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How to Breakup/Deal With Break Ups/Drama Queen always breaking up

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QUESTION: Hi, Sonya:

Thanks for entertaining my situation -- maybe you can help.

My on-again, off-again girlfriend of 18 months (we live separately) and I have never gone more than 3 months without some sort of drama that threatened our relationship, each time created by her. She has just broken up with me for the third time (other dramas only resulted in her withdrawing from me, for usually a week or two at a time). However, during the good times and reconciliations, she has said I am the love of her life, and I am unlike any other man she has ever known, and she wants to be with me forever. Prior to my relationship with her, she had been married for 20 years (she married young and has not dated a lot of guys), and just divorced her husband just about when we started to date.

Each time, after withdrawing or breaking up with me, she contacted me within a couple of weeks, saying she missed me almost as soon as she was away from me.

The first time she officially broke it off was because of ''stress,'' she said (we got back together a month later at her insistence), and the second time (3 months later) was because of another guy (an “unfinished business” kind of thing, a guy she met while she was married), even as she called me “the perfect boyfriend” at the time. The breakup with me was something she felt “compelled” to do, she said, in her tearful speech to me. I broke off contact with her after that, not being able to stand the sight of her.

I took her back 3 months ago, though, after 4 months apart, after she tracked me down, made promises to love me forever, and said I was the love of her life (again). She said things were terrible with the other guy, ending things with him after a month, and told me she couldn’t stop thinking about me the whole time. She also told me she started taking an antidepressant, which had changed her life for the better, and vowed to earn my trust back after her past flakiness.

A little ways into our reconciliation, I told her one of the conditions of taking her back was that she was “on probation” for six months, and that I would not make any long term plans with her until that time was up (she wanted to go on far-away vacations, and maybe move in together). But I told her we would just date, see each other a couple of times a week, and see how things go before I would make any commitment to bigger things. She seemed disappointed, but agreed to this, saying she would do anything to earn my trust again. So, we began texting daily, had a couple of dates a week, and sometimes, she stayed overnight at my place.

After 3 very good months with her, during which she considered me her one and only boyfriend, out of the blue (as if on schedule), she went cold on me very suddenly a few days ago, and 2 days ago, she ended things with me again, saying the main reason this time was my “procrastination,” and that she was a neat freak, and that I am not, and she couldn’t ever see us living together. (Up until this time, it was all love letters and happiness). A secondary reason she gave was that I had been “too private” with my phone and she suspected that I was seeing someone else. (Not true – my girl admits to being very insecure). She texted me yesterday, asking if the "other woman" was happy we broke up...(there has never been another woman while I was with her). I have never treated this woman badly, in fact, she will admit I treat her like gold, and a princess.

I am disgusted with her at the moment, as things were going so very well between us. Then, I think that she has some kind of mental illness, besides her depression, or she has an addiction to drama that demands satisfaction every 3 months or so. The woman runs very hot (she's very intensely physically passionate, likes lots of attention), then goes very cold without warning.

The sad part may be that I’d still like to make things work with this woman, as I really do love her, the good times we have together are fabulous and have been the best part of my life, ever. Every date we had was memorable, and we always had a lot of fun.

I have no idea what to do from here on out. I have no idea how to turn around this situation, to keep it from happening again, or even if I should. All of my friends say, she'll be back...

I know you have some advice for me. Maybe I’m the one with a problem for even considering wanting to get back with her and make things work. Thanks.

Ed in the Midwest, living with craziness...

ANSWER: Hi Ed

It sounds like this person may not be able to commit, or make up her mind, and is unsure of what she wants. Some people who are depressed often cannot keep to a commitment, and go hot and cold. Others have a fear of abandonment and seek security or one to turn back to if they venture out where they really want to be. Some are Borderline and cannot disconnect without fear that comes out sometimes in inappropriate ways.  

You need to find out "WHY" this is happening. I would suggest to her that there needs to be some mental health counseling in both her future, general relationship and childhood revisiting counseling in your future, and also couples counseling together if you want to find out the source of this issue and if it can be resolved or not to everyone's satisfaction.

Some things to ask- What does she want and why? What do you want and why?  What are your boundaries, stumbling blocks, needs and fears?

