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Relationship blues

By September 12, 2011 - 8:33am
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Hi, I am 25 years old and very very very confused about where to take my life, whom I should spend it with and am I doing the right thing. I want to be as anonymous as possible as I really love and care for the people around me and seeing me flustered and unsure will hurt them if they saw me bringing it up in the public forum.
Let me begin my story. In the summer of 2007, I had ended a tumultuous relationship with my boy friend at school. Following that for a year, I constantly was in conversation and ended up falling in love with someone whom I had not expected. We tried so hard to control ourselves but it ended up happening without anyone's control. In March of 2008, we made a pact that we will confront our parents 2 years later and fight for each other due to financial disparity and other reasons, we knew our parents would not approve but our love was so grand that we continued despite knowing the consequences. A year later, unexpectedly, my mother ended up finding out about it and for two years, as I studied in my graduate school, coming home always meant having volatile conflicts with her. I persevered on regardless until last semester when the pressure of graduate school, loneliness (it was distant between India and here), and the pressure of completing my thesis came together so much that I wanted to show him, that if he did not take any action I will move on. I met someone who was very sweet and charming, a gentleman (what I was unaware was of the past he was hiding and I was unaware that he had wanted a short term relationship), I was confused further as I saw a solution in sight.

I chose the second guy and imagined that by this decision, the guy whom I had loved for for so long will def. fight giving me time to think and ponder upon the decision. However, he just let go within minutes leaving me in a shock. I also decided to stick to my decision (although I would call him begging him to rethink but he was set). I ended up gradually falling in love with the second guy (though I had not received any closure from the first one and was still confused). The second guy did not tell me the truth of his past afraid I will leave him and he had wanted to save his respect in my eyes. However, I was so hurt and confused, being alone made me scared. I began to see loving nature in him, integrity, we are mentally compatible at all levels. Except, the biggest shock came to me when I discovered his hidden baggage - he was separated and had a child. His (ex) wife had left and he was recovering from his pain. I couldn't leave him then. He needed me and I was there with him through the tough times he faced. I was sure his divorce was going to be finalized and we were finally going to be together. In my society, what I was doing was already considered taboo and required me to fight against/rebel against my family a second time.
Since then I have returned home, still working on my thesis, probably will see him in a couple of weeks but in the meanwhile, in the time I have been alone the first guy contacted me told me he was compromising and decided to marry his colleague (without even fighting for me once while I fought for him for two years). I have been trying to move on and out of this situation. I recently told my mother that life needs to be straightened out and I am not sure when guy 2's divorce will take place. I am just not sure anymore of what to do? Am I making the right decision?
I am going to discuss this situation and my own angst with guy 2, but I am not sure if I should wait till the time I had given for him to prove himself worthy or should I not wait end the current relationship, and choose the best route: arranged marriage where families are also happy? I am happy with him, we are compatible at many levels, except he is 9 years 2 months older than me, is still pending divorce, and not sure how ready he is to have a family and settle down since he still has emotional baggage from his prev. relationship which I have to fight. I know he loves me a lot and craves a family.
Please help me sort this puzzle out. What should I do? Should I trust him again? I am too afraid after guy 1 who called himself my best friend and soulmate yet chose to move on asap when time came for him to really fight for our relationship. I am SO confused!

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HERWriter Guide

Hi again anonymos1486

I'm so glad you are thinking about you, for once, and not about men. I think you've made some really great strides in the past couple of months and am very proud of you! I think it's especially important that you are stopping this constant hunt for men and are stepping back just a little, to let them do some of the work - and just get an emotional break.

Men do like to do the work, no matter how much we think they like an easy score. Allow yourself to be courted and wooed - you're worth every bit of time an effort that a man SHOULD put into you. To be very frank. I think women who race after men look like over-eager puppy dogs looking for a treat. Women are smart and sophisticated and you're also very educated. Don't be a puppy begging to be petted!

