Thanks to all your incredibly thoughtful and helpful feedback, I've done some serious thinking about what I want right now and what the best way to proceed is. I definitely have been feeling terribly and under a lot of pressure in terms of my medical situation (lots of pain, lots of doctors, lots of stress etc.) but I think I've finally gotten everything straightened out in my head, for the most part at least. I know it was probably bad of me to reactivate my online dating profile when I got an email from the site that included a guy who completely knocked my socks off, but I had to do it to check out his and other profiles. Ever since then, I've been increasingly convinced that I moved too quickly, getting involved in another exclusive, committed relationship so soon after my last one. I thought that was what I wanted, but after thinking about this honestly with myself, I realize that over the last few weeks, having J as a steady boyfriend has started to turn me off more than make me happy. It's not really anything about him, but as many of you have pointed out, I don't feel myself falling in love and actually have been pulling away and not feeling much more than platonic chemistry with him lately. I think that's because I'm feeling a bit guilty about having one foot out the door but not having made a final decision until the last few days.
So, I was tossing around several ideas in my head...it's become clear lately that staying committed to an exclusive relationship with J isn't what I want at this point. Although I feel a bit bad about that, I can't force myself to want something when truly I'm much more excited about the prospect of being single and playing the field. I’ve been really happy and excited to get such another overwhelming response to my ad now that it’s back online, and already several men who look like excellent, promising prospects have contacted me. I know it wasn’t cool to post that before officially slowing down or breaking things off with J, but there was one guy whose profile I couldn’t resist reading, which required reactivating my profile, and ever since, it’s just felt right to be dating again. That part of me who was worrying that I was taking a good thing for granted and being foolish to consider throwing away a relationship with seemingly everything going for it has been effectively silenced. The only options I've been considering over the last few days are ending things completely or proposing that we back way up and no longer feel obligated to date exclusively...after talking with a few of my closest friends, I've come to the decision that I'm just not that excited about pursuing this relationship regardless of its incarnation. Therefore, I think you guys were right that the only fair and honest thing to do is be upfront about my decision with J and be happy for the experience. I feel very fortunate to have met such a great guy at a time when it meant a great deal to me to have a sweet, kind, and committed boyfriend. Part of me thinks I should feel really badly about having what I guess would be considered a rebound relationship, but at the time, I really didn't know that this would end with me feeling this way. I just hope he doesn't see it as me using him when I needed him then chewing him up and spitting him out, because I do care for him and would never want to hurt him.
So I guess that brings me to...how exactly should I approach all of this? I've been distancing myself over the last few weeks and it's become pretty clear that I'm no longer as enthusiastic about any aspect of our relationship, to the point where just now I got an email from J saying he wants to have a "deep, heartfelt conversation" tonight. I know my signals haven't been exactly subtle and he's got to have picked up the message that I'm pulling away and losing interest. In a way I'm relieved and hoping he agrees that we're better off apart, then that will be that, but I'm also a little worried by his choice of terminology that he doesn't necessarily see us as needing to part ways. Everything would go quite pleasantly and smoothly if we were agreed that we weren't right for each other and needed to move on. But in case he wants to discuss and address concerns about our relationship, rather than sensing that I want to move on, I'm really nervous that I won't be able to think of anything to say that will be clear, coherent, and considerate. I don't know whether it would be good to mention that I need more time to be single after ending such a long term relationship, whether I'm not really feeling the sparks I've felt with the men I loved most in the past at the same stage in our relationship, whether I'm feeling a strong desire to avoid being tied down, or all, some, or none of the above? I don't want to provide TMI or rub anything in, but at the same time, I want to be prepared to explain my thinking if pressed.
