Partner having mid-life crisis, should we end our 11+ year LTR?
January 8, 2018 7:51 AM   Subscribe

He 'will always love me no matter what happens' but doesn't think he knows what love is, whether he's capable of it, whether we should still be together. Wishes he could set the reset button on his life and start a new iteration. Suddenly has a deep longing for children and family. Developed a crush on a younger hairdresser and felt tortured about it (though it was basically just a fantasy). I love him and think we have a good thing and would like to work it out in therapy. But am I just hanging on to a dead love? Should we end it?

My partner and I have been together for 11+ years now and will soon both be 41. Overall, it's been an excellent, generally drama-free relationship with lots of fun and adventure. We're independent, not petty, jealous, etc. Our friends and families love us, we're like everyone's favourite couple.

We never experienced truly passionate puppy love but we got along excellently, had fun despite our different interests, had good, sometimes even great, sex, rarely fought, and have had many adventures together.

7+ years ago we moved overseas and our relationship has been steadily eroding since, especially over the past 4 years or so. I have been unhappy here and know that I've created a lot of tension but have sought out therapy and done A LOT of work on myself.

As for him, he's hyper-intellectual/analytical, and generally not good at expressing emotions or being in a relationship (I'm his first real relationship). He's also a workaholic.

Over the past year he's been increasingly depressed and even physically ill. I've been telling him he's about to burn out, to take time off, to try meditation, etc, but he just scoffs at and dismisses my suggestions.

In September he found out he's getting laid off, so looks like we can move back home -- this was almost a miracle solution to our dilemma. But since then he's been sucked into a black hole, feeling utterly depressed, confused, sleepless, conflicted, torn apart etc. I have never seen him like this before.

I also sensed him distancing himself from me, felt that he was even maybe physically repulsed by me. Our last couple attempts at sex didn't work out. Indeed, our sex life has been awful these past 2 years and he feels VERY frustrated about it. I've suggested therapy and he agreed to it, but we just never did it. Life kept happening. For my part, I know why things haven't been good on my end (lack of trust or feeling emotionally safe, essentially).

Things came to a head over Christmas and he revealed to me a bunch of things that indicate that he's been REALLY bad (like contacting a suicide hotline/forum...).

He told me that he realised that part of what was torturing him (besides impending big move and career change) was that maybe our relationship was part of the problem. Not sure he loved me anymore or that he even knows what love is (since then, he has told me that 'no matter what happens, I will always love you' but has repeated the statement that he doesn't think he knows what love is, thinks he is not meant for love relationships, and is just a 'nice' guy, not adequate boyfriend material due to his inability to express his emotions or love, etc).

He's VERY bitter about our sex life. I haven't said this but honestly feel like if this were 'fixed', he would no longer be so depressed.

The other major thing that could potentially be fatal to the relationship is that he suddenly has a deep yearning for children and family. To the point that he bursts out in tears thinking/talking about it. He's always vaguely but not urgently wanted kids. I've always been 99% not wanting/fine without them but open to trying once we move back home. I never thought it was a significant issue. Honestly, I don't even think he truly likes kids that much. Feels like it's more of a wants-to-leave-a-legacy thing (e.g. he absolutely doesn't want to adopt; talks about wanting to pour himself and his knowledge into a descendant; has admitted I would have to do most of the actual parenting).

Related to this IMO is that he recently had a crush on a young, exotic hairdresser who he basically doesn't know, and it was torturing him because he thought crushes = cheating and, when he was young, he'd always been able to 'stop himself' from liking people (so he could focus on work). I was pretty shocked at this lack of understanding/experience with a basic emotion.

I don't care that he has a crush. But I do feel the timing of all of this is revealing.

Where did this sudden desire for children come from?
Is he semi-consciously just wanting to get rid of me so he can find a younger partner and have kids?
It's his right to move on/chase his dreams of family if he wants to but I can't help but think and feel that it would be really shitty to dump me now for this.
Does he in fact not want to move back home and is unable to face it?
Is our love worth rehabilitating and saving?
Should I cut my losses, treasure the good memories and move on?

I do love him and our relationship, and honestly think we're fixable -- I know couples who've survived much worse -- but I have a poor track record of knowing what's good for me. :-( He's currently seeing a psychologist, trying to figure things out.

