Break up confusion: Why did he do this?

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I’ve been in an off and on relationship for the last eight years. It’s been more on than off until the last year and a half or so and then our “breaks” have lasted a month or two. Every time we split it seems to be something different, but it’s always the same pattern. I think he’s running away from any problems or conflicts we have instead of staying and communicating about it. He pushes me away and says the most hurtful things when we’re ending, and then always comes back and apologizes and says he never meant them, and just needed space to think about what he really wanted.

This most recent time —about a month ago— was the final straw for me.  Everything was going well, and then out of nowhere he told me that he needed time to think about whether he was ready to settle down and commit. I asked him if that’s what it really was or if he was interested in another woman. (This has been a problem in the past.) He assured me that it was just pure confusion. This conversation was the last I heard from him.

This week I found out that he’s been seeing someone new for the last 3-4 weeks and thats she’s pretty much living with him in his newly built house that he’s been promising was “ours” the entire time it was being built. He finished it up, ended things with me, and moved in with this new girl.

So then why include me in all the decisions, and talk about kids and puppies if you were never planning on me being there?  Why can’t guys just say what they want?  If he didn’t want to be with me, why did he keep dragging me in and out of this?  I know I played a part in it because I let it happen, but still, does he not have a conscience? Why just disappear for a month without saying I’m finished, and want to move on?  Why do guys start new relationships so quickly, if this is even a relationship? Is she a fling or the real deal?

She’s quite a few years younger and I feel like if he’s not ready to commit she’s the perfect escape because she won’t be expecting that yet, and nobody will be pressuring him to settle down with her now. But I don’t get her living with him except for the convenience of a booty call.  I’m crushed over this and he doesn’t even seem to care at all. Is he really that heartless and cruel or is this how all guys handle breakups?  It seems so cruel and not human to act like this to someone you supposedly cared about for so long and were telling that you love them up until the end.

I know what I need to do at this point but just wanted some insight into what I feel are extremely confusing incidents and actions on his part.



Dear Sam,

Thanks for writing to us.

We’re sorry you’re going through such a difficult time right now. No one deserves to be treated the way you were treated, but betrayal happens more than you’d expect. And when a person is betrayed by a loved one the hurt is even deeper.

People observing from the outside usually see it coming–this would include family and friends. And honestly, we’re kind of surprised you didn’t see this whole scenario unfolding. Sure, love is blind, and blinding, but after a tumultuous eight years—one filled with many indiscretions on his part: other women—you had to know it wasn’t going to end well.

Guys are certainly guilty of their share of bad break ups but not all guys are like that. It sounds like your guy was already an established cheater, or at least a meanderer, so it only makes sense that his dishonest, and uncaring streak continued with the break up. If he was pursuing other women during the time you were together, he certainly would have no problem making you promises, only to break them later. And the fact that he says hurtful things to you when you separate each time is also a major red flag and a good indicator he’s not someone you can trust.

You say you know what you need to do, but there’s more to think about than moving beyond this relationship. Going forward you need to think about what kept you in this relationship for so long, and how that thinking impacts your next relationship. Because eight years is a long time to put up with uncertainty, indecision, and lies. You don’t want to fall into the same pattern the next time around.

We have faith that you will grow from this sadness, and be a stronger person for it. Break ups are painful, even when people believe it’s the right decision. Hang in there. And know that this man, and this relationship, was not right for you.

Take care,


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2 Comments on Break up confusion: Why did he do this?

  1. I know this is a hard question to answer but I just need a guys perspective, do you think he’ll ever regret leaving our relationship? We were together for a year and three months and we were both completely in love with each, we shared the same values, morals and wanted the same things out of life. Our relationship was healthy we appreciated each other and supported each other. The only things we had to worry about we’re that our jobs meant we’d sometimes be apart (he was away for 6 months last year but this seemed to make us stronger and when I seen him halfway through we had a great time) and my only other worry was that he was 20 and I’m 26 but he was so set on all the things he wanted out of life that he said this should never worry me and we got on great so it never was a problem. Anyway we’d been apart for two weeks last month and in the last week he started to act distant and as we were an open couple I asked if everything was ok he didn’t seem himself and every time he would just say he was fine and that I knew he would talk to me if he wasn’t and that he loved me he was just stressed out about his job (he hates it and wants to leave but everyone around him advises him not to) so I just said he had to do what made him happy and I’d support him whatever he decided then he called me half an hour later crying saying it was over he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore and that was it I haven’t heard from him since and it’s been 6 weeks now 🙁 when I met him to swap our belongings and close our savings account (we were saving for a house, he loved commitment it made him feel secure) he seemed so cold and different and couldn’t even look me in the eye. And now from what I’ve heard he’s completely changed and is out drinking all the time having fun and has just completely moved on. And he’s behaving differently hanging out with guys from work that he used to say annoyed him and were immature and commenting on girls pictures he used to call fake. I’m just really struggling to understand it all he was so excited about our future and so set on everything he wanted and he always promised we’d talk through any problems but I feel like he didn’t even try. And when I try to look back to spot signs that he was unhappy I genuinely can’t he was very down about his job and lack of understanding from his family but he used to say I was the only thing that got him through. And I can’t understand how he has decided to give up so quickly even if he was unhappy for our last two weeks together surely that’s not enough to overcome all out happy memories? The only comfort I have is that all our friends were just as shocked even his best friend told me he was truly shocked and gutted and he thought we were the perfect couple. I really thought he was the one and I never gave up appreciating him even the last weekend I was with him and he was working I cycled into town and bought all his favourite food to take to him to cheer him up and when he was sad after a funeral the week before I baked all his favourite things for him coming home. I understand he’s got a lot going on his life but do you think he’ll ever regret giving up so easily? Sorry for such a long story I’m just so lost with it all. Thank you.

  2. @Leah……We know this seems so sudden. And we’re sorry. Breakups are really hard. This is how we see it. He wanted very much to give you all the things he promised…..A future together. A lifelong partner. But somewhere along the way he realized he no longer wanted those things, or rather couldn’t give those things to you. It’s likely his age factored in. 20 is pretty young, especially for a guy, to be making lifelong commitments. But it’s possible it could be something else that he’s not telling you. But whatever it is, it’s unlikely he’s coming back. It’s not that he doesn’t remember the great times he had with you, but those times aren’t enough to pull him back into the mix. Honestly, we don’t think you did anything in particular. We think this has been a slow realization for him. When he finally figured it out he sprung it on you which is why it seems like such a surprise. Once again we’re sorry. There’s not much more we can say. This is the time to let yourself grieve, lean on friends and family for support, and then slowly piece your life back together. Take care of yourself and hang in there.

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