Sorry for yet another excessively long thread…I guess I can’t resist trying to talk things through with myself as I write to you guys and hope you can weed through my ramblings. I’m basically wondering if you guys have any suggestions as to how I can most tactfully and least hurtfully bring up and discuss such an uncomfortable topic. Is there anything that comes to mind which I should either make sure to mention or be careful to avoid bringing up? I do want to be back on the dating site through which we met, so I don’t want to say anything that would reveal me as a liar for doing so…I’ve had some difficulty in the past with letting down guys who didn’t let up on emailing and calling. I know J isn’t like that at all, but still, I wish I knew for sure that we were on the same wavelength about this. But I just haven’t seen much reason to think that’s the case here. Anyway, I’d greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions you might have as to how I can best handle this situation, especially if anyone thinks I’m making a mistake here or overlooking something important—Sophia, your story about your friend was extremely helpful, so thank you very much . From everything you’ve shared, it does seem like we share a lot in common—I’d love to befriend her along with you! Anyway, when my instinct tells me something is missing with a guy, no matter how promising or enchanting he seems at first, I’ve never been disappointed by taking the risk of leaving in hopes of finding someone who truly blew me away. I’m thrilled that everything worked out great for your friend, and I hope the rest of us single (including the almost single!)
ladies here find similar fulfillment before long. Have a great weekend, everyone…I’m eagerly anticipating a new start as a single girl after way too many weekends tied down in relationships. I’ve been feeling jealous of you all over the last few weeks, and I truly appreciate having you all to confide in honestly and be able to trust that you’ll almost inevitably provide supportive, caring and wise feeback. Thanks again everyone—here’s to an amazing weekend for all the HB members, regardless of their relationship status!
when my instinct tells me something is missing with a guy, no matter how promising or enchanting he seems at first, I’ve never been disappointed by taking the risk of leaving in hopes of finding someone who truly blew me away.
Stacy, for the last few weeks, your posts about your relationship have lacked an element of excitement. If Justin was suspicious that you have been pulling away from him, he must have gone to the dating website by now and seen that your profile has been reactivated. It’s good that you have finally gotten everything straightened out in your head. If you are thinking clearly yet still feel something is missing with Justin, you know what you must do.
What to tell him? You said it yourself… “something is missing”. Maybe it was the rebound effect… if you weren’t on the rebound, do you think you could have realized before becoming exclusive that something was missing? From viewing your posts, as soon as your screening process wound down, your excitement level seemed to diminish proportionally. One indicator here was that you recently started calling him “J” again; his name has lost its magic with you.
I think you need to be prepared to answer the following two questions for him…
- What do you think is missing?
- If nothing were missing, would you have the same level of desire to date other guys?
There is no way that you can make a break-up easy for anyone. The best thing you can do for him is to make him feel you have been totally open and honest with him in answering his questions about “why”. You have proven to be “too good to be true” for him so he’ll need the best answers possible for some semblance of closure. These answers will be all he’ll have as a foundation when he builds his next relationship so provide him as much insight as you possibly can.
P.S. Don’t talk about things he doesn’t ask about; doing so can open additional wounds for him needlessly.
Last edited by heartlandguy; 08-19-2005 at 08:41 AM.
Reason: Postscript added
I think you've come to a very mature decision. You clearly thought this through immensely and came to this conclusion by trusting your heart. A part of you was silenced, like you said. And the one part that remained is what your heart really desires. I'm proud of you! You are a very mature and wise woman!!
As far as your fear of not being able to come up with a good reason to give Justin, that's completely understandable. I have dealt with that before. I go into the situation thinking I know exactly what I'm going to say, but then when I start talking I realize I'm completely blindsiding him, he has no idea what's going on, and I feel like an idiot because I can't offer a better explanation. All I can tell you is to maintain your composure, tone of voice, and sincerity no matter what his reaction is. Don't get defensive if he disagrees with you, and don't get really emotional and sobby if he does. You may feel heartless, but it will be over with before you know it. Plus, like you said he might already be on to your intentions and that's what he wants to chat about tonight. Just be honest with him and tell him that even though things started out very well, you feel as though they're not really progressing into anything more. I wouldn't tell him you want to date other guys... that will only make him feel worse. You can leave that part out! Just tell him you don't feel as much of a connection as you thought you would, and you had a lot of fun with him but that it's turned into more of a platonic feeling.
Unfortunately, breaking up with someone is never going to be easy. Someone almost always gets hurt. I actually find it harder to break up with someone than to be broken up with myself! At least if THEY do it, I know it wasn't a decision I made and had to live with. It was out of my control, and that makes me feel less responsible if it turns out to be a bad move.
Well good luck to you, Stacy. I am very excited for you as you start on your journey back into the dating world! Can't wait to hear about your experiences! I am going to live vicariously through you, so you'd better keep writing!!
