Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
My girlfriend of 13 years has fallen out of love with me & wants to split - I need help(135 Posts)
Hi, I've specifically come on here because I wanted to try and get some impartial advice - and maybe some coping strategies too - from people who may have found themselves in my own crushing position or who can empathise and understand how the beautiful woman I am engaged to (and have been with for 13 years - we have a 10 year old daughter too) feels.
Where to start.
Firstly, there's no infidelity. Never has been, never would be - I love my partner and she's the one. She always has been. We've been together a long time and had many many happy times, we're best friends, we have loads in common, we've been through a lot together and I absolutely adore her. We have an incredible daughter and we're a great family. We've had problems over recent years - money, illness, stress etc. but things are actually on the up. We've almost cleared all our debts and will have a lot more disposable income. My business is really starting to go places. My girlfriend is doing great with her job - a job where she really helps people and has an impact. Everybody likes my girlfriend - she's a beautiful, kind and funny person and I want to point out from the start that I'm the bad guy in all this, she's done nothing wrong. Everything that's happening has been brought on by me. I have so many regrets and I have been such an idiot for such a long time.
Until recently - until I woke up that is - I have always put myself first. I've been lazy and incredibly selfish. It's always been a case of it's my way or the highway. I've controlled her, manipulated her and mentally abused her. I've never lifted a finger towards her - I'm certainly not that kinda guy - but I've said terrible things to her. Things I never ever meant but said to lash out. Things I've said to win arguments. Things I've said out of an inflated sense of entitlement and/or out of bravado. I've often not listened. When I've listened I've not heard. When she's needed love from me, although I absolutely always have been in love with her, I didn't show it or say the right things. I've been lazy and not appreciated the things that have been important to her - simple things that I could easily have done. I've not focussed on making her happy - I've focussed on getting her tow my line and to be honest, god knows why because I don't want to change the wonderful person she is and never have so I have no idea what I was even trying to achieve. I've been a complete tool. I'll give you some examples of the awful things I've said. I've told her in the past that I was only with her because of our daughter. That was never true and I have no excuse for ever having said that. I told her once in the middle of a fiery row why doesn't she go hang herself. What kind of person says that? What the f* was wrong with me? I obviously never meant it. The thought of me ever doing anything that hurts her makes me feel physically sick, end of the day she is my best friend, the only person who has ever 'got me'. When she's really needed me, I've just not noticed. I haven't noticed the pain she's been in and she's rightfully lost respect for me over a long period of time.
We've had a few tough years - she was ill for over a year, work was difficult and from then forwards we haven't had much of a sex life. When we do it's fantastic - always has been - and for me that's one of the ways I connect. I've always thought that was enough and when we do connect like that, I can beat the world, it motivates me. I'd like to stress she's never withheld sex out of any kind of thing where she's playing games. Now of course I know that there's a lot more to it than sex - the sex starts way before the act in the little things - the talking, the closeness, the overall environment. Anyway, I've pressed and pressed the issue why - thinking of myself yet again. I've been raising the issue for months - and putting the blame on her, telling her we need to work on things. Thing is though, she's been working on it for a long, long time and I just haven't noticed.
I have changed a lot as a person over the last year or two - for the better. The old me is dead and I hate the person I was. We were so in love and we're so right for each other.
Anyway, it's come to a head and after a couple of weeks of anguish, soul searching, lots of talking and tears from both of us she's told me that she doesn't feel like she's in love with me anymore and that we should probably split. She feels like she's lost herself - lost the bubbly, happy person that she was. She's become numb. She's carried me and it's drained her. And she's right.
Now, when I heard those words, I basically collapsed. I have basically not eaten for over a week, I can't sleep and I couldn't cope or function at all. It was so bad that I went to the doctor who examined me, insisted I lie down and she personally went to the chemist, gave me valium there and then plus a prescription, cancelled her other appointments and sat and talked with me for almost an hour. The valium has helped me cope and it's been crucial because it is unfair on my girlfriend to see me in such a mess and feel like she's the cause. She can't be my therapist and shouldn't be. It's about what she feels, not what I feel.
I have complete clarity on what I want which is all well and good. But it's about what she wants. Of all the horrible things I have done, the worst would be to get her to stay with me out of pity and have her live a life where she's not happy. I desperately want her to be happy, she deserves it more than anyone I know.
