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Boyfriend has feelings for another girl

itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
edited April 26 in Sex & Relationships
For more background context see my previous discussion from last year titled 'Valid concerns or am I just being paranoid/unfair/insecure?'

My boyfriend has a friend he's known for 8/9 years and their families are friends and have always done stuff together in the summer. Throughout that time, he and she kind of had summer flings at varying levels, but nothing more serious than just talking a lot or holding hands (as far as I know). He's also known me for 7/8 years and alongside his summer flings with her we've liked each other on and off throughout that time. The summer of 2016 was quite bad because I liked him but he liked her and talked about holding hands with her and I felt really insecure. Then she started dating another boy, and in 2018 my boyfriend and I started dating.

Throughout our relationship he's still talked to her and done stuff with her family in the summer, and occasionally it's cause a bit of tension. Last summer we were in a bit of a rough patch having lived together during lockdown, probably way too soon, and largely because my mental health was making things very hard for me and I wasn't being that good to him. I went on holiday with my family and while I was away he and his family went to a camp, and she went to. At that camp, she told him she liked him and he didn't tell me about this until a week and a half later, but we were already having hard conversations about whether we should be together when we were both unhappy. After he told me about her telling him she liked him, we had a horrible month of very tough conversations and I was still struggling a lot with my mental health. In the end, we decided to stay together and work on being better.

We had a good few months, but now it's getting hard again. He says he set some sort of boundaries with her in the summer of what's too far when he's in a relationship, but they both still have feelings for each other. I feel very jealous and insecure about him talking to her, and it's so hard because how can I get over it when it's not irrational, there's literally a reason to feel like he's going to leave me? We talk about it regularly and we both know we have things to work on, for me it's managing my mental health, not letting my jealousy and insecurity make me angry with him for small things, and trying to be okay with him talking to her and doing things with her. I don't have any friends and he's literally all I have, so it makes me feel even more lonely when he wants to do stuff with someone else. I'm also scared that I should break up with him if their feelings for each other are just going to continue to cause issues in our relationship, because how can I stay with him and feel secure knowing that he likes someone else? He says they're not "saving" each other, as in keeping each other as their back up or just thinking that they're destined to be together, but it really feels like they are and that he only started dating me in the first place because she wasn't available. I love him more than anything but this is causing me so much pain and making my mental health struggles even harder to live with and I'm worried I should leave for my own good but that I'm only staying with him because without him I'd be completely online. He says he wants to be with me and I want to work on our issues, but there's a lot going on and I'm worried we won't be able to move past this.

This is a very messy ramble and I apologise, but does anyone have any advice for dealing with my boyfriend having feelings for someone else and how I can accept it and not be jealous/clingy/smothering? I'm scared of the answer to this, but am I doing the wrong thing by staying with him?

mod edit: added line breaks
Post edited by Mike on


  • likearaspberrylikearaspberry Posts: 1 Literally just got here
    thats a very tricky situation especially since you still love him. i dont think it would necassarily be wrong for you to stay with him, but, it will only do more damage to you especially if they have known each other for that number of years and have on and off liked each other for so long. its an extremely difficult situation i know how you feel but it would be for the greater good and you own peace of mind. of course its up to you what you want to do in this situation you know more about the realtionship than i do but from what i know i would definatly recomend a break up. there is always going to be someone out there who can treat you better i promise. it may not feel like that now but this person is only a chapter of your life not the whole thing. sorry if this was a long ramble i hope you are okay!
  • Lucy307Lucy307 UKPosts: 1,102 Wise Owl
    Hi @itsquietuptown this sounds like such a tricky situation, I’m so sorry to hear about this struggle. Do they see each other regularly, does he really need to carry on seeing her? I hear you that he’s set some boundaries already which sounds good, do you know what these boundaries are? To me it feels a bit like he’s continuing his life with no problems, enjoying his time with her still, and you are the one left to suffer wondering what’s going on?

