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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:51 pm 
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This is a concern about someone else's relationship...

I am very good friends with a woman, let's call her D, who is responsible for me and my guy having ever gotten together in the first place. She is a wonderful friend--very giving, very caring, very supportive and helping, and so on. She has been dating P, a really great guy, for about three or four years now, and they moved in just about a year ago. P is a software engineer, and in some senses the stereotypical one--he doesn't think in terms of irrational emotions, but very logical and cause and effect and so on. That said, he is a truly sweet guy, incredibly generous, and has an OCEAN of patience the likes of which I have rarely ever seen in my life.

In the last six or so months, we've all watched D become incredibly unhealthy in her treatment of P. She is CONSTANTLY nagging him and yelling at him, to the point that "oh, D didn't hear because she was too caught up in scolding P" has become a group joke for why D didn't respond to someone trying to get her attention. She is constantly angry at him for something he did, but if he did the other thing, she'd be angry about that too--he can't win. She is incredibly liberal with his money--although admittedly he is more than happy to share his wealth around (he has paid for SO MANY things for me just so that I could be with people and enjoy things since he makes so ridiculously so much money, he loves to be generous with it since he can be) but she never shows appreciation or thanks him for his largesse. She just takes it for granted. She complains about his appearance. She complains about his behavior. She is constantly complaining about him to other people, as well as to him.

When smoothie posted the list on the previous page of abusive behaviors, I wanted to cry because so many of those things map to how she treats him. He is insanely patient and tolerant, but I know he's running out of patience, and if it weren't for some very major extenuating circumstances, he would have already dumped her--meanwhile, she's complaining about why he hasn't proposed to her yet.

I desperately want to say something to her, to broach the subject of how she is sabotaging a wonderful relationship with a once in a lifetime kind of guy, but I have NO IDEA how to bring it up. It's one of those horribly hard things that just needs to be said, but I don't know how to do it. I know that if I were treating my boyfriend the way that she treats P, I would want someone to call me on my horrible shiitake. She has called me on my shiitake before, and I appreciated it in hindsight. I want to do the same for her.

However, she has become so irritable and sensitive in the last six months that none of our other friends are willing to join me in talking to her. They all agree that she needs to treat P better and that she probably won't come to this realization on her own until it's too late, but they aren't willing to risk her anger to bring it to her attention. So if I bring this up, I'm bringing it up alone.

Help. Please help. I will feel like a horrible friend if she gets dumped by P and I didn't at least TRY to bring her to her senses. They BOTH deserve to be happier. They are wonderful people, and the depression and issues she is dealing with are causing her to destroy her relationship and I love her too much to let her just keep charging forward blindly like this.

How would you broach this kind of subject to an incredibly sensitive, incredibly defensive friend? (one of her biggest problems in the relationship is a dogged unwillingness to ever admit to doing wrong. AUGH.)

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:03 pm 
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Can you just ask her if she's been feeling well? Maybe something else is going on that is making her particularly sensitive, unrelated to her relationship, that she hasn't told you? I would try and stay really non-judgemental, and not assume that you have a message to give her ("you are messing up a great relationship with your nagging, ease up!") but just listen and see if there is something that is going on or support she needs.

You mention her depression. Is she seeing a counselor or therapist?

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:24 pm 
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I was going to say I'd probably not broach the relationship stuff straight away but tell her I was worried about her because she seemed really unhappy lately and ask what is going on, in the hope that conversation could lead to a place where you feel you could ask her how she feels whatever is bothering her is affecting her (at work, with friends, with P). Maybe she realises she's taking it out on him and such a heart to heart would allow a discussion which would seem like you empathising and trying to help her see a way through rather than seeming to criticise or judge.

If you can't steer a conversation close enough into her acknowledging there is a problem between them you might just have to bring it up more directly but I wonder if the way to approach it in that case is from being on her side, for example getting her onto a topic where she criticises him then asking whether she has fallen out of love and is thinking of leaving him. This might help focus her mind and if she is shocked at the thought of splitting up you can steer the discussion from there to tell her how her behaviour appears from the outside, ask if P is unhappy etc.

