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Starting to think he really was the one - does this ever work?

(49 Posts)
lilypad07 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:32:36

I ended a 4.5 year relationship in the summer. It was a very loving relationship and we really cared about each other, but ultimately I didn’t feel excited enough and found myself wondering if the grass was greener. I didn’t want to settle as I am only 24 and so I ended it. We had a flat together and I was content but just couldn’t help but wonder if there was more out there. Both our mental health suffered during lockdown and I think we both lost a bit of ourselves and got ourselves into a bit of a depressive slump. We were no longer having sex and things just weren’t exciting anymore. I ended it and he agreed it was the right thing to do.

Since then, I’ve moved back home and took time to work on myself. I’ve had therapy for my anxiety, taken up new hobbies, spent more time with friends and even tried online dating. I’m in a much better place than I was and feel a lot happier in myself. However, I have had this niggling feeling that i may have made the wrong decision and I can’t shake it off. This really hit home yesterday when I was on a Zoom call with some close friends and some of the girls were discussing their newly ex boyfriends. They were discussing all the red flags they missed out on and how hindsight was a great thing because their relationships were toxic. And genuinely I couldn’t relate to a single thing they said, I only had nice things to say about my ex.

And I can’t help but realise that the grass really wasn’t greener. Online dating has made me realise how horrible men can be too! But he really really cared about me, he looked after me, he really was my best friend. Things actually were much better than I thought at the time, and hindsight has made me realise what a star he actually was. I’m starting to really miss him.

I don’t feel lonely, I don’t feel like I need a man, I’m able to be happy on my own, but I feel like I want him in my life again. And I feel like I have made a big mistake!

Some mutual friends have told me that he was still struggling with the break up a month or so ago. We have been in minimal contact (i said happy birthday, we said merry Christmas/happy new year and there’s been the odd brief “how are you” convo). I just really feel like I’m in a much better place now and really really think I may have made a mistake.

I don’t know if I believe in the whole trying again with an ex thing, where would I even start? Plus I’m terrified of rejection as I think that’d break me, but my head feels so much clearer now..

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Vitaminsss Fri 01-Jan-21 23:35:12

I would say him if he wants to go for a drink, but I guess it would have to be a walk in this climate

Feel free to test the waters, but be prepared for rejection. I think the break up could have been hard for him, so don’t expect the relationship to be instantly magical again. You still have to work on the issues that were present before

MaLarkinn Fri 01-Jan-21 23:36:26

if he’s single then tell him how you feel.

lilypad07 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:37:08

Oh absolutely! I would never expect things to just be fine and I expect there’d be a lot of work to go into it. I just wonder if it’s too soon?
Plus he lives 2 hours away with his family now so it’s not the easiest to just meet for a walk.. sad

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lilypad07 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:37:43

As far as I know he is single! I just don’t want to put this on him if he is still fragile/coming to terms with it

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Redflaggs Fri 01-Jan-21 23:38:32

@lilypad07 you are 24 and as much as you my feel older or that you want a loving partner.

The question is, do you want to spend the next 60 years with him?...
does he with you?
In the separation did you or him talk, sext other people?? Could you cope if he had.

You broke up for a reason and yes it's hard dating, and maybe you didn't have tonnes of red flags but you had some I guess.

I don't think anyone under 30 should bother settling down. Until then you are still a child. And should be focused on you.

This is coming from someone 32, and have wasted time trying twice to have the relationship lol and now I'm content just being selfish and focusing on me.

If you do want to make it work, you need to work out the issues and what you both want from life.

Vitaminsss Fri 01-Jan-21 23:38:47

I would take the easy way out and start liking his photos/posts as an ice breaker. It works for me😂

lilypad07 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:41:14

I definitely see where you’re coming from @Redflaggs!! I think it’d feel weird knowing he has spoken to/sexted people but I have since as well so would be fairly hypocritical of me 😂 I definitely know what you mean though and it’s hard to know whether I’d just be settling or not.

Great idea @Vitaminsss, unfortunately he’s not much of a social media poster though so I have nothing to use here!!

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Time40 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:47:08

I don't think anyone under 30 should bother settling down. Until then you are still a child

Still a child at 30. Okayyy ....

StrippedFridge Fri 01-Jan-21 23:52:42

ultimately I didn’t feel excited enough and found myself wondering if the grass was greener

That was less than six months ago and since then everybody has been social distancing. It is crazy to think that you'd have met loads of wonderful men in that period. Online dating so soon after ending a LTR seems unwise.

Also, after time apart you say your mental health has improved and I just really feel like I’m in a much better place now

I am middle-aged. I have noticed a pattern in my friend's relationships. The women with the best relationships in their fifties had a long term relationship when young that they ended in their mid to late twenties because it just wasn't fulfilling enough, no red flags, no awfulness, pleasant companionship, convenience. All of those friends are happily married, have children, decent careers and a generally good life.

Your reasons for ending it were valid.

There are good men out there who are compatible with you. Give it time.

Amira19 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:53:04

No where does it say you still love op.

blazinglightonthehill Fri 01-Jan-21 23:55:37

You think the rejection would break you but don't once say that you love's probably not going to work out I'd say.

Don't settle. You're young, you'll meet someone nice.

Aprilx Fri 01-Jan-21 23:57:33

If he were the one (not that I believe in there being a single one) but what I mean is that if everything was right, you wouldn’t have split up in the first place.

As somebody said you haven’t mentioned being in love, I think you are contemplating returning to something because it is comfortable, you are too young for that. Give things more time, the grass may still turn out to be greener.

