Woman Asks For Advice On Breaking Up With Her Non-Committal Boyfriend After He Refuses To Attend Her Sister's Wedding With Yearlong Notice
How do you leave someone you love?
Breaking up seems almost easier when that love has abandoned the relationship. It's easier when you loathe the person/partner in question. It's easier if you've both come to terms on the partnership having run its course and split amicably. Anything else must be like sawing off your own arm, slowly, with a weighted saw, as evidenced by the Reddit story below:
I [27/f] love my BF [36/m] of 4 years, but he won't come to my sister's wedding, and I need to work up the courage to end our relationship
My (36/m) BF is a wonderful, remarkable person - never married, no kids, no real serious relationships before me. I love him with everything I am, and I would do anything to spend my life with him, but I think I've just reached my limit and I need advice on how to leave someone you love.
I met N four years ago and we've had this insane chemistry since the first time we spoke. He is a wonderful friend to his friends, a wonderful son to his parents, uncle to his niece, brother to his sister, but he is admittedly limited in his ability to be a functional romantic partner.
N has a severe dismissive-avoidant attachment style (diagnosed) which was exacerbated by an extremely serious injury at age 27 that resulted in the loss of a limb. I truly, truly believe that he loves me (although he has never been able to outright say it) and he tries to show me in the only ways he knows how - gifts, concerts, introducing me friends and family at events and holidays, and showing me how he feels physically. He is seeing someone about this and he is really trying to communicate better with me, and be present, and be supportive. After years of dating, he agreed to meet my sister when she was in town last - the only family member of mine he's ever agreed to meet. It's not that he doesn't want to meet them but a fear of commitment on his end. I've met his whole family, by the way. I was excited that he was able to take this step, and we celebrated it, but I'm starting to get exhausted. After 4 years, it shouldn't feel like pulling teeth to get him to participate.
However, I have always known that I cannot count on him to be there for me when I am upset. He wants to be, and tells me that I should tell him when I need him, but it always makes him skittish and squirrelly to deal with my emotions, so I try to limit his exposure to them, relying heavily on platonic friends and family to play that role in his stead. We do not live together because it gives him anxiety to share his space - and he needs a lot of space. We will have an intimate encounter and it will make him back off, and downplay it or pull away for weeks at a time.
I have been extremely patient and met many of my emotional support needs elsewhere, because I wanted so badly to believe he was worth it. I have pushed my needs back and down inside me to be compassionate and understanding about his fear of commitment.
My sister is getting married next month, and I want him to be my date. I told him I would be understanding if he told me he couldn't work up the nerve to come. I told him a year ahead of time so that he could have time to process the request. This is the only thing I have ever asked him to do for me in four years, and he recognized that it was important to me and said he would try.
But he's not coming. I know I told him before it would be okay, but I'm honestly just exhausted. I'm extremely upset that he's not coming, but I don't want to make him feel bad about it.
I'm just realizing that I'm tired of him not being able to show up. It's not that he doesn't want to, it's that he can't. I'm tired of not being able to count on him, and I need to end it, but I love him and I don't know how to follow through.
I want desperately for him to change, to be able to support me, but he can't. I feel like it's petty to end a four year relationship over not wanting to come to a wedding.
To be with him, I had accepted that we would never have kids, and that we would never get married, and that it would probably be years before he was ready to live together - so to leave him after making all those huge decisions to make it work seems small and ridiculous. I keep coming back to the fact that this is the only thing I've ever asked from him, and he wasn't able to follow through - but is that fair to act like it's a nothing request? It's a high pressure situation, with my whole family, when he's only met one family member before. I should say - it's not as if he has social anxiety because he ABSOLUTELY does not, he loves people and he's extremely extroverted and charismatic - for him the anxiety is about what attending a family wedding with me as a date means. It changes nothing for me, but it means something to him, he says.
I feel like I will regret ending it. I don't know how to break up with him when I don't really want to, I just cognitively know I need to.
How do I break up with a person that I love, but who can't meet my needs because of his own limitations. How do I make it stick?TL;DR: My BF is dismissive-avoidant, unreliable, and I realized I should want more for myself when he couldn't work up the courage to come to my sister's wedding. How do you break up with someone you love?
