- 9 months ago
TL;DR: A person I was dating, whom I loved but wasn’t sure about marrying, broke up with me. I am regretful about some things I did/said in the relationship. It has been three months and it feels like the regret might kill me, and I am suffering from debilitating anxiety. I am doubtful of meeting anyone else I like as much. How have you moved forward? Have you found another partnership?
First time posting. About a year and a half go, I met a wonderful fellow. We instantly hit it off, laughed at each other’s jokes, and enjoyed each other’s company. He had to move away from our town for a few months, but we kept in touch, eventually I went to visit him, and we became a couple, with him moving back to our town (we didn’t live together). There were some red flags – at 33 (I was 27) he had never had an intimate relationship (which meant we had almost no sexual spark), he was somewhat emotionally closed off, and I wasn’t sure we were connecting on a ‘deeper’ level – I care a lot about being active, working hard at work, and volunteering, and he’s very content to enjoy his weekends doing sports, seeing friends and watching TV. After a difficult long-distance breakup the year prior, and some lacklustre online dates, I was incredibly excited to meet someone I really liked and valued, and hoped we’d make it work. However, I soon found myself getting frustrated with him – he was messy, very stubborn, very ‘odd’ in ways, very passive, not at all sexual, and somewhat hard to be with – while at the same time incredibly kind to friends, funny, and thoughtful. On an emotional level, I very much liked him and felt love towards him; on a rational level I was not sure, at least for the first 6 months. I found myself nagging him; once or twice I think I yelled at him, and I would sometimes be either irritable or critical of him or other people. I even discussed whether we should break up – this was a bad idea and premature, but it was on my mind. (These are dynamics I saw growing up, and I very much regret them now, but I’m aware of them and am making a conscious effort to avoid behaving that way in the future.) Situationally, I had quite a bit of stress at work, and some difficult things at home (mother’s substance abuse and depression), so I was often just sad and his presence was incredibly comforting. I found myself wondering if this was what love felt like, whether this felt right, but I knew I really liked and respected him, more than I’ve liked almost any of my other boyfriends, so I wanted to make it work. I told him I loved him because I felt that way. He didn’t say it back.
Eventually, about 3 months ago, he took me for a walk and told me he never fell in love with me. Even though I had known things felt like they were missing, the bottom fell out of my world. I asked him whether he thought the we were breaking up due to problems in my communication, and he said that no, he just never got as close as he wanted and felt like we wanted different things – at some point he realized he wasn’t in love and wasn’t going to be. He is very kind, so I am not sure if he would tell me that I am a terrible person even if he thought so, but he’s told me several times that he thinks well of me and would be open to being friends in the future.
However, nothing seems to be helping me get out of the hole. Since, I’ve spoken to both psychologists and friends, I stay active, I’ve even been on a date with a nice person, but I can’t shake suicidal and anxious thoughts, and it’s gotten to the point where I basically can’t function. A large part of me thinks I sabotaged this relationship by being a bad communicator, and I worry that this is somehow inherent to me and that I will sabotage every other relationship, even despite all conscious efforts not to. I very much admired this person and worry that even if I found someone else, I wouldn’t admire them as much as I admired my ex. It seems that in retrospect I’m idealizing him, but I can’t seem to stop. Though I’m not particularly wedding-minded (I could happily live in a non-married partnership), I’m also terrified that I’m getting to the age where finding a partnership will be hard. If this story resonates with you – what helped? How did you get out of this situation? How did you stop hating yourself for things you did wrong in the past? How do I move on and eventually find someone else?