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Ive been on and off with a girl (36yo - Im 39yo) for 3 years.

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I've been on and off...
I've been on and off with a girl (36yo - I'm 39yo) for 3 years. Recently she broke off again (no 4) in quite firm terms saying that she has not been doing what is best for her, wants no further contact with me and says we cannot be friends. She has low self-esteem but constantly spoke about marriage, houses and babies (she has 2 children from a previous marriage) and has even pointed out the ring she wants. She is "hot and cold" with things, is impulsive and tends to see things in "black and white". Despite everything, we connect very well and have great times. I have discussed plans for the future with her, and while I really do wish to marry her, I had seen us acquiring a house first and me saving some more money as I recently changed jobs. Was she really just tired of waiting for me to propose and, as such, has convinced herself she's not right for me and I'm not right for her as I don't show her I really appreciate her? Could it be fixed with a proposal for marriage?
Submitted: 9 years ago.Category: Relationship
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10/6/2008
Counselor: KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert replied 9 years ago
KimberlyF
KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
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That does sound like that was part of the reason she left she was tired of waiting and felt she had given you enough hints or communicated to you that she was ready to settle down she is at the age where her clock is ticking as fas as having more children. She may have taken you not asking her as you not wanting to marry her and she didn't want to waste her life on maybes. You are going to have to prove to her in a big way that she should come back to you and that you are serious about wanting to spend the rest of your life with her and not take her for granted anymore, show her that you are content, steady, trustworthy. She wants to be happy show her that you are that person to make her happy and tell her you will spend the rest of your life trying to prove that to her. Show her that you are happy enough to marry her and therefore if she came back to you, that she could be happy with you.

 

Show her that if she comes back to you that her life will be everything she wants it to be and if you aren't willing to do that and bend over backwards to win her back then maybe you should allow her to find someone more suitable for her but if you truly love her and want her to be in your life wine and dine her and then ask her to come back and marry you whenever she is ready to set a date that you are serious about spending the rest of your life with her. I think the reason she left was because she felt you were sitting on the fence as far as giving her a commitment and now is the time to prove to her that you were waiting for her to say the word and when she didn't come right out and say it you took it as her being content and that you are sorry that you assumed that she was the one that wasn't ready. Ask her to forgive you and whatever you need to do to prove that to her that is what you will do.

KimberlyF
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Customer reply replied 9 years ago
That was very helpful. Is it better that I give her some time on her own to think about things or should I just immediately "move ahead" as you suggest? I have already acknowledged to her that I respect her decision and that I hope we could one day be friends. On the one hand, I am concerned if I jump in I will be showing that I don't respect her, but, on the other, if I wait I perhaps am showing that I am still sitting on the fence. She broke it off 5 days ago. Does she need to miss me or is that missing the point? Is she in fact somewhat angry at me, or herself, about how it got to this?
Counselor: KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert replied 9 years ago
Customer

 

I don't think you should wait if you wait she will think you are still sitting on the fence. I don't think she is angry just fed up with waiting, she may think after three years you should have been ready but make your move now before she gets used to being alone and decides that she would rather be without you than with you. You have to win her back and tell her you made a huge mistake taking her for granted. She has to know you are serious, Plan a very romantic dinner with the works this has to blow her away it's never too late to get another chance if you prove that you are worth another chance.

KimberlyF
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Customer reply replied 9 years ago
I tried inviting her to the "romantic dinner" in a few days' time. She wouldn't have a bar of it. She replied quickly in an email, "I'm sorry. I can't and won't." Am I wasting my time? I feel as though, given her previous statements, she felt "bound" to reply that way: to accept would have been a backdown on her part. The invitation was phrased not in terms of requesting her company, but more in terms of my planning an evening. As she would obviously realise I'm still keen, should I attempt to increase the romance? Is she likely to see my continuing attempts as intriguing or annoying? Is she likely to want this to go on to see where I'm heading with this? My invitation could have been interpreted as suggesting I may have been asking her to marry me on the night. I feel as though I must be firm in my resolve - ie, to adopt a "take charge" attitude.
Counselor: KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert replied 9 years ago
Customer

 

May I suggest to you that you be careful because if you push too hard you may lose her forever and that is something you do not want to happen. You should ask her to explain why she won't even consider dinner if her reply is stern and abrupt then it may mean she is still mad about you sitting on the fence for so long and may be taking the a little too late for that approach. Ask her if she is that fed up that she won't even consider giving you a second chance. If your ex really wants out and is no longer considering reconciliation as an option, you will have a tough time here and it's difficult to tell whether your ex still has feelings for you. What your ex says can be very different from what she really means. Don't act desperate she may take this as you being willing to do and say anything just to get her back and then it will be the same things she has put up with for three years trying to get you to commit show her you are very serious. Tell her that you now understand why she broke up with you and then continue to tell her everything you think may have caused her to leave this time, commitment issues, not showing that you appreciated her, taking her feelings for granted this will show her that you have actually been thinking about what may have gone wrong and then she will be more willing to hear you out if she knows that you now know the why.