The Relief Will Come Fast
I used to date a guy who never fully let me in. The final straw for me was also a wedding. It wasn't even one that was super important to me, like a sibling's wedding. But after he bailed on countless other social situations where I really wanted him with me (including getting dinner with my family on my own birthday) I just was done. I was a bridesmaid but I only knew the bride and groom, who of course were busy the whole time, so I spent the night sitting alone with no one to talk to. The worst part was when I got dragged out to the floor for the bouquet toss. I tried to tell people that I wasn't single but no one actually believed me.
I broke up with him a few weeks later. It hurt at the time but almost immediately I felt relief. You will too. After all, being alone really isn't that lonely. But feeling alone while in a relationship? That's a loneliness that'll really get to you.
You'd Be Surprised With How You Feel After
I feel like I will regret ending it. I don't know how to break up with him when I don't really want to, I just cognitively know I need to.
I think you might be surprised by how you feel after you break up with him. You will feel sad and bad about it, but at the same time I think you might find yourself feeling relieved. You've been living for a long time repressing your feelings, putting up a barrier to protect yourself from disappointment and living on false hope that it might get better. I really think it's going to feel good to let go of all of that and just be real.
I think it will help if you get some therapy and look into why you settled for so little for yourself for such a long time. You've done an incredible amount of sacrifice here and put your own needs on the back burner with very little reward. I think you need to look into why you fell into that pattern, so that you can hopefully avoid it again in future.
Please spend the next few months treating yourself better.
Say "I Need Someone Who Can Meet My Simple Expectations"
This sounds exhausting, honestly. I'm surprised you've lasted 4 years in a relationship like this. It is clear that your needs are not being met, especially the needs that matter most to you. I don't think it's unreasonable for you to be feeling this way. You need someone that will meet your simple expectations - because they are honestly simple, normal expectations.
You are not asking him to become an astronaut to prove his love to you. He can't even say he loves you after 4 years. Your BF needs therapy, not someone who bends at his every anxious whim. I do think you would be much happier when you're not feeling responsible and being held accountable for someone else's happiness and emotions.
Be kind to yourself!
Write Out How It's Not The Relationship You Want
you list like 12 things that you want and gave up for him.
this is not the relationship that you want.
you can have loving feelings for a person and have them still not be able to provide a relationship that you want. this is not the relationship that you want (and what you want is normal and better than what he wants anyway, stop settling).
How Much Have You Given Up?
So he's got a girlfriend a decade younger than him who's given up her desire to have a partner who loves her, get married and have kids to be with him. What's he given up for you again?
I dunno, call me insensitive, but medicalising the fact he's emotionally very self absorbed and selfish is giving him far, far too much credit.
You're getting to the age now where you're just starting to recognise [sic] the smell of the immense pile of bullsh-t you've been shovelling [sic].
They've Become A Black Hole Of Emotion
I hate to be blunt, but you don't have a boyfriend.
You don't have a relationship.
You don't have a partner.
You have an albatross.
You have an emotional vampire.
You have a black hole. It takes and takes and takes and gives NOTHING back.
I feel like I will regret ending it.
Everyone experiences some loneliness after a breakup. Even after a breakup they chose.
But getting through that single period is so worth it to set yourself free to find a happy, rewarding relationship with an emotionally healthy human who is capable of being your partner and sharing a life with you.
You might have some lonely moments in the early days after the breakup.
But think how deeply you will KNOW it was the right decision when you are in a real relationship with someone capable of loving you.
You only get one life, as far as we know.
Don't waste it on someone who doesn't appreciate you and will never make you happy.
Remind Yourself, It's Just One More Nail...
Well, I wouldn't make this only about the wedding, but I would say that it's the final nail in the coffin and that you are too young to continue to live that way. I mean, let's be honest, as much as he pulls away from you, is he even going to care? At least in a sick way you know he can take care of himself because he will just pull out like he always does. You already live apart, you already don't talk for weeks at a time, so just be honest, and move on with your life.
Ask Yourself: What's The Point?