If you've read this far, thanks for listening.
posted by faraasha to Human Relations (25 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I could write a lot more but the bottom line is, nowhere in your post do you mention him saying he actively wants to save or work on your relationship, and that's a killer. People can get through all the problems you mention, but especially the partner describing the problems has to want to do the work, and.... well, you mention you went to therapy when you started feeling depressed. He scoffed at you, took pride in being 'analytical', and then dumped all his tortured feelings onto you to help fix if you want to stay with him.

NAH. I think he is going to be shocked if you tell him that yes, you should separate and maybe you're willing to do counseling after a few months apart IF it's something he actively wants to do. But that's what I think you should do.

(Besides that, my honest opinion is that a grown-ass adult who tells you he's not sure he loves you or even knows what love is, but is mad that you haven't been wanting to fuck him and SO CONFUSED why this could be, is DTMFA)
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:14 AM on January 8, 2018 [62 favorites]


Dude needs to seriously work on his mental health.

As a person with lifelong depression, I've been where he is. It can be really tempting, especially if you're raised with the idea that Love Fixes What's Wrong With You, to decide "Well, if I'm still depressed in this relationship, it must mean that this relationship isn't working." Depression also makes it difficult to put energy into a relationship, so you can end up with this depression-and-relationship-angst self-fulfilling-prophecy death spiral: "I'm depressed which means this relationship must be fucked which means I'm justified in not investing energy into it which is making the relationship actually kind of fucked which is making me more depressed."

Fixing the depression won't fix everything. He still needs to decide he wants to be with you. He still needs to be willing to do basic emotional maturity things like "I acknowledge I have a crush but I'm not going to turn it into a crisis." Etc etc etc. But if he's badly depressed enough that he's actively suicidal, he may not be able to do that other stuff until the depression starts to get better.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:19 AM on January 8, 2018 [17 favorites]


This all sounds pretty "it's over" to me. But I also see untreated depression, particularly in that the prospect of moving home hasn't been galvanizing. I hope he's prioritizing that treatment. Depression really can make you think you need to blow up your whole life.

But, it could also be that he really does want a different life. I understand why you're asking this question (and I'm totally sympathetic, and I'm so sorry this is happening: it's insanely painful) but we can't really know what's going on with him; we don't know his thoughts. What he's saying is that he wants a different life. Could it be untreated depression talking? Yeah maybe, but I wouldn't count on his whole outlook changing in time to save this.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


Sorry, it's early AM here and I took a second read-through. My first post might be unkind though honestly I stand by it as one interpretation. I can also see a genuinely depressed and frightened person that you write about, though. My advice is the same, but for different reasons. You don't have to be his life vest and you actually probably shouldn't be. If he's having this much of a depressive episode, it's just going to be more miserable for both of you to go through the tortured "leave or stay" while he's trying to make sense of his life and what he wants. For both of your sakes, break it off and let him focus on himself.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


In this description your partner comes across as incredibly emotionally immature; he truly seems to have no conception of what an adult relationship consists of. He doesn't understand how to interpret a crush or sense of attraction to someone outside of a relationship (happens to pretty much everyone), he is unable to communicate his needs regarding sex, he admits to not understanding love, and worst of all wants children, but is unwilling to to actually step up to the plate and parent (you'll be doing most of that).

You've done the grown-up thing in seeking therapy and working to better understand yourself and better how you show up in the relationship. He won't face his struggles like a grown-up. I think you deserve to be in a relationship with a grown-up.

IF (a big, enormous IF) your partner is willing to do the work to grow-up, then yes you could save this relationship. But that process needs to start now and you need to see progress. Otherwise I think you deserve better.
posted by brookeb at 8:34 AM on January 8, 2018 [11 favorites]


The only way he ended up this conflicted and confused is if you have been doing a monumental amount of the emotional labor thus far. Does that sound about right?

RUN.

He will be functional, but he will never pull his weight emotionally or be an equal partner. His problems will crush you, personally, as the years drag on. Run, set him free. Start over. Save yourself. He's not partner material, he needs to work on himself. Don't feel badly when he takes up with a 24 year old within a few months of separation because that sort of move is more preferable than choosing to work on himself.

He had a duty to himself, the relationship, and you to deal with his maturity issues back when they first cropped up. He scoffed at the idea. You should have left him then.
posted by jbenben at 8:39 AM on January 8, 2018 [25 favorites]


You've been together eleven years, the past seven of which have not been great and it is getting worse. If this was a business you would have shut it down long ago. I think the relationship ended several years ago but he wasn't honest enough to end it (a combination of him not wanting to be the bad guy and also not being mature enough to understand his own feelings and probably because you filled a lot of very convient roles in his life he doesn't have the skills for). He's got a hole in him that he can't fix himself, so once you are done he will have a new girlfriend very quickly, doing exactly what you are doing now (and omg, probably have a child with that he will abandon within a couple of years). He is a walking cliche, down to the "I'm feeling suicidal" to manipulate you into not leaving. He is forty going on fourteen.