    I don’t think it sounds like you’re being clingy or smothering at all, it sounds like you’re having quite a normal reaction to a situation that is really hard. And I hope we can help by chatting through it 💜
    Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend
  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    edited April 27
    @Lucy307 Thank you for your comment and for making me feel less like I’m being crazy. They don’t see each other that often, usually only during the summer because they both like going sailing (although I’m getting into it too) and their families sometimes go to camps. Since last summer he’s only seen her twice, once for a concert with her and her parents and once with both their parents, and soon he’s going to the theatre with her and her parents. They never see each other just them which is sort of reassuring, but also makes me scared the only reason nothing’s happened between them is because they’re never alone. He says the outcome he wants is to be with me and be friends with her. I think if I gave him an ultimatum of choosing me or her he’d think I was being unreasonable, but I kind of want to ask him what he’d say/do if hypothetically I did give him that choice. I want to be with him but the pain of this situation where, as you’ve said, he gets everything he wants and I’m left suffering is just so heavy. I’m starting to feel like it would be better if I didn’t exist so he could just be with her without me ruining things.
  • enorth1enorth1 Posts: 56 Boards Initiate
    Hi @itsaquiettown that certainly sounds like a hard situation to be in. From what you’ve said, I feel that you’ve been incredibly patient during this situation, and I empathise with your concerns about if he hasn’t acted on his feelings purely because the opportunity hasn’t arisen. To me, that sounds like a lot to carry, so I’m so pleased you’ve shared this with us. I can really feel how much you love and care for your boyfriend, but your happiness is just as important as his, and you certainly deserve to feel loved in your relationship. It’s totally your decision how you choose to move forward, and we at the Mix are here to support you however you feel you need it. If you feel comfortable telling me, I’m curious about how he responds when you discuss the situation? I’m just wondering what his reaction is, and if he understands how this is affecting you? x
  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    edited April 29
    @enorth1 Thank you for your kind words. We have been discussing this quite a lot, and he gets quite uncomfortable generally being open and emotional but he's been really honest with me and I've made sure to say how much I appreciate that. He understands how much it affects me and why I feel upset and paranoid, but he does also say some of the things I do are unreasonable. In a conversation yesterday in which I was expressing how hard it is to think about staying with him if his feelings for her aren't going to go away, he explained that he thinks he's probably loved this other girl for as long as he's known her, first more as a sister because they were pretty young, then they had a weird slightly romantic phase, then they didn't talk as much but have stayed family friends, then it went back to sisterly love and last summer when things weren't very good between me and him and she told him she liked him last summer it just brought all those feelings up and he didn't know how to deal with them (and then he dealt with them in almost the worst way possible). We agreed that we both need to be able to see her as just his friend, for him so that she isn't a romantic possibility, for me so that I don't feel threatened by her or get jealous. I felt very caught off guard by him saying he loves her, obviously people can love more than one person in different ways, but it just makes it seem like there's such a fine line for whether they're friends or something more. He says he thinks he can be just friends with her, and she's going to be going away for the summer and then moving to a further away university so they won't see each other as much. It's definitely something I'm going to keep talking to him about and making sure we each hold space for each other to be completely honest about our feelings. I definitely have a tendency to overthink which makes it really hard to know whether I'm being jealous/paranoid/unreasonable or if I have reason to be worried. There's also then the element that even if there isn't anything romantic between them, I still feel jealous of him having a close friendship with her because I don't have any friends anymore, and I also feel guilty and sad that it will most likely never be possible for the three of us to be friends.
  • AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 894 Part of The Mix Family
    This must be such an overwhelmingly confusing situation for you right now @itsquietuptown , so thank you for putting it all into words for us. I'm glad that there seems to be such a strong degree of honesty in the relationship, as I am sure this makes coping with these feelings easier. Despite this, I want you to know that you are beyond entitled to feel the way you do right now. Wanting your partner to make you feel loved, appreciated and secure in the relationship is certainly reasonable, and you are not crazy or insecure to be anxious about their relationship <3

    I know hearing such deeply vulnerable thoughts from the person you love the most must be pretty terrifying, especially when all you seek is reassurance that he is not going to leave you for her or that any residual feelings are not actually a real threat to the relationship. Having this worsened by overthinking must be quite isolating for you. I get that you both speak extremely frankly with one another, which is no easy feat! I just wanted to ask if you've been able to speak to any friends about their thoughts on the matter?

    Also, I know you mentioned it not being possible for the three of you to become close as a trio, and I know this probably sounds like a silly question, but what makes you say that?

    Huge hugs and know that we're always here for you no matter what xxx
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  • enorth1enorth1 Posts: 56 Boards Initiate
    Hey @itsquietuptown, thank you for sharing more, that's really helped me gain a clear understanding of how this experience has been for you and your boyfriend. I tend to worry a lot too, so I totally empathise with how that can make it tricky to work out how likely your concerns are to happen.