Have you spoken to P about it? Is it possible he as done something (like had an affair) where he has to accept her being angry with him? Could this have happened without her confiding in any of you?


Last edited by rentaghost on Sun May 19, 2013 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:33 pm 
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She is dealing with depression, and we've talked some about that, but it always loops back around to how P is doing something wrong/making her unhappy/etc. I've mentioned that maybe getting back into the work force (she was unemployed due to a disability and is now slowly working toward getting back to work) will help her relationship issues.

She's seeing both a therapist AND a relationship counselor with P, but she talks about how "P said this during counseling today... he's obviously lying about his feelings, and that's not solving our problems!" or "P said this today, but his definition is WRONG, so we can't fix things until he understands what that really means!" or "All we do in counseling is sit there while P attacks me and the counselor says that's important! Why do I have to take that? We need a new counselor who isn't against me!"

I'm trying to figure out a way to broach the subject without making her feel attacked.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:43 pm 
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I added a bit to my post while you were typing but I'm not sure it's relevant now. If they are having couples counselling it means she presumably is aware of the problems and they are discussing them there. In these circumstances I'm not sure there is much you can do except gently state your opinion in the conversations you do have with her about this, if she says something you don't agree with about P's character, motives or the process. Also perhaps say if she thinks P is lying in counselling she needs to challenge him in front of the counsellor otherwise it is all pointless. You may think she is wrong about him lying but the point of raising it is for the counsellor and P to know this is what she is thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:44 pm 
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It sounds like you're being a really good friend, and listening to her and being non-judgmental. And they are in counseling, which shows that they have some commitment to working things out.

That said, there are times when someone just isn't ready to listen to you, or is so entrenched in their point of view that they get very defensive and might not be able to hear what you have to say. If all your mutual friends have talked about this and agree that she just can't hear you.... yikes.

rentaghost makes a great suggestion about talking to P, if you don't think you can get through to your friend. But that can bite you in the butt, if she finds out about it and thinks you're ganging up on her or going behind her back. I do like the suggestion about encouraging her to raise her issues with P in session.

Personally, I would probably just say what I felt I needed to say, with the knowledge that she might get incredibly angry with you and cut you out. And I think I would need to say "I love you very much, I think you're a wonderful person and a very dear friend but at the moment, I don't feel comfortable with the way you treat P around us." I wouldn't go into that she is risking a great relationship etc, because that may not be her experience, but you can definitely speak your truth in "I" statements. But thats because I don't do well with not speaking my mind though, and that isn't right for everyone. Its really hard to know that you don't have a guarantee that she isn't going to get really upset here.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:54 pm 
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I was under the impression that couples counsellors generally won't take on people having individual therapy and you have to take a break from the therapy if you want to go. I know therapists can be quite rigid on boundaries but might her therapist be willing to do a few sessions with her and P? This is someone who knows her well and who presumably she considers to be on her side? It may also help that therapist in the ongoing work with D to meet P and see the dynamic between them in reality.

If you don't feel you can say what you want to say as Tofulish suggests what about trying to deflect things when there is an incident in your presence with a 'hey come on guys' or 'P didn't mean it like that' or 'let's not ruin the evening' sort of approach.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 8:35 am 
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Oof, DC, that's rough. I don't really have anything to add (I'm so nonconfrontational that I would just cringe my way through it, wishing I had the guts to say something to her), but I think that rentaghost and tofulish both have good advice. I suppose that P has already spoken to her about her behavior towards him? I know the feeling of being constantly criticized and it forking sucks and I feel for the dude. I hope that your friend's depression will get better so that the good aspects of their relationship can shine again.

