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Sense of guilt for leaving my girlfriend.

  1. Oct 22, 2012 #1
    I have been with this girl for 7 years, and known her for 12. Things hadn't been completely right for a long time but lately, say in the last year, they got worse. We argued frequently because we both have kind of strong personalities. Ultimately though, I decided that some of her personality traits were not compatible with mine (she was too controlling, unwilling to compromise and treating me like she was my mother basically) so I drove to her house, rang the bell and told her I was leaving her. Her reaction was rather brutal, as she didn't really expect such a thing from me. I feel that all in all I have been honest and that this is preferbale to, say, waiting to find another girl before leaving her. However (it's been 2 months since that day) I was informed that she still feels very bad and misses me terribly and that she feels it's as if I was dead to her, she is not eating much etc. Although this decision has set me free and I wouldn't want to go back to any relationship right now I feel un unmeasurable sens of guilt for making her suffer. I think about it very often and can't seem to forgive myself. In spite of this I have always rejected all of her offers to meet or talk on the phone. I chose to disappear completely.
    Any comments or suggestions? Has anyone had similar experiences?

    Sorry for my english, I'm Italian.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2012 #2
    Why would you refuse to meet her or talk to her?? That sounds like a very rude thing to do.

    If the relationship doesn't work out, then you got to break up. But why would you do it in such a way? Maybe she feels extremely guilty as well or maybe she doesn't understand what happened. You need to talk things out with her, not leave her in uncertainty like that.
  4. Oct 22, 2012 #3


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    Generally speaking, when it comes to divorce, "no contact" is your friend. I would think the same would apply to a long term relationship, even if it hadn't progressed to the point of marriage.

    However, exceptions apply.

    You do owe someone a reason after being together that long.

    You don't owe someone a rebuttal. In other words, giving your reason isn't your way of giving her a way back in.

    You really don't even owe her a reason. It's a soft obligation that you should meet, but it's not mandatory. I only toss that out there because some people just aren't capable of confronting a partner with their reasons (usually when a very passive person wants to break up with a very aggressive, perhaps even abusive person). You don't put off breaking up just because you aren't capable of giving your reasons face to face.

    Or maybe the dumpee was totally aware of the problems and doesn't even need to be told your reasons. To be honest, if you've reached this point, you've probably waited way too long to break-up. But that's the other exception to giving your reasons for breaking up. Sometimes the break-up is so obvious that providing a litany of reasons why you want to break up is just kind of tasteless. Doesn't mean you refuse to tell them the reasons for the break-up. It just means you wait for them to ask for your reasons before you give them. You still have an obligation (even if a soft one) to provide your reasons if they ask for them.

    Once you've broken up, there's no reason to maintain communication. In fact, it's often a very good idea not to communicate with each other until the emotional wounds have had time to heal.

    It's also very normal to feel guilty about breaking up with someone. In fact, the main difference between the emotional process for the dumper and the dumpee is the timing. The dumper has progressed through the denial stage, etc, and reached the acceptance stage or they wouldn't be initiating the break-up.

    The dumpee has been totally oblivious to the relationship problems? Well, very possibly, since it's normal to deny the problems exist at first. Whatever the situation, the dumpee is obviously starting the process further back than the dumpee and it almost always takes them longer to recover from the break-up. They'll get over it if the dumper stays out of the way and lets them get over it - i.e. the dumper doesn't keep coming back around and giving the dumpee reason to think there's still hope for the relationship.

    Like I said, it's often a very good idea not to communicate with each other until the emotional wounds have healed. Communicating with each other just slows the process.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  5. Oct 22, 2012 #4
    It sounds like she was trying to suck you completely into her world, with her in charge of everything, "(she was too controlling, unwilling to compromise and treating me like she was my mother basically)." You have to stay away from people like that. If that makes her unhappy, she needs to learn some appreciation of other people's autonomy.
  6. Oct 22, 2012 #5
    Hi guys, thanks for your replies. My description of the event was somewhat brief. The night I drove to her and told her it was over I stayed for about an hour and a half during which I obviously exposed my reasons (I don't feel any close to how I used to, your personality is a problem, etc). She still reacted badly of course, and begged for a chance to start things over in whatever way I wanted but I refused to take those proposals seriously since personality is not something you change significantly in a short amount of time and she was so upset I figured she would say anything to get me back. After that I thought there was really no other explanation needed and that any further demand of explanations would really be an attempt to see me again. I texted this to her when she suggested a meeting. The thing is there were also awesome things about her, for instance she was very sweet and affectionate, not to mention that well grounded and we practically grew up together (We fell for each other when we were 20). It kills me to hurt her because some of the feelings I had for her still exist of course. Everywhere around me I see things that remind me of her. She gifted me the pijama I'm wearing right now. In spite of the fact that she was undoubtedly a bit of a prison warder for me, I love her in a brotherly way and this is part of the reason why I split with her, because I thought she deserved better than being loved that way. Hurting her so badly has made me a different person and I hate myself for doing it.
  7. Oct 22, 2012 #6
    You started seeing her at 20 but are leaving her at 32? Your guilt is well-founded. You took the best years of her life (regarding finding a mate) and then left her high and dry with not much time left to start over. By the time she gets over it she'll be 36.