 

Allow her to be angry and vent if she needs to and don't interrupt her at any time I think you should hold off on the dinner we talked about and back up for a moment it's more important for the two of you to talk about why you broke up and don't argue about the breakup this is one of the most common mistakes couples make when trying to reconcile try agreeing with the break up and why it happened this will make her open up about why she felt she had to do it. The lines of communication will then be open and you can talk things out this is the second step since the dinner invitation did not work it's time to air out the hurt feelings and frustrations without arguing tell her you will understand if it is truly over but you love her and want to work things out. It's now time to have a discussion about what went wrong in the relationship and why you have gotten to this point. You may need to allow her be in control of the situation now because for three years she may have felt like you were already in the take charge mode.

KimberlyF
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Customer reply replied 9 years ago
Thanks. I understand I need to be careful. When she broke it off, she spoke in terms of her future. She said I also "ticked all the right boxes in theory" to be her partner. She said I was calm, steady, was good with her children and could provide her with a secure future. She didn't address feelings: she wrote in terms of being "different" but didn't give any real reasons for anything. However, she kept emphasising the point about what's "best for her". For a page long note, it was full of cliches. Also, she said she'd rather be on her own unless it was absolutely right. But, it had an implied tone of, "I may be wrong about this, but don't try to persuade me otherwise." As a single mother and a professional, she's constantly on the run, highly stressed, disorganised and feels out of control. She often says that no one does anything for her and that her parents only care about their grandchildren, although she did acknowledge that I spoiled her often. She has been hurt by her ex-husband (he cheated on her and refuses to acknowledge all the things she now does for the children) and is constantly angry about things he does. She often says that "no one gets it" when it comes to understanding what she's been through. I understand that. I also have learned not to argue about breakups. I can't help but thinking though that, although she's not consciously entertaining a reconciliation with me and possibly even thinking there could, down the track, be a future with someone else, she's crying out to be shown that she is special. To me, that sounds like, if I am to have a chance at all, it needs to beyond what she'd expect I would do as she's had enough of my doing what I would ordinarily do: it's too predictable. While backing off is not a bad idea, I've tried that in the past. She has complained that's insensitive: she has said I could not possibly love her if I ignored her. I know it's not a good situation and I understand the point that what she says is not necessarily what she feels. I just wish I knew what she was feeling.
Counselor: KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert replied 9 years ago
Customer

 

She may think that after three years you should have already known how she was feeling and understood what she needed out the relationship and you just weren't doing that she can not compare your relationship with her ex husband that is not healthy nor productive she should have been able to move pass the past and on to the future with you. You may be right about it taking something really big something she wouldn't think you would have done on your own without her hinting or telling you to do it, so what would that something be? You know her better than I do and you are going to have to come up with something. If you want to know what she is feeling you are going to have to ask her and hope that she communicates with you what she wants from you. If you feel that giving her time will make her think you are no longer interested then don't do that you know what is best for the both of you. Tell her that you understand what she has gone through and what a great parent she is to her children and tell her you want to be her support system.

 

You are going to have to show her how much you love and want her back because she thinks it's just talk and that she has heard it all before. Tell her you think the two of you would be good for each other if she would only consider given it another chance. It's good that you are allow her to speak her mind and actually listening, if you do that more often she will have no choice but to see that you are actually trying and putting forth an effort.

KimberlyF
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Customer reply replied 9 years ago
Well, it appears it is all over. I sent her a heartfelt statement of how I felt about her: it wasn't written in a persuasive tone. Instead it just explained how I felt, what I loved about her etc. Anyway, she replied that "no means no" and "stop this". I replied to her saying that I was still at a loss as to understand why things had ended this way and so abruptly. I said it was hard to accept why one week we had talked about babies, marriage and houses whereas the next week it's all over, I was not to make any contact and we could not be friends. Her response, "To be blunt and brutally honest: I don't love you in the way I need to to be with someone. Sorry it hurts: that's it plain and simple. Please leave me be." That seems to be it as far as I'm concerned. I found her explanation though a little odd. Given that she has come back to me before and her comments about babies etc, if she had decided "that's it", why does she say, "I don't love you in the way I need to to be with someone"? There are easier ways to say get lost. It's as if some glimmer of hope is thrown out there. It's consistent with a statement she said to me a week ago when breaking off that, "I'd rather be on my own unless it's absolutely right." I can't think she's trying to spare my feelings. That seems inconsistent with her other statements. Perhaps I should have listened to her mother who said sometime ago that her daughter was a commitment phobic. Was she just looking for ways to not be in this relationship because, contrary to earlier thoughts, it was getting a bit too close to "husband and wife" stage? Given her inability to deal with her ex-marriage, I'm wondering if she's just "jumping" because she feels I'll get sick of her eventually and move on. She has such low self-esteem, doesn't accept compliments and says she doesn't trust men.
Counselor: KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert replied 9 years ago
Customer