Why do you think the way you do? Why does she? What is considered "normal" and what do you and her both consider acceptable?

Beyond all this if you go through this process and then it STILL backfires and she leaves again, you might be able to help her, or really let go and find another who can appreciate being treated like a princess.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Sonya:

Still having trouble dealing with this breakup...I should maybe be used to this by now...

It's almost a month later (thank you for your helpful answer to my first letter to you), and I've waited to write back to see what was going to happen with my girl this time around. (Oh, and I have looked up and read a lot on BPD — very, very interesting, and there are lots of striking similarities I see with my girl...but I don’t know).

Well, as if on schedule again, she tried to reach out to me a week ago via text, two and a half weeks after she broke it off with me for the third time in nine months. This time, it was in the form of a "fake" conversation -- she pretended to be having a text conversation with someone else, but was "accidentally" sending her end of the conversation to me.

Anyway, I just couldn't bring myself to respond to this attempt at contact, though I think it was a test to see how angry I might be with her, and she’s not the kind of person to just come out and say “are you mad at me?”.... and yeah, I am still pretty upset with her, although I still find myself wanting a saner version of her back in my life.

A few days after her fake texts (and my no reply), she tersely texts me to ask me to give her something back she left at my place, and said to "leave it" (at a place we both know) and she'll "come and pick it up" without me having to face her or talk to her, but I ignore this message too. Later in that same day, a friend of mine who has known her for a long time (but who doesn’t know a lot of what’s going on between us) ran into her at his work, and told me she refused to even look him in the eye, staring at the floor,  and had a mumbled conversation with him (“very weird of her,” he said).         

I haven't initiated any contact in almost four weeks or responded to her attempted contact - not as part of any strategy, but because I'm afraid I'm still too upset this time to be rational and calm with her. I’m actually surprised at myself, as normally I'm not a person easily upset, and have forgiven what she did in the past, but I find myself really, really annoyed with her...yet I still feel stuck in the same place.

I find it difficult to talk to a person who won’t talk back in an open, honest way (evidence of this to me is our breakup text conversation this time, her strange attempt at contact after, and my previous conversations with her earlier in our relationship when she’s, more or less, been asked to examine herself and her motives – it’s like talking to a small child), and I am afraid that my frustration with her and our situation will boil over into any interaction we may have right now.

Previously, when she had broken away or withdrawn from me in the past, I had to send out a message to let her know I wasn’t upset enough to “let her have it,” and that I could talk to her calmly, and until I did that, she was always afraid to speak to me, worried that I was too angry to want her back, even as she “missed me terribly,” she would say after we reconciled.

But this time, I don’t think I can do that. I would like to speak with her, but just can’t bring myself to do it. Now, because of this, I’m thinking the problem is me, also, as well as her...

Neither of us are young people here – we’re both approaching middle age. It does feel what we’re doing is so adolescent. I wouldn’t be in this position if I could say, the hell with it, and let her go...the good times have been so much fun and very rewarding, and I haven’t met a person like her in my entire life. The less volatile version of her is fabulous.

Should I let more time pass, and try to get a hold of my emotions regarding our situation, or should I make some kind of effort to talk with her? Perhaps, if I knew what to say to her, how to approach her, that would help...I do really feel stuck here. We're never going to get to the "Why" you suggested in your last answer this way...

Hoping you have more wisdom for me.

Ed, still lost in the midwest.

ANSWER: Hi Ed,

I am sorry you are still dealing with this. Re read my first answer to you, it is still very valid, and just a continuing of the same basic disorder style.

Read more about BPD  from more searches on line and how to extract yourself  emotionally from these types.  e aware that they can become violent if threatened in their own mind.

I would continue your tactic of no contact and break the cycle.  Go get counseling so you can move past this. Sometimes the only help can come  come from a therapist who specializes in Cluster B disordered individuals and the shambles they leave in their wake. Few others understand this type of control maneuvers.

Further, heal yourself emotionally and mentally too, through a therapist, clergyman or friend you can talk to , so you can move on and without baggage, possibly find "a less crazy version of her."

