I’d been in what seemed like the perfect dating relationship with a man for a couple months until just last week, when he broke up with me out of nowhere. I know a lot of articles tell people who were blindsided by breakups that just because the relationship seemed great to them, it doesn’t mean their partner had been feeling that way, too. In all honesty though, it had appeared to be great on his end, too…
The day he broke up with me, he’d left my place to go to work, kissed me goodbye, and said he couldn’t wait to see me that weekend. The day before, he’d texted me at work just to say how much he missed me, and told me just two days before that I was meeting all of his relationship needs and he was so lucky to have such a sweet girlfriend like me.
Every aspect of our relationship seemed great… The communication seemed strong, we had so much fun together, our goals for the future matched up, the sex was great, and we both showed our appreciation for each other through gestures (he’d surprise me with flowers and gifts, and I’d surprise him by cooking his favorite meal and remembering to check in with how he was doing on the anniversary of his mom’s death).
The night he broke up with me he’d called, and just sounded like he was in such a bad mood. Things just sounded so off compared to the night before, when he’d been at my place getting tickets for a show we were planning to go to that weekend. We got off the phone and I decided to call him back later, saying something had just seemed off and I was worried about him, and did he have anything on his mind he wanted to talk about? He then proceeded to say I liked him more than he liked me, he didn’t see a future for us (in spite of what he’d been consistently saying, even that week) and then blocked me on every social media platform, possible.
When he got his stuff from my place two days later, I asked if we could sit down and talk now that we’d calmed down and some time had passed, because it just didn’t make sense… He looked at me like I disgusted him, grabbed his things, and left without giving me a backwards glance. He even made sure to “unfriend” me on seemingly insignificant apps, like “MyFitnessPal.” I just don’t understand… There was no fight, no distancing, and plenty of letting me know he was crazy about me and loved where our relationship was going.
What causes a man to just break things off abruptly like that? And why did he go to such extremes as to erase me completely from his life, immediately, when I didn’t so much as raise my voice, call him names, or give him reason to think I needed to be blocked from even a food log app? I haven’t tried to contact him at all since he got his stuff, and I just don’t understand… I’m so confused, and it’s really making it difficult to move on. My brain just doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s over because it doesn’t make sense, and I have to actively tell myself each day that it is over and not to contact him because it won’t bring him back and I deserve better. Still…
How do I heal from this? How do I prevent this from happening again? What takes a guy from “I’m so lucky to be dating a sweet girl like you,” to looking like he hates me while saying, “I will never love you,”?
Thank you so much, Evan. I’ve been listening to your podcast for years, and I greatly appreciate any advice you may have to give!
Aw, Katie… I’m really sorry to hear about your heartbreak. There’s never a good story about a relationship ending, but yours does seem like a particularly bad one.
As you know, it’ll get better. As you know, you may never get answers to everything. As you know, you came to the right guy for counsel.
Your situation brings mind two past relationships — both when I was the dump-er and when I was the dump-ee — in the same year. Here’s what I can glean from each experience:
This was a perfect example of “it’s not you; it’s me.” In January, 2004, I started dating Shari, a sweet, silly, cute, adoring therapist who I met online and lived only a few blocks away from me. We hit the ground running and were exclusive in a few weeks. Less than a month later, I broke up with her. I remember her tears like they were yesterday, wondering why? Wasn’t everything so good? What happened to all that sweet stuff I’d just said? What could she do different to change the outcome?
I had recently been to New York and felt a stronger connection with another woman I met there than I did with my own girlfriend. That cognitive dissonance was steadily pulling at me over the next four weeks, even though there was absolutely nothing “wrong” with Shari and I. As a man of integrity, I never dated anyone I had no intention of marrying, and while I could have kept it going, it felt more ethical to let Shari go find a man who WOULD be all in on her, since I wasn’t able to.
(Needless to say, the woman I fell for in New York didn’t feel the requisite chemistry with ME to embark on a long-distance relationship, so there you have it.)
Looking back, the one thing I wish I could have explained to Shari and will explain to you is that a good person may have second thoughts for a few weeks or months, but does not let it impact his interaction with you. Think about it. You have a sweet guy who doubts whether you’re on the same page long-term. What is he supposed to do? Be a dick? Start berating you? Do the slow fade to send a non-confrontational message?
A good guy will treat you well right up to the very last moment because that’s what good guys do.
No. A good guy will treat you well right up to the very last moment because that’s what good guys do. So while you’ll feel blindsided, he will have been thinking about breaking up with you for a while, as his is right.
I wish I understood this later in 2004, when I went out with Lori for three months and fell madly in love with her. Best relationship I’d ever had by far and I was convinced we were going to get married fast (I was 32 and she was 38). Suddenly, before I was to take her to Las Vegas for a weekend, she told me she needed a “break.” The official breakup came a week later. This time I was in tears, asking all the same questions that Shari did. I even asked Lori why I didn’t see it coming. She told me that since I’d mentioned that I’d had critical girlfriends in my past, she didn’t see fit to criticize me. She just had some doubts about whether I was the right long-term fit for her and it took her about a month of our three-month relationship to figure it out for sure. Completely knocked me sideways, but I don’t know how I could criticize her for how she handled it.
Perhaps the only thing one can criticize, Katie, is how your ex cut you off entirely without as much as a consoling conversation that might give you some measure of closure.
That kind of seems like a dick move. Mean at worst. Insensitive at best.
At the same time, if I were your dating coach, I’d recommend that YOU block HIM everywhere to better move on with your life, so while it may hurt, he’s actually put you on a faster path to healing. Perhaps you’ll realize that this guy wasn’t as great as he seemed — especially in terms of how he communicated with you through this break-up, and that will free you up to find a man who gets how special you are.
Hang in there, my friend. It gets better.
P.S. Shari got married after I dumped her. Lori never got married after dumping me. Just sayin’.