Stacy ~ I think you're doing the right thing, so long as you have doubts about being exclusive with Justin your relationship will be unbalanced. It's amazing how our innermost feelings can be clear signs of what we need in life. You are beginning to learn to read them well...and it is important that you learn to be true to yourself and not allow other people's feelings or guilt stand in your way of doing so.
I know that this won't be easy...I am sure that it will be of disappointment to Justin but I think that being honest is the way to go. You have no problems articulating what you need to & this is one time that you will have to rely on that. Good luck and know that as your cybermom I am 100% behind you.
Thanks guys! Sorry again about going on and on...I know that I really need to work on expressing myself more concisely, so I really appreciate you making it through my ramblings and providing great advice, as always. Heartland, you read my mind in several ways as always . I have been guiltily wondering if J has checked out the dating site and in addition to the reason you mentioned, one reason I went back to calling him J here is that he knows I post here, though hopefully not under this name, and obviously I'd prefer that he not read everything I've said all along. . However, I've always made an effort to be 100% honest and as balanced as possible in my depiction of events, as it wouldn't surprise me if both J and Patrick checked out my posts here at times. Being honest is enough for me...I'm certainly not going to stop being candid and relying on your wonderful support here because of that possibility! And LR--you're such a sweetheart! It's always great to hear from you, and you always manage to boost my mood and put a big smile on my face . It sounds like everything is going well in your relationship, which makes me very happy, and I will be honored to be your single cyber alter-ego. Maybe I'll even start my 19th "Online dating updates" thread, lol! I totally know what you mean about it being tough to breakup with someone...it's been that way with all my exes but Patrick, and in amost all cases, I inevitably leave feeling terribly guilty and upset. This one shouldn't be that bad, as J is pretty even-keeled and certainly not the dramatic, emotional type, and like you and Heartland both mentioned, it sounds like he's got at least some inkling of what's coming.
Heartland, do you agree with LR that I should refrain from mentioning my desire to date other guys? I was leaning that way both because I'm afraid I'd get convinced to just slow down and no longer be exclusive rather than ending things altogether, and it also seems like it might be unnecessarily mean. On the other hand, what you said about being honest and thorough in explaining where I'm coming from makes a lot of sense...I always trust your insights, and especially when it comes to J, your perspective is unfailingly incisive and accurate. J is the type of person who probably won't be overly emotional about this, but I can almost certainly imagine him to want as detailed answers and explanations as I can possibly provide. I need to be prepared for that so I don't end up fumbling for an answer and saying something stupid or hurtful. BUT…while something is missing, I’m not sure exactly what it is that changed my mind about J other than the fact that I’ve recently been very interested in dating and just kind of fizzled out in terms of my excitement towards him. Even typing that makes me feel terrible, because he’s been such a sweetheart to me, and he really deserves a great girlfriend to make him happy. Oh, this is going to be an unhappy day for me…I have to go all the way down to Mayo again this afternoon then face the one-man firing squad right when I get home. Oh joy…
PS-And thank you Goody, 2! (Couldn't resist that corny pun, sorry). I didn't see your post before I started my reply, but as always, you made me feel more confident and assured in my decision. You all have been such an amazing help to me in terms of articulating and coming to terms with my true feelings about things, which hasn't come easily or naturally to me. I truly don't know how I would muddle through everything that's happened in the last year or so without my wonderful friends and cyber-family! I love you all so much and hope all of you are doing great!
Last edited by eaglesgirl37; 08-19-2005 at 08:54 AM.
Well Stacy, since this is how you feel, I think there's no other way but to be honest with Justin and tell him you just don't see a future together. I also noticed that you've been calling him J again, which I thought wasn't a good sign (for him). I am sure that, as intelligent as he is, he must have already figured out something isn't exactly right and possibly (very likely) has noticed that your profile has been reactivated, like Heartland said. While I don't think you should have done it without ending the relationship first, I guess now it's more of a formality, since he must strongly suspect things aren't the same way as in the beginning and that you've lost your enthusiasm. I agree with LittleRose that you should try to be honest and compassionate, yet firm that this is the decision you made. And I wouldn't tell him about the desire to date other guys, either, it would be hurtful, in my opinion. I feel bad for Justin, especially considering what a great guy he is from everything you said, but if you don't feel it for him in your heart, then there's no point in dating him solely out of pity or some sense of obligation. Good luck, Stacy, I'm sure it's not that easy for you, either.
