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Relationship advice

Hey all sorry if this is the wrong place, just looking to get some advice and to talk about what I'm currently going through.

 

It's a long story but the short of it is that my relationship of around 4 and a bit years now appears to be at an end and I'm having trouble dealing with it. I'm 25 now and I and my girlfriend were each other's first relationships, we were both pretty inexperienced when we started going out but at the time things seemed to be working. One of the primary factors that has caused us to come to this has been distance but it's not a new thing.

 

When we first started going out she was at uni about 8 hours (by train) from me, I knew her before that but we never really connected until that point, so the first two years of our relationship was mostly conducted over the internet with visits when we could manage it, I guess the only reason that was possible was because we were both new to relationships anyway. After two years she moved much closer (to within about 2 hours drive) but she couldn't move to the city I was living in because she was still at uni and I couldn't move to where she was because I'd just gotten my first professional job after a bit of difficulty finding one and didn't want to lose it. In any case things seemed to be going fine, at least to me. We loved each other, we'd been on holidays together, visited each other and generally had a great time together, when we were together.

 

Unfortunately we went through a bit of a rough patch starting about a year ago, the distance had become a problem for he and she was having second thoughts about whether she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. She didn't think we were communicating as we should be so we worked towards that and to me things seemed to be working but recently she has told me that while she still loves and cares for me she no-longer loves me romantically. What makes this additionally difficult for me is that I believe that the primary reason that we were having trouble was because of the physical distance and I had applied for a job in the same city that would start at the end of this year so now it seems to me like such a wasted opportunity.

 

To make matters worse she has kinda indicated that she's still interested in a relationship, talking about starting from scratch. She says she wants to be friends with me and I think that she still wants to be together but is worried that we might only be staying together because neither of us know any better (she has said this many times). I would obviously love for us to be together again in the future but I don't think that it's healthy to centre my hopes around something like that and I don't know if I can be friends with her without that being the motivating reason, I still love her as I always have.

 

I've been having a rough time for the last two months, fairly major depression, I've been talking to her about it and she's wonderful and helpful but can only endure so much. I've come to the point where I realise that my only options are to spiral down into depression holding on to something that no longer exists, completely breaking contact from her because I can't handle re-defining our relationship or somehow training myself to be with her as a friend and not want anything else. I've been reading about depression on the internet which has helped a lot and I think that I can control my feelings now but it is hard, I've been trying to handle my grief over the loss of the relationship in a productive way but it's still so confusing and hard to deal with.

 

Does anybody have any comments about this situation? What can I do if I can't bring myself to simply be her friend, I want to be her friend because from what she's said I think there's a good chance that we could be together again if we could start from a stronger base but I know that holding out in hope for that could ultimately crush me if it all went pear shaped. I certainly couldn't break off contact with her either so I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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Re: Relationship advice

Hey Andrew,

 

Don’t even think about apologising, you have certainly found the right place to chat about the tough times you are currently dealing with. I’m really glad you came onto the forum to share your story mate. Relationship troubles can make you feel bloody lonely, and sometimes it just helps to chat about it and know that others have been through similar heartache.

 

The first thing that strikes me from your post is that you seem like a really levelheaded guy – you are just dealing with a particularly tough situation. So don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t be concerned about over-reacting or being too emotional. All the feelings you mentioned are completely justified given how much this relationship means to you.

 

It sounds like the biggest dilemma you are facing is whether to try to hold on to the relationship (even if it is a platonic one) in the hope that it will develop back into a romantic one, or whether to just get up the guts to cut ties with her and try to move on with your life. No one is going to pretend that is an easy decision to make – it is a really tough one and it wont be easy either way I am sorry to say.

 

My hunch is that when you feel strong enough, and it sounds like you are starting to build the courage to decide what is right for you, you probably need to tell your girlfriend that she can’t have it both ways: Either you want to be in a relationship with her or you want to move on. You don’t want to be in ‘limbo’ forever and it seems like you have already given her quite a bit of time and space to work out what she wants. That said – I know personally how hard it is to give someone that ultimatum, and only you can decide if you are ready for that.

 

You also mentioned that you have been feeling quite depressed as a result of the relationship problems and you have been doing some reading on depression and how to deal with it. It is also worth pointing out that what you are going through might not be depression so much as grief related to your relationship. You might have already checked it out, but there is some really good info on dealing with break-ups here: http://au.reachout.com/All-about-breaking-up

 

You might also want to visit this thread on the boards as what @ryan08 is going through seems really similar to your experience. You gives might be able to trade tips on getting through these tough times!

http://forums.au.reachout.com/t5/Everyday-life-stuff/Cant-move-on-or-be-happy/td-p/3182

 

OK mate, that’s enough from me. I hope that advice helps in some way. Let me know if it makes sense… or if I am right off the mark.