I had a long talk with my mom about T this weekend. She seems to now have a better understanding of him. She was very concerned that he has not had many serious relationships and that he has never lived with anyone. But I just know that if he had been married or something, she would be concerned as well. No winning there. But she has given me the advice to take things very slow. I've been rolling around the idea of us moving in together at the beginning of next year. Just wondering how the conversation would go. My lease is up in January, and who knows what things will be like in 6 months. We'll have been together for 9 months at that point, which I'm not sure is long enough to move in. I've always rushed that in the past and don't want to this time, and I especially want to give him time and space since that is something very new to him. But then to sign another year's lease...I mean, that's a whole year! Which my mom says isn't that long, but maybe when you're (at that time) 45 and 31 it seems like it is? Anyway, I know it's important for both of us to retain our personal space whether we live together or not. But what if he wants me to move in, and I don't think I'm ready? I'm not going to do it if I'm not ready, but will he take it so personally that it puts up a wall between us? Why on earth am I thinking about this right now? It's so far off! I hate my planning, type A brain sometimes.

But so he came over last night once I got home and kept telling me how much he missed me, and he seemed really surprised and embarrassed about it. Like, he said, 'It's stupid, I know, but I just really, really missed you.' And I'm like, 'Dude, it is not stupid! I missed you too! I mean, it's no secret that you like me and like being around me, so it's normal for you to miss me.' And he agreed, but I really think he is just constantly surprised by his feelings towards me. It's a little adorable. I mean, he's not being mean about it, he's just surprised that he can feel these things when he had decided not to feel them ever again. This morning he told me it felt like I'd been gone a week...a month even. I have never been missed like that...it feels pretty incredible. And I missed him too, of course! I was occupied the entire time with my family, but he was never far from my mind. On Saturday I composed a photo journal of everything I did that day and sent it to him in an email that evening, since we couldn't talk about our days like we usually do every evening. My cousin says we're disgusting, haha...

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 8:55 am 
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DC, it sounds like P needs to put the boot in and dump D. Sometimes that's the kindest thing you can do, and I bet they'd both be happier in the long run.

Given that, if it were me, I'd probably just bow out and hope that P does what needs to be done in a quick and as-kind-as-possible way.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 9:16 am 
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AP don't be thinking about what he would say if you weren't ready to move in together in 7 months time - you'll drive yourself crazy! Just enjoy the here and now, the beginning stage you're in really is one of the best bits and it's short and you'll never get that back once you go into the long term relationship territory, so savour it!

Also might it be possible to renew the lease 6 monthly rather than a year?


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 9:21 am 
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jordanpattern wrote:
Given that, if it were me, I'd probably just bow out and hope that P does what needs to be done in a quick and as-kind-as-possible way.


Me too. I've been there watching a friend-couple go from good to bad to Worst Ever and every once in a while someone would throw in a "hey, maybe that's not fair" and it didn't matter because they were already so far in it, they had no idea what being fair was any more. Eventually they both cheated on each other and broke up and now everything is super awkward and sad, but good god did that need to be done and I'm glad I didn't get too far into their relationship and make any enemies, it was hard enough on them without that.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 9:51 am 
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I think it's that time of the month because I got super weepy and lonely last night. I just need to vent I think. I'm kind of sad this morning.

I pride myself in my transparency with my feelings, so all this stuff I'm about to say just bothers me about myself. I don't like that I'm having these feelings and I'm freaking annoyed above all else.

So I had a hook up with a guy who was my brother's friend recently and have been expecting that this kind of hookup is just going to keep happening I guess (so I wouldn't have to feel lonely). I had my chances this last weekend-I was out dancing and there were guys all over the damn place giving me the ok, go. But it just seems SO POINTLESS. I've realized that though the one night stand thing can be fun, I really am looking for a partnership, because that sort of thing is ten times more rewarding than the hooking up stuff. And I see how it could work with someone in the long term.
I've been having feelings like there's no one out there for me, feeling lonely and talking down to myself. When really, the world is at my feet. I'm not tied down to anything right now, which is great to think about. The sound of going back into something like me and my ex had sounds horrible, and I DO NOT want to do that again, as much as I love him. He's a great guy, but yeesh. Done with that for now.

