How do I end it?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I thought for many years that I lack emotion and as I get older I have come to realize that this is true and has been present since childhood; pictures that I have taken I noticed that I never smiled. I have been trying very hard to fit in and express the correct emotion by studying others in a given situation. I suffer from social anxiety and isolating myself doesn’t improve my situation. Despite this I am a union representative at work and I am an excellent student in college; although I would prefer to be a missionary but I know I have a bad habit of doing what is expected.

I know I meet all of the criteria’s of a loner but I wanted to change that so I decided to get married. I thought this would help me fit in and may help me express emotion naturally. I have been living a lie trying to convince others that I party and drink just what they expect but it gets difficult and confusing trying to be someone else; I just figured I would become that someone else. I know I jumped the gun thinking about marriage since I have never had a boyfriend or been sexually active.

Anyway, I met a guy at work and I knew I shouldn’t have but we started seeing each other but have kept our relationship a secret because other men would be jealous. We have known each other for 2 years and I guess dating for 2 months if that’s what people call it. We were intimate about 3 weeks ago and I didn’t feel pleasure or pain for that matter. I thought this would work but it didn’t and I just want to crawl back in my shell; at least I tried.

The problem I am having now is that he is in love with me but I have no feeling for him at all. It disgusts me to kiss him or hug him. He’s not an unattractive guy; it’s just me. I don’t know how to break it off with him. He told me several times that he has had his heart broken and he really wants to settle down and given his age (34) I understand. However, I know I am not the one for him or anybody for that matter. I made a huge mistake and I don’t want to break his heart, although I don’t know what that feels like but I watch people become depressed after ending their relationships. I’m not worried about him causing trouble at work seeing that we are on different shifts and I am his union representative and he needs me (I just got this position otherwise I wouldn’t have pursued this relationship; other than this we are equal status employees).
How do I end this relationship?

A: Gently and soon. I do understand what you were trying to do. I do applaud you for taking some risks. But this man deserves to have someone in his life who loves him wholeheartedly, not someone who is in the relationship primarily to struggle with her own issues. Follow your good instincts. Thank him for his love and attention. Tell him some of what you have told me to make it clear to him that it isn’t about him but rather that it is about your own unresolved problems. Let him know that you wish it were different and that he is a fine and good person in your eyes. Free him to find someone who can reciprocate his love.

Then get some therapy. Your impulse to make change is a good one! Anxiety is treatable. There are better ways to handle it than living this double life. Furthermore, there are reasons you feel so disconnected from others – and from yourself. Therapy will help you understand yourself better and will help you develop a more honest approach to life. You deserve to be able to look in the mirror each day and feel that you are a person with integrity. It’s lonely in that shell of yours. I think you also deserve to have help developing into the kind of genuine person you want to be. I searched the web for mental health services in your city. There are several centers that offer the full range of psychiatric and counseling services. Please ask your doctor or someone you trust for a recommendation.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). How do I end it?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/07/13/how-do-i-end-it/