We do not live together because it gives him anxiety to share his space - and he needs a lot of space. We will have an intimate encounter and it will make him back off, and downplay it or pull away for weeks at a time.
That right here would be a dealbreaker for most people. How can you imagine a future with someone like that ?
Also in a relationship we always have to make compromises. I do things for my gf and she does things for me. Whats the point of being in a relationship if you can't support your SO ?
Just Remember, You Have Time...
You keep saying "its not that he doesn't want to, its that he can't"
but he can. With his parents, sister, friends, niece... ect.
He just doesn't with you. Relationships aren't all about being comfortable all the time. Its about compromise and caring enough about the other person to want to make them happy. You have mentioned tons of sacrifices for him and the relationship and you haven't mentioned one that he has made.
Seems to me he knows you'll just go along with everything.
You are only 27 years old. You dont have to give up kids and a marriage and a fun fulfilling relationship for someone who doesn't even want to meet your family.
Love is so elusive these days isn't it?
Who knows what anyone is looking for in the relationship department anymore.
It's all too exhausting.
But people we keep trying.
RedditorProblemNice5257wanted to hear why so many people are still on the hunt for that perfect one. They asked:
"Why are you single right now?"
I'm single because I've given up. And I'm good. For now.
PeaceSnoop Dogg Reaction GIFGiphy
"I put absolutely no effort into meeting someone."
"Same! Also it's extremely difficult when you feel so at peace being by yourself. The fact that I have to find someone whose presence outweighs my level of comfort being alone seems impossible."
"Hard to meet people when you are a hermit."
"Yeah, I describe myself as a shut-in, lol. I leave my apartment to work, I leave my apartment to buy food, and occasionally I’ll bring out the trash, otherwise I just watch Hulu, play online chess, surf Reddit."
"Same. I've spent months trying to find an apartment I can afford without a roommate and finally settled on a small studio apartment for $1100 a month because I'd rather living in a tiny space and be left the hell alone than share a much nicer place even with a good friend."
"I have too many unsolved issues, i can't in good conscience bring someone else into them."
"Idk your issues but everyone's got some crap. Not sure how unique yours are but everyone's got some crap. It's good to share some of your struggles with other people. Just don't open with it haha."
"Issues unresolved or not, (in my case) only makes it worse when you feel like you could open up to them, and they just take those to use it against yourself afterwards."
"I hardly go out and expose myself to people. I'm uncomfortable with the notion of myself being in a relationship at this point. Also, I'm very dry in terms of personality."
"I spent a year entirely isolated due to covid and now I can't handle physical contact. It makes me really uncomfortable and a hug is enough to make my body shut down. I'm hopeless."
truthCaptain America Lol GIF by mtvGiphy
"Supply chain issue."
"Best answer here."
That's funny. But it feels oddly true.
Ahhh...Think Winnie The Pooh GIFGiphy
"I'm attracted to many, and unattractive to all."
"Last relationship was so toxic, I've sworn off dating, at least for awhile. I haven't had this much free time in ages. It's nice."
"Edit: Hey, it's really great hearing from so many people with similar experiences. Like many of you, I've been taking it in stride and focusing on bettering myself, both physically and mentally. It's done wonders for my health and I feel a whole lot better. I wish y'all the very best. Stay excellent, my friends."
"I'm 35yr old single father to a 5yr old and I work nights. It's hard to find free time to meet someone, especially in my area. If I do have free time to myself, I like staying home and ordering a pizza while drinking some beers and playing video games. I pretty much faced the fact that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life."
"I was in an 8 year relationship (married for two) to my high school sweetheart. Exactly this same time last year, we got divorced because I found out he was cheating on me with my best friend. The best friend I had known LONGER than him and was friends with since fourth grade."
"She was living with us to try to get back on her feet. Yeah lol. So I lost my best friend and the man I had been with for 8 years within the same night. So I moved to another state, got an apartment by myself, and am now single and divorced all by 26. Not really looking unless the right person comes along."
"It’s pretty happy and peaceful now that they’re both out of my life though honestly. You realize people’s toxicity and flaws the most once you get space away from them."
Bad LoopSeth Meyers Whatever GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"Because my relationships end before they even begin."