In light of this, I have a couple of hurdles this week: I am probably going to be seeing my ex this week. He has a couple of my things. The last time we did this break up make up thing last year, I got roped right back in.
I need strength. I don't want to settle for less than I deserve anymore. :( I'm sick of doing that-it's been causing me a lot of heartache.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:25 am 
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sarahnorine wrote:
The last time we did this break up make up thing last year, I got roped right back in.

Is there anyone who can be with you when you see him? That would keep things more matter of fact and make it harder for anything like that to happen again.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:48 am 
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rentaghost wrote:
sarahnorine wrote:
The last time we did this break up make up thing last year, I got roped right back in.

Is there anyone who can be with you when you see him? That would keep things more matter of fact and make it harder for anything like that to happen again.

This is a good idea! I will see who's available.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:56 am 
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sarahnorine, definitely take someone with you! And stay strong. You do deserve better! And if the hookups aren't what you want right now, then just don't do it. In my experience, when what I really want is a partnership and I just hook up with guys instead, it makes me feel even lonelier than if I was just plain alone.

rentaghost, you're totally right! I'm trying not to think about it, because who knows! One of my personal goals is to really learn to live in the moment, and while I've been doing pretty well, sometimes I slip into future-thought-mode. I don't think I can do a 6 month lease renewal, it doesn't say I can in my original lease, but it's worth asking about when/if that time comes. This is the first place I've lived that doesn't automatically switch to a month-by-month lease after a year, and it's a little irritating.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:00 am 
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allularpunk wrote:
sarahnorine, definitely take someone with you! And stay strong. You do deserve better! And if the hookups aren't what you want right now, then just don't do it. In my experience, when what I really want is a partnership and I just hook up with guys instead, it makes me feel even lonelier than if I was just plain alone.



YES. THIS. Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:26 pm 
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I'm having a really hard day. I can't understand why you would just up and leave someone and not at least talk or argue about whatever was bothering you. I was thinking about how he's graduating college today and I can't be there for him. I don't understand why he hates me so much and so much of what he says just doesnt make sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:03 pm 
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I know I can always count on the PPK for good insight. Thank you, guys. I am going to mull a bit. Feelings are so complicated!

Fupa, there is no rhyme or reason to what he did. I doubt that he hates you, but the fact that he discarded you so thoughtlessly means that he most definitely doesn't deserve for you to be there for him! He ought to be excited and proud to have you at his side, and since he's not, he very much deserves to spend the day without you there.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Wow. Having such a hard time. As I posted upthread, I heard from the ex-bf. He was the only reason I was staying here in CO, was unhappy about everything else. We reconnected and had the best day ever yesterday. I'm leaving in 2 weeks, so we've decided to make the best of them and keep in touch when I move.

I'm having major second thoughts about leaving. I always run back to Seattle when things aren't going well somewhere else. I wish I would have had the foresight to have a huge heart-to-heart with him instead of just breaking up with him in an email and putting in for my new job. He said he knew we needed a break but couldn't voice it, and our 2 weeks apart were really hard on him too. I know our contact will lessen greatly as soon as I'm gone, but he assures me nothing is finite.

I'm struggling with whether to see him these next 2 weeks or not. I know if I don't I'll really regret it, yet on the other hand, every time I see him now it's all I can do to keep the tears away and a little piece of my heart breaks every time. He told me I'm a flighter, not a fighter, and it's so true. I feel like I self-sabotage so much all the time. He's not willing to do long-distance, and that would be too much for me, too. I guess I just feel like he's the one that's getting away, the one I'm meant to be with. I know I've posted about my struggles with him, but to be fair, I didn't communicate my issues with him as much as I should have. I feel like I'm in a never-ending cycle.


Last edited by ScooterDiva on Mon May 20, 2013 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:47 pm 
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DarthCupcake wrote:
Fupa, there is no rhyme or reason to what he did. I doubt that he hates you, but the fact that he discarded you so thoughtlessly means that he most definitely doesn't deserve for you to be there for him! He ought to be excited and proud to have you at his side, and since he's not, he very much deserves to spend the day without you there.


