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He says he loves me but he's leaving

(26 Posts)
sorensencarlisle Wed 08-Mar-17 10:01:43

I'm in such a mess. I really need some handholding on how to get through this, because I don't know how to.
I've been separated from DS father for almost a year. 6 months ago I met a wonderful, loving, caring man. He's younger than me (10 years+) and we're at very different life stages, me with a child, him still deciding what he wants to do with his life, but we have an amazing connection that I haven't felt with anyone else. His passion is travelling and from the outset he has been honest about wanting to keep doing that, so rationally I knew that being with him couldn't be a long term thing, that I shouldn't let myself get emotionally involved ... so of course here I am 6 months later, in love, and he's leaving for the other side of the world in 2 months. I knew it was coming, but he's just confirmed the date and I'm devastated.
He tells me he loves me and that he wants us to be together but, like me, recognises that we're at very different stages in our lives and that I can't just up sticks and move to a different country. On a rational level I completely get that he needs to live his life and do the things that he needs to do. I would never tell him not to go as I know this is his dream, but the thought of him leaving, of never seeing him again, is breaking my heart. I know I was an idiot for ever getting involved with him and that I have to let him go, but I don't know how I'm going to get through it.
He keeps telling me that he loves me, that this is breaking his heart too, that he never meant to get this involved, but ultimately I know he is choosing to leave me and that hurts. We both went into this relationship knowing it would end this way, but he's leaving for a life of excitement and new possibilities and I'll go back to my old life which is going to feel so empty without him.
He tells me how wonderful I am, that I deserve to be happy, that I'll have men queueing up to date me, but that misses the bloody point. I love him and I want him. I wasn't looking to get into a relationship when I met him, I'm with him because of him. The thought that I could meet someone else in the future doesn't in any way help me with getting over the heartbreak of losing him now, or the frustration of knowing that if our life situations were different we could make this work.
Emotionally I'm all over the place. I go from being angry, to accepting of the situation, to feeling this terrible sadness. On the one hand I feel like I wouldn't exchange the happiness he's brought me for anything, other times I just wish I'd never met him so I wouldn't be feeling like this.
He wants us to keep seeing each other between now and when he leaves and he wants to keep in touch when he's gone. I want those things too, because the alternative makes me feel ill, but I don't know if I should. I just know I'm an idiot for getting involved with him and that I've caused myself this hurt.
If anyone has any wise words for getting through this I'd appreciate it, because right now I feel so weak and low.

HappyJanuary Wed 08-Mar-17 10:24:18

I mean this kindly but, as you've already acknowledged, he is making a choice to travel rather than build a proper relationship with you.

No matter what he says, his actions - leaving, accepting of you finding someone else - speak volumes.

I don't think you should torture yourself with 'what ifs' or berate yourself for being at a different life stage because the sad fact is that, even if everything was aligned perfectly, he doesn't feel as strongly as you do.

Personally I would cut all contact now. What's the point in dragging out an extra six months of pain and dread, maybe hoping he'll change his mind but destined for disappointment? He's made his choice, let him feel the loss of you, on your terms, rather than him skipping off into the sunset, with all of those distractions to support him through the break up while you suffer.

Chickenagain Wed 08-Mar-17 10:36:58

On the credit side, he has set a benchmark for you. You now know what you are looking for and the type of man who makes you feel loved & happy (pissing off into the sunset notwithstanding)....

Adora10 Wed 08-Mar-17 10:37:46

Agree with above; he's choosing to leave the relationship so you need to act accordingly; he can say whatever, his actions speak volumes.

inlectorecumbit Wed 08-Mar-17 10:44:39

He has made his choice and it is not you,but it seems that he wants to keep you on the back burner in case it doesn't work out for him. So he will continue to have sex with you until he leaves and you can be his fall back option if he comes back.
No No No
End it now while you have the choice, leave rather than be left. Have some dignity and be someones first choice rather than a "make do" until he seeks new pastures and relationships abroad.
You deserve better flowers

WannaBe Wed 08-Mar-17 10:49:45

You're at entirely different life stages. You have a child, he doesn't, you're ten years older than him, he is still free and young and wants to go and discover his life's path. This relationship is currently perfect precisely because you started it with having a bit of fun in mind. Presumably you haven't introduced your child into the relationship on the basis that this was only meant to be a casual relationship, and as such you haven't actually been through a stage of having difficulties with new partners/child/adjustments/the new man adapting to being with someone with a child in the equation etc. Even if you stayed together life would be about to get a lot more complicated anyway and there are no guarantees.