"This is my story right here."
Alright. Now that we've laid out all the excuses, let's get to matching with some people.
There is no bigger mystery than what happens to us after we die.
But even those who don't practice an organized religion tend to believe that there is a Heaven, a happy joyful place where our souls will remain for eternity.
No two people share the same idea of what heaven would be like, but everyone who believes in it probably has an idea of the first thing they'd do after entering the pearly gates.
Redditor WeDidItGuyz was curious to hear what would be top on everyone's list upon entering the afterlife, leading them to ask:
"If heaven exists, what’s the first thing you’d do?"
Overcome with joy
"In all reality?"
"Probably cry for about 30 minutes because the biggest existential fear at the very core my humanity has now been lifted."
"If Heaven exists, like 50% of the awesomeness is just the very fact that it exists."heaven gate GIF by South Park Giphy
A re-match long in the making
"Ask my childhood friend Kevon for a race."
"He used to beat me handily when were younger (9-13) and he’d always brag."
"When I got older and faster I moved away so I was never able to race him again."
"We arranged for a race but he was shot multiple times and bound to a wheelchair until he passed a few years ago."
"I wanna race him both in our prime."- Abethegreat1
Reunite with loved ones
"Find my husband, give him a huge hug and never let go again."
"Live our forever together."
"I f*cking love him and miss him so much."- jessdfrench
"Embrace my sweet wife and tell her how proud I am of the kids."- RifleShower
"Try to find my brother."
"Man, I miss him."
"He died in 2020 at age 34."- grummlinds1
"Give my mum and dad a big hug."- goonerjack007Miss U GIF by GIPHY Studios OriginalsGiphy
Achieve the "firsts" we never got to do
"Find my son and have a beer with him."
"Something we never got to do in real life."- tanukis_parachute
Hone new skills
"Try to play Smoke on the water on my harp."- Ashtar-the-Squid
The joy of doing nothing
"Rest."- BanzaikoowaidCare Free Black Girls GIF by AuroraDrawsGiphy
Live on without pain
"Enjoy my healthy back without pain."- Knackbein_
Who knows what's in store for us after our lives come to an end.
But living with the idea that something wonderful awaits when our time has come is all people need to continue to live their lives to the fullest, and treat others with the respect and kindness they deserve.
"Fun facts" generally refers to a tidbit of information about a specific topic which the general public might not have otherwise known about.
But the first word in that term can be misleading.
Indeed, some "fun facts" reveal information that isn't remotely "fun" in the slightes.
Redditor Alternative_kachocho was curious to hear some "fun facts" which were anything but fun, leading them to ask:
What's a 'fun fact' that isn’t fun at all?"
Ironically, something you likely don't think about...
"Your brain blocks you from feeling your organs moving around inside you."- Aydengeist06
Try watching Finding Nemonow...
"Only one in a thousand sea turtles born actually make it to adulthood."- Sebs_123
Shocking new light on an age old classic
"In the books, Stuart Little was never explicitly called a mouse."
"He's pretty much described as a deformed mouse-esque person born form human parents."- Red_Beard47stuart little mouse GIF by VIASAT3Giphy
Nature running it's course...
"There's a bird that feeds its younger offspring to the eldest."- Teacup_Cult
I have no allergies... yet
"Speaking from personal experience here, but your body can randomly decide to become allergic to damn near everything edible at any time."
"Not very fun."- smallemochick
Those poor, innocent creatures.
"In some regions of Australia, 90 percent of koalas have chlamydia, which poses a threat to the species' extinction unless a vaccine is created or widespread koala culling takes place."- tiffanyjcrusekoalas kiss GIFGiphy
They'd still be here if they weren't so delicious...
"The giant tortoise was so delicious, it caused not only itself to be hunted to extinction, but also the dodo."
"Giant tortoise meat was supposedly better tasting than chicken."
"It's fat tasted better spread on bread than butter."
"Also, it was the perfect food for sailors at the time, as their bladders stored 1 litre of purified water, and they could survive without food in hibernation for almost a whole year in the hull of a ship."
"Not to mention, because they evolved without humans, they were easy to hunt."