This. Plus YOU deserve someone who is excited and proud to have you at his side!

Fupa, we don't really know each other but I see you around the boards and you seem like an awesome person. I've been seeing you struggle with this breakup on this thread and my heart goes out to you. I know others have said this, but you deserve so much more than you were getting in this relationship.

I know what I'm about to say is easier said than done, but my love life got so much simpler when I decided that one of the non-negotiable qualities I was looking for in a partner was that they wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with them. There's a lot I'm willing to compromise on, but that's not one of them. And neither should you. You deserve no less than someone who is unambivalent about wanting you in their life! (As does everyone!)

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:50 pm 
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Oh SD, I am so sorry. I think you need to block his number and cut all ties.

I just think its a bit of a mindgame to wait until he hears you're leaving and then be in touch and be lovely to you and string you along a bit more. You were together for quite a while, and it sounded like he never fully was committed to you - he kept on distancing himself when you came near and coming close when you would pull away. And when you opened your heart about why you wanted to break up, he didn't answer your concerns or offer to do better then. He just said "Oh okay."

Sorry to be blunt, but I think this guy is a bit manipulative and not very considerate of your heart and you deserve way better.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Thanks tofulish. Hindsight is so hard when you're stuck in the middle. I guess if he really thought I was the one, he'd be asking me not to go - but he knows I'm not happy here and he has always told me I need to find my own happiness. And it's really not fair for me to make him the one thing that makes me happy.


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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:44 pm 
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Yeah, I'm with Tlish. It sounds like you're retroactively making excuses for/rationalizing things he did while you were together that made you really unhappy, and he hasn't offered any solutions to any of those problems. Frankly, he sounds like an asparagus who plays games, and you deserve better than that. Moving back to Seattle sounds like the smart thing to do, not the cowardly thing. Why stick it out in a place you hate for a guy who only makes you happy 15% of the time you're with him and tells you what you should and shouldn't do? Life is too short for that. Move to a place you want to live, and go from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:50 pm 
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ScooterDiva wrote:
He said he knew we needed a break but couldn't voice it, and our 2 weeks apart were really hard on him too.

Then it looks like you both wanted a break and that it is a good thing. Even good break ups that need to happen will be hard on a couple. That does not mean anything except that breaking up is emotionally difficult. I think a lot of people interpret that to mean the need to get back together or they were meant to be together. A big change like that is hard but it doesn't mean it isn't good.

ScooterDiva wrote:
I'm struggling with whether to see him these next 2 weeks or not. I know if I don't I'll really regret it, yet on the other hand, every time I see him now it's all I can do to keep the tears away and a little piece of my heart breaks every time. He told me I'm a flighter, not a fighter, and it's so true. I feel like I self-sabotage so much all the time. I guess I just feel like he's the one that's getting away, the one I'm meant to be with. I know I've posted about my struggles with him, but to be fair, I didn't communicate my issues with him as much as I should have. I feel like I'm in a never-ending cycle.

From what you posted here it seems like you were both using each other for different reasons that didn't have a lot to do with enjoying each other and respecting each other. I'd take what I've learned this time and use it to move forward. When you get your move complete, work on yourself and not a romantic relationship so that you can meet someone who works with you instead of being co-dependent. There's no such thing as the "one" you're meant to be with. Pshaw. Why make your "heart break every time" you see someone? You need to be kinder to yourself. There's hard work ahead but that's when you stiffen the sinews and make the charge.

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 Post subject: Re: Relationship advice, decisions, smiles or tears
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 5:00 pm 
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Chip Strong
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Location: Albany, NY
pandacookie wrote:
Even good break ups that need to happen will be hard on a couple. That does not mean anything except that breaking up is emotionally difficult. I think a lot of people interpret that to mean the need to get back together or they were meant to be together. A big change like that is hard but it doesn't mean it isn't good.

These are super wise words.

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