I don't necessarily agree that he doesn't want the relationship, but that for him the intention hasn't changed, and if you're honest he's always been up-front about the fact that he would ultimately be leaving and that this could only ever be a short term thing.

Look at this not as something to break your heart but as a bar to set your other relationships by in the future. Even if you're not in the mindset to want a new relationship just yet, one day you will be, and you will be past all the feelings of coming out of a long term relationship, having that first date etc because this man made all that possible for you.

The only thing I would say is that you should cut contact now. because as time goes on it is only going to get harder. So be honest with him. Tell him you hadn't intended to get emotionally involved but you have, and you don't want to get any more hurt so you need to walk away

ToastVacuum Wed 08-Mar-17 11:15:17

You are more into him than the other way round. inlectorecumbit is right, you would be the "back up" option for when he gets back. More likely though, he'll send you a very nice postcard from the other side of the world saying he's happy and has met someone. Don't wait around, don't stay in touch, and as inlectorecumbit says, don't be someone's second choice. Been there, done that, it never ends well or as you'd have hoped.

sorensencarlisle Wed 08-Mar-17 11:16:50

Thank you for your messages. That's so helpful having outsiders' perspectives on this. You're right, he is ultimately putting himself and his needs before me by leaving, yet wanting to have the best of both worlds by still seeing me. I think because he is a 'nice guy' it kind of obscures in my mind that his actions are actually very selfish.

I do have this suspicion that the narrative for our relationship was always already written for him. He is quite a romantic (for want of a better term) and I think in his head we were always going to be the 'doomed romance' and the 'always wondering what could have been' relationship. Not that his feelings aren't genuine, but it's like he has a way of rationalising those feelings that makes it easier for him to still do what he wants to do, i.e. leave.

I felt like I needed to latch onto something solid to pull me through this and I think anger is going to be that thing. Thank you.

Bluntness100 Wed 08-Mar-17 11:22:52

I don't think you've anything to be angry at, other than maybe yourself, but not him. He was always honest, there was no lying or subterfuge. You can be angry you thought you could change his mind, but you can't be angry with him for being honest and doing what he said he would do. There is no surprises here.

PollytheDolly Wed 08-Mar-17 11:29:10

Do not stay in contact whilst he's away. It's a recipe for continuing the emotional trauma. When will he call/text? What's he doing?

Save yourself the pain and start healing from now. In fact, on that note, I'd end it now.

Must be so hard for you. flowers

sorensencarlisle Wed 08-Mar-17 11:41:58

Wannabe you're right, I haven't got him involved with my child (or my wider family) because of knowing he might leave. I knew it couldn't be long term - he was always clear about travelling - but it's still hard when that same person is telling you that they love you in one breath and then in the next that they've booked their plane tickets. It's that it's moved beyond being 'a bit of fun' for him too that I struggle with. If he had stayed emotionally detached I think I'd find this easier.
Blunt maybe I'm being unfair by feeling angry towards him, but I feel like I need to latch onto something to get me through this. I never thought I'd change his mind about leaving, but the reality of it has hit me hard when he keeps telling me how much he loves me. I suppose when I say 'angry' I mean that I need to draw on that feeling to say to him 'you've made your choice to leave, so I'm not going to be hanging around now.'

HappyJanuary Wed 08-Mar-17 11:42:14

It is hurtful that he doesn't feel strongly enough to stay with you, but none of us are obligated to stay in a relationship and he was honest from the start about his plans.

I can't see why you would be angry really, unless it is about him wanting to keep seeing you until he leaves. I am guessing this is him trying to let you down gently, the whole 'let's stay friends' thing that people seem to do when they're ending a relationship.

If it were me I'd be wishing him well before ending it with my dignity intact, then blocking him on everything to avoid the inevitable social media onslaught of happy photos of him having a great time thousands of miles away.

sorensencarlisle Wed 08-Mar-17 11:45:23

Thanks Polly

pudding21 Wed 08-Mar-17 12:27:24

I have a friend who hooked up with a guy 16 years her junior. He was just about to embark on a world wide tour when they met and she resigned herself to that fact. He left and three weeks later turned up on her doorstep. He had missed her so much he didn't want to miss out on the opportunity. Its the old saying "if you love them let them free, if its true love they will return".

Not trying to give you false hope, but distance might make him realise what he wants. If he doesn't it was never meant to be flowers

SewMeARiver Wed 08-Mar-17 12:29:15

Feel for you OP. I agree though, best you let him go. And yes, I think you can be angry, he's changed the terms by telling you he loves you, whilst having no intentions of hanging around and backing up that statement. Also I detest that "you're soooo great! You'll find someone else to sweep you off your feet in noooo time..." Stupid statement. Its like fuck off! It really undermines and trivialises a person's feelings. Its like "well, you're just a little bit upset now, but it will make ME feel better for smashing your heart to pieces if I know you'll quickly just get on the bike again". I REALLY hate that stupid breakup statement. Its just shows they love you less than you do them. Just piss off already!!

