How to trust myself again to believe in love?
September 22, 2012 12:31 PM   Subscribe

The break up I recently is making me confused and it has shattered my confidence. I would like to know what happened, how falling in love is meant to be in reality and how to get back my confidence.

I met a guy on a dating website and we emailed for at least 3 weeks before meeting face to face and the conversation was going on pretty well. We both were interested in getting to know each other. We kept contact and met again and things went on quite well and after 1 month, we were officially going out as a couple.

I was very happy and was already in love/infatuated with him because although we were already describing ourselves as girlfriend and boyfriend we never said “I love you” but we both liked each other and were happy together.

Some things that caught my attention: He often talked about his ex that he is still friend with and also he thinks that he still has a duty of care and responsibility towards her because they were together for 8 years. The reason they broke up was because she cheated. When he talked about their happy moments he seemed to unconsciously smile and when he talked about the painful moments he wanted to cry. He described his previous relationship as him being a dog and chasing after his master.

I was then suspicious and question his feeling towards her and he always said that he did not love her anymore and it is over. I trusted him.

However just after one month, he wanted to talk suddenly; he then said that we had to break-up. I was in shocked and did not know what happened. The2 reasons he gave for going away:

-His Ex’s parents came to talk to him about her depressed daughter that he left for a new relationship. They told him why he leaved their daughter who is now living alone. He felt extremely guilty and sad for the girl and told me that we cannot be together because he still has a duty of care for her ex and it should not be the case in a normal relationship.

-He did not feel the high and intense emotions that he was seeking with me. He said that it is a strong emotion that he felt instantaneously with his ex and it lasted for 8 years. He said that he started our relationship without this high feeling of emotions but he still wanted to give love a chance. One month was it for him.

How come everything was fine on Sunday and then suddenly Monday night all changed?

We went back together 2 days later after I asked him to give us a second chance; for love to grow between us because we were happy together and liked each other. It lasted for another week then he wanted to end it. But why did he come back even thought he didn’t have this feeling to start with?

I am having confusing thoughts about what happened. Things that happened which I still don’t understand. Can you please explain the following to clear my mind?

-When we were together early in the relationship: he offered me to join a trip with his friends next year. He presented me to his parents. He called me darling and was very romantic, went out of his way to woo or meet me. One day after I woke up, I found him literally crying and he then said that he was so happy and there was stuff that we did together that never happened with his ex.

-Even after our first break up a week later he surprisingly asked me about what type house I would like to live in and he said that it matches his preferences and he would be glad if we could build it together. Then he ended our relationship days after.

I am still feeling depressed, unmotivated and hopeless as when he left me the first time, I lost all my confidence. I really do not know how to get it back and it's been going on for weeks now. I did not see that break up coming and it was a shock to my system. I am finding it hard to believe in love now and most importantly, to believe in myself again.

Thank you for reading.
posted by home to Human Relations (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
He's rebounding. His feelings seem so confused and unstable because they *are* confused and unstable. You aren't going to get any sort of straight answer out of him, you just need time and to accept that it wasn't right.
posted by zug at 12:35 PM on September 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

Unfortunately you're going to have to be the one who is strong and sticks to your convictions, because he isn't going to be able to do that -- you two could wind up going back and forth on this see-saw for a long time.

His behavior is basically unacceptable. He has been careful to present his reasons in a way that absolves him of responsibility for leading you on during a time when he clearly wasn't ready to move on with someone new -- but it still stinks to high heaven and you have my permission to not accept these excuses from him. You don't have to be rude or angry to him, you can simply reject his version of the truth (which is very self-serving).

Anger will serve you better than jealousy or grief in this situation. You were wronged. This should not have happened to you. You don't owe him any sympathy, comfort, or affection -- look how badly he has handled what you've given him already.
posted by hermitosis at 12:54 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't forget to laugh, ok? Relationships gone wrong are the source of a lot humor, and everyone's had these experiences. I love to watch Patrice O'Neal clips when I'm feeling down.

Men and women are really complicated. Nothing is really that straightforward. One of the most painful relationship experiences I've ever had involved someone raising the stakes really high early on and then calling it quits, and marrying someone else shortly thereafter.

I'm gonna say, real relationships aren't founded on working through this type of stuff. The right people for you are available and uncomplicated. The only question here is how willing you are to stay in a place of suffering. If you're not good at setting boundaries, perhaps this would be a good time to try setting one, and see if someone better comes along. (I promise you, someone will.)
posted by phaedon at 12:56 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

First, I'm sorry you're going through this. *hugs*

I think it's pretty natural to talk about your long-term-exes, especially soon after a break-up. I'd say it's even pretty normal to seem happy/smiling when doing so. She was a huge part of his life, and it's difficult to just shut that down immediately upon breaking up. Probably a good 60-80% of his meaningful experiences over the last 8 years involved her. Even if he hates her now and has no feelings for her, he's still going to have fond memories.