She knows I am genuinely sorry for everything I have done. She knows I am utterly in love with her. She knows I will dedicate the rest of my life to being a better man and making her happy - not because I have to but because I want to. Her being happy makes me happy. There's not a bad bone in that girls body, she's a wonderful mother, an incredible girlfriend, she's kind, interesting, funny, super sexy and to be frank she should have left me years ago. Maybe we could have had more chance fixing it then while she still felt in love with me. But all these things are for nothing because it's about what she feels. We do both agree that the love is probably still there inside her - it's been too strong a bond and too deep a love not to be. But it's hidden and covered by all these negative emotions caused by me. She can't see the wood for the trees basically because of all this negative currency I have built up over the years. God I have been such a stupid fool, I've hurt her and I really don't deserve any better than what's happening to me now. There's been a lot of dumb trust issues too from my behalf - stuff born out of macho paranoia on my part. I've made her feel uncomfortable many times just going out to see her friends and it's something she rarely does anyway. I've basically tried to keep her to myself and it's back to the controlling person that I was.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not a terrible guy. I'm kind, I am thoughtful, I do and have done a lot of good things and most of our time together has been wonderful. I really hope she can think of all those moments and not just the negative ones. I hope she can think of the love in my eyes whenever I have looked into hers because that has always been the case. I hope she can bring back all the feelings as to why she fell in love with me.
It's like the stages of grief isn't it? I've been through denial, I've been through bargaining, I've been through begging (not with her, I know that's not right or fair) and I've been through anger (at myself). I'll never get through acceptance because not being with her will be my cancer.
Anyway, there is no acrimony. We talk, we hug each other, we kiss but all as you would between friends - which we are. I've made silly threats to her in the past - long ago and not of violence but of making her feel like it would be a nightmare if she ever left me. This is no excuse but I only ever did that out of fear of losing her. I'd never ever have done anything. I'm so terrified now of losing her, I genuinely feel like someone on death row must feel the night before they get executed. I will never do anything to hurt her again. Even if god forbid we do split, I will always be a great friend to her, I will always provide, she can have the house and everything in it. For all my many flaws past and present I am a great dad and we both have an amazing relationship with our daughter and that will never change. I think my daughter - who's smart as anything - will understand if we did split but of course, I am desperate not to hurt her. Again, to reiterate, my girlfriend/love of my life is not doing anything wrong here -she's grieved over a period of years. She's suffered. She's tried and I haven't seen it.
Anyway, where we are now is this. I realise she needs space. Space to try and fight through the rubble and find out whether there are any feelings still there. So initially I have moved out for 4 days. It's the hardest thing I have ever done. We've worked it so our daughter doesn't actually know what's going on which is good.
I said to her earlier that I think she probably needs at least a month and that's probably what we will do. Again, it kills me to be apart from her for 5 minutes but I think if there's any glimmer of hope then she needs distance from me to even just find out if she misses me at all. I don't want her to think that the solution to this pain - and she's in pain too - is splitting because I know that if we both make the genuine commitment to work on this probably that all that will lift and we'll never look back.
I know this is a long post and thanks for reading. It's a little cathartic actually to just write it down. My darling knows all this and she's accepted my sincerest apologies for everything I've done and we've really bared our souls in the last few weeks. But ultimately, saying all this doesn't actually change anything and it's all down to whether she can find that spark again, whether she can see any prospect of a happy future with me or whether she wants to cut her losses now while she feels like she still has a chance to start again somewhere down the line (she is 38).
I guess what I want to know is anyone who has been in a similar position - especially a woman. Did you get the love back? Is that possible? What's the best way for me to handle this all? I don't mean for me, I mean what's the best way for me to handle this for my girlfriend so that she hurts as little as possible? I absolutely don't want to try and smother her with my love and be pathetic - she still needs to see me as the strong man I am (I'm not an emotional person - part of my problem) and not some pathetic begging guy. That's why I do believe the space is important. She doesn't and wouldn't see couples therapy as helpful by the way, she knows her own mind.
Is there anything I can do to win her back? Not being with her will destroy me - it already is. How do people cope with this pain, it's horrific. If we do break for a month, would it be a good thing to try and go out together as friends or better to just be completely apart? What's best for her?
I am at the lowest ebb of my entire life. This is the most important thing that has ever happened to me. It's certainly been the biggest wake up call imaginable. I fear it's all too late though. I've no-one to blame but myself. I can and will make her happy and will dedicate my life to doing so, it's just whether I even get the chance to do that.
Put your hard hat on
You reap what you sow
By your own admission you have been abusive
Good for your girlfriend for getting out and setting her sights much higher
What sort of effect do you think your behaviour has has on your daughter?
You sound like the worst kind of narcissistic abuser put into words for us all to read
if you love her, let her go
You won't though, will you
oh, and i don't believe you, any of the you that you think you are
If you really do want to hurt her as little as possible, you need to respect her wishes. Maybe she doesn't want you to make her happy.
sorry to say this but from reading that, it's still all about you.