Eckhart Fri 01-Jan-21 23:57:57

What will you say if he asks you why you're suddenly interested in him again? 'I realised that you are less faulty than some really faulty men'?

lilypad07 Fri 01-Jan-21 23:59:13

I don’t think I ever stopped loving him and to be honest whenever I see his name on social media or whatever my heart still flutters and I get a weird stomach feeling which is horrible. I honestly really just would love to give him a cuddle which sounds really stupid hahaha

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KosherSalt Sat 02-Jan-21 00:01:48

You ended it (rightly) because it was boring. It’s only that everyone’s life has been equally boring since that is making you feel retrospectively nostalgic.

That and your friends talking about their awful exes — the thing is, someone doesn’t have to be awful for you to dump them. Everyone I’ve ever dumped has been nice, attractive, decent, solvent, and I still dumped them because they weren’t for me.

Aprilx Sat 02-Jan-21 00:03:32


I don’t think I ever stopped loving him and to be honest whenever I see his name on social media or whatever my heart still flutters and I get a weird stomach feeling which is horrible. I honestly really just would love to give him a cuddle which sounds really stupid hahaha

Your relationship seems like it was a fairly normal, unproblematic one, so if you loved him, I don’t think you would have ended it. I love my husband and I would never end things with him on the off chance that the “grass might be greener”.

110Cornets Sat 02-Jan-21 00:04:11

I think, if you've found a good man you find attractive and get on well with, you should go for it. It won't always be exciting- romances in stories and film are exciting precisely because they're troubled. The happily ever after bit is boring at times- no one sticks around to watch that.

lilypad07 Sat 02-Jan-21 00:09:58

I think both of our mental health really suffered in the lockdown and we almost became the worst versions of ourselves - I was never bored in our relationship before that. Plus I was really anxious and probably wanted constant reassurance when life isn’t like the movies. I had a guy I got on so well with, who I loved to bits and most of all, we really really looked after each other

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SmeleanorSmellstrop Sat 02-Jan-21 00:16:58

A few years ago, i'd have said stay away. You deserve to be excited in a relationship. But now, I have changed my mind. This is because my best friend had a relationship like yours, at your age, with a very lovely, caring guy who she loved but just wasn't excited by anymore - things got settled and normal and I think she missed the first few months of new relationships and that excitement (and was seeing this a lot in us, her friends who were meeting new people and breaking up and meeting others all the time!). So she broke up with him.

Fast forward 7 or so years and she is single and miserable about it. She feels her biological clock is ticking (crazy I know but she is really down about it) and feels like she might have missed her chance to get married and have kids and a healthy, stable, happy family life. Looking for that excitement... well, she did have a few 'exciting' relationships but they also weren't necessarily healthy and/or happy or she had her heart broken etc - she never met a guy as kind and sweet and loving as her ex, who she also loved back. That is a really special thing, I think. And we are almost encouraged by society in movies and things to reject stability and comfort as almost negative things in favor of newness and excitement. But often this doesn't lead to happiness - being excited and being happy aren't the same things and often don't occur at the same time! If you truly loved him, and if you feel like the only reason you gave up on the relationship was because of feelings of boredom/being too settled, i'd say try again. Maybe just date each other casually and make a real effort with each other. I am married now and i feel that successful, happy relationships take work to keep them exciting and fresh. But instead people often throw them away! I feel ever so regretful about being one of my friends cheerleaders back in the day to end it with this lovely guy to seek something more fun and wild because in the end, what terrible advice that was! She'd be so much happier today and have so much less heartbreak anf negative experiences with horrible men under her belt if she'd worked at her relationshop instead of throwing it away.

MixMatch Sat 02-Jan-21 00:27:22

If you weren't bored of him before lockdown, it sounds like lockdown, not him, was the real cause of your issues. If he's kind, loving, and you're compatible personality wise and other ways, I personally wouldn't have broken up with him. Online dating is DIRE. And not just because of lockdown. There are attractive men everywhere but finding one who is genuine, not into drugs, kind (not just being nice to get in your pants), with no dealbreaker issues, and most important of all, actually wants to commit, is extremely hard. If your ex is these things, he will certainly snapped up in time by another woman.

Assuming you're both on the same page regarding marriage, children, religion etc., knowing what i know now, I personally would get back together if he wanted to. However that's just me, and only you can make that decision. Definitely do not waste his time or his opportunity to find someone more compatible with him, if you're unsure about him. If you are unsure about him, best to spend time on your own for a good while (being single is perfectly fine!)

xsher Sat 02-Jan-21 00:28:41

I don't really have any advice OP, but I could have written this thread myself!

I'm 23 and finished a 7 year relationship back in the summer and some days I feel the same as you do, but then other days I feel as though I've done the right thing. It's difficult being without someone that you've been with for so long. My situation is exactly the same where he was such a nice guy and did absolutely nothing wrong, but I just felt as though I outgrew the relationship.

Whatever you decide to do, it'll work out. If it's meant to be it'll be! I know so many people who have had a break from their long term partners but have ended up together againsmile

lilypad07 Sat 02-Jan-21 00:39:53

Thank you everyone, that’s all really really helpful 💛
Thinking about it, the thought of being with him makes me feel really safe and at home and where I should be, he really did feel like home, it’s hard to explain

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ProfMcGonigle Sat 02-Jan-21 00:52:13

I met my now-DH at a similar age to you and we split for a year in our mid-20s. During that year we realised we'd been wrong (obviously this is a very simplified version of our story) and still loved each other. We got back together and got engaged within that year.

We've been happily married for 20 years smile

Candyfloss99 Sat 02-Jan-21 00:55:23

It sounds like you were more like best friends than boyfriend and girlfriend? Was there a spark? Did you have great sex with him? If not I wouldn't go back.

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