Sorry, this is *so* harsh, but you are a strong, smart person who deserves to be with someone committed that enhances your life and brings out the best in you. You are going to be fine. Go home, make a life for yourself, and invest in yourself all that emotional energy you've been pouring into him. I guarantee in a year or two you will shake your head and wonder why it took so long to rip off the bandaid.
posted by saucysault at 9:00 AM on January 8, 2018 [25 favorites]


I've been through a couple of rounds of "this LTR is in a bad place, some of it's probably untreated mental health stuff and some of it isn't, what do we do", and it's hard and shitty. But what I've come out of it with is that the fundamental thing that has to be there, for the relationship to be saved, is the bedrock sense that you still both want to be in the relationship together and to rebuild (or more likely, totally redesign) the parts of the relationship that aren't working. Even knowing it's going to get worse before it gets better. Even knowing what you rebuild won't be just like the thing you've lost, and that in doing so you are closing off other possible options for your life. If you still both fundamentally want it, you've got a fighting chance.

If he's not in a place to say "I know everything sucks right now and I'm scared that our differences may be unbridgeable by now, but I still really want to try to bridge them, and I am committed to doing [XYZ] to help address my own part in this, and I want to talk to you about also doing [ABC] together to work on it", then I would urge you to proceed only with extreme caution. You're at a high risk of throwing yourself wholeheartedly into saving your end of a partnership where the other person isn't anywhere near being able to do the same, and you deserve better than than that. If you were my friend, I would advise you to begin putting whatever you need in place to disentangle yourself, even if you're not ready to actually commit to that decision yet.
posted by Stacey at 9:13 AM on January 8, 2018 [26 favorites]


he absolutely doesn't want to adopt; talks about wanting to pour himself and his knowledge into a descendant; has admitted I would have to do most of the actual parenting

Ew, no, gross. This is just red flags all over the damned place. No matter what happens, do not have a child with this man until and unless he gets his shit together.
posted by cooker girl at 9:21 AM on January 8, 2018 [80 favorites]


I feel like this is a crisis of life purpose and meaning and / or a mental health thing on his part, related to his identity around work or his use of work to avoid feeling feelings (or whatever caused him to get laid off -- some pattern of not functioning well?).

You say he was a workaholic. Then work got tougher and tougher (and his self esteem went with it?). Then he got laid off, leaving a big hole where he used to devote his time, anxiety, and focus.

I'm someone who gets a lot of energy from my work (everything from "yay meaningful accomplishment" satisfaction to "oh sh*t how are we going to handle this" adrenaline to the general "i have motivation and energy because I want to reach this goal" (dopamine?) type stuff). Even Spring Breaks used to throw me for a loop. Suddenly I'd be trying to figure out what life was really About and feeling like all the things I normally cared about were meaningless. It makes complete sense that he's looking to avoid those uncomfortable feelings with a new crush or turn his attention toward finding meaning and belonging through family.

It seems like you guys aren't having these kinds of conversations, nor are you feeling much support from him. This part jumped out at me:

For my part, I know why things haven't been good on my end (lack of trust or feeling emotionally safe, essentially)

To me, this sounds like "yes, get couples therapy!" Sure, sure, he should be doing his own work and is an adult and etc. But, you love him (it sounds like) and have been together for 11 years, so I don't think this is a time to rest on principle. Sometimes people don't know what they're missing, but you know what therapy can do for you as a couple, and for him. Eventually he'll have to go to one on his own, but with things in his life going the way they are, I wouldn't be surprised if he was ready to try some new approaches. He's desperately casting about for them already.

Good luck and I'm sorry for your pain here.
posted by salvia at 9:22 AM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think you should put on your own oxygen mask, at the very least. You don't have to End It All right this second, but you can begin calmly and thoughtfully putting your own stuff in order in the way you'd need it to carry on alone, because you can't depend on him now.

You may need to give him a few weeks or months of mental health treatment before he is well enough to know what he truly wants to do, and before you know enough to know whether you want to continue (and in what way you need to disengage if you do not). I think he is too unwell for joint therapy yet; that work is incredibly hard and not for suicidal people. It's not an emergency room for relationships, it's reconstructive work.

