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Blindsided and Broken Up with while my mother was sick with Covid


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I (29F) had been close friends with my now ex-boyfriend (36M) for close to a year before we began officially dating. We were together as a couple for 6 months. We met through my mother, as they were once coworkers who have since reconnected, and she invited him over for a few family gatherings because she thought he'd fit right in with us, and he did. We developed a great friendship, have many things in common (video games, the same books/fave authors, music, etc) and even though we disagreed on a number of things, were able to discuss them with civility and learn about the others viewpoints, as well as discuss topics (theology, politics, racism, web development, etc) one of us had more perspective or experience with than the other and learn about the subject matter. Due to our ongoing regular contact and fun times and conversations, our friendship continued to grow deeper. We discussed traumas, how we've changed since childhood, the types of childhoods and family units we had, how they affected our lives, and as a result our friendship grew vulnerable and intimate (not sexually or physically) and we developed a strong bond and connections.

One night while watching a movie, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. We talked about our expectations, what we wanted and needed from a relationship and the type of partner we both need. We had done this just as friends during casual conversations about past relationships, but went more into depth as we wanted to be sure we had the same goals. We both expressed the want for a long-term committed relationship and agreed to be exclusive. He was previously married for almost 10 years and has a child from that marriage. He has been divorced close to 3 years now. I had met his son on several occasions while we were still friends and began to bond with him, so he waited a few weeks to tell his son (8 years old) that I was going to be in his life more often than just for play dates.

His marriage was a very unhappy one and he expressed that he had began going to therapy to deal with the emotional abandonment and turmoil he had felt during their marriage due to their lack of communication, support, disconnection, lack of intimacy and sex, and overall complacency that resulted in him asking to divorce. I had been happily single, living life, working on my career goals/hobbies, working on myself, going to therapy and traveling for 5 years prior to our relationship. My traveling, hobbies, life perspectives, viewpoints, confidence, self-image and overall demeanor I have these days (thanks to a few years of intense therapy) are some of the things he had told me first attracted him to me romantically and made him want to pursue a relationship. Thanks to Covid, my travels had been put on hold and I had to switch jobs in 2020 due to being laid off. I am currently living with my mother because my job loss resulted in me being unable to afford my apartment.

The first 3 months we spent getting to know one another, bonding and becoming intimate. Due to Covid and the limited things we could do, we'd plan dates outdoors or get tested before we went to one another's homes. He told me he loved me 2 months in, and I said it too. After that, I began noticing his insecurities coming out in subtle ways and did my best to reassure him I wasn't going anywhere and that I loved him, found him attractive and wanted him. He attributed his issues and habits to his military service, deployments, and trauma, though as stated, he was/is working through them in therapy. He started bringing up my traveling and suggesting that I was going to leave/break up with him to travel, that I should just move to my favorite country because he wants me to be happy and knows that traveling is what makes me happiest. I had corrected him and said that my life was in a transitional period and I was going to start putting down roots, wanted a committed relationship, and wanted this relationship. I know that I cannot travel for months/years on end like I was and expect my SO to wait around for me to come back, that's not fair. But he brought it up numerous more times over 6 months. The last time I told him I was offended that he felt the need to assume he knew what was best for me or what I wanted more than myself.

On top of that, the slightest things would cause him to become upset, like, he forgot to turn the burgers on the grill one evening and started berating himself and said they were no longer edible (they were fine). When I would tell him he looked nice in the shirt he was wearing, he'd say no. He'd make comments about his lack of hair (he started balding in his 20s and now shaves his head) and I would tell him I like him bald. In bed, he'd climax and then apologize if I hadn't yet and then get upset with himself, he called himself a disappointment and failure multiple times. I told him I don't like it when he says things like this, and that if I were unsatisfied I would tell him and we could find a way around it. We were newly intimate, he'd only had sex with his wife before me, and we both hadn't had sex in over a year. While working he'd say he was bad at it if he didn't do something correctly or had to resubmit his work. I always told him I was proud of him and that he'll get better at his job. On a nearly daily basis he'd make self-depricating comments and often disguise them as jokes, I repeatedly asked him not to do that and reassured him I loved him.

