Breaking up with someone recovering from an illness
September 26, 2019 3:33 AM   Subscribe

We kind-of broke up, he repented, we decided to see how things went, now after some time away from him I'm more sure than ever I want to break up but am scared of hurting him when he's in a really bad and fragile place due to a recent illness

My partner and I have been together for over 4 years. Two months ago I tried to break up with him due to what I felt was a fundamental incompatibility between our personalities/interests, my long-term (over 2 years) feelings of not really being happy in the relationship, as well as emotional issues on his part that he refused to work on. When I did so, he told me he'd had a realisation a couple of weeks prior that he had been neglecting himself and me in favour of success at work for the last few years and that he was on the pathway to change, becoming more attentive to me etc. He was really emotionally distraught and I spent a few hours just helping him cry it out, something he'd always been afraid to do. I said that I was ok with seeing how we went while he worked on all the things he felt he was neglecting and that I wasn't really sure about the relationship but would stay to see how it went.

About 2 weeks after this, he fell really sick, so sick he could barely move. I begged him to go to a doctor but he thought it was just a muscular issues that doctors couldn't help with. After a couple of weeks of me being unable to see him because he was bedbound at his parents' place (where he lives and where he's uncomfortable with me going because I haven't met his parents), I got a message from him that he was having a 6 hour surgery the next day on his lungs. It turns out that he had a lung blockage which had come very close to killing him. He is recovering now, but is still tubed up and in a lot of pain. This has obviously taken a huge emotional toll on him and I've stayed in frequent contact with him, trying to provide as much support as possible since I can't physically see him. The recovery will probably take another 3-4 months.

The part of this situation that I would like some advice about is the fact that during that several week period where I didn't see him (before I found about the surgery) I became more sure than ever that I wanted to fully break up with him. The illness is not a factor, I have taken care of him in the past and still want to help him as much as possible. But I realised that when I was away from him for that longer period, I was the happiest and most myself I've been in years. I no longer think about him unless we're talking, I don't see any life for us together, I don't really want to spend time with him and I don't have romantic feelings for him anymore. I still really care for him, but more as a close friend.

Since we last saw each other, he has acted like the attempted breakup never happened. Yes, in the period afterwards we did go out and do things together and were still physically affectionate with one another, but I made a point of making sure he knew I was still unsure about the relationship. I realise I didn't handle that in the best way - the only thing I can say is that it was really hard for me to let go of what I thought our relationship could be and I needed time. But after the surgery he has been extra affectionate, saying he misses me, talking about our future, saying I love you etc. I don't have the heart to not respond in kind when any kind of emotional turmoil could disturb his already super fragile recovery. So at the moment I am lying to him every day by responding to these things as if I still feel the same way. I feel that it is kinder to wait at least until he's well enough to get out of the house by himself and is more stable health-wise before breaking up properly. He has very few friends he can turn to for support, and has a weird relationship with his family. I really worry that any indication from me about how I really feel would lead to his recovery slowing down or even going backwards, and I would not in a million years want to cause that. But as a result I'm in a position where I'm constantly pretending/lying when speaking to him, as well as being in a limbo myself where I have internally broken up with him but still talk to him as if we're together.

My question is:

- do you think the way I'm handling this right now is a fair and kind way to handle the situation?

- if this is the best course of action, how do I emotionally deal with lying consistently to someone I still really care about , and having to talk to someone I now consider my ex in this way?
posted by fantasticbotanical to Human Relations (46 answers total)
I feel that it is kinder to wait at least until he's well enough to get out of the house by himself and is more stable health-wise before breaking up properly.

Yes, I think this is the right approach.

As for the affirmations, I would try to dial it back on “I love you” and substitute with cheer about the recovery going great, gladness that he’s feeling better, encouragement about him being back on his feet soon (when he wants to talk about the future). Avoid making promises if possible.

To the extent you need to emotionally deal with the lying, tell yourself it’s just temporary and that helping someone you care about through a near-fatal illness trumps some lying. Are you still following the golden rule? That would soothe me.
posted by sallybrown at 3:48 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

You’ve been together four years and you’ve never met his parents. He neglects you, knows you’re desperately unhappy in the relationship and now he needs you, he’s all over you like a rash. Look, I feel bad that’s he’s ill and this is bad timing and all but you need to be done with this relationship. You both know it’s coming and he’s relying on your goodwill and big heart to emotionally blackmail you into staying.

