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I have once again ended my relationship. I have been in this relationship for three and a half years. I have ended it many times. He still wants to be with me. I usually feel ok at first (when we split) and then begin to feel very hopless and unhappy. I end up calling him and falling back into his arms. I feel renewed love and affection for him - but it doesn't take long before I start to feel uncomfortable and edgy.

I intend this time to TRY and not fall back into the relationship. It's just not fare on him because I just end up pulling away again.

The thing is - can I stop myself going to that place where being without him feels like death? I don't want to find myself sobbing all day long because I miss him so much. It's just so stupid - to end it all by choice (sort off - feels more like being compeled) and then cry and cry about what I no longer have.

Does anyone else behave like this?



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Well, maybe a male version of this. ;-)

So, no "cry and cry" for me, I'm far too Stoic (the Greek word for 'anal'), but my wife and I went through this dozens of times in the seven years or so we've been married. At one point, I counted more than three dozen separations of at least one night each, in those seven years. Just like you said, feeling like each one is the end, no way I'm going back after being treated like that, then we talk and she seems to understand, and back I go.

I don't know what changed, really. At some point, I think I realized that her problems weren't my responsibility (my fault), and that gave me permission to stop trying.

I don't know. I'm still not the most objective viewer of the problem.

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Both, at different times. We fought like cats and dogs (well, one of each.) She often accused me of abuse, and while I rarely accused her of anything, I often felt abused, as well. Like I say, I don't feel like a very objective narrator, here. But some of the separations, she demanded; others, I initiated. The same was true of the reconciliations. And it all sounds crazy to me, in retrospect.

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I suppose what I would want to know initially about your relationship, if you are comfortable sharing, or indeed even know, is why you find yourself splitting up with him. Is it different every time? Is there anything to the uncomfortableness and edgyness you feel that you can identify? The source? Is it him, something he does? Is it that he is not "Mr Right" and is merely "Mr Right Now?" Or something else entirely?

I can share here that my longest (now defunct, but friends) relationship was very much like this in the beginning. If my memory is correct, she split up with me on five different occasions where an argument or other temporary causes were not to blame. Her reasons were always different. I think the first time was that--right, Yes, the first time was that she was still in love with her ex, and I was supposed to be a kind of diversion. The second time was that she was not in love with me. The third time was...I can't remember now, but I remember the second to last time she split up with me I just started laughing--but not out of insensitivity or cruelty, I just couldn't help myself. I just loved her so much...I kissed her on the cheek and said something like "see you soon."

And I did. I wasn't trying to make light of her pain, it was just my reaction--after all, it is bloody difficult to have someone split up with you all the time. But I knew that she loved me and that she just needed to sort something out.

Anyhow, we finally split after some years, this time mutually. We were the best of friends at that point, but somewhere the romantic part of our relationship just stagnated. I still talk to her from time to time and we get along as well as ever, but there is no way either of us is going to fall for the old "comfort" routine and get back together.

She kept her emotions on a very tight leash, but when she finally broke down and told me some of the things she was afraid of, it was a real epiphany for me, and a real release for her. I mean she just drowned me in emotion that night.

I suppose I am sharing this with you, for your own use, the fact that in our case she had some trust and intimacy issues, and they cropped up at these key moments, such as the first time we exchanged (well not exchanged, one sided) a profession of love. We were sitting together at a bar and I told her I loved her, and she just Froze, all pallid and doe-eyed. We split up for the...Second?, yes, second time shortly after that. When she finally did tell me she loved me it was another half hour of drowning. It was beautiful.

To this day I consider that "failed" relationship a success.

I apologize if reviewing certain aspects of my experience makes you feel worse. It is difficult for me to subtract the emotion and context from that experience in my life and still say anything that makes sense.

With your post I don't get the sense that this person is not compatible with you. You don't seem to indicate that. You write that you have split with him again, and that he wants to be with you, and that's that. The most I can see from your post as far as motivations go is a reference to your feeling edgy and uncomfortable, and you refer to being compelled to end it. So, what is happening?

Are you incompatible?

It can feel absolutely horrible being without someone you have spent so much time with. Everything feels completely out of balance. Being alone after not being alone is an entirely different animal from being alone in the first place. It sucks, and I feel for you. There is nothing odd, pointless, or irrational about you feeling sad all day. It hurts!

Anyway, I keep asking this in different ways, but again, is this a relationship that you know will not last? Is there something remedial that can be done from within the relationship that shows a hope for salvaging it? Can you tell us more?

Take Care,


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Hi Humble1 (Brian)

Why I split up with him I can only really put down to a gut feeling. I just never feel that I trust my gut feeling. I only understand logic things - I can never understand (I can’t think of a a word for it) things that are unknown to us or un-proven.

