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AIBU to expect a reply even though he wants space? (A long one)

171 replies

FlannelopePitstop · 04/10/2022 20:49

I've been with my DP about a year and a half, we are in our early/mid thirties. For the most part we have had a loving, fun, close and happy relationship and he feels like my best friend. I've got to know his family and friends well and our lives have become well integrated with one another's.

In the last couple of months, one of the slow-burning issues we have had for a while has come to a head. This mainly centres around the usual textbook case of that I prefer to cope by connecting, and he copes by disconnecting. So when we have had a tiff, he disappears, I feel abandoned and when he returns I'm anxious and critical. He then runs away some more. Ironically we only ever have a tiff if I feel invalidated or unheard, or he feels criticised. I also feel I carry much more of the mental load when it comes to making plans, holidays etc, and sometimes in those moments if I'm e.g. struggling to make a decision, I've yearned to feel like I have an equal adult partner rather than feeling alone with all the responsibility.

We came back from a difficult holiday in Sept - it got so bad at one point we decided to part ways one night and do our own thing for a bit of space. The next morning I realised he had left me in the city we were in and was some distance away heading back to our airport city in our hire car. I felt so abandoned and excruciatingly upset. Things got more stressful once we got back because he received news a family member only had a short while left to live. We made the decision to put our issues on the back burner for a bit to deal with that and I've tried to be a supportive presence to him and his family during a difficult time. Relative has since died and funeral is next week, which I know has upset him more than he is letting on.

Last week we had another big argument. I reached a breaking point because I wasn't feeling heard and he was getting defensive when I was trying to express that (although tbf I was shouting at this point) so I yelled at him to get the fuck out my house, leave his keys and to not come back. To be honest, I really just wanted him to acknowledge just how upset I was and what I desperately wanted was a hug and some reassurance and kindness but I wasn't getting that so I needed him out my space. It was the meanest thing I've ever said to him, I feel dreadful about it and I want to apologise for it. Unfortunately he took that to mean I was breaking up with him, so he packed his stuff out my house and left, even though before he left I said I hadn't meant that, I was just angry and upset. He went on radio silence following that, for 4 days, despite me contacting him later that night to say I would like for us to have a civil conversation, de-ecalate and find a way to reconnect.

Those 4 days were absolute hell, pure emotional torment. I called him on day 5 like wtf, we need to talk. So he came round that night, and had brought with him a bag of all my stuff, and when I say all, he had gutted his house out of every tiny thing of mine. I mean like random hair bobbles. I was totally blindsided but he was resolute we were breaking up and it was what he wanted. We then talked for a couple of hours about what had happened in our relationship, we apologised to each other for things and when I pointed out that it was ironic we were finally able to have a calm, considered, loving and attentive conversation, it was about breaking up, he acknowledged that but insisted we needed the time apart at least for a month to reassess how we feel. Which was different to what he originally said when he came in. But I was desperate for him not to walk away altogether so I agreed. We still have keys to each other's houses, and we left things with a cuddle and a kiss.

Today has been exactly one week since that night and we have had no contact. It has been an excruciatingly painful week. I feel lost, hurt, anxious, confused, upset, abandoned, angry and like the whole thing is just senseless. I don't think our issues were irreconcilable, and I think turning up with a bag of my stuff is brutal. I would love nothing more in the world than to hear from him and find a way to reconnect. Earlier today I did a brave thing and messaged him about something we had agreed we would do together and time is running out to arrange it. I said I'm going to make arrangements to do it as I'd like to, and it would be lovely if he joined but I understand if not, and just to let me know. I haven't had a reply.

I'm in tormented agony right now. I'm trying to keep on top of all the basics of self-care but I'm in hell. Each day that goes by, I don't know if I'm moving closer towards reconciliation or getting past a break up. The uncertainty and lack of clarity is breaking me. I know he will be anxious and fretful right now about how to reply so will be burying his head in the sand. I might have accidentally pushed him further away with that message, I don't know.