It’s a shame he’s only recognised a good thing when it’s gone. Hopefully he’ll carry that lesson into his next relationship. Do the breakup quick, rip off the bandaid. He’s not going to be happy but that’s life. Lying to him for four months is unsustainable and not fair to either of you.
posted by Jubey at 3:50 AM on September 26, 2019 [72 favorites]

+1 to what Jubey wrote. Just break up with him now and move on with your life--his recovery isn't dependent on you in any way, no matter what you feel.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 3:57 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

This is just an off-chance thing, but: Are you sure he has had surgery? Are you sure he was really sick in the first place? Have you seen him since surgery? It would not strike me as absolutely impossible that someone would claim to be sick and claim to have a four month recovery ahead of them under these circumstances, especially if their partner were not allowed to see them.

Assuming that he's definitely had surgery, certainly waiting to break up with him is kinder. But if you simply haven't seen him in a month or so and can't visit and this keeps dragging on, it might be worth trying to check. I hate to say that, but people do such strange things.
posted by Frowner at 4:01 AM on September 26, 2019 [40 favorites]

Sorry I'm going to be blunt, but you don't have much of a real relationship with this person. He hasn't been invested, and this change of heart he had sounds very much too-little, too-late. It's also going to require a lot of work from him that he didn't do to date - what's the chances he'd actually get started now, while you wait around? Also, you're not integrated into his life in any way after 4 years. Do his parents even know you exist?

I agree about ripping the band-aid. His recovery isn't "super fragile" - he's got a family, and what you describe sounds like a one-time issue, and he has professional assistance in healing. You didn't cause his issues and you can't heal them. He'll have to do that, and it's best done without you.

You can just say "things are too complicated for us and I want to move on and let you concentrate on healing." He's got a support system - you're just not part of it. He'll deal. I hope you can move on and find ways to identify and prioritize your own needs more highly in future relationships.
posted by Miko at 4:02 AM on September 26, 2019 [18 favorites]

I read your previous questions and I remember you and your boyfriend now. He was abusive and controlling then, even after you moved your whole life to be with him. He’s still trying to control you now - he’s just using his illness to do it. There were red flags back then and they’re just getting redder. You really, really, need to get out of this relationship. Don’t let him suck you back in.
posted by Jubey at 4:39 AM on September 26, 2019 [32 favorites]

During your relationship he prioritized his needs over yours (and your needs were completely valid!). You asserted your needs and he agreed to prioritize them ... but suddenly his needs became all-encompassing again? And you acquiesced and put his needs first yet again. This isn’t a healthy dynamic; you can’t change his behaviour but you can change yours (like by walking away before all this lying wears you down emotionally).
posted by saucysault at 4:42 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

I disagree that you should break up with him immediately. He may have been lacking as a partner but that doesn't mean you need to be brutal with him if you think you can manage to avoid it. If it was me I would do exactly as you're doing. It's your choice of course, and I wouldn't fault you if you did want to immediately end it, but I think you're following your gut and should continue to do so. If compassion is one of your personality traits, then you may feel later on that you betrayed your own values if you leave him now. Listen to your conscience rather than bitter people on the internet. On a selfish note, the guilt you will feel later is not worth it.
posted by winterportage at 5:01 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Sometimes being super kind to a person you have had a fondness for just drains you. I would have given you a different response 10 years ago but I finally learned to prioritise myself. If you are not good enough to meet his parents, he is not worth your emotional labour. You will feel guilty, even if he doesn't press that button, but I think it's time to withdraw: respond late and briefly to his messages. If he asks directly, feel free to say that you just don't feel that way about him anymore. Avoid taking the guilt trips he might hand out (you are giving up on me because/when I'm sick) and move on.

I answer these kinds of questions because I wasted much of my life on an incredibly selfish man who is now very emotionally demanding of the only child who will interact with him (and I fear that it was my example that puts my son in this position).

He has support. You owe him nothing. Let him go and live your life. You owe yourself authenticity and honesty first. YOU are the most important person in your life, and you should treat yourself that way.
posted by b33j at 5:30 AM on September 26, 2019 [12 favorites]

DTMFA and go see a therapist
posted by PistachioRoux at 5:31 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just looked at your previous questions, and he has a history of being manipulative and unkind to you, with your relationship built on you constantly being made to feel like you're responsible for making him feel better. I just want to point that out to you, because you say "any kind of emotional turmoil could disturb his already super fragile recovery", which sounds like that same pattern perpetuating itself.