I was not in love with an ex or anyone else (well apart from Harrison Ford :)) during any of our time together.

So about this relationship of yours. You loved her. You felt that she loved you even though she said that she didn’t at times. That sounds like us. I guess it’s very hard to feel like your doing the right thing (breaking up) when you know someone loves you and emotionally supports you.

I am glad that you are still friends and still get along. What a lovely thing to say that your ‘failed’ relationship was a success :( thank you for sharing it with me.

Like I said in my initial post he is very supportive of me and has always been romantic (something I’m not used to). However - I have just started to realize that - expressing negative feelings on my part due to something he has said or done (and this has only been on about 3 or 4 occasions during the 3 and a half years of our relationship) has been met with a high level of anger and threat of leaving. He did this just last Saturday night. I screamed back at him that he was terrifying me. He calmed down, said he was sorry and comforted me. I cried like I have never cried before (and I do a lot of crying!!)

I am coming to the conclusion that I keep feeling the need to push him away because I have not been feeling safe to express myself in the relationship. I can express feeling bad about myself or anyone else around me and he will help me process my thoughts - but when it’s about him and how he can make me feel - that doesn’t go down well at all!

I have defended him all this time. I would never have a bad word spoke against him. I am very fond of him - but right now - a little angry also.

I spent 12 years as a single mum. I was kind of ok during that time. Sometimes a little down or a bit stressed, occasionally lonely - but not often depressed. So I can completely identify with what you said - ‘Being alone after not being alone is an entirely different animal from being alone in the first place’!

I hate endings. As a child I would cry at the end of a good film or a good book. I hate relationships to end. Hearing of relationships ending has always got me down. It makes me lose hope. It makes me feel that we are hopeless at relating to one another as human beings. This makes my heart break. I am far too soppy and sensitive for my own good.

Kind Regards


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Well, and only in my opinion, to me it seems like the relationship is salvageable. I don't get the impression that he is abusive, despite his reactions to criticism. I mean it really seems doable.

If you can afford it, some kind of counseling would probably help a great deal with the outbursts in terms of getting to the bottom of why they are there. He may have a kind of passive/aggressive tendency, where all of the good things he does for you are inadvertently monitored by him, and subsequently become fuel for his intense reactions when you try and address something more negative. He might not be very assertive in some ways, sort of enabling you in exchange for being "perfect" himself. That can be a sign of some self esteem issues on his part.

And of course I could be wrong. Who knows? But I can say that assuming you both want to be with eachother, and that what you described in your last post here is the main reason you are put off by him at times, in my opinion (and it is only that) there is great potential in the relationship, and you should tell Harrison Ford he will have to wait for you a little longer. My mother has been stringing Sam Elliot along for years.:)

I am not sure how I would suggest broaching the topic of trying to obtain help in the relationship, or whether your beau is a person who is resistant to this kind of thing, but I think an impartial observer would be the best way to figure out the mechanics of what is happening in those critical moments. It all happens so fast, and the emotions are flying all over the place. Maybe a letter would be good. It is a way you can communicate your thoughts and fears to him without the immediacy of the moment and the tension of a confrontation. It would also allow you to edit what you want to say to him before he is actually angry, at which point it is a more fruitless excercise. Sort of slip the letter into his lunchbox or whatever.

If you do decide to go the route of therapy, the one thing you need to do is stick to your guns. If it is a "me and therapy" or "not me and no therapy" decision, you have to follow through no matter what. Since it appears that he knows which buttons to push, that he threatens you with desertion when you try to address what he is doing that pushes you away, you must be ready to call his bluff!

I know what you mean about hating endings. After all, it was the reason I got so messed up in the first place. The only thing I can come up with on that topic is that it helps me to depersonalize that way of thinking, to sort of see things in their larger context, see how interrelated everything is. You know, the "every ending is also a beginning" sort of junk. There is truth in it.

I try not to think of things ending so much as things changing context. My relationship with that wonderful person a few years back never really ended, it just changed context.

Anyhow, you hopefully can address this in therapy as well, insofar as hating endings is a problem. It is, after all, entirely ok to feel emotional at the end of something. Only you can gauge to what degree you think this natural reaction might be filtering into and affecting your behavior, or making you preemptively preoccupied with the end of something.

Take Care, and Keep in Touch!


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What you say about him inadvertently monitoring the good things he does for me and this becoming fuel for his reactions when I try to address the negative things sounds very possible. It sort of works the opposite way on me. It’s VERY difficult for me to even begin to broach the negative because of him being so good. The fact that I now feel that this CAN’T be done within the relationship as it stands has me feeling that - at the moment - I just want and very much need my own space.

He is a quiet man - but I’ve never thought of him as having self esteem issues.