, one reason I went back to calling him J here is that he knows I post here, though hopefully not under this name, and obviously I'd prefer that he not read everything I've said all along. . :
So THAT'S what was up with the name change! I was wondering...
Even if he did read your threads, you can stay strong because you have nothing to hide. You've done nothing wrong and you haven't lied to him.
You know, he might surprise you too Stacy. You could very well be underestimating him, and he might turn out to be completely understanding about the whole thing! And come to think of it, from the way you've described him to us, I think that's probably the most likely result. He seems very mature and stable, like he has his impulses under control and knows when to be serious. I think he's going to be a sweetheart about the whole thing, really. So be prepared to be attracted to his "under-control" reaction! Be sure to stay focused on your intentions and don't be swayed into thinking "He's so understanding and sweet! Why am I breaking up with him again?" On the same note, be ready to resist the suggestion he might make to just give the relationship a bit of a break for awhile. He might offer to just give you space if he gets the idea that's all you need. I've made this mistake before: Telling a guy "I just want some space... to be alone for awhile". They say "Okay, we will spend less time together" or "Okay, how about 3 days?" If you tell J that you just don't see the relationship going anywhere and you don't have the feelings you expected, he will realize that there's nothing he can really do to fix the situation. I know it's heartbreaking. Especially when we've been on the other end of it so often and know how it feels. But isn't it best when WE hear the truth? Don't you find it more to your benefit when a guy is honest rather than giving you false hope? Sophia, don't you wish NG had been more direct with telling you about his feelings for his ex rather than saying "Let me just think about it for awhile"?
Just do for him as you would want him to do for you. The worst thing you can do is break someone's heart slowly.
LittleRose, I surely would have preferred if NG told me what's going on instead of making excuses not to meet for two weeks prior to his vacation. And even the last time I saw him, I would have preferred if he had said "Well, I decided I want to give things a try with my ex again" rather than saying he didn't know what to do and asking me if he could still see me and call me. YOu are absolutely right. So yes, Stacy, I think telling him that you don't see it going anywhere and that you don't have the kind of feelings you expected for him is much better than suggesting a "break" etc. I agree, breaking someone's heart slowly is torturous and false hope is the worst thing because it makes you feel in a limbo. So, if you are sure about your decision, just do it. You don't have to go into details of exactly what is missing, and I don't think J will demand such explanations. I think what Rose advised is excellent and the most mature thing to say.
Heartland, do you agree with LR that I should refrain from mentioning my desire to date other guys? I was leaning that way both because I'm afraid I'd get convinced to just slow down and no longer be exclusive rather than ending things altogether, and it also seems like it might be unnecessarily mean. On the other hand, what you said about being honest and thorough in explaining where I'm coming from makes a lot of sense...
Yes, I agree with LR… in fact, I updated my original post after seeing her post. Just be honest and open about answering his questions. Don’t say any more than you need to in answering his questions because that could lead you into saying more than he wanted to know at the time. On the other hand, don’t make it seem like you are holding back something from him.
I suggest practicing for the meeting. Come up with a list of likely questions and read them out loud to yourself and then answering them out loud. Almost certainly, you will find yourself starting to say too much and then stopping. If you do that with J, he’ll sense you are hiding something and, of course, that would hurt him more needlessly. Practice going through your list several times… until you can answer the questions without saying too much. Once you develop a command over answering the questions properly, even unanticipated questions shouldn’t rattle you.
BTW… If he asks for something less than a clean break, you’ll need an answer for why that would be unfair to him. My guess why you lost interest in him was that he was too predictable for you. I say that because engineers are notoriously predictable unless they work on randomizing their behavior like I have. Doing so has helped me to fake spontaneity.
Last edited by heartlandguy; 08-19-2005 at 09:50 AM.
Stacy ~ You are getting such wonderful advice from all here. But one thing I have learned in my life is no matter how well things are planned out in your mind they never unfold that way no matter how you figure them out to play out it just never fails that no matter how many bases you cover somehow a curve ball is thrown your way. At least in Goody's life that's how things seem to go
Anyway....I think you just have to get your mindset in letting J. know in no uncertain terms that you see the relationship as being over. He will come up with questions and you just want to get across to him in your responses as gently yet clearly that you want a clean break. Keep that frame of mind throughout your meeting with him and you should be okay. I agree that leaving him with the impression that there is a chance will be a slow torture rather than a quick one in being honest with him. As Sophia suggested, ther is nothing more painful than leaving a door open that should be shut.