I assume you're saying that based on what he's telling you about his health (since you're mysteriously not allowed to visit him). So, if you need to hear it, +1 from me that you're not responsible for his recovery.

I don't want to tell you what to do, as I realise it would feel very hard for you to feel like you're being unkind to him. I just want to tell you that you're allowed to do what is best for you in this situation. If that's continuing to tell him what you think he wants to hear, for now, that's OK but you'll still have the explosive "By the way, we're still over, all that stuff I said wasn't true" to face down the line, so it's not necessarily the easy path for you (especially if it entails up to 4 months of pussy-footing around his recovery - it's pretty clear from his behaviour in the past that he won't be making those 4 months easy on you). If it would make you feel more comfortable and more empowered to draw a better line now, fire in and do it without feeling guilty. There are ways of doing it kindly but firmly. You say "Two months ago I tried to break up" - tried? You don't need his permission to break up - you can do it unilaterally.

I'll be honest, my first reaction was absolutely Frowner's, that this is all a ruse. Have you seen anything that proves it's true? Hospital bed seflies? If not, I'd be tempted to tell him I was going to stop by the hospital in a couple of hours, that if his parents were there I'd just introduce myself as a friend, if it wasn't possible to visit him I'd drop a card at the nurse's station for him. I wonder if you did that, whether you'd find he had a miraculously fast discharge to home, where you're not allowed to visit.
posted by penguin pie at 5:33 AM on September 26, 2019 [17 favorites]

Ok, first, I honestly can't think of a six hour pulmonary surgery that doesn't involve removing or replacing part of a lung. If he had a 'lung blockage' that was maybe a pulmonary embolism - (blood clot), it is usually treated with blood thinners and waiting unless it's ginormous and then they may go in and get it - but even then, it's not a six hour thing. A six hour pulmonary surgery for anybody usually lands you in the hospital for at least a decent period of time; they don't work on your lungs for that long and then shove you in a car (not yet, anyway). But moving on...

Your previous posts about this guy mention that he works from home. You've now also added that he lives at home with his parents - who have never met you. He's belittled you in the past for making him 'lose his friends' because of game tickets and mocked you in arguments. This person also gives you a hard time, saying that you don't appreciate him and 'all he's done for you' (yet, he won't introduce you to his family after four years of dating??).

I know that you uprooted yourself for this guy, but you need him like a fish needs a bicycle. Who knows how long he's going to drag out his supposed recovery. He has his parents and medical team to support him -- in whatever capacity that is. You're not even able to go to his home. Further, he's not willing to go to a therapist, so there's that. If he REALLY needed you, he wouldn't be so uncomfortable with you going to his home, right?

Something just doesn't ring true with this and I think you're getting the very short end of this stick. Go back and read the responses to the three posts you wrote about this relationship. You will see that you deserve so much more. Best of luck to you.
posted by dancinglamb at 5:37 AM on September 26, 2019 [17 favorites]

When I started reading this I assumed the issue was that you lived together and that breaking up and leaving would leave him bedbound with no one to help with basic needs like food or toileting. He's living with his parents? And you already tried to break up with him when he was well? It's fine to end things now.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:41 AM on September 26, 2019 [7 favorites]

Staying with someone because you feel bad for breaking up with them because of Life Situation X extends a bad relationship for the sake of pity. It sucks, and it's easy to get into a never-ending cycle of resentment and feeling trapped. I stayed with someone for two years after I initially thought about breaking up because there was just a cascade of bad life situations and I didn't want to leave him without a support system, and in the end I basically hated everything and lost any affection I ever had for him and he resented me for resenting him, and ... I've decided that if you want to break up with someone, the kindest thing you can do is break up with them and let them find an honest and meaningful source of support.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:57 AM on September 26, 2019 [14 favorites]

If he hadn't already manipulated you I'd say it's ok to wait out of compassion, but he burned that bridge taking advantage of your compassion before without enough reciprocity. Start with a slow fade if a full breakup is too much and see what happens. Nthing the feeling that you don't have the whole story here. I would ask what the diagnosis was, or something to elicit some more proof. Maybe if you catch him in a lie you can leave without guilt.
posted by crunchy potato at 6:03 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

How certain are you that this guy isn't married? Because having you move cities to be near him, being in a relation ship for four years and *still* not allowing you to meet his parents who he lives with? Sounds like he has more (or less) than his parents living in that house with him.