I am not 100% sure that his loss of temper is the cause of my pushing him away. I have woken up the past couple of mornings feeling depressed but I’ve managed to shake it of somehow during the day. This morning I felt the need to rest my head on his pillow for a little while and I’ve thought about him fondly as I’ve gone around town with my mum today. I met up with him on Friday and told him I can’t cope with the relationship anymore but that I want us to remain friends. He was sad (so was I) but it is what we have agreed at this time.

I did think about trying counselling (for us both - I think he would try) - but just can’t face the thought of it myself at the moment. Maybe I can get through by accepting it as the beginning of a beautiful friendship :). I’ll let you know if the ‘lead blanket’ starts to creep over me.

So who messed you up? Sorry if I’m being too nosy. I’m guessing it was a different relationship - not the one you mentioned in this thread earlier?

Warm wishes

LR x

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Sorry it took me a couple of days to get back to your reply. My parents were visiting and it occupied much of my time.

It looks like you pretty much have the situation in hand; you made a decision, dealt with it and your ex in a mature fashion, and seem to be coping well enough with the understandably difficult absence of his regular company. This is of course assuming that there have been no new developments on that front.

So I suppose in the aftermath, what I would be most interested in knowing is to what degree former experiences informed and influenced the results--that is, was the breakup a necessity brought on by incompatibility, or was it the result of some kind of dysfunction? Perhaps it is a little bit of both, but even if it is too late for the answers to help in this particular relationship, it could help in the next. This is probably wishful thinking, as much of what culminates in the end of a relationship can be far more subtle than some clearly identifiable event or influence. But who knows what might come up if you dig a little bit.

I kinda wish you two would try "couples" therapy even if you are not a couple anymore. More wishful thinking.

So, you're not being too nosy with the "who messed you up" question, though in my case it was not a who but a what. The way I wrote that passage in my last letter was misleading, though not deliberately so. To be more clear this time, my reason for getting all screwed up was that I developed a preoccupation with endings--so much so that in common experiences I found it impossible to enjoy myself since I was looking through the happy moments to the inevitable end of them. While people around me would be lost in the rapture of the moment, I would be absorbed in the melancholy of that evening's goodbyes. This pervaded my thinking and behavior, and not too long after developing this obsession I began to sabotage my interactions with people to create predictable endings. It was an attempt to control something fundimentally uncontrollable--two things, really--other people, and the future. All of this in turn led to a preoccupation with death, the last page in my own book. And at that point I was pretty much useless, as I developed a host of comorbid disorders.

Anyhow, doting on endings really took a toll on my life.

Do keep posting here, and definitely let me know if the "lead blanket" settles over you. I hope I am not being too optimistic, but it seems that you have a pretty realistic and good hold on at least this particular issue.

Take Care,


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Hope you enjoyed your parents visit.

I did feel the ‘lead blanket’ starting to slip over me about mid week. Wednesday was a bad day. A customer said that my sewing was like that of a six year old! I do my best and sometimes have an awful lot of dresses to alter. Initially I was told that she wasn’t happy - and I was fine with that. I just thought - ok - it’s a pain - but I’ll have to re-do the work. Then I got told she’d phoned up in tears and made the comment about my sewing. I was really cross and did not want to work on the dress then.

My ex took me to my hypnotherapist after work. I was looked forward all day to seeing him - but ended up feeling very anxious. No hypnotherapy took place when I got there just lots of talking. I talked about how my ex and I almost got married and about my involvement with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

After that I told my ex that I didn’t want to live anymore. I had a meal out with a friend straight afterward. She asked far to many questions - I didn’t feel comfortable. I cried walking home.

The next day was tough. I hated everything. I had no hope. After work I wrote lots of rotten things in my journal and crawled into bed at 8:00pm. I couldn’t understand anything.

Friday was miserable too. My son was in a bad mood. I tried to help him out but didn’t feel that I was doing too well. We ended up watching a movie together. He chose ‘Castaway’. It is one of those movies with an ending that devastates me. I cried. And then I read your message.

I hadn’t realized that like me - you had this thing about endings.

I realized that I have spent the past 30 years fixated on endings and death. How awful. I decided that I deserve 30 years of happiness now. I tried not to be so devastated about the end of the movie. I decided that it was not such an awful ending.

Today - I’ve been ok. Spent some time with mum. My son seems ok - he’s had a friend over. I’ve done some gardening and now I’m going to sit down and watch ’Britain’s Got Talent’.

I’m not sure how long this is going to last for me. I’ve picked myself up before only to fall down again. But right now - I’m ok.

As for the relationship - I still don’t have the answers. We are friends. We are going out for the day tomorrow. I wonder how it will feel?

At the time that you were behaving that way (doting on endings), were you aware of it? How did you change? Do you find yourself back there from time to time?

Warm Regards

LR x

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