    I think it's amazing that you are both able to have such open and honest discussions, and it sounds to me like you both have explained your needs to each other clearly. Communication is such an important but difficult skill in a relationship, so I admire that you both are able to take the time to talk things through with each other <3 It sounds like your boyfriend and his friend have had quite a complicated relationship over the years, and I understand that can't be easy for you to hear. I think you've come up with a great idea of carrying on those discussions to keep checking in with each other. It'll give you both an opportunity to keep reviewing where your head is at, and to talk things out if needed. For example, you're absolutely right, the word love has many meanings, but if his words put more doubts in your mind I wonder if you might feel comfortable mentioning that when you next chat about it?

    Lastly, I'm really sorry to read that don't have any friends anymore, has something happened that you'd like to share? No pressure at all, I just want you to know that we are always here to listen xx

  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    @AislingDM Sorry for not responding sooner, thank you for your comment and just for understanding what I'm feeling. You're right that it is very isolating, and I made my post on here because I don't have any friends to talk to about it. As for the three of us being friends, I personally would like it to be a possibility because I could really do with at least one friend, and because maybe all being friends would make it easier to see that there's nothing going on between them and help their feelings fade. But I think it would be very awkward, I've only met her in person once and barely spoke to her. My boyfriend hasn't said he doesn't want us all to be friends, but he definitely thinks it would be awkward and weird. It's tricky because in the past all the things they've had a shared interest in I didn't enjoy, and it would always be their two families doing things together. Now I'm starting to do some of those things with him, I don't know where we'll stand on if all three of us would enjoy it and how he would decide which of us to do it with. I'm worried that this will perpetuate their feelings or at least make it more difficult to move on because he'll always having something with her that he doesn't with me. The fact that they had feelings for each other before he and I started dating makes me feel like I got in the way of them being together and that I've just always been a placeholder until he can be with her, and I almost feel like if we did something as a three I'd be the third wheel even though it's him and me that are together. I don't know, sorry this doesn't make much sense. Basically what's stopping us all being friends is the awkwardness and the fact that my boyfriend only ever seems to consider doing something with one or the other of us. I want to talk to him about it but it always ends up just being jokes about how awkward it would be, and also she's going to be away for quite a while over the summer so they won't be seeing each other in person as much as they usually would. I'm worried this will mean they message more and I can't stop thinking about 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'. Sorry for rambling, thank you again for your kind words.
  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    @enorth1 Thank you for being understanding of my feelings and overthinking tendencies. I do want to ask my boyfriend what he means when he says love now, because as I said he described it as originally being sisterly love but I can't imagine that it's that anymore. I guess it's just love as friends, and obviously a boy and a girl can be friends without romance, but their relationship has always been complicated and had some elements of romance at certain times. We haven't been talking about it as much, he said he thought he could reach a point of only seeing her as a friend so long as I didn't make him feel like he couldn't see her because of how it would affect me. I felt a bit hurt that he kind of put the responsiblity on me, I know I have work to do on not being jealous but I also felt a bit like he was invalidating my concerns. Hopefully I'll be able to talk to him about this.
    As for friends, I was in my last year of secondary school when Covid first hit in 2020 and we left school in March not knowing when we'd go back, and then never went back because of how long it went on for. I stayed in touch with a few people and met up with a couple of them in the summer of 2020, but they all went away to uni and we gradually just messaged less and less until it stopped completely. In that last year of school I didn't really have any close friends anyway because there was some petty drama in my friendship group that split it apart and I ended up just spending my time with my boyfriend because I didn't want to take sides. It sounds so sad, and it makes me sad, but I haven't had a close friend for about three years. I think I did that typical thing of only wanting to spend time with my boyfriend when we first got together and then neglected my female friendships a bit. I've also struggled with my mental health basically since starting secondary school, and I did open up to a couple of friends but then those friendships ended and so I felt scared to open up again to other people in case they left too. I don't know how to make friends outside of a school setting, and I don't do anything where I can meet other people my age. I'm not close to my family so I don't really have anyone except my boyfriend, and he is amazing but I'm still very lonely. This is part of what fuels my jealousy about him talking to his friend because I just wish I had someone else to talk to or that I was enough for him to not need someone else to talk to. Sorry for rambling, with no one to talk to everything builds up in me quite a lot without my realising how much I just need someone to hear it. Thank you for being here for me.
  • AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 894 Part of The Mix Family
    That is no worries at all, honestly, you're explaining yourself so well and it's really helpful to understand the mindsets of everyone @itsquietuptown !! <3