    Did you try to seek counseling to help her understand what you needed?

    Why didn't you put a ring on her finger by age 24? You should have cut her loose then while she was still young.

    You may not owe her anything legally; but ethically you owe her a whole lot. If you were my son I'd slap your face for disrespecting her womanhood for a decade and then adding abandonment to injury.
  8. Oct 22, 2012 #7
    hmmm, no she is 27. And I don't think I disrespected anyone's womanhood.
  9. Oct 23, 2012 #8


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    I think you're on the right path, Kalidor. You feel guilty because you don't want to hurt her - that just means you're a good person. But you must move on with your life, and she will eventually get on with hers.

    My advice: don't contact her. Let her go through the process of grieving. Your guilt is part of your grieving, too. It will pass, in time.
  10. Oct 23, 2012 #9
    Plus one.

    Also realize that you are seeing the best of her now, fighting to get you back. Once she succeeds, you will be taken for granted again. You don't want to get old that way.
  11. Oct 23, 2012 #10
    27 is better than 34. I misread the math. If you had stayed with her any longer you would be leading her on. I agree with the other posts; keep your distance and let her move on while she still has the bloom on the rose.
  12. Oct 23, 2012 #11


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    Assuming what you've told us about her is true, what is it about your situation that makes you feel the need to completely sever all communication with her? Even though you don't owe her an explanation, it's emotionally considerate to provide some kind of an explanation, rather than just saying, "I'm leaving you," if that's indeed how you handled the situation.

    Also, why did she feel the need to take control? Were you acting like someone who needed to be mothered? I'm assuming you two must have discussed these things with each other since you've been together so long.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  13. Oct 23, 2012 #12
    Hi Dembadon, as I wrote, on the day I dumped I also stayed there an hour and a half to give explanations.
    To answer the other question, yes we had already talked about it but she hadn't changed and it was the controlling side of her that bothered me the most; things had to go her way otherwise she'd make a huge fuss out of nothing. The biggest problem of all though, was that I had had enough, my feelings for her had changed and this was out of her hands.
  14. Oct 23, 2012 #13


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    My apologies; somehow I completely missed that post! :redface:
  15. Oct 23, 2012 #14
    To the other guys, thanks for cheering me up a bit. I opened this thread because these days I was starting to miss her more and feel more guilty than usual so I was considering to change my desaparecido policy and concede to a meeting. But what next? She'll want to see me again someday soon and so on. It is damn hard but now I'm thinking I should stay the course and smother my feelings of guilt.
  16. Oct 23, 2012 #15


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    For crying out loud! How quick do you think the bloom on the rose fades?!

    (Spoken by a 50+ year old :mad:)
  17. Oct 23, 2012 #16


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    You did the right thing Kalidor. Only you know the best way to handle the breakup. Some people can accept a breakup and just be friends. Some take any contact as a sign that you will get back together.

    Go with your instincts and don't feel guilty. It sounds like you went through this the right way. It's better to realize when something just isn't working than being afraid to admit it and living in misery.

    Bob, are you using those little packets that come with the cut flowers? It seems my bloom wilted and turned black.
  18. Oct 24, 2012 #17
    Life ends at 25.
  19. Oct 24, 2012 #18


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    Life ends when you have kids.

    And then starts again when you finally kick them out of the house.

    Funny how things change.

    Getting harrassed by the parents for coming home late from wild parties when you were living at home.

    Planning your visits home so you'd be there for Christmas, but miss the New Year's Eve party because you had kids that didn't need to see their grandparents running around the house with party hats over their genitals.

    Now, me, I'm a responsible person even with the kids gone. But it's still better if they call before visiting instead of just barging in.
  20. Oct 25, 2012 #19
    Ok I guess I'll just keep to myself like I've been doing.
  21. Oct 26, 2012 #20
    As a 50+ year old man you've gained very little wisdom in life. How can you say he owes her nothing? Seven years spent with your heart open to another human is an enormous amount of time, and to throw that away because you think "some of her personality traits aren't compatible with mine" is absolutely incredibly selfish and cruel.

    Kalidor, who gave you the impression that love is easy? It's not easy to love another person, I know this from experience. Love is not just about what you like about someone, it's about accepting their flaws, and perhaps even hating certain things about them, but accepting them for who they are, because God knows you're flawed too. It's about being selfless and giving and putting that person first.

    I only wish my only complaint with my current (long term) girlfriend was that she was controlling or acted like my Mother. My own mother doesn't act like my mother.

    Excuse my harsh reaction, but I think what you've done is so foolish, and maybe one day you'll understand why.
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