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Backtracking on a breakup- strange behaviour?

(38 Posts)
mochizzy Tue 28-Apr-20 17:43:08

I wanted to check whether anyone else has experienced anything like this- lockdown aside.

I was in a LDR that was falling apart. After lengthy discussions/arguments via messages it culminated with my now XP of 2 years sending me a long message about how heartbroken he was but that he didn't think it was going to last. That his feelings had changed in the past week that we had been arguing more about me moving over to be in his country. This, he explained, had made him realise that we were very different. He didn't want to give up his job and risk me being resentful out there because I had joined him.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken. The message read exactly like a break up message and that's what I took it to mean. I didn't reply because I wanted to compose myself.

Then in the following days came the 'sorry for being really hurtful' messages, he needs 'time' (that old chestnut) and that he was 'thinking of me constantly'. He starts leaving complimentary comments on social media which completely confuse me. Other than that, no conversation whatsoever.

So I ended up asking him why he was continuing to check in on me given that he had made it clear he didn't think it was going to work.

I got a response saying that 'he didn't mean to do that' and that it wasn't what he was trying to do (break up with me!) that he was confused and felt we needed to understand each other better :s

How on earth can someone send a message saying it's not going to last and then deny it outright? We made tentative arrangements to speak over the weekend but then I realised there was no coming back from this behaviour.

I was/am scared to interact with someone who was telling me one thing, then resolutely denying he had done that exact thing. I told him I wished him well and blocked him on every channel. That was 3 days ago.

Has anyone else experienced this type of strange behaviour when separating? I feel like I won't have the gracious final conversation that I would have liked with someone who I was literally planning to marry some weeks ago. But at the same time I'm trying to protect myself from what feels like HIS gaslighting and cowardice.

Ugh, it feels so sad and messy that he would behave like this towards the end.

OP’s posts: |
EvenMoreFuriousVexation Tue 28-Apr-20 17:49:23

There is a very cynical part of me that wonders if he had re-thought things because he realised he has no chance of getting another relationship soon what with being in lockdown, and he's bored and horny and wants to carry on sexting you...

RandomMess Tue 28-Apr-20 17:57:36

Emotional blackmail to make you move to him...

AudTheDeepMinded Tue 28-Apr-20 18:00:22

@RandomMess agree it was to bring the op 'to heel' which didn't work, hence the backtracking!

Menora Tue 28-Apr-20 18:01:50

Or it was to preserve his good guy image - you were the one who ‘chose’ to walk away

category12 Tue 28-Apr-20 18:03:46

No, don't get sucked in. Someone who breaks up with you and then says they didn't mean to, is a mindfuck, and you should heed the great big flapping red flag.

BornInAThunderstorm Tue 28-Apr-20 18:04:31

Sounds like he was hoping you would make the move out of fear of losing the relationship, and its backfired

Zaphodsotherhead Tue 28-Apr-20 20:36:38

I think he was hoping you would break - tell him he's too good to lose, prostrate yourself in front of him, move out to be with him, give up everything in order to service him and attend to him.

When you didn't 'jump', he's had to backtrack.

When they say 'we need to understand one another better' what they generally mean is 'you need to agree with everything I say.'

Viletta Tue 28-Apr-20 20:51:07

Hi OP, DH and I were on LDR. He moved for me first, then I moved to the UK for him. Do you have different native languages and / or culture/mentality? These things to complicate things quite a bit! Even if not, moving to another country is a huge step and people do freak out about it understandably, both person who has to move and the receiving side. If you love him and want to be with him, the only way to see this through is to move together and see what happens. This step is also a hard one as all of a sudden you two are intensely together rather than seeing the best sides of each other on LDR. My advise would be to talk to him properly and not over messages to see where he is coming from. I'd say reassure him that if it doesn't work it's not the end of the world. Does this help?

mochizzy Tue 28-Apr-20 21:20:12

Thanks for your comments. I also suspect it was a power move (one I shot down) but he seemed so final and measured when he issued the blow. For me there really wasn’t any question what he meant- hence the headfuck of what he messaged next! Horrible :-(

It’s worth saying we’re both from the UK, @Viletta :-) we had lived together beforehand and discussed me moving over to be with him. He’s only been in the new country/job since Jan.

OP’s posts: |
Viletta Tue 28-Apr-20 21:31:24

@mochizzy aaah that does change things! I'd still try to talk over the phone to find out what's going on. My DH once acted weird and I turned out he was jealous as I posted a pic with friends and there was I guy on it he though I was close to.. worth double checking I guess and try to be honest with each other. Good luck!

RandomMess Tue 28-Apr-20 22:15:06

It is some sort of power play, you were supposed to plead and start making arrangements to move out there ASAP...

I suspect he is struggling out there tbh.

curiouslypacific Tue 28-Apr-20 22:48:00

It sounds to me like he might have an avoidant attachment style. The commitment of having you move to be with him (and therefore somewhat dependent on him) has spooked him so he pushed you away. A lot of avoidant types actively seek ldr as a way of keeping people at arms length.

billy1966 Tue 28-Apr-20 23:04:11

Definitely a power move that you didn't bite.

Well done.

Proceed with care.