    Ah that makes so much sense to be honest, situations like this where it's almost like a competition between who will win your boyfriend's time for a given activity must be simply draining. Especially given that it's not crazy that you'd want to be the winner most of the time because you are his partner, but also because of the complex feelings you'll have towards the relationship the two of them have. :(

    I think needing your boyfriend to affirm his feelings for you and almost disconfirm any romantic ones for her is going to come out in many ways, whether that's making jokes like you say or even just everyone avoiding any situation where the three of you have to interact together. Having to cope with all of these nuanced emotions alone must be immensely frustrating, because whilst you're keen to be honest with your boyfriend about all of your feelings, it's not exactly like you want to push a conversation towards an ultimatum.

    Given that you've said the key thing holding you back from making friends with her is the awkwardness (which is beyond understandable) I reckon that this is actually a good position to be in, and rather a healthy one. A lot of people in your position would force an ultimatum out of understandable fear and insecurity, yet you are braving the idea of trying to make this work and to develop your own friendship which is very cool and respectable of you!! =)

    I know you mentioned family events and situations like that are the main times where they see each other, so I wonder would you ever feel comfortable trying to go to one of those events. I reckon building a bridge would always be easier when there is less pressure of a one on one situation, so maybe having the backdrop of other people can minimise the stress. Perhaps being frank with your boyfriend about how you think this would be a good progression might help? Also I thought I should check, during your convos with your boyfriend, have you made the point about him trying to empathise with your situation? (i.e., how would he feel if you expressed these types of thoughts and feelings about a boy family friend) Sometimes we can't recognise the full extent of how our actions are received until we visualise them being done to us.

    Big hugs again, hoping this can become less confusing for you <3 xx
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  • enorth1enorth1 Posts: 56 Boards Initiate
    You make a lot of very valid points @itsaquietuptown, it sounds to me like you are extremely self aware, and very empathic. I get a sense of you really wanting to come up with a solution which gives thought to everyone’s feelings, but I am pleased your consideration of your own feelings hasn’t gotten lost in that process - something I’ve definitely been guilty of in the past! :D Secondly, yes, I think perhaps gaining clarity on what the word ‘love’ means to your boyfriend could give you more of an insight into their friendship, and you can then reflect on how that sits with you. I can see what you mean when you mention your concerns about him putting the responsibility of resolving the situation onto you, and that would be great to have an honest conversation about, as long as you felt comfortable. Also, I loved Aisling’s point about helping your boyfriend to see things from another perspective. It seems to me like this is something you are brilliant at, but it's certainly not an easy skill for everyone, perhaps this could be another angle to explore together if you haven’t already! :)

    I’m so sorry to hear that covid has been a lonely time for you. It certainly isn’t easy maintaining friendships after school, particularly when you’re trying to navigate the pandemic and all of those feelings, plus, as you say, trying to keep on top of your mental health. It certainly takes a lot of courage to open up about mental health too, and I empathise with how it can be difficult to do it again after a bad experience. We are always here to talk anything through with you, to hopefully give you more positive experiences of sharing those parts of your life. In terms of meeting new people, as daunting as it can seem, I tend to search up my hobbies on social media and look for local events or clubs surrounding it. For example, I recently found that a local games shop has a ‘board games night’ which looks like fun. I find it helps to remember that everyone at these events has the common interest of your hobby, which is a great ice breaker. I’m not sure if this idea sounds like something you’d be interested in, but it's just one suggestion, and I’m happy to work through with you any other thoughts or ideas around this that you want to share. We’re always happy to listen to anything you want to speak about as well, so you don’t have to keep it all inside, and you never need to apologise for speaking with us about your feelings <3
  • AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 894 Part of The Mix Family
    Just wanted to check in on how you've been doing over the past few weeks @itsquietuptown ? <3
    I'm a community moderator. I represent The Mix on the discussion boards and I'm here to help guide discussions, make sure everything is within guidelines, and take care of the housekeeping. I can't send or receive private messages, but you can message @TheMix or email [email protected] with any questions or concerns and the team will get back to you.

