I want to--but cannot--end, my three year long relationship.
I met my boyfriend five years ago, when I was 18 years old. He is +10 years older than me with a BA in the same subject I’m currently studying, so as you can imagine, when I met him I fell for him instantly. From that moment on, we had two years of intermittent encounters that included: a very strong intellectual connection, good sex, and a very strong attraction from me towards him. I really was in love, but a "serious" relationship between us was not going to happen.
During a time we “ended” our encounters, I had another relationship that lasted one year. And although this guy gave me tons of love in ways I really liked, I was still a young girl who needed this super-intellectual guy to love her. So it ended.
Many intermittent encounters later with my current boyfriend, that also included me feeling like crap, he finally decided to stop calling me only when I didn't do it, and we started dating more seriously. Our first year together was great, and I was thrilled to finally be having so much time and so many experiences together. I met his friends, who I admired, too; it was like a dream come true. And then, we started having misunderstandings.
I think the first -and still persistent, obviously- problem we had was that... He doesn't like relationships. Yes, he liked all the cuddles and kisses and company at night, but when it came to making plans together, saying that he was my boyfriend/I was his girlfriend, even saying "I love you"... It didn't happen.
Additionally, we had many discussions in which he told me he would have an open relationship because he thought it was the most rational (!?) thing to do, although I told him many times I wouldn't like that because: i. I wouldn't do it, at least with him ii. We were spending almost all of our days together, I just didn't conceive seeing him much less frequently because he would be going on dates iii. I didn't want to do it!
Additional detail: he was spending around 6 of the 7 days of the week at my apartment (I live alone, he had a roommate at the time). I enjoyed this since I really am in love with him, and enjoyed being around him so much although this dynamic seemed a little... Unfair.
Anyway. About 8 months ago I decided to end the relationship. I got tired of always feeling like I was the one doing all the emotional work for both, being supportive, listening to him, having the cute details, telling him I loved him, asking for what I needed...etcetera. From this point, we stayed in contact and had great talks since we share points of view on many topics, but seeing it with today's perspective, there wasn’t much love.
I asked him to sit in the couch with me, we had a big talk, and I told him I wanted to end the relationship. And then, I couldn’t carry it out. It was so hard for me, I had so many feelings in my head, that I couldn't do it. All I wanted was to be with him, and in that moment I didn’t care about all the reasons I shouldn’t be. So we continued being together until this moment, in which I'm writing this email. I don't understand—since he says he dislikes compromise and relationships so much—why he just didn’t accept that ending it was probably the best for both of us.
Because of the pandemic, it's been a month since we last saw each other. Throughout this month, I have sent him gift packages to his house, pictures, told him I miss him, proposed to video call almost every time... And he just didn't put ANY effort in during this shitty situation. Like, seriously, not even a text saying "I miss you". And obviously, I don't want to force him to do anything, because I want to receive sincere demonstrations of love, no forced ones that occur only when I am so tired that I ask for them.
So, once again I feel I need to close this long and transforming chapter in my life and move on. He is a good person and I have very strong feelings for him, but I cannot stay in this situation in which I never feel full. But I am scared that, again, I won't be able to do it. I'm talking to my friends about this and they have been amazing support to me, but I write this because I would like an outsider's perspective on this story.
Ok, what the fuuuuck? This guy sucks. This guy is dog shit!!! Situations like this are exactly why so many people are against age-gap relationships.
(Before everyone yells at me, I’m not saying that literally every single age-gap relationship is wrong; I’m just saying that the pattern of older men dating waaaaaaayyy younger women— especially women in their early twenties!!!—because they’re the only women who will put up with their shitty behavior is SO FUCKING ANNOYING).
If you would like to send me this dude’s number or email, I will happily break up with him for you!!! (Just kidding… mostly…). HE IS AWFUL. He’s so awful that I want to drive a truck into his living room and then sit with my truck in his living room and then get out of my truck and scream at him. YOU DID NOT HAVE A BOYFRIEND. That was not a boyfriend. I’m sorry. I’m so so so so fucking sorry for all the damage he’s done and all the damage you haven’t realized he’s done yet and all the damage that you will eventually realize that he has done. It may take a month, or a year or four years or a decade. But some day you will realize just how sincerely fucked up this “relationship” was and you will need to grieve it.
Because what you had was NOT a relationship and this guy was NOT your boyfriend. He was an older man who wanted to sleep with a 20 year old girl without ANY commitment or consequences. He wanted to use his “intelligence” (I have my doubts about how smart he really is) to try to draw you in and keep a dynamic going where he was the person you looked up to and therefore tried to impress. One of the ways you had to try to impress him was to keep up with his “intellect.” Another was to be ok if he wanted an open relationship. Another was that he had to be able to use your house when and if he wanted to. He wanted you to do all of the work, all of the effort, and get NOTHING in return other than the attention of some GROSS ASS CREEPY OLDER MAN.