Men who try to mess with your head are tedious.👍

mochizzy Tue 28-Apr-20 23:27:24

@EvenMoreFuriousVexation honestly, I don’t think we’ve sexted in the entire two years we were together

OP’s posts: |
lurker2003 Tue 28-Apr-20 23:57:05

Been there! “I’ve found a flat I’m moving into, my dads going to help me pay for it. We can’t be together anymore.”
But apparently that didn’t mean he was breaking up with me, and I’d jumped to conclusions confused

LemonTT Wed 29-Apr-20 00:03:32

I think you posted about this before. He’s in the US and you were having issues over getting married and where to live. Tbh you are both blowing hot and cold with each other. There isn’t enough there to make you both overcome reservations about the situation.

When my mother was dying, my father told me something about her that meant a lot to him. He was offered a job in America and it would have meant her giving up her career. She had always pursued a career even though in those days, the 50s and 60s, she faced legal discrimination. She told him she loved him and where he goes, she goes. He decided then not to go. They were married a long time.

findyourspeaker Wed 29-Apr-20 09:39:42

OP to be fair you reacted to him by ignoring him and then posting on your social media which you knew he would see. He might have been playing games or he might equally have been worried about how you were reacting and what you would do. And also the fact that he sent a final text like that by text and not discussing with you on the phone means he might have been worried about how you would react.

It is impossible to say and we don't have enough here to help you, but you do have all the information, and the fact that you are posting about it hoping for some sort of insight and the fact that you reacted to him finishing with you by ignoring him (however you dress it up) but still posting on social media might mean you lack maturity which is why the LDR isn't working.

Him initially finishing with you might mean he realised that it would be be unwise for either of you to be uprooting.

For you to interpret that as a power move again indicates that this really is not going anywhere in any event.

In a good relationship between two emotionally intelligent adults which had a future, he would have felt comfortable to talk to you on the phone about his worries.

findyourspeaker Wed 29-Apr-20 09:51:11

I am sorry I posted too soon. I meant to include some constructive advice.

I think that you probably realise that whatever way you look at it there is no future here, but for you and your benefit, what I think would be good would be for you to sit down and write out chronologically everything that has happened between you and your ex partner, read through it a few times, and make up your mind what to do, and be really autonomous about your decisions.

mochizzy Wed 29-Apr-20 16:59:22

@findyourspeaker whilst I appreciate your constructive advice, I’m not sure what I was meant to do when I received a whatsapp message breaking up with me. Even if someone was ‘worried’ by my reaction then it’s hardly a courteous way to remove yourself from a two year partnership. If you were worried you wouldn’t pretend like nothing had happened in the days that followed, surely. I even responded by saying that perhaps we could talk in a week.

As for posting on social media, that’s something I do regularly and he chose to engage with it, despite ending things. Your implication is that I was stoking things. I disagree.

It’s clear the relationship had no future but your advice does seem to lay the blame solely at my door.

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mochizzy Wed 29-Apr-20 17:02:13

@LemonTT yes, I did post about this before. Your parents’ story is inspiring

OP’s posts: |
NoMoreDickheads Wed 29-Apr-20 17:39:12

He sounds like a headfuck. Not worth having someone who won't commit/demonstrate commitment as much as you want.

I was in a LDR that was falling apart. After lengthy discussions/arguments ...

What were the arguments about?

mochizzy Wed 29-Apr-20 17:56:10


Great username!

So I was really unsure about moving out there. I have a job I enjoy and my mental health took a real turn last year because we lived somewhere remote (his choosing) and I felt lonely. I was asking him for reassurance as to whether- once we were married- he would be prepared to put me first if I moved out there and it wasn’t really working out for us. He basically gave the impression that his new job came first. Prior to that I had really struggled with feeling like everything was on his terms; from the choice of furniture to the choice of apartment right through to the colour of the shower curtain. Everything had to be his choice! I was worried he didn’t/wouldn’t address my concerns. He said they were trivial.

Then there was the fact we had gotten engaged but he didn’t want any form of reception or party. He didn’t even want our family to attend! He agreed to fly over to the uk for it but said it was a huge compromise on his part. Basically didn’t make it feel special; something I’d chalked up to him having been married before.

Prior to that I had asked him to make more effort on calls. Since starting the role he was calling me in between meetings and spending a rushed five minutes rather than properly giving me him time. I raised this with him and he put it down to being manically busy and socially isolating. Said he would make more effort.

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findyourspeaker Wed 29-Apr-20 18:51:13

OP, you have twisted what i said! Do you do that to him? If so it might explain the whatsapp message.

I’m not sure what I was meant to do when I received a whatsapp message breaking up with me I would have replied for sure, and I do think that you not replying and then posting normal stuff on social media might have stressed him out. Especially if there had been misunderstandings between you in the past.

These are "might"s and I am not blaming you for anything. From your update it hasn't worked for a while, and I am really sorry as you are clearly heart broken about it. I do think you need to think it through from the beginning to make sense of it. You will make connections and it might well all come very clear.

NoMoreDickheads Wed 29-Apr-20 19:37:15

So many things wrong, and/or weird. He didn't want family at the wedding?!

Everything had to be his choice! I was worried he didn’t/wouldn’t address my concerns. He said they were trivial.

And this just isn't very nice.

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