Just let her go. No-one has the right to make someone be in a relationship they no longer want to be in.
Please let her go easily. Go and sort yourself out and don't expect her to take you back because it suits you. It's too late. Let go
This is going to be hard for you after your self admission to treating a beautiful woman the way you have.
Wow, what a rambling stream of consciousness. You haven't even taken the time to work things out in your head, have you? You're a good guy, you're a bad guy, you're an arse hole,
You have been with her for 13 years and it's only now that you see that you've put her through hell?
Well done to her for getting out.
Have a think about what you've taught your daughter. You've taught her that she deserves to be treated with contempt by any man she loves. That she deserves to be bullied, etc.
Your ex-girlfriend is teaching her that no, its ok to stand up for yourself, and to not take any of this crap anymore.
Will you make it back together? I doubt it. Its taken you 13 years to destroy the love she had for you, will you stay away for 13 years to prove that you have changed?!
No she is not a Mumsnet user and I wouldn't dream of letting her see this. I've faced up to everything I have done to her face and I am truly sorry for it but that person I was is dead. And you're probably all right, you do reap what you sow, I'm not looking for any sympathy or making any excuses for the things I've done in the past. Our daughter by the way has never seen any of this historical behaviour - these things have happened on the rarest of ocassions but I know that even once is bad enough.
he's not planning to stay away and give her any space at all
this prick is staying up in her grill to "prove" to her how much she needs him in her life
Collapsing, starving yourself, rushing to the doctor with your dramatics...sounds like you are trying to emotionally blackmail your girlfriend to me. And your post is all about you.
I did lemon lips reading your post. You come out with exactly the same crap my ex did.
I agree with pp. If you love her then let her go, there isn't any other option.
the sooner dickheads like this are phased out, the better
How about, rather than all this "I'm the problem, what can I do" narrative, you allow her the freedom to make her own choice on the back of what you've admitted was "mental/emotional" abuse?
You said you want what is best for her, but then state "being without her destroys me" - I hate to say it, but maybe the last 13 years have destroyed HER - which is exactly the reason she wants out. She may very well be this wonderful person that you've only just realised needs the appreciation and adulation you've over-emphasised in this topic, but at the end of the day - she should be the one who makes the call - it sounds as if she's done much of her decision making tiptoeing around you to avoid conflict.
I commend you for writing this on MN, but I really think you're just going to have to let the time take you where it is supposed to go, and let your girlfriend make her own decisions here. It sounds like you've done them for her - everyone has a breaking point and perhaps, in time, she will see that you've changed and want what is best for all of you. You do sound narcissistic, and that your girlfriend leaving has hurt you not because you can fully see the error of your ways (although you've tried very hard to show it as such) but because you can't possibly live without her; despite treating her like crap and her saying she no longer loves you has made you 'wake up'. I would fully expect you to be wonderful to her until you felt she was back in your court and then become complacent again; sorry, but I know this all too well.
You are still controlling her. You have decided that she is allowed to split with you for a month. So your plan of being a new man has fallen at the first hurdle.
What do you do? You stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop telling her how sad you are. Why are you determined to make her feel guilty? Give her the space she wants since you are such a nice guy now.
Move out, get on with your life, be a kind and respectful ex and maybe if you show that all your talk of being a new person is not just a lot of empty promises, then she will begin to see you for the great guy you are sure you can be.
But at the moment you are not being a great guy. You are trying to tell her how she really feels about you, how long she is allowed to break up from you and you are trying to make her feel bad for you being so horrible to her that she wants to leave.
So, you've now realised what you stand to lose?
Do you even think about her in this?
i couldnt read further than the 'personally went to the chemist to get me valium and cancelled her other appointments' bit about the gp. really? so potentially kids who needed diagnosing with leukemia or cancer patients in need of a morphine prescription all just toddled off without the nhs because an abusive man's wife has fnally had enough and he's gutted?
sure they did!
that sounds HUGELY likely doesn't it?
the clear reality is TOO LATE. you've worn down and hurt and abused someone for so long that there's nothing left to give to you. you can't get blood from a stone and you can't break things to smiterines and then go oh but i liked you the way you were and i realise now that i want you to be that again.
Eeew, I feel all itchy reading that.
Leave her alone. Urgh.
also that person was you - you're not dead - stop talking melodramatic shit.
you're the person who did it - you don't get to 'other' it off and call it dead. you're alive and well and in her face - she can't pretend it was someone else just because you've decided to dissociate from your behaviour.
Still sounds like its all about you.
Let her go.
Hopefully the realisation of what a twat you were will help you in any new relationships.
or just make him even more of a control freak and abuser in the hopes this one doesn't get away.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.