That man has nothing to give you. I mean he is literally taking good things AWAY from you (time, love, energy, money), but even if he weren’t doing negative things, he’s also doing NOTHING positive. NOTHING. The only thing he has to give is that he’s kind of smart (maybe???). DO YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IS KIND OF SMART? COMPUTERS. You would be better off reading a book on the subjects you both like than you are dating this man. At least a book wouldn’t go try to fuck other people. This man is offering you NOTHING.
Sorry I’m yelling so much, but man oh man, you must break up with this dude.
And it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to suck so so so so so so much. It’s going to feel like someone is stabbing you with a dull knife for hours every day. It’s going to suck. Not because you’re losing love—that man has given you NO love— but because you’re losing the idea of what it could be like if he did love you.
PLEASE remember that the reason he didn’t love you is not because of anything you did or didn’t do. You did everything you possibly could and more. You gave him everything (too much! way more than this shitty asshole ever deserved). He didn’t love you because he is not capable of that.
He will never ever ever ever give you love. He has had the opportunity to love someone as good as you for five years and he can’t. He can’t because he sucks and doesn’t respect you. But!!!! BUT!!! The good news is that you have something he doesn’t. Actually, you have a lot of things he doesn’t! But the BIG thing that you have that he doesn’t: respect for yourself. YOU respect you. And that is why you’re going to walk away. You have to.
There is no other option. You are not going to lose yourself to this gross old man. No. I will not allow it! You’re too brilliant and kind and loving and generous to give any more time to someone WHO HASN’T EVEN TEXTED THAT HE MISSES YOU AFTER A MONTH.
There’s something that I do want to mention here, and I might be wrong. I’m wrong a lot, so feel free to ignore me. I think there’s a chance that he is in a committed relationship with someone else and that that person does not know about you. If I had to guess, I think there’s a good chance that he has another partner who thinks that they are the only one dating him. Which is why he won’t text you that he misses you— in case they look through his phone, which is why he asked you to open the relationship up— so he could explain it if you ever saw him with someone else, which is why he doesn’t want to say you’re in a relationship— because he can justify what you are to himself and pretend (to himself) that he’s not cheating.
Again, I could be wrong! He maybe just sucks and isn’t cheating!!!!!
But this guy is only bad. Most people are not only bad. Most people you date in the future will have small things that you do not like about them. Like how they’re a slow eater or how they are too close to their mom or how they are allergic to cats. THEY WILL NOT HAVE FLAWS LIKE “He doesn’t love me.” THAT IS TOO BIG. That’s a deal-breaker.
Because you owe him NOTHING, I would recommend sending him a text message that says this (please feel free to ignore this and do what you want): “Hi Dip Shit. I’m texting you because I finally realized just how much you suck and how little you’ve ever given me in this relationship. I have tried so hard to get you to like me and love me, but I didn’t realize that the reason you won’t isn’t because I suck, it’s because YOU suck. Anyway, we’re over because you’re a terrible boyfriend and probably a terrible person outside of our relationship, too. I’m blocking you now.”
Obviously, if he has anything that belongs to you that you really really want back you may have to change that message a bit. But be unequivocal. DO NOT GIVE ANY ROOM FOR COMMUNICATION EVER AGAIN, if possible. Give his phone number to your best friend and have them save it, and then block him on everything. The faster you do the breakup, the faster you get to the good part of your life.
I promise you can do this. Don’t wait to be face to face with him. Do it now. And do not leave any room for him to argue with you.
Then— and this is vitally, vitally, vitally important!!!!— don’t date anyone for a while. At least like a year or so. ANYONE. Do not date ANYONE. Because you are not ready to date someone without trying to become whatever it is you think they want. You are not ready to stand up in a relationship and ask for what you need and say what you want. You are not ready to be with someone who respects you, yet. AND YOU WILL BE!!! Soon, you will be! You will build a life and world that is so good without this guy that you will start to fall in love with yourself. And after you fall in love with yourself, you will only date people who are also in love with you. But if you date someone too soon you will end up dating another guy just like this. Instead, you have to do some work to figure out what made you want to be with a guy who treated you like shit. What makes you want to impress people who are smart? Are you afraid people don’t think you’re smart? (YOU ARE!!!) Are you afraid people will leave you? Are you afraid people won't love you?
You have to get answers to those questions. You have to figure out what made you stay so long with a man I would not speak to for money. I mean I would not have dinner with this man for $500. (Unless I was allowed to punch this guy at the dinner).
Some day you are going to have a life so good and full that you will look back at this guy and be like, “WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING?!?!” I know 100% that this is true, because I have been you. All my friends have been you. It happens to all of us. You will get through it. It will not kill you.