With regards to the breakup - I wouldn't take any of this personally. He probably hasn't got a clue what he wants, or why. It takes time to get over major breakups. One day you think, YES I'M READY TO MOVE ON! And the next - BAH WHAT AM I DOING?

Has he acted flakily? Yes. Has he acted sort-of-shittily to you? Yes. But it's not because of anything you did or about you at all. It's about him trying to get his head together.

I know it's hard, but remember that you are a cool person, and that this guy just wasn't right for you. It will take time to get over it, but you will. Have a good cry, but realise this isn't your fault.
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 12:58 PM on September 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

Dude's an emotional mess. Eight years is life partner territory and longer than many marriages. This has NOTHING to do with you.

If I had to venture a guess as to what's going on, he's devastated and not sure if he'll ever be happy again, and you presented a glimmer of hope that he seized on. Hence calling you darling, breaking down in tears, planning to build a house together, all after only one month, which means he is planning a life together before he really got to know you deep down. In other words it was not you he was imagining that life with, but rather an abstraction of a person who represents all the things he needs. And the bubble burst when it crashes into reality; either you do something that his perfect woman wouldn't do (or something) and it pops the fantasy bubble, or his ex re-enters the picture and makes him feel he has to withdraw.

Either way this is a drama that is playing out in his own head between him, his ex, and his ideals. The real you is not part of the picture. I suspect anyone who offered him love could have filled your shoes. This may be kind of depressing, but remember that this was not you that was rejected, either, and you need not feel like you failed in any way.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2012 [14 favorites]

Sometimes people will mistreat you without any provocation. You didn't deserve any of the pain you suffered because of his confusion and instability.
Know that this guy's behavior is absolutely not a reflection of your value as a person and as a partner. He abused you. He's the emotional equivalent of a drunk driver - operating without any restraint or self control. And it's always the wrong person who winds up hurt.
Cut off all contact with this person and keep him out of your life forever.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:16 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

You're not really part of this picture. It's him and his unresolved issues with his ex and with himself. There's nothing wrong with you and none of this is your fault. You will be best served by cutting him out of your life completely.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:25 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Look, he has already characterized you as not as valuable as his ex in his mind. You can't reason with him. He used you as a rebound. He's a damaged person who isn't whole again, and may not ever be, so move along.

You don't want to cling to a guy that's been in an eight year relationship that he quit. He wasn't even married to that woman after eight years. She cheated on him for god knows what reason. You only have his side of the story.

You have a chance to get out. Don't chase after him. He's been fooling you this whole time because he is still hung up on his ex.
posted by discopolo at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

His ex was more important to him than starting a new relationship with you. Bad luck for you, and I'm sorry.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You were sadly a rebound. He didnt really mean anything you heard and he frankly wasnt in a position to be in a relationship-another reason why you should never date anyone who has just got out of a relationship
posted by pakora1 at 3:21 PM on September 22, 2012

You dated for a month. He didn't want to waste your time since he isn't emotionally available. It happens, just get back out there.
posted by empath at 4:12 PM on September 22, 2012

Love, as opposed to infatuation, takes a long time to develop. It takes really getting to know a person intimately, through their ups and downs, over a long period of time. If you feel like things are moving really quickly, and a guy you basically just met is already having you meet his family, talking about next year's vacation plans with you and wanting to build a house with you, alarm bells should be ringing and you should be getting the hell out of there. Because not only should you be taking things slowly and being cautious so early into a relationship, so should he. He should be getting to know you better before doing or talking about any of those things. Also, going on about an ex so early in a relationship is probably always bad news.

But don't be down on yourself for not recognizing this when it's never happened to you before. Sometimes it takes going through something to really be able to see the warning signs. It's hard, but think of this as a positive learning experience, one that made you wiser and that taught you what to watch out for in the world of dating.
posted by wondermouse at 8:30 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

I am finding it hard to believe in love now

Love's complicated, and this sort of thing is part of it. If you didn't notice before, rebounds, breakups, confused partners, exes, the whole ball of wax is love. Not to say that love isn't also exciting, beautiful and grand, but don't believe in the ideal that it's only the good parts, never the bad. That'll set you up disappointment.

and most importantly, to believe in myself again.

Yourself is a different matter. Believe that you tried, meant well, that circumstances conspired against you this time, and that you'll stand up, brush yourself off and live to see another day. This is hard to understand or accept when it's up close and seems to be about you, but it's not. Sometimes circumstances dictate outcomes more than we like.
posted by ead at 11:47 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for your answers. I really appreciate it.
It helped me to gain a better understanding so that I can move on.
posted by home at 10:38 AM on September 24, 2012

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