My boyfriend of 7 years left me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My ex boyfriend and I had been together for 7 years. We met during our Junior year in High school. He promised that he’d never hurt me, and that he would love me forever. I know people can’t make promises like that and be held accountable, I’m just very confused over the whole thing. I waited to go to college so we could be together. We moved to a different state while attending a university, due to special complications neither of us graduated. We moved back to our home town and rented a room from my parents, it was a difficult transition to say the least. Both of us began to feel defeated, his feelings eventually developed into what I and many others see as depression.

We got into a argument last September when he “Came Across” some diary entries on my computer, where I would rant about him if we were in a fight instead of telling my friends because I wanted them to like him. He also came across a entry that I had written four years ago where I was talking about going to a party and having fun but feeling guilty because I had been talking to other guys. I’ve never cheated on my ex, I never even had the desire to. I believed he was the love of my life, and I never wanted to hurt our relationship or him.

He on the other hand, hadn’t always been upfront with me. He is very attractive and other women could see it too, he was not innocent in all of this. There were times where we were on the verge of breaking up because he was spending too much time with these other people and it was obvious that there was a mutual flirtation to say the least. I would grow angry, and he would just call me jealous.

A few years had gone by and nothing bad had happened, he hadn’t strayed, we hadn’t fought over anything big, and I really thought we were in the clear. Until, he went out of town for a political convention last month and when he came back he began to act very withdrawn. There was no sexual attention, he did not even hug me right when he walked in the door, he said he was just tired. He became increasingly less interested in talking with me, when I said lets do something romantic he literally shushed me.

Then, two weeks ago we talked about breaking up. He said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to marry me anymore, that we had drifted apart and that this had to do with his depression. Well, it turns out he wasn’t too upfront. I later learned that while he was at the convention he had met a woman who lives four hours away from where we live now, they had exchanged numbers, and they had been texting in secret for a month. I specifically had asked him if he had made any new friends while at the convention and he said no. He obviously felt a reason to keep it from me. He did not tell me until his brother’s wife forced him to tell me the truth, he says it has nothing to do with our break up and that he is just trying to find himself. Before we broke up officially he went to find himself for a few days and think about things, we did not talk or text and he told me he didn’t talk to anyone else. Well, when he came to my house to end it, he promised he was being honest and that it was mostly about him, he said “I am not looking for someone to love, I am trying to learn to love myself”.

I really feel like this has a lot to do with him meeting that other woman, he claims he kept it secret because I get jealous if he communicates with any woman even his best girl friend and he didn’t want me snooping through his texts. I admit, I did look through his texts years ago but it was something that I stopped doing because he had regained my trusts and I wanted to have a healthy normal relationship. I feel like if I had looked, I would have caught him in this emotional affair that he denies and is basically blaming on me. Just months before, we had been looking at houses to purchase together.

I just feel so betrayed, It’s hard because I was always very close to his family, and I work with his mother. We grew up together, he still stays he wants to be a part of my life and that he cares about me deeply,loves me but not the way I love him.. I just don’t know how I can see him as anything other than my boyfriend, I told him it would be really hard to be friends, but since the break up he has been texting me. Today, he locked himself out of his car and guess who he called for help. I hate it because I still want to be with him but, I am afraid that he would do this to me again later down the road if we got back together. He is still making an effort to see what I am up to by asking our mutual friends, and his mom (my coworker) even though he says he wants me to move on. I don’t know what to do, I love this man with all my heart..Please help.

A: You met when you were only 16. As hard as this is, it’s not surprising that the two of you have drifted apart. Your boyfriend recognizes that you are a comfortable and familiar part of his life but not necessarily the one he would choose now that he is in his twenties. He’s kind and honorable enough to not pin the problem on you. He’s right. It’s not about you really. He’s trying to figure out if he is in a relationship with you out of habit or because you are really the one for him. As certain as you are, it would also be healthy for you to be asking the same questions.

Sometimes when people in your situation take a timeout, they rediscover each other in a new way and start a new kind of relationship. Sometimes it becomes clear to both that they have a deep affection for each other based on knowing each other so well but it’s not the stuff of romance. You might find it helpful to read this article: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/where-did-the-love-go-growing-up-and-growing-apart/2/

Your ex asks questions about you out of real concern but he may not understand that doing so gives you even more pain. I suggest you both take a big step back for a time. Date other people. Finish school or get into a serious job training program. Start nurturing your own circle of friends and your own interests. You both need to find out who you are separate from the other. Once you do that, you’ll be able to bring a more developed adult self to the relationship. At that time, you’ll figure out for yourselves if you are indeed meant for each other.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). My boyfriend of 7 years left me. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/21/my-boyfriend-of-7-years-left-me/