Because unless she can muster incredible willpower and wants to and is willing to get help and change, she will do this cycle for her entire lifetime, and even with help, most BP's can never be cured.  Don't also allow your life to become a casualty.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi again, Sonya:

Final input on this, and it’s just me telling what has happened, hoping you may add something. Maybe it will be instructional for anyone who reads this in the future to see the behaviors of a disordered person, and how they manage to keep another sucked into a rollercoaster relationship and the pretty strange things they are capable of. After this, I will rate you, and thank you for your help. (BTW - I’m going to see someone next week to figure this out, and my role in it - thank you for suggesting). It’s been educational.

After 5+ weeks of me not contacting her, and her making several attempts to get in contact with me (none of them very straight-forward), I broke no-contact with her by sending her her keys in the mail, which she had stopped asking for (and she still has a ton of my stuff at her house too, which she has made no attempt to return).

I put a little note in with the keys telling her that I was sorry if I did anything to hurt her in our relationship, told her I am moving on with my life, said I was doing well, that her decision to leave (again) is ok with me, that I will remember the good times we had (when there were good times), and basically, I care for her and maybe one day we might end up as friends. It was a nice note, no harshness. I don’t know why I wrote it – maybe only because it felt good to do it. Felt like closure for me.

Well, the morning of the day I know she’s going to get the keys and note in the mail, two of her coworkers approach me and tell me she moved a guy into her house recently  –  the very same guy she broke up with me for at New Year’s, and who she dumped for me a couple of months later.

(Now, I have to say, this guy used to be her boss, and I was told there were always rumors about the two of them, even when she was married. He’s 25 years older than her - in his 60s - and of a different race. He was fired from his job for theft, and is about as poor financially as she is, which is why its seems he’s moved into her tiny house with her kids.)  Go figure.

I suspect now, looking back at our very first breakup last fall and finding out some things recently, that the first breakup was also a result of what she was feeling for this guy. She came back to me a month later, and then I was dumped again for him two months after that. She came back to me again, begging me, and then it seems I was dumped again for this guy, with no warning, a third time a few weeks ago (I’m laughing as I type this). So, she’s recycled each of us at least three times, all in the space of less than year!

It needs to be noted it was easy to get sucked in and stay in, because she was so damn convincing each time she came back (she’s also gorgeous, which doesn’t help me at all). I think she really truly believed herself when she said things like  – ‘I was the one and only...I was the love of her life...the other guy was now out of her system...I can trust her... she will do anything to earn my trust again...I will be hers forever’ ...blah, blah, and more blah... and the glue that kept me was that she actually backed it up, for a time, with action — she did some wonderful and sweet things for me in our relationship(s), was always affectionate, sexual, and always wanted to spend time with me when we were together as a couple. She just can’t keep it up.

Anyway, she got the keys, read my note, and texted, “Your note was beautiful and made me cry. I’m struggling through life. I think of you often.”

I couldn’t find it in myself to reply.

There you have it. I’m not sure of the lesson here, except beware these types, especially if you fall for them. They will mess with your heart and head like crazy...

I read a lot on BPD now, (“attachment disorder” is the term I like), and I’m becoming more convinced that my ex has it or something like it, and wonder if it’s completely true (not just cynicism) that many people say, “if you find out you’re in a relationship with a person with BPD, run the hell away as fast as you can.”

If you have something to add, I would be grateful to hear it.

Ed, getting better in the Midwest

Answer
Dear Ed,

I am so PROUD of you!

YOU are in control now, you can now educate yourself further and see the patterns, the MO, you can determine what is good and right and normal, or not.... with this relationship and all future ones.....BRAVO!

Thank you for updating me, and for showing me the new way you are viewing the on going actions. Now you can choose, with full knowledge what you want in your life, and what you don't.

I am VERY happy for you!  

How to Breakup/Deal With Break Ups

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Sonya Snyder

Expertise

All questions related to breaking up with someone in a mature, appropriate manner, based on the individual situation.

Experience

I have become something of a requested expert on the subject of how to break up with someone for the best possible outcome for both parties. I can help all ages with this advice.

Education/Credentials
BA Journalism, nearing completion of my MA, Forensic Psychology, continuing on to my Clinical Psychology PhD.

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