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FlGrl823

Have a hard time moving on after breakup

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A few months ago I met a man online and had a brief relationship with him (about 4 months) up until his father was diagnosed with lung cancer which had metastasized to his shoulder bone. (They discovered the cancer when doing a scan for his shoulder fracture)

Things we’re going really well in our relationship or at least I thought they were. We laughed all the time together,  talked on the phone every night when we didn’t see each other (he worked a late shift) and started officially dating a couple months after meeting each other. He spent a lot of time with me and my daughter, I met his friends and he even told me he wanted to take me back home to meet his family (his family lives in a different state than we do).

When he found out his Dad had a mass on his lung, things started to change. He seemed rather numb, disinterested in wanting to talk (less texts/calls), less  affectionate and we didn’t see each other much. This went on for about 2 weeks. The last time we hung out I could tell something was bothering him. He seemed rather cold and then didn’t call me the next day like he said he would. 

He sent me a text a day later saying that he doesn’t think he can date someone right now and that he was having a hard time adjusting to me having a kid. And that it wasn’t something he wanted in his life while his Dad is ill. I’m not sure if he was using that as an excuse or not because he got along with my daughter just fine (she will be 4 soon). 
I sent him a mature response telling him I understand it’s a lot to take on right now, that I don’t have any expectations and I’m here if he needs anything. 

He ended up sending me another text the next day apologizing and how he appreciates everything I did for him. And that he couldn’t commit full time to a relationship. He also said his mind is thoughtless and he has no motivation to do anything except go to the gym everyday. 
He then said he wanted to hang out in the future and offered to help pay for a internet service which I let him use freely before. I guess I’m not sure what to think about all of this. I’m trying to be patient— It just hurts a ton. He has maybe texted a couple times for trivial things such as letting me know he sent money for our bill. Other than that I’m left to wonder if he’s moved on and there’s no hope? It’s awful because I care a lot about him and want to be there for him. I know he and his Dad have a complicated relationship which may be why he’s not handling this very well. It also hurts because he reactivated his dating profile on the site we met (I also used this for a little bit in attempt to move on which didn’t work). 

It’s tough and I’m finding it very difficult to move on. I would like to be there for him, but it seems like he needs his space at the moment. Any advice would help tremendously!

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No it's not an excuse...it's classic grief response from a certain percentage of grievers.  My fiance broke up with me by Fed Ex when his mom was dying.  

Honestly, I would want someone I be with to go through thick and thin with me, not disappear when life got tough because it's guaranteed we will go through really tough times AND loss.  I've had more loss than I can list but I wouldn't dream of casting aside the people that meant the most to me in life because of it.  Not saying they can help how they feel or respond, just that that is not MY grief response, nor would I want a partner with that response.

Trust me when I tell you it's not you, it's him.  And if it makes you feel any better, he can't help it.

If you read all of the threads in this section you will notice a pattern...and that pattern does not lend hope for the relationship, I'm sorry.  99.9% of the time they're gone for good.  My ex and I are friends today but he's never tried to get me back in the 9 1/2 years since.  It was clear to me he was confused and didn't know his own mind long after she died.  I guess you can consider ours a success story because we came through it with a good friendship, but anything else is long gone.

It's also possible for them to be able to be friends with others or even date, which makes no sense to us.  At one point he indicated he felt guilty for the time we'd spent together in the year before she died, even though it was natural to do so and he'd had no indication she was ailing.  He accepted help from friends/neighbors, even his XW, but not me.  I was blindsided and baffled, but there it is, my story and so many others' stories as well.

I'm sorry for all it's putting you through.  Advice...don't pressure him, anything can be construed as pressure, even just seeing how he's doing.  Respect his space when he requests it.  Focus on YOU and let him focus on him.

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Thank you so much for your advice and response Kayc. I really appreciate it. This is very helpful.
 

I’m also really sorry to hear about what happened with your ex and that is an awful way for him to end things. I agree that the type of people who choose to push the ones they’re closest to away during these types of situations wouldn’t be a good partner in the long run. I need to come to terms with that.

My ex seems to have more of an avoidant attachment style based on what I previously know about attachment theory and I could tell he found it hard to let people in. It’s possible your ex may also have an avoidant attachment style. 

It’s unfortunate that even after everything you do for them, you feel somewhat disposable and taken for granted. Doesn’t sound like they intended to hurt us, but it’s hard to get over the fact they seem to move on so easily. And you’re right- they’re okay with hanging out with friends and dating. Maybe it’s less pressure and lower expectations? It hurts nevertheless they won’t let us in. 

 

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I think Maya Angelou is credited for this, and I try to remember it: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

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This is a great quote Kieron and thank you for sharing this. This is very true. It would be very difficult to trust someone again who can leave during difficult times. 

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I've heard Dr Phil say that too, he may got it from her.  I love her writings.

My ex was Aspergers and avoided conflict if at all possible.  You've got it right.  He's a wonderful person, just not great relationship material.

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