 

Take care mate.

Re: Relationship advice

Well I just spent the weekend staying with her and I'm more confused than ever, having a hard time concentrating at work today. Doesn't seem that she's told any of her friends or family (other than her father) about what's happened between us. Granted neither have I but that's because I'm hoping we can sort something out so maybe that's what she's been thinking too.

 

It's very hard to find the right level of intimacy with somebody who's supposed to be a friend now but I've been with for the last 4 years. As she's said a lot, it's not anybody's fault but more just circumstance that we've been apart for so long and neither of us were initially equipped to develop the relationship when it needed it but I can't help feeling like there were things that could have been done to avoid this whole situation and that too late we've (or at least I've) worked out what to do and what was at stake.

 

I could go to her and ask he to make a choice but we've talked about that sort of thing at great length some nights when I get into a particularly bad mood and she's complained that she feels under way too much pressure which I can understand. Even though it's hard on me I can't forget that it can't be easy for her either and I know that putting pressure on her to go one way or the other is only going to drive her away, if she's struggling to make choices or work out what she feels then I think all I can do is give her time and be there for her without putting my own life on hold.

 

It is very hard though, being around her I still haven't lost any of my attraction to her and I can tell that she's not over me but I just can't be there all the time which I think is causing problems for us (and if I try to move up there now I'm sure she'd see that as pressure to commit).

Re: Relationship advice

Hey mate, sorry to hear you had crap day at work. It sure can be hard to 'but on a brave face' at work when you have all this stuff happening in your private life. 

 

In terms of asking her to make a choice - I think it really comes down to, at least in your own mind, setting some time limits that you are comfortable with. Of course you need to see it from her perspective and give her time, but you also don't want to look back in a year's time and find that you are still 'hanging on', waiting for her to decide what she wants. 

 

I guess the other approach you could take is to have a trial separation - decide on a period of time that you will spend apart with very minimal contact (maybe allow yourself to only meet up once every two weeks, or once a month), maybe 3 months. Then at the end of that time come back together and see how you both feel. Hopefully that time apart should give you both (but critically, her) some clear perspective on how you feel about each other. This if you both feel like you want to start afresh, that's when you should start to think about moving to be closer to each other.

 

I really feel for you mate, and I know that you want to do everything you can to keep her, but just make sure you aren't putting your entire life on hold indefinitely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Relationship advice

Thanks Benny, in terms of a trial seperation we only physically see each other once every 2 weeks or less currently anyway, we can really only visit on weekends and she's into the final year of her medical degree so she's very busy most of the time and even though we have a great time together she does feel obligated to spend time with me when I visit which hurts her studies.

 

I'm not hugely concerned about my life because really it feels like it's been on hold for months anyway, I definitely feel like my life is a much better and more active thing with her in it so I don't see how I could ever pass through the other side of this without her.

 

I'm currently a little over 2 years into my current job, it's interesting/enjoyable, pays well, I like the people I work with etc so it's hard to consider leaving it but harder still now that I don't feel like I have any certainty if I do leave and move to where she's living. There are other jobs where she is but I'm worried that none of them will be as good as what I currently have, I have applied for one that I think I would enjoy but it's a graduate program for the start of next year so they're taking a long time to get around to the interviews. I suppose I should try applying for other jobs as well but I don't really want to take any before hearing back yes or no about the current one I've applied for...

 

In any case my parents are selling their house at the end of the year (where I'm currently living) so I have to move somewhere, I just wish I had some kind of certainty from her that if we were to be living together and if we were still enjoying each other's company that we could try to make being a couple work again. I wouldn't be doing all of this if I didn't think it didn't have a chance but it makes me so anxious and I constantly doubt myself and stew over it. I really don't have anybody to talk to about it either other than her (which is why I'm posting here) and I worry that if I dump too much on her she's never going to feel comfortable being with me again, I mean I've told her basically all of this already but I don't want to keep going over it like I feel I need to.

Re: Relationship advice

Hey andrew. bennys right im going through some tough stuff with a relationship. it may not be exactly the same, but i have plenty to say on the subject Smiley Tongue Im happy to help wherever i can.