Periodically, I would "check-in" and ask him if the pace of the relationship was comfortable for him and if he had any concerns or things he needed to discuss. I always gave him space to express his needs, told him that if he needed to talk or needed something to just ask or tell me, and made sure he knew I loved him and he'd express that he loved me back. He said the same to me, but rarely if ever actually broached this subject himself. During this time, we met one another's close friends, I developed a closer bond with his son, and we began making future plans and discussing longer term goals about where we wanted the relationship to go over time.

I am a very motivated person who does "daily affirmation" things, goes to therapy still just to maintain my center of self, mental health and discuss happenings in my life. I am this way because I was very self-destructive and angry when I was younger and it nearly destroyed my life and it partially had a hand in ending my LTR/engagement. I have spent the last 5 years rebuilding my life, figuring out who I was and what I needed from myself to become the person I am currently and want to be in the future.

As our relationship went on, he began to say he was out of shape (he used to run marathons and worked out daily while deployed). I liked his body and found him attractive, I told him that. I also told him if he wanted me to, we could work out or go to the gym together and do meal plans. I used to lift weights as a hobby because my ex-fiance was an amateur bodybuilder, and these days just do it to maintain strength and because I enjoy it. He said yes, but due to his work schedule and child care obligations, only made it to the gym a few times.

Fast forward to this past month. My mother was diagnosed with Covid and got really sick. I had to vacate our house because I tested negative and was just starting a new job. I packed up and booked a hotel stay. When I went to his house later that day to inform him he needs to be tested, he, his son and I all went together. We all tested negative. I told him I had booked a hotel stay and he offered to let me stay in his guest bedroom. I told him I didn't feel right about it and didn't want him to feel I was taking up his space, especially while his son was there for his week as I did not want to take away from their time together. He insisted I cancel my hotel stay and that I could stay in his guest bedroom for as long as I needed and/or my mother was sick. I was very upset and cried because I was scared for my mother, and felt bad that I was suddenly in his space and that they had to get tested because of my potential exposure. He told me he wanted me to be there and reassured me I wasn't intruding. I told him that if he needed me to leave to just say so and I would go to a hotel, he never did.

I had planned a trip to one of my favorite cities in the US some months earlier. He asked to come with me so we went together (we were both fully vaccinated by this time and still wearing masks, we got tested the day before we left and the day we got back). The trip was so much fun and we created some great memories. The day we got back from the trip, he explained to me that he had "felt a shift" in his feelings this past week (literally overnight he just randomly felt this way), he wasn't in love with me anymore, and wanted to go back to just being friends. I asked him why the sudden change and he refused to answer me with anything but "I don't know." I tried talking to him about it, I asked him questions and he said he couldn't answer them. Two days later, we talked F2F and he explained to me that he felt suffocated and pressured while I was staying in his house and that he only offered to let me stay in his house because he felt obligated to, and that the extra time we spent together on the trip drove him over the edge with it and his feelings just "turned off." He refused to elaborate what he meant, but then said that his job was stressful and that my travels were more important to me than him, and that he feels its best for me to go back to traveling, and he was too stressed out and confused to put any effort into continuing or exploring his feelings.

I felt betrayed, lied to, and like he was just using me. He reassured me he did want the relationship before, he just didn't know what happened to his feelings, he didn't know how to ask for what he wanted, and he didn't feel the need to try or fight for it because he was too stressed. He offered a consolation prize of friendship and is now upset with me because I refused to continue being friends. He looked at me like a deer in headlights when I said it wasn't fair to me and it was selfish of him to expect me to cast my feelings aside and do what he wanted. He violated and broke the relationship, he made commitments, promises, and encouraged me to bond with his child. He violated my trust, feelings, boundaries and acted like I should be grateful he wants friendship. He got upset with me and said "well what now? I just lost a great friend and the woman I loved..." I refuse to reward him for his cruel, shitty behavior toward me. All I tried to do was love him and build the relationship we agreed we both wanted to have together. What about what I lost? All he could say was "I'm sorry. I don't know what happened" and kept bringing up his job.