He does sound like a great romantic. All tears, bluster and no action!

However as PP have stated the good thing is that:

1. You know what to look for and not look for.

2. You obviously are in your prime and have real game going on

3. This is a chance to wake up and try different things yourself. No reason why you shouldn't do exciting things too.

Get out there and try different things. Use this opportunity to reappraise your life. Maybe you'll be able to keep this man as a friend one day. But for now you need to put real distance between you. I think you need to be resigned to feeling really shit for a while, sorry. I know how dreadfully painful it really is when you truly love someone. But you can always share here if it becomes too muchflowers Be kind to yourself.

sorensencarlisle Wed 08-Mar-17 13:03:26

Pudding thanks for that. No false hopes, but I totally agree that you need to let them go. If I'm as amazing as he's always telling me I am, maybe he'll at least be a bit miserable smile
Sew your post made me both laugh and cry. Absolutely fuck off with the 'you're so great, I just want you to be happy' stuff! It's so self-serving.
Thanks for being honest about the feeling shit part. I know it can't be avoided, just trying to find a way of not letting it become all consuming.

MatildaTheCat Wed 08-Mar-17 13:18:06

The positive is that you've had a nice relationship post break up and you are parting on good terms.

The less positive is that he is dictating the terms and conditions of this parting. It's over due to him, which is fine if you both knew all along this would happen. However, it's not fine to have a prolonged splitting up period with all the Last Time stuff. That will be so painful for you. And definitely no 'keeping in touch as friends'. Not great to see him having an amazing time and expecting you to be joyful. No.

So take a little control back and tell him that he must go and do his thing and you will do yours. Then goodbye.

You will be fine.

TheNaze73 Wed 08-Mar-17 13:24:24

I was in his boat, in 1994-95, in a 3 year relationship but, had the bug to travel. I could've been with anyone & it wouldn't have stopped me. He's been open, honest & transparent.

Huskylover1 Wed 08-Mar-17 13:41:56

Ah, this sucks! I have been in a very similar situation. He was 13 years younger than me, starting out in a career which involved travel, whereas I had 2 kids....I was devastated when he ended it and sailed off in to the sunset. 3 months later, I started OLD and it was a very welcome distraction. 2 months after that, I met DH. He was 10 years older, so far more on the same page as me. He is solid, dependable, so much a better fit for me than "flighty boy" and we will have been together 9 years this year. Funnily enough, when "flighty boy" finally returned to the UK, he seemed to think we could start up where we'd left off! WTAF? Er no, I've met someone else, you arse, did you really think I was sitting here twiddling my thumbs awaiting for your return??!!

My advice?

1. Do NOT see him between now and when he goes. You will just feel worse and would most likely have sex and feel a bit worthless afterwards.

2. Do not keep in contact.

3. Get back out on the dating scene. Many won't agree, but I think the way to get over a man, is to get under another one.

Huskylover1 Wed 08-Mar-17 13:43:01

* 10 years older than "flighty boy" - not 10 years older than me!

solsbury Wed 08-Mar-17 13:57:45

..just wanted to add, love your username! Carmody Braque, still makes me shudder!

CaptainCabinet Wed 08-Mar-17 14:10:29

Another vote for ending it now.

Think about it, are there any other circumstances in which you would allow someone to dump you in 8 weeks but continue the relationship in the mean time?

He's leaving to travel which is his perogative but doesn't get enjoy you in the meantime.

If you end it now you will feel less abandoned. And let's face it, how much do you enjoy time with him now it's come to this.

tigermoll Wed 08-Mar-17 14:20:55

Another vote for breaking it off now. And also a vote for your user name -- I loved that book when I was a kid!

sorensencarlisle Wed 08-Mar-17 14:22:48

That's really well put captain. I have basically been given 2 months notice of being dumped. I agree with you all, I'll be telling him it's ending now and not in 2 months. I'm seeing him on Saturday so will have the conversation then. He's been texting me today telling me that he loves me. I honestly don't think he gets how hard he is making this.
Thanks solsbury. Laura Chant was already taken as a user name!

gamerchick Wed 08-Mar-17 14:26:06

Yeah you need to break it off now, what's the point in prolonging it? Nice for him to have a warm bed until his life slots into place in a nice smooth manner while it makes you feel increasingly ill. Fuck him, his loss.

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