How to Work Out Arguments With a Loved One/on Again, Off Again


It's complicated so please bear with me. I am 46 years old, but a very active 46 year old. I had a best friend of 10 years and was married. I was having repeated issues on my marriage (also of 10 years). My husband was aware of the issues and continually promised to work on them. Eventually my patience ran out.

My friend and I began to realize that we would like to pursue a relationship. I am aware that we went about it very wrong, but I tried to make it a good transition for everyone (including my 7 year old daughter from my marriage). It was working out well. My soon to be ex-husband was ok with it and my now new boyfriend loved my daughter as his own. Thing progressed quickly over the year of our relationship. In the beginning we wanted to marry and possibly have a child, but as we went along we began to suffer issues. We pressed on and to make things better for my daughter and the whole situation, he bought a house minutes from my house that I currently share with my ex.

I had started to move us in and the plan was set. Shortly after Valentine's Day we had a blow up that I admit I caused. This time, despite the other times say that he was done, he says he meant it. I said we needed space, but we still continued to talk and I continued to press (one of my issues which stems from several insecurities I'm sure). I tried 30 day no contact, even went to extreme measures but could never make it past a week which I'm sure exacerbated things.

He continues to be adamant about the break up but wants to be friends. Although he says things that makes it seems like he is adamant he says things like "My feelings have changed and I don't know what to do" or he will engage with back and forth about what went wrong in our relationship. This lead me to believe that he may say things to end it, but his actions and other things he says still has a spark of hope.

Regardless, this was a good thing without me realizing it at the time out of desperation. I began to see my actions and what they contributed to the problem and well... while I thought he was the problem and always blamed him, it turns out he was simply a REACTION to my ACTIONS. For instance, he would say he did not want to go out or go to the track (we all... ex included... race motorcycles) and I would press or say that I would pay and he would finally get angry and I would say "You need anger management!" when in fact... I had pushed him to his point.

I had committed to doing some online counseling, I think maybe to be honest with myself, to show him that I'm at least doing something and being proactive and will get him back but it backfired. Instead, online counseling showed me that I really needed in-person counseling.

I have continued to move my things out and I am on the last pieces. We continue to text and I think today, we both had a breakthrough because this was the conversation:

HIM: "I guess you don't get it. I don't want this relationship. What is done is done and I don't know how to change it."

ME: "You are wrong. I do get it now 100%. Just because I am overly emotional and grieving over the loss of our relationship (which I think is natural) does not mean that I don't get this. I realize that even if you gave this another chance, I will end up making the same mistakes because I haven't taken the time to fix myself. You will end up leaving again and then it will feel even worse. That's the point I have been trying to get across with my texts, calls and tears."

HIM: "You said that I don't want you texting because I don't want to feel any pain. Did I say I'm not feeling any pain?"

ME: "Then let me go do my work and change. Continually pointing out what I do wrong isn't helpful"

HIM: "Please let's just try to be cordial and see whatever happens down the road. I bite my tongue but if I don't reply I get grief. It's a lose/lose no matter what I do.

ME: "That statement shows me that things have gone so far that you have (understandable) trust issues with me. I need to work on better behaviors for me. It's going to take some time, but maybe we will both be in a better place someday."

HIM: "I really don't know what to do and just need to repair myself. I sit have and feel that even my relationships with my few friends have been affected and I don't know why I feel that way.

So I ended it by telling him he was a great guy, I just did not have the actions or words to show him that and that him and I need space to work on ourselves as individuals. Given that, I'm going to attempt No Contact again for both of us. I think since I start counseling next week, it will be easier for me to manage it.

My question to you (after all this) is... does this truly seem like a guy who is calling it completely quits or is just confused? I'm getting confused. He wants to be friends, but I think him sharing feelings with me and his confusion is telling me something else. Otherwise, why would he say it at all?

Don't worry. I am not hanging onto hope though I am hopeful. I am concentrating on making myself a better individual for myself and my daughter and am going to examine with my therapist what made me behave like I did. I'm sure it will be a long time and very painful and complicated. But I can't help feeling that he is hopeful also. Especially since I acknowledged his feelings, and genuinely took responsibility for causing it. I don't think that we would be even discussing anything if it wasn't for our long friendship prior to our relationship since we know each other on a deeper level than most.

Any advice or thoughts you have on this would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Hi Wendy,

You are totally right in being hopeful. There is something more here beyond friendship. But you both need time and your efforts will bear fruit. The counseling will do you immense good. He is just confused and a bit time off will help him sort his internal issues. His behaviour with everybody around is getting affected so it means that he does need a bit of rework. In the meanwhile start spending some quality time with your daughter. An innocent smile and a hug will help you decide things better.

Best wishes


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