My boyfriend of 5 years broke up with me 3.5 weeks ago, saying that he thinks we have changed as people and are lives are going in different directions.
The last 6 months have been a period of great change for us as he has taken on a new job which is very intense and has a lot of travel involved.
I have not reacted well to this change and since breaking up I have had therapy and realised that I have severe anxiety around change which has affected my behaviour in the relationship over the past 6 months.
It has made me behave in an unsupportive and uncharacteristic way (for example saying I would never want to move abroad which is something he would like to do) which has resulted in him mistakenly thinking that we have changed as people and that I am not able to deal with his new job and lifestyle.
When we broke up, he said he felt we were in different stages of our lives and that I was slowing down while he was speeding up.
Part of my realisation from therapy however has been that one of my coping mechanisms to deal with the change/uncertainty of his new job was to cling to our future.
We had always talked about marriage and children and where we would live in the future and he was never scared of this.
I became obsessive in talking about this and focusing on it to the point that I wasn’t enjoying our relationship simply in the current stage it was in.
As a result, he believes I am ready to settle down now (which I am most definitely not) and that we are in different stages of our lives, with his life now ramping up and getting more exciting with his new job.
Therapy has made me realise that my fear of change was causing me to react in ways to this situation that were not representative of how I really feel (for example I would actually happily move abroad).
When breaking up my boyfriend told me he still loves me, but he believes his new lifestyle has caused me a lot of pain and will only continue to do so and that he believes having spent most of his adult life with me, that he needs to now go and grow on his own/have his own life.
He has always put me first above his own needs, I understand why he feels this way, but I believe that having had therapy, our relationship could now be very different and much more equal and supportive from my side.
I had not contacted him since the breakup, but I accidentally ran into him last week.
We spoke for 10 minutes or so and it was lovely to see him but when I turned the conversation to us, he reiterated about needing time on his own to grow and be alone and he knows that feeling isn’t going to change.
I said that that I thought we should meet to speak about everything in a few weeks and he said that would be ok.
It has now been 3.5 weeks since we broke up and I want to see him and explain my thoughts and realisations about everything.
I know that he won’t listen to what I have to say and will think that I am saying I am happy to accept his new job and lifestyle just because I want him back and am giving up what I really want (which he believes to be a settled life).
The fact is I am genuinely happy to accept it and be supportive.
We live around the corner from each other and I have heard from mutual friends that he is planning to move out of the area and is also talking to work about moving abroad within the next year or so.
We have been in a very close relationship for 5 years (he told me when we broke up that he has never questioned whether we would spend the rest of our lives together until the last few months).
He now seems so genuinely ok without me that I don’t understand it and don’t know how to break through this mentality.
I know we will likely meet up in a few weeks and I will be able to clearly communicate my thoughts and realisations, but I know that they won’t change his mind. What do I do? Please advise! Thanks.
Michelle Zelli says: It sounds as though your ex is feeling the need for breathing space, to explore life on his own terms. When you meet up approach from this understanding, do not try to talk him out of it, as he is likely to retreat further. By showing empathy for his feelings and beliefs you will remain his friend. A year is a long time and much can change. Perhaps the question to ask would be something along the lines of “I get that you want to explore, therapy has helped me to understand myself and my fears around this, now I’m ready and would love to be part of this adventure. Is there something we do to get our relationship back on track?” The reality is that he may stick to his guns and you will accept his truth. If this is the case, take the time to focus on you, creating your own adventures.
Agony Aunt on Female First
Therapy has helped you see things from a new perspective, who are you in the world with this new vista? Perhaps time out would help you grow too, many people take time to find their new flow before reconnecting.
I wish you every success, whatever the outcome of your meeting, know that you have the power to create a life you love.
Michelle Zelli AKA ‘The Real Fairy Godmother.’ is a renowned international life coach. She blends her Blue Chip board-level background with spiritual wisdom and cutting edge science and has transformed her own life from a difficult and dysfunctional childhood to a successful executive. Michelle is relentless in her own mission for self-mastery and teaching others to find their own powerful path. This dedication has seen her train with the very best globally, and has since become a secret weapon for celebrities and CEOs worldwide.
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