AIBU to expect one tiny shred of decency and care from a human being who I've shared my life with for the last year and a half and to get a reply?
Moreover, AIBU to say you don't need a month of silence to figure out if you want to attempt to reconcile with someone? I feel really desperate and don't know what the hell else to do here. I've had mixed advice from family and friends about waiting out the month, not waiting, waiting a bit, going round to his house, cutting him out altogether and every other option in between.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate that was long.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

505 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
RewildingAmbridge · 04/10/2022 20:54

What is this relationship adding to your life? It sounds exhausting. Also I think you've been quite unfair, whatever has gone before he wanted to break up, you persuaded him not to and the compromise was a month apart. It's been a week and you're in bits again because he hasn't replied to a message from you fishing for time together, which in itself is a breach of your agreement.
Let him go and please do some work on yourself.
This is a toxic combination.

rageapplied · 04/10/2022 20:55

You need to not contact him.

You don't sound compatible and the relationship sounds hard work.

Leave him alone like you agreed.


Whitney168 · 04/10/2022 20:55

I think you have broken up, but he’s getting you used to the idea. Sounds as if it’s for the best rally. Life shouldn’t be that hard a year and a half in.

Carrieonmywaywardsun · 04/10/2022 20:58

Let him go. Your message to him was unnecessary and you've breached your agreement of space after just a few days. He needs space and you're not giving it, that's very unhealthy. Let him go and stay friendly or keep pestering him and lose him forever

AlbaDT · 04/10/2022 20:59

This is ridiculous. It sounds like an awful relationship and you are tormenting yourself by believing there is any future in it.

Bonheurdupasse · 04/10/2022 21:02


I completely understand you. I've been in similar situations, silent treatment within the relationship. The more it goes on the more desperately needy for contact I get, and then there's some outburst/ pathetic message from me that pushes him further.
I'm in a similar one week break (though different circumstances) and dying for contact.
You must not message etc him.
I'm on the train going home from work now, when I get there I'll try to listen (not do, I'm hopeless at it) to some meditation on accepting rejection.

I'm sorry so sorry, it's all I've got.

omarcoming · 04/10/2022 21:02

You're not compatible.

And tbh from what you've posted it sounds like you were quite hard work to be with.

You don't respect the way he handles disagreements, he needs more space and decompression time than you're willing to give him.

You've confirmed that you've shouted at him when he's not engaged in an argument in the way you want. You can't tell him to get the fuck out of your house, leave his keys and not come back, and then be upset he's not begging at your feet to stay.

Let him go. It's not going to work out.

Hearthnhome · 04/10/2022 21:03

This sounds entirely awful. The whole thing.

But this issue, your shouldn’t have messaged him. It wasn’t brave, it was attempt to get a response. And shorten the agreed break.

you shouldn’t have agreed to his month of space If you didn’t want to do it. But once you did, you shouldn’t have tried to make plans with him.

I suspect it’s over. This month isn’t doing you any good because you are in limbo. When you kicked him out and told him was over, you were either playing games and trying to provoke a response or you had actually had enough but you are panicking and trying to convince yourself your relationship was better than it actually was. I suspect the 2nd.

its not unusual for people to want their ex back and convince themselves it wasn’t ‘that bad’ when it absolutely was.

I think you need to start planning your life without him.

Regularsizedrudy · 04/10/2022 21:04

Fucking hell. It should not be this hard this early. Walk away.

Nagado · 04/10/2022 21:04

I’ve been here. I don’t think you’re getting back together. I think he has just postponed the inevitable because he couldn’t cope with the emotion when you were face to face, so just said what he thought he needed to say to be able to go home without you being upset with him. As was said to me at the time, if he truly loved you then wild horses wouldn’t be able to drag him away.

