interests at heart. But remember, you are broken up. Any words he said after should be taken with a grain of salt. Remove him from your life and do your best not to lash out at her or your mutual friends, after all, who knows what he's told them or her about why you broke up, or why he's doing this. You said he loves you, but I'm sorry, that isn't love. That's just blatant disrespect, game playing and lying. You deserve better than that. If you have counseling services on campus, I'd suggest talking with them to gain some clarity to help you move forward.

I was almost a junior in college when I found out my fiance Joe was cheating on me, and had been for months. And it was devastating. He then did similar things to me as yours has to you after we broke up and I believed his lies until I found out he was actually dating this girl (a 10th grade student at the local high school) that he cheated on me with, but was also telling her we weren't still in contact, even though we had been the entire time.

Please, DO NOT let him continue doing this to you. It is so painful, embarrassing and makes you feel awful about yourself. Do yourself a favor, cut all contact and move on. Don't be a pawn in his game anymore. Because that's all you are to him. And I'm sure he'll beg, plead, apologize and say he's sorry for hurting you: DON'T LISTEN TO HIM. HE. IS. LYING. TO YOU. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. I say, take that metaphorical cake and eat it your damn self. What a jerk.

Again, I'm so sorry you're going through this. You will move on eventually, graduate from college and in a few short years, look back on this with relief that you didn't stay with him any longer.

--Rae 

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5 hours ago, kphil said:

He still had been telling me every few days that he loved me so much and that we'd be together again after he took this time to himself, but I found out that a week after he broke up with me because he "wanted to be alone for a while," And he had all of our friends who knew keep this from me, and he was continuously lying to me. I had asked him so many times if there was another reason for this, and if there was anyone else, and he would swear on his DAD'S GRAVE that there was nothing going on with anybody else. How could someone do that? How could someone swear on their recently departed dad's grave, and be lying about it?

Was he lying to me to protect me and my feelings? Was he lying to me because he wanted to be single and do whatever the hell he wanted but still string me along until he was ready to be tied down in a relationship again after a few months? He couldn't even respect me enough to wait a month until after we broke up to move on and try and be with someone else. And he lied straight to my face about it this entire time, too. How could you do that to someone you love? I don't doubt that he loves me, that's one thing I know is true. But I don't understand how somebody could do that to someone. He told me just two days ago that he doesn't want me to have hope and wait for him, but he also doesn't want me to move on because he doesn't want us to be over, and he doesn't want to lose me...

Getting with somebody else just a WEEK after breaking up to "have some time to heal and be alone for a while" is one hell of a way to guarantee that he'll lose me.

Plain and simple: He was m/is lying to you to keep you around to soothe his ego and spare himself feelings of guilt for treating you so poorly. He said it himself as you stated, "he needs to be alone, but doesn't want us to be done." He doesn't want to be with you, but isn't sure of what he wants, and he probably likes this other girl, but isn't with her fully yet and is uncertain if he will be, so he's keeping you on the hook "just in case" that whole "being alone/single" thing isn't that great and he is unable to find a replacement. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

Joe did this exact same thing to me. He was only casually dating this girl for a few months (while we were still in contact) and once things became "official" with them, he disappeared and said "it was just too hard to stay friends with someone he's still in love with so we can't talk anymore." For those few months he still told me he loved me, but he was just confused about life and 'needed time' to be sure I was right for him. It was a blatant lie, he wasn't still in love with me, he was just using me until he got with her. Please, Don't let that be you. 

I'm sorry if my words sound harsh or callous, but it's the truth. Our situations sound way too similar for it not to be. And you need to hear this. My dad told me blatantly and to my face when I was bawling uncontrollably after all this happened in 2012-13, I was barely 22 at the time: "HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU. HE'S JUST A DUMB CONFUSED BOY AND HE'S USING YOU. YOU DESERVE BETTER, AND YOU WILL FIND IT. BUT FOR NOW BE BETTER FOR YOURSELF. Don't waste time on revenge or nonsense, just cry your tears, heal and then move on. Don't waste your life pining over some idiot who treats you like you're a dime-a-dozen when you treat him like he's the best thing that's ever happened to you. Move on."

--Rae :)

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kphil,

I have heard of this happening before.  Them using their parent's death as an excuse to break up because they're too cowardly to do it the right way and use the real reasons.  Grrr!  I'm glad you're angry about it and would not trust him again because he does not deserve it! 

To quote Rae, he's confused.  My ex was confused.  Her's was confused.  Their confusion shouldn't be our problem, it's their's to figure out.  I hope you can move on with your life, you deserve so much better!

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