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  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    Hi @AislingDM, thank you for checking in and sorry for taking a while to reply. I've been a bit all over the place with quite a lot going on. I finished my final assignments for the first year of my degree with the Open University last week, I'm starting a new part time job, and I'm doing an online group programme to help me recover from my disordered eating/exercise habits. In terms of the situation with my boyfriend, it's still difficult. We've kept talking about it, sometimes it's a bit more serious but still we often end up just making jokes about it. This weekend has been and still is hard because my boyfriend and his family are at a camp and the other girl is there (it's actually where she lives, her family have a farm and a lot of land including a lake and it's a camp sort of centred around sailing and watersports). The build up to it involved a lot of me being anxious but trying to hide it/not take it out on my boyfriend so that he wouldn't get resentful or angry because in the past this has made it more likely for his feelings for her to come up, so I've mostly been keeping it to myself which obviously isn't easy. I did explain to him about why I was so anxious, given that the last time they did a camp together she told him she liked him and everything between us went bad, and he acknowledged and understood that fear. He did give me reassurance that nothing would happen, but still a lot of it was kind of expressed as jokes and now that he's there spending time with her and not messaging me and I don't know what's going on I have been driving myself a bit crazy about it and feeling very low and anxious. Last week I did actually pose to him the idea of me going to the camp as well since I like sailing too and these are the days I normally see him, but he just joked about how awkward it would be and then essentially dismissed it. So here I am, at home on my own feeling pretty rubbish because I'm anxious about him being with her and what if something happens between them that causes our relationship to become at risk again, but also hating myself because why can't I just let him have fun with a friend? So yeah, not doing great but I'm hanging in there.
  • OwlOwl Posts: 62 Boards Initiate
    My "advice" (so take it with a pinch massive pile of salt) for anything relationship-wise, is to communicate, and stay true to yourself!! It's great that you're communicating with each other about this!!

    If you're stuck with what to do next, in a relationship, ever - wait 20 minutes or so for any strong emotions to pass and the thinking brain comes back online after being hijacked by the emotional brain, and then do what you think you have to do!! doing what you think you have to do can come with risks though, it can end relationships which is why it's such an uncomfortable thing to do and we want to please people by doing things we don't want to do. however, if you be yourself, you'll find someone one day who loves you 100% for who you are, and not who you're pretending to be!!

    i'm not saying at all that this is what is happening with you and your boyfriend, i wish you both all the best!! but it's very good general advice for anyone everywhere who has any relationship ever

    It's a tough situation you're in though, but you've GOT THIS!!! sending big hugs <3
  • AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 894 Part of The Mix Family
    That is no worries at all, I hope I didn't make you feel pressured to reply, just wanted to reassure you that I hadn't forgotten about your complex situation going on!! I appreciate you have lots going on right now, honestly well done for being so awesomely productive and working so hard on your mental health @itsquietuptown <3

    Ah, I can see what you mean definitely, feeling anxious and fearful about him spending so much time with her, especially when you are not around is certainly reasonable, especially given that the most recent time this happened, your relationship hit the rocks and left you feeling uncertain about his feelings for her. It's clear how much you care for him and the relationship, not least of all through your strong emotions of love and concern (in terms of you saying you just want to be able to relax and let him have fun) but also through your anxiety. You being worried reinforces that you value the relationship highly and that you want to make this work, and whilst I can definitely understand the logic of hiding the truth of your raw emotions from him, it may not be the best long-term strategy, especially if you aren't able to vent those feelings to anyone else properly (aside from here of course!! =) ).

    Being frightened of pushing him away is very reasonable because no matter how hard we try, it can be tough to not make someone feel smothered when we are simply seeking reassurance. Nevertheless, as an outsider on the situation it feels clear to me that you deserve to be reassured properly, and that you are not strange for mistrusting her/him or any feelings of misgivings you might have. The fact that you are able to still be in support of their friendship (even though it is hurting so much inside) is immensely commendable, however the fact that he does not appear to be meeting you in the middle (e.g., creating casual meet-ups with you two and her) does not feel very fair to you, your emotions and especially your anxiety. I am definitely not suggesting that you end the relationship, however I think it's important that we consider what your boundaries are and trying as hard as possible to enforce them. because often when we feel so immensely anxious, but unable to share that with our partner, it means that one of our boundaries has been crossed. Perhaps it would be good if we consider, in the abstract, what your boundaries are in a relationship, rather than with him in particular, as that can unintentionally cloud our judgements? Hope that talking is helping <3 xxxxx
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  • AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 894 Part of The Mix Family
    Here if you'd like to talk anymore @itsquietuptown <3
    I'm a community moderator. I represent The Mix on the discussion boards and I'm here to help guide discussions, make sure everything is within guidelines, and take care of the housekeeping. I can't send or receive private messages, but you can message @TheMix or email [email protected] with any questions or concerns and the team will get back to you.

