I broke up with my college boyfriend a few years ago, and then last year met “Mike.” he was everything I wanted in a man. he was smart, sexy, had a good job, and was amazingly, interested in me. We spent weekends and evenings together, and then made plans to get an apartment and eventually get engaged. But then Mike began to have “doubts.” He said we needed to take a break. I reluctantly agreed, because I wanted him to be sure that I was “the one.” Was I ever the fool! Mike met someone else and now they are engaged, and I’m alone. We broke up for good, and I’m devastated/ Don’t tell me that time is going to heal my wounds because I don’t think I’m ever going to have the courage or the interest to go ou there meet someone and fall in love again. And I hate dating!
Alison’s Take: You won’t believe me if I say that time heals all wounds, but for most people, that really is true. And who likes dating?! Dating is a process of elimination; disappointing until you find the one you want to be with that wants to be with you just as much. Then the fun begins, when you’re holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes and falling in love. Until then, it’s just a lot of unrealized expectations.
I know you feel bad. But no matter how much you wanted it to work out, on some level you know you are better off. There is no time limit on finding that amazing person life has waiting for you — the one you hoped for — he is still out there, and you need to find him and connect! Anyone with a heart and the capacity to love, has been part of the” club” that has had it broken. The only people who have never been hurt are those who cannot love. That in my estimation, is far worse than having a broken heart.
I give you high marks for letting Mike go on a break. You can’t hold someone forever under pressure. Even though he didn’t decide that you were the one for him, imagine if you hadn’t let him go, and he stayed out of obligation. After a while he’d be dissatisfied. He would blame you, and then eventually stray or stay and make your life miserable in other ways. Both of you deserve the partners you were meant to be with!
Which brings me back to your situation. Believe it or not, broken hearts, heal. Yours will, too. Meanwhile, you are not obligated to sit with a silly smile pasted on your face at a coffee date, or in a club. Meeting people when you are upset is not productive,. It is torture for you and unpleasant for the person who had hopes of connecting with you, only to realize you’re the “walking wounded.” Don’t push trying to meet the next “Mr. Right” until you feel reasonably ready. But you should get involved with things that matter to you. Volunteer for a cause. Spend time with your friends and family. Take up a new hobby, or get busy at the gym. Don’t let Mike victimize you into a sobbing, ice-cream guzzling mess just because he didn’t pick you. Work on being the best person you can be. Someone who is truly worthy of you will see you as the gem you are, and realize he can’t let you get away. It is only a matter of time, and attitude.
Tony’s Take: I know this is hard but be consoled that this did not happen after the wedding as it did with two female friends of mine . One’s husband went out for a pack of cigarettes and did not come back, and the other woman found him in bed, literally, with the best man!
Ultimately this type of breakup occurs because of lack of communication, specifically because he feels that you do not understand or “get him”. He is either so shy and inhibited to express himself, or he feels that you should automatically know and accommodate his needs without his having to say anything. When you do not actively involve him and solicit his ideas, he grows resentful, hurt and pulls away emotionally. He feels run over or railroaded, and when that happens, he’ll do things out of a sense of duty and obligation, but not because he wants to, or wants to make you happy. This happens for a number of reasons. Perhaps, for example, his last girlfriend was easy to get along with and very accommodating, but in contrast, you aren’t.
I have seen this situation occur most often with bright, strong willed women, who are paired with passive or very laid back men. As a bright strong willed person you must be extra sensitive to your partner and their real emotional and support needs. Just because they will agree with and your decisions for the most part, doesn’t mean you have an excuse to cut them out of the decision loop. You must remember that your partner may agree with you just to avoid a fight, but then resent it. In your situation, perhaps your boyfriend kept silent, and once he had a chance to take a break, he ran for good. The next time (and there will be a next time), be patient enough to really discuss things and listen to your partner and compromise, particularly when it is an issue that is really important to them. Their needs count, especially if you don’t want him to make a run for it and never return.
Bonus: We turned some of this post into a video! Tell us what you think of this?