When do you expect to meet and where??? Please keep all of us posted. And remember when you get to a weak moment picture us all there with you....that could be a scarey thought but a comforting one too
(((HUGS))) of support ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 08-19-2005 at 10:02 AM.
Hey Stacy, You have already received such wonderful advice, so there's really nothing that I can add that would help. My only advice is to just be honest and straightforward with J----that is what I appreciate the most when someone is calling it quits with me. Goodluck---I'll be thinking about you!! Let us know how it goes---and remember like Goody said---we are all here for you !
I know breaking up is hard. I give you credit for doing it shortly after you realized something is amiss, instead of stalling for months like I did. I have a few questions though. Do you think you enjoy the chase and being chased more than the actual relationship itself? What if you found a hot, interesting fun guy who wanted a one-on-one relationship? Would you refuse so that you could still date different people? Or, if you did become exclusive with him, wouldn't that be another rebound relationship? I'm just curious.
Stacy, I just remembered something you mentioned with excitement when you started to date J. You said that he had the same personality type as you, INTJ. I wondered then if that was too similar to be an interesting match. You’ve said that most guys you’ve dated had many qualities like engineers, except for Patrick who you dated for about three years. (I assume you dated Patrick longer than any other guy.) Your Aunt Greeneyes recently wrote that for a relationship to be spicy and exciting, there had to be significant differences. I agree with her, especially when it comes to personality type. For instance, my wife’s personality is quite different than mine. She has an artistic background so she has some characteristics like Patrick, yet she is very practical.
If you dated Patrick longer than any other guy, in spite of his flaws you overlooked for so long, one must wonder if your attraction to the engineer type is keeping you from finding the right guy for you. Maybe the right guy for you is a blend of the best of J and Patrick. Please note that I’m not really trying to recommend anything but just connecting a series of observations and trying to provide you some food for thought before you reenter the dating arena.
I did it! I'm free! And I feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders...I was pretty nervous all day about ending things, but as I suspected and you predicted, it went smoothly. Like I thought when I got Justin's message about meeting, he had already noticed me pulling away and as soon as he realized for sure where I was going with the conversation tonight, he made a big effort to come across like he'd also wanted to split. I was glad because that made things more amicable and easier on me, though I was a bit insulted that he'd think I wouldn't see though it...but whatever, guys have to preserve their egos somehow. He said that he thought we might as well end things now because he might be moving in a year...I didn't call him on this because it seemed really important to him to believe it was a mutual decision, but that was obviously nonsense because he'd been all over me, trying to be really hot and heavy, up through the last time I saw him before tonight. I had lost interest in being physical with him ever since I started having serious doubts a week or two ago, but he didn't seem to pick up on my signals until very recently.
Anyway, it doesn't matter, because we left on good terms and I think that my distant demeanor of late had given him a pretty good idea of what was coming tonight, so neither of us was upset or angry or anything. I did feel a little bad for him, being such a sweet guy, but I wasn't doing him any favors stretching things out because of pity, and I'm not someone who can feign passion I don't genuinely feel. I made a point of saying I was sorry for pulling away gradually over the last few weeks (because I do agree there's nothing worse than slowly breaking up with anyone) rather than being upfront with him as soon as I started having serious doubts, but that I wanted to be sure before I made any final decisions. Fortunately, he didn't ask many questions about why--I think he could tell I just wasn't feeling it anymore, so I didn't have to say anything negative, though you are 100% right that his being predictable, even boring, was one of my main issues. Looking back, I definitely overlooked some things I shouldn't have along the way with Justin because he was so likable and eager to get serious, which seemed comforting and appealing at the time. But jumping into another relationship was the easy choice at the time, even though ultimately I don't really want to be in another relationship already. Happily, now I'm not--it feels wonderful to be free of all those worries, not to mention free to date around to my heart's content!! All in all I think things worked out as well as could be expected, thanks to you guys, as always...you never fail to provide me with excellent guidance to help me realize my true feelings, act on them, and ensure that things turn out as smoothly as possible. Thank you all for advising me through this...your advice was as helpful as always, and I really appreciate you helping me think through everything and providing such warm, caring support. I love you guys and am thrilled to be officially back in the HB singles club!