The depth of his cruelty was honestly astonishing to me as I never thought that even if we had broken up in the future, it'd be like this. He seems genuinely more upset I won't oblige his invitation of "friendship" than losing the relationship he was adamant he wanted and the woman he was in love with. I feel as though he doesn't think he did anything wrong and that I owe him friendship. He said to me "Well what about my son? He loves you, and he needs strong women role models like you in his life." My heart shattered. I love his son, but I cannot be friends with this man anymore. Not after such violations and complete disregard of my feelings. I would be doing myself a complete disservice if I did anything less than walk away and remove him from my life. And I have.

Looking back, I now see that I don't think he is actually taking his therapy seriously or putting in the work to better himself, as he had told me he was doing. There was little, if any real progress. He's also confused, deeply insecure, lost and doesn't take good care of himself. I talked to a mutual friend that's known him for years, they served together during deployment. She said he told her "He's better as a friend than a spouse, and doesn't deserve relationships because he can't "do" them right." She explained to me that he probably meant that literally after I had told her why he said he broke things off. She was appalled, dumbfounded and confused by his behavior, considering she was the first friend of his he told we were together, her family (husband and kids) and I developed a friendship and she was genuinely excited for us.

I know I will be okay in the end as I have myself, friends, a support system, therapy and my life to live. Where did I go wrong here? My heart is shattered, but I know I did the right thing in walking away. What do I do/say to him if he comes back? I know that the thing that broke my heart can't repair it and I will not go back to him.

--Rae

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Rae, I have read your posts to others for years and value, respect, trust your judgment.  Do not let this man shake your belief in yourself.  This was not something you could predict/see because he did not SHOW this coming!  No more than my ex-fiance showed it to me.  HE pursued me, HE asked me to marry him, HE had been married 30 years (only broke up because she was cheating), was close to his neighbors, had long time friends, had lived in the same neighborhood for years, was someone people could trust, count on, so I LOOKED for the right things (even did a background check which I was open/honest about).  Yet still I got my heart broke.  I felt all of the things you are feeling now.  Shocked, betrayed, heart broken.

I am so sorry you are going through this, it is not fair.  IT IS NOT FAIR!!!  

I know you will be okay because of what I do know about you.  But you will go through the same painful process we all do, you know it well already.  :wub:
Damn.  (((hugs)))

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Thanks Kayc.

What I don't understand is his desperate need to be friends. It is just selfish and completely self-serving, expecting me to cast my feelings and needs aside to give him what he wants. I cannot believe he actually thought I would agree to that because he so easily discarded a relationship he was adamant he wanted for months. He violated so many things, and then acted like his friendship would fix all of it because thats HIS comfort zone. He is confused, deeply insecure and frankly, undeserving of my friendship, time and love. All he is going to do is run through every womans life he dates with a wrecking ball and leave her as damaged and confused as he is. He refuses to confront himself and has basically made his own self-hatred and low self-esteem into an identity, and it was honestly scary seeing the depth of it. I have been where he is and I know you can work through it, but you have to want to, to try and put in the work. He's not ready to, or for a relationship. I believed he was working through it and that's why I stuck with him because everyone has issues and its okay to stick by and support/encourage them if they're doing the work to make themselves better. It's clear he just goes to therapy, but isn't actually doing the work. He could be a good partner, but he actively chooses not to be and stays in his comfort zone of self-hatred and loathing. He told me he's not a good boyfriend and is better as a friend. Uhm, if THIS is your idea of friendship, you're not a good friend either. He's not a bad person, he's just lost, confused, and admitted he doesn't know how to ask for what he needs. He is going to spend decades lonely because he prides himself on being guarded, hard-headed, stubborn and unwilling to bend. He said he wants to be better, but I don't believe that anymore. I think he just says it because he thinks it'll just happen or someone, like his girlfriend, will do the work and emotional labor for him. I deserve better than that.

