General chatter - When is it time to let a relationship go?

09-11-2011, 10:04 AM
Hi everyone, long time no talk. I've been sort of on-and-off focus with diet/exercise lately but I still read 3FC.

I've been back in the USA for a little over a month now and it's been rough readjusting. One issue I'm facing is the fact that I feel, to use a cheesy metaphor, like the ship has sailed on my relationship. We were talking about going to Austin together but in my heart of hearts I know I feel too attached to my parents to "leave" them again, and I think feelings are becoming somewhat one-sided with us as a couple.

I don't have any "reasons" to break up aside from that my feelings have changed. He's a wonderful human being and has treated me wonderfully for 100% of our relationship. We never fight, he finds me attractive, he's responsible and mature and basically everything there is to look for in an ideal partner - but I'm just not as enthusiastic about it as he is.

We've been together for almost 5 years now, and got together when I was 19 in college. Since I started dating at 16 I have only been single for something like 6 months and I have been fighting with myself over urges to be single again for years. I've never been the initiator in a breakup before but "I don't want to hurt him/it's scary" is kind of a dumb reason to stay with someone who deserves better.

What would you do?

09-11-2011, 11:14 AM
I would trust my gut. You will only hurt him more the longer you wait. You change SO MUCH in your early 20's - having your feelings change does not make you a bad person. However, not being honest with him about your feelings is not fair to either of you.

Good luck.

09-11-2011, 11:44 AM
You just have to follow your heart. It's the only thing we have to go off of.

09-11-2011, 12:10 PM
I agree that you have to trust your gut. He might be hurt now, but it will be the best in the long run.

I'll share my story, maybe it'll help. My ex-boyfriend and I were really serious, but the relationship became one-sided. I had no idea he didn't feel the same way, because he hid it from me. But he was becoming detached from the relationship slowly. One day, he blurted out that he couldn't see himself with me in the long run, and it had nothing to do with me. Regrettably, he did it at a bad time, because he hadn't planned on actually saying something and just blurted it out. He wasn't sure why he felt that way, he just didn't. He was a really sweet guy, so felt terrible hurting me the way he did. And yes, it hurt at first. I had a lot of questions and he was patient talking to me about why he felt that way and what might have changed. I finally realized he really liked me as a person and there was nothing I could have done differently, we just weren't meant to be.

Four years later and I am married and moved away. If he hadn't "by mistake" blurted it out and said how he felt, I would have had way more heartache in the long run. He would have stayed with me to not hurt my feelings. And honestly, I think what hurt the most with the break-up was him telling me he had felt that way for months, he just didn't want to hurt me because I didn't deserve it. It made it feel like it had been a lie for awhile, and that hurt more than the break-up.

In the long run, if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't have met the man I married, who is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I would have never known what it felt like to have someone love you back just as intensely as you love them - and equal partnership and not one-sided.

In the end, if you truly feel like he's not the one for you. You need to be honest with yourself and him. It might all work out for the better like my story did. Just make sure it's truly how you feel, because there's not usually going back once it's out there.

Good luck!

09-11-2011, 01:07 PM
Part of me agrees with "follow your heart, time to move on." The other part of me feels like if you find an AMAZING person you work well with who makes you a better person that's a rare find.

I'm going through all this premarital counseling stuff right now and one of the big topics is the waxing and waning of passion, emotion, romance, etc. There are ups and downs with regards to the passionate love for no reason. Too many people mistake the dull waning parts for a dead romance that's over.

It's impossible to feel passionately in love with someone every day for the rest of your life. Dull parts will happen, but some relationships are worth the dull parts because the partner is just someone who is an incredible person that in the long run you want to be with forever. They are stable, good, positive, will be a good parent (if you want that), and inspire and support you to be better. Expecting the "I love you to the moon and back!" feeling every day puts unnecessary pressure on a relationship that's impossible to live up to. It creates disappointment.

All that said, if you are NOT ready to settle down with someone you shouldn't force it. You are not married to him or getting married to him, so your situation is a bit different than mine. If you crave the need to be free, single, on your own, etc then that is absolutely something you should not ignore. If you do and stay with this guy, ultimately settle down with him, it could cause major problems down the road.

Maybe a break is what you need. I know that's kind of the catch-all, noncommital "solution" that some people hate, but perhaps it could be useful for you. It would give you a chance to see if you want to stay in a long-term, serious, committed relationship (if your life every day is better with him), or if you really actually do need to move on.

good luck krampus! :hug:

09-12-2011, 06:25 AM
krampus.. I feel you.. I'm in the same boat :( It's hard and I'm also very confused. It's a difficult decision. I'm scared I'll make a decision I will later regret because I'm being selfish and want to 'live my 20s'.. Being with him makes everything so final.. I wish I could help, but I can only tell you I understand what you're going through.