I also doubt the authenticity of his surgery but regardless, you don't have to stay in a relationship with someone you can't even see for four months because he doesn't care enough about you to have you meet his family.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:03 AM on September 26, 2019 [9 favorites]

yeah, bin this guy - he's actually given you the perfect opportunity to get clear from him while he "recovers" - in the next four months, you can be significantly further into your own recovery from all this bullshit
posted by rd45 at 6:11 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

Thanks everyone for your responses so far, just to clarify - he's definitely not lying about the illness, I spoke to his mum on the phone about it and have seen pictures of him in hospital. He's just in a very bad place mentally because his recovery is very slow, and he does have a previous history of mental illness/suicidal tendencies. I don't think he has anyone he can talk to about his feelings except me, which is why I'm being very careful about my actions. I can't emphasise how must I appreciate everyone taking the time to hear my question and respond, it's really helpful to me at a time when I feel pretty lost.
posted by fantasticbotanical at 6:19 AM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for clarifying that he truly is sick. Still, I don’t think he’s more important than you. You can prioritize yourself. He’s treated you quite unkindly, blaming you for his poor management of other friendships. It’s been two years where you’ve been questioning your feelings. I think this illness is a good time for you to end this relationship. Otherwise I think there will always be something to keep you around. Go now, or you might not ever go.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:28 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Someone who won’t introduce you to his parents or allow you to visit him is not your partner. Your kindness speaks well of you but I think you should fade for a few weeks, no I love yous, etc., and then break up. Consider your self single.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

You've been with this guy for four years on and off and you still haven't met his parents with whom he lives?!? My take is this guy is a manipulative fuck who's preying on your kindness. He needs a therapist, please urge him to see one.
posted by mareli at 6:35 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

i would break up with this guy because you're desperately unhappy. if you do that, i would not continue to "be there for him" while he's sick as it will confuse things for him and you. even if you intend to be friends later, you need a cooling off period so you can both get used to not being together and relying on each other for emotional support. yes, it will super suck for him recovering without the support of this girlfriend, but presumably he has the support of his parents if he's living with them. and in a few months, if you want, you can touch base to see how he's doing.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:36 AM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

You have been placed in an impossible situation because any time you think about breaking up with him, along with that thought will be, ‘but I can’t, he might kill himself.’ If that’s how you’re thinking, it looks like you’re with him for good then. This is very hard.

Having said that, if he is actually in hospital for a long period, this could be the best time to do it. Here’s why. At least while he’s there you can tell the medical staff about his suicidal tendencies so there’s always someone keeping an eye on him, he can be looked after by mental health professionals and if he does manage to try anything, he can get immediate attention.

Also, I happen to think threatening suicide to get someone to stay with you is one of the lowest things you can do. I had an ex do it to me once. You know what I said? I told him to make very sure the next time he rang me to tell me he was going to kill himself, that he was genuine because he would then see an ambulance, the police, his mother, and the inside of a mental hospital for his own safety but the one person he wouldn’t get to see was me. He never tried the threat of suicide again because I called his bluff. And you know what, even if he did kill himself, it still wouldn’t have been my fault. Just like it won’t be yours.
posted by Jubey at 6:36 AM on September 26, 2019 [25 favorites]

I just want to reiterate that it seems like you’re sure you’re going to break up with him, you’re just asking whether the path you’ve chosen is okay, and yes, it’s okay to fade to the breakup and lie a little along the way because you don’t want to disrupt his recovery. Even if he’s a real asshole, it’s okay to want to act in the way you feel is in line with your values/kindness. I agree with winterportage that sometimes decisions like this are more about how you want to think of yourself, and not what the other person does or doesn’t deserve.

That also means, if you wake up tomorrow and feel like you can’t wait another moment, you don’t owe this guy a thing and you should feel free to go!
posted by sallybrown at 6:40 AM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

>he does have a previous history of mental illness/suicidal tendencies.

This is hands-down the worst reason ever for staying in a relationship.

My personal experience has been that a lot of people who fit this profile LOVE to entangle other people who can't really help them.

Not everybody is drowning. And when somebody IS drowning, you throw them something that floats and/or call a lifeguard--you don't swim over so they can grab you.

Unless you are actually a qualified mental health professional who is prepared to take full responsibility for this guy's mental health issues, continuing to allow yourself to be entangled is just making it possible for him to delay, or entirely avoid, getting real help.

Get out so both of you can get on with your lives.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:44 AM on September 26, 2019 [7 favorites]

I'm not even going to rehash all of the other great observations above.