"You could tie one to your back, and roll another to the ship and they would just let you."
"It was so delicious, they went unrecorded for a long time because expeditions to bring living samples of wildlife to Europe kept eating them on the way."
"Conversely, the dodo, while as easily captured by sailors, tasted awful."
"It was completely unpalatable."
"HOWEVER, one day, someone discovered if you cooked dodo meat in the more delicious tortoise fat, it tasted just like chicken."
"So now, sailors were hunting a few tortoises at a time for their fat and water, storing them, and then hunting dodos on the daily."
"Overhunting, plus the introduction of rats to the environment (because sailors) which would eat eggs, led go the population to decline at a rate they could not breed to keep up, leading to both animals going extinct."- Kyhan
Don't forget the nose plugs
"Antarctica smells like penguin poop."
"Antarctica is a desert, it is too cold for bacteria to live."
"Nothing there to clean up penguin droppings."
"If you are close enough to see penguins, you will also smell them."- gummby8
Makes those long lines so worth it...
"The TSA missed 96% of contraband during an inspection in 2015."- omegasix321All Falls Down Tsa GIF by Kanye WestGiphy
"The person who had the first facial transplant had her face chewed up by her Labrador dog while asleep due to sleeping pill overdose." - User Deleted
It's hard not to read some of these "fun facts" and wonder if there should be an alternative term for the facts which aren't fun.
Oh yeah, probably not....
It's amazing how one change to your lifestyle can improve your daily life.
Be it starting your day with yoga, eliminating foods that don't agree with you, or simply seeing your friends more often, something we're all eager to do after months of quarantine, it's amazing how one little change can make waking up and getting through your day more bearable.
Perhaps the only frustration that comes with this change, is that you only wished you'd started doing it sooner.
"What improved your life so much, you wished you did sooner?"
There is always fun to be had!
"I stopped living my life just waiting for the weekend."
"When you work 5 days a week and have just 2 off, it's not good to be always waiting for those 2 days."
"You can plan something meaningful or fun every day, even if it's just a small thing."- cake_or_cookies
Listening to your dentist can pay off.
"Actually, I use a water pick now."
"Now my hygiene and cleaning visits are a breeze, and I haven't had a cavity in years!"- perrydolia
A change of scene was just the ticket.
"Just packed up and moved thousands of miles away."
"Left everything behind and just started over."
"Besides some debt, a suit case, and contacts for only the non-toxic people in my life, it's been an extremely liberating experience."
"And looking back, nothing was really preventing me from doing it sooner, no real reasons at least."
"I just kept coming up with excuses not to do it until one day I couldn't think of one."- SpicyRiceAndTuna
No more language barriers!
"Now I have a lot of amazing latino friends and I got a lot of great gigs and opportunities because of it."- kellytai1478
Can't beat the commute
"Not everyone can afford this, but moving closer to work."
"My commute went from 45 miserable minutes in traffic glaring in hatred at the tail lights in front of me to a pleasant 15 minute bike ride."
"I got an hour of free time every day and better health."- munificent
When in doubt, check with your doctor
"Got a proper diagnosis."
"I think a lot of people that for years questioned themselves 'what’s wrong with me?' when they finally got diagnosed it’s a big relief and changes a lot in a better way."- popcornostar
There's no expiration date on education
"Bachelor degree at 47 years old."
"Master degree at 50 years old."
"Doubled my salary in 4 years, from just getting by to on track for retiring at 60."- scientistzero
Get your body moving!
"Exercise every day."
"Anxiety and depression are much easier to manage, and I got some confidence I haven't had in years."- darodardar_Inc
"Low impact cardio."
"F*ck, I loved to run, but it destroyed my legs."
"I can swim my little heart out."- Hyperion0000
Stop and enjoy the beauty of the world once and a while
"When I was told that I would lose my eyesight it made me pay more attention to how beautiful the sky was."
"I can still see and I enjoy watching the clouds on a level I can't even explain."- DaniB3
It's hard not to stop and wonder if our lives would have been even better had we made these changes earlier.
But no point in stopping and looking back, when you can just appreciate how great your life is now.