09-12-2011, 01:13 PM
I agree with everyone else. It's not fair to either of you if you aren't romantically in love with him and are just staying because you don't want to hurt him.
I met my oldest child's father freshman yr of college, we became a couple sophomore yr and I got pregnant with my daughter junior year. I was 19 when we got together. He was a very nice guy, took care of his child and worked and supported the house while I finished school. But somewhere around 24 or 25 my feelings just changed and I knew he wasn't the man for me. But I stayed for the same reasons you are staying and because of the child at that point.
Then 9/11/2001 happened. It seemed like it put my life in perspective. I had interviwed for a job a 1 World Trade Center right after graduation and boy was I disappointed when they never called me. After 9/11 I kept thinking what if I had gotten that job and was killed in that building. I would've lived my last yrs in a relationship that was ok, but def not what I wanted or what he deserved. I moved back in with my parents the next weekend. He was hurt and I don't think he understood at the time. But it wasn't fair to him and he's married to a wonderful woman who seems very much in love with him.
I say all of that just to say life is short. You're young and you deserve the best and so does he. It might not be easy to do, but you have to follow what's in your heart.
Maybe you'll discover he was the one for you & you'll reconnect.
I'd much rather be broken up with than led on.

09-12-2011, 03:48 PM
500 Days of Summer is a great movie to watch when you are on the fence about a break up/relationship.

09-12-2011, 04:14 PM
You definitely do not need a big fight or life-altering circumstance to end a relationship with someone. If you just got acclimated to being back home near your family, I don't think anyone could blame you for wanting to stay around. I don't know what your ties to Austin are, but if it's going to be just you and him and you're unsure about the relationship, it's probably better to reassess the relationship now before moving away together.

From what you've said, it sounds like there are better people out there for both of you. But as indi said, keep in mind that relationships wax and wane. It sounds stupid, but there is a quote I always think of from Sex and the City (and I seriously can't believe I'm quoting that, but anyway...) when people talk about assessing their relationships:

Samantha: Relationships aren't just about being happy. I mean, how often are you happy in your relationship?
Charlotte: Every day.
Samantha: Every day?
Charlotte: Well, not all day every day but yes, every day.

09-12-2011, 05:11 PM
But the thing I'm struggling with is (and I think OP is too, correct me if I'm wrong).. How do you know it's just the ''passion'' is gone and ''reality kicked in'' and this will eventually happen with every guy, no matter how great he is.. If you manage to find a great guy again that is. It's not like it gets any easier with age.. I'm hearing horror stories from my single girlfriends..
Do we just need to grow up and accept there is no fairy tale happy ever after we all want (I guess)? Does anyone actually know a couple that is still madly passionately in love with each other after like 5-10 years together?

09-12-2011, 06:04 PM
I've been with my husband for 5 and a half years an I an honestly say that I'm not madly passionately in love with him 100% of the time BUT you have to take into account the things that change such as work, having children, finances, and well life! While I do love my husband I have come to the reality that we are not going to be in the "butterflies in my stomach" feeling like when we were dating but we do try to keep things interesting on our anniversary holidays birthdays and weekends when we can.

As for OP I agree with everyone to go with your gut. It's not fair to either of you to stay in a one sided relationship and while it may not be the easiest thing to do it will be the best, but then again when is the best thing the easiest?

09-13-2011, 08:45 AM
Thanks everyone. I ended things and while he wasn't happy, I am almost completely sure it was the right decision.

09-13-2011, 08:52 AM
aw krampus :hug:. It sounds like you did the right thing. It's SO hard to be the one to break things off, so good for you for having enough respect for yourself and him to do what needed to be done.

09-13-2011, 11:05 AM
I'm sorry Krampus.. even though it was the right decision, I know it was a hard one and it hurts to lose any relationship. In the end you did what was best for both of you and I'm sure he wasn't completely surprised. :hug:

09-13-2011, 12:40 PM
Imo think looooong and hard about it again.

You might think you'll find another person you'll be thrilled with for the rest of your life soon, but that isn't the case most of the times. You will get used to every man sooner or later and love butterflies aren't meant to last beyond 6 months or so.

Relationships aren't about television drama times filled with anxiety and sweet peaks of bliss. It is about finding a person you can cooperate and live your life with.

That you have lived together 5 years without cheatings and major fights means you are compatible to a degree most human being would be envious of.

I felt complacent in my 5 year relationship too once in a while (I met him when I was 20 and he was my first), but deep down I know flirting and dating will grow old if I leave him and I just don't want to imagine my life without his support and friendship.