--Rae

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Rae, my dear, I can only echo what Kay has said in her response to you. You are a decent, mature, sensible, compassionate, dedicated, sincere person, and you deserve so much more than this man is capable  of giving you. Your analysis of him and his issues is spot-on, and I hope the day will come when you can look back on this time in your life with relief and gratitude that you were wise enough to walk away from him. ❤️

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11 hours ago, MartyT said:

Rae, my dear, I can only echo what Kay has said in her response to you. You are a decent, mature, sensible, compassionate, dedicated, sincere person, and you deserve so much more than this man is capable  of giving you. Your analysis of him and his issues is spot-on, and I hope the day will come when you can look back on this time in your life with relief and gratitude that you were wise enough to walk away from him. ❤️

Thank you, Marty. And Kay for your words. I know I will be okay eventually and that I did what was best for myself. I know its no longer my concern, but I feel sad for his son. Both of his parents are proud, broken, stubborn people who feel they don't need to change and their problems will only be thrust unto that boy as he ages. He's bright, kind and spirited and his parents' problems only serve to dull his shine.

I have already begun to reconcile the relationship and realize that I was set up for failure from the start. I am doing surprisingly well for it only being a week. I think about it sometimes, but I am mostly neutral. No one will ever be good enough for him because he feels unworthy of love. Any relationship or feelings he may have in the future will be short and intense, until he just "turns off" and runs to the next supply of validation he seeks when the one he has gets worn out and exhausted from his needs.

Thank you guys, truly. For anyone else reading this who is in a similar relationship or situation: This is your sign to walk away. Choose yourself. Your future self will be grateful for it.

--Rae

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On 5/4/2021 at 6:09 AM, Rae1991 said:

It is just selfish and completely self-serving, expecting me to cast my feelings and needs aside to give him what he wants.

NO NO NO NO!  He can't always have what HE wants!  Time to put YOU first, to hell with him!  I'm sorry, I feel very strongly about this!  You are right, it IS selfish of him!

You are an amazing, wonderful, compassionate, SMART woman, anyone would be LUCKY to have you!  You don't need him!  So glad to hear you say the words, 

10 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Choose yourself.

 

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14 hours ago, kayc said:

NO NO NO NO!  He can't always have what HE wants!  Time to put YOU first, to hell with him!  I'm sorry, I feel very strongly about this!  You are right, it IS selfish of him!

You are an amazing, wonderful, compassionate, SMART woman, anyone would be LUCKY to have you!  You don't need him!  So glad to hear you say the words, 

 

Thank you, Kayc. You are one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever come across. You have helped hundreds of people on this blog with your advice, vulnerability and willingness to share so much of your life with strangers. I commend your depth of empathy and compassion, and ability to get through so much heartbreak and grief. Jim was lucky to call you his, and he should be grateful you've allowed him to stay in your life at all.

Something I noticed now that I have had time to reflect. He has Hero/Savior Complex. Always looking for validation through helping people and trying to solve their problems, even at great personal cost, so he can feel good about himself. When he offered the guest room, insisted I stayed and then used that as a reason for dumping me, it's exactly that. He saw I was wounded and rushed into help, then when I was "healed" and no longer needed it, felt resentment toward me. One time he said, "If you ever get the chance to move to Italy while we're together, I'd let you go and be happy for you that you are living your best life, and I'd come visit too..." Looking back on it again, Savior "white knight" nonsense. As if he's making some big valiant sacrifice in the name of love *eyeroll* I had my suspicions and looked up the definition and sure enough, almost every marker of it described him in some way. Some of the things he said about "letting me go so I can live the life I need....I deserve better than him.." when we talked F2F absolutely reeked of it too. "I'll never forget you, Rae..." Oh? You mean like how you just 'forgot' your feelings 2 days ago and are now dumping me? Am I supposed to be grateful for that consolation? No thanks, keep it. What a bunch of self-aggrandizing crap. The only thing he was right about is that I DO deserve better than him.

Ugh, he is a Mt. Everest of issues, most of which he has created for himself, but won't climb the summit and finally get over it. I absolutely dodged a bullet.

--Rae

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I look over the last 10 1/2 years that I haven't dated and I can see why!  I hadn't heard of the Hero-Savior Complex, but that makes sense!  He's probably not aware of it or what he's doing, just reacting how he feels in the moment.

Years ago my fiance broke up with me without a breakup or discussion, he just "stopped talking about" it, and started seeing others!  I call that cheating in my book.  I moved on.  Years later when I saw him he called me "a rescue operation."  I didn't let him get away with it, I called him out on it!  I told him the hell with that, he wined and dined me, HE proposed to me on bended knee, HE talked about going to Germany to get the family heirloom wedding rings (asked me to go with him!), the truth is he got cold feet, pulled back, dropped me like he dropped the subject, without the benefit of a discussion!  I had to learn to create my own closure, I was 23.  I'd thought he was Mr. Wonderful.  Nope.  He's 79 now and never married, still alone.