MeowMeowPowerRangers · 04/10/2022 21:04

That's a very toxic relationship. He's doing the right thing disengaging, both of you need to walk away from it.

Sisisimone · 04/10/2022 21:05

I wouldn't have spoken to him again after he'd left me on holiday and gone back to the airport. He sounds an asshole and I imagine once you have time to get over the break up you'll realise you're well rid.

rookiemere · 04/10/2022 21:06

Doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

Particularly the bit where he left you and drove to the airport by himself. At 18 months in there should be a bit of romance and fun in a relationship. Did he come back and get you or did you have to make your own way there? <sorry not strictly relevant but am interested >

Cyberworrier · 04/10/2022 21:06

I'm sorry you're hurting OP, but I agree with the others. This is not a healthy relationship. You need to let go of the idea of this being "it". The dynamic sounds fairly toxic. You describe him as your best friend and then describe behaviour and a relationship that is so far away from that of best friends.

Please take care of yourself by moving on from this relationship. I recommend the book "women who love too much" about unhealthy relationships.

QueenCamilla · 04/10/2022 21:06

Sisisimone · 04/10/2022 21:05

I wouldn't have spoken to him again after he'd left me on holiday and gone back to the airport. He sounds an asshole and I imagine once you have time to get over the break up you'll realise you're well rid.

Completely agree with this!

Unanananana · 04/10/2022 21:07

You sound incredibly over-emotional. He may find all the desperation difficult to deal with.

He has asked for space and time probably to get you used to the idea of a break up and to stop you contacting him, which you didn't respect.

You aren't compatible. Its the end and you need to accept it.

Unanananana · 04/10/2022 21:07

You sound incredibly over-emotional. He may find all the desperation difficult to deal with.

He has asked for space and time probably to get you used to the idea of a break up and to stop you contacting him, which you didn't respect.

You aren't compatible. Its the end and you need to accept it.

Fcuk38 · 04/10/2022 21:08

My goodness the fact that you keep saying a way to reconnect would have had me running for the hills. Let him go .

Couldyounot · 04/10/2022 21:08

This bit here

The next morning I realised he had left me in the city we were in and was some distance away heading back to our airport city in our hire car.

is why you shouldn't consider getting back with this man. Decent people do not bugger off in the hire car, leaving their partner stranded, just because they're pissed off.

LivingMyBestLie · 04/10/2022 21:12

Breakups are hard.

But I promise you, this isn't a healthy relationship and it wasn't going to last. This isn't what a good relationship looks like.

At one point, you have to draw the line and accept that, despite the good times, you don't gel well together.

He doesn't like criticism, you want to feel heard. What would happen if you had a baby?! They test you like never before. Far better you've broken up now than if a child was involved.

Big hugs though, I hope you start to feel better soon!

ChicCroissant · 04/10/2022 21:12

Ironically, considering you complain about him not listening to you I think one of the big problems here is that you don't listen to him! He said no contact for a month - you only gave it a week. The language you use about your relationship comes across as quite cold and analytical to me as well, unfortunately I think it's over and it's time to move on.

Tibtab · 04/10/2022 21:14

This isn’t a healthy relationship for either of you. You ended it and you should now leave him alone.

Casmama · 04/10/2022 21:17

You sound extremely overbearing- like you think you can act any way you want to cos you don't feel heard and that he should understand you didn't mean it when you told him to get the fuck out your house.
The airport thing is either him being a complete arsehole or him totally overwhelmed by you- either way this relationship is not worth saving

donttellmehesalive · 04/10/2022 21:18

It's run it's course. It's not meant to be this hard after eighteen months. It's over.

Honeyroar · 04/10/2022 21:19

I’m sorry but I agree that you two just don’t sound compatible. You had to have a break on holiday, you’re having another “break” now. In the honeymoon period. It should be easy. You both behave in different ways, want different things. You need someone on your own wavelength. Gather up your pride. Stop this yourself. A month won’t change things, it will just drag it out.

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