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  • StellalunaStellaluna Posts: 37 Boards Initiate
    @itsquietuptown Just wondering how you are doing? Well done on completing your Open University Assignments as this takes so much discipline, especially when things have been difficult for you. I am really pleased you are seeking support for your eating and exercise challenges, and this takes courage. It sounds like things have been really challenging. Do you have any self-care activities that do not involve exercise or eating, such as art therapy or mindfulness? How do you think this situation with your boyfriend is affecting your mental health? It may be a priority for you to establish what is important for you in a long-term relationship and what your boundaries are around having close friendships with exes. What do you think would reassure you that his relationship with this girl is platonic? Do you feel your boyfriend understands your perspective and fears around this close friendship? How has he tried to reassure you? What has he done to consistently show that him and this other girl are just platonic friends? Has he been consistent with this over time or do his feelings about her appear to be constantly conflicted about her because part of him still has feelings for her? Do you think he is clear about how he feels about this girl or does he need some space to figure this out?
    Why do you think giving him an ultimatum would be unreasonable given your feelings around this uncertainty causing you pain, suffering, and is making you wish you didn’t exist? If it is affecting you this much then it matters. You do not deserve to feel like a placeholder or someone’s second choice and I am so sorry if this is how you feel. You deserve to feel loved and secure in your relationship and certainly not a second option.
    As for the jealousy where do you think this comes from? Do you feel you are enough as a person? Does the jealousy come from a sense of lack in yourself? What do you need out of a romantic relationship? Why does your boyfriend think it is weird for all of you to be friends?
    Do you have any hobbies of your own or anything you are interested in that you could pursue on your own? I think this could be a great skill for increasing your confidence by accomplishing things independently whilst possibly providing an outlet for meeting new people and forming new friendships. This could make you feel less reliant on your boyfriend to fill in the loneliness and may make you feel less afraid of losing him as you could gain new relationships through meeting new people.
  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    edited June 24
    HI @AislingDM. Thank you for coming back again to keep checking up on me, it's nice to feel like someone cares. This situation is still hard, and we reached an almost breaking point two and a half weeks ago. Things had been off between us by text while we were apart, and then we spent the day together but everything felt awkward. That evening we ended up talking for about three hours about everything that was going on, and both of us cried a lot (my boyfriend never cries). I expressed a lot of the feelings I've mentioned in my posts here, and it felt good to have my boyfriend hear them. I also gave him space to say what he needed to say, and at that point he said he'd been wondering about whether we needed to take a break.

    I wanted to respect his feelings and wishes, but we were due to go on a trip a week later so in talking about the logistics of potentially taking a break we basically realised it wouldn't work then. He was saying he never wants to lose me as a friend and implying that a break wouldn't mean not seeing each other, but I don't think either of us could manage to only be friends like that and we did talk about that which made us even more upset because we love each other so much and want to be together but everything is so hard. We agreed we'd come back to the discussion at another time, and I have tried to bring it up again since but going on the trip kind of prevented that happening and we haven't really talked properly about it since getting back.

    The trip was good, but it did feel a bit weird and like he was trying to only be friends with me, and he's become a lot more hesitant to say he loves me which hurts. Yesterday and today have been hard for me because he's spent time with the other girl again and we talked about it before he went, with him not wanting to feel like he has to ask permission but also acknowledging that it's hard for me, and I truly wanted to be okay with it and I thought I could because I know if I'm horrible about it then I'll push him away and that makes him want to spend time with her even more. I tried hard in the beginning to be okay and not say anything snarky or whatever, but then their plans changed unexpectedly and he ended up spending more time with her and doing something that I like to do with him which made me feel upset. He's barely been messaging me and I feel so alone. I've felt so anxious all day today thinking that something will happen between them because they've been alone and they went swimming in the sea and I just feel so insecure and hurt, and also scared that I've said something to make him not want to be with me.