It's amazing to me how many bad eggs one can collect in a lifetime.  I consider myself a great catch, caring, devoted, loyal, hard working, good morals and values...how did I end up with so many heartbreaks?  I attributed it to not knowing how to pick them along with rushing into relationships too quickly.  Not any more!  I'll probably live alone for the rest of my life.  I've only encountered one in all these years that I'd consider and he hasn't shown interest, oh well!  I guess some things aren't meant to be!  All I know is, I've set my bar high and that's okay, I will never again "settle" or try to fit a square into a round hole!

What I notice in your current situation is, you are astute, you SEE what is happening, you're no dummy!  You're self-aware and you won't let someone BS you, I respect that!

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23 hours ago, kayc said:

I look over the last 10 1/2 years that I haven't dated and I can see why!  I hadn't heard of the Hero-Savior Complex, but that makes sense!  He's probably not aware of it or what he's doing, just reacting how he feels in the moment.

Years ago my fiance broke up with me without a breakup or discussion, he just "stopped talking about" it, and started seeing others!  I call that cheating in my book.  I moved on.  Years later when I saw him he called me "a rescue operation."  I didn't let him get away with it, I called him out on it!  I told him the hell with that, he wined and dined me, HE proposed to me on bended knee, HE talked about going to Germany to get the family heirloom wedding rings (asked me to go with him!), the truth is he got cold feet, pulled back, dropped me like he dropped the subject, without the benefit of a discussion!  I had to learn to create my own closure, I was 23.  I'd thought he was Mr. Wonderful.  Nope.  He's 79 now and never married, still alone.

It's amazing to me how many bad eggs one can collect in a lifetime.  I consider myself a great catch, caring, devoted, loyal, hard working, good morals and values...how did I end up with so many heartbreaks?  I attributed it to not knowing how to pick them along with rushing into relationships too quickly.  Not any more!  I'll probably live alone for the rest of my life.  I've only encountered one in all these years that I'd consider and he hasn't shown interest, oh well!  I guess some things aren't meant to be!  All I know is, I've set my bar high and that's okay, I will never again "settle" or try to fit a square into a round hole!

What I notice in your current situation is, you are astute, you SEE what is happening, you're no dummy!  You're self-aware and you won't let someone BS you, I respect that!

I wonder about that myself sometimes too, how I ended up befriending/dating so many careless, broken people. I have realized now it's because they want what we have: self-awareness, smarts, confidence, emotional maturity and IQ, and self-respect. As if these things just popped up one day in our lives and we didn't have to work to get them *eyeroll* So instead of doing the work themselves, I've found especially when it comes to men, they are taught and expect the women in their lives to give them these things and do the emotional labor for them in most aspects of the relationship.

My ex, at 36, has the emotional range of a teaspoon. He is 100% reliant on his feelings in fleeting moments to make massive decisions. He makes snap decisions based on how he feels during fleeting, temporary bouts of emotion. When the feelings are gone, so is he. He chases temporary emotional highs to feel valid and seen. He has no idea how to control himself, and feels it is everyone elses responsibility around him to perform the impossible task of doing his emotional labor work for him and give him what he feels he deserves: validation he is worthy. That, I have concluded, is why he was married. She was the only woman interested in him, he was deeply insecure, confused, young, and felt obligated because they were devoutly religious. So then it became her duty as his wife to make him feel worthy, and she inevitably failed because his worth does not belong to her and he gave her an impossible task. Likewise, she was not receiving from him what she needed to feel loved, heard and respected so she could return those things and neither of them got what they needed or learned how to love. Their marriage was a sad circus that left them both broken and lost. The one who will suffer most is their child.

"A rescue mission" yeah, he's Mr. Captain Save All the Women. What a hero. *eyeroll* He definitely "saved" them all by leaving them alone so they could find real men. 🤣 Boy bye!

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Wishing you the best going forward!:wub:

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