Hey Stacy, I am so glad that things went as well as possible with the break-up. I was really hoping they would. I know it must feel like such a relief to have the whole "break-up scene" over with. I hope that you will be a lot happier now !!
Hi Stacy! I, too, am glad everything went quite smoothly and that J. behaved in such a composed and mature way and you are still on good terms with him. I guess he wasn't the right man for you if you say you're feeling like a huge weight was lifted off your shoulders. That would be the indication that you must have made the right decision at this time in your life. Good luck with all the new dating prospects!
Hi Sophia! I definitely think you're right that the best way to tell if you made the right choice was to see how you feel after choosing...if only we didn't have to commit one way or another to be sure if we're doing the right thing! But yes, I do feel relieved, and it was pretty clear by tonight that I had no real interest in being more than friends with Justin anymore. So I'm going to be back online and see how that goes--this time I really want to stick to what I always say about being single for awhile! I take it from what you posted earlier (about a dating service) that you've decided to give online dating another shot? I'm glad to hear that, if so, though I'm sorry your experience tonight was so exasperating. People never cease to amaze us with their oddities, don't you think? Oh, I also wanted to suggest that you might want to reconsider your opinion of the guy you mentioned earlier who winked back at you...that's definitely kind of lame but not necessarily intentionally dismissive or arrogant. Sometimes people dating online take awhile before they develop a good sense of etiquette, so it could have been totally unintentional that he didn't take the initiative and email you. I know that's a small point, but I thought it might be worth mentioning, as I've thought about it several times myself. I think that in general with that site, it's probably giving many people too much credit to assume there's any real thought behind their choice to wink rather than reply. I'm totally with you that I'd much rather get an email, but I'd be sad to see you rule someone out who might really like you in case he was just inexperienced or clueless about how the site works. I'm curious also if you've kept the same profile throughout the different times you've tried online dating, or do you tinker with your listing? I'm puzzling over whether to make changes in mine so if you don't mind sharing I'd be interested in hearing how you approach that. I hope the rest of your weekend is much more fun than your date tonight! Love, your cyber-sis
Love to GG and HIT too...thank you so much for all your support and best wishes! It's meant so much to me to have your guidance and encouragement throughout all of this. I hope I can be there for you guys too whenever you need someone rooting for you and on your side!
Last edited by eaglesgirl37; 08-20-2005 at 01:57 AM.
Oh, well, I think I could use tips from YOU, rather than vice-versa Obviously, you are the one who's doing something right, if you're meeting all the wonderful, well-mannerred, and kind hearted individuals while I meet so many cads! I just turned the profile back on a couple of days ago and yes, it's pretty much the same as before. Oh, and trust me, that guy who winked back IS arrogant--after I read his profile more closely, it says he gets tons of emails and has no problem meeting women in any way! At least if he was some hot 24-yr-old, I would say his attitude is justified, but the man is 40 and slightly balding (but has a pretty cute face, I thought)! No, thanks. I was thinking he would be thrilled to get a wink from someone younger and nice like me, but evidently, he thinks he's god's gift to women and should be pursued by them. I don't know why I'm even doing this to myself again, but I guess I was bored with sitting home and not having any dates, so I'll just have to take the good with the bad. If I had any advice for you it would be that if you meet a wonderful guy who seems everything you ever wanted and treats you great, don't let him go. It definitely doesn't get easier with age, as men think they have the pick of the crop. Again, I get so many emails from dudes who are in their late 40s and 50s that it annoys me. Why don't they look for women their age? Especially that my profile specifically lists the age range I'm interested in meeting.
Stacy, I hope you don't mind but I have a question that occurred to me regarding your relationship with J. I was wondering what exactly changed between the time not too long ago when you were saying you could see yourself being "happy with him for a very long time" and the present moment when you think he's too predictable and possibly even boring? Was it something he said/did or didn't say/do, or do you think your change of heart about J. was directly related to the matches you received via the dating service, which seemed even more attractive and interesting than J.? I'm just curious.