If he is not choosing to pursue his own mental health treatment or asking urgently for your help if he is struggling to do it himself, you may have no choice but to move on.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


No matter what happens, do not have a child with this man until and unless he gets his shit together.

He's not looking for a child, but rather an extension of his own ego. If you have a child with this man and the child is disabled in some way such that he perceives that he won't be able to make a "legacy" out of him/her, he will leave you and the child. If the child rejects being an ego-extension, he will never treat him/her well. In either case, he will consider himself the injured party. Now consider whether this is the kind of person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Depression is certainly a complicating and challenging factor in any relationship problems, but, as with drugs, sometimes the person would be a mess anyway.
posted by praemunire at 9:35 AM on January 8, 2018 [34 favorites]


Just wanted to add on to the "do not have a child with this man" sentiment, except that there should definitely not be any "unless" or "until" language attached to that. Trust your instincts that you don't really want them and that he doesn't like them.
posted by skewed at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2018 [10 favorites]


On the kid front: lots of people reach a point in their lives where they mourn the things they could have done, realizing that realistically it's not going to happen now. That includes children that were never had (or that didn't live, or not having as many children as one would have liked), careers not pursued, family relationships that weren't mended or mendable.

Having a regret, grieving the end of an idea, that's not the same thing as actually wanting to do the thing now. Just because he cries a lot about babies doesn't mean a) he actually wants to do it b) would have any sort of ability to realistically make it happen c) be glad he did it if he did. For emotionally stunted men this does sometimes result in the acquisition of a newer model wife and making babies he may or may not actually enjoy parenting and will likely die while they are still relatively young and/or find retirement enormously complicated by the children he made but did no financial planning for. If he's dead set on it, there's nothing you can do, but if he's just sad and doesn't intend to do anything about it...welp, life is sad sometimes and middle age is full of the death of possibility, and that's a thing he can work on in therapy or not.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2018 [18 favorites]


I can’t stand this dude based on your description.

That said, my ex dumped me during his midlife crisis four years ago, and being single now at 42 really sucks (and I’m bitter that it’s much harder, statistically and in actual fact, for me to find a new partner than him).

Given the job loss and your dislike for your current location, you should be making plans to move ASAP regardless. There is a chance that a complete change of scenery will get him out of his current crisis and you can start over. Or it won’t, but either way, you’ll be moving your life in the direction you want. So if I were you, I’d work on that and continue to put up with his $#%@ for a while until things feel more clear and you’ve moved. (If he’s not willing to move, then nope right out of there.)
posted by metasarah at 10:11 AM on January 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


talks about wanting to pour himself and his knowledge into a descendant; has admitted I would have to do most of the actual parenting).


If this is who you think this man really is— not a fluke of depression or cognitive distortions, but this is really and truly who he is and how he treats you and sees you, and sees his future children and people in general, leave the relationship.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:27 AM on January 8, 2018 [10 favorites]


You don't have to make this decision now. Move back and then see how you feel. This is not an emergency, and it's a bad idea to make decisions in the middle of a crisis.

That said, though, you seem to be framing him as deeply irrational, and I disagree with that. I see where he's coming from on a lot of this stuff.

The kid thing is goofy, but a lot of people have mixed feelings about parenting. That's not crazy, it's a big thing and not having kids is a big decision. And he's being very honest about his issues. How many men say they want to parent and then...don't? Being upfront about it is commendable, especially given that you're not settled one way or another. If what he was offering would be something you'd be interested in, it's a good thing that he's sharing that information with you.

The sex/"what is love" stuff is much more logical than you're giving him credit for. You don't seem to "get" how important sex is to him, or how important it is to the functioning of the relationship. Feeling sexually rejected by your partner for years can really fuck with your head. It seems very reasonable to me that he might love you but feel very unhappy and confused at being sexually rejected by someone he is still sexually very interested in.

And a crush isn't a big deal to you, but he's telling you, it is a big deal to him. He probably feels like he's having a hard time not cheating on you, and that is disturbing to him. That would be disturbing to a lot of people. And frankly, not having a sex life does make it hard for a lot of people to stay faithful. That doesn't make cheating okay, of course. But if he's feeling like his options are miserable sexlessness and constantly being tempted to cheat, or breaking things off --- that's a painful decision for him to make.