 

I think its good your thinking about the situation with a level head.. most people dont do that and end up doing things they might regret. Use us to vent to. i think if you keep throwing it on her she will end up resenting you or turning it around on you...

 

that kinda happened with my situation. its shit the way it works sometimes. you feel that you can always say what you want when you want and this person will always understand. the reality is thats not always the case.

i wrote a the biggest heart filled letter to my ex a week or so after we broke up. telling her how i felt and why i felt this way from past experience ect.. you would think that me doing this would help her to stay strong with me.. but as i was on one knee shaking with tears in my eyes she just said she couldnt.. she wouldnt even touch me.. to me it made no sense how can someone turn like that. but its the way it works sometimes i guess..

 

what im trying to point out is that if you have said what u need to say u cant keep diggin it in cause it will do the opposite most of the time.. sometimes they need to come to the conclusions them self. Make it clear where you stand and throw her the ball. in doing that you have tried you will have no regrets. it may go your way and it may not.. we both must relise there are others out there as hard and shit as that seems, cause i know u dont want anyone else.

 

keep posting on here when ever u are in a hard spot. ill do my best to help you out as will the others on here. then you are not so alone.

You will get passed this with or with out her, we are built to survive it just tears us apart in the process Smiley Tongue

 

Re: Relationship advice

Thanks for the thoughts Ryan. In a way I've already done that a bit, I'm just reading back over some of our recent online conversations and marvelling at how stupid I can be when I'm depressed. Anyway from what I can read it does seem like she wants to give us another chance with time, here are some extracts:

 

"We just couldn't continue on from something like that

need to start again"

 

"We really just need to go with the flow for a while

there's no way forward otherwise"

 

"I guess I thought you and I would go along as friends for a while and then it would be obvious to both of us if we had a future together"

 

"But I mean friends, I seriously can't feel committed to this anymore

it's got to proove itself"

 

Luckily I had sense enough to part on good terms with her that night and I think that I made a good impression over the weekend because she did comment that it was like the old me is back now (not miserable me she's been seeing too much of recently).

 

So what do you think? From my reading she wanted to give it a go but she's really worried that if we don't completely reset our relationship we'll just be staying together because it's all either of us know and we'll end up miserable again. I'm just finding it so hard to really be friends with her, I still love her and that makes it seem impossible sometimes but it really is my only choice, so I'm stuck. We've been talking pretty well since that conversation and I've managed to not get depressed and dump on her since then so I'm hoping that I can keep it that way and I can start to mean something to her again. Doesn't mean I'm not super anxious and worried all the time about it, it really is a huge problem for me at work unless I have something that can fully occupy my mind.

Re: Relationship advice

All good buddy!

by the sounds of it you guys can still work things out. To me it seems like you both want to.. and hey if it doesnt work out least you tried and you wont regret it.

 

Your going to be really on edge and anxious its cause it means so much to you..

Im with you. at work i pace up and down when i dont have things to do and now im chain smoking.. i guess you gotta try keep your head together and at least try focus on something as much as you can..

 

If you keep things the way they are going now i belive things will work out and like i said if it doesnt you can hold your head up and say you gave it your best shot... you dont want to look back wondering what you should have done or said.. thats a shit feeling to have.

Keep being the man you are, show no fear.

Re: Relationship advice

Giving her my advice on formal dresses online tonight, she's choosing something for her end of year graduation ball. Makes me sad that I won't be there with her and I can't help but picture her in the dressess...

 

She told me that she thought I would be happy that I didn't have to go because I've always had trouble remembering her friend's names (the ones I don't see much anyway) and I generally not a ball person which is fair enough I should work on the importance I place on people's names.

 

I really want to ask her if I can go with her but it's way too soon, she'll just say no and it is pretty pathetic on my behalf.

Re: Relationship advice

Could hardly sleep last night, didn't settle until probably 11pm and couldn't get back to sleep at 5:20am. Had a very positive night talking to her online, she did comment that it seemed like I'd grown a lot recently, but when I got to bed my head was so full and it was like there were iron bands around my chest.

 

It's by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do, harder than being expelled from my first school in year 9 and losing all of my friends which is saying something. I don't know why my perspective can change so rapidly, during the day it's been easier and more positive but every night this week I've felt that chest crushing pain in bed. I've not really told the full story to anyone and I don't really have anyone that I can tell, now that we're doing well together as friends I don't feel like I can talk to her anymore either or else I'll jeopardise what we have now. I'm trying to hard to just be a friend and let time determine if we should be back together again but every day is crawling by now when they used to fly and I'm so impatient.