Break up, yep.
November 4, 2010 5:34 PM Subscribe
Break-ups and the future: how to proceed?
posted by anonymous to human relations (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am 26. My (ex) boyfriend is 28. We had been together for about 8.5 years, since I was 17 years old. I have recently moved to a different country for a job until next spring. For the past few years, I began having doubts about our relationships. My concerns included:
+ After going out with someone so long, do I really know myself? How do I know this is the right person for me? I kind of missed out on the whole dating scene and considered that it might benefit me to have other partners at some point. I also wanted to spend some time on my own, just to become a little more independent and be able to take care of myself.
+ I was also concerned about my boyfriend's lack of a job. He has had a few odd jobs over the years, but nothing more permanent. He is very creative and has many hobbies but doesn't like the idea of a desk job (which, as a creative person, I understand). I worried about him supporting himself in the future, if we were together. Unfortunately, his mother passed away in the past year and he is currently living at home with his father. He has not had a lot of job experience and is therefore not qualified for many positions. He has applied for a number of jobs and internships but has not been successful (and has been inconsistent in applying).
+ Even after such a long relationship, I was not ready to live together or get married. I think this is because of the two previous reasons: not being 100% sure I was with the right person, and worrying about his ability to support himself (and in the future, a family). That part really scared me. I didn't want to be responsible for supporting him financially.
+ We both become easily stressed. I often react to stress with more stress, which has been extremely unhelpful especially when the (ex) boyfriend was already having a hard time. Because of this, some of our interactions often often turned sour. This is something that we can both work on individually.
Despite all those doubts, I loved and love this person deeply. He has been extremely patient and forgiving and understanding through the years. He is a creative genius. He is very intelligent. He and I had a very romantic beginning and felt a special connection right away. We make a great pair in many ways. I'm not going to stop loving him, no matter what happens. The relationship was very good in many ways, but the doubts above still worried me.
Recently, I decided that ending things would be the best idea. I'm in a new country and it seemed like a logical time to try being on my own. I know this is the right decision. The problem lies here: I would like to date other people and experience that part of life that I sort of missed out on while we were together. I would like to know what it feels like to be a single person for the first time. I would like to grow up a little bit without becoming dependent on someone else and without being so influenced by someone else. However, I have the feeling that this relationship could potentially continue at some point in time. Some changes would have to be made on both sides, of course, but we have such a strong history and the love is still very much there.
I know that it is inappropriate to be a "free" person and go on dates while your former significant other waits for you to decide what you really want- and I don't plan on doing this. I want this breakup to be the real deal because it will be painful for both of us if we make some vague plan to continue our relationship after I return next spring.
The main idea is this: I need space. I need to be on my own. I need to go on a few dates. But someday, in the future, I think this relationship could potentially exist again. I can't plan on it, though, and neither can my (ex) boyfriend (for the record, he would like to stay together). Any sort of planning will just cause stress and potential disappointment, I think.
Is this possible? I feel like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it, too. I feel selfish. But maybe I should just tell myself that it's over for good (as hard as that is) and if we eventually get back together, it will be a nice surprise. How can I approach this, both in my mind and when talking to the (ex) boyfriend?
I will understand if I get some not-so-nice responses. I just can't quite figure out how to approach this.