Sex is a very real need for a lot of people. That is why gay rights are, like, a thing. It doesn't entitle anyone to get sex from another person, of course. But you can't downplay the importance that sex has for a lot of people, and how difficult it is for many people to go without it. Especially with someone you want to have sex with right there in front of you.

That doesn't mean you are wrong to not want to have sex with him. But for many, many people not having sex with a romantic partner is devastating and very, very painful. It strikes at the heart of their self-esteem and their understanding of themselves as valuable and worthwhile. But if they still love their partner, it's not easy to justify leaving that person "just" for sex.

Add the pain of rejection to the very real drive to have sex and you have a miserable combination indeed. It all adds up to a scenario where he might very well love you, and be in love with you, but feel like he is in too much pain to continue with the relationship. Hence "I don't know what love is" and "I will always love you."

You might consider browsing deadbedrooms on reddit to get more of an idea of his perspective. They can say some ridiculous shit on there and I'm not endorsing everything everyone says, but it's a great place for you to see how your partner might be thinking about your situation. For example, "high libido" partners feeling disgust or repulsion at having sex with their "low libido" partner because they feel too much pain and rejection around the idea of sex --- is very common. So perhaps you might get some insight or understanding that you're not getting from your SO right now.

Hope this helps. This is a difficult situation and I am sorry that you are going through this.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:49 AM on January 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


Is he semi-consciously just wanting to get rid of me so he can find a younger partner and have kids?

Yes, possibly. This is far more common than people realize.
posted by Melismata at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2018 [7 favorites]


It seems to me that you haven't said a lot about what you want or feel in this scenario. You've told us a lot about what you don't care about: having kids, whether your partner has a crush on a hairdresser, or whether you have sex with your partner. By contrast, we have no idea what you do care about. Do you?

You say you love him, but -- knowing only what you've written here -- I can't tell what you mean by that at all. Interestingly, it seems, neither can your partner. I note this connection because, despite all your bagging on his emotional intelligence, he seems to be making an effort to be in touch with his own wants and needs, even if it's not easy for him. Well, how about you? Do you really just not care about having kids, or do you affirmatively not want them? Or could you imagine wanting them, but not in the current context of this relationship? Do you really just not care much about having sex, or would you really much rather have a very different sex life, and you're just not saying anything about it?

What is the positive, present-day content of your "love"? What does your love mean that you want? Does it just mean there is nothing you really want to change? It is difficult to believe that you are really steadfastly neutral on all these big issues in your relationship. Kids, sex, and jealousy are all usually pretty emotionally loaded -- are you so checked out that none of them move the needle for you? If that's not the case, if that stuff actually matters for you, then you need to start doing the kind of work your partner has been doing: figure out what you want and advocate for it.

It is okay to want out. It is okay if this is not for you. It is okay if your love becomes only a warm feeling about the past, not the basis for a continuing close relationship. These, and their opposites, are all possibilities for you. But this is one of the moments where you have to be the captain of your life, and make the call based on what you want. I think in this question you are trying to take a major life decision and change it into something more manageable, a question for experts, who can read those couple-hundred words and find the objective "red flags" about your partner. Their expertise will settle the question so you don't have to decide. But this is an illusion. However you color it to yourself, you have to decide.
posted by grobstein at 11:37 AM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


You don't seem to "get" how important sex is to him, or how important it is to the functioning of the relationship. Feeling sexually rejected by your partner for years can really fuck with your head. (...) But for many, many people not having sex with a romantic partner is devastating and very, very painful. It strikes at the heart of their self-esteem

You're telling this to someone who's not having sex with their romantic partner: you're telling this to the person who is the one sensing sexual repulsion and distancing from their partner: she "gets" it. she's the one experiencing it. this is her own situation you're describing to her. not his. She didn't suggest that she has a low libido or, for that matter, that he has a high one.

the pain of not being able to sleep with someone you love because they aren't interested is much discussed and pretty well understood, even when it's so bad that you feel, accurately or not, that they're repulsed by you - as the OP feels. that is certainly a bad feeling. it is not worse than the pain of not being able to sleep with someone you love because they allow sex but withhold safety. and you can have the two types of rejection pain separately or, as in this case, together. I think the latter is much more painful, actually, because in the former case your partner is the one putting the safety brake on before something bad happens, you can keep throwing yourself at them and begging and they have to take the responsibility of saying No if they know they can't say Yes without bad consequences.