 

Your only choices now are to move on without her or to give her time and hope that she changes her mind but by the sound of her response she is serious about not wanting a relationship and it could be because she doesn't like commitment and was getting scared but in the event that she really doesn't want to be with you anymore you may have to find a way to move on. I would give her a couple of weeks to a month and see what her response is then and if it is the same you have to take the steps to move on with your life without her in it. Although moving on after a break up can be really hard. With all the hurt and emotions, it's hard to be able to believe that you may never see them again. Try to remember the things you loved and did before you dated them. What was your world like before you started going out? Your hobbies, start them again hang out with friends to keep your mind off of her. Keep yourself busy with work or volunteer or pick up new hobbies anything you ever wanted to try but your ex never wanted to. Counseling may help you to heal if she decides not to give you another chance they can give you tools to use in your healing process especially if she (your girlfriend) doesn't give you closure.

 

KimberlyF
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Customer reply replied 9 years ago

After leaving my ex alone for 2 weeks and sorting my mind out, I sent her an email to say that I was cool with her decision to break it off. I briefly said some things I was up to (all of which indicated I was enjoying life and being ambitious) and said, despite everything, she had a friend in me. The following day she responded by email by saying that she was glad things were going well for me and appreciated my gesture. She also said "good luck with everything". Anyway, 12 minutes later she sent another email explaining that she had badly broken her foot, was recuperating at home and that this was forcing her to take a look at her life, to slow down and to get organised. She added that work had been good but the broken foot was making things difficult and was financially burdensome. She said for me not to laugh too much. She also said that her kids were doing well. I sent her an email saying that I hoped she was okay (in the circumstances) and said that I understood this would be hard for her. That night (a Friday night) she phoned. I was not at home: I was away for the night but learned that she had phoned by checking "call back" the following morning. I didn't call her. On Sunday I sent her a quick email to say I was thinking of her and hoped again that she was okay. She responded fairly quickly by saying initially she was okay but said, "Aren't you away up the coast at the moment with your triathlon?" She added that her brother had, on the previous day, been involved in a motorcycle accident and had also broken his foot. She then said she was "sort of okay" and that this was all a pain and financially not pretty. I responded later on to say that was terrible about her brother and that I hoped he'd be okay too. I said that the triathlon was this coming weekend and added that training was going well. I also said that I was looking forward to the weekend (which I am) as there's always a great atmosphere with lots of people. I added that I felt for her not being able to get around, because she likes to exercise. She didn't respond - I didn't expect her to respond as I didn't really ask her a question (as she had done to me) and, therefore, suggest a "conversation". Am I playing this right? I am annoyed at her cutting me off in the way she did and do not want to return to her too soon, if that's what she wants. She's gone from saying, "no contact", "we cannot be friends", "leave me be", "I'm looking at my goals and objectives" and "I don't love you in the way I need to to be with someone" 2-3 weeks ago to ringing me up. I appreciate this is very early days and she would be tentative about lots of things. She knows in the things she's emailed me I can "fill in" that which is not being said, ie, in terms of her not being okay. I sense she's relieved and happy to hear from me; she's also feeling alone and I think she thinks I'm the only one who could possibly come close to understanding her at the moment. I was thinking of not contacting her again for a few days and when I do, it's simply a "Hi" and to enquire about her foot and how she's coping. I don't want to offer to help her out - after all, we're only "friends" who've only reconnected in the last few days and my going any further suggests that the "friendship" line was false. I respect her decision to break it off; I'm happy to be her friend if that's what she wants; but I'm also happy to be more than that if she wants it. All the old feelings are already essentially back and they're quite strong. What should I do? I don't want to appear pushy. But, to enable me to handle this properly, I need to have some guidance as to what her actions are really saying and leading to and, perhaps more importantly, what she's likely to be expecting of me. Is she really asking for my help and expecting me to be more "understanding"?; is there a point when merely asking how she is and if she's coping is not enough? If a "relationship" is on the cards, is this sort of questioning going to wear thin? I appreciate things may indicate she wants me in her life in some form but she's not sure how. Although she's "familiar" with me, she's very straight to the point about what's going on in her life at the moment in terms of how it's affecting her; ie, while she might tell everyone about her broken foot she wouldn't tell most people about her becoming "philosophical". It just seems to me as though she feels comfortable crossing that line with me and doesn't feel restrained by a notion of "friendship". While I need to be careful that she's not using me, there's a point when everyone just feels okay with opening up to someone; but, if she was trying to protect herself by keeping me at a distance, would she be so honest about effectively admitting that she's frustrated with her life? I need a strategy.

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Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

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