Good luck tomorrow and as always - a little advice. Don't prolong these "goodbye" discussions. While it's a good thing to leave a relationship feeling ok about it, it's still a breakup and will be hard. Overdoing the conversations will only serve to prolong everything. Talk it out, don't allow him to start complicating everything and be strong. If (and when, because he will) he starts rehashing his whole life to you again, stop him. You're not his mom or therapist; you are a grown woman trying to move on with YOUR life, not serve as his emotional pillow. So by all means, have a final chat and then accept that you have to let go and make sure he lets go too, otherwise like I said before, you will never be able to live a life fresh; you'll have too much emotional baggage that will negatively affect your future.

Keep me posted as to how things went and I am really glad I was able to help a little.


October 17, 2011 - 12:43pm

I also wanted to say that your last comments really hit home hard! They shook me to really think about everything. In the past month, they have been lingering in the back of my mind and turning me towards positive direction. They were also the reason behind the courage that I found to talk honestly and firmly to #2, thank you for giving me the right advice. Tomorrow, #2 and I are going to talk about more in detail but I am not disagreeing with him. It will do him good and do me good too. I hope he chooses his family especially his son who loves and wants him at the end of the day.

October 16, 2011 - 10:38pm

I meant about the break with # 2

October 16, 2011 - 10:27pm

Dear Susan,
So I have an update for you. Well for #1, he is off getting married soon he said in a couple of months. We talked like friends. He still loves me but he prizes his commitment to the girl who was there after the breakup and our misunderstanding but its led to positive changes in his life. In either case, our union because of our differences would not have been taken well in our homes. So its a positive step and a major reason behind the decision I made, even though I got the lower end of the deal.
Secondly, it took some time and thinking and gathering of courage to discuss things honestly with #1 but I spelled out very honestly to him that I needed some time to think about everything because of two reasons a) his divorce was still not finalizing and she was still calling him b) he wanted me to be with him like as I was married to him and both of them especially after your advice and talking to my best friends it seemed like a futile relationship. He was not ready to put in any effort to make it work. I am okay with it though because after a long six years with #1 and the brief tumultuous relationship with #2, since 2007 when I had gotten out of another bad relationship, I actually feel relieved to be on my own and free to think and act and focus on my self. Its been a while. At first he was fine with it saying what I was expecting of him, and I said I needed two months more to think so that I don't regret my decision. But, he, being impatient as I know he is, for the past two days went into major depression and today, he fessed up using the 'guise of long distance relationships' that we should take a break. I didnt fight it and he said that we will discuss it more tomorrow as he had to go to work and he was sounding agitated.
Although I know what I did was for the right of everyone, I miss the close intimacy and friendship I had with #1 but it was never meant to be so these events took place but I am okay. I want someone like #1 but someone who is real and reachable and I am sure he exists somewhere maybe I haven't found him yet or he has been under my nose and I haven't realized it yet. But I am no rush. I have a year to apply for Phd programs and build my self. After the week of meltdown, I actually joined an afterschool program for kids so I am working part time while working on apps. I will also be probably offered a contract position in a company I interned for in the summer (which should give me enough savings to be financially indepedent once I am in a Phd Program) and I think everything will be allright. I am sure the guy is lurking somewhere as he has been for the past 25 years, maybe its about time I stop hunting for him and let him show him self up! Your advice truly has changed my life for the better and re-ignited my fire to empower others and survive life's unexpected challenges! Thank you so much!

October 16, 2011 - 10:18pm
HERWriter Guide

I think you are making some good decisions but don't play coy with the "break". A break doesn't mean checking in with him in 2 weeks. A break is at least 3 months with no contact. Anything else will start all the above all over again. And when you say it, mean it. Don't backtrack as soon as he argues with you. Call him to let him know your decision, don't call to bring it up and chat about it. Be compassionate and kind and firm and don't prolong the call.

Neither of you are teenagers, you need to act accordingly and take this firm break for at least several months, otherwise you'll be back to square one in a matter of weeks !

Stay strong and stay in touch with us!