The grass is not greener on the other side and it is a lie that you have all the time in the world.

Do as you see fit, but I thought to give out my advise since we are in slightly similar situation. You'll probably regret fixing something that isn't broken. And there are many ways to spice things up.

Try roleplaying. I pretended I was single and so did he and we "met" in a bar and had a one night stand with eachother. We had roles thought out and everything and it felt pretty exciting :D. Or start a new hobby together.

09-15-2011, 02:32 PM
I think the only way to know he is the guy for you is to follow your heart and be alone or date for a while.

My story was similar to yours. I met my now husband when I was 16 and we dated for 4 years before I felt my feeling towards him cooled down but otherwise he was as some would say "a perfect catch" - loving and encouraging, supportive no matter what. So after 4 years I struggled but decided I needed a break and broke up with him, it was so hard as like you when he asked "Why" - I had no reasons and couldn't explain myself. After all was said and done I went wild dating and it was fun and exciting but a year after I realized that allthe hotties and great guys I dated couldn't understand me to the fullest and some just annoyed and irritated me 20 min into a date. So I called my x back and he took me back with open arms, two years later married and three years later had twins ;-)

Now looking back at it and me still being young (I'm 27) I know for sure it was the right decision to break up then as it gave me an opportunity to experience other things since we started dating so young and now I never think "Oh, we've been together so long but what if.." because I have experienced that and never been more sure I made a right decision.

Hope this helps!

09-15-2011, 02:38 PM
And yes, completely agree with others - "butterflies in your stomach" feeling are just not realistic after 2-3 years, marriage, kids and life. Love and lust are two different things.

09-15-2011, 03:02 PM
My husband and I are going on five years of marriage. I know that's not a long time in the grand scheme of things but for me, being just shy of 28 it is.

We have two kids, I work full time and go to school part time, he's a full time student in a rigorous program. Add a mortgage, student loan debt, house keeping, cooking, grocery shopping, bills, etc, etc, etc... It gets hectic and sometimes I feel like running away (for a day or two :) ). But I think to say you can't get butterflies after 6 months or even a few years is inaccurate. Is it common to continue? No. Will you always have that feeling? Absolutely not.

But there are times when my husband and I look at each other without saying anything and I feel like crying because I'm so lucky, or he'll send me a random text message saying how much he cares about me and the kids. It does make me giddy from head to toe and quite tingly. It's those moments that carry us through the low points of less time, attention and affection.

It is hard to decipher the reality of relationships from reaching the end of one. For me personally, it was always a matter of whether I look forward to seeing them on an average day and when was the last time I got excited about alone time. Has it been days? weeks? months? or even more? If that time between excitement gets longer and longer, I knew it was time to move on.

This happened in particular with one guy I dated from the age of 15 to 20. He's a good guy, treated me well, always nice and respectful, but we just weren't meant to be married; it would have been disastrous. We still even talk from time to time and he's met my husband.

Krampus, I'm glad you made a decision that feels right to you. :hug:

09-15-2011, 04:04 PM
I think you made the right decision for you.

I don't think you should be in a relationship just because you're afraid of finding someone. That's the worst way of living life! Fear can't rule your life.

And the truth of the matter is that we will always find someone. We are human and we humans like to be in relationships with each other.

You did the best that you could for yourself and for him. I also think that the fact that you were living abroad is enough to also change who you are and how you perceive your life. And while he may have been perfect if you had never gone overseas, you did and you changed and now he'll be perfect for someone else.

Enjoy your parents and good luck getting used to be back in the USA.

09-15-2011, 05:09 PM
I hate to sound like a "mom" on here, but why the rush to get serious so early in life? I think it's great that some of you met your partners in your 20s. But I think people tend to grow and change a lot throughout their 20s. Some people may be completely different in their 30s. I know I am. I don't see the purpose of settling down at such a young age just to avoid the possibility of being single. There's still a lot to do in life, a lot of people to meet, and a lot to experience that could very well shape your experiences and who/what they are looking for out of life. Just my 2 cents.

09-16-2011, 03:32 AM
Thanks everyone for your perspective and helpful anecdotes. I'm in no rush to get serious any time soon...the whole point of being single is so that I can work on myself and act selfishly! ;)

09-16-2011, 04:32 PM
I think you absolutley made the right decision.

As for myself, I met my ex-husband when I was in college. Needless to say we got married right after even though I had second thoughts about everything. And now we're divorced 10 years later.

I wished that I had never gotten married and lived my 20's. Now I feel like that part of my life was wasted and now I'm catching up.

I personally think that if something is meant to be somehow it always works itself out.

Good luck!