But I realised that when I was away from him for that longer period, I was the happiest and most myself I've been in years.

To me, this is says it all, and is enough. Give yourself permission to be happy.
posted by spinturtle at 6:49 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

After a couple of weeks of me being unable to see him because he was bedbound at his parents' place (where he lives and where he's uncomfortable with me going because I haven't met his parents)

If you've been together four years and he hasn't introduced you to his family this relationship isn't going anywhere, and this post sure reads like you know that even if you wish it wasn't true. If you're happier when when you're apart, this relationship is already over.
posted by mhoye at 6:52 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

You spoke to his mum on the phone and she didn't insist you come visit? This whole family has issues. I am not really sure who is benefiting from your delay, so I would break up soonest.
posted by AugustWest at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

Just a few weeks after I left my ex-spouse (we'd decided to split 7 weeks earlier than that but I needed to find an apartment) he became dangerously ill and landed in an ICU. I found out in an email from his mother, just informing me, not asking me for anything.

I went to see him in the hospital for about 20 minutes but otherwise stayed out of it. His illness didn't change anything.

Live your life.
posted by wellred at 7:11 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you are in contact with his mother, you need to mention his history of depression and suicidal ideation. Most especially if he's on pain meds, because they have a tendency to draw that behavior out in some people. That communication will a) get him the help he needs, b) get you off the hook and c) create a way out for you.

His psychiatric well-being is NOT your responsibility. And if he's holding suicide over your head, there's just so much wrong here in terms of manipulation, I can't even begin. You are not doing him any favors by sticking around because you're afraid you're the only one that can help him. First, there are likely better trained people to help him (you have mentioned your own mental health struggles) and second, you don't need him pulling you in any more than he already has.

So, yes, while he may be sick at the moment, he's not the first person to suffer a medical emergency. He has a clear support system. And frankly, I call bullshit that he has nobody but you to talk to. Where are his buddies from high school, work, etc. Plus, there are therapists, clergy, etc.

You have already determined that you are at your happiest when you are away from this guy. Follow that road now that you've found it!
posted by dancinglamb at 7:13 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, hi, I'm a mentally ill often-suicidal person, and I don't think that's any kind of reason to stay with someone you want to leave.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:19 AM on September 26, 2019 [12 favorites]

I agree that you need to take care of yourself and end this relationship.

Captain Awkward has some good advice around breaking up with someone when they are not well and breaking up with someone who threatens harm/suicide. The takeaway from those: you are still allowed to leave.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:47 AM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

Someone using suicide as leverage does not get to decide your choices.

If he does attempt suicide that is on him. I repeat, that is on him. He is responsible for his own decisions. You don't have to be manipulated by that information.

I am speaking as a qualified mental health professional who has dated people with history of suicidality. They will never for one second convince me that these thoughts or decisions are on me somehow. He's grown, so he probably knows where to get help. It's on him to get it, not on you to be his nurse unless you really want to be and that doesn't sound like what this is.
posted by crunchy potato at 8:18 AM on September 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

He clearly will have plenty of close support from his parents during his recovery. You are not needed here.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:22 AM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

The next time he says something that pretends that the breakup didn't happen, say, "I'm glad we're still able to be friends even though we broke up."
posted by metasarah at 8:33 AM on September 26, 2019 [10 favorites]

Your question is all about him ad his needs. I'm more sure than ever I want to break up but am scared of hurting him. And then he decides to act on his self neglect, which can be a synonym for being selfish AF. (not always, etc.) The most important thing is this I realised that when I was away from him for that longer period, I was the happiest and most myself I've been in years. I no longer think about him unless we're talking, I don't see any life for us together, I don't really want to spend time with him and I don't have romantic feelings for him anymore.

You are being incredibly generous and kind to him, and that's good. He does not treat you well. He can recover quite well at his parents' home, and you should help him arrange this. You can make food and take it over, you can pack his stuff for him, whatever. You want out and he's going to use everything he can to keep you in the relationship, a relationship that seems to offer no benefit to you. Any mention of suicide from him is purely manipulative. Be helpful and kind, as you would be to a friend, but do this at a distance.

Stop lying. he is being manipulative and using his illness to keep you connected. Tell him you care about him, will be a friend as he heals, but the relationship as it was is over.

To make a terrible analogy, my gut is yelling Run! Go! Don't let him get his hooks back in to you!
posted by theora55 at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you want to take some kind of step to ease yourself out, you could look around for ways to connect him to other people: a support group, friends of friends, a specialized online group, a friend of yours that you could introduce him to just so he has someone additional to talk to -- to help his recovery, for sure, but also he might establish some kind of friendship -- if he's willing to try, as part of improving his life/recovery.

Honestly, I'm not sure how well this will work, but it's something a creative person (you) might think about for a couple of days and then have an idea about.
posted by amtho at 10:13 AM on September 26, 2019

After a couple of weeks of me being unable to see him because he was bedbound at his parents' place (where he lives and where he's uncomfortable with me going because I haven't met his parents),

Unless you're both teenagers living with mom and dad, the idea you -- his *adult* *partner* of four years -- can't see him because he's uncomfortable with you not having met his parents sounds like SUCH BULLSHIT. Woooooowwww, this is unreal and my heart breaks for you. Are you sure he isn't married? Something isn't right, and somehow I doubt this guy's story entirely.
The good news is, you shoul feel free to cut and run, my friend, cut and run, with zero guilt.
posted by shaademaan at 10:19 AM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

You spoke to his "Mom" who told you he was ill? Why was she sharing this information with a stranger as far as she knew? and just because you saw pictures of him in the hospital doesn't mean they weren't faked or old or whatever.

But assuming all the information you have is correct, it doesn't change the fact that being in a relationship with him makes you miserable and you shouldn't have to carry on a charade for months just to ease his transition. You are not responsible for his health and mental well-being.

Take care of yourself and end this relationship now.
posted by Julnyes at 10:56 AM on September 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

I don't think he has anyone he can talk to about his feelings except me, which is why I'm being very careful about my actions.

Your previous questions about this guy noted that he's refused to go to therapy, in addition to being generally insensitive toward you, to put it mildly. If you're the only person he can talk to despite living with his parents in a city he's familiar with, that's a whole other level of red flags.

You really don't have to stay with him while he recovers, or at all. You need to make your life about you, and you can't do that while you're pretending you like him. The whole thing where he wants to try to pretend like the conversation you had about not being happy in the relationship never happened is some weird gaslighting.

DTMFA and go on with your life.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:21 AM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Change your locks. People who hold suicide over your head are likely to be violent in other ways.
posted by praemunire at 1:27 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I’m still suspicious. You spoke to a woman who claimed to be his mom. And this whole episode started RIGHT after you tried to stand up for yourself. I hope he’s not lying, but if he is, he could be lying about everything.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:04 PM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

Whatever this surgery was, being "bedbound" isn't going to help him recover. We (I'm a nures) make people who've had open-heart surgery get up and sit in a chair within 24 hours, and take a walk within 1-2 days. And what does "he is still tubed up" mean? Like many here, I am suspicious. At the very least, his history of not participating in therapy does not bode well for him choosing to work towards his own physical recovery.

I will also say that I have an ex who, when I kicked him out, told me he was suicidal. The first time, I dragged him to the psych emergency room. The second time, I called the cops on him for a wellness check. There was no third time.

I hope you are OK.
posted by shiny blue object at 4:54 PM on September 26, 2019 [8 favorites]

How certain are you that this guy isn't married?

Had the same thought after review. Something isn't right.
posted by Miko at 7:36 PM on September 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Id tell him the truth: neither of you were happy together but were afraid of being alone. Tell him he doesn't have to be afraid. You 'll still chat with him, but less frequently, and not as his girlfriend. Say you're sorry but its time for a fresh start for both of you.

And then you have to be resolved to follow through.

He needs help and he needs to go to a professional to get it.

And, er, move. He may suddenly become well if he knows you're leaving. Something is not right.
posted by perdhapley at 8:00 PM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've had a lot of surgery, and I've had a lot of illnesses. It would have sucked for me if someone had broken up with me while I was recovering. I still would want them to break up with me, though. Because I don't want to be sucking the life out of someone I care about! If it's time for them to go, they should go. And, honestly, being drugged up and feeling the after effects of anesthesia is kind of the best time to be in emotional pain. It's blunted and then it passes and you don't remember a whole lot of it. You get to feel your feelings and not drag them around too hard for too long. I mean, I know everyone is different and I sure was epicly miserable emotionally after my surgeries, but in hindsight? The bad stuff that happened? Yeah, it was kind of a good time for it to happen. I already had a ton of support emotionally and medically because I was recovering. Lots of people to be attentive and help me through it.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:59 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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