    I've been wondering today if I might have BPD, because for a few years I've kind of recognised myself within the symptoms and now with this situation I feel so afraid of him leaving me and find it so hard to manage my emotions around it, and it feels like I'm not myself when I get anxious or upset about it and then I say things that push him away and damage our relationship even though that's not what I want. I didn't fully disagree with him about the idea of taking a break because we are quite codependent, but I don't think I could manage to be just friends with him because I love him too much and it would be so painful. I want to find a way to just be us, whatever that looks like on each day, and not feel the pressure of being boyfriend and girlfriend, because I think that's partly what was getting to him.

    I've suggested it to him but he still hasn't had a conversation with his friend about their feelings and whether she's over him or if they think they'll never be over each other, so he still thinks about the possibility of being with her which makes it very hard to work on our relationship. In about a month she and her family will be going away to New Zealand for two months, and my boyfriend is a bit sad about it because he's used to doing things with her in the summer, and he's made snarky comments about how I must be happy about it. I feel guilty that I am, but I also think it might give us the space to work on everything. However I am quite anxious that they'll end up talking about feelings before she goes or that something might happen between them.

    Sorry for the long message, I haven't got anyone to talk to other than my boyfriend so everything weighs on me quite a lot and it's hard to deal with and I haven't been coping in healthy ways. I want to just have a good summer with my boyfriend and do fun things and remember why we're together, but I've started a new job which is going to limit our time and I'm scared that for the next few weeks before his friend goes to NZ he'll spend time with her whenever I'm busy. I think it feels rubbish for both of us that he basically has to choose between me and her, but he doesn't seem to want to commit to moving on from her. I also can't help feeling suspicious because he's so secretive about messaging her and will say he's messaging his mum even when I can see it's her, and I don't think he ever talks to her about me. It sucks because he keeps saying he doesn't like how he always has to consider my feelings when he wants to spend time with her, but he'll consider hers and not talk about me because that would probably hurt her. I think we'll probably end up talking about it soon after them spending time together today and I just hope I'll be able to stay somewhat calm and rational.

    Sorry again for how long this is, and thank you for checking in and if you manage to make sense of all or some of what I said.

    [Mod edited to add line breaks]
    Post edited by Ed_ on
  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    @AislingDM so an update. We’ve broken up. He sent me a really long message this morning saying he’d been awake a lot in the night thinking about it and he thinks he needs space away from any romantic relationship to figure out what he needs and wants. We talked through it over the course of the morning and into the afternoon and I was kind of trying to suggest just taking a temporary break and then coming back and discussing further, but he just wants to break up. It’s destroying me and every time I realise something that will be gone like our sleepovers I break down crying. He says we can still meet up as friends but probably not at each other’s houses too much. I don’t know how I’m going to cope. I really thought we were going to take a temporary break and stay exclusive then reevaluate. I’m terrified that now we’re not exclusive something will happen between him and the other girl, but it won’t even be cheating. It hurts so much and I wish he hadn’t done it by text but he said he was scared if we talked in person he wouldn’t be able to express himself properly and would end up giving in and not standing up for what he wants, which I understand but texting is so emotionless and I just want to hug him and cry. I don’t know what to do with myself because he’s everything I have and the only person I want to see. I love him more than anything and I don’t want us to be over and I’m still hoping we’ll just each take some time and figure out how we can make our relationship better, but I don’t want to hold onto that and be even more upset if we don’t. Our four year anniversary would be next week and my present for him arrived today which made it even worse. I feel so low and upset and anxious and I don’t know how to cope. All I want to do is be with him.
  • Ed_Ed_ Moderator Posts: 903 Part of The Mix Family
    Hey @itsquietuptown - a break up is rarely easy, even the most toxic relationships can take a lot out of someone in processing it, and so in this situation, where it sounds like you have developed a really supportive and loving connection with him, it is no wonder it has hit you like a ton of bricks and has left you with a lot of questions.

    From what you have shared, I get the sense that you are both in slightly different places in terms of how to work out what the future holds, and that from your perspective, you were keen to keep some kind of connection, whilst allowing some space to process things. It can be really tough when it feels like we need to fight hard to keep hold of something that we care deeply about, but that we aren't ultimately able to stop things breaking up. It is a tricky balance when looking to the future and what that may bring. Time can change things, but also, it may not. Perhaps one way of looking at it is that if you start doing some of the hard work in processing the break up and feeling ready to move on, if you do end up getting back together, then that is a bonus, but if not, then you have developed some really great coping skills and you may find someone new who creates those feelings of safety and love that you have had in this relationship.