September 22, 2011 - 10:50am

Thank you for telling me honestly like what it was. I have been keeping his emotional baggage to myself so it becomes difficult for my closed ones to know the truth. My best friend has also advised the same. I just haven't the heart to break up with him. But I will tell him in a cordial and normal manner that I need some time off to think.
I have played a part in this too. I thought I could handle it and felt bad for him, but its much more than I can handle and I need to focus on myself.

September 22, 2011 - 9:53am

Hi Susan,
Thank you! Yes, I know...My intuition has been saying the same thing. Yes, I know the irony of it all....Its always the wrong guys who detract me from my goals...This is the third/fourth time its happening. I will talk to him today about the break because it needs to be done. Its really dragging me down and I need to focus on better things in life.
I haven't taken the ownership in all this until now because I think I have been too scared to hurt him, but I think its better than me being depressed and unhappy the entire time.
Thank you so much!

September 22, 2011 - 9:42am

Hi Susan,
Since you know the entire background of my story, I had a question. I am considering and am almost at a brink of either getting a break from (which is somehow happening coincidentally as #2 lives in Michigan) or breaking (up) from him. However, because I am currently stationed at home working on my thesis without any contact from my professors etc, I am having anxiety from that as well in the background thus I am afraid that I am not rushing into anything.
We haven't seen each other in almost a month. The last two times I have flown to Michigan. One time I was there for 4 days and it was right. Second time around, his roommate had changed locks on him and he had moved to my apartment. For two weeks that I was there, he was always complaining about the 2 hour drive and whenever he would come home, he would be too tired. The last day he had a meltdown as his ex had called him telling me that my actions were reminding him of her and that he wanted no one in his life. Tired from the drama, I had said okay lets end it. I had cried and then when he came back to sleep in my room. He was telling me that he was scared, tired, and wanted to be alone. I told him that I refused to be screwed over again and told him he had a year to fix things otherwise I was calling it off. While I was packing, he had also really hurt me by saying that the worst thing is that I live here. The remark came across as being ungrateful and hurtful.
In the morning, he was kind and sweet again and apologized but the fact that my parents were coming, he freaked out and almost left our apartment. That time when he left, I was embarrassed as my parents had just arrived but minutes later, he called back and came and helped me to vacant the apartment.
Things were fine, then in the beginning he had made plans for the long weekend to come to Boston. However, his car plans had come through so he didn't come. So then I said to him that its okay, this weekend means a lot to me becuase I will be reuniting with my undergraduate friends and they have been dying to meet you. Knowing that its three weeks and that he will get good flight deals, I had made sure that he will know of this early. However, the next two weeks he avoided the issue complaining again that he will have only a day and that he will not get enough time (etc.) which I know for a fact is not true. He was now making last minute plans and complained to me last night that the flight now costed more than $500 (which was not a surprise to me but I had nothing to say to him). He called again in the night but I had nothing to say to him.
I was really disappointed and heartbroken. He is willing to fly me to MI but I don't think its fair and I don't want to be in isolation with him becasue from past experiences, I have learned that if he is separating me from my friends and family, he won't care for me enough. Its really sad because I have made a lot of difference in his life. He always realizes what he coulda/shoulda done after the main time passes away.
I don't harbor any animosity towards him. I understand that he is at a different stage of his life and I am at another. I am only 25, I want to explore the world, I want to be with a guy who keeps life simple, is a good balance of the selfish/selfless (the past two have been I think in the other extremes). I want someone who enjoys the zest of life but is not living in isolation and values what I value. Even if something doesn't mean as much to me but if it does to him, I have always adjusted with not just him but with almost every guy I have been with. But it seems that none of them possess the key to fight for me or make things work (maybe because I invest a lot into them, so much so that people like my ex- who didn't have anyone at one point of time had me too spend time with him but when push came to shove, he rejected me point-blank claiming commitment etc) when I loved him so much I strained my relationship with my mom for him.
In the past 25 years, I have invested a lot in my relationships and never received anything back. I am tired of it. My goal is to one day become a professor of Indian litrature and women's studies literature from India to unearth the marginalized voices from the country and show their ability to create change in the world. Its what I have worked for. I just am amazed that despite putting in so much effort (which I think is important in any relationship, why can't I receive that back?) The last time he came, he drove 13 hours to see me but freaked out because he saw that I was close to my family and had to respect their wishes as well. I think thats what is turning him off from the trip even though now I have worked out a plan that would make him comfortable too. But I just wanted him to spend time and see my friends from undergraduate years, I only see them once a year and they have been with me since 2005. We go to this fair every year and I have always wanted to be with someone who enjoys the company of friends both his and mine.
What should I do? Should I end it now or wait a couple of months before things look better? I am his support but I think I will be better as his friend/confidant than his gf/wife. I don't know what to do.

