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Love fell apart ...

Penny wrote:

My boyfriend and I were together for three years. We met in college and really hit it off. We have so much in common. Lots of people say that, but we really do. We both like old movies and TV shows, radio shows, music and enjoy the same activities, like walking or eating out.

Well, he got a call about a year ago to work as an organist in California. I encouraged him to take it because it sounded like it was what he's always wanted. He did take the job and I went to see him a few times. Things were fine for awhile. We talked about our future together, how I'd move out there after I was done with my last year of school, about marriage, family, all that stuff. He even told my dad that he had intentions to marry me.

After Christmas, he just started to very slowly drift away from me. I didn't think much about it at first, but when he never seemed to be around when I needed to talk and never asked me how I was doing, I began to feel a little hurt.

About two months ago, he left an instant message on my computer telling me that he didn't think I should visit him anymore, that I shouldn't try and move out to join him and that he didn't want to get married. Suffice it to say, I was very shocked and hurt. When we talked later, he told me that he still wanted to work things out and be friends. So, we decided to have an open relationship and see how we felt.

For two months, I barely heard from him, but I started to get over him and accept my life as being single again. But I still loved him and wanted him back. Finally, I asked him plainly where we stood and if he was still serious about wanting our relationship to work. He told me yes. I told him I was too, and asked if he'd been able to visit me when he came home next. He told me he'd let me know.

Obviously, he never did, or I wouldn't be writing you. I can accept the fact that he maybe has moved on and that I have too. But what I don't understand is how he can be so cruel and selfish when he's always been the exact opposite. That's one of the reasons I loved him was because he was so thoughtful and considerate. Now, he's become such a jerk that even my friends can see it.

What I wanted to ask you was not so much why the relationship ended, but why it ended the way it did, with such cold and selfish behavior on his part. He's lied and treated me without any respect?

Dear Penny

A friend of mine used to say that while you are at college, without much in the way of serious responsibilities, relationships are never tested; not even questioned. You get on well, have similar interests, and what's to go wrong.

Once you hit the real world, especially when you are apart, life starts to intrude; you both have real pressures - and they are different, both in the aount, and the detail. It's not at all uncommon for such relationships to quietly fizzle out.

You refused to accept that, and fought to keep it going. He, feeling guilty and embarassed, but realizing it wasn't going to work, began to pull away. He tried gently, but you wouldn't take the hint. He tried frimly, you dug in harder.

He then resorted to brutal. That worked, but ebnded any chance of a friendship that could have lasted for life.

What I don't know, is which of you is making the better adjustment to after-college life; are you clinging because it's an escape from the tedium of being a wage slave - or was he feeling even worse than he would have, because he's struggling to cope, and didn't want to drag you down?

What saddens me, is that not one of your 'friends' had the sense to stop you humiliating yourself and losing a good friend. Or did they try?

All that, of course, is pure conjecture - but if you want corroboration, look up "propinquity".

My advice is to stop thinking of him as a jerk - I doubt he is (though he may be!), stop pursuing him, but send him a nice card in a few weeks time, saying "I'm sorry I was so clingy; I couldn't see what was going on. I accept that it's over, and hope one day we can be friends". Then move on.

Good Luck.

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