    I totally get that it can feel cold to receive this news over text, particularly given how close you were. I wonder, do you feel able to share with him that it would be helpful for you to find some time where you could meet up and talk things through. You could be clear that you aren't trying to change his mind, but that it would be helpful for you to have that moment where you do hug him and cry. Having those moments of closure can do wonders in the process of grieving a break up.

    There are a few articles on The Mix about break ups that you may find useful to have a read through, in particular, this article talks through how to get over a break up or there is this one on how to mend a broken heart.

    Do continue to reach out for support as there are likely to be some ups and downs as you continue to process all of this. It is likely that there will be a few reminders (the anniversary present being a good example) that come up from time to time that make you miss all the good things about your relationship. At these times, it's important to allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling in that moment, it can hurt and that is okay, but if we let those feelings out and talk to someone about it, they can get easier to cope with.

    We are all here for you <3
    "Don't let them paint you gray. They're gonna see you're somebody, somewhere, someday. Don't ever let them take your playful heart away. Oh you're somebody nobody could replicate" ~ Roo Panes

    I'm a community moderator. I represent The Mix on the discussion boards and I'm here to help guide discussions, make sure everything is within guidelines, and take care of the housekeeping. I can't send or receive private messages, but you can message @TheMix or email with any questions or concerns and the team will get back to you.

  • itsquietuptownitsquietuptown Posts: 36 Boards Initiate
    Thank you @Ed_. Being okay seems impossible right now. He definitely wants some time apart before seeing each other in person. Trying to move on also feels impossible not only because I love him so much but because he’s saying it may well end up that this is a mistake and just helps us find how to have a better relationship. I do not want to give up on us because I really believe we can be okay. I know I have some work to do on myself and I think I’m going to try and find a therapist local to me to help with that. We’ve still basically been messaging just as much, only not saying I love you. I called him this morning and he did answer and we just chatted about other things and it was so nice, but it hurt a lot after we hung up and I remembered things aren’t normal. I should be getting ready to go round to his house to stay for two nights because that’s what we do at the weekend, and I feel so lost without that. All the things I want to do and the plans I have for summer are with him. I’m trying to take it one day at a time but that’s looking more like one minute at a time because it’s so hard. I can’t bear the thought of this lasting a month or more but I also know it might have to for him to have the space he needs. I’m also worried he’s not actually processing his feelings and is just suppressing them so won’t actually do much reflection. He’s going to spend time with the other girl too and I can’t reasonably be upset about it but I am and I’m so scared something will happen between them that will make it impossible for us to get back together. Right now there’s still a chance and I do not want to let that chance slip away.
  • Rosebud22Rosebud22 Posts: 9 Confirmed not a robot
    edited June 28
    Hey @itsquietuptown , I just read through your thread and wanted to reach out and offer some support if I can.

    I agree with @Ed_ , break ups can be hard, especially in the beginning. But it's really positive that you are taking action to look after yourself during a difficult time, both in reaching out on here and looking into the possibility of therapy. Self-care and reflection really can be one of the best remedies during a break up.

    Having to navigate changes in your routine, like not spending the weekend staying at his house, must feel really tricky right now. Maybe now would be a good opportunity to fill this time with new hobby's or activities (or even doing things you already like to do more), if you feel up for it? Or even starting new routines with yourself on the weekend?
    Some ideas could be:
    *Going on walks
    *Listening to a podcast
    *Joining a club (which could also be a great way to meet new people and friends)
    *Starting a new TV series (I find the funny ones help :D )
    *Having a pamper evening

    Space can feel scary, especially when there isn't an end date on when this time apart will end. But space can also be helpful for you both to figure out what you individually need to recover from the breakup. It's hard to heal a wound if it keeps being reopened, like the phone call this morning that was nice but in the end left you feeling hurt. I understand how you might feel worried to lose touch with someone you care about, it's okay to feel like this especially when a relationship changes. One way to overcome this could be to re-label this time apart, as time you have gained to focus on making yourself feel good again. Setting small goals each day (like making your bed or starting a new book) that you can tick off can really be a good motivation and is a great way of seeing how far you've come, if you feel like giving that a go?

    Time truly is the best healer, there will be ups and downs throughout this journey but try to be kind to yourself and take every day as it comes. There's no rush, take your time, you are doing amazing. <3
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