September 22, 2011 - 8:34am
HERWriter Guide (reply to anonymos1486)

Hi Anonymos1486

Wow - what a lot of pressure you are under!

I will not tell you to break up with any man (unless you are in danger/being abused) but I will tell you that your boyfriend (friend) is draining you. It seems like he is sucking the lifeblood from you and making you just like him - confused, overly focused on him and basically pretty unhappy.

It makes me a bit angry that he is jumping in and negatively affecting what is such a good time in your life. You will be graduating with a Masters, you will be with very good friends, you have a family who loves you and are about to have a great weekend. Yet the whole focus is on this guy and his drama.

You don't really have a bad track record with men like you think you do. You've dated two men where it didn't work out, that's all. You simply haven't found the right man for you. However, you think you need to find this man now, when in fact you have several years to play the field and then settle down.

Your plans for your career sound really good and meaningful - things that can make changes in women's lives: empowering them! Yet right now you're caught up in bad and somewhat immature relationships with men. It's kind of ironic!

You said you were taking a break from #2 but I can see you are not. I still think you need to. He has a child, an ex wife who doesn't like you and is still very much in his life (and she always will be, along with their child) and he also has a lot of emotional baggage going on. As well as that - he doesn't even know if he wants a real relationship with you, no matter what he says.

I wish you would realize that you are a prize. You are a highly intelligent, educated, hard working young woman, yet you're doing all the running after these men. Sit back, be confident and stop doing all the work! You are not just his support, you are also his therapist and honestly - he doesn't treat you that well when he's upset. This is not friendship or love. You would be with a man who makes you laugh, smile, and look forward to getting up in the morning. With all you have going for yourself, why are you immersing yourself in men that make you feel bad?

I think you need to stop focusing on #2 right now. He's a bit of a mess, we know that. Start asking yourself some heavy questions as to your own part in all this - your own behaviors and actions. You cannot change this man, but you can change you. Stop sitting around waiting for him to decide what you are to do with your life. He has lived more life that you - you are starting off fresh. Don't make his burdens yours! This man, no matter his words, is showing you he is clearly not ready to be in an adult relationship. And unless you want to be his mommy/therapist/shoulder to cry on (and upset), this relationship will not make you happy. Trust me, there is a man out there who will treat you wonderfully but I think you are too wrapped up in all this to get it. So you do have to take ownership in all this too. I don't mean to sound harsh, but you're allowing all this to happen, when you have it in your power to stop all these troubles.


September 22, 2011 - 9:25am

After the confrontation/talk with #1, things have been cleared up and the confusion has been cleared now. I know where my feelings remain now. I still see some hope with #2 because as a couple minus baggage we do have a strong bond. I think for now, maybe for a couple of months more, I will see where our relationship leads. If not then, I will make a practical decision and end it. For now, I think I will be fine. I am ready to move on from #1 after realizing and accepting today for what it is and that I can never bring the past back. The decisions I had made permanently hurt him and changed him. He has every right to move on and so do I. I have dreams to pursue and changes to make. :) I will be fine! Thanks for being for me during the hardest time of my life!

September 14, 2011 - 3:57pm
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