but in the latter case you have to do it to yourself - you are the one who wants to be close but you are the one who has to say No to keep yourself from getting hurt or damaged. Being alone in that way, with nobody to take care of you, nobody to be your guardrail, is also about sexual rejection. but it is sexual rejection unaccompanied by the luxury of feeling hard-done-by, of knowing that most people understand and sympathize

considering her partner's the one with an admitted crush on someone else, it's strange to talk about him as the one who feels the stronger blow to sexual self-esteem. maybe the straightforward reading seems unlikely because it would be irrational to simultaneously distance himself from her AND be bitter and angry about their consequently bad sex life. but he doesn't sound terribly rational. rejecting someone and then being bitter and angry that they didn't seduce you into changing your mind is not an unusual thing to do, for terrible people.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:49 AM on January 8, 2018 [22 favorites]


My partner and I have been together for 11+ ...7+ years ago we moved overseas and our relationship has been steadily eroding since, especially over the past 4 years or so.

I am not being glib, but given this time frame, I think the biggest issue here is why are you still together. I suspect the relationship has been running on inertia for some time now. If so, consider all the issues in your question to be the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic, i.e. rather than fiddling with the arrangement, focus on finding a lifeboat.
posted by she's not there at 12:22 PM on January 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


You're telling this to someone who's not having sex with their romantic partner: you're telling this to the person who is the one sensing sexual repulsion and distancing from their partner: she "gets" it. she's the one experiencing it. this is her own situation you're describing to her. not his. She didn't suggest that she has a low libido or, for that matter, that he has a high one.

She knows the answer to this. My reading of the question is based on the fact that she said he's "bitter" about their sex life and that the problem for her is not lack of frequency, but some of the common emotional underpinnings of libido in women (trust, feeling safe). I assume the example of him rejecting her and newly "distancing" himself is the salient example for OP because the norm is otherwise. I could very well be wrong, but the framing of this question leaves out the very big question (which is what, exactly, the actual sexual problem is from the perspective of her partner) so we all have to make our guesses.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:08 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


Reading this brought me very clearly back to the end of my marriage. My marriage is not your relationship, but I offer the story in case it helps you.

At 43, We had accepted biological children would not work (multiple miscarriages starting in our 30s). I had accepted it, started running. I’d had therapy, my job was taking off, and we were 3/4 down the road towards adoption.

By contrast, I noticed my partner was distant and our sex life went to Hell. He was out of shape and stuck in the same job. We talked about his depression and going to therapy. He didn’t do it. We talked about it multiple times and he continually blamed it on work.

6 months later he moved out. For another much younger woman, with whom he now has a toddler.

We had been together almost 15 years. The kids thing was a huge deal breaker for him. He later confessed he just didn’t really feel married without kids. And the adoption we were so close to completing freaked him out completely.

I guess if I have a lesson to share, it is to listen to what your gut tells you is true, rather than what you want to believe. If you don’t know what you think, listen to what he *says* and does quite literally, especially if it is at all consistent. Do this instead of trying to puzzle out what he “really” means. Or explaining it away with depression.

It sounds to me as though there’s a chance he’s already made up his mind, and is struggling with the implications of his decision rather than he is really struggling with the relationship itself. This may not be true, but what if it is? What will you need? How will you feel? Do you have everything you need to protect yourself and care for yourself?

I was also in a different country from my home, by the way. It can make things extra difficult, so this is why I would encourage you to be sure about your support network.

One last piece of advice which really could be a projection from my own history. Consider the risk he is already having an affair or is about to embark on one. My ex wanted to confess to *something* during his affair and so confessed to an inappropriate crush. I can’t tell you the hours I wasted worrying about that crush. Sigh. In the end, he had two affairs and a left me for the one with whom he could imagine having children.
posted by frumiousb at 2:59 PM on January 8, 2018 [25 favorites]


I think you are way more invested in the relationship than he is, and that he is manipulating you to think a lot of the problems are your fault. I also think he's done, and on the verge of leaving. Protect yourself. Especially financially, as you will need to start over, and it's not unheard of for one partner to bankrupt another in order to finance their new 'venture.
posted by Enid Lareg at 5:46 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hello and thank you everyone for all your insightful comments and good advice. Honesty, I am overwhelmed, a lot of good points and questions have been brought up for me to think about. This is all very helpful. I wish I had the time and mental energy to reply to some of these individually, but I can't right now.

So, thanks once again, MeFi.
posted by faraasha at 3:07 AM on January 9, 2018 [8 favorites]


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