Posted by: Liz | 2009/07/07

Feel boyfriend' s pain after break-up

Hi Cybershrink

I broke up with my boyfriend of 12 years a few months ago. We still live together as friends and it works fine - separate bedrooms. I was not happy because I am 40 now and I want more than he will or can give me (he does not have a stable job, he despises marriage, he can be emotionally selfish and basically I feel ready to move on). He said it came as a big shock to him and I said it could not have as we have been fighting for 2 years and have both been unhappy. We never slept together for 2 years either.

It is just that he says he has let go of me and wants me to be happy. He is not an emotional person and his eyes fill with tears and he looks so sad (he is good at hiding his feelings) and I feel so very sad in my soul for him. I don' t think he is going to be ok without me. I don' t mean suicidal. I just mean lost and he says the only woman for him is me but we just don' t work. Neither of us really know why. He will never go to counselling. He says he will never be interested in another woman again, I said you will in time.

We both want the other to be happy. I have kind of met someone and although I am terrifed of embarking on anything this man is also special. He is older than me 55 but I really like him. He also broke up with his longterm partner of 15 years and we agreed that whilst we are definitely interested in each other we should both wait until the right time as we feel we could not give each other what the other one deserves right now.

This man could give me what I want.

My ex says that I betrayed him. I said I can' t help that I changed and that things changed in 11 years. I did not plan it and I said you have also not been happy. My heart is breaking for him, as I write this I feel like crying.

I did ask him if he wanted to get back together and he said no, because it won' t work, we really cannot compromise on our issues. He also says I chop and change, I say I do, because I love you and I am unsure.

I just don' t see a future with him. I think that love is in fact not enough or maybe I just grew up. I don' t know, I just seem to want more.

We try to support each other emotionally and to my mom he is the son she never had, I said to him be the brother I never had I still want you to be in my life. I said I wish we could both meet other people in time and actually be happy and socialise together on occasion.

I hate to think of him loving me and watching me go. I know that I am going to go. You see years ago I was engaged and I knew it was wrong but I stayed in the relationship for 11 years. I have that same feeling now and being 40 I feel it matters.

Am I still in love with my ex or what gives. I feel his pain and its not nice at all. I would never flaunt another man infront of him, never.


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

He sounds more like a possible friend than a definite spouse.
It's sad when anyone paints themselves into a corner by making sweeping declarations and vows about what they will NEVER do, or that NO other person will ever love them, or whatever.
He shouldn't blame you for changing --- change is inevitable, and we either adapt or fail, and he sounds reluctant to adapt. Its hard to feel sorry for someone who refuses help or counselling, when they somobviously need to sort themselves out. If one insists on remaining unaltered and on refusing all appropriate help, then one must unfortunately accept that this will lead to problems and sadness. And if one refuses to avoid such problems, one must otherwise simply endure them.
It is sensible for you to recognize when a relationship is not and will not be fulfilling, and to move on. Encourage him to do likewise, and remind him you are prepared to join him in counselling if and when he decides to do so. Don't let your feelings of some sort of obligation to him, prevent you from finding the happiness in life which